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When I was first creating music as a teen, I would do whatever I felt when I mixed, I had no fear, no method, just feel.  None of these mixes were as they should be, but many of them were very vibey.  Then I met a producer who mentored me 5 years and taught me all kinds of things about mixing.  None were very easy to implement, but his ideas of sonic correctness, creating space, making room, what eq does, what makes a good mix, what makes a bad mix etc.  These ideas went whirling through my head, I decided "he makes good productions, he knows what he's talking about" and began implementing such ideas when I mixed.  I'm not saying these ideas were bad, but they took over, and I lost something.
 

My mixes just got worse, and worse, and worse, I began to fear mixing, feel it was never ending, and never release my songs, I am still kind of at this phase, but I'm nearing the end of it.  Recently, I've begun asking God to show me what it is I'm missing in my mixes, and whether or not you believe in the source this is how He has been changing my thought patterns and I'm hearing improvement.  I feel like rather than the rigid philosophies that my producer taught me, the philosophies I get through faith are more life engaging and freeing.  So here are some things I believe I have learned.  They are true for me, and apply to me, decide for yourself if they may be true for you.  

 

1.  Do not FEAR your controls and do not believe in "perfection".  There is no perfection, there are vibes and you are pulling them out of the frequencies you have to work with.  If you strive for perfection you will nitpick and pull yourself out of a creative and inspired mindset and into a scientific and rigid one.  Fool around, play with the controls, have fun, see what can be done.  You can't screw up what isn't right yet, just be sure to remember anything you may want to get back to before you tinker with it.  

 

2.  PAINT.  Every sound has a shape, a thickness, a weight, a color, a coolness a warmth, a tone, use these to paint a picture.  Rather than focusing on one single instrument at a time and thinking "How can I bring that out" or "I want to hear more of the umph of this sound" or trying to emulate things you imagined in your brain, try to listen as a whole and paint a picture.  Once you get it in the ball park volume wise, what kind of picture do you have?  Is it flat?  Hollow?  Not giving you a feeling?  Boomy?  What do your ears want to hear, and I don't mean idealistically.  It's not what your brain wanted to hear when you wrote the song, or imagines on the radio, what does your brain want to hear from the real sounds coming out of your speakers.  

 

examples:  There's no rhythm, I'm not feeling the beat.  It all sounds apart from each other, there's no congruency.  My voice is piercing.  

 

3.  MIX FROM THE HEART.  If you are trying to emulate something you've heard or a band you want to "beat" or your motivation is to be the most "slammin" or "poppin" or whatever it is, you are probably not being very realistic and not getting very good mixes.  Center yourself, be honest, quench pride, now listen, and pull out something that is compelling.  This is your chance to make yourself feel something from your creation, come to that with reverence, awe that you are allowed to do something so expressive and wonderful and now see what can be done!  See what can be done!

 

4.  LEAVE NOTHING OUT.  Keep a watchful eye over your whole creation, don't let anything go left amiss, it's easy to think guitar and bass or voice and piano are all there is and then Mr. Hi Hat or Ms. Snare are destroying your whole world.  Be conscious of your entire creation from the commanding guitar solo to the sprinkles of a shaker.  You can liken this to the love you would put into fine cooking or building a home, love your entire mix.  And if you don't love a part?  Get it out, and replace it with something you do love.  

 

5.  KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.  Your brain is a divinely created machine, but it is still a machine and one that isn't even functioning at high capacity!  (various reasons, wrong thinking, state of the environment, health etc)   Sometimes the desire to finish is so strong that we keep going even when we know we aren't having fun, aren't feeling it, we're tight.  It's always good to stop then, even if it's 5 or 10 minutes, just be peaceful, let your brain stop straining, get back to the essence of your song, all of mixing should be a joy, if it's a chore, stop.  

