Mixing Contest: Last Train
I had worked with Julien Hohl, head of the French Label Deaf Rock, on the Colt Silvers record ( Check it out, it’s fun). The record came out great, we had fun, we became friends (It does not always happen, no matter how great the record comes out), so when he called to tell me that he was taking care of this other French rock and roll band called ‘Last Train’ I took a minute to listen. He wanted me to master their next record. I liked the roughs and I agreed. And then they got delayed in production. A lot. And then some more. And then a little more. And then I forgot about it.
And then, he called me on a random Thursday to tell me they were touring the US and that they were going to ‘swing by’ NYC on their way back the following Monday. We decided they should come to Flux for a hang, it’s customary.
In reality, they had a plane layover at JFK for a few hours on their way home from LA’s leg of the tour. Over the weekend I had decided, for some unknown reason, that it would be a great idea to test our shiny new live streaming equipment (and mojo) once more by doing an impromptu live show with them and to broadcast it live in real time. Something we had never done. I told myself: I own a 70s Neve console, they are a rock and roll band, sounds like a good match.
So, they got off their red eye flight from LA, showed up at Flux around 10 or 11 am and we began to set-up for the 1pm broadcast. No nets. No smoke, no mirrors.
They were troupers, tired but patient. I set up mics and console hookups as fast as possible when they showed up while the pureMIx crew still organized the live broadcast. I’m not sure why I had not prepared the setup ahead of time. Maybe something in me could not believe what we were doing and could not believe it was going to happen: live broadcast of a band I had never heard live or worked with before, sight unseen with no rehearsal, no knowledge of the songs and no idea if what I heard on the couple roughs was real or, you know, doctored. So when the doorbell rang, it became real.
We had a 45 minute sound check interrupted by light and HDMI issues and lots of questionable French jokes. There were no monitors, no headphones, no cues. I wanted to capture them live as if they were on stage, same energy, same reflexes. Plus I had no time to do anything fancy, prepared or not. A cue mix is another full mix to generate if you are going to have one, and I was told they had a plane to catch. I did setup a single Focal speaker to provide the singer with some sort of support for his voice. I flipped the phase on the signal sent to it so the mic did not ‘hear’ that too much. I don’t think the singer cared whether the speaker was on or not. He just sang. We had no time to beautify his feed anyway.
The others just heard each other in the room acoustically. I’m pretty sure they could not hear the singer. And I’m positive they did not care. The first note they played all together in the Flux studio live room was the downbeat of the broadcast.
That’s a manly way to spend your LAX to CDG layover at JFK. I’d say.
The set was a riot and a raging success. Those guys are exceptional musicians and more importantly an exceptional band. They played the Flux live room with no physical audience with the same energy, guitar shaking and no holds barred stage antics as if they were at Madison Square Garden.
People on the other end of the live stream loved it and no one knew that these guys had not slept and had a grand total of 6 hours to spend in NYC. Round trip shuttles to JFK included. If you have a few minutes to spare, go see the show. It was quite badass. It shows that these guys have been playing together since they were 10 years old.
Stems for this mixing contest are taken from that live stream. Raw. As is. (We always record separate tracks because you never know.) It sounded great live with no reflection time, no space bar, no complicated routing, so you should be able to make it sound rocking with endless amounts of free time to tweak around, Right?
Any complaints about bleed will be taken harshly and reported to your mothers.In the words of one of the last true audio philosophers (Vance Powell):
‘Bleed is your friend’
Put that on a t-shirt and wear it. Have fun.
Check out the song on the archived LIVE show (video starts at the introduction to the song):
This contest is now over. You can click on the Winners' tab in order to listen to their mixes.
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Not only was this song recorded live with the band all in one room, it was also one of the longest and most dynamic songs we've had on a Zelab yet. The winning mixes did a great job of maximizing the impact and raw-ness of this hard hitting rock track! Thanks to everyone who entered and we hope it was a fun learning experience to mix something so hard rocking.
These 3 pureMix Pro Members killed it, each in their own way:
Congratulations on each winning a copy of Eiosis e2deesser