Pushing through objectivity in the mixing and mastering process to maintain your voice & vision.
I’m going to say something, many will disagree.
“Everybody has an opinion, but when it comes to art only the artist’s opinion matters.”
Cue mass discord and bellowing boos. Bring it on bitches. As if I’ve never faced criticism or had to handle a naysayer. I’ve spent the better part of my life active in visual & performing arts, the other half on various day gigs that involve problem-solving. One thing we can all agree on is everyone has an opinion. Unless someone’s opinion is hidden deep within a good story, I could care less. My interests lie in the inspiration and the story locked within the song itself, the rest is noise.
Understanding what you don’t want is as important as knowing exactly what you want in just about every situation. In this case, I had no idea how important my involvement was during this phase of production. Now I know. Just like in the visual arts, the final steps to completion during the creative process are the most important. I’d venture to say this is true when creating any work of art. The final finishing touches are the defining steps, it’s what separates the men from the boys. Where some are comfortable with handing it off, I am not. For starters, it’s way too personal, and secondly, it’s hands down the best part of creating.
Mistakes can often be our best instructors. It’s all right to admit you don’t know something. To find yourself in the wrong. It’s how we learn. Continuous improvement. I now find myself mixing and mastering with the help of Universal Audio’s Apollo x8p system. The plugins at my disposal are some of the most powerful in the history of recording. I may be naive and stupid for trying, but this same self-awareness and confidence were what helped me pick up the guitar in the first place. It’s the same gut feeling that gave me the balls to step up to a mic and sing my first original. This feeling tells me to go for it, and learn. If the first release doesn’t work, then there will be others. Thousands of more to come.
When you get to the heart of it, this conversation is not about opinions. It’s about maintaining needed control throughout the creative process. Hearing an off mix was the catalyst that helped me embark on a road to demystify the mixing & mastering process. I’m learning and improving output daily. I’m way better off than I was a month ago, many assumptions have been replaced with hard research and action.
From where I’m sitting in my mix room, the road ahead looks damn good.