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cgarges
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:47 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
don't listen for what's "wrong". don't sit there like a scientist, looking for flaws. sit back on the couch with a drink or whatever, listen to the record as a whole. are you tapping your foot? being moved to sing along?


I just had the opportunity to mix a sort of "reunion" album for a band who's been one of my favorite bands since 1989. They tracked drums at my place, then did the overdubs at home, then brought it back to me to mix. We had a little more than a week to mix the whole album, which is luxurious in my day-to-day work world, but the band spent their available funds fairly wisely, I gave them a good deal (because I've been a fan of such a ling time and have worked with several of the guys before, so I knew it wouldn't be difficult), and despite a few technical file transfer setbacks here and there, it was all pretty efficient and it all worked out REALLY well.


When I actually got to mixing, initially, I was TOTALLY listening for what was wrong. I usually do, especially if I'm mixing something I didn't track. What do I need to "correct" to make it acceptable and sometimes even possible to mix? What do I need to work on to make for a better starting point? What do I need to make clearer before I bury it or make it less clear? What's competing? What's eating up drive space or processing power? Are the background vocals loud enough? Too loud? Will the lead singer be happy with the level of the background vocals? How about the background vocalist? All these kind of things run through my head as I try to make everything somewhat audible and to find a space for it all.

But the next step is finding the toe-tapping moments. For me, everything has to be sorted out before that really gets attention paid to it. True, I'm always working towards that, even from the beginning, but sometimes other things get in the way. The drums might sound REALLY good loud, but are they too loud? If I pull them back and it feels wimpy now, what do I do about it? How important is being able to hear every word? Being able to UNDERSTAND every word? Being able to INTERPRET every lyric? Now, within that context, does the song still rock? Does it rock TOO MUCH? That's where the detail stuff really comes into play, but at the same time, I don't want to get bogged down with the technical details. I'm trying to think about whether to not MY foot is tapping and THEN whether or not the other people in the room are tapping their feet as well. And are they tapping out of nervousness, general enthusiasm, or because the song is REALLY making them want to? The latter is what I'm totally shooting for. It's rewarding to get there.

Chris Garges
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MoreSpaceEcho
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

yeah just to clarify, WE (the engineers) should absolutely spend whatever amount of time worrying about what's wrong, and doing whatever we can to right it. and thus invoke toe tapping/headbanging/air drumming/jesus christ poses/hip hop hand gestures/whatever.

THE BAND should be listening to it like music.

also, you guys, this record garges is talking about....holy shit.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

Deep Purple??

GJ
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vvv
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:33 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:


also, you guys, this record garges is talking about....holy shit.


I di'n't wanna sound like a fanboy (?), but am curious, yeah.
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cgarges
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:06 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

Gregg Juke wrote:
Deep Purple??


Ha! I wish!

No, this was a band based out of Wingate, NC (near Charlotte) called The Hardsoul Poets.

I believe a few of the guys previously toured the south in a band called The Beatniks, but the Hardsoul Poets formed in 1989 and played around Charlotte, initially. They had a heavy dose of influences from the "jangly guitar scene" like The Beatles, The Who, Big Star, The Kinks, The Replacements, REM, etc. They recorded a cassette-only release (done in two days at Reflection Sound with the excellent Mark Williams engineering) called Rail, and built a loyal regional fan following before venturing further out about the south. After one of the original key songwriters (Chris "Cool King Chris" Michael) left the band and a little bit of lineup shifting happened, the band recorded a second cassette with producer Jamie Hoover (of The Spongetones), called Private Radio. This release had a little bit more drive and detailed production work and sounded a bit more focused (like most bands' second releases). After a couple more lineup changes, the band drifted further into the early 90s Americana direction and released their first CD, Throw on Fishtone Records, produced by Fred LeBlanc in Belle-Chasse, LA.

Eventually, the band signed with Ardent Records in Memphis and got hooked up with producer Jeff Powell (see Tape Op #95). With a foot firmly planted in the Americana genre (but without abandoning certain REM influences), they changed their name to Jolene and recorded several releases for Ardent before a sort of major label bidding war started, eventually leading to their decision to sign with Sire records in 1998. They recorded the excellent In The Gloaming album with Jeff Powell at Le Studio Morin Heights in Quebec, which featured the southern regional hit, "Pensacola."

Since then, the band members have all gone on to do some very cool things. Lead vocalist/songwriter John Crooke performed for a bit with the Continental Drifters before moving to California, where he performs in the band Lamps with Jolene bandmate, Dave Burris. Bassist Mike Mitschele has been recording and performing with several bands in the Charlotte area including The Alternative Champs and The Catch Fire. Drummer Mike Kenerley is currently playing drums in The Loudermilks (made up of mostly Lou Ford alumni). Original Hardsoul Poets bassist/guitarist Reid Mansell has mostly been playing in the Winston Salem area with the Phase Sisters and with his own projects. Original guitarist/vocalist Chris Michael has released several excellent and quirky power pop albums (recorded with Jamie Hoover) under the moniker "Cool King Chris."

