The mixing process was the hardest for me. The main difficulties I had, as I said in the report, concerned the analogue mixing and are due to the fact that a few months ago my mixings were totally done on my computer using completely digital tools. The first few times I wasn’t very productive but luckily I didn’t get knocked down and I started to book a few hours a day to go practice and train my ears
Slowly I was able to understand the way to work, trying to avoid any type of digital plug-in and doing almost everything on the channel strip of the console. After a week of practice I began to get comfortable with the desk and I started mixing the drums and the bass. For the drum kit I did a little bit of equalization, gating and compression for each instrument adding a tuned signal generator in sidechain with the kick to make it more present and direct. For the bass instead I used a hard compression by doing a sidechain with the drums that attenuated every time the kick played, making it more present. As for the effects I was not very satisfied with the outboards present in the studios and so I decided to add them in the box, using plug-ins that I particularly like the Manny Marroquin Delay and Reverb or the Steven Slate’s Verbsuite.
For my mix I was inspired by some reference tracks that Igor told me to listen to that come from the latest Niccolò Fabi’s album ‘Una momma di piccolo cose’. The voices are very similar to the references and are in front with a small addition of Plate reverb while the drums are put a bit back but remain always very present and dialogue well with the bass. For the back voices at the start of the song, I used a low-cut filter to eliminate the low frequencies that were quite annoying within the mix.
For rhythmic guitar, I wanted to work on a very light and natural sound, while for the arpeggiated guitar I preferred to add a tremolo that gave more movement and separated the two guitar themes from each other. The piano is positioned far enough back, being an accompaniment element in almost the whole piece while the electric guitars are panned right and left and enter quite gradually.
The recording process was organized in the way I wanted it to be done and this helped me a lot to not waste energy on useless things. Igor was also very happy with how we handled everything, he told me that during the recordings he felt very comfortable and this made it much easier to deal with his studio experience. In the recordings we felt very free in our choices and we gave ourselves the opportunity to try out various techniques without just mentioning some of them. For the voice we felt free to use so many microphones to have a wide choice and then choose what we would have liked more. We tried dynamic microphones such as the Electrovoice RE20 which worked very well on Igor’s voice and then we switched to the condensers, trying the C414 and the Neumann TLM to compare them and then decide which one to use. I found it very interesting to record the whispered voice with the Shure SM58 without a capsule as it was something that I had never tried before and that turned out to be a very interesting research. The result was amazing!
The guitars instead took us a bit ‘more problems since a microphone that we wanted to use broke the day before our session and then, not having other similar microphones, we were forced to change technique fortunately reaching a very similar level to what I had in mind.
One thing that I really liked during our sessions was the fact of recording half of the time totally in the dark, creating a strange and engaging mood that made us work in a profoundly artistic way. If you’ve never done it, I suggest you try it… it’s insane! For the editing there is not much to say, the tracks were well recorded and timed so we decided to edit everything at the end of each recording.
Immediately from the beginning I focused a lot on the pre-production process, as I consider it one of the most important steps for the realization of a high level project. This is because as in any business sector, before starting an important job you have to have clear ideas on how best to deal with each task avoiding to find yourself scratching your head for not knowing where to start and regretting not having planned everything with caution. In short, nobody wants to waste time and this is the easiest way to prevent it. In fact, the pre-production was very helpful for me to have clarity on the approach that I should have during the recordings to facilitate the working flow and to try to reach the type of sound required by the artist to a high quality.
Fortunately, Igor and I have studied 5 years of music together and we have known each other for a long time and we have therefore been able to understand each other from the first moment. After having decided to start this work we met ourselves at home many times and we worked for hours doing sessions plans for this and other songs. We also worked very hard on every instrument, writing parts and changing what we didn’t like and recording a demo of every instrument that would then be part of the official song. The advantage in doing this was to have clarity in what we should have done during the main work but above all to create a song well thought out and prepared for today’s music market.
After talking about my weaknesses and my strengths in Blog 3, now is the time to reflect on how I can improve my shortcomings in a beneficial way to me.
In the previous blog I explained that I often forget things because I have the constant desire to do as many things as possible and as a result I always end up forgetting something
I think that the continuous search for new ideas from my mind could negatively influence my way of working but if you look it from another point of view, it can become an important strength seeing as how music requires always new ideas.
The question is: “How to do it?”
The first reason why I have this kind of problem is that I am very creative and my mind is constantly full of new projects, but this collides with my choice to be a music engineer where you have to be careful to work on a specific request.
I think the best way to solve this weakness is a fair organization, in fact in this last period I’m trying to organize myself in the best possible way using post-it and agendas to plan the hours to devote to work.
For example, one thing I noticed is that often at night my mind is more focused to work and so I do most of my work after having dinner and In this way I manage to be more efficient in the work and to better fulfill the wishes of my customers.
Organization is the first step to becoming a professional. When you work on a project, you should meet deadlines and have a clear idea of how much time you need to finish it and try to be coherent with delivery times. Wasting time is the worst thing you can do because time is gold in this job.
Every day that passes I try to improve my way of working comparing myself with other people and capturing every advice that is given to me. What I want to improve in me is professionalism and I believe that the best way to do this is to understand how others work and to deal with different possible working methods.
Now luckily I’m in London to study what I like and my university is helping me from every point of view and slowly I’m learning how to work being creative but still maintaining a certain seriousness.
Growing up in this university path I am sure that I will be able to fill in my gaps and to achieve the objectives that I have always focused on during my adolescence.
Like all people I’m not perfect and I think highlighting my weaknesses can help me improve in some ways.
This concerns my life in general because I have always been careful to understand my mistakes and then avoid committing them again, but now I want to talk about both my aspects that I believe are positive and negative.
The first thing that is best in my personality is that I am a very sociable guy and I do not have any problems getting to know new people whenever I can. I think this aspect has helped me a lot in music too because I often made new acquaintances that would later help me in music.
In addition to being sociable, I also believe I am a boy who is not afraid to jump into new experiences. This has had an absolutely positive impact on my musical career because I managed to live on my skin all the possible experiences and I understood what I really want to do in my future.
I think this is one of the most important aspects in the music field because the only way to increase your knowledge is to live everything in first person and then learn from your mistakes.
Another strength that is very helpful is my professionalism; in these years I was lucky enough to be able to open my own music home-studio in which I could start recording musicians from my area.
This helped me to face my first work experience and consequently to learn how to work professionally. I believe that professionalism is the most important thing in any type of work because it is used to build credibility and relationships of trust between people.
Moving from the opposite side, I think one of my biggest weaknesses is my constant desire to do as many things as possible.
Unfortunately, I am always thinking about new things to do and often this all leads to one problem: forget things.
Lately, however, I’m trying to improve my debility by writing all my commitments on an agenda to avoid forgetting them.
Another fragility of mine is that I often get influenced by the ideas of others and consequently I make decisions that are not 100% mine.
I often find myself in situations where it is really difficult for me to make a decision and for fear of doing so I decide to join the idea of someone else.
I really need to change this aspect and already recognizing it makes me hopeful.
In fact, I would like to be more autonomous from this point of view and I believe that the experience I am living in London will greatly help me to improve these weak points.