Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Mixing Process

All summer long, I have been working with Brent on the mix of my new record.

All summer long?!

There was a time when I used to experience the mix process rather seamlessly, it seems. I remember gathering with the band around the stereo. Everyone would take notes. I'd compile the list. We'd get notes from Sally Van Meter and other pros. I'd email the engineer. We'd get the next round of mixes. The band would gather again.

I do recall having some tricky situations on the road. I remember sitting in a guest house in Aspen, explaining some mix tweaks to our engineer; we were en route between gigs in Aspen and Telluride, and the band was anxious that we'd be late for sound check in Telluride.

I remember trying to listen to the master "ref" (reference CD) at our campsite at High Sierra Music Festival, which was located between three loud stages blaring rock music. I had my earbuds in place, and I desperately tried to check the "ref" and call Bill Wolf and explain some tweaks. Wolf then Fed-Exed a ref CD to the festival office!

The next stop was the Grand Canyon. The band sped off to see the Canyon, while I sped off to the Visitor's Center to find a pay phone (cell phones didn't work there at the time). I called Wolf to explain some final tweaks, even though I'd never seen the Grand Canyon.

Talk about never being in the moment.

This time, it's not touring, though. I have found that, even if I'm home all day, I still have to have some major organization in place, just to listen to the mixes. One Sunday morning, my cousin Shelby met me at the park and played with Jack while I raced home and listened to the mixes.

And a few Fridays ago, I'd tried in vain to get the kids to nap at the same time so I could listen to the mixes. So when I picked up my friend Cassie to go to Costco, both kids fell asleep in the back of the car. We popped in the mix and took some notes. We were about to take the exit for Costco, Cassie blurted, "Keep driving!" We drove 30 miles past Nashville just to listen to the mix; when Jack woke up, he said, "Where are we going?" 

I've found that my ears are dead if I try to listen after the kids go to bed at night. So this morning, as I am visiting my parents in Deltaville, I skipped the family boat ride to get what I hope are the final notes done. Cora stayed awake and cried the whole time.

Wish me luck. I think this is really it.

The mix, 2005: Hit & Run's campsite at High Sierra Music Festival, CA. I listened to the final ref with earbuds, here, in between three stages featuring jamband music. 
The mix, 2005: I spent our time at the Grand Canyon on a pay phone in the Welcome Center, explaining our "tweaks" to Billy Wolf. There was no cell service. 

The mix, 2012: Can we concentrate on our work, when there is a cute baby on the beach? 

2012: It's a little hard to focus on mommy's mix when we can be doing this.