I'm Nick Dawes, a mixing engineer and musician. I run a studio in the South of France and I've been offering Remote Mixing for the past 7 years. I've mixed hundreds of albums and thousands of singles including music for feature films and adverts through this service alone. Some of my clients include The BBC, Paramount Pictures and Capitol Records.
Why Chosse me to mix your music?
I have a fully acoustically designed and treated mixing room, this is a costly but necessary requirement before any mixing can take place. It's often overlooked by many but it's such an important part of the job that it has to been mentioned before any other aspect.
I have many years of experience in different genres enables me to approach each mix with the confidence and knowledge of how to get the best results from the piece of music in front of me, as each piece is unique and should be treated this way.
I have a range of equipment that I've built up over the years that I know very well and can trust to assist me in delivering what I need both sonically and with the efficiency needed to deliver a competitively priced and fast service.
I love music and my passion is to make each project I work on the best possible sounding record I can. I constantly challenge myself to learn new techniques and apply them to my workflow. It's a fast paced industry and it's my job to offer artists the skills required to stay fresh.
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
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Interview with La Source Studio
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mostly mixing these days through the remote mixing service although I'm building a brand new recording studo so I'm looking forward to working on some projects from inception again as a Producer.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: The studio is a hybrid set up as is the way these days to benefit from the precision and recall of an 'in the box' DAW based sytem but also having a range of outboard gear to lend some extra character to the mix. For instance, It's great to have the option of a virtual SSL eq and the real thing sometimes as depending on the situation one will really make a differnce. Also each piece of equipment has it's own individual character which helps to lend a bit of individualism to my pallette of sound manipulation.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First of all I like to check everything that has been sent to verify that everything is OK and good to go. If the client has sent a reference track then I will listen to this to begin with to have a good idea of how I will plan the mix. I'll then organise the session by color coding and setting up my Groups, Effects sends etc. Normally any outboard stems will be printed back in the DAW session and depending on the style of music I will then either sum via the DAW itselt or via analogue summing.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Most of all, Balance! The original name for a 'Mixing Engineer' was a ' Balance Engineer' and I feel a great mix has a great balance so as to sound smooth with a depth that allows you to be envolped my the mix. Taste is also a big factor. I love well presented mixes that have great dynamics with warm low ends and exciting mid/high frequency presentation without ever sound harsh.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I've learned a lot of the years in how to give the client the mix they intended rather than only being able to do one thing. I iliken it to a standard hairdresser who always seems