eMusician Mixing Pros
Mixing a song is like driving on a very busy and confusing freeway. There are lots of choices and decisions to make, and an incorrect one will send you off in the wrong direction. You’re surrounded by bad drivers (unfocused producers and egocentric musicians), who can definitely delay your arrival. Bad monitors are like potholes, and distractions abound, all threatening to destroy your concentration and set back your timetable. Misleading signs are everywhere, and a moment’s hesitation can lead to a nasty accident. Getting to your destination will require a good road map; fast, accurate decisions; and a will to win.
So how do the seasoned vets of the mixing world survive this chaos day in and day out? I corralled three of the best and asked them. Of course they have great equipment, but take it from me: if Roger Nichols, Tim Palmer, or Dave Pensado were working in your home studio, they would still get a great mix. Using their ideas will get you where you’re going much faster, and the ride will be a whole lot smoother.
Tim Palmer is a modern-day scion of the British sound who works on, as he says, “everything from Goth and metal to pop.” His extensive credits include U2, Tears for Fears, Pearl Jam, Ozzy Osbourne, Faith Hill, and David Bowie, among many others. When we spoke, he’d just finished mixing a live album for singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and a project for the subversively glam Kill Hannah, and was packing for a trip to Finland to work with HiM.
The perennially busy Dave “Hard Drive” Pensado is continually in demand by R&B and pop royalty. If you watch music videos or listen to the radio, you’ve likely heard some of his chart-topping mixes such as Pink’s “Get the Party Started,” Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and “Dirrty,” and the diva rendition of “Lady Marmalade” from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, which featured Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, and Lil’ Kim.
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