Production Talk Podcast
Episode 013 - Interview with Cheynne Murphy

Episode 013 - Interview with Cheynne Murphy

September 21, 2021

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In this interview episode:

Cheynne Murphy is an Australian musician with decades of music production experience. He's played huge stadiums while touring internationally. He is also a university lecturer for Torrens University where he specialises in teaching Digital Marketing, Arts & Entertainment Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Consumer Behaviour /Psychology.

In this interview, Cheynne shares how he produced his album from home, despite challenging covid restrictions. He also shares his music marketing wisdom, with a specific focus on music marketing for self-producing musicians.

Links:

Listen to Cheynne Murphy

Cheynne Murphy Official Website

Cheynne Murphy on Facebook

Cheynne Murphy on Instagram

Cheynne Murphy on LinkedIn

Cheynne Murphy on youTube

 

 

Mentioned in this Episode:

Ari's Take

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #cheynnemurphy, #MusicMarketing, #MusicPromotion, #MusicDistribution, #MixedByYarnTheMixArtist

 

 

 

Transcript (auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error):

 

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Welcome back. And thank you for tuning into the production talk podcast. Again, it's great to have you on board. Since Episode 10, we've worked our way along the production timeline through the different phases of music production. We've covered some writing and creative workflows with Shell and TK and I think that was a fantastic episode. Last week, I shared my take on the production mindset and how to know when a project is finished. I also spoke about my mixing philosophy and shared some tips about mastering. But after mastering a product is not yet done. Today, we're opening a particularly tricky can of worms, marketing and promoting your music. According to Google 60,000 songs are released on Spotify every day. A few years ago, that was 40,000. So it's fair to assume that this number will only ever go up. Therefore, you have to cut through somehow. And your success in the music industry depends to a large degree on effective marketing. You cannot release your songs and hope for the best hope to be discovered, or go viral without any further effort. And that's exactly where marketing and promotion comes in. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Cheynne Murphy, who is not only a phenomenal musician, but also a university lecturer for teaching digital marketing, Arts at entertainment, marketing, social media, marketing and consumer behavior. Cheynne has many decades of experience as a musician. He's played in huge stadiums overseas, but I still see him performing at the local farmers markets occasionally. Whatever Cheynne does, he puts 100% into it. And today, I'd like to speak to him about the ever changing ways of music production, how he produced his last album in times of the pandemic. And of course, we are going to have a big yarn about music marketing and promotion. Okay, now it's time to get to the good stuff. Here's my interview with Cheynne Murphy. All right, so with me today is Mr. Cheynne Murphy, thank you very much for joining us today. It's really good to have you on board. Cheynne, how have you been?

Cheynne Murphy  
Thanks for having me on. I've been good. I've been very busy. We're just chatting about that before. We're probably living busy lives,

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
we surely do. What can you tell our listeners about yourself and how you became a musician. Now, how long have you have you played music

Cheynne Murphy  
for? Well, I like to say it's three chords. And the truth is what got me into music because I literally picked up a guitar at fourth fourth year of uni. So I was doing a marketing degree. And my parents were very happy with that. And then a guy down at the student calm few doors down had a old nylon string guitar. And I'd hear him playing. And I think that sounds amazing. And I should really play and I was I was into my 20s, early 20s. At that point, I hadn't sung hadn't played a note of music, and I bought a guitar off another friend in that same college complex. Yeah. And I learned jack and Diane, I think was the first song, which is an old roots American guy. And it was literally a DD and that was the name. And the whole song was that and that's literally the three chords. And I thought this is this is incredible. And then I started listening to the Beatles going wow, this is like three chords are now there's four chords. But it was it was just it just to stand me how simple the construction of the music was, if you could find the right melodies, you know, with chords, so. So that's how I got into music was just playing. And then I just got obsessed, and I was writing more songs than I was learning. I just started writing and yeah, and I basically as the story goes, it was I think it was something like I had a rehearsal in the student accommodation just with some really amazing musicians again, I just feel like I was such a newbie in the early 20s. And, and they all had musical training, and so on. But I think the first song we played, was you too bad. The song bad and I was in this room and singing and I just thought I was liberated and freed of so much stuff. It felt like a weight off my shoulders. And I just went I felt like I was just I found it. I found what I wanted. And so I just practiced for six hours a day and we signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell within two years or something or three years of those three chords.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Wow, that's an amazing story. Yeah. And do you remember what year that would have been round about? Give or take?

Cheynne Murphy  
I'm not so good with years. Say what signing to or just beginning the music journey. The year would have been really starting to get and it was 1992. Okay, yeah. So in the end there was like it was a really fast beginning with the publishing deal, which is, you know, focusing on songwriting, and then a really protracted, United States sound still, what are we 2021, I'm still writing music, just about every day, still looking to record music. And you know, it's just that beautiful. I like to call it just inspiration. If you've got inspiration in your life, it tends to make you happy. So I kind of work back from that. It's a tough business, don't worry about that. Now, just enjoy the inspiration.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
And you just recently released your fourth album. So I can assume that certain virus that we all know about through a bit of a spanner in the works for you there, or how did you get through through the corona times? Because that would have been about the same time? Is that? right? Correct.

Cheynne Murphy  
I was I was, you know, in the mid process of doing an AP, and I'd actually sort of presented an EP, and then I would kept writing and I felt like I wanted to put it out as an album, not have an AP, and then an album, that sort of approach. And, yeah, the just the sort of starting to engage with social media, with new ideas. So with my Facebook network, in kind of a more is a little bit sort of hesitant to do that, because you don't want to just be self, this self promoting musician and come look at me, and I feel like there's a lot of musicians that are just trying to promote or sell something. But what was different in this situation was that I was presenting a song idea and inviting people if they felt compelled to share, share their musical, you know, their, their flavor, without any sort of real conditions on it. So, you know, a call that just sort of free expression, and just got a great response. And, and, you know, and so just use that process of sending a, you know, Pro Tools mp3, and telling them don't, you know, don't cut it at the top or the end. And just record it, consolidate a track and flip it back to me. And so I actually finished that album. Just recently, I've just put out at the end of February, which was a few years in mostly non COVID time. And then, yeah, I finished an album, which I haven't recorded, officially. But I'm actually thinking really strongly that I'm just going to do like a homemade mix of just the shit that we did, you know, through COVID. And even though everything was done, like the drum tracks, or just stereo mixes and things like that, just work with those raw ingredients and see what we can come up with, because you get this unique thing happening when someone's just playing without any, you know, no one's like, I'm paying the session musician to come in and play. They just play him because I feel like it. So I probably have to go back and give a few bucks to some people just to, you know, to say, say thanks. or as we say in Australia, I your case of beer.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, right. So, online collaboration was basically what got you over the line there by exchanging files and then getting a file back of the same length. Is that the method? Yeah, I mentioned Pro

Cheynne Murphy  
Tools. Yeah, yeah. So like, you know, knowing that this is about production and home production. I've had a very simple philosophy from day one, like I've always believed, say percussion, as long as you can play in time, I don't need to spend 1000s of dollars on a shaker, you know, nor tambourine. And for me personally, because I'm really big on harmonies. And that's one of my parts of my sound. My father used to be into the Beach Boys and you know that there's something about harming I feel like it's much easier and cheaper way to get the same feelings you can get with strings. If you if you know that your way around the oohs and ahhs and layering and so on. So you get this really human version of strings as they're kind of the way I look at the harmonies are, that's a great way of putting it. Yeah, and in, you can feel that in the music too. And most people will say that they love harmony based music. So that's, that's already established. So my particular recording setup is a very, very simple, it's just a good mic and a decent performance. So through the COVID time, you know, more and more, you know, most people spending more time at home, I personally just love that insular sit with the guitar, I think I performed best at home, I think I play best at home, I think I ride best at home. And so therefore, it makes sense to record at home as much as you can. So I really have a preference for doing the vocals at home because I've got that beautiful luxury of going. You know, like I find if I listened to a vocal kid being a vocalist and self producing is a very challenging thing to do. But I feel that if you sit with it, it's like sort of like riding poetry. Sometimes when you ride it you go on I don't really like that but then you sit with it and maybe pick it up or with lightning. Oh, that's actually quite good. So it's a similar thing with the with the Vehicles, it's better to almost reverse for me, like, I'll listen to a guy that sounds quite good. And then I'll be sitting in the car like two or three days later. I'm like, I just need to straighten that line up a bit. And I'm singing this a little bit different. Yeah, here, and I'll go and redo that. So and because vocals is one of the most important things in vocal lead music. Geez, I just say that's the great starting point is an at home, if you can record a half decent vocal?

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
And what's your situation at home, you know, to record vocals? Obviously, you need to think about the room acoustics and ambient noise and you know, traffic noise. So was that okay for you?

Cheynne Murphy  
That's the thing about a self produced musician, without any training or any background, you're fairly free, because you're generally just going on vibes. And, you know, there's a whole bunch of people out there that have done it before, like Neil Young's, and as I said, Ray LaMontagne and so I'm aware of a bird, I don't mind a bird, you know, and because my music stars folk rock, I sort of feel that that's okay. But for some reason, the randomness of life, where I've stuck my vocal microphone, I've been playing a few live tracks, just with the guitar, and the condenser mic, and just really loving that sound. And people have commented on that. And I'm like, well, there's no, you know, it's like a $600 mic, there's no plug through it, just go straight into the Mac Mini, which I think you recommended 10 years ago, I still just do the same thing. And I look at Pro Tools looking for sort of not paying too much into the yellow. And, and find my way around that way. And then I like somehow, you know, you find your own little sort of process around that. You've been

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
in professional studios with, you know, high end engineers, and really well renowned producers before. So yes. How, how is that different? What to what effect does it have on the musical outcome to not produce yourself at home to wear the hat of the artists who need to focus on the singing and the intonation of the performance and the story and the lyrics? And at the same time, you got to be the engineer? Who needs to look at all the technical things. Yes, that take from it for you?

Cheynne Murphy  
That's a good really good question. Because I'll paint the story of the first studio proper studio went into which is Billy fields, has a studio called paradise studios that they recorded some classic Australian albums in the angels air supply, you know, just a whole bunch. And it was all to tape, two inch tape. It was all at that point, not automated. This is pre Pro Tools. And, you know, the, the intensity to get the performance. I feel like in here that whereas I feel in that might be good if you see me in really hard rock. But if you're seeing something quite intimate, and you need to be pretty relaxed, then sometimes I found not being in that that focus studio environment where I mean, I even had a specialist, vocal producer come in, and I think it's good stuff. Like there's no doubt about that. I think it is really good for what it is. But it's not like that the song. I don't know, like, I think since Spotify has evolved people's listening, as long as you can get it to a certain level of production quality, it just depends on how how that song is feeling to the listener and is it a decent song is it being well constructed? So So I mean, we recorded with in that studio, two inch tape, a string quartet, like Sydney, Symphony, Symphony, orchestra people, I had a piano player who was scored, he forgot the scores on the day and stressing out his writing and on any bits of paper, he could find off the top of his head, you know, it's pretty crazy. And I think, this studio environment, you know, it does allow some great bonding, you know, at that point, I was in a band and you know, sleeping on the couch, and you get this full immersion. And I think that's probably the best benefit of the studio versus the home studio because the home studios, like how long is a piece of string, whereas in the studio is that you have to get this nailed. But on the downside of that I was under this huge pressure of the the money that was going into it. I think the total cost of it was for me was around 23k Ouch. Yeah. And that was something that we're just gonna do, like in a matter of a couple of days, and then end up being 10 days and you know, all the mixing and that was actually like there's a lot of mates rates that went into that for 23k. So without that pressure, I think it allows people at home to create inspiration. And because the music market is so goddamn competitive, you know, you have a just an almost an unlimited reservoir of this same product. I mean, yes, I know that a purist would say look, you can't compare Bruce Springsteen with Neil Young, but if I you know, I could hear Garrett Kato And that makes me feel good. You know, and I heard a song of yours today, a local barn boy, I love his music. Yeah. And so it's, you know, from a marketing point of view that call it like substitution product is, there's just so many so much product there. So if you're in that environment, and you still want to create, you're inspired enough to do that, and you want to share that I just don't see any known reason to man, why you wouldn't invest in the home studio, particularly if you're a singer, particularly, and get your little signal chain up. Don't be too ambitious, just know what you do there. But I mean, I recorded I've worked with Auntie lysenko. And he was our IP, wonderful, wonderful producer, sound engineer and poor pills and Enix, you know, who's done incredible stuff at here at 301 a barn in Jeff Martin and you know, in they'll do guitar, like the guitar sounds will spend hours on guitar sounds. And one of the guitar sounds that made it onto one of my records I recorded at home, you know, you're now paying attention to placement microphones or whatever. And I'd bring it in to Anthony, I remember bringing it in saying and he just got our share. I said just do your best. And he fuses into the track. And then I can a be that album, like the stuff that we recorded in, you know, a million dollar studio pipe, okay. And it's not like it stands out like that. That is because the genre of folk rock allows you to have the nuance of a bit, it's a bit wild a bit, it's a bit rough, so that you know, what music would be a different conversation to have, but, and I actually filmed that at home with Toby, my guitarist, and I've got the original tag there, and you can just see us working, you know, just in that shot, you know, I just haven't Finally we just got out of the beach out of the surf and bang, he knocks out the solo. And it sounds really great to me. And yes, the sound quality could be better. But the performance was great.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I'm very big on focusing on the performance over Sonic qualities. And nerve people give me stuff to mix, what I always look for is, you know, the beauty of the moment. I tried to figure out what the people were feeling when they when they play the music. And if the focus is entirely only on Sonic qualities that beauty can can get lost. Yeah, so I couldn't agree more with you. They are exactly on your side.

Cheynne Murphy  
Yeah. And my first inspiration to share because you asked the question about home studio was actually I watched playing for change like way, way back, I can't remember the very first instance of it without going around with a laptop and some headphones and a little bit of gear. That's actually what inspired me in 2008. And I started a an EP called fire songs for the soul. And I recorded it in this in a really big studio, the drums so I'm a big fan of getting the drums right in in a decent studio, if you can, if you're going to be allocating budget and then you pull the tracks back and you start building you know different things yet at home, but not even just at home because I there's a local guy who plays trumpet and used to be in buddy Rich's band called john Hoffman. He also played with Sinatra, and I met him in the hall at a uni one day, and I can hear the trumpet. I said, Wow, that sounds amazing. And he was America's like, yeah, Cheynne Yeah. Like it's good to meet you should come up sometime. said Yeah, well, I want to come up and record you had no idea who it was. I got with a laptop you know, and a recording in the kitchen. sm 58 the cheapest nastiest roads mic you've ever seen. You know, well, sorry, two roads. There might be a sponsor here. Now it was it's the really the entry level and back then wasn't so crash heightened. And so I close Mike the SM 58. And, and the one behind and I just said to john, is that how you usually do it? Like record a trumpet. Now this guy's as I said, play with some of the most incredible people around the world. And he was just totally comfortable with it. The wife was having a cup of tea in the lounge room. And you know, if you've got an opportunity to cross share files with the program, or be wonderful because I'll share this particular cake and he said how just slow this and I just layered three or four takes in that situation. It sounds beautiful to me. And so that's taking the laptop to someone's house because you would never get that opportunity with someone like that. And I like they like that they just wake up have a cup of coffee or the little boy and he's like, how much and I said how much you normally charge john after after he I just gave him a quick 50 because she is sure Cheynne I said yeah, yeah, it takes 15 so what are you going right? I think I asked Paul, it's like 300 an hour. So you get this sort of flexibility when you prepare to go to people's houses with your laptop and your setup. And it expands you like the possibilities of session musicians but are also key To buy more and budget, if you can do less, it's still home recording, but it's just, I mean, that's why I stick to the laptop, the inbox Mini, you know, one really good condenser mic. And I like the idea I can go and I've done it heaps of times, I'll even like, record drums with that one mic, you know, using the one mic technique. And give that room you sort of sound just when I'm demoing and I want to hear a song stand sound and I find that you know, you can go over and share a glass of wine with someone and they're quite happy to do that and hasn't got to the serious level yet. And I just saw I say when it gets serious lucky now of course I'm going to give you some money. But yeah, I mean, it's it's the life of the indie musician.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Okay, so let me just sum it up. You said that you know, for for tracking drums you actually prefer to go into a studio with a proper room? Correct. But basically everything else that follows like bass guitars, no overdubs, acoustics, electrics, vocals, harmonies, or horns in this case, you would probably prefer to do it at home out at the other musicians houses.

Cheynne Murphy  
I would I would do that out of necessity to be honest. Yeah, I think the the motivation originally I did this, I've done a few albums were my second album Celtic heart, like was so much of what's done at home. And for example, I met a guy who plays Irish pipes. You know, Matt Conley, he's a local guy, and Byron, and you don't often hear Irish pipes, and, you know, just recorded them in a room. And and so you get Yeah, exactly right. As long as you got a great drum take, you can, di bass. That's wonderful. And most bass players know that what their sound is. And I think also, with, like, it depends on yourself as a producer, if you're someone who really wants to micro control everything. And every note, in every part of the process, I think you'd really struggle with this approach that I'm explaining. But the approach that I I've been doing is basically giving very little direction to the musician, but I'll say I think I can hear I just recently recorded a lap steel guitar. And it sounds amazing. I was in his home studio and online. And it was just basically I can hear it coming in on the course. And nothing more than that. But I knew the guy and I knew his ear for melody. So I knew that, you know, if you pick a jazz guy to do something for you be careful if you're a classically style melody. So yeah, it's all about the ingredients, isn't it like of a soup, or you know, or a meal, essentially, you are cooking something up with that approach with the approach where you're not, you know, doing everything in those two days in the big studio, and you're you've got to be much more planned. And that sort of situation where you can be just a bit more spontaneous.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Thank you for sharing this really good stuff. I love that. Cheynne, if that's okay, we'd like to change direction a little bit and tap into your wisdom regarding music, marketing, and all that you are a bit of a specialist.

Cheynne Murphy  
Deep breath now.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Look, let me just share a little story of one of my first releases when I was younger and played in bands. And I remember how we rehearsed every week like crazy and learned the songs and we tried our very best to prepare ourselves and then eventually got to the point where we've saved up money and got into a studio and recorded at all. And it was a huge mission to pull this thing off, never having it done before. And eventually, we got to the finish line. And you know, there was finally mixed and mastered and we loved it. And we felt like Okay, finally done. And now it's art. And then we realized a couple of weeks later, we are still sitting on this box of CDs. And what now I find that, you know, this is often the case that younger musicians often don't see what's after that point. And you know, I think the mixing and mastering is the finish line. What advice would you give to that young me from back then?

Cheynne Murphy  
The clearest advice I would give the young me and that young band anyone listening to this This podcast is it's absolutely imperative that you don't just put all your money into the product, and have not a brass razoo for graphic artists, for photographer for even just a basic live video, write a website, you got nothing left in the tank, you just went 10 grand on that EP all day long, because that's going to get us over the line. It don't work that way I can tell you for 100% so and one of the reasons it doesn't work that way is that most musicians will believe they have the thing habit. Everyone thinks they've got it and I can tell you don't be so sure there's a lot of music out there and in this space. So what is usually the differentiating factor is someone that doesn't put 10 G's into the AP but puts six and has four left over to leverage say Really good PR person that's been recommended. They've got money left to do a really decent, you know, live video for 500 bucks. And they allocate that $4,000 really strategically to be able to continually, you know, promote the song or the AP. And so that would be the first thing. And the second thing that I would probably say that I think's very profound, but also messes with an artist's mind, because they get most inspiration out of the music and the song by reengineer. The process. So you actually think about, it's done now? What are we gonna do? You know, what, what time do I have? What resources do I have? Like, is this realistic in my in my okay to blow a bunch of money? Is that, okay? So it's almost like you're re engineering because the thing is, you can still get the inspiration, you can still do some great stuff at home, it may actually be better to put that 10,000 or the 5000 into a home studio. And then you've got this longevity of creating this product. So the reengineering of it just pausing, you know, and thinking about downstream, like, what would be the date, I'm going to release it, what am I going to release? Like, what is the single Have I done any research into that? Have I actually played it to anyone, because in record company world, they have this thing called the a&r team. And me as an indie home recording musician, I have my own a&r team. And they are people that I trust, I've got a team of them, of songwriters. And different people have a moral flair for production, and they'll hear things in mixers, and I'll present songs to them Well, before, I'm going to the studio for the Tim, you know, getting that spot, I'm sitting on a bunch of CDs. And if you re engineer the process, and you think downstream, you're you probably wouldn't produce many CDs, you wouldn't go for that deal that they're offering where, you know, you get 2000 CDs for, you know, just a little extra money. I mean, the poor environment. You know, like, realistically, how many of those you're going to sell? And, yeah, so there's a lot of, like, just relaxed thought, you know, visioning into the future, just these things. But the The important thing is song itself doesn't sell on its own. And I have spent, you know, a good 25 years in the music industry. And I know, some of the time I've met some of the top people in record labels and management managers are in the entire country. And I know their process. And I know when you put something in the CD player, they've heard 1000 other tracks about the first question they asked you. So tell me about this artist? What are they up to? You know, how much are they playing live? You know, they want to know, these error bars, like they'll go on to social, is there any social proof that there's actually a market for this? This is how business people think. Yes, so if you have no market at all, but there's a lot of passion and self belief, I wouldn't hang my hat on that as a business strategy. Just be very careful about that. I think that's the difficulty as an artist, because it is all about inspiration and passion at the end of the day. That doesn't always translate into the business world. And so I think it's a difficult thing to get the other the marketing hat on and go, Okay, well, who's gonna do the promotion? We've got the product, pretty happy with it. But what's the promotion plan? before you even start the product, so that your budget is much more balanced?

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
That's great advice. Fantastic. Thank you very much. So you basically would plan the marketing ahead of time and direct. A lot of people nowadays don't release their albums anymore. But you know, series of singles that say a song every month, do you believe that this is a smart way today?

