Early Mixing is not a group activity

T Prior

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I was watching a Y Tube interview as to why Randy Meisner was turned away at a POCO mixing session. He was part of the band and he apparently thought he should be there. Jim Messina and Richie Furay were alone in the studio at the Board. They denied Randy's entry, for whatever reason at the moment. Its a wild story of "Blame Game" and hurt feelings. Jim Messina had it right, tracks are done now its time to put it together, HE was the producer. As he said we don't need extra people making mixing suggestions at this critical time, thats what PRODUCERS do . Nobody ever asked Randy , well what if George and Rusty wanted to join the MIX session ? now there would be 5 making suggestions. Many of the comments regarding this incident are really crazy, " Randy was a great guy, they should have let him in" . "Richie Furay was an idiot " etc... I personally think Randy had hurt feelings and this incident was totally blown out of proportion. 50 years later people are still talking about it.


So when you are done tracking and headed towards the final mix, is it a group activity ? Its not for me , way too many distractions with others only listening to THIER part and not the big picture.

What say you ?
 

runstendt

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When mixing a track for any band I usually make two or three mixes for each song then ask for feedback and suggestions. Most of the time I get something resembling “sounds good”, but there is usually one band member with more specific suggestions. However, if I mixed live with a full band in the booth it would be a nightmare. In my current band the mixes are almost entirely left up to myself and the lead singer, so it’s not too bad as far as conflicting ideas go.
 

woodman

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I have a small "brain trust" to whom I send advance mixes for input, but they don't get a vote per se — I'm looking for them to hear things I might be missing and to comment on the overall feeling of how the tracks work together, but not suggestions of how to tear the production up and put it back together again. Once a mix is established, I'm pretty much a junkyard dog. Grrrr!
 

Aldus Bunbury

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It’s like having a bunch of guys in the cab of a truck, constantly giving the driver directions. They MIGHT all agree that they should be headed west, but that’s about it. One guy wants to go to Memphis, another to Dallas, another all the way to LA. And then there’s always that one guy who keeps insisting on Roswell.
 

matman14

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No,
But come to think of it, if a band wants to block out and pay me for them to come in for three days to mix a song that would otherwise take about 90 mins - 2 hrs, maybe I should start doing that. Sounds like I could get paid for watching a lot of Netflix while the band argue and sulk LOL.
 
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InstituteOfNoise

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99% of the time I mix alone. I will send a mix out to the whole band but make one person the point person and funnel all the agreed revisions through them. This way they can argue amongst themselves what is best for the song as opposed to ego driven changes.

If this mix is 99.9% done, I might bring have the key person come in for a quick reference check if need be, but that is rare.

If a band insists on coming in (and I agree to that), the rate is then doubled... With rules that I may be listening to things that seem to them to have nothing to do with their request to make choices leading up to the playback and they just have to wait until I say "ok now what do you think?". Otherwise write it down and we'll get to your question then.
 

schmee

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Too many cooks..........

Yeah, I think one person, maybe two, need to have a vision of what they want. It's called a "producer".
To this day, I regret letting the studio engineer we used in 2019 (he's a friend) have too much input on our mixing. We added horns on many songs and he loved to mix them in much louder than I wanted. It was like pulling teeth getting him to back them off. The flavor of the song got a bit lost on a couple of songs. Every time I listen I want to go back and remix!
 

loopfinding

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One person should be in charge of the mixing, but everyone should have a say to reach a compromise democratically through revisions. With an engineer, even better, they can act like a mediator and find the right solution. I don’t pick people with big egos to be in my bands, so I’m not closed to their criticisms at that stage. Usually they counter my insecurities and I counter theirs.
 

loudboy

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When I was in the studio, I'd usually send them out for dinner for the first 2 hours or so. When it was pretty well together, they could come back in, and we'd listen, they'd make suggestions, and I'd finish it up. Nobody wants to hear you doing all the housekeeping stuff, or getting balances/EQ together on the individual tracks. I get bored, and I'm the one doing it.

It's always beneficial to have a fresh set of ears at that stage, and the input was usually 10,000' stuff like "the snare is too loud" or something. 95% of the projects I did were band-produced, but there was always the one guy that had the vision, and I was happy to work closely with them finalizing things. The rest of the band was usually just background noise, which I was good at filtering out.

Now that I just do stuff at home, I generally do it alone, and send out roughs for approval. I do miss the studio hang, a lot.
 

T Prior

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Only one time did I hand a friend PRE - EARLY Mixes and it came back to bite me in the butt. The ruff mixes were to listen to his vocals for errors, instead the guy shared them with others who ripped me apart for my lack of skills. Even after I told him in size 50 font that these are NOT FOR SHARING , they are only for listening and critiquing his vocals. He shared them anyway.

