(This actually happens quite frequently, and the lesson is pretty valuable.)
I’m working on mixing/mastering an EP for a client.
He lives overseas, so all our communications are over email. I mixed a couple of songs and sent them over to him for review. He gave them a listen and quickly replied with a list of things he didn’t like and changes he wanted to make.
Okay, fair enough.
(Honesty time: I always want clients to say “It’s perfect!” on the first mix, but that almost never happens. Revisions are a part of the process…even if it stings a little.)
I was taking the following day off from work (family day!), and I planned to work on the mixes the next day.
I woke up that morning to find an email from the client that said, “Joe, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I suddenly love the mixes.”
He went on to say he listened to them maybe 30 times and played them for his drummer (who freaked out at how great they sounded).
He had a few minor adjustments for me, but told me to forget about all the original “complaints” from his initial listen.
Now, it doesn’t always work this way, but there’s something going on here that you should be aware of.
When you’re very close to a project (i.e. you wrote, performed, and recorded the songs), your brain is used to hearing the song a certain way.
Anything that sounds different from the way you’re accustomed to hearing the song will sound “bad” at first.
But before you scrap everything and start over, give it some time.
Like my client, you may find that it takes you a day or two to be able to really objectively listen to the mix and make clear-headed decisions about it.
Sometimes your “Mix 1” will be amazing. Sometimes it will be the worst thing ever.
Usually it’s somewhere in between.
Mixing (like anything creative) is about making lots of mistakes and then recovering from them.
That’s what my new Understanding Mixing class is all about. I walk you through my mixing process, and you’ll see me making all sorts of mistakes, then going back and fixing them.
That’s what makes these videos so valuable. You get a real, non-scripted, over-the-shoulder guide to what it really takes to mix a song.
If you want to join in on the fun, we’re working on drums this week. You can get started by joining here:
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