Cheynne Murphy  
I didn't, I think it is, it is a smart way today, for an indie musician, that's not like, got much of a push behind a song. If you're dealing with major labels, like it's a big release cycle for just one song might be six weeks or three months. So the idea of doing that every four weeks with very little promotion may not really yield you too much results, but you get awareness, and you've got that consistency. And probably the most important thing about that, again, is looking downstream. And, and looking at like, like your brand, your overall direction. Like if you're just releasing a song every four weeks, and the production is completely different. And every song is different. I think that that's messy. That's a messy thing channel for me to listen to on Spotify. So

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
definitely consistencies is quite important. Yeah. In business. Consistency is important. People want to reset, you know, receive the same quality that they had before. It's just like when we go out for dinner now if we have our favorite plays, and suddenly the food tastes different, you don't want to go back. You know, when that's directly to the quality there were no we have an expectation and we want this met.

Cheynne Murphy  
Correct. And it's a it's a good question to ask yourself if you're doing this single by single proach. That what's the endgame there in case To wrap it up into an AP, because then if you do that, then the artwork of each single should relate to each other, and should relate to the final AP artwork. And it looks like a collection looks like a meal. Like Okay, yeah, and so it

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
comes down to the concept behind it, it's not a just a selection of random pieces, it's actually there's a concept behind it where you know, maybe decide to release one song, first follow up with a video, a couple of photos, correct, and then the next song, and then you do the same again.

Cheynne Murphy  
And that's probably a really good thing to do at pre production phase. So hey, guys, we've got a bunch of songs here. So we'll throw them on the table. Now, let's have a think. Is there any sort of lyrical concept? Or is there some social concept activism, what's happening right now? What would be a good thing to present and say, yeah, as an artist,

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
a message what the artists basically are known for what they stand for? Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.

Cheynne Murphy  
And that then feels like for each song, like for each single release, you then push that messaging, which has got something related to the overarching EP message. But then you've got the individual song that comes out. And that's like about flowers, there's a lot of flower images, or it's about tracks or because your country artist or whatever your your thing is, each song has its own story has its own narrative. It has its own visual identity, but it needs to be connected to the next one. If you want it to be a piece of art, like a triptych, like if you're a painter, sometimes you paint through bits of art, and they're similar. And they sit together. I think, you know, in terms of music, for me, personally, I'm from an older school. But I like a collection and a concept. And then I like to bind it together. And I like to think of that before I go out with that.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Okay, got it. Yeah. So effectively, it comes down to to telling a story and feeding the audience one bit at a time, but it's a continuing ongoing story. Yeah, I really like that. And nowadays, with social media, there are lots of tools like you know, the Facebook business page, and other tools that allow you to sit down on, let's say, one evening and schedule the social media releases for the next couple of weeks, is that something that you would recommend, I

Cheynne Murphy  
would recommend that to anyone on the call, if you were in your ideal organized world, you can get rid of a lot of the promotion in like short verse that stretch over long periods of time. So and this is a concept that you know, a lot of artists struggle with, but like let's say for example, we know the flower song is coming out in six weeks. And we know the posts, we know the visual identity next comm going to follow that in Instagram, we know some of the narrative or the story that may be presented in Facebook, or and we know when the videos being released in YouTube. And we know that the banners are all going to change at a certain date and the messaging is going to change. And now we move on to next song. And you have a calendar. You know on your desktop, that same calendar appears in social media and you just go this would be a good photo for this this good quote. It's supporting the idea of the song supporting you know, he now. And it has this methodical nature. Actually, if you can be that planned artistically. Yeah, exactly. thing about song by song is kind of right. Like, what's he talking about? We just write a song, right? So, but if you if you, I think if you tune into it, the marketing process can be a really creative expression. And like, I love iMovie, for example, and I love playing around with iMovie. And, yeah, I've got my tripod, which I should actually be filming a bit today in my bag for that very reason. So that's another thing, get a tripod, and document the journeys, because that also all becomes part of the scheduling and this constant output of staff beyond just the songs so yeah, that's not just a song, it's just this peripheral imaging and storing it's just coming out but it's all like it's, it's leading somewhere and you get it, you know, kind of confused or I thought it was into folk rock and now there's some heavy stuff coming out. And

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
since everybody has smartphones nowadays, if you have a tripod and you have a rehearsal, why not record it? And if you are driving to a gig and you're having fun on the car together, why not take a little video and just get everybody hyped up about it and just could make a collection of little snippets? Yeah, it can be used in social media is

Cheynne Murphy  
yeah 100% and is the long game it is about the long game of that if you if you strategic and you want to play the long game and it is also understanding your own connection with that. So not everyone needs to be this this just in your face, social media, you know, person around their music. So beware of reading the old The guides that are out there for Indies, of how to do stuff, because some will could actually impact on negatively on your music or your sense of self, or, or whatever. So in that in that way, you might say, Well, I think it's realistic for me to release, you know, like three stories a week on Instagram, or release something on our feed, once a week. And then in Facebook world, our economic and a post, just understand, stay on watch schedule at all, and do it all on one day, but just get a feeling or a sense of what you can actually sustain and what feels good. And this is this whole area, weird area of like, you read a lot of stuff about business. But actually, if you're an artist, you've got a creative brain, you've got your inspiration. So you've actually got to translate that into now into the music into the branding into the stories. So instead of using the word brand, when people go, it's a brand, it's just an identity. And people like to connect to identity, people like they were not

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
the people that I relate to on social media are people that give me a sense of who they are, I get a feeling of who that human being is. And I get a feeling of what their values are, what they stand for what makes him smile. Those are the things that connect me and and if that's ongoing and consistent, then I feel like I'm part of their story. And I know some business people who do that really well, but definitely lots of musicians as well.

Cheynne Murphy  
Yeah, yeah, it's a strange new world.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, it definitely is. Okay. And outside social media, as there are other elements or other platforms that you would recommend to focus marketing towards as well. What about paid marketing news? Should people pay for more for marketing?

Cheynne Murphy  
That's a good question that there's hundreds of people out there, they're gonna want to take your money to do courses, I would just like look into them carefully read reviews. Yeah, I mean, there's an amazing community called the Accord, indie sharpener. And if you've heard of them, and I've studied a lot of these people, since the early 2000s, and they have a very active community that kind of solves problems in the same way that the apple community seems to solve problems for Apple. And Apple doesn't need to have their customer service people there all the time. So I liked that when I looked at the community. So as far as getting back to your question about Facebook advertising, and Instagram advertising, 100%, that stuff can work out can boost your numbers, that's for sure. And then an email marketing, you know, community around you, that's, that can be really good, too. But make no bones about it. It's hard to make a consistent good back, selling you music and streams and all of this stuff. So everything that you hear about the stream stream is bloody awesome. But diabete they're white, and you know, like on your family and don't have a job because you're waiting on the stream, the streaming check. I think it comes back to the question that we that we said, If I'm if I'm writing back the $10,000 budget for an EP, because I'm gonna do it in a great studio with all these people on the strings, and whatever your budget is, but you rein it back to, you know, the 6000, you got 4000 applicati, on what to spend it on, then I would spend it on I definitely have a website, make sure I have some cool merchandise available there and still sell digital downloads, be more progressive in the options that people have, and the bundles that I would sell. So I definitely have a website, I definitely have a presence on all the important social media. And if I'm not on that social media much, I'll just let people know, hey, just Welcome to my Twitter page. I'm not really here like Sorry, guys, but I'm over here. And sorry. You're constantly redirecting them into your, your world where you live, which might be should do that. So that's another good. And that's another good strategy. And then you're gonna invest some of that $4,000 into quality content, of course, and quality branding, which is graphic art and photography. And then the rest of it, as far as I'm concerned, goes digital. And there are some incredible YouTube videos, find the guy or the girl that just speaks to you. Have a look at how many people are viewing it in the comments and just get a read on them. And just do exactly what they say. You know, and that can be perfect. And then you'll let your you get your feet straight in there. Just go get the scripts give this a crack. This is a great strategy to start building Spotify numbers, but make no bones about it. You might invest 100 bucks you might get 100 new monthly listeners you know this is the business of it now what do I get back? Not much So yeah, a lot of this music Yeah, a lot of investing to create more popularity but there's a certain point that that that can sustain you and people like Derek Kato With that I met busking on the street here, go and check his paydays about 1.2 million monthly visitors and he makes he's a whole income from that. It's another guy j can believe that I've chatted to and he's about 900,000 monthly listeners. So there's a certain point where something he can take off. And I think that that comes down to the quality of the music at the end of the day. And having a resonant resonance with an audience.

Cheynne Murphy  
That's a good question that look, there's there's hundreds of people out there, they're gonna want to take your money to do courses. I would just like look into them carefully read reviews. Yeah, I mean, there's an amazing community called, called indie sharpener, and if you've heard of them and I've studied a lot of these people since the early 2000s, and they have a very active community that kind of solves problems in the same way that the apple community seems to solve problems for Apple and Apple doesn't need to have their customer service people there all the time. So I liked that when I looked at the community so as far as getting back to your question about Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising 100% that stuff can work out can boost your numbers, that's for sure. And then an email marketing you know, community around you, that's that can be really good too. But make no bones about it. It's hard to make a consistent good back selling you music and streams and all of this stuff. So everything that you hear about the stream stream is bloody awesome. But diabete they're white, you know like on your family and don't have a job because you're waiting on the stream the streaming check. I think it comes back to the question that we that we said if I'm if I'm raining back the $10,000 budget for an AP because I'm gonna do it in a great studio with all these people on the strings and whatever your budget is, but you rein it back to you know, the 6000 and you got 4000 applicati on what to spend it on, then I would spend it on I definitely have a website make sure I have some cool merchandise available there and still sell digital downloads, be more progressive in the options that people have and the bundles that I would sell so I definitely have a website I definitely have a presence on all the important social media and if I'm not on that social media much I'll just let people know hey, just Welcome to my Twitter page. I'm not really here like Sorry guys, but I'm over here and you're constantly redirecting them into your, your world where you live, which migration do that? Yeah, so that's another good and that's another good strategy. And then you're gonna invest some of that $4,000 into quality content, of course, and quality branding, which is graphic art and photography. And then the rest of it as far as I'm concerned goes digital. And there are some incredible YouTube videos find the guy or the girl that just speaks to you have a look at how many people are viewing it in the comments and just get a read on them and just do exactly what they say you know, and that can be perfect and then you'll let your you get your feet straight in there just go get there let's give this a crack. This is a great strategy to start building Spotify numbers, but make no bones about it. You might invest 100 bucks you might get 100 new monthly listeners you know this is the business of it now what do I get back? Not much So yeah, a lot of this music Yeah, a lot of investing to create more popularity, but there's a certain point that that can sustain you and people like Derek cadeaux that I met busking on the street here go and check his pay is about 1.2 million monthly visitors and he makes he's a whole income from that it's another guy j can believe that I've chatted to and he's about 900,000 monthly listeners so there's a certain point where something he can take off and I think that that comes down to the quality of the music at the end of the day and having a resonant resonance with an audience

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, I've met him once and Garrett and he's this lovely guy. And I put it as production is productions phenomena. Yeah, I have a lot of respect for him and we had a lot of tech talk but when I watch him on social media it's lovable everything about him is lovable there's never anything where said I disagree here or you know it's always very positive and I just get a good feeling from it. Yeah and I think that the word that yes it's very authentic yeah it's it's perfectly in line with who he really is in persona when I met him in person that's weird. Yes. It's not like he's putting a face on when he's in social media or anything like that he's exactly himself in a very good way and sure

Cheynne Murphy  
yeah, I mean that's that's lucky if you can if you can do that and I think that you're right, find your lane and stick to it and there aren't isn't a particular role. I think I noticed him and we're both family guys. And his daughter appears and they're, you know, they're and you know, in funny sort of context and but not often, but yeah, he's got a daughter, you know, and that's why I feel so much I guess, you know, with the sunrise that you know, he is on brand as you say, yeah, that's, that's, that's great. But yeah, just summarizing that website, a social media network that feeds into that website, the websites got some nice merchandise down. Let's design a website and just leave it in the corner like some little abandoned child, you know, populate it with some called blogs, because that provides content back out there in your social media world. So there's basically an interrelationship between your social media and your website, and feeding in your latest Instagram. And it allows some particularly industry people to very quickly summarize what you're about. on your website. Yes, if you're an industry person, and you present to me your Facebook page, I've got to like, think about who you are. And I'm looking, I'm still searching, and then I go and look at a video on YouTube. And I'm eventually piecing things together myself, the website should do that.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Yes, it's like a business card, it should do it very briefly. And very straight to the point and it shouldn't be wordy, or shouldn't be difficult to find, it should be immediately clear, I guess from from what is said the words, but also the colors, the look of it, the feel of it? Yes. Yeah. Good. Yes, that makes perfect sense. Okay, so and then we have distribution, of course, you know, with the music needing to get out somewhere. And obviously, digital distribution is a standard workflow today. So have you had any preferred distributors that you can recommend to other musicians

Cheynne Murphy  
look that you happy with? That's the least of our problems with distribution, but there's, like I go, Hashem says to someone who's a bit of a mastering engineer, but I've been doing a lot of like, just cheap mastering through lander, I pay 60 bucks for the artist can master all my demos, they do offer with their unlimited release, said that's what I like. For me personally, I like the unlimited release. In I get the value out of it, because unlimited release, so people have to just check stuff out. There it is strikes for folks, I've been studying it for eight years about who's the best digital distributor. Just look at what they're charging you each year, just again, looking downstream, be realistic about what you're putting out. And they're all they'll all get you on Spotify. And it all looks the same. And BM results. So if they're taking if CD Baby, for example, have a very active community around them. So I'd suggest even though they're taking a percentage, and there's a little bit of money up front, you're actually buying into a community there. And it's probably the same as tunecore that I've heard, like, just the way that they structure the money side of it. It's not the best result for someone. So the best thing is if you if you google RA, a ri, Ari's, put an S there take ta k e. distribution, he's actually done at all, and he's got it right, right there sucks, because other issues you think about is you do want to be in China or not. And he's done a big spreadsheet that he updates. And he's the only guy on the internet. I know since 2014. That's done it properly. Yeah, right.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Oh, that's really good. That's probably something that they should put in the show notes.

Cheynne Murphy  
Yeah, sure. so far.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, that would be fantastic. And the marketing serves the purpose that we get a return for all the effort we put into our art. And this then long term income, I guess, from from streaming, which is, as we all know, not much, but it will probably build over time, is that your experiences I'd look, I think it's your catalog and keep promoting old songs that over time, it starts to know firsthand from from Nicholls into lunch and eventually into a little bit of passive income, the

Cheynne Murphy  
traditional avenues are still there, like the record label still should be approached the publishing companies like the business side of things are still moving on, you know, it's gone digital with the key blog makers and you know, the reviewers there's a lot more independent stuff there. And the control majors head over radio is kind of reduced. So look into community radio, as well. And really, I'd say that the main outcome god bless us when COVID leaves is you know, is playing your ass off. If I could say anything, then stop right there. Yeah, you can make two 300 bucks is a solid waste every night and it's even bigger in Europe. So you're playing a lot. You got that money. And then you've got your digital download cards. I use USB sticks that are really quite popular, like I actually sourced them from Alibaba, which took a while to get through the sort of the Chinese translation to get something I was happy with the maillet a two gig USB stick for like three bucks. I think in Australia, the pay, that's good, like a seven bucks or eight bucks. And so the return on that with four albums on it, you know, I can sell it for 20 bucks at a gig. And it costs you for two key gig USB 15 bucks at officeworks. site and it's a reusable thing. So I think I think being really creative with again, back to the bundle what you've got available kicking your ass off is the best way to make it, you know, in a way and you send stuff out if you can connect with the industry do it, you know, for labels interested do it and have to DIY is, is a misconception. Do it yourself is the wrong approach. Yeah, involve people involve that video maker and say, Hey, I'd like you to be part of my team. Because none of these DIY, I need your help. And I'm willing to give what I can give. I think that's a different philosophy. It's still independent. But it's more team based activity. Yes,

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
I couldn't agree more. That's my experience at well, as well that the most successful people often have small but effective teams correct. And nobody is doing it all look at if we just look at what we've discussed today, songwriting in the recording, playing the music, performing, producing, arranging, recording, mixing, mastering, and now all that promotions of who can do all of this really well, that's impossible, nobody can. But you know, I think we all know our strengths and weaknesses. And I think it comes down to forming small teams where that compliment each other, yeah, where there's, let's say, maybe one band member really good with recording and somebody else is really good with photography. And, and you know how this can then form a hole that actually works. And that's

Cheynne Murphy  
actually super modern I love like the idea of photo shoots, I've just recently done some photo shoots with my girlfriend, she does better photos than a lot of people I've worked with, because it just again, it feels good. And it's creative and different. And I'd say like to, to other, you know, as an independent musician of many, many years, you know, like 25 plus years for albums. Like there is the long game to it. So just kind of lower your expectations maybe a little bit, you know, yeah, you can be the biggest thing in the mind. I thought that, you know, on TV, getting signed deals and meeting people from Sony. But there is a long game to it. And it takes us back to the style the conversation which is about inspiration, and really getting sustenance out of jamming with your friends and you know, what was music all about? So that can stay with you for the rest of your life. So you're already blessed. Just be careful about overloading it with too many unrealistic expectations of what could happen because I'm, I'm a really big believer that there's a lot of unknown quantities out there with music and what resonates with an audience in a big market and what doesn't, you know, and if you're doing something super progressive, for example, you might feel like an island for a bit. And then suddenly bang, town. What's town's name that they had us time, hahaha goodness, with with dance, baby dance. So she's a local Byron girl. And she's super unique voice, doing nothing, and busking and then is blowing the world apart. You know, that's a really good example of if there is an unknown quality. So you are playing the roulette wheel of life as a musician. And yes, something could be amazing for you. And it could all go incredibly, you know, astronomical, into the vortex or you've got this beautiful thing that you do the inspired by, you've got your home studio, you're a songwriter, you hang out with your friends, and it's good for mental health. And you can just you can have that as well. So I just, you know, I mean to, you know, I mean, like, I don't want to like give people false hope because I feel like on the internet, it's a lot of people giving people false hope. Do this with me and you'll be a star is the biggest Yeah,

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
but yes. Yeah, I fully agree that that can possibly work. At least not for many people.

Cheynne Murphy  
No, no, your song first, you got to tap into so many other variables, you know, before that happens.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Okay. Good. I think Cheynne, we should probably wrap it up. Now. You got to head off to a radio interview. So thank you so much for for making the time today. Right. Just maybe one last question. If listeners would like to find out more about you and your music. Where should we send them to? Where would they find audio about you and your music?

Cheynne Murphy  
You can you can just google ch e y double n e, which is weird spelling of Cheynne, and Murphy, Mr. P h y. And you'll you'll get straight to my website and all my details. And you could do the same thing in the Spotify search engine, CH e y double n e. Everyone misspelled that? That's fine being very particular.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Look, I put it in the show notes as well. So it's got to click away. So everybody, please look at Cheynne Cheynne online and check out his music. So

Cheynne Murphy  
the mixing man, awesome stuff.

Jan 'Yarn' Muths  
Thank you. Okay. Thanks for joining me today. Well, thank you so much, Cheynne. I took some much out of this. And I think there was some phenomenal wisdom in this episode today. So if you are new to marketing, there is obviously a lot to take in. And the hardest part of it is to actually get started. So it doesn't really matter if you if you don't get it right on the first attempt, and that you might miss a couple of opportunities. But the most important thing is literally, to get into motion and get started. And to develop routines and habits of promoting your music on a regular basis. You can then refine it and make it better and see what works for you and what doesn't. But the important part is to actually get into it. So after you finish this episode, choose one or maybe two things from this episode, and put them into action. It's a huge chapter. And there's more to say, of course, next week, I'm going to chat to Daniel Musgrave was a marketing professional. And he's going to expand on what Cheynne shared with us and go a little bit deeper in some sections. So I'm pretty sure there will be lots of good stuff in there for you. Thank you for hanging in there with me today. It was a long episode. Please share this episode with all your friends. Subscribe. I would love if you could give me a five star rating please in your podcast application. I hope to speak to you again next week. Thank you Have a great week. Till next time bye for now.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

 

Episode 012 - Yarn‘s Take on Mixing Music

Episode 012 - Yarn‘s Take on Mixing Music

September 14, 2021

It would mean the world to me if you'd consider giving this podcast a 5-star review. Thank you!

 

Subscriber Special: Apply for a Free Test Mix at mixartist.com.au

 

How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this tech-talk episode: Yarn explains mixing for the self-producing musician.  

 

 

Some highlights in this episode:

  1. Good takes, bad takes, and beautiful imperfections
  2. The mixing mindset
  3. How to get yourself ready for mixing
  4. The 3 big pillars of a good mix
  5. Mixing and loudness
  6. Volume balance, stereo width, depth, tone, dynamics and special effects.

 

Some links mentioned in this episode:

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production

 

 

 

Transcript (auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error):

 

 

Welcome back to episode 12 of the production talk podcast. I'm delighted to have you on what again, today we're talking about mixing, which is of course my special field. So I have a lot of wisdom to share with you. And at the beginning, I would first like to talk about some basics, um, the scientific part of mixing, and then later on, we will talk about the artistic side and I think that's really what I'm interested in. At the end of the episode, I would also like to talk about mastering what it is and how it all works. So let's get started with the basics. What acts actually is mixing, what is it we do mixing effectively is the blending of many different signals into one cohesive stereo mix. Oh, well it can be different formats as well, like mono for a podcast sometimes minus and stereo, but anyway, uh, or surround for a film production.

But when we talk about music, we commonly mixed down to stereo. So you might have a range of different individual channels and signals and they're blended together and baked into one single stereo mix. What techniques do we use for that? So, um, there are some standard techniques that are used in mixing. Um, this list is not necessarily complete, but it should cover all the basics. And the most important aspect of mixing is what we call the level balance. The level of balance is what you typically do with the faders. And, um, we are blending the relative level between the instruments and signals together. So we might want to increase the vocals a little bit or turn the bass down a touch so that they sound better in relation with one another. The second step is then the tonal balance, looking at the tone of individual signals and the overall mix altogether, the common tool for that is the equalizer, but other tools can be used as well.