MY BAD - My error, My mistake

Never again
 
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Jakedog

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This is why I make solo records. I hire the musicians I need to do things I don’t do, or could be done better by a pro. I’ll hire a steel player. I’ll a drummer. I’ll get a guy for keys. Stuff like that. I pay them as soon as their tracks are done and send them on their way. I play all guitars, bass, some percussion or harmonica if I need/want it, stuff like that. I do all the singing, unless I want a contrasting harmony vocal, then I hire someone.

When it’s time to mix, there is no one in the room except me, and whatever engineer I’ve hired at whatever studio I’m using. Because I’m the only person who gets to decide what goes on with my songs.

If I had to record my own music in the midst of some kind of everybody gets a vote/democracy at work situation I just wouldn’t do it.

I also work with some bands where I’m the guy hired to play parts. So that’s what I do. Then I get my money and go home. Whatever they do with the tracks is up to them. I’m very rarely pleased with the outcome, but being that I wasn’t hired to produce the record it’s none of my business.
 

Ed Driscoll

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The one caveat is that prior to first computerized mixing desks and then DAWs, mixing was often a group activity, with band members riding faders as more tracks came into vogue in the late '60s and '70s. As Ken Caillat wrote in his 2012 book, Making Rumours, “On some mixes, we needed more hands. Mick [Fleetwood], Lindsey [Buckingham], or Christine [McVie] would reach in and help. [Co-producer] Richard [Dashut] conducted. ‘Okay, Chris, mute that key part,’ he said. ‘Mick, now here it comes—ready, three, two, one.’”
 

loudboy

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Only one time did I hand a friend PRE - EARLY Mixes and it came back to bite me in the butt. The ruff mixes were to listen to his vocals for errors, instead the guy shared them with others who ripped me apart for my lack of skills. Even after I told him in size 50 font that these are NOT FOR SHARING , they are only for listening and critiquing his vocals. He shared them anyway.

MY BAD - My error, My mistake

Never again
I always tell clients to never share a rough mix with anybody.

Yet they always do.

Then, when it's done, everyone they played it for is like - "Yeah, I heard that. It was OK."
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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This is why I make solo records. I hire the musicians I need to do things I don’t do, or could be done better by a pro. I’ll hire a steel player. I’ll a drummer. I’ll get a guy for keys. Stuff like that. I pay them as soon as their tracks are done and send them on their way. I play all guitars, bass, some percussion or harmonica if I need/want it, stuff like that. I do all the singing, unless I want a contrasting harmony vocal, then I hire someone.

When it’s time to mix, there is no one in the room except me, and whatever engineer I’ve hired at whatever studio I’m using. Because I’m the only person who gets to decide what goes on with my songs.

If I had to record my own music in the midst of some kind of everybody gets a vote/democracy at work situation I just wouldn’t do it.

I also work with some bands where I’m the guy hired to play parts. So that’s what I do. Then I get my money and go home. Whatever they do with the tracks is up to them. I’m very rarely pleased with the outcome, but being that I wasn’t hired to produce the record it’s none of my business.
I was going to say something along those lines too. Some bands I’ve been in I can guarantee the mix would be the lead guitarist, his singer girlfriend, and her out of time tambourine - with maybe a faint whisper of the rest of us. For my stuff I do my own thing, usually with asking some trusted friends for reviews or opinions (I like constructive feedback and try to learn from it). If I joined a band again I’d let it go at the mixing stage onward for my own sanity.
 

beyer160

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Only the decision makers responsible for the creative vision of a band should be in a mix session-

Bandleader
Songwriter (generally the bandleader, but not always)

I've done plenty of local band demos where everybody wants themselves louder, not only is it fertile ground for bad vibes and hurt feelings, you wind up with a horse designed by committee.
 

Esquire Jones

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My bands last project some years ago had a fairly well known pair of producers who definitely had their own idea of what our band should sound like. We weren’t permitted to be part of the the mix process.

They really changed the sound the band. I was a studio rat, actually had my own project studio. What I’m trying to say is I know my way around a control room.

They didn’t include many of the recorded tracks on the final mixes. We (band) hated it when we first heard it. They wouldn’t even share rough mixes with the band.

It was a demoralizing experience even though the CD came out super powerful and was well received and had wide distribution.

I suppose there is a moral to the story. 😀
 

Ben Harmless

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I've had my own recordings mixed much more than I've mixed others, but early on I found that the best approach is for the mix engineer to just say to the band "give me a bit, I'm going to do some preliminary work on these tracks, like cutting out silence, applying some basic effects and setting up for the mix in general." That goes a long way. People don't feel like they're being excluded from the fundamental artistic pursuit, and don't like the idea that someone is making decisions about their art for them. It often helps to just reassure them that isn't really the bulk of the "art part."
 




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