My journey to a mix engineer
As a kid I was drawn to the sounds of records like Led Zeppelin II, Sergeant Pepper, Days of futures Past, etc. I would sit for hours and separate the instruments in my mind. I can remember this clearly. The howl of the harmonica on “when the Levee Breaks.” The low end on “Come Together.” The Beyond trance of “Whole Lotta Love”. The way the sound of song makes you “feel” is as important as the song material itself. I was drawn to the songs, but I was MORE drawn to the art & sound of studio recording.
When I started to write and produce my own music over 15 years ago, I almost instantly started also on my journey to mix. Back then, I had a vision for my songs, but was not able to get the sound and vision for my material extracted by working solely on the artist “side of the glass”. What helped me is my background in aviation, so signal flow and the tactile nature of pro audio equipment and use, came easily to me. This turned into a burning passion to learn as much as I could about recording equipment and mixing and has led me to where I am today.
Along the way, I learned from the best: Eddie Kramer, Geoff Emerick, Chris Lord Alge, Bob Clearmountain and Michael Brauer are among my greatest influences for the sound they create and the methods by which they achieve those tones. From the multi bus compression technique of Michael Brauer to the hard-hitting compression approach of Chris Lord Alge, I have benefited from the wisdom, skill and approach of these “masters of the mix”.
Recently I had the incredible fortune to work directly with Eddie Kramer on my own material for my upcoming release (Break to the Grey). Eddie Kramer’s approach to production and embracing “imperfection” to create “believable mixes” is a philosophy that I embrace. Often today, because of technological advances in digital recording, productions come off too perfect and lose vibe. Eddie is responsible for some of the greatest rock records ever made, including, All 4 Jimi Hendrix studio releases, Led Zeppelin & the Beatles, to name a few. “Cleaning up” a session is important but knowing where to “leave the song be” is where the magic hides. Artful comping is also the key to great mixes, in my view.