The idea is that we can dive into the details and look at a specific instrument. Let's say a Hyatt and change its tone to make it a touch brighter, or we can take an organ and make it a little bit darker. If we want to, we can also apply equalizing to the entire mix. However, if this is what you're trying to do, I would recommend to keep it very subtle and gender. The third element is stereo with which is generally achieved by using the pan pots. The pamphlets of make a signal louder on the left or the right ear. So by turning something to the left, uh, with a pan pot, we effectively decrease the level on the right and increase the level on the left, which creates the perception of sound coming from the left in stereo. We generally talk about the steer image from left to right with the center image.

When signals are played equally loud on both speakers. In addition to width, we can also look at the fourth aspect, which is the depth, and there are many ways to achieve this. And the most common one is probably reverb, which creates a sense of space and depth, but depth perception can also be created with microphone techniques with ACU, sometimes with compression and other tools like delays. The fifth element is dynamic range controller by dynamic range. We basically mean the difference between the louder and the quieter signals. There are four categories of dynamic processes. Now the ones that make louder signals quieter, those are known as compressors and limiters. There are also the ones that may quiet a signal it's quieter. Those are known as expanders or noise gates. The third category are processes that make it quieter signals louder. These ones are often known as parallel compressors and the last categories than the ones that make louder signals louder.

Those ones are known as upward expanders or transient shapers. And lastly, let's not forget about the icing on the cake. What kinds of special effects can be used to make a mix more interesting? So the typical thing is the added delayed to a certain voice or the reverb throw that is just opening up on special words. These things are not necessarily intended to create depth perception across the entire song, but they can put emphasis on particular phrases and lines or words. Okay. So at summit app level balance who done with faders, the stereo with done with panning tonal, Behlings typically done with accuse and depth perception comes from reverb. Dynamic range control comes from dynamic processes, such as gates and compressors and lastly special effects. And that's about it. If you want to learn more about those processes, and there are plenty of thousands of videos on online, but I also recommend to just look up the operating manual of your digital audio workstation, most of them are very well-written and the standard stock plugins contain all the typical parameters. So they're very good for learning those tools.

Good. Okay. So the question is now of course, now that we know what tools we use, how do we use them? And that, of course, it takes a long time to explain because effectively it all comes down to the lot of experience. And I would say an almost subconscious or emotional way of using those tools. Let me first explain some wrong uses for all those tools. When I look up internet forums on Facebook and other places, I often find users asking questions like, um, here's a screenshot of my plugin, what am I doing wrong? Or I would like to produce genre XYZ. So which plugin I buy and in which order should I process all of these questions basically reveal one thing to me, somebody is looking for a cooking recipe and that never works by cooking recipe. I mean, somebody is looking for the correct procedure, but I have to bust this myth.

There is no step-by-step guide that you could follow in order to achieve an emotionally charged, warm, beautiful, rich mix. There is no such thing because in mixing everything needs to start by carefully listening to where you actually come from. So the question always needs to be how does the original, the source materials sound and only then once you know how it sounds, then you can form an image in your mind of how you want it to sound. And only then can you decide to grab an new, to make it brighter or take a compressor to bring up quiet details? There is no other way. There is no way to reproduce the exact same settings of somebody else and reliably get good results. It may happen, but it's actually just a coincidence if it happens. So in other words, am good. Mix is always a custom solution that pays very close attention to the original sound that you start from.

It requires the vision of where you want to go. And then the experience to know how to get there. And for that, there is no shortcut. You can't spend money to achieve this. You can't find quick, quick workarounds. It only ever comes from experience. There is no other way, and this is actually very similar to playing an instrument. So if somebody picks up the guitar for the first time, there is not other way, but to practice and you have to go through learning phases and it takes a long time until one becomes experienced and really, really good at it. A lot of people refer to the 10,000 hour theory. You might have heard this before. It takes about 10,000 hours to play at your peak performance, whether this be music, sports, or other fields. And I would probably agree that in mixing this as true as well.

So while you can achieve pretty respectable results, even with less experience, um, trust me that experienced engineers will usually look at an unexperienced mix engineers mix and is see mistakes that they may not. So, um, I guess that's also the same with musicians. If you are a very experienced musician and you go to a concert where young musicians play, they might play with full confidence and a lot of fun. Um, but they may not even be aware about the mistakes they may be doing. What you as an experienced musician may, who knows, I guess it's the advantage of experience here. So a long story short, there is literally no right or wrong way to get to a good mix. It has to come from experience. It has to come from, from the, there is no way to intellectualize a good mix to think it up into logically solve this problem.

It really has to come from the heart. So I often use the analogy of, for learning to drive. If you visualize yourself the first day you ever drove a car, chances are, you were probably a little bit tense and your entire mind was focused on all the controls, the steering wheel, the indicator, the pedals, the mirrors, the lanes, and that was occupying your mind entirely. So that's a state of mind where your active mind is fully focused on the task ahead of you and completely absorbed. I think we can all agree that that's not the best place to be when driving. And obviously when you get more experienced the driver, eventually it becomes more second nature. So as an experienced driver, chances are, you can drive a car, speak to a friend, uh, listen to the radio, the do other things. And while you do so, chances are your mind says, okay, I want to turn left over there.

And your body automatically does what it takes to get there while you might still be chatting to a friend. So in other words, your active mind might be occupied with a conversation and your subconscious drives your muscle memory and your muscle memory address drives the car. It takes no more conscious effort to operate the pedals, shift gears, you know, set indicators. It just happens. And, um, that is the place that you want to be at when you perform your instrument. I think that's where the very best performance has come from. That is also true for mixing. So when I use accuse and compressors, I'm not really concerned about or what these parameters do and how to best use them. My active mind is only superficially involved in this process and it comes mainly from the heart and the soul. So I just think up the sound that I'm envisioning, and it's almost as if my hands to whatever it takes to just get there.

And there it suddenly is. And that takes a lot of time to get to them. And I definitely also have good and bad days. Like everybody else, I have days where it's just not really happening. And then I just postpone the mix for the next day. But most of the time I get into this flow state, like mixing flow pretty reliably nowadays. Good. Okay. Um, so if you look up mixing techniques, online, chances are on YouTube. You will find thousands of videos that explain mixing in all honesty. I don't think anybody ever explained mixing the right way there, um, because nobody can actually explain how to mix. Well, it's actually something you can't teach because the moment you teach it, you're not doing it. Mixing is one of those things you can't really mix and also explain it at the same time. So usually what you see on YouTube, uh, videos of somebody saying, look, I just finished this mix and just want to show you what processes are used.

And then they often show you some plugins on a screen and, you know, before and after, and you know, those are the typical things that you can see there, but that's just a slice of the pizza that is mixing. It's just a part of it. And it's actually not the important part. It's, uh, what I would call processing processing is all the use of audio processes, accuse dynamics, things like that. And they necessary. They are very important. These are the tools that are used, but in my personal opinion, a good mix doesn't actually come out of plugins. It comes out of tasteful, fate, emotions and tasteful panning. The majority of a good mix in my opinion, comes from faders and the accusing compressors are important. Don't get me wrong. But in most mixing tutorial videos, I find that there's too much emphasis placed on those tools.

And, um, as a consequence, I sometimes find that people then suffer from a gear craving or, uh, gas. Some people call it a gear acquisition syndrome. So if your mix isn't perfect, yet the solution to a better mix is probably not spending money on a fancy plugin. That's unlikely to be the case. It may be, but you know, it's most of the time, it's not, most of the time, it really comes down to using the stock standard tools that you have and use them wisely, use them effectively and focus on moving faders more than you look at plugins. That is my personal suggestion. I know that this might be controversial that some people may strongly disagree with me here, but okay, that's fine. I'm happy to take that heat if somebody wants to complain about that. So how do you, how do you become experienced in mixing?

There's only literally one way you have to do it again and again, and again and again, and by that, I don't mean to take a song and mix it for the next 12 months. That is not the solution. That would be a very frustrating, annoying process. Instead, the best way to get good at mixing is to finish a mix every three days, the process of finishing something and making peace with the good and the bad, and then move on and start again. That's where it all comes from. So I find that the longer it mixed takes the worse, it usually sounds. So there comes the point where you know, where it's overcooked, and this is a fine balance. So obviously you don't want to finish mixed too early when it's not yet done, but there's also the point where it's over cooked. And that's definitely not a good place to be at the only way to find out a, when a mix is ready and where it's time to leave it alone comes with experience.

And again, there's no shortcut for that. The only way to get a sense for that is to actually overcook, a couple of mixes, and also under cook, a couple of mixes to learn how it feels like if you finished a mixed too early, and there were some rough patches that you should really should have fixed, but at the same time, it's important to sometimes over cook and mix and learn how it feels like to spend too much time on it, feel the frustration and how it actually sounds and how it actually didn't get better. So why his idea is to print a mix occasionally along the way. So halfway through, and then, you know, before you do some revisions and every time create a new version so that you make yourself a little history of where the mix was at. We touched on this briefly when I shared a story with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, uh, in an early episode, um, you might want to go back to episode 10, if you want to find out more about this story.

Good. So one of the most meaningful things I was told about mixing a can actually came from a different podcast from the production expert team in the UK and in one of their episodes, they, they dropped a line that resonated so much with me. They said with regards to mixing, perfect is the opposite of done. And what they're trying to say with that is that the mix is probably just right when the vast majority of things is done, but you still crave to fix some minor imperfections. But now it's probably the time to call it a day and say, this is it. Because if you progress through the mix, I would say the first 50% of the mix community together really quickly, the next 30% now take about the same amount of time again. And then if you go into 90%, 95, 98, 99, from that on each step forward takes a disproportionately large amount of time.

And there is the point where it's definitely time to, to call it a day. So therefore my recommendation is to go back to episode 10, one more time and reflect on the idea of the mental zoom in and zoom out, which is very important in order to make that core. If you want to decide whether a mix is done or not, it is very important to distance yourself from the mix to get out of the details and look at a mix holistically. The good idea is to let it sit there for a day and not don't listen and come back a couple of days later and, and check again, um, that can lead to a lot of clarity and then you probably know what it needs, but if you do this repeatedly again and again and again, at every time you get to the point where no it's not done more needs to be done.

Well, maybe you've achieved the maximum you can achieve with this song. And maybe the song just doesn't want to be better. This is a true possibility. Some songs just can't get to a hundred percent. They are meant to stay at 90 or 95 close, but some imperfections are still there and you just can't get rid of them. You can't, if not mix them perfectly. And, uh, that is something that scares people a lot. Let me tell you one thing, musicians have a different angle than listeners. And I often find them in musicians, judge, their own takes with an, a mix. They do it with a music teacher's perspective. In other words, they listened to not entirely the mix, but actually what they contributed to the mix. And then they realized, oh yeah, there's one keynote. I think that ed node in the C major court was just a touch laid there.

And I think I held this node, just a touch too long over here. This is an analytical view, like a music teacher and a find that some musicians adept the music teachers judgmental way of, of looking at their performance. When they, when they hear a mix, trust me, that listeners don't have that anger listeners only ever look at the holistic sound of a mix. I don't think anybody has ever bought a song because the snare sounded so good or, you know, the reverts were so creamy. Nobody cares about that. The only reason why people like your music is because they feel something, it makes them puts a smile on their dire. They just, um, go relate to it in some way. And that's where the money is. That's really where the money is. So for that, you can afford a certain degree of imperfections and that is an uncomfortable thought for some musicians.

So I would say, if we look at, let's say, let me pick a guitar performance. If you played a hundred percent, perfectly, chances are, it would be a very, very boring performance, but let's just set a benchmark of a hundred percent perfect. On the other side, we set a new benchmark and okay, that's clearly not a good take. It's contains a couple of mistakes that should be redone. So there was a rep range in between there. And if you go from the sloppy notes and increase the performance, there comes a point where everything is just fine, but there are still some minor imperfections. If you dial it, then too far, you get to the point where everything's a hundred percent perfect, but that's usually a boring sounding area. I can't relate to that really well. So find that this golden middle where the music performance is actually really good, but contains some minor imperfections.

They don't bother me. So, um, what I'm trying to say is have the courage to have the courage, to share all of the good bits of your musical performance with your listeners, but also some of the not so good. And although may be uncomfortable if it's minor imperfections, it's lovable for the audience. So the listeners can relate to those things. So if I listen to things like Bohemian Rhapsody, what is song? I keep bringing it up almost every episode right now. I definitely hear some imperfections. I can hear a distortion on the vocal. I can hear, you know, uh, things going on in the mix there that are not perfect, but I'm almost waiting for these moments. And I like them. So that's what I call lovable imperfections. And that is something that people relate to. So have the courage to embrace those and learn those and also share, you know, you can call it the not so good part about yourself with your audience, because they will love you for it. Nobody loves a robot. People love humans and humans have good and bad sides. So why not show some of your weaknesses as well? I think that's really important in last week's episode funded, very interesting how her Chelsea shared her vulnerabilities as a singer. And I think that grenades to one another, yeah. To have the courage, to share some imperfections of your own performance, you, you make yourself vulnerable, but that is also what listeners like, that's the best part of it.

Okay. So enough about that. Let's bring it all back and talk about how this relates to you as a self producing musician. Your job is to get your music out to your listeners as quick and effortlessly as possible and as good as possible, of course. And that's a bit of a trade off. You can't have it all. You can't release songs on a regular basis, let's say every month or every two months, and also tune them to absolute perfection and produce them for two years. That's just not possible. So you need to find the Gordon middle ground that works for you. And, uh, that definitely also includes the mixing. So if you were, if you were a musician, if mixing is not your day-to-day business, then you need to be very wary. Whether this is something you want to learn and the mix, your own music and release your music with, well, probably some mix mistakes in the early days, or whether you may want to consider outsourcing mixing. I don't want to go too far into whether you should be mixing or hire somebody else because we already spoke about this in episode 10, just very briefly for a demo, chances are you're better of doing it yourself. However, for professional reduces to it is a wise idea to consider professional mixing.

Okay. I'm sure you're actually really dying to find out some mixing tips and tricks. And of course I want to share the most important things that I believe are very important to mix with you. So here, the good stuff. Well, when I started mix, I split my workload in different sections. And the first thing I try to knock artists, everything that is not creative means all the file management, uh, color coding, rearranging of track orders, setting Marcus for the arrangement, all of the things that are that I would call it mixed preparation. Those are not really the interesting things, but it needs to be done in order to get into the mixing state. Uh, I front-load all of those things because later when I'm actually in the creative workflow, I don't want to be bothered with any of those things. So I set everything up.

So that later on, there's nothing left, but mixing, um, one part of this, uh, mixed preparation process is, uh, editing. So I basically look at the files and identify where a sections are played, but also where there are sections of silence. And whenever it appears to be silence, at least when it comes from a microphone or even an electrical source, like a synthesizer, what appears to be silence may not be solid on snow, even on a vocal channel, you might hear some breathings, some handling noises on the guitar channel, things like this, and those quiet elements can creep up in a mix and eventually cause trouble. So, um, I like to edit those things out and clean up my mix using just standard editing tools, uh, split clips or trim, and, uh, apply fades when necessary to reduce my mix to only the relevant aspects.

The questions of course, how far do you want to drive that and how tight do you edit? And, uh, there's definitely a bit of leeway. And I would say that the John Ray, uh, has to definitely to do with that. So imagine a loungey jazz song wouldn't need so much tide editing. However, a modern rock song or modern pop song would get in a very tight editing or detailed editing. It's just, it already changes the sound right there. And, uh, yeah, so I consider the John Ray and to know how the music was performed when I make those decisions in the mix later, once the mix actually starts, I try to find the three pillars of a mix, which is the beat in most cases, that is actually the kick and snare, but it can be other things on jazz. For example, it's often, you know, the snare and the ride symbol, for example, but they're usually beat defining elements in Latin.

It can be percussion elements, but I just ask myself, okay, what is the element that really drives the beat? And in most songs that's actually kicking snare and it is very important to me to get the perceived balance between kick and snare, right. Um, by perceived, I mean, when, when I know it's right, I can't look at my meters of feta positions and say that is, is not good. I really have to hear it and, and feel it in some ways and, um, to get the beat, right. Um, I look at the level of kick and snare, how they interact with one another. I imagine almost like pistons in an engine pushing and pulling it, the beat for and back. And, um, you know, there's things on my mind, like, you know, the amount of attack and the kick with a kick translate well to two smaller speakers.

Now that has to do with the tone of balance, which also affects volume to some degree. But most importantly, I set the volume so that it moves my body well. And I know I've got the kick snare bell and stride when my head just wants to bop automatically. When I know of, I've got that point now where the kick and snare pushes and pulls and speaks to my subconscious and just makes my body work. I know the balance is not good when I have to put in conscious effort into this hat bobbing motion. So I use my, my own body as a sensor of of know whether the beat works or not good. That's the first big pillar, the beat, the defining elements, probably kick and snare and their relative volume balance. And of course, tonal balance as well. That's very important. The second big pillar is than the base or base instrumented can be synthesizer and acoustic bass, double bass electric bass at any of those because the bass is the element that connects the harmony and melody instruments to the beat.

It's the combining factor. And once you have the beat that was pillar one and the bass together, they together form the groove. So again, I try to sense this more with my subconscious, rather than the analytical mind, but if the bass is too loud, it can prevent, um, this grew from happening and the same can happen if the basis too quiet. But if there's this golden middle range between, you know, the push pull motion of the beat and the volume of the base, when they just look in with each other and that's when the groove starts. So I often think about people listening to my song, you know, at, at a popper clap or somewhere. And the beat by itself would get the head bobbing motion, but it doesn't drive them to the dance floor. That's what the base and the groove needs to do.

So once you have this golden ratio between kick and snare and bass, you get a song where people just want to dance and that's effectively what I'm looking for when I, uh, when I blend these things together. And the third big pillar of course, then must be the main vocal or the melody main hook instrument. And in many situations that is obviously a vocal. Sometimes it's other instruments that piano synthesizers, the guitars can be anything, but I'm looking for something that people remember that is the, the element that people hum when they drive home, after, after an a good night out, you know, it's, it's stuck in their mind and that's a very important part. So these are the three big pillars, the beat, the bass and the main vocal or the hockey element, the, um, the other elements, there's probably a lot more elements.

Of course they are. These are, will not fit around the mix and find their pockets around these three main pillars and abdomen so that they feel the gaps and fill the space around them. Sometimes these elements can then step forward or backwards depending on how I feel it. But in many situations, I basically allow only one main element to be in the foreground of the mix, um, that can differ from song to song. So in my mind often visualize a dark stage with a band on the stage and there's a one spotlight illuminating the front center stage and one band member can step into it. Um, so if somebody else wants to be there, the previous band member needs to step out first. That's how I approach a mix. So I was trying to think about the most important, most entertaining, most engaging element right now.

And in all honesty, more often than not, that's obviously the vocal. And then also look at other elements that are interesting in the gaps in between. So it might be that there's a vocal line and there's a little section at the end of the verse where the vocalist has a break. Then I look out for other elements that do interesting things. So it might be that a piano does something cool, or now there's a really interesting Vitalik. And then I basically move these elements forward into the spotlight while the vocalist stepped out. Um, yeah, that's my method of, of blending things together. I basically listen to the entire song, start to finish and ask myself, okay, how long is the song? How engaging is the song, how many interesting things are happening? And, um, the human attention span is of as a funny thing, you can keep your attention up for just for so long.

So if there's too much repetition in the song into the song is very long and that's generally not a good thing because people get to the point where, where they've got it now and yet it's happening again. Okay. So nothing new is happening and eventually they get bored and might even skip to the next song. I don't want that. I don't want the listeners to skip forward. I want them to be engaged. So I always try to add things that engage people again and variation is a, is an important factor there. So I make sure that if let's say the chorus has repeated several times that these choruses sound a little bit different each time, um, or have little surprises built in that make them unique or sound a bit different than the previous chorus. And this can be done with time as effects, volume balance is important.

Uh, any, any kind of movement and motion can help with that. Um, so the arrangement of the song is, is a very important aspect of, of, of mixing effectively. And that's where mixing literally starts when a song is arranged. I think so embed example would be a song that's too long and it doesn't have enough engaging elements. Um, another bad example would be too many band members competing for that sweet spot. So it might be that the singer sings an important verse while the horn sections to schools go right on top of him. And at the same time, there's a somebody that's trying to play some lead guitar solos on top that just doesn't work. So as a band, it is the arrangements responsibility to allow space for one another. So I want my band members to look at each other and support each other and be aware about what's currently happening.

When is it appropriate to step forward? And when is it appropriate to step back and allow space for somebody else? And when bands achieved this level of playing and awareness, I often find that they sort of mix themselves as some people say, and that's obviously the very best place to be in. And it also makes things very engaging and interesting for the listeners. Good. So yeah, the engagement factor, the a is very important to me when I listened to music and I often visualize this like an intensity curve and a good mix takes me on a ride and that starts some word births the intensity up, but it has to drop somewhere. It has to Grise and fall and surprise me at, at stages. There's very few, few songs that I like where the intensity curve is basically the same energy start to finish.

Okay. There's a one more point for today. That is a really dear to my heart. Loudness is something that needs to be considered when mixing and it needs to be taken with a big pinch of salt. Loudness is how loud your music sounds in comparison to music that is released already. So it is a wise idea to compare your, your song against professional mixes. So, you know, whether you fall short or whether you're way too bright away to base you or whatever, that's a good idea, but when you do so you will notice that the commercial releases are louder and that leads a lot of people to jumping into processes. And, you know, there are lots of videos that show you how to make something loud, but that is a dead end street. Don't end up there, please. It is normal for mixed to be quieter than a commercial release.

That's perfectly normal and trying not to process in order to achieve loudness while you mix use processes to increase beauty detail, um, musical Newwassis, that is fine, but the mindset of saying, okay, now I'm making it loud. It almost always leads to poor outcomes and often a lot of damage, um, which is obviously unfortunate. So because this is the mastering engineer's job, it mix sounds quieter than a master. That is definitely the case. So when you compare your mixes against a commercial release, you literally need to ride the volume pot, turn the volume port down. When you listen to a commercial music and up when you listen to yours. So that it sounds about equally loud. That's when you make good decisions, trust that the mastering engineer will solve the loudness for you. That's their job. And they know it better when trying to make an entire mix loud, a lot of things can go wrong and it takes a lot of experience to get it right.

