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Saturday, June 16, 2018

#Musicproduction: Improve Your Mix By Thinking Live

The impact on your music by thinking live, let us say DJing

The music that I'm working on often originates from moments that I experienced while DJing. Understanding that special centre of gravity that pulls the rhythms, melodies, dancing and feelings together is very helpful while producing in the studio. The more I listen and play, the higher I reach knowing what I'm really trying to find in my own productions. It generates producing far more natural afterwards. I'm also learning a lot about the importance of delivery. The creativity behind DJing is the same creativity behind arranging a track. The challenge is determining how to create different people alongside the same sounds and having it understood, appreciated and enjoyed. The more I listen and play, the higher I reach knowing what I'm really trying to find in my own productions. It generates producing far more natural afterwards.

Do you think about how frequencies might interact in a larger room while you're making new music?

Everytime I venture out to dance or to DJ, there's always a training to be learned about music and sound. The fact that I've mostly been playing out and creating experiences in relatively small venues affects just how I consider music. That's why I feel like the sort of house I've been producing these past years often feels intimate. Certain genres of music have been established across the spaces they had a need to fill. I can't escape the influence of the places I enjoy going to. Everytime I venture out to dance or to DJ, there's always a training to be learned about music and sound. So production wise, I try to work on nuances, respecting dynamics – that is where rhythms become captivating. Thinking about how sound travels is considering how people will answer the music as well.

Do you test your own production in a live setting? If so, how does it inform your final mixes?

It helps me work out how a tune occupies the area, if it feels overloaded, or if my intentions in the track are clear. I'm definately not being truly a sound engineer, and I often don't allow myself to enhance the amount in the home, so playing out my own, personal tracks is just a satisfying and telling experience. I quickly realize what I had right and what I have to work on. I'm definately not being truly a sound engineer, and I often don't allow myself to enhance the amount in the home, so playing my own, personal tracks live is just a satisfying and telling experience. When you're working on your own productions, do you consider how they will interact with a 3 band or 4 band EQ on a typical DJ mixer? I don't consider any particular mixer, but by playing on various equipment, I learn more about the keeping things. In production, considering this natural structure of sound leads to the very best results on any gear that's useful for playing back the music.

Can there be specific frequencies you avoid because of how they sound while DJing?

It always is dependent upon the audio system, or the function of the room. Certain styles of music are more appropriate for a certain kind of room. There are occasions once you show up at an area and there is absolutely no low-end, the music then needs to fill out what works best with what's available. An empty room is the most difficult challenge, and leads to the most drastic decisions in selection. But once an area is packed, you've got a lot of bodies to work with. An empty room is the most difficult challenge, and leads to the most drastic decisions in selection. But once an area is packed, you've got a lot of bodies to work with.

Is there specific frequencies you reach for in the studio because you know their effect on the crowd?

I don't feel that there is a specific magic frequency that will always work in virtually any scenario. But I've to express that in my experiences, the human voice is the most powerful sound. Playing a tune with strong vocals at the best time in the night creates a push and brings people together as a whole. In the end, the human voice is perfect for communicating.

Do you ever hear interesting overlaps between two songs when you're blending that you then apply to your own productions later?

The pleasure in blending songs is that you're creating conversations between two different entities. Often, by making two different people talk together, interesting ideas or conflicts emerge. Those dialogs influence what I'm personally wanting to communicate in music. The outcome will in some way have an effect on the sounds that I'm trying to find when writing. I don't feel that there is a specific magic frequency that will always work in virtually any scenario. But I've to express that in my experiences, the human voice is the most powerful sound.

How does playing and hearing your tracks outside of the studio help to inform your production and mixing decisions?

DJing, on probably the most basic level, is playing your own personal music, or music generally speaking, in a room. So there exists a huge benefit to hearing how certain frequencies react in numerous rooms—whether it's cement, steel, brick, wood; or perhaps a small room vs. a large room. It teaches you a great deal about the area you need your sound to occupy. It tells you how harsh a volume may appear on a larger system or live space. And it tells you what parts of your tracks you do not desire to leave 100% listenable… Maybe you want to leave a certain stand out frequency in a monitor as it reacted well in a larger room—like leaving something somewhat harsh in the mix to create that reaction again the next time you play it.

What is the benefit of referencing your mix in the studio versus hearing it elsewhere?

