Are your mix sessions a case of happy accidents or is there a creative intention to them. Here are some ideas that may help you get more from your mix sessions.
- Make sure you know what the track is trying to achieve, irrespective of the fact that it is one of your own tracks or one you are doing for someone else. If you don’t know what the plan is and the target sound and feel you are trying to get then how will you know when you’ve got there?
- Make sure you know the track inside out before you mix it. Lyrics, structure, melody, instrumentation, if it’s for a client, then get some track notes to make sure you don’t miss the lead break or the second vocal track which someone turned off before they sent you the session.
- Know your gear inside out, it is pointless having a rack full of hardware or a folder full of plug-ins if you don’t know what to use when and how to use it. Top producers and engineers know exactly what to reach for and when.
- Look after yourself. Take regular breaks, and eat and drink during the mix session. You need to give both your mind and your ears a rest; if you think that you’re going to get a great mix by slaving over it for 12 hours then you’re a better man than most. On that matter if you do work with studios and producers then give them the same space. The best studio sessions I’ve found myself in have been run by producers and engineers who take time out during the sessions. Tiredness and hunger do not get good results.
- Have fun, try out some new ideas. We all have our drum sounds, our guitar tricks, vocal reverb but don’t impose them on every track you create or indeed on client tracks, be open to new things.
So in summary, those are the things I find help; have a plan, be prepared, know your stuff, stay healthy and have fun being creative. What do you find helps? Let us know.