So if you don't have this experience, chances are, you will find out after the fact that a wind, a pear shaped and you don't read on want that. Good. So let's talk about mastering for a moment. Um, when a mix engineer takes a bunch of signals and blends them into one cohesive song, stereo mix, the mastering engineer will take a collection of individual mixes and put them together and make him sound and feel like they belong to one album. That per definition is the mastering engineer's job. The mastering engineers, also the last quality control before it goes out to the listener before public release and therefore should be very experienced, should be very focused on details. And it should be somebody who you trust to get it a hundred percent, right. Not 95, but a hundred percent. Right. And if you're the producer and have you spent hundreds of hours with those songs, chances are by the end of it, you're pretty brain fried.

Would you trust yourself to get every detail a hundred percent right at this stage? Okay, well, I can't answer this question for you, but I know that a lot of people do trust mastering engineers. For those reasons, mastering engineers are extremely experienced. They are basically the most senior engineer in the production circle, and it's also the place where things can turn pear shaped very, very quickly if it's not done properly. So I really recommend considering to outsource mastering. So if you have money only for one mixing or mastering, then mix yourself and get it mastered by a pro. That's definitely my recommendation. Well, I guess, you know, we should always look at the individual case and how it actually sounds, but, um, yeah, that's my recommendation. A good mastering engineer is worth their money because they will make it sound better and they will make it sound better on many playback systems, that's their job.

And they will walk on the musical beauty of a song. And as part of it, chances are the loudness will increase as well, but they're very skilled at it. And the good mastering engineers are the ones who don't as go bluntly for loudness, but who just basically work on improving the music. So that's my recommendation here. It's definitely worth doing, because it gives you the peace of mind that at the final stage, it has been checked and tuned by the most senior professional, by the most experienced professional. I think there's a lot more to say about mastering and maybe at some stage I can actually invite a professional mastering engineer to the podcast. Um, if you believe this would be beneficial for you, please, um, leave a comment in Facebook to mix artists that come that a you, or send me an email@yarnatmixartists.com dot a U.

I hope you enjoyed this episode about mixing. Um, we literally just scratched the surface and there's heaps more to say, but we'll just leave this for another episode. And we will progress on our path discussing the production cycle. Last week, we spoke about songwriting and creativity and the music production process with TK and shell today was the mixing and mastering episode. Next week, we'll move on to marketing and promotion and to be first speak to my friend, Shane, who is a very experienced musician and also a very successful self promoter. And then the week after we'll speak to Dan, who is a marketing professional and they will both share their experience and their wisdom with us. Well, I hope you enjoy yourself today. It was a great episode for me. I hope it was a great episode for you. Please subscribe and rate this podcast. And if you could leave a review that would really make my day. Thank you so much and speak to you next week. Thank you.

Episode 011 - Interview with Chelsea and TK of Sky Eater

Episode 011 - Interview with Chelsea and TK of Sky Eater

September 7, 2021

It would mean the world to me if you'd consider giving this podcast a 5-star review. Thank you!

 

How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

 

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In this interview episode:

Chel and TK of the band Sky Eater share their take on good songwriting, creativity in music production, recording at home and music production. Their small music production team runs like a well-oiled machine as they apply the "Relay Race" principle, which we discussed in episode 10.

Links:

Listen to Sky Eater

Sky Eater's phenomenal video "Wind Blows"

Sky Eater official website

Sky Eater on Facebook

Sky Eater on Instagram

Sky Eater on Youtube

Sky Eater on Bandcamp

Sky Eater on Soundcloud

Sky Eater on Triple J Unearthed

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #SkyEater, #Reggae, #MixedByYarnTheMixArtist

 

 

 

Transcript (auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error):

 

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
This is the production talk podcast episode 11. Welcome back to the production talk podcast. It's absolutely fabulous to have you on board today. Last week we looked at the typical music production timeline and realised just how many different jobs you self producing musicians have, songwriting, composing, writing lyrics arranging, recording, programming, editing, mixing, mastering, publishing, distribution, promoting and marketing. Over the next few episodes, we are going to dive into more detail on these topics. And today, I'd like to talk more about the first few jobs. So I thought about the most knowledgeable and most experienced songwriter I know, too many to choose from. I picked shell and Tom Watson on a sticky for this interview. Because I admire this flow state like effortless production workflow. I've worked with both of them in the studio many times, and there's never any dramas, no frustration, no uphill battles when they're around. Nowadays, chill and TK produce their own music from home the way many of us want to, but not always know how to both chill and TK has academic musical qualifications. But I think the main reason they work so well together is that they have mastered the music production relay race, which I explained in last week's episode. And if you're not entirely sure what I'm talking about here, please go back to episode number 10 and have a listen. Okay, now let's get to the good stuff. Here's my interview with Chell and TK of sky eater. With me today is Chell. And TK from the band sky eater. Thank you very much for making the time today. I've known you for a long time. And I've seen quite a bit of you know, musical development and experimentation to all kinds of awesome directions. And yeah, hope to talk to you today about your recent productions and hopefully get some some good knowledge out of you of how you best approach something complex like you do with just two people. So hey, thank you for being on board. Thank you for making the time. So Cheryl, please tell us what what are you currently working on.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
And we are currently working on recording a new album. And we are very lucky because we have the problem of having so much material that we've been trying to figure out the best way to package it all and record it all and present it to the world. And this next album is going to be more of our down temporary kind of trip hop influenced music.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, fantastic. So you basically have a pool of songs to choose from and then you picked some for this album or Yeah, that's a beautiful position to be in. It is. Okay, so how big is your pool of songs? Roughly?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
I'd say there's at least 20 at the moment.

We've got enough for a trip hop album, a reggae album, and then maybe part of the drum and bass album. So there's quite a few songs there. And there's they're being written all the time. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
So I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about songwriting, if that's okay. Yeah. So are they all collaborative ideas? Or do you sometimes come up with an idea yourself, right? Do you write an entire song itself? Or do you pass it fun back? How does it work between the two of you?

TK BassDread  
Or it depends, it depends what would constitute a song. If you're talking in the traditional sense of melody and lyrics, then Josie composes the songs, but being kind of hybrid electronic acoustic act that augments the live performance of technology. I think that part of the competition does come down to the production and the beat making and the sound design as well. So I'd like to think that it is a collaborative process throughout.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Yeah, there's definitely a lot of collaboration that goes on. Okay,

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
so, Chelsea, you might start with a melody and you know, some lyrics. And then you bounce ideas phone back between the two of you to read the ride.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Yeah, they seem to pretty well come out formed most of the time, with like, melodies and lyrics and structures. Mostly kind of there. Yeah, bits do change. Once we start recording. Once we do the pre production kind of stuff, move things around. And then Tom adds so much in terms of dynamics, and yeah, all the beautiful atmospheric extra sparkly stuff, is his department's good.

TK BassDread  
I mean, sometimes I will just have, you know, had a rare piece of time on my hands and I just play around with some drum beats or extract some loops from some drum recordings that I've done or just find a groove and put it down and then I'll just stamp it out and chuck it into Ableton Live. And then we've got maybe the low low pressure gig that's long, like a three cent gig at the market. Sometimes we play at the farmers market, we use as a bit of a platform to experiment new material. So I'll chop the loop down, Chelsea will start playing some chords and leave that I'll come up with a baseline of her chords. And then she's very, as most horn players are very, very quick to find melodic hooks, and start stacking up harmonies and grabbing themes. And then will, it will develop over a course of gigs, to the point where it feels like a foreign song. And then we'll start doing pre production recordings off the back of that.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
So you're saying that you were writing songs as you play live gigs? Sometimes we do that sometimes. That's phenomenal. It's part of the process. Well, talking about, you know, killing two birds with one stone. That's a fantastic idea.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
And people in the audience have no idea exactly what they're watching. Oh, that's

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
excellent. That's really good. Okay. And, in your experience, how much time does it take you for, you know, develop a song from the idea to until, you know, the arrangement is set and becomes a bit more of a solid structure is that? does that differ a lot?

TK BassDread  
I mean, it depends how one would quantify that it's defining the time in in a very busy schedule of gigging and, and teaching and, and promotion, and all the other things that you have to do as a musician to survive, is now if I had, if we had a week of no activities, and we had an idea, then we would probably have it pre production recording, recorded and arranged within a couple of days. Yeah, well, that's fast. Yeah, I mean, once once it gets down to the nitty gritty, what I'll generally do is I'll put whatever drum loops that we're using, whether it's something I've created or something that Chelsea's found that she likes, I'll put it into, into the DA W, and just get it to come in and play some, some guide keys, and then do a guide guide vocal, and then leave it with me. And then I'll just kind of shuffle things around to into a rough shape of how I like the song to go. And then think of what additional layers I can add or I usually will put start off with just a synth bass, and some MIDI MIDI keys or some nice arteria keys and organs in there. record some electric guitar and just start sketching stuff, mapping it out, layering up extra drum hits and bits of sound design and find a good shape for it. And then I'll play it Chelsea, see if she likes it. And if we were kind of roughly agree on how the songs go, and the tempo and the vibe, then we'll just make a plan to start laying down final recordings for the parts. And, you know, once once that we're at that stage of the process, it all happens very quickly.

That sounds amazing. It sounds to me like you're a well oiled machine in some ways.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Yeah, I think we've got a pretty good workflow going. Yeah,

TK BassDread  
so it's like, even some of the guide vocals were keeping the charity spontaneously laid down, and they've got such beautiful articulation and expression within them. That it seems like almost forced to try and recreate. And, you know, it's well captured. We'll keep those. But I'm, I'm pretty much in charge of the rhythm. Chelsea's in charge of the melody. And we share the harmony a little bit depending on who's got the ideas for the chords.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
And you would write all the horn parts? I would assume? Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. That sounds really good. Like, you know, you were very like, like some factory You know, you're putting them out

Chelsea Sky Eater  
tirelessly, Amazon factory,

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
some being isn't gonna talk about being a song factory. What do you do? Do you ever suffer from from writer's block? Have you good moments where just nothing seems to work or the ideas just don't seem to come?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
I don't really get that Lucky you. I usually try to work with if I'm, if I feel like writing a song. Then I'm like, whatever I'm doing, I'll just try and do it. And sometimes I'll be, for example, we went hot air ballooning. At the start of this year. We were on the bus to go to get into the hot air balloon at like five o'clock in the morning and had a song idea. Sorry, I just sang it into my phone like on a bus full of people on the way to the hot air balloon.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Oh, great. And that turned into song.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Yeah, the song. Is this going to be on the next album that is probably going to be on the reggae album. But we have been performing it live. Which means it's the purest you Oh yeah, that's

TK BassDread  
that's beautiful kind of that's got real kind of sloggy salby you know, like a real kick in the snare is laying far behind the beep really rolls along beautifully.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
And I know No, it's not that on personal level. It's the song that's about losing someone that you love is about losing a pet friend, actually. And it's about like, it's really about the beauty, the beautiful life that you share with other like people and creatures that come into your life and I I can't even think of how it goes right now.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
And that idea to come to came to you were as you were sitting on the bus there, you just pull out your phone and sing it down straightaway. Fantastic. And when you listen back to those recordings of ideas to connect back to that idea immediately or do or sometimes find that you can't make that connection you had at the beginning.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Does that happen? I find I can usually make the connection. Yeah. And then it'll I think, after that we also had one of those more jammy kind of gigs. And we just put down some chords and I tried singing that idea over the top, and it worked.

TK BassDread  
I think there's, there's something to be said for being courageous. And not being too afraid or not taking yourself too seriously. It's kind of like, you've got to take yourself seriously enough to do something good. Baby takes up too seriously, you don't do anything. That's right. And I find that you know that over the years, I've written lyrics that they normally manifest in the form of some sort of like, rhymes or ragamuffin rap stuff. And I'll agonise over, trying to say something concise and poignant. And I'll really agonise over the type of language we use and how I'm presenting it try not to be too preachy, or. And it takes me a very, very long time to write lyrics. And because I wrapped is a lot of lyrics, it's like a whole song in 16 bars. Whereas Chelsea's is a really inspiration to me, because she'll just, she'll take a story or an experience and just explain it really, really beautifully. And people resonate with that and connect with very quickly because it isn't, you know, isn't so contrived.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
It's more of a spontaneous way of of writing lyrics, rather than you're planning it and thinking it all out? Yeah, it's very sincere. Is it possible we're talking about overthinking? Is that what it could be? That's me, that's why I've come across that point. Many times when it comes to music, and you know, a lot of people get stuck into a point now let it be writing songs or performing or sometimes a recording or production where, you know, overthinking can lead to actually poor outcomes in the end. So,

Chelsea Sky Eater  
yeah, trying to force it when you when you're not in the mood. Like if I don't feel like doing something right then or, like, if I don't feel inspired to write something, then I just wait. And just let it go. And just wait until another time when I'm go for a walk in nature or just happened to be doing something random and the thoughts come to me, then I sit down and write. So when your mind is offered, in some ways, if you distract your mind with something else, then inspiration comes to you. Is that what you're saying? Yeah, it does come at random times. Sometimes.

TK BassDread  
I think. I mean, staring at a blank piece of paper isn't particularly inspirational. Yes, I've done many have spent many hours over the years, like I write, I'm gonna write a song now looking at a piece of paper, whereas if you're looking at, you know, some dolphins frolicking in, in in the ocean, or, or, you know, getting on a hot air balloon, or you know, taking a walk through nature and smelling the wonderful aromas of the eucalypts.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Or just sitting and looking at the sky, or the way the trees, the way the leaves are blowing in the wind. So you take inspiration from from nature a lot, and that's really good. So do you know when you when you suffer from overthinking, can you control this? Can you actually say, Okay, I'm gonna stop doing this now and distract myself to something else?

TK BassDread  
I've definitely, I mean, I don't do a lot of, I don't know, write a lot of lyrics. At the moment I do. I do a lot of the production side of things. So I've tried to develop an area of discipline where I don't spend too much time. Yeah. And overthink what I'm doing. Just have a listen. What does this piece of music need to drive the groove? And what does it need to do need to flesh out the soundscape and, and the harmony? And is what you're doing what I'm doing my role? Is it adding anything to the music is it supporting the message and the vocals because you know, if you let go go way back to ancient Indian, you know, traditional music, the fact that the singing is the highest of all art form. So everything else that happens is either emulating or supporting it. And that's something that I always try and bring myself back to so you don't get too carried away. Of course, in contemporary music, the beat and the rhythm is very, very important. You know, people like to hear if you're, something's gonna move their body, but ultimately, people want to have an emotional experience. You've got to facilitate an emotional response by what you're doing. So it really really have to be put the emphasis on the lyrics on On the feeling and the meaning of and try and support that with the instrumentation. So I try to do that and don't get too carried away. In in audio trickery.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Yes, yes, I can see that. And, you know, the technology that we use today can lead you to clicking too much, I think, in staring at screens unplugging windows for too long. Yeah. Tim, what you said, I can really relate to this, I see that as well, when I mix that I sometimes get caught in a corner where I start to overthink. And I usually identify that by just realising, you know, look at my productivity. And if I don't get much done in a long time, that's usually because I'm overthinking. And then for me, it's time to have a break,

TK BassDread  
I tend to like have a like a, you know, I have a pass arranging songs. And then I'll, I'll just bounce out some rough material, put on the Google Drive. Next time we got a long drive to a gig, we listen to all of the tracks, like it's an album, or you know, just to make like a hot mix, like do a really rough master chain on on the master buss and and then we'll just listen to them and like objectively in the car, and have a think about what it needs, what we like what we don't like, where the arrangements can be cut down or extended. And then I'll have another pass where I record a lot of instrumentation, I'll send like a tire pop, and I'll have that set up for a few days. I do all the guitars, and then I'll go through and edit them and try and make them fit within the context. And then I'll record some bass and do the same and then we'll do another rough bounce. And next time we get a long drive. We'll listen to objectively so I'd I try not to do too much repetitive listening until we're at the final mix stage. So we can stay objective about the distinction between songwriting and arrangement. And mixing and mastering? Yes, there's that perfect sense, there is a quite a big grey area between the two when you're producing electronic music or you know, it's like a hybrid what we do so some of the composition is production, and is going to find a distinction between what you're doing with the production and the composition and what you're doing to mix it and polish it up at the end. Okay,

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
so do you sometimes find yourselves starting to use mixing tools too early?

TK BassDread  
Yes. I'm trying to Yeah, it's constant battle, trying to find the discipline to find the line. And

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
that can distract you from what actually needs to be done right now. Yeah. And

TK BassDread  
that's the point that I turn it off. just bounce it walk away. Yes. Don't listen to it for two days, then we take a drive and Kappa casual Listen, yes, I wouldn't listen to the vocals and listen to the song and think about the shape of it, and zoom out,

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
zoom out, I like that, then I use the trick as well. Sometimes I see really clearly when I'm in the middle of a mix and you know, start to get a bit fatigued, often see really clearly what needs to be done. If I have a break, walk out, get myself a cup of tea from the kitchen and listen from a distance sometimes even through the closed door. That often gives me the insight to really understand what's actually going on. So a change of perspective of finders is good in many situations,

TK BassDread  
that is there is good value in that I've got a second set of monitors, slightly cheaper that don't mind cranking up a little bit. And so I often will go out of the room and you know, do some weeding in the garden or wash the dishes and I'll just crank up the old ktrk monitors and let the track blast in the in the other room and just see how I feel about it from somewhere else.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, and I think I also perceive things differently when my mind is taken off it so when I'm occupy myself but making yourself a cup of tea, you know, my mind is actually on something else and it's select my subconscious digests the song rather than the act of mind if that makes any sense. Yeah. And that really helps me to gain some clarity in Chelsea, I've got one more question for you. How do you know whether a song when you write a song whether it's a good song or not, you know, you probably have some songs that come together easier. When do you know that you've written a good song? What what measures what benchmarks are there to to write a good song?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
answers to that question. I for me, I think the best songs are written kind of in a shorter space of time all in one go with not too much. Like overthinking again, we're going to talk about that word. That's okay. Yeah. And I haven't thought of a really great and a different analogy for this yet but to me like the good ones come out kind of black doing a good pay.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Oh, that is so funny. You know, I used to play in a band ages ago. And the singer Stephanie was a played bass. Yeah, Curtis couldn't shut up about the one fact that the one of our best songs we ever played. He actually that idea came to him on at the end when he just yeah, stop telling everybody that story. Well, yeah, I don't mean writing them all while you're doing that, but

Chelsea Sky Eater  
the feeling of satisfaction and completeness.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Okay. And when it comes to lyrics, you know, do you? Do you? Have you got certain subjects or themes that you'd like to, to address in your lyrics?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Yeah, there definitely seems to be a big focus for me on connecting with nature, and patterns of connecting with other people, other humans, and empathy comes up a lot, empathy for others, and empathy for ourselves with whatever we're going through. So, yeah, I think a lot of the time I'll write a song, when I'm feeling a little bit challenged about a certain thing. And then it's kind of like a song to teach me how to deal with that situation.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
So it becomes almost like an outlet, to, you know, deal with the situations for Yeah,

Chelsea Sky Eater  
and there's a there's a lot of writing that I do that doesn't turn into songs that serve that same purpose.

Jan Muths  
Okay. in your own words, you know, when you write many songs, what makes it that the describes a good song in your eyes? How do you put some songs in the good basket and others don't end up there?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
I think the good ones just end up sticking somehow. I don't know anything about you. When he said that doesn't really work. Are the good ones?

TK BassDread  
I don't know. Like, did you know that there's ones that are currently in Charles's mind that she's maybe written more recently, that are quite catchy. Maybe Jan, the chorus had a gig and people really enjoyed it. And like simple messages, the simpler is usually the better. There's one that's the chorus line is I have everything I need to be happy right here, repeated record a sign and it's and it's a really beautiful chord progression. Lovely major sevenths non diatonic major centre to reduce the and beautiful and comforting to set to listen to. So I think the message and the harmony that Chelsea's written, they're all like, together really, quite satisfying feeling. But you know, sometimes I'll be racking up the beats and Chekhov's few chords, and she'll be like, Oh, I need some lyrics. And she'll just rifle through these books and find recordings, and then just find something she hasn't used yet. And just give it a go, Oh, cool. And try one or two, and then one of them feels good that the, the, the, you know, the, the syllables, and the delivery does seem to work over the rhythm or the chord progression, then then it will just stick. And you might need to write an extra burst to make it work. And, you know, usually within about 15 seconds, she's got a great horn, horn line and a hook. Yeah, I don't know, there's this available if anyone wants help branding.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Look in what advice would you give other musicians who might be struggling with songwriting or, you know, get stuck in some writing and not getting results?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
I would say, don't be afraid to just be honest, and write about things that are meaningful to you, and your experience that you're going through in life at the moment. Because I think a lot of the time well, especially in the past in society, we're very encouraged not to talk about our vulnerabilities so much. But I'm a huge advocate for everyone talking about their experience and sharing it because a lot of the time people who have gone through the same thing you've gone through, and the only way to find that out is to be open and start the conversation. So yeah, I'd say be courageous. And there's

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
some great advice. I really like that. That takes a bit of courage to put yourself out there. Yeah. And you know, share part of your soul and your feelings. But

Chelsea Sky Eater  
it's very scary sometimes during the scarier Yeah.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Have you ever had negative experience sharing? what some of your most personal feelings? Not that I know of very good.

TK BassDread  
I think that if I was going, if I was going to play a game of Jeopardy with Chelsea's lyrics, I would say, what happened? And how did it make you feel?

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
as a band, you're, you're a little bit special in the sense that you literally cover every single stage of the production cycle from songwriting to playing the musical performances, to recording its programming to editing, mixing. I don't think you've mastered yet but that's probably just a question of time. So looking at what needs to be done, you know, the many hats we need to wear today. As a band, you literally between the two of you, you cover all of them. We have a lot of hats.

