“Waiting For You”, our Moon Drop for December has been released! Every month I feel like I learn something new about mixing and mastering with my Apollo UAD system. Two or three releases ago (I forget which) we (the band) collectively decided to keep all of our mixing and production in house because the cost was just beyond what we could afford. We don’t really make much money from these releases so the best thing we can do is try and do as much of the back end/production related elements ourselves. That way, we keep costs low - and in the end, we have new skills up our collective sleeves.
I’ve always wanted to be able to properly mix music - I just don’t think I ever thought I could. I don’t know why I’ve had that thought, but I did. It was only until I truly just let go of that thought - the negative self talk that I’m just inherently not good at mixing, that i actually started making progress. It is weird how that works sometime. I still have so much to learn and a long way to go, but for the first time I’m feeling pretty confident about this.
It is an enjoyable process as well. Each time I crack open a new session every month, I feel like it is a game where I get to try and figure out how to best balance all of the instruments against each other; where to ad eq and compression, where to automate things, etc. It’s been a really enjoyable experience. The best part about it, though, is hearing everything start coming together once the vocal production is done. For our music, it is very vocal centric so vocal production is a key component to our sound. Other than that, playing around with all of my synth toys and diving into sound atmospheres and textures is really fulfilling.
For “Waiting For You”, our most recent AL1CE release, I feel like this song really wanted to dance.
The recorded material was about 70% there, but I wanted there to be more textural movement - something that undulates and brings the listener closer into the song. I utilized the UAD Korg SDD Delay plugin (which I use for pretty much, like, everything now.. I <3 UAD!) and created some rhythmic delays based on the lead vocal lines. For the delayed vocal effect I chained a keyed compressor (keyed by the dry lead vocal line) right after so that the delay would only bloom out when the vocal lines end. This is pretty much my new favorite vocal effect and use it for everything.
I also started experimenting with some reverse reverb effects - in the beginning of the song, you will can hear a couple of examples of that both in the intro and the sound swell right before the first verse.
I have also been really trying to hone in my live drum mixing skills. This, to me, is probably the hardest thing about making a rock sound sound ‘right’ - the drums have to be present and punchy, but not too overbearing. For this, I bus out all drums and slap on a UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor and do some very controlled compression to try and bring everything out. Also, correct balance of both room and OH mics are essential. I can make an entire blog post just about this… I think I will.
Overall, mixing “Waiting For You” was truly an enjoyable experience. Listening to the song on both my studio monitors and through my iPhone speaker were both equally pleasing to my ears. I hope you like the song!