 

6.  LISTEN HONESTLY.   Sometimes I find myself mixing as I think about other things, mixing but focusing on the sounds and not the feeling, and the whole time I'm telling myself "this is sounding pretty good, it's going alright, I'm making progress"  but in reality I'm aimlessly making changes, mixing but not LISTENING.  You've got to let your song take you on a journey, that means learning to space out, not having expectations, not dwelling on the last moment, not anticipating the next, but LISTENING.  This is also a huge part of hearing the voice of God but that's for another blog and possibly another forum ;)  But yes these principles apply to life but they apply to mixing as well.  Being in the moment, having a still heart, closing your eyes and being taken off on a journey, this is how you will know if you are really getting what you want.   I think sometimes it's easier to just pretend the journey is going how we want and not listen for fear of disappointment, but if you have faith you can correct the problems and achieve your goal, it's the only way to truly know what's wrong.  You have to be unafraid to close your eyes and objectively listen and see if you are happy with the journey you've created, if not, don't fear the correcting process, it's how you grow as a mixer.  You tinker, honestly, and are unafraid to acknowledge the flaws.  And DON'T be afraid to re record, sometimes you can't make a sound work because the sound ITSELF doesn't work.  

 

7.  KNOW WHEN TO QUIT FOREVER.  A mix can always be changed and made better, but usually by the time you have something you can really live with (if you're being honest with yourself and it gives you good feels every time you hear it) the audience would rather just have it than have you tinkering away forever.  At some point you have to consider it good enough to put out there, and this is usually when you are already happy but your brain keeps wanting to go "weeeeell... I mean maybe I could get that just a liiiiiiittttllleee more" or when you start to think it's ready but say "well it doesn't sound like this band..." or you get fearful people will compare it to *blank*.  At that point?  Just put it out, if there's something wrong with it the people may tell you, but who cares, we get better at mixing by sharing mixes, you won't bust out of nowhere with perfect sounding songs, you will grow and grow and grow forever and ever.


Amen.  

 

Most churchy mixing post ever hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahhahaahahahahaha Deal with it.  

 

I might make more of these as more come, let me know what you think my friends.  

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Hey Symph! Nice see your name popping back up. I like this. God has a way of helping when you ask (and sometimes when you don't ask too!) I don't do mixes but can relate this to my songwriting on many of the points you've brought up here. Fear, striving for perfection, writing from the heart, knowing when to quit, being honest, and always grow and learn!

See you around!
Lisa

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I always give credit for my lyrics to God because I believe that when you are connected to God you are connected to your spirit where all creativity emanates from. I couldn't tell you who or what God is but to me it is a deep connection to oneself and the sum of your life experience and to make that connection you need to be able to look yourself in the eye and face the emotions that many prefer to avoid.

I learned early on in life that their is no gain without pain and that by suppressing and avoiding pain it also deprives the soul of joy. When we open our soul and trust that all will be OK, we open the window to creativity. 

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On 6/3/2017 at 6:04 PM, Ray888 said:

I always give credit for my lyrics to God because I believe that when you are connected to God you are connected to your spirit where all creativity emanates from. I couldn't tell you who or what God is but to me it is a deep connection to oneself and the sum of your life experience and to make that connection you need to be able to look yourself in the eye and face the emotions that many prefer to avoid.

I learned early on in life that their is no gain without pain and that by suppressing and avoiding pain it also deprives the soul of joy. When we open our soul and trust that all will be OK, we open the window to creativity. 

See while I do believe ultimately God is Jesus, I think his spirit can be inately accessed by all, I mean he's the God of ALL right?  I feel like there is a river in everyone's heart, and we know the difference between accessing our head and letting that river of love and truth flow out.  It's hard for us to break out of the mind prison and I do believe people can get so stuck in their sins they can't access the river without Jesus' teachings and His help, but I think some people just always have access and never know who they're talking to, and that's fine.  So... I'm right there with you, it's an honest space in the heart that you know is your core being and that core is always love, if someone looks inside and finds anything else?  They've buried the river with all their bad decisions and giving over to lust and carnality, but it's still in there somewhere, it's what makes us human, we are the house of God.  

 

On 6/1/2017 at 1:22 PM, Lisa Gates said:

Hey Symph! Nice see your name popping back up. I like this. God has a way of helping when you ask (and sometimes when you don't ask too!) I don't do mixes but can relate this to my songwriting on many of the points you've brought up here. Fear, striving for perfection, writing from the heart, knowing when to quit, being honest, and always grow and learn!