TK BassDread  
We have a lot of hats, and we don't have a lot of spare time.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
I can imagine find wearing so many hats does it take away from just being a musician in any way? Like,

TK BassDread  
I suppose it can. I think over time of experience you become you become more thick skinned to the things that you do and are able to start to draw boundaries between them. You know, if I go out and I take my bass guitar and playing a gig of Jesse Morris, I'm just I just get lost inside my bass guitar and I play beautiful bass lines. And I don't think about anything else. If, if I'm, if I'm recording Chelsea's guide tracks for an upcoming album, I'm just doing an engineer and just passively finding the best way to capture and help facilitate good performances. And then when we start to build the tracks, you know, every step of the way, I kind of have to put a different hat on and make sure that I'm not wearing them all at once. Because you can kind of bamboozle and overwhelm yourself, if you're thinking too far ahead about what you're doing. So the I think we've time and experience, you'd have divisions and boundaries, I need to kind of learn to turn them on and off like a tap, and they will blur points. Yeah, but experience teaches you that, if you are able to draw those boundaries, you're gonna make your life a lot easier, a lot less stressful, a lot less confusing, and you'll probably get a much better result. And there are things like mastering, I like to get someone else to do that, just to have a set of objective ears, because I have worn so many hats on the way through, and I have to make sure that I'm not in my own little delusional world. And that what we've created is in some way relevant, and you know, and you know, the mixing is balanced, you know, and it will work for, you know, some some level of commercial context. And it will convey the emotion that was intended. So I have to get the tracks past Chelsea first. Because she will often be the one that's delivering the emotional content and the story. And so if the tracks support that, and she gives me the thumbs up, then I send it to my mastering guy.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
That's very good, too, in some ways till you are the emotional quality control for Trump's mixes. Yeah, I understand that. Right. Yeah, she's like the gatekeeper the emotion. That is fantastic that? Well, you know, if you look at how people decide to listen to song or to skip it, that's very rarely a conscious decision, you know, that. Usually, it's a gut feeling. It's an emotional response, either like the song or you don't you don't even know how you make that decision. It just happens. Yeah, so why not make good mix decisions from that same emotional place? I think that's a really wise idea. And that's a great workflow

TK BassDread  
that have got good stuff. And there's there also are pretty good parameters to think about, you know, if you're writing a song that you want people to listen to on streaming or you know, to be commercially viable. Your beats got to come in pretty early. Your vocals if they don't come in on the first 30 seconds, they've lost them. Yes, you got to be pretty quick in with some sort of hook in some sort of rhythm. And you got to hit the chorus by a minute. That's kind of a rough area that I think about when I'm looking at them pragmatically.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Yes, it's, that's, that's right. And people say that listeners have a shorter attention span these days, and therefore, you can't afford a long intro anymore, which in some ways is actually sad, but it's literally just the reality of what it is.

TK BassDread  
We save those for the gigs. Yes. Okay, that's cool. You can be a bit more self indulgent and extend the arrangements in the gigs and give someone a different experience to the album more improvisation. Or breakdowns don't sections, they really go go nuts for the live performance, with the recorded versions, you know, will often create something then go Okay, well, we need to make a radio edit. We love having that many horn lines and that extra chorus in there. We love having that breakdown. But the songs five minutes 40. And that's nearly a Bohemian Rhapsody down to five minutes. You know, some of them end up being about 420.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
That's great. And, Tom, now that you've learned to wear all these hats, what would be your advice for, let's say less experienced home producers? You know, should they try to wear all these hats one after another? Or are there any areas where you would recommend to maybe just get help? Well, I heard you

TK BassDread  
say having a good community of musicians and or producers and music lovers around you is a very valuable thing. When you're in the engine room, or you know cooking away at these these tracks and exploring your the boundaries of your technical expertise and your creativity. You can sometimes get lost inside a little bubble and like weave Instrumental Performance, what feels good, doesn't always sound good in that moment. So, you know, if, if I'm in a state of primal ecstasy with the jambay drum in a drum circle, and I'm beating the hell out of the thing, it feels great as a wonderful release. But if I recorded that and put it on Spotify, I don't think many people would want to listen to it. There's a difference between being cathartic musical experience and kind of some sort of self indulgent experimentation and something that where you're looking for to create some I mean, that will, in some way, like I said, facilitate an emotional response or some sort of catharsis for someone else, or be soothing, or beautiful, to immerse yourself in. So I think having a good good idea of whether you're in the studio and you're just you're going down the wormhole to explore the doors of perception with your equipment, and then shifting into a mindset where, okay, I've explored that now. How can you use that in a context that will be useful to support a song? or How will I reach out to people and make them feel something with these tools that I've equip myself with? So, yes, it's definitely looking through different eyes.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Yeah, I really like that. That's a good way to sum it up. There was a lot to take in there right now. There was a lot of wisdom in what you just said. Tell us more about the future for sky. You're working on this album, have you? How far are you with that? At this stage?

Chelsea Sky Eater  
We've got a few more final vocal takes to put down and then the harmonies and I think that's pretty much it.

TK BassDread  
Yeah, there may be one or two solos and I'm looking to find opportunity to record some vibraphone a few Jones with then he lives quite far away now is a very good friend, a very talented musician, but we've included some good guest musicians on this album. We're not playing absolutely everything like the last few. So we've got Peter hunt from curry, Stuart curry from a structure firewalk we've got Elena mochi got from Jessie Morris band who also actually plays Felicity lawless now and i a trumpet from pineapple laser and a 420 sound. So we're looking to have like a smattering of wonderful guest performance most of which we've recorded I think we've got maybe any some very haunting VR really amazing Viola is like this kind of haunting slow motion Bollywood line in one track and she's playing it's very mournful sounding Viola and attract Chelsea wrote about cutting the end of her finger off of x. So,

Chelsea Sky Eater  
if any, and I actually had a writing session together till you need to explain that. Oh, yeah, we can laugh. Yeah, it was pretty horrific for a sax player to be chopping wood with a short handed axe, which everybody at home, I can recommend that you get along handled axe if you're chopping wood and be really, really extra careful. But I did slip through the end of my fingertip with the axe. And I couldn't play for three months, but I did write some really good songs. Well, I think they're good. How is your fingertip nowadays, it is amazing. It regrew. So I learned that if you cut the end of your finger off, anywhere from the fingernail upwards, it can regrow like a lucid tale. tentacle. Yeah, what

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
a story. It's actually not the first story about injuries or this podcast series. But regular listeners would know about this by now we can make this a thing I guess. I think

TK BassDread  
out of all the tracks we sometimes will we have a listener with some friends just casually as well as the progress on the tracks out of all the tracks that one when I'm when we need to listen to music with other people. You get a sense of empathy. Like when you when you sit when other person you it's almost like you hear it through their ears. And so we've sat with other friends and listened to the tracks and they all have a different feeling. But this one just made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It's the slowest, darkest chain out of the lot, but it is full of emotion. And

Chelsea Sky Eater  
it turned into quite an uplifting song as well. Like, for me listening to it. It's like it starts out all dark and really, really emotional. But when it hits the chorus, it's just like just being lifted up on a cloud when you're when you feel those butterflies in your stomach and

TK BassDread  
the hairs in the back of your neck standing up. You know, you got a good song. Yes. I said as an aside by the company you're sitting with you if they feel that you feel that and that I think that's important. Friends, musicians, producers, music lovers, if you play in their company, and you feel a swell of emotion in the room, you're onto it. Excellent. Yeah.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
So you in some ways you do like you know, product testing with small groups, you play to friends who trust and you get some feedback about your music from friends, which I suppose is kind of informal really.

TK BassDread  
Yeah, like we've had some friends over dinner I'm in a jam and we've been listening to other music all night in the background and I'll just a few tracks on

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
in in business terms that product testing that you know, obviously when you do it in a casual way this can be just as effective because other people who listen to the song for the first time or Don't have a certain clarity, I believe that you may not have when you're in the middle of it, you're so mentally tangled up in a large production. So that's a really effective way. I have to admit that I sometimes do the same thing. When with my art when I when I mix, that I play a mix to other people, like my kids, for example. And it's not really about what they say afterwards. And I just like to watch people as they listen to my work, and it tells me a lot. Yeah, you know, when I see people at the edge of their seat, bobbing their heads, I know, I don't even know need to know what they think about it. I already know it's good. But if people start to get distracted, my boy runs away and doesn't want to listen to the end of it. I haven't done a good job yet. sheets are very good at sensing, whether it's a good song or not. I found kids are really good at that. A Daddy, there's too much for kilohertz vocals. That's a great example. Because literally, you know, it's the complete absence of overthinking kids have never learned to overthink. All they have is the amount of their emotional response to music. And it's literally the only one that counts, at least in my book at the end of the day. So it's really good to do that. Yeah,

TK BassDread  
I think we kind of we digressed a little bit of a tangent there. About fingers are written in your head originally asked us about what the plans are? Yes, let's do. And so we've got 10 tracks, one of which has already released a single video clip, the wind blows underwater video clip. And we're going to have a nine tracks of unreleased material that we're working on, I'd say that we are, we've got about five or six lead vocals and a couple of bits and pieces to record then it's mix time. This probably will be over the next few months because we have quite big schedules. And our aim is to release it on vinyl later in the year. And once the country further settles down from from the problems we've been having with the pandemic, we are our plan is to reinstate a tour that we had planned for Adelaide in Western Australia. That was Yeah, it was we had it planned for I think, April 2020. And of course, the world shut down for a while. So we mean we'd already bought flight or done press releases. We've done all the right things. I had guest lectures booked to Adelaide sa and various gigs in good venues in Western Australia and would have been our first appearance. So I think it would be good to release that and use a tour across the country as a vehicle to promote it

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
when knock on wood. Hopefully it will go ahead, hopefully sooner than later. Let's see how we go. Yeah, well, if you're okay with this, I would like to maybe put the link into the podcast notes to the release song. What's the title of that song again? wind blows wind blows. Thank you for reminding me the video is phenomenal. I enjoyed that a lot. So can't wait for that to be on. But we'll definitely put a link into the show notes as well, so that people can visit you and have you got a website. Where would people find out more about your skydive.

Chelsea Sky Eater  
Now we have a website WWW dot sky ada.com.au. And you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, all the streaming platforms, you can listen to the material that we've already released.

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Fantastic. Yeah. And hopefully people will be able to see your live soon. Yeah, all the good dates are on our website as well. Okay, so gigs are happening again. And they're happening the big Australia tour later this year. Fingers crossed, knock on wood. Yeah. Let's see how we go with that. But I wish you all the best for that. So well thank you so much for making the time today and sharing your wisdom. That's really insightful for me. And I really appreciate you dedicating your time to this. So thank you very much. My pleasure. Thank you for having us. Thank you. Wow, this was absolutely Finn nomina. Shell and TK on amazing music production team. And I admire how they both navigate each other's strengths and weaknesses and relay their production tasks. But they also don't hesitate to outsource tasks to external specialists, whether that's Bollywood style strings or mastering. And they truly are a small music production team working like a well oiled machine. Next week, I'd like to focus on mixing and mastering. Most of you already know the technical aspects. So I'll be brief on the scientific side. I believe it will be much more valuable to talk about the artistic side, and I'll explain how it fits like to be in the mixing zone. And just before we finish up, let me please ask you for a favour. In your podcast app right next to this episode, you'll find a share button. As a self producing musician, you're probably a member of musician groups or forums. Can you please click that button and share this episode to these groups and forums for me, maybe write a sentence or two. That would absolutely make my day. Thank you so much. I'll see you next week when we speak about mixing bye for now.

Episode 010 - The Self-Producer Mindset, “Relay Race” Teams, and what Music Production is REALLY all about!

Episode 010 - The Self-Producer Mindset, “Relay Race” Teams, and what Music Production is REALLY all about!

August 31, 2021

It would mean the world to me if you'd consider giving this podcast a 5-star review. Thank you!

 

How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this episode:

Staying sane and mentally healthy while in lockdown.

The many, many jobs that 'self-producing' entails: songwriting, composing, writing lyrics, arranging, recording, programming, producing, editing, mixing, mastering, publishing, distribution, marketing and promotion.

The mental state of 'zooming in' or 'zooming out' in music production.

The traditional role of producers, and what we can learn from that today.

The strength of small production teams, and the concept of "Relay Race" music production.

How not to "over-cook" a song in music production and mixing.

Some links mentioned in this episode:

 

Bruce Swedien on mix revision number 91

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #MixedByYarnTheMixartist

 

Transcript:

 

Welcome back to another episode of the production talk podcast, it's great to have you back on board again. And thank you for making it through to episode number 10. With me, it's been a great journey so far. And I would like to send out my gratitude to everybody who's tuned in who subscribed, and especially to the listeners who have given me some feedback, which is extremely valuable. And after the first episode, I think I've received enough feedback to just change directions just a little bit. So I decided that rather than dialing into specialist fields, such as MIDI or audio recording, as I did before, actually need to step back a little bit. And today, I would like to talk about a broader picture, which I would basically sum up as the production timeline. But before we get into this, let me just talk about a one other thing that is very dear to my heart. I hope you are well at this time in in East Coast, Australia, where I'm based, we are currently back in lockdown. And I know this is very taxing on a lot of people. And obviously, a lot of loss of business, especially for musicians, a lot of uncertainty. And yeah, I know that some of our friends are really struggling with the current lockdown situation. So I thought, I've got a couple of recommendations that work for me. And you can consider whether they'd this might resonate with you. And hopefully you can take something useful out for yourself. So when it comes to life on a bigger scale, in a broader scale, there are quite a few things that can drag us down. And if if I allow all of these things to affect me personally, I would probably be pretty down and even depressed. So at some stage of my life a couple of years ago, I made the conscious decision to always look at the curveballs that life throws me and ask myself one very important question first, is this within my control? Or is it not?

So for example, the weather is definitely not within my control. And basically, whenever I decide that curveballs that life throws me is not within my control, then I don't allow myself to get emotionally affected by it. And it really takes this short moment to take a deep breath and think about, okay, this is just really getting to me, step back for a second one deep breath, have I got control over it? Or do I not. And if I don't like a lockdown situation, like the pandemic, like the weather and other things, then I just make the conscious decision not to let this affect me on an emotional level. Because there's nothing to be one, there is nothing that can be improved, there's nothing that can that I can do to change it. So I really try to focus my energy and Shannon, my energy to all aspects of my life that are within my control, such as my business, and my family and my friends. Now, those are things that I actually have control over. And I exercise this control with more conscious effort and engender more, more bigger sense of satisfaction, because I don't waste a lot of my, I don't waste too much of my energy, getting emotionally involved or getting emotionally

agitated over aspects that are not in my control. So I'm not quite sure if this works for you. But it might sound difficult to do but give it a shot. And if you feel like you're currently struggling with the situation you're in, think about whether this might hopefully help you to make better decisions and pull yourself out again. Because that's another little thing that I decided for my life is that if life gives me lemons, it's a me who drags myself out of the situation. I will never allow anybody else to do that. It's it's a very important thing for me that I can look back and say I had the strength to pull myself up. And yeah, I hope this can help as well.

And I'd like to share another aspect of my life with you that I believe helps me to keep my mental health together and it's

comes with two aspects of it like a yin and a yang, so to speak. The first one is exercise, no matter what the weather is, I get up in the morning and walk our dog and get some fresh air and get out there and exercise physically, I don't do as much physical exercise as I should do. But it's important to get started and have a starting point of regular physical activity. And by physical activity, I basically mean something that involves fresh air that probably involves the outdoors, if that's feasible for you develop a habit of getting out there. So why is it so important to get physical exercise, I believe that our brain works a little bit like a muscle. And if a muscle always does only one thing, it will eventually lead to pain. Good training, exercise always contains two things, a period of stress where you work your muscle, and then that period of relaxation where you can recover. And the morning walk with my dog is what gives my brain exactly that break. So if I constantly think about my business, and all the jobs I have to do, and my current to do list and all the things that haven't fallen behind with her constantly think about those things. It literally compromises my intelligence. And I noticed that if I treat myself to a regular break, where I focus on something completely different, where I walk my dog, where nothing distracts me, well allow my mind to just wander freely, I just come back, and when I feel relaxed, and I feel recovered, and suddenly I make better decisions, I've got better ideas, I'm more motivated. So that's a little story from my own life. And while this is definitely something that has a positive effect, it's something active I need to do to get a positive effect on my life. There's another thing that I also would like to share with you. And this time around, it's something that I need to stop where I need to reduce something. And I noticed that the more I consume news and social media these days, the more I start to worry, the more I start to get involved in arguments online, the more I start to freak out about all the things people throw at me on social media, and it took a moment of realization, where I was away from my phone for an extended time to realize what's actually going on. And let me just sum it up. You know, I think it is my belief that most people today and I'm definitely one of those consume more news and social media than we need. And the reason for that is mainly that we are being lowered in social media is designed to keep us clicking and scrolling by. So in other words, they design their products to constantly make us go back there, it's some kind of an addiction, we could call it brainwashing in some way. And I find that if I give in and allow myself to indulge myself into not checking the news 12 times a day and spending two hours on social media each day, then it keeps my mind on a constant state of alertness. And that's not good, that's really not good. Because that literally compromises my creative ability, my decision making my family time is compromised, because I'm not fully there. So I try to remind myself to really cut back. And it means for me that I don't need to check the news many times a day, maybe once in the morning, it's okay to stay up to date with what really counts. And especially with the social media, it's so easy to get drawn in, to keep clicking, to stare down this rabbit hole were to not be

to be drawn in by other people who try to alert people for their own cause. And unfortunately, we live at a time where many of the social media posts that I see these days, if I look very carefully, I see that there's somebody behind it who's trying to manipulate people. And it's their job to keep us on the edge in a constant state of alertness. And I'm trying to cut these things out of my life to a healthy degree. So the way I do that with social media is that I try to remind myself to not consume more than I produce. Let me explain this one more time, I try to remind myself not to consume more social media than I produce. In other words, I don't want to be the person on the receiving end, who constantly scrolls up and down the social media pages. I want to use my social media time to share my podcast, for example, and my little videos and stories for my clients and other things that I think are useful for sharing. Because again, this is something that I have control over. And I can give it a positive spin spin that I believe is useful to me, and hopefully to you as well. While if I take the passive role, and just keep scrolling, I'm subject to, to what other people decide for me to use my time on. In other words,

Other people ride my agenda. So I'm taking some control back. And I write my own agenda for social media by trying to focus more on producing my own content and filling it with with a positive spin. Okay, so I think I should really move on here. But yeah, just a few tips from from me personally, to everybody who might be struggling with lockdown wherever you are in the world, sending my love out to you and sending you all my strength. I think together, we can do it. And hopefully these tips help you to get through your day just a little bit better.

Good. Okay, enough about that.

Let's change the subject. Let's talk about the self producing musician that you are,

what is your job? Look, I think we all have a pretty clear idea, you know, you've probably spent some time working on your own music. And you probably have a very clear idea of what your job is. So to try to sum it up, and let's see if we can actually call it one job, or maybe even many. So what's part of the responsibilities of a self producing musician? So I thought about the production timeline, and just decided to just break it down. And let's just start with a song and follow the song start to finish. So where does it start, it starts with an idea. And that leads to the job of the composer or songwriter, which obviously, is a very important part of the entire process, and definitely one of the most fun parts as well. It's a very creative part. And, yeah, because you're here, I assume that this is something that you're very familiar with. Good. Let's also talk about the lyrics they need to be written. And that's a very important part, if not the most important part of the song itself. The lyrics are definitely what gives the song, the heart and the soul and the meaning. And in many ways, that's what listeners will connect her, along with the vibe and the energy of the song, of course, the next stage is then usually some kind of arrangement and instrumentation phase where we think about Okay, do we need an extra verse? Do we need an extra bridge? What about the chord progression that we need to throw in is C powered or something else, where you know, the loose bids that came together in songwriting, are turned into something that has a structure and it's generally a wise idea to you know, think about this and lay it out maybe on a sheet of paper or on a computer along the timeline of your digital audio workstation.

It's a wise idea to you know, try to refine the arrangement and instrumentation as much as you can before you go into the next phase, which is then of course recording or symptoms, programming, let's disband are these two things up, basically recording and programming. By that I mean, you capture the performance, you get them down onto the computer, or you

record signals into your digital audio workstation and start to build the song up from there. So right now, that's actually the job of recording engineer, which is nowadays also attributed to self producing musicians. As part of recording and programming, there comes a stage that we call editing and editing can be an extra part, it can be done separately, in some people literally edit along as they record and program music.

But yeah, depending on your workflow, it might be an extra workflow step. I just mentioned that usually,

that a traditionally, recording and programming is a task owned by recording engineers and studios. Just like this. There's also audio editors, specialists who do nothing else but audio editing and specialize on let's say, drum editing, performance improvement, pitch correction, timing correction, things like this. Good. And the next stage that the song will then enter is the mixing stage, where we basically take all the signals, blend them together beautifully, process them and fit it all together in a really nice sounding mix. which then leads to the mastering stage and mastering is the final stage of the music production process. Where a bunch of mixes is then looked at by a mastering engineer, then fine tuned and sound and volume and loudness, and made sound as if it all belongs together to one album.

I would say that up to this point, we can bundle it all up as music production. And all of these steps belong to music production. And it's actually quite a few different jobs if we think about it this way. However, the job's not done yet. It keeps on going once once you've finished the production process and the song is now ready, in entire new can of warm opens up. It all starts with publishing and distribution, which again is expected from self producing musicians today. However, there were times when professionals

had a job of music, publishing and distribution. And that was all they did all day. And this leads directly to the next stage, it's not just good enough to just get the song out there, it needs to be heard. And that needs a little push, which we call marketing and promotion. So in other words, it's never good enough to just put a song out and wait for the world to find it. That's just not how it works anymore. Instead, people need to be reminded people need to know about it. And that leads to marketing and promotion, which again, is a job title by itself. As part of this, some artists then produce videos, which I warmly recommend, it's definitely a good workflow. And that by itself is a big new job. And then there's one more steps songs lifecycle, which is life presentation life events. And yeah, we all know that the life industry has taken a serious hit over the last couple of years, in some places on the globe, it's coming back in some places it's not. So we're definitely in a mixed bag at this time about nevertheless, promoting oneself for life gigs is an important part of his songs lifecycle, and that leads to management, time management, scheduling, contacting promoters, contacting venues and festivals, and trying to score gigs, which obviously is another full time job by itself. Live streaming, is a rather modern way to do it all online, perfect for a lockdown. And yet another way of producing one's music live, which also includes a lot of work just like playing in front of an audience. So if we just look at all of those jobs that are all part of the music production timeline, and the job of the producer.