I've loved these guys for years. Three regional bands had GIGANTIC effect on my musical upbringing-- The Hardsoul Poets, The Popes, and The Spongetones. Absolutely HUGE effect on me. I would be totally excited about this album if I had nothing at all to do with it. The fact that I've heard all of it already and KNOW it's great makes me really excited. I'm proud to have been able to work on it.

And by the way, Craggs knocked the mastering totally out of the park, just like he always does. What you'll hear on the release is pretty much what it sounded like in the control room.

Chris Garges
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Last edited by cgarges on Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:11 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

If you guys dig mysterious jangle pop (not necessarily too shiny, but with big, twangy guitars, driving rock grooves, and occasionally obscure lyrical content with smart, but not too smart production), ala The Replacements, Big Star, late 80s REM, etc, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this new Hardsoul Poets record called True Great Geography. It comes out December 4th, but the band just put a handful of tunes up on Soundcloud to preview. Check it out if this sounds like it might be your kind of thing.

Chris Garges
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vvv
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

link (Hope that's aiight to post) I like 'em, they have that Guadalcanal, even Lets Active thing, a bit, but harder, as well as early REM for sure (especially "Equator", reminds me of "The One I Love"), kinda remind me some of the Arizona band, Sidewinders/Sand Rubies, too.
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cgarges
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

vvv wrote:
link (Hope that's aiight to post) I like 'em, they have that Guadalcanal, even Lets Active thing, a bit, but harder, as well as early REM for sure (especially "Equator", reminds me of "The One I Love"), kinda remind me some of the Arizona band, Sidewinders/Sand Rubies, too.


Cool! I'm glad you dig them. I'll have to check out Sidewinders/Sand Rubies.

Here's a link to the new stuff that they're previewing:

https://soundcloud.com/user284085111/sets/true-great-geography-free

Chris Garges
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

Thanx! Mebbe yer link is just busy, but I can't get anything to actually play ... Sad

OK, gottit, was a flashblocker extension in Chrome. Rolling Eyes

Cool !

Sounds loud and great!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:10 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

vvv wrote:
Sounds loud and great!


Haha! Excellent!

Chris Garges
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

In terms of relevance to the original topic (sorry for the diversion), I don't think there's anything on here that went past Mix3. (Well, one song was labeled "Mix4" because of a failed experiment we were trying with a certain effect across the whole mix at the end.) Three of the four key songwriters were present at the mix sessions at any given time, and often all three together. John is still in California, so we were emailing mixes to him to approve. Each songwriter got "the final say" about their songs and while there might have been a few more requests to turn background vocals up or down a dB, they made the decision to let certain small things go in the spirit of actually getting the record done in a reasonable time and within their budget. (Honestly, I think these last little bits are things that no one will specifically remember in six months.) Any revision requests that were made after listening to the mixes at home were put in a priority line for the last day of the scheduled session and ultimately, I only had three songs to tweak afterwards.

I worked on one additional song (my own self-imposed mix revision request) kind of extensively after the other songs were done, but I was never able to beat my original mix, even though there were a few things I didn't like about it. The plan was to present the new mix to the band and give them the option, but I was never happy with the other versions, so I asked Scott to work a bit of specific magic in mastering, which he did absolutely perfectly.

Chris Garges
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

Wow, they've [Hardsoul Poets] really grown, haven't they? Cool Cool Cool Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

vvv wrote:
Wow, they've [Hardsoul Poets] really grown, haven't they? Cool Cool Cool Cool


I think this new record is a really great version of a reunion album. There are elements from all eras of the band represented, lots of familiar themes and sounds, and a definite element of growth, in terms of writing, performing, and production. As a fan, I'm glad I got to work on this and I'd be totally lying if I said that I just recorded and mixed what I did to sound good without regard to the band's history. Definite moves were made to preserve or excavate certain elements familiar to long-time fans and I think it totally paid off. No one feels like anything good was sacrificed for any of this, so in terms of the first album in 23 years from a great band with a decent following, yeah, I think they did pretty well with this.

And I still think it's a great album, period.

Chris Garges
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Gregg Juke
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:19 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

Cool! It sounds like there's a little Bodeans &/or Jayhawks in there too (which tbh, I was hoping for based on your description, so is that just my confirmation bias coming through the speaker?)...

Anyway, sounds great.

GJ
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:28 am    Post subject: Re: Mix Objectivity / revisions Reply with quote

Gregg Juke wrote:
Anyway, sounds great.


Thanks, Gregg!

Yeah, they were definitely contemporaries of all those bands to an extent. In fact, they probably played shows with some of them. I know they did some tour dates with bands like The Pernice Brothers, Kim Richey, Soul Asylum, Screaming Trees, Steve Earle (heroin period), Vic Chesnutt, Alex Chilton, Julianna Hatfield, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Shelby Lynne, Continental Drifters, Mojo Nixon, Shawn Colvin, Marcy Playground, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Whiskytown, The Connells, Hootie and the Blowfish, and even C&C Music Factory once.

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