To be able to really hear your music, you've to listen to it in other spaces besides your studio or even on a shitty audio system once in awhile. Headphones and monitors in a treated space are very controlled scenarios. Music reacts to the area that it's in. Good production and mixing takes all rooms into account. A better mix means hearing it outside of controlled environments like your studio. Music reacts to the area that it's in. Good production and mixing takes all rooms into account. People in an area is needed too. A track may appear good in a small space with modest amount of people however not sound so good in a massive space that's packed. They're all items to consider while you're producing. It could make the difference between selecting a certain sound over another or applying one process over others.

Can you talk a little bit about how frequencies behave in a live setting?

Frequency range and dynamics certainly are a huge section of music in a live setting. As an example, hi-hats that are slammed with compression are super harsh in the high frequency range. So they're really hard to combine and blend with other tracks which have lots of information in those frequencies as well. Needless to say you are able to EQ around that in a DJ setting, but having some dynamic range that unfolds as time passes creates an even more interesting production. Maybe you keep it super compressed in a single part however not in another rather than slapping a converter with the same settings generally track. It let's it breath only a little bit. Dynamic range that unfolds as time passes creates an even more interesting production. This technique works especially well at the start and end of a monitor because it generates tracks easier to work well with when blending.

So you approach processing and effects as elements that unfold over time the same way you'd approach arranging and progressions?

Arrangement is only part of making your track interesting. Compression, EQs and other processes could make your track more interesting as time passes as well. Certain frequencies are very fatiguing if you hear them over and over. Anything that goes out of the rut is a plus in regards to getting the perfect mix. So you could take a routine that repeats—like hi-hats for example—and adjust the dynamic range for every hit to create it more interesting and less fatiguing to the ear—so you use that varying range to create it less repetitive although it may appear like you're still hearing the same sound. But they're only things you get hearing whenever you blend two tracks together or when you're mixing something in a large space, however they produce a huge difference. Playing tracks in spaces apart from your studio teaches you these reasons for having your own personal productions. It is a whole new way to discover about your tracks and how they behave.

You briefly mentioned live EQing when your DJing, could you talk a bit more about how that can translate to studio techniques?

Yeah, I mean using EQ to construct intensity is a pretty common DJing technique that may be put on producing music in the studio as well. As an example, on a monitor that I was just focusing on, for the first minute and a half the kick drum has the majority of the low-end rolled off so it's pretty weak. Then slowly the low-end kind of ‘sneaks'in and all of an immediate the kick becomes super present. That is something you'd do while you're DJing as well—cut the reduced for somewhat and leave everyone wanting it. The low-end kind of ‘sneaks'in and all of an immediate the kick becomes super present. So elements from DJing are actually an easy task to fold into the particular production of a monitor in the studio. Little tricks like this build anticipation. When things aren't full frequency you supply the listener some slack from certain aspects of the spectrum. So when that specific frequency comes back in it's a mental experience. The listener was really missing that section of a monitor without knowing it. You forgot that frequency existed for a second. Something as simple as bringing a particular frequency back in becomes powerful and surprising. When that specific frequency comes back in it's a mental experience.

So are you always testing your unfinished tracks in a DJ setting to see if your choices are having the desired effect?

If I'm focusing on a monitor and I'm playing soon I'll often bounce it before it's finished and play it out. It lets you know a great deal about what sort of track is going to sound when it's done. Sometimes I'll think, “oh that part sounds awful in this room,” so I'll blend it with a monitor I am aware will sound good and observe how they interact together to figure what I need to fix when I'm back in the studio. If you compare your personal track to a monitor that you realize and love and play all the time you will find out what's wrong together with your track pretty quickly. It's almost like live mix referencing.

Have you ever thought one of your tracks was really bad, but after playing it for a crowd you realize it's much better than you suspected?

Yeah needless to say, sometimes you play one of your tracks and you think a particular part was way too loud when you play it. But then you definitely wear it and the crowd reacts in a truly positive way, that provides me most of the assurance I need that the track is mixed right. If you're able to put yourself in just about any situation that's outside a controlled environment such as for instance a studio it's super beneficial. Something that takes you out of the rut is just a plus when it comes to getting perfect mix. Sometimes I'll even return to my mix and enhance certain parts that had an optimistic effect on a crowd before the final mix down. If you're able to put yourself in just about any situation that's outside a controlled environment such as for instance a studio it's super beneficial. Something that takes you out of the rut is just a plus when it comes to getting perfect mix.