It's a lot of work. And it's so many different jobs. So let's just think about this for a moment. And let's just, you know, hit pause for a second and rewind in our minds to an earlier time, a couple of decades back, let's pick the 80s and the 90s, when the world of music production was very, very different. Back in those days, these jobs were rather separate. So there were designated recording engineers that were different mix engineers, there was always a separate mastering engineer, there were record companies involved that took care of publishing, distribution, marketing, and all of those things. And at that time, during those years, musicians mainly focused on composing and songwriting, performing arranging songs and performing them in the studio and, and life. And most other jobs were taken care of by professionals.

That's definitely no longer the case. Not many big record, companies are still in existence. So most music that is released today doesn't go through these steps anymore. And that's fine. We just need to accept this as it is, and just move along. But what does that mean, for us?

I am of the belief that none of us can be good at everything. That's definitely true for myself, I know that I have certain fields that I'm really good at, like mixing music, for example. There are also other aspects that I'm not very good at. So looking at marketing and promotion, looking at how I promote my podcast, I find a lot of room for improvement. I'm learning as I'm going at the moment, and try to get better at it. But I have to admit that this is definitely not my field of specialty. If I look at what other people are doing, I am actually, you know, very humbled by how much better they are promoting their own work. So it's definitely not my special fields. And I believe that if you look at all the steps of the production timeline, you probably found a couple that you're a specialist for. And there may be a couple of others among where you realize, yeah, well, I always knew that I wasn't that good at mastering, or I'm not that good, a video producer or something, whatever this may be, but other things you're really good at. So here's my recommendation for music production in the 2020s. Rather than doing it all by yourself, or outsourcing most of it, which was the 90s way, there's a third option that somewhat sits in between, I'm talking about small teams of specialists. Imagine producing a song could be like a relay race, where you might be really, really good at writing songs and coming up with really catchy lyrics and arranging a song to perfection. And you might even be okay at recording some things, but maybe you know, somebody who's actually much quicker and more effective at it. So here's an opportunity to know form teams to outsource some of the elements and team up with other people who are better at it. And that's what I mean by a relay race. You know, if you try to run the entire race by yourself, you're not going to win it, the other teams will always outperform you. So instead, pass the

Rely on at a point where you're out of your comfort zone where you realize that okay, the song is now entering a phase that you are not specialized into anymore. And now pass it on to somebody else, and form small teams of people who cover the entire range. And it might be that you need one person to help you with mixing and mastering, and another person to help you with publishing, marketing and promotion.

That could be anything else, you know, any any blend of all the components that make the songs lifecycle. But if you help each other out, if you form teams where you can rely on somebody else, it will give you the strength to focus more on on the things that really count for you the things that you're really good at your superpowers use those use those.

So there's a very good chance that the beginning of a song, the first steps of the productions lifecycle, probably something that you can cover rather well. However, even there, it might be wiser here to get some help. So if we sum up the production steps one more time that songwriting and composing, writing lyrics arranging instrumentation, recording, programming, editing, mixing, and mastering. If you take on these steps by yourself, again, it is really difficult to be very good at all of them. And and when you're involved in a production like this, it is very easy to get lost in details. So for a moment, just visualize a PDF document or maybe a DA w session on your computer, you're probably familiar with the concept of zooming in and out. So in other words, you can either zoom out and you don't see the details, but the entire song or the in part, tie a PDF, or you zoom in and you lose the the angle or the the perspective to see the entirety, but you cannot see all the tiny little bits and pieces. The same thing applies to being a music producer as well. And it's very easy to get lost in these zoom in phase as I would call it where you you know where you mentally zoom into details and you work on details, let's say a certain height better and or is it a certain way a guitar node sounds at the tail end or you know, whatever this may be, and and get lost in those and spend countless hours tuning details.

Without having the perspective, the overarching holistic perspective of seeing how this actually makes sense in the bigger picture. And that anger, that zoomed out perspective is the traditional definition of a music producer. So let's talk about this for a moment, what is an old school music producer the way music was produced in the 80s and 90s.

producers were hired to oversee production. And back then producers often spend most of the time on the couch, shouting directions at the musicians and engineers, they want to involve themselves. Sometimes they played some instruments or operated the console. But in many cases, they were deliberately withdrawn from all of this. So the producers job was to keep the holistic perspective, the zoomed out perspective of the entirety. So while the musician might be lost in thinking about the best way to make people feel this guitar, so in or play a more impactful synth line, the producer just zoomed out, and looked at how this would tie into the song, and how it would serve the song. And even further, how would how this song would work within the album.

And this is an angle that we should always remind ourselves of doing everything ourselves, know the zoomed in perspective of being self producing musician, and the zoomed out position of an external angle is something that is very difficult to achieve, if you're the only person doing that. So what I'm trying to say is even if you're the self producing musician who does everything yourself, find yourself others who can give you this external perspective. And my recommendation would be to just reach out to other self producing musicians who you respect for for their work. And every once in a while just meet up and exchange your ideas. Ask ask a good friend, can you give me some feedback? What is it you hear here, and the angle always should be

a broader perspective. So if you exchange feedback with somebody else means you take the zoomed out producers angle for somebody else and they do the same for you. It's important to really focus on the bigger picture. And a good way to do that is to limit yourself to feedback and not give you know several chapters full of details. But instead limit yourself to maybe two or let's say maximum three things

That one would do to improve the song. So if you had to limit it to the three things that are important, that would really make the song better, what would it be? that forces you into this holistic perspective. And that can really, really help.

I'm not saying that all the little details that we often fall in love with. I'm not saying that they're not important. However, I found that if you focus on the details too early, you lose a lot of time. However, if you focus on the holistic angle very early on a lot of the details that are in my mind, but didn't make it on the priority list, they eventually solve themselves further down the line automatically, as you address the big picture decisions. And the big picture decisions always need to be how entertaining is the song? Does this song keep my attention up, start to finish? And if it doesn't, maybe the song is too long? Or maybe it needs a new part? Maybe it needs something that just wakes the listener up again, it says, oh, whoa, what's going on here? Now those are the things that I focus on a lot. I focus on on the lyrics whether I understand the story. And when I listen to the lyrics, does the song Give me the same vibe? does it support the story of the lyrics? Or does it work against them? Those are things that I try to focus on. In other words, when I when I have my producers hat on, when I look from an holistic perspective, at a song, I definitely don't want to think about the snare drum has a little bit too much 400 hearts, and maybe the reverb time should be 1.7, not 1.65 seconds. That's detail walking, that's irrelevant in the big picture. So I just noticed I learned over time is that we always bring myself back to the holistic view, and work there. All those details seem to solve themselves automatically along the way. Good. So yeah, that's a little recommendation of how we can use what we know about traditional ways of producing today to our advantage.

Let me just tell you a little story that I found very telling. It's a story of three music professionals. And they recorded a song and it was a really strong song. So they started mixing. So at that time, there was a professional mix engineer involved, and they got into it. And usually the way it works is that the mix engineer just builds up the mix from scratch. And towards the end, another musician comes in and give some feedback. And then the mix is refined, which we call revision process. So then the second mix is done from there, and so on and so on. So they keep working on it. And the mix engineer, very, very capable person, one of the best in the world actually kept working on it. And the musician was super supportive and full of ideas of what could be done better. So eventually, they found themselves are working on MCs revision number 91. I'm not kidding you. It's number 91. And at that time, the producer came in and said, What are you doing here? Yeah, we just work on the mix. We're making it better, we're making better. So the producer stepped in and said, Let me listen.

And then he said, Hmm, okay, awkward moment of silence afterwards, they said, Okay, stop for a moment. Go back to mix number two.

And it blew all the current mixes out of the way. That sounds like a bunch of amateurs, doesn't it? they wasted a lot of time trying to refine something with that zoomed in detail perspective. And they must have lost the big picture. And it took the producer to get that musician and the engineer to see the bigger picture. Can you relate to the story? Well, I definitely can. I've been in similar situations many, many, many times in my life. And this story No, I can probably lift the curtain here is actually a real story. And it evolved one of the best mix and recording engineers who has ever lived. Bruce Swedien. The producer who stepped in and as straightened their hands out was nobody else but Quincy Jones, and the musician you probably guessed it by now was Michael Jackson. So some of the most influential, most professional, most amazing artists, performers and engineers in the world fell forward as well. And it took Quincy Jones perspective to to get them back on track and help the musician and engineers to step out of it, look at the bigger picture and find a mix that might have had a couple of minor imperfections. But the big picture was just amazing. The song they were working on is Billie Jean. And I'm sure you've listened to it many times in your life and I still think it's one of the best pop songs ever written. And it's also got the most amazing mix and the most amazing production just you know the drums and the bass by themselves is worth a Grammy and Michael's performance. Nothing else to say you know the song you know how amazing it is.

So what I'm trying to say

As you all know, we're not alone with this, it happens to all of us that sometimes we get lost between the big and the small angle. And it's

it's natural for us humans to get lost in details. And as we do, we sometimes lose the bigger picture. And what we need is friends, to help us see the bigger picture again. That's why I'm recommending to you to involve your friends in production form small teams, and sometimes outsource certain parts. So one of the aspects that I definitely recommend outsourcing is the mastering process as mastering is.

Mastering is probably the hardest thing to learn. If that's not something you've done many times in your life, mastering requires the most experience.

It's what's the point where a lot of damage can be done by unexperienced people without being aware of the damage that is being done. So mastering is an art form, never allow anybody else to tell you anything else is nothing but an art form. And it takes a lot of technical understanding, and a lot of musical taste. To be good at mastering it takes years and years and years of experience. Also, mastering is one of the more affordable processes. Compared to let's say, booking a studio for recording for a couple of days, getting some mastered, doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. And I would generally say that it's probably the best investment. So if you decide to team up with somebody else, my tip would be not to spend the money for an entire album on mastering straight up, but maybe start with a single. And if you can save up a little bit of a budget, consider passing the single onto more than one mastering engineer and see what you get back. See it like an investment. It's not about losing money or being inefficient here, it's an investment and finding a teammate somebody to take the relay off you and race for, for your song, for the best outcome of your song. See what you get back. Now listen to the masters from an emotional point of view, you know, just focus on what does it make you feel when you get it back. And I would say that a good mastering engineer, obviously, will do you know, lots of sound processing or maybe just the necessary sound processing. But what I generally want from a mastered song is to get it back and to feel the music a bit more. So in my opinion, and some people may not argue against that. But my personal opinion, mastering is more about making things louder and brighter. What I really want from a mastering job is to get the song back and to have a layer removed, that allows me to feel the song better or things that cloud of the song should be gone. And and I want to feel the music more. And that is not an easy job to do. So I recommend to consider a professional mastering engineer as the very first step for building small teams.

Yeah, you can then also go into other steps such as editing. So when, let's say you'd like to consider, I don't know, let me pick something like tonic retro for drums or pitch corrector for vocals, there's a very good chance that you can teach yourself how to do that in your own dw. But also consider how good the outcome is, if you do it for the first time, chances are, there will be few oversights won't be just perfect yet, and how much time it takes you. And if it let's say takes you an entire day, maybe just maybe it might be worth hiring somebody else who does that professionally. Because chances are in two hours, they can get a better result than you could in entire day, if they are specialists in editing. And therefore you know, even if it cost a little bit of money, it might still be worthwhile. If you weigh this up against an entire day's work for yourself, look at it from this angle as well.

mixing of course is another story where it may be worth considering a professional. Gotta be a little bit careful here. As you all know, I'm a professional mix engineer myself, and it's not really about trying to sell my product to you. That's not what I'm talking about. But I would definitely recommend to consider professional mixing for everything that you want to release for eternity. So if it's just a demo to promote yourself for gigs in your local area, I actually would advise against hiring a professional for mixing. Chances are you can do a good enough job at home to produce a song or a demo that you can pass on to the local pub sent quiet gigs this way. So where would I draw the line? You might have heard about asrc codes, which is a digital code that helps your songs to be recognized in streaming platforms. And this code is also used to return

royalties back to you. My recommendation is that whenever you decide that your song is good enough to be published, with the intent of returning some money back to you, meaning making royalties, or having airplay, and so on, I think that's the point of time when you need to consider professional mixing, and probably also mastering because once it's out there, it's out there. And it's a wise idea to have a professional look over it, and make sure it's absolutely right.

I would prioritize mastering higher than mixing them. However, it might also be both. So yeah, for demo, don't hire professionals for professional release for a release that will have your name printed all over it publicly. For the rest of your life, definitely consider getting a mixed and mastered by professional. Okay, good.

So, where does this leave us now, as self producing musicians, we just noticed that we have so many jobs to do we know as a human being we can be a genius at every single one of them. I would recommend to take a moment and reflect and take a sheet of paper and write down your strengths and weaknesses. Which of these workflow steps are you really good at? And which ones are you not that good at. And then look for people who can further those gaps, build small teams build the mastering engineer that you always work with, because you just know that you gel so well, or maybe find yourself, somebody who can help with promoting, and so on.

Good. For the next few episodes, I would like to now look into the concept of the production timeline and zoom in on individual steps in more detail. I've got another interview lined up with my dear friends, Tom and Chelsea of skyrider, where we talk about the creative parts, and a lot about songwriting. And then I would like to take you further into the recording process, and editing and mixing and eventually mastering and also have an interview recorded already with my dear friend Shane, who is a bit of a genius about publishing and marketing his own music. And hopefully there will be a lot of valuable information there for you. But for today, I want you to look at your own strength, look at your own weaknesses, in all honesty, and think about how you can team up with others to get through the production quicker and more effectively. So the analogy of a relay race really helps me to understand now what needs to be done. And I think hope up this makes sense to you as well, you will find that once you have built a small team that the production time for a song can be significantly shorter. And I think this is a very important aspect here. Because time works against you. Basically from the moment you start writing a song The clock starts ticking. And what I've learned is that if we fall in love with an idea, this love just doesn't last forever, it's a bit like a teenage romance or something, you can almost tell that eventually you'll fall out of love with this song or this idea at some stage. And producing effectively means to produce fast enough to get it done before you fall out of love with the idea. While you're still excited while you're still full of enthusiasm. There's nothing more frustrating than producing a song that you actually don't realize anymore. And it's only halfway done and feeds like every step is an uphill battle. And that can be really demoralizing, it can really drag you down. So what I'm advertising for is a rather quick workflow, where you get an idea, you pull it together, you don't overthink it, you just go with the flow get into a flow state and one stage after another you just knock it out and get it done and move on to the next stage without thinking about it too much. Because when you think too much, when you have too much time to think about your editing, or your current state of the mix, then you might get lost in detail and again, and you end up just like Bruce Swedien and Michael Jackson adds a revision number 91 and it's still not better. That's the risk we're facing. So sometimes a good workflow to stay on track is to work rather quickly. And just keep going keep going. Sometimes you need to accept minor imperfections. And you know what, I even believe that minor imperfections belong to each song because it tells your listener something about you about your personality and people love that.

Okay, good food for thought. A good way to finish this episode for the day. If there was anything important if there was anything valuable in this episode.

For you, I would love if you could please recommend this episode to other friends may be recommended to people that you want to have in your relay race team. recommend this episode on social media please, if you're part of a musician's group, Facebook group or something, please do me a huge favor and post this episode on social media on the musicians forums so that hopefully more musicians will have listened and tune in and can share their ideas with us. Well, let me just say thank you to you personally, for tuning in today and being around and listening to, to me waffling about music production all day long. So I really appreciate this. I'll be back with more episodes very soon. Stay safe, stay mentally fit. Stay away from social media and too much news consumption and always look out for your physical and mental health exercise enough. Look well after yourself. Bye for now.

Episode 009 - Interview with Andy Bowles of “Pineapple Lazer”

Episode 009 - Interview with Andy Bowles of “Pineapple Lazer”

August 24, 2021

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How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this interview episode:

Self-producing musician Andy Bowles of the band Pineapple Lazer shares how he recorded their album in his living room - and how he captured fantastic performances with basic recording gear.

Also in this episode:

  • Letting a song ripen like a good cheese or a good wine.
  • Why Andy doesn't see himself as a guitar player, but as a guy who owns guitars to make sounds and noises
  • Andy's takes on creativity, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rage Against The Machine

Some links mentioned in this episode:

Follow Pineapple Lazer on Facebook

Follow Pineapple Lazer on Instagram

Pineapple Lazer - Alien Sound [music video]

Pineapple Lazer on Apple Music

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

Tags:

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #PineappleLazer, #Rock #MixedByYarnTheMixartist

Episode 008 - MIDI, keyboards, controllers, that weird number 127 - Everything you need to know to get started with MIDI

Episode 008 - MIDI, keyboards, controllers, that weird number 127 - Everything you need to know to get started with MIDI

August 17, 2021

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How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this tech-talk episode: Everything a self-producing musician needs to know to get started with MIDI production.

 

Covered in this episode:

  1. Input devices, from mouse to keyboard, to USB keyboards, pads and synthesisers
  2. Hooking up keyboards and synths
  3. Note number and velocity
  4. Why 127?
  5. #CC: The most important continuous controllers

 

Some links mentioned in this episode:

 

MIDI.org

 

Free Virtual Instrument (VI) Plugins:

Melda: Monastery Grand

Cherry Audio: Voltage Modular Nucleus

AmpleSound: AGM Lite II

Amplesound: Base P Lite II

Spitfire Audio: LABS

 

 

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #MIDI, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production

Episode 007 - Interview with Kathryn Ezzy of Darwin band “Kathryn And The Overbytes”

Episode 007 - Interview with Kathryn Ezzy of Darwin band “Kathryn And The Overbytes”

August 10, 2021

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How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this interview episode:

Self-producing musician Kathryn Ezzy of the band Kathryn and The Overbytes gives insight into how she and her band recorded and produced her debut EP in their homes - and how they achieved a phenomenal sound without using any fancy gear.

Also in this episode:

  • How to record and produce from home
  • How Kathryn recorded professional-sounding vocals without expensive gear
  • Kathryn's tips and tricks of file exchange between different DAWs.

Some links mentioned in this episode:

Follow Kathryn and The OverBytes on Facebook

Follow Kathryn and The Overbytes on Instagram

Listen to KATOB's EP 'Hindsight 2020'

KATOB on Triple J Unearthed

KATOB Interviews and EP reviews:

Stems and Multitracks: What's the difference?

 

Also mentioned: Flamenco Guitar player Francis Diatschenko

 

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #KathrynAndTheOverbytes, #Rock

Episode 006 - 6 Critical DAW Skills Everyone Should Master

Episode 006 - 6 Critical DAW Skills Everyone Should Master

August 3, 2021

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Subscriber Special: Apply for a Free Test Mix at mixartist.com.au

 

How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this tech-talk episode: Everything a self-producing musician needs to know about Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)

 

The 6 Critical DAW Skills that you cannot live without:

  1. File Management, sample rate and bit-depth
  2. Track types
  3. Monitoring
  4. Buffer size
  5. Recording basics
  6. Take management, basic editing

Also in this episode:

  • The pretty long list of popular DAWs
  • How to keep your studio computer running smoothly
  • Features of Audio Interfaces
  • Microphone signal, Hi-Z inputs, line inputs

Some links mentioned in this episode:

 

Ableton Live

Cubase

Logic Pro X

Mixbus

Pro Tools

Reaper

Studio One

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production

Episode 005 - Interview with Jesse Morris

Episode 005 - Interview with Jesse Morris

July 27, 2021

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In this interview episode:

Jesse Morris of the Jesse Morris Band shares how his 3rd album was produced in 2020. Jesse shares how he overcame the challenges COVID19 caused for the production, he talks about his production flow and shares tips and tricks.

Also in this episode:

  • Which signals to record in a studio, and which to record at home
  • How Jesse recorded professional-sounding vocals under less than ideal circumstances
  • Jesse's production philosophy, tips and tricks

Some links mentioned in this episode:

The Jesse Morris Band Official Website

Like Jesse Morris Band on Facebook

Listen to Jesse Morris' third album "Children of The Sun"

 

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

 

Tags:

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #JesseMorrisBand, #Reggae, #MixedByYarnTheMixArtist

 

 

Transcript (auto-generated by a bot - please forgive the occasional error):

 

Yarn  
This is the production talk podcast, Episode Five. Thanks for joining in again to the production talk podcast. It's great to have you on board again. Today I'm taking you for a little drive out into the Byron hinterland deep down into the rain forest where I met up with my dear friend Jesse Morris of the Jesse Morris band. For a really exciting interview that I've been looking forward to very much. Jesse is the singer and bandleader of the Jesse Morris band, and they're just working on their third record, which is a very exciting time to speak to him. And hopefully, we'll hear more about the upcoming release and all the details about the recording process and how we got there. So let's jump straight into my interview with Jesse Morris. So today, we're now at my friends, Jesse Morris house. Welcome to the podcast. Welcome, Jesse.

Jesse  
Thanks. Yeah, I think you picked a good time and my two magic children have gone out to a swimming lesson. And it's a rare moment of nice silence around the house and

Yarn  
quiet. Fantastic. Well, Jesse, thank you for making time for us. Would you mind to just tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical background and your musical career.

