Mixing Contest: Jealousy
I needed a great singer for last November's pureMix NYC masterclass with Mick Guzauski so I called Brandi. She had already sung on a Stolar event with pureMix and she said she'd love to do it with one of her songs. None of the songs she sent me were quite right for the occasion as most were already recorded or works in progress and we needed fresh material. After a little nudging, she sent me a snippet of an iPhone recording of her sitting at the piano figuring out a new song called Jealousy.
It was very very raw. Just a couple bass notes, a melody and some lyrics. I thought "perfect song to start from scratch while 16 people are watching and cameras are rolling!" I suggested it, she agreed to it, and that was that until the morning of the seminar.
I had called a set of badass session players knowing that we had to go from zero to finished song in 8 hours flat, talking and explaining along the way and working with Mick Guzauski as an engineer as opposed to my traditional "I do everything myself" system. Not a simple task.
We had Graham Hawthorne on drums, Spencer Murphy on bass, Michael Valeanu on Guitar and Julian Pollack on keys. Both Graham and Michael were flying in from out of town and landing at different airports at 10 and 10.30am. There was very little margin for errors.
After listening to the iPhone "demo", we created a song out of the snippets, on the spot, everyone in the band chipping in ideas around the piano as they arrived from their respective trips. Then we looked for an arrangement live in the room. It took a couple hours from the "press play" moment on the iPhone to the last cymbal hit of the first viable run through. Old school. Efficient. Everyone was pleased.
Then Mick set up the microphones, did his gain staging, got his sounds, and we were off and running. Everything was tracked using the rack of Neve 1081s at MSR Studio A and we monitored thru the SSL console.
This version is the best single take, the one that Mick mixed the day after. We overdubbed vocals and a couple organ and keys parts but the rest is one take of the band killing the song.
What you hear on the stems is pretty much where we were at the end of the tracking day. No quantizing, no edits, no tuning. Boom.
Gotta love New York City players.
Have fun mixing, it's a creamy one.
This contest is now over. You can click on the Winners' tab in order to listen to their mixes.
Leave a commentPost
Wasn’t that a fun track to tackle? It’s proof that even when the stem are impeccably recorded by a world class and legendary engineer it’s not that easy to turn into a coherent record.
The winners were the best at keeping the tracks true to their original nature while giving the vibe to the song. puReTom got a great space and took the most classic and period accurate route on the sound of the track, Jwelshman got the best and most modern and punchy drum sounds and Mingar got the mellowest and most natural take on it. They all work.
Till next time,
Congratulations on each winning a license to Frei:raum by Sonible. For those who didn't win, we've worked out a deal with Sonible to offer all 1-year pureMix Pro Members an exclusive 30% discount, head to your My Discounts page for more info.