I just finished up two days of mixing with engineer Ken Schubert. We were two guys sitting at a console staring at a screen of ProTools information with two very good speakers on either side – and not talking much for 8 hours a day. That is some guys’ idea of a great day. I guess it is mine. It reminds me of a story about the famous pilot, Chuck Yeager, flying in tandem with another pilot across the entire country, speaking only a dozen words during the whole trip and feeling like they had a hell of time at the end of the day. I’m not sure if this is a particularly male trait or not. But I have only had these experiences with guys. We sit and listen…. and listen again. then one guy says:” Do you think the guitar is a little wet? ” or “Let’s lose the piano until the bridge.” The other guy answers with ” Hmmm… we could try it?” This would be followed by another half hour of sitting, listening and staring. In two days we mixed three songs and ended up thinking we were flying right along on this project.
At the same time I had to listen to the masters of the new Chaise Lounge Christmas album, “A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas”. Mastering is a completely different level, a much deeper level of listening that I am not capable of. Greg Lukens and Bill Wolf are the two “master”minds ( pun intended) involved here. They also sit in a dark room surrounded by audio gear and mumble about “shelves” and say things like ” Is that getting a little tubby ?” In the end they took an album of 10 songs that were mixed over the course of nine months, and had a variety of instrumentations, and made them sound like they all truly belonged on the same record.
This is not my favorite part of my job, but it is one that is odd and peculiar to this craft of recording music. In some ways I owe my career to the various engineers who have looked at me and said in all sincerity ” for the love of God, can we pull some of the big room back… please?”