Jesse  
I mean, I've been living in the Northern Rivers for nearly eight years now. But before that, I'm from the inner west of Sydney, where I grew up. I grew up in eastern suburbs in mascot, and then did my high school in a new town Performing Arts in the West. And my dad's a Sydney blues musician. So I grew up in a house that had a recording studio, and he was a guitar teacher. So there's lots of guitars around, and I'm left handed, but I play right handed guitar because there's lots of right handed instruments in the house. And so yeah, right. That's probably a budget decision there too. Okay to teach me that way. And I think Have you ever tried to try left handed guitar? Yeah, yeah, it doesn't make sense. Now. Okay. Yeah. It's nice muscle memory for you. Yeah, exactly. Yes, Sydney was my, my first gigs. You know, when I my first band there and you know, spent 10 years playing with some, some of my dearest friends, we still do some musical projects together still. But then I had a long travel in the middle of that and ended up up here and found some wonderful musicians to play without pay that have become some of the best friends in my life also, now for the last, you know, seven or eight years. Fantastic. Yeah. Well,

Yarn  
the Northern Rivers is definitely musical breeding ground, isn't it? You know, there's so much creativity and so many. It's like a hub like a musical hub where everything just connects. Can you tell us about your your band at the Jesse Morris band? How long have you been together? And now How did it all start?

Jesse  
Yeah, well, when I was first forming a band up here, I formed it with my one of my musical brothers Rob Damascene. And Rob damascena. We're doing some QA gigs and looking for looking for a bass player to sort of grow that and Tom Kelly found us via a friend connection, saying that we were looking for a musician and and Tom has been playing now. With me for about six years, we're pretty sure we've done over 1000 gigs together. And even in amongst COVID, we we started to get some gigs again recently, we just did three the last in the last 24 hours. So we've done a lot of gigs together termini. Rob played with us for a couple of years, but he's travelled on across the world. And he's now Danny Melbourne. And, you know, I've had heard a lot about Hugh Jones as a drummer and seen Tom and who played together and they're a real rhythm section to be reckoned with. You know, they're the they're the powerhouse and so yet we got he was a drummer maybe four or five years ago. And the magic sisters Chelsea and Elena. Local horn players we met along that journey. And market power news owl. Live dubs? Mad scientist's I made in federal.

Yarn  
Yeah, right. That is where I live and we just had Maki on the podcast. Yeah. So he's an absolute legend. Yeah, part of the bigger musical family here. Okay, so Have you always been into reggae? Or have you experimented with other genres as well?

Jesse  
Yeah, I played lots of different genres, mostly in the in the roots, music space, my dad's, you know, blues player, that sort of 1920s finger style stuff is really his area. And so there's been times in my life when I've really focused on some finger picking old timey blues stuff, which I really love. And some of that's come out in in some of the music I've released. But I think you know, my mom listened to soul and you know, she had all the all the cool disco and soul albums and probably introduced me more to that side and funk and things and dad more had blues and rock and roll stuff in his record collection. And I think, you know, when I first heard reggae music when I was, you know, 12 or 13 some good stuff, and um, you know, that sort of married those genres together for me and made sense, you know, the messages to, to all people and, and it's, you know, powerful positive messages I never been 13 and playing in high school band and you know, we had a little repertoire Bob Marley songs that we used to froth on then that's probably the thing how reggae found my life.

Yarn  
That's where do I started? And and how would you describe the the Jesse Morris band today? You know, what, what's unique about your, your music? Sure.

Jesse  
Well, you know, I mean, I think every bit of music is unique in itself. You know, I don't think of us as a reggae band. I just think of them as songs. You know, and, um, I think that the songs with derivatives of African and Caribbean influence is probably the strongest influence on on my music, and a lot of the guys that I play with their music rooted in African and Caribbean roots, but there's

Yarn  
any artists names you could drop at the stage. Any, any of your personal heroes. Oh,

Jesse  
I mean, I think I think that, you know, I really, this last couple years, listened to midnight a lot, you know, and I love midnight, and that sort of, you know, something that I've only had snippets of in my life, but now it's like, I'm converted, you know, just the rhythms as hypnotic rhythms, you know, but records. I love listening to probably more like, you know, Fela Kuti. Yeah, it's probably stuff that I found in dad's collection early and still have on my record collection now. And you know, the African influenced stuff is probably the stuff I really froth on. Beautiful.

Yarn  
And you're the singer and guitar player and the bandleader and of the Jesse Morris band, and just tell us about your instruments. What guitar do you play? And have you got a selection? Which ones do you prefer?

Jesse  
Well, mostly in them depends on the shows as to what the guitars are that I'm using below. I've got a pretty magic locally made, we've electric guitar, which is claim, which is made from some some camphor and some scrap timbers and I really, really love that guitar. What's become part of my life now and it took a while for really gel. But now I love that guitar. And I probably use that more than anything else. And it's sort of a sort of a tele copy with, with a with a humbucker on the front pickup and a nice and a bigsby on the back. And yeah, starting to love that guitar, and acoustic guitars probably would have played the most, you know, over the years, and there's a wonderful Australian guitar maker could Roger lay, I've got a couple that have come out of his space. But they come via Dad, you know, one of them's sitting there, which is the Sasha Miko pembury, which is one of the guitar makers a drudge lays place and it was handmade in 1983. And, um, and I've got a July sort of bigger body guitar that was was 91 and made, and I've had that for about 20 years now. Well, they're probably the two special acoustic guitars, we've got a magic Japanese guitar, a URI that was handmade the year I was born in 1981. And it's a phenomenon I've just had all three of these repaired this year, sort of brought back to how they sound and they just feel so good about them now.

Yarn  
Thanks, Glenn. Fantastic, fantastic. That's great to hear. Good. So you've got a couple of records out. And I think you are now in the middle of the war and the finishing on the finishing stretch for your third album, is that right? Yeah. Just Just tell us about how this album came together. And you know, then came COVID. And I'm sure that's that threw a spanner in the works. Yeah. What What happened?

Jesse  
Yeah, we spoke about, at the time of us sort of starting this record, we had the material written, we're just sort of looking for the space and time, I was doing some work for the local legends, one vision, a local, not for profit, who, who's make hip hop music and music videos with them at risk youth at schools and a bunch of local legends as helping them out in their office a few days a week, couple days a week, um, I traded some time for some studio time. And so sort of made a decision for the next thing we're going to release that we wanted to work with Paulie be up at yamanouchi for the mix, but that we would track locally with them with our local crew. And then opportunity for the studio came up for me to trade some time for that. And so a couple of weeks free during school holidays, when nobody was going to be in there. We could use that time. And then we just needed someone to come in and check the drums with us and we rang you Johann and you're in Sydney Ray Nathan stanbro and a couple other brothers locally Eric, big shout out to Nathan. Yeah, legend, capital, legends, and Eric as well. And luckily our friend Jarrod Kurth was free. He was a wonderful drummer for the band sons. Luke plays drums with us sometimes. So we got Jarrod to come and check those drums with us. In one vision, rhythm section there got some really good takes, you know, we spent a few days solidly on it.

Yarn  
How many songs Did you record there? Six, six songs. And how many days in the studio did you spend?

Jesse  
We did four days on drums and bass. You know, one day for setup. And then another three days of tracking basically means two songs a day. Yeah, yeah. I'm not full days more like, you know, full days can be a bit trying. We try not to do that anymore. More that sort of six hours, six to seven hours. Yeah, that

Yarn  
makes perfect sense. Yeah. Okay. And what are the other segments recorded? No, we just had a listen together and obviously had guitars and keys and bloods of percussion and horns and backings and vocals. And yeah, probably a few things I missed abs, of course, was all that produced. Yeah, well, we

Jesse  
still got the horns in the big studio just before COVID. And most of them nearly all the lines in and we used some specific gear that was in there. And then COVID kicked in, and we had to think about recording the rest of the horns, vocal parts, dubs, keys, guitars, and you know, all of a sudden, we're all in our home spaces. And so we moved into into home recording spaces for all those from our various studios from all of us as players, I managed to borrow some of the gear that I was using in one vision to make up for some of that time because they weren't using the studio. And so I had access to a focus, right, I say one FF one of these, it's like a single channel out of it in epic discs. In the one unit, which I think was, was just becoming a real highlight on the recording. So I'm very lucky that we've got to use that one. Lovely preamp. Yeah. So from here at home, we were using four one fours mostly. And I've got a 214. But um, which we're using right now, by the way, and it's a lovely Sony microphone. Yeah. I mean, they're great, especially for that price range. It's you know, if you're only doing things that are going to be fairly close and 180 degrees, I think it's it's a good mic, but I was able to borrow the 414 from there as well because nobody was using it. So I had access to the to the Focusrite I say and, and the 414 for a few weeks. And so I just got straight into recording pretty much when I was at home, literally right here where we are now and this year, and you recorded all the vocals there. Yeah, vocals were done here. I guess your guitars as well. guitars, we're done here. I

forgot to mention earlier which MTG play for this album.

I've got supro Singh under that bag there that's I've been really loving the last couple of years. It's just super bright, strong, plenty of headroom clean, no noise, but halfway through recording here that actually started to play out. And I replaced all the tubes waited for the slow, mild to happen, you know. And it wasn't a bird, some bird some of TK and waited for more to turn up. And that didn't fix the problem. So I know that anyway, I'm going to send that out to get fixed, it's going to be a couple of months away and during COVID probably even longer. So I ended up I ended up borrowing a Fender Princeton and trying that out. Lovely. And then I ended up buying one to finish the guitar. I liked it so much that I knew I was gonna be able to borrow it for the, you know, for a month or so. So I've got a Fender Princeton now that I really like fantastic. Good for recording. Yeah, small size, and it's got that beautiful Fender reverb. So most of the skanks on the album are done on the Supra. And a lot of the sounds are done on the on the fender Princeton

Yarn  
fantastic. And and we were the horns recorded at your place as well or at Chelsea's house, or Yeah,

Jesse  
the fishing of horns was done at at Chelsea and Tom's place. And they've got some nice mics, and yet some good production gear. I'm assuming they're gonna be on one of these podcasts.

Yarn  
Yeah, I haven't asked him yet. But sooner or later, hopefully, if I get them in front of a microphone, there's probably a lot of this guess. Nice one. Good. And we just you know how to listen, just before we started this podcast, and it sounds phenomenal. So whatever you did there, you nailed that in our in every aspect. So I really can't wait for for the album to be out. Is there a release date or write at least a rough idea? Have you got a rough idea

Jesse  
is a rough idea. But I mean, it's difficult to make those release date plans at the moment because for us the release date, we want to we want it to be that you know, and so I think we're going to hold out till to probably midway through next year, towards the end. We'll release a couple of tunes in the new year. Okay. So there's at least a single or two and we'll start working on on other aspects like you know, some film clips and some remixes. And I think we'll hold out dropping the album until midway through the year so we can go and play some places where people can dance. When people that had to dance again. Absolutely, it's

Yarn  
very danceable music definitely. Say, can you tell us a little bit more about your your home studio? How would you describe now the gear and there's room to the listeners?

Jesse  
Yeah, well, I mean, this is just a room in my house. It's the spare bedroom. That's always my music space, and my little office space where I would practice or playing gigs, or hang out with the kids and play music. And, yeah, and since it's a room, my house right in the middle of the house, in between all the rooms everywhere. And the beautiful thing about it is that the window opens up and I can see outside into the rain forests. And that's quite magic, and definitely where I am, there is no roads nearby, it's a kilometre down to my driveway. So that does help. I think that sound the obstacle of having to magic young children from my partner and eyes That house is often not so quiet. So I do a lot of the music work here through the night. Okay, now, um, and you know, and that's, that's sort of workable, because my family or sleep a few rooms away in the house.

Yarn  
Yeah. Right. So you need to constantly balance the noise levels. And

Jesse  
yeah, that's probably an obstacle, but, but a lot of good creative things come to me at night so that we're okay. So there's not a bad workflow for me. And the space itself. I mean, after I borrowed that I say, one for from the one vision crew, I just fell in love with that as a as a tool. And for me, I'm mostly going to be recording one thing here, I think I'll only be recording one thing. So I think that's, I ended up buying one, you know, to finish the album, because there's still more things to do. And I wanted it to match up. And I thought that's a piece of gear I'll probably have for 20 years. And so I've got a Focusrite iaasa, which goes out into my PreSonus ar 12 desk that sort of does the digital conversion, and then straight into a math book with, with Pro Tools on it. That's, that's my process, pretty simple, you know,

Yarn  
which means that you actually have to be the musician and the creative and the songwriter and the producer, and also the engineer all at the same time. So you're probably wearing quite a few little different hats. Is that right? Yeah. Well,

Jesse  
I think I think I wouldn't say that. I would say that I was the one of the tracking engineers, you know, that's probably what my credit could be. Definitely making sure that it gets into the hands of of, of producers with your level of skill Yan to finish the album's because I know that I can track some things. But I still think that even in all this process, it's still worth honouring those that have spent their time with those instruments a bit longer to you know, to take those things that attract, I think getting a good sound through a good mic and a good preamp is achievable. You know, I think some of the rest of the stuff that comes in with producing takes time,

Yarn  
I couldn't agree more look, in my books, it's all about getting it right at the source. And you know, it all comes down to the performance. So now once you've got this magical moment where the performance is just spot on, it almost doesn't matter what microphone it is almost almost. I usually find that most things you can fix later with plugins and software. The only thing you can fix is performance. And you know, once you've captured the performance, that's just where the money is. So have you been just looking around here it looks like this room is almost cube shape, and no acoustic treatment. If you go buy the books is the worst sounding room possible. And you still managed to produce a fantastic sounding record in this room.

Jesse  
Yeah, I think that the vocals are a little vocal screen. That's, you know, it's tiny. I mean, that'd be what, 40 centimetres by 30. High, and it's a cheap one. But that does enough of a job to be able to sing into. And I put that in the corner there in the corner of the room. That little vocal screen and for the guitars Actually, I like that the bit of the room reverb that's on there, you can hear it, you know, and I actually really enjoy that. So I'm okay with recording those things. I think if we tried to do horns in here or saying that was you know, super bright, we'd have to we'd have to put a little wall up or something. That'd be tricky. But yeah, work for vocals and guitar

Yarn  
are fantastic. That's really good. And do you remember what microphone you use for the guitar cabinet?

Jesse  
Yeah, I use the 214 on our guitar cabinet. Yeah, yeah. Okay for all of the takes and then also for the vocals the vocals are used I had that for one for borrowed. So I continued using the four and four except for a few harmonies at the you know, that I added in later when I no longer had that I used the 214 did you sing all the harmonies yourself? No harmonies were majority. Tom and Chelsea and Elena. Yeah, Tom and Chelsea. Recorded They're parts from the home, they live together during lockdown. And then once they were allowed to have visitors legally again and Elena came around and recorded hers there to actually, because Elena doesn't have she's in the middle of moving and she doesn't have a studio space at her place at the moment.

So basically one studio at one vision, which is a fairly basic studio for remember correctly is the writer. Yeah, they've got a couple of really nice pieces of gear.

And and an A treated room and a control room. So it's sort of a two room studio. Small and size. Yeah, you just fit the drum kit in there in the tracking room. And so yeah, we did bass and in the control room and guitars I did in the kitchen, just outside the studio.

Okay. And then the rest was literally recorded either here, or at Tom's place. Yeah. In two other home stories,

and also down in coffs Harbour. Marquis. Yeah, added some depths. Yes. So Marquis had live dubs on on all vocals, snares and horns, and amazing Emerald beach, down on the cliffs coast. They're

Yarn  
lovely place. Good in say, there are probably a lot of musicians out there who are in the same boat. Have you got any advice for them to know when they're struggling to produce at home? Any suggestions and advice to share?

Jesse  
Yeah, so I think for me, you know, having that having one good preamp, you know, really simplified the process, you know, and you're not trying to use the, you know, the mixer or the external soundcard and then using the gear that's in there later, that one good preamp just does all that, you know, straight from the signal in that's a good tool to have. And I you know, I've always been a believer in you know, in just having one good mic that yeah, that's that's why the use of consistent across all those things. You know, one good mic one good. preamp is really all you need.

Yarn  
Definitely, definitely. You track it all without any additional gear like compressor so so was just literally microphone preamp. Then now through your mixer converted and straight over to Pro Tools. Okay, and say, Please don't take any offence, but how old is the computer? Did? Did it run through okay? Or did it play up? You know, it looks like it's an older model.

Jesse  
I've got a MacBook Air. Actually, I've got a Mac tower behind you. That's,

Unknown Speaker  
that's it, I

Jesse  
love that computer. But I'm, I'm gonna be talking to you about it after the podcast about where where we can get it fixed. Yeah, definitely hated my life. And we can do that we can definitely do that. But that's, that's, that's 2015 at the tower, but I know that's fairly recent. I want to get that back. Back working the MacBook Air is it's not that old actually. I think it's 2016 Okay. But it probably looks like it's a bit older because it's often sits in the bag travelling around for competitors you know, the rule of thumb is you don't use mountain applicators to record with their right and um, and I actually have had little to no problems using it. You proved everybody wrong, but you put it off, but I am aware that you know, as soon as I started dropping some plugins into Pro Tools, things can change quite quickly. But again, it goes back to my method of I prefer let other people mix my tracks you know, I come up with ideas here i can i can track them and you know, comfortable with that. But you know, I leave I leave the mixing to to an engineer Okay,

Unknown Speaker  
that's definitely Why is it here can be very frustrating to to mix if you don't have that experience yet.

Unknown Speaker  
Yeah, the experience and I think also from my own process is also you know, having another set of ears away from you know, someone that's written the songs and also then track them all and and had the same listening is that whole time through that it's good for somebody else to say yes depart their not only their knowledge and wisdom, but also a fresh Listen, you know, okay,

Unknown Speaker  
and say was was poorly involved early on in the project, or did you just, you know, record all the songs start to finish and dumped all the fires on him? Or did he give you some input on the arrangements and you know, whether there were any verses to be dropped or anything like that.

Jesse  
Now, we had reached out a couple of times, over the last couple of years and just been around poorly at festivals and things and it said, you know, we need to do super keen to do some tracks with you. And, you know, he was came and said, to find the space and the time and so we just connected that, that we wanted to track ourselves. You know, they're written finish songs, and then and that we're looking for him to do the mixes of our of our tracking and whether it'd be happy to work like that, because, you know, wanted to make sure that we also, you know, honour a process that he was comfortable with, you know, and he said he was going to be happy to, because he, you know, heard the songs and knew that they were finished songs, you know, ones that we'd written, performed and played and, and ones that people knew that, that he was happy to take them like that, you know, us to track and he would, he would then work with them from there. He's made some some nice calls and adjustments and drop outs in places we didn't have a drop out in and, um, and has done that sort of additional production that, you know, that also wasn't expecting that's really made things a little bit more special that we've already adopted into our live show. Now, fantastic. Yeah, I think the decision to work with Paulie B was also just, you know, he's worked on a lot of albums that I really, like really dig, you know, things like Kingfisher and magic Bobby or Lou album, that's, you know, that I'm frosting on at the moment really like his his work. And he's playing, you know, he's good player.

Yarn  
Amazing. Say, and do you mind sharing whether the songs were recorded on a click or not? Yeah, we

Jesse  
record with the click. Yeah, I think partly, it's because all of us are just used to that, you know, and that's the thing that we've done a lot of, but also, we want to be able to use these tracks in the environment of sharing with our electronic music producing friends. And we want them to be able to be remixed and, and different versions and stems. And so I think if you've got plans to do other things with them, and and there's also other opportunities that come in, you know, to do with, you know, people that create other content and being able to use some of that material in those spaces. If you want to do that, it is a lot easier if it's recorded to a click, but it also we've done a lot of recording that way. So the process feels a bit more comfortable to us. And a big thing from listening to someone midnight the last couple of years is I just went out that's a big thing for me, is it really nice, precise timing.

Yarn  
I listened to only two songs earlier today, and they sounded really tight. Now the rhythm section is perfectly locked in and that she can't help herself but Bob your head, you know, there's no stopping that career. Fantastic. So where would people be able to find out more about your your band? Where can they go to to listen to your music? And where can they buy the upcoming album. So yeah,

Jesse  
we normally direct people to band camp. You look up the Jesse Morris band on there, our last album that we made with you yarn. Thank you, brother, my pleasure made. And we we've got that available on all the places you can go just about anywhere to find that. But we prefer people to go to band camp because the money gets more direct to us. And you get it on Spotify and all those other places, being able to Spotify isn't always the best place to support local bands. Yeah, I

Yarn  
fully agree with that. And Spotify is also not the best sounding place to go online. They're definitely better places to go. And a couple of months ago went to see a friend in studio in Sydney. And they had a title on that computer. So we just wanted to listen to some music and I just open up one of the songs from the Shakedown which is your previous record and was just really amazed to see how under you know critical studio conditions so that actually sounded exactly how I expected it to sound and you don't necessarily get that from from Spotify unfortunately I wish they would improve the the quality the playback quantity a little Oh, Untitled does that. It title is definitely the winner for me. Between those. Yeah, amazon prime is definitely very nice. But there are also a lot of players online streaming services that actually sound really shocking. And SoundCloud is one of

the interesting how how widely SoundCloud gets used? Of course, yeah, of course. Yeah, the quality is, is low.

What was the studio that you're visiting? That was Fourth Street studio. They are associated with universal, and they do a lot of hip hop and pop productions. They're nice space. It's a lovely studio. It's phenomenal. absolutely phenomenal. We recorded some videos there. So there's actually videos on YouTube maybe I could put my I've seen your show some of your your series. Yeah, yeah, I think it was just mumbling about compression or something like this. And that studio. Yeah, I remember seeing this space. Yeah, there was a phenomenal studio. So great space to be in and Yep, your record sounded great on those speakers. So that's really good to see if you choose the right player. Title, okay. Yeah, title is not the most popular one. Definitely not. It's a bit of an underdog but to my ears. It definitely sounds better than Spotify buy Long, long one. Good. m Have you got a website where people could buy or buy merchandise directly from you?

Jesse  
Yeah, yeah. Jc Morris band.com.au. And you can link to that from social media. You can find some of our current stuff t shirts and CDs and things. You know? Yep, that's probably the new album will be bandcamp. And it'll be via our website. Yeah.