See you around!
Lisa

Absolutely, I don't want to wind up being that weird guy who always relates everything back to God, but at the same time that's my life you know?  It's what I study and think about and research almost 24/7 so...  everything's always gonna come back to that with me, it's nice to see people being open to it.  Thanks for your comment!

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I believe that it's OK for a person to find out the way to their own spirit in whatever way they can. 

 

I believe in the teachings of Jesus but I also believe that we have had many great teachers in our history that can lead us to a path of righteousness. Once you tell someone that your way is the only way you are on stoney ground.

I did not intend this to develope into a religious discussion, I was just relating my personal experience of where I believe my lyrics emanate from. In any case, there is a paragraph in the rules of this website that discourage religious discussion.

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1 minute ago, Ray888 said:

I believe that it's OK for a person to find out the way to their own spirit in whatever way they can. 

 

I believe in the teachings of Jesus but I also believe that we have had many great teachers in our history that can lead us to a path of righteousness. Once you tell someone that your way is the only way you are on stoney ground.

I did not intend this to develope into a religious discussion, I was just relating my personal experience of where I believe my lyrics emanate from. In any case, there is a paragraph in the rules of this website that discourage religious discussion.

I didn't know that!  I may not be able to be a huge part of this community if that's the case, I really don't have anything else to talk about it's all I do day in and day out, read God's word, pray, ask for direction, feel the spirit, do what it says.  But I don't disagree with what you're saying entirely, I think that it's kind of like a... like zooming in on something.  When you go to christianity, you are zooming in on the real definitive thing as close as you can, but within other beliefs (especially bhuddism) real thoughts of God are in there, they just don't come into full clear focus, doesn't mean it's not coming from the same source you know?  And know that lying spirits DO try and pervert all the religions, you have to go with what you know inside, what resonates deep down when you're honest, and it's easy to get decieved.  So I would say that the bible is the MOST magnified and detailed explanation of everything, but that doesn't mean that other writings weren't getting clues to the truth you know?  anyway, I don't need anyone to believe what I say really, I need them to love.  

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As I stated earlier, whatever works for you is personal, and it may not be what works for others. Everyone has their own path and I for one don't wish to push anything down anyones throats.

 

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2 minutes ago, tunesmithth said:

 

The good news is this discussion isn't taking place within the confines of the forum.

This is Symphonious7's Blog.

Personally...I don't care :P BUT, if you don't mind, I will leave you with a word of caution.

 

"Religion" is one of those infamous 3rd-rail-topics.

Many feel they have a firm grasp on it, yet no 2 people I've ever known can agree on exactly what God is, much less what name he (or she) should be called. :rolleyes:

Because of that almost certain disagreement, the topic is discouraged on the website.

I'm sorry gentlemen, but in the never-ending battle of "your God vs. my God" there are no winners...only pissed off losers.

At the end of the day, we all get to believe whatever we wish to believe...and I wish to believe that's a good arrangement.

 

Now, let's talk about a safe subject! How 'bout politics? :w00t: Lololo.....

 

Tom

 

Your point has so much volition with 99 percent of the world.  It really does, because very few take their faith so seriously that it BECOMES THEM.  It is ALL they are.  However in my case, this is such.  I can talk nothing but God's truth.  The good news is I don't care if you believe me!  hahaha, I'm not doing a "your god vs my god" kind of thing, I'm speaking from my utmost heart, what comes from my innermost spirit, for it has become the only way I know how to speak.  And thus, it will always come back to the God who is all to all, who is everything to everyone, for nothing outside of Him has existence.  BUT, I will not be that annoying guy that needs you all to agree with me!  It's just who I am!  It's just what I do!  And if you can tolerate a little God talk here and there we can be great friends!  But if you need me to try and dumb down my words, the spirit won't continue, and I'll have to move on.  But I love you all so much, and hope you can handle me.  

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Edit:  I just reread what I wrote, and thought about how it came across.  You need to understand I've been a shut in for YEARS studying God and becoming infactuated, it's difficult for me not to come on strong, and I see that I'm coming on TOO strong.  I will try to curb this behavior into a something that considers YOUR forum, YOUR culture, YOUR feelings, more from now on.  My apologies.  

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