Yarn  
Fantastic. Okay. Well, Jesse, thank you so much for for your time today. pleasure to talk to you. And I wish you all the best for the upcoming album. It's an exciting time. So you know, you've already sold a copy to me. I'm gonna buy it though. No matter what, that's for sure. And you know, I've listened so far, you know, to two songs and they just blew my socks off. So I can't wait to hear that. And I would definitely make another announcement once it's out to our listeners. So everybody knows. Thank you for your time today, Jesse.

Jesse  
Thanks, brother. Always a pleasure to hang out with you bless up lessons to the family. Cheers.

Yarn  
So that means we have reached the end of this episode. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. That means the world to me. Also, thank you very much to narrow enough alchemy audio, who helped out with the editing of this podcast episode you rock man. Just before you move on, just make sure to please subscribe to this podcast. And if you believe I deserve so I would love to read your five star review that would really mean the world to me. Thank you so much for considering that. And I'll speak to you again in two weeks time. Thank you, everybody, and bye for now. 

Episode 004 - Tech Talk: Let’s talk about gear!

Episode 004 - Tech Talk: Let’s talk about gear!

July 13, 2021

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How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

 
In this tech-talk episode: 

  • As a self-producing musician, what gear do you need?
  • Purchasing advice you won't hear from the retail store. 
  • The best band-for-the-buck - what you really need (and what you don't!).

 
 Also in this episode: 

  • Which one is better, Mac or PC?
  • Did you choose the wrong DAW?
  • Keeping the computer running smoothly
  • Audio Interfaces 
  • Understanding monitoring when recording (that %^&* latency!)
  • Signal types, and input types

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

#music production, home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #DAW, #audio interface, #preamp

Episode 003 - Interview with bass player and dub-artist Marky Power

Episode 003 - Interview with bass player and dub-artist Marky Power

June 29, 2021

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How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this interview episode: 
 

Professional bass player and dub-artist Marky Power shares his secrets for musical groove, performance, producing at home and online collaborations. 
 
 Also in this episode: 

  • Marky's gear for live and studio
  • Workflow tips and tricks
  • Working off the grid

Some links mentioned in this episode:
 
Marky Power on Facebook

Dub Shack on Facebook

Dub Shack on SoundCloud

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #bass guitar, #dub mixing, #dub shack

Episode 002 - Tech Talk: Your Microphone Locker

Episode 002 - Tech Talk: Your Microphone Locker

June 15, 2021

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How to Subscribe, rate and review this podcast (in less than 40 sec)

In this tech-talk episode: Microphones, microphones, microphones

Microphone types and technical differences. 

Get the best bang-for-your-buck with just 4 mics in your locker. This combination of mics sets you up for recording almost everything without breaking the bank, from vocals to shakers, acoustic and electric guitars to drums to stereo rooms.

Microphones explained - by Yarn

Also in this episode:

  • The strength and weaknesses of dynamic and condenser mics and how to best use them in your home studio. 
  • Tips for aiming mics, and how to use the rejection angle.
  • How to avoid pop-sounds and plosives 

Some mics mentioned in this episode:

Rode Microphones

Sennheiser Microphones

Shure Microphones

Electro Voice RE20

James Hetfield, using a handheld SM7B in the studio

Contact the podcast host Yarn at mixartist.com.au

 

Podcast artwork by Tom 'Chubbs' Boundy

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #microphones, #microphone techniques

Episode 001 - Welcome and Introduction

Episode 001 - Welcome and Introduction

June 1, 2021

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Introducing your host: 

128360402_10157647829070848_78783617878601047...

Jan 'Yarn the Mix Artist' Muths of mixartist.com.au 

 

In this episode:

 

  • Hold your money! Cheap vs expensive gear 
  • Musicians, and the many hats they wear 
  • Room acoustic, and what you can do on a budget 
  • Haas Delay: Why you shouldn't use it in production 

 

Podcast artwork by Tom 'Chubbs' Boundy

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #microphones, #microphone techniques

 

Transcript (auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error):

 

Jan "Yarn' Muths  
Welcome to the production talk podcast with me yarn of mix artists.com know you? In this podcast series, we celebrate the modern way of producing music. We want to talk about all things related to songwriting, recording at home and music production. So if you produce your music at home, this is the place to be. Please subscribe and recommend this podcast to all your friends.

Hello, and welcome to Episode One of production talk. Production talk is a podcast about music production and the 2020s. We want to talk about everything that is relevant to producers who record themselves at home, in their bedrooms in their rehearsal rooms. And we want to talk about the ongoing shift away from big recording studios to more home production in bedroom style makeshift studios. My name is Yann. I'm a sound engineer, I've got about 20 years of experience in recording, in mixing in some mastering in all kinds of areas in the industry. I've also worked for a very long time as an educator explaining the ins and outs of audio production. For a couple of years, I was the manager of custom zero 75 where we build large scale analogue consoles, that was a fun time. Nowadays, I run mix artists.com.au, which is a specialised website for mixed on services. And I've noticed over time, that most of the productions that are received nowadays are actually not recorded in our large scale studio under acoustically perfect conditions. But more and more productions come in, they were recorded in home studios in garages in rehearsal rooms, sometimes in community halls and all kinds of locations with a very simple gear. Effectively, musicians bring their computers and all interface a handful of microphones and just have a crack at it. And the quality of these productions is actually quite respectable. So I thought, I would like to launch this podcast to give everybody a little bit of help and support along the way. Because of this one thing for sure. You don't need to spend big dollars anymore to produce your music nowadays, you can do a lot of things with very basic and simple gear. However, on the other hand, if you don't record in a pro studio, you don't have the help and advice from professionals around you. And this can make producing yourself at home, a little bit of a loan some experience. And sometimes it can be frustrating if things don't really work out as expected straightaway. So in this podcast, I'd like to share all my experience with you so that you have a better understanding of how to produce. And I would like to model everything that I'm talking about here around the problems that my clients see when they when they produce at home. So in other words, I've looked at all the mixes have done in 2020, and all the things that are struggled with and some of them are simply a little recording oversights that made it really hard in the mix later. And those are the little things that I want to talk about to make it better and easier for everybody to record at home. Good My vision is to make this podcast a go to place for musicians who produce themselves all over the world, to find information, to have their questions answered, to get inspiring insights from interviews and subjects that we want to cover. And my goal is to get you to a place where you are very happy recording yourself at home without any big problems or frustrations. Along the way, we want to talk about a lot of technical details. So I would like to answer questions about ironore. Things like samplerate that cause a lot of confusion, bit depth and all the technical bits. But most importantly, it's all about capturing yourself as the performer and capturing performances right. When you talk about somebody who's experienced like myself, where's that actually coming from? So if we just look at the work experience and take this apart for a moment, it's actually people who have experienced all the mistakes one can possibly make and found their ways around them. So if you think about the path from songwriting to a finished project, and visualise this in your mind, there are lots and lots of little stepping stones along the way. And every single one of them means you can make good or bad decisions. And an experienced producer is somebody who can navigate through all of these little Steps without making bad decisions and just keeping it on a good track. Yeah. And that's why I want to share all the mistakes that I've made in the past. And I want to tell you what I think is important. There are definitely lots of resources out today that focus on all the wrong things and sometimes give people the impression that in order to produce yourself at home, or you need to do is buy the most expensive plugins and learn all about sidechain compression, well, nothing against sidechain compression, but there is a place for it, definitely. But that doesn't mean everybody needs to do that. And the simple solutions, in my opinion, are usually what, what makes a recording really phenomenon.

So yeah, and that's basically how I approach production in general. And also my mixing that I just try to fix you know, or to do things with the least amount of effort or the most basic means first, I know about all the complex solutions, but I leave them only for when I really need them. And this is probably the first bit of wisdom that I want to share with everybody. Keep it simple, as people like to say keep it simple way you can. Good. But before we go too much into detail, let me just tell you a little bit more about myself. You've probably figured this out by now I have a pretty thick accent and I'm guilty as charged. Born a German lived for the first 30 years in the northern end of Germany in Hamburg, where I started as a musician. I played the drums for for many years played in many different bands, a lot of punk rock and metal and things like this in those days. So for myself in recording studios watching these two big reel spinning and you know the big boards with all the knobs and pots, and got really excited about all of this and at some stage decided that as a drummer, I'm was probably not quite talented enough. I should rephrase this talent is a really strange term. Let's say I wasn't dedicated enough, that's a better way to phrase it, I wasn't dedicated enough to make a decent living from from being a drummer. And there were so many other drummers who were so much better and more dedicated than I was. So decided to switch careers and basically swapped sides got off the stage. And to the other side of the room behind the console. I studied sound engineering in the late 90s in Hamburg, and immediately after made myself self employed to start my own little business, which has gone through a lot of different challenges, ups and downs. But yeah, it's been going ever since. Then, in 2006, I got a job offer in Australia, dropped everything that I owned and rushed over and started a new life. And that's been the very best decision of my life. I met my wife here, I've settled down on the East Coast, have hundreds of friends here, the most amazing music, musical community around me. And I feel really blessed to be here and speaking to you today. So, over the years I've produced well, hundreds of songs in the studio, I definitely have lost count in small studios in really big fat, large studios under most challenging conditions with the most crappy gear sometimes or the most amazing gear. And what I've learned through all of this is that in the end, my mixes always sound like me, even if the gear that I used was a little bit dodgy, eventually found my way around and shaped the sound again to sound like, like me. Sometimes it's harder, sometimes it's easier, but in the end, the outcome is always a mix that sounds unmistakeably like like yours truly. So and that made me think about the importance of really expensive gear. So do you really need to buy yourself a $10,000 vintage tube microphone, I would definitely say that there's a place for it and some people should do it. However, that's not the majority of us.

Most of us can achieve really, really good results with you know, cheaper microphones and cheaper gear. So I'm a big advocate of keeping it simple and I would literally go as far as stating a really controversial bold statement that in 2021 any gear you buy, let it be your computer, your audio software, which we call a door, digital audio workstation, audio interfaces, cable smartphones, all of this gear is apps salutely phenomenal, I don't think you can buy a bad sounding interface in 2021 anymore, there are probably some that sound better than others, but the degree is fairly small. And even for a fairly low budget, you get an interface that has a very low noise. next to no distortion, and if gain stage correctly will give you an absolutely clean, transparent tone, that can definitely be mixed into something great. And the same with microphones. If you just buy some standard microphones, we'll talk about your microphone locker in another episode, you can definitely produce yourself at home. So in other words, the gear is no longer the limiting factor, in my opinion. What is is the performance, the headspace that the musicians are in? Definitely the room acoustics? Those are the things that that cause trouble. So what do I talk about here? What what are we talking about when I talk about your performance, you're probably here because you're a musician, and you consider yourself being a good performer. And that's exactly where we need to start, that's something we that we should take for granted that you love playing music, and that you're very happy with your performance and that you're ready to record. So now visualise yourself in a room with your instrument with your microphone, if you're a singer. And you really dedicate yourself to the music and you start playing or singing and getting into the Spirit. And at the same time now you need to be recording engineer and suddenly there's a little pop up window, a driver issue or your produce crashed or something happens. And suddenly you're out of your musical bubble. And you're focused on downloading the latest driver or rebooting your computer or whatever this may be. So the real challenge today is to be two things at once to wear two hats to be the performer and also the recording engineer at the same time. And that's, I think, a real problem. Because staring at screens and having all the visual cues and the colourful plugins and all of this can hear or suck you out of your musical little blissful bubble and drag you ever so slowly and consistently into the world of logical thinking about driver issues, ones and zeros and all the problems that you may face. And I think this is the most limiting factor nowadays that people simply struggle to, to record themselves fluently and effortlessly. So that they can actually focus on the performance again, and there's a lot that can get lost along the way of being a musician. So my first message to you today is please please please, if you find your musical blissful place where you perform just from the bottom of your heart, hold on to the space and never allow your recording gear to interfere. And that's a really, really difficult thing that's a much bigger problem, then the slightly higher noise floor of achievement to face compared to a high price audio interface. So at least that's my take on it. And along the line and this podcast series, I would like to talk about lots of workflows, I want to talk about how to make the recording effort as simple, effortless, and easy as possible. Good. The other thing that I spoke about just briefly was the room acoustics that you might be recording at. And that is definitely a point that we need to talk about. And we'll probably go into more detail in future episodes. But if there's one thing for certain the recording studio in your in your area will probably have a much cleaner and dryer and neutral sounding room to record and then you might have in your rehearsal room or at home.

And that can be a good or a bad thing more often than not, it's actually a good thing to record in a cleaner or data sounding room. Like I'm recording my podcast right now it's in a really fairly treated room that doesn't have too much reflections and noise and interference. If you ever tried to record at home with a window open and you listen later, you might hear with your headphones on all the little things that were going on in the background that you didn't even notice when you performed but the microphone captures is and why you can tune out of it while you sing or perform your guitar takes later when you listen back. All these things pop up again. And then they're in your way and might cause some trouble. So more importantly than investing a lot of time and effort into your recording gear. First focus on the room acoustics and see what you can do. So can you work with the windows closed does it get To what, maybe you just need to record for 20 minutes at a time and then you know, open the windows to air it out for a moment or bring the temperature down. All of those are methods that that will lead to better results in, have a good listen to your microphone recordings, maybe take a microphone, start singing for a couple of minutes and then listen back with headphones on what you recorded. This will give you a really clear idea of what else you can hear what else but your voice you can hear. So can you hear reflections from the room? Can you hear any echoes? Can you hear flutter echoes or some harsh sounding reflection sometimes from tiles or glass? All of those are things that you may want to consider is that always a bad thing, but make yourself aware about what's going on. Attention Attention. Some of the sound examples demonstrated in this episode require decent headphones or stereo speakers, on cheap earbuds, phone speakers or in noisy environments, you may not be able to hear much difference in the announcement. To demonstrate the difference acoustics can make. I'm going to record the in different rooms in my own house. Let me take you for a tour. This is the sound of my bedroom. It's about a four by four metre bedroom. Not very big. And this is about the sound you get at what is this about, let's say 20 centimetres distance. And now you're listening to the same microphone in my living room. The next stop is our bathroom. You can probably hear the reflections in this room, it sounds quite different. And at the risk of sounding like a real weirdo. I now took the microphone to our tiny little toilet both. It's not even a metre wide. It's maybe one and a half metres long. And you can probably hear the sound of this enclosed space. It's really weird. How much ambient noise Can you hear? Is there any traffic noise present? Can you hear secara? Or the sound of the ocean? If you are lucky enough to live close by? All of these things are not stuff you should consider at least. So think about it. What do you hear? And what can you do about it? I found that every once in a while, certain sounds can be magic in the background. So I've done some recordings in the Byron Bay hinterland in in Australia, where during the day, the temperature rose and suddenly this ecard has kicked in and provided this background noise fairly loud. Now off of cicadas, which ended up being an old recording, there was not much we can do about it. And there's no point trying to Aniki with that from the recording. So we just had to deal with this. And it actually turned out to add a certain beautiful magic a really natural feel to to that recording that I really like. So let's call this a lucky accident. The same might be the case if you can hear the ocean in the background and you do some beautiful acoustic guitar recordings, maybe maybe that could be just the magic that makes it a little bit better. However, the same will probably not apply to the sound of a highway or busy industrial estate. So be very careful what's going on the background and choose a place to record that gives you the right vibe. If for whatever reason you hear room problems, let's say

unnatural sounding or unpleasant sounding reverbs or echoes in the room. Now it's time to play with your microphone and everything that you have at hand. So just do a couple of tests and point the microphones into different directions of the room, there's a very good chance that it may not make a big difference, but it will give you a bit of an idea of what the surface is that causes the most trouble. Often windows and tiles or metal feeds can sound really unpleasant and hard. And that's why you should probably start trading the room. so thick curtains, mattresses, anything that absorbs sound can help and it's comes down to experimenting and taking a day or two to just putting up things in the room and have a little recording, have a little recording and test how that changes the sound of your recording and play with that. And yeah, just a day of experimenting with probably help you to understand what's going on acoustically and how to take control of acoustics and shape it into a way that that suits your music. And the principle is always the same setup. Probably evoke a microphone, sing for a minute recorded and listen back on headphones and then change something do the same thing again and listen back on headphones and then compare and see what makes a difference what doesn't know. Try to move with the acoustic treatment around to different places and see what a difference that makes this little trick, this little effort that you put in before you start recording can make a huge difference. The difference that makes to your your music is something that is of a magnitude that it will dominate or will be bigger than anything I could possibly tweak in the mix. So with all my EQs and plugins that I have, I could not possibly make such a dramatic effect on the beauty of your music than you can by shaping the sound of the room. That's something important to consider. And once you've got the solder, the choice of a microphone almost becomes secondary, I have to say almost because microphone choices are definitely not irrelevant. However, I found that once the acoustics are controlled, the effect of a microphone becomes well let's call it less offending or not not as big a contributing factor. Or we talk about microphone choices. In another episode when we talk about your microphone locker and all the details there. Good, okay. Another thing that I would like to briefly talk about is a production trick that I've seen many times last year. It's a trick that is advertised in hundreds of different YouTube videos, and it's discussed and forums left, right and centre, and I can't stand it. It's called the half delay. It is actually causing more trouble than good in many situations. And it goes as follows. The The story is that in order to achieve a bigger, fatter sound, you simply record your guitar vocal or synthesiser line or whatever this may be.

Then you take the recorded channel and duplicate the channel. And then you simply take the mouse and drag one of the two a little bit to the right or to the left by well as some people say 20 milliseconds, others say 30, sometimes 50. Sometimes a depends on the source you read. And then you pan one of them hard left and the other one hard, right. And what you will immediately hear is quite an impressive theory effect, which is also known as half delay. Although I can see the advantage of it, it will cause major difficulties in the mix stone. Because we live at a time where the majority of listeners will actually listen on very inferior playback systems. Well love it or hate it, there's nothing we can do about it. And I really wish everybody would listen to a really awesome stereo system and in a nice sounding room. But the fact is, most people listen to the iPhone earbuds, sometimes even their phones are crappy in both speakers, or what a lot of people do nowadays is used as mono Bluetooth boom boxes. And here's the problem with that when you use the Haas effect with identical copies panned hard left, right, but one of them is slightly delayed. Once that model sums, it creates a really nasty effect that is called a confidence effect. I imagine that some frequencies cancel each other out, which leads to a dip in the frequency response. Rather than having all the frequencies we have some too loud and others are way too quiet. And this is an ongoing effect that carries on many many times across the frequency spectrum. And Yep, let's make a little demonstration for how a confidence sounds on my voice. Attention Attention. Some of the sound examples demonstrated in this episode require decent headphones or stereo speakers, on sheep earbuds, phone speakers or in noisy environments, you may not be able to hear much difference in the announcement. This is my voice clean. This is my voice with Haas effect hard left right penned. And this is my voice with Haas effect of montsant and the resulting conflict or effect. Well, this can be a desired effect sometimes for creative reasons. It's probably not what people intend when they want to use the Haas effect for wider fat asterius sounds. So my recommendation is don't use the Haas effect by simply copying a file to another channel and delaying it a panning instead simply pick up your guitar or your synthesiser or whatever your instrument is. open up a new channel, record enable and record the same thing again. This is called double tracking. This is a little demonstration to show you how double tracking works. First and foremost, I would prepare one channel and get that ready for According then I'm going to perform the same sentence. Now you need to replace this with your musical phrase, of course, and record this on the first channel, which I'm panning to the left ear. Let's go for it. This little recording is just a friendly reminder for all our listeners to please subscribe. Good. Okay, now that I'm done with the first take, I would then prepare this second channel, a new track, and piano to the right ear and record enable. And go back to the beginning and listen to the same thing again, and record that again. So this little recording is just a friendly reminder for all our listeners to please subscribe. Now let's play back both together. This little recording is just a friendly reminder for all our listeners to please subscribe. I hope you could hear that this is quite an impressive stereo effect. And I really like it that way. But how does it behave when it's monopod? Let's have a listen. This little recording is just a friendly reminder for all our listeners to please subscribe, you could probably still hear that they're both still clearly audible. At the same time, I

don't hear any of the nasty comfort or effect. So when I have the choice, I always prefer a double tracking over the hostility effect. That is because when you perform the exact take again the second time, you will play some things a little bit differently. I will call this human imperfections a certain node might be slightly later, the next node might be slightly earlier. And maybe notice a little bit louder than the previous take or a little bit quieter. There's a constant change between the two. Although it's identical performances. They're not 100% identical. And the difference is what I would call another human error. And that is actually a good thing in my books. And the key point is that this difference is not consistent. It constantly changes. And that's what makes it work better on Bluetooth speakers. So please take a little mental note. The double tracking effect is absolutely amazing and anything that you want to sound big and powerful and thick. Think rock rhythm guitars, think metal guitars thing. Thick pads sounds. You can also think about backing vocals or no almost like choir or gang vocal sounding effects. You just can't get the same effect from a monitor steerer plugin or harsh effects. Instead just double triggered two times four times eight times. I guess that depends on how powerful and thick you want it to be. And that actually will give you a much much better sounding result. Okay, the Haas effect. Please don't use it in recording. It's a lazy way out it doesn't sound good to my ears and in the mix up. Always pull a better result when I have doubletrack takes rather than the quick and easy way with copying something over to create a heart effect.

Okay, thank you so much for being with me today and listening to my first episode of the production talk podcast. Big thanks to neron of alchemy audio for helping with the editing of this episode. I would really love to have you again in two weeks time when the next episode comes out. This time we will speak about your microphone locker and what you may have already and how you get the most out of your microphones. If you liked this episode, please recommend this podcast to all your friends. And if you believe I deserve so I would appreciate a five star review. That would really mean the world to me. Thank you so much for that and speak to you soon. Bye for now.

Production Talk Trailer

Production Talk Trailer

May 24, 2021

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Introducing: The Production Talk podcast with Yarn of mixartist.com.au

I have over 20 years of music production experience that I'd like to share with all self-producing musicians. 

Please subscribe and explore with me: 

The Modern Way of Producing Music

Starting June, 1st 2021

 

Podcast artwork by Tom 'Chubbs' Boundy

 

#music production, #home recording, #recording, #mixing, #music production, #microphones, #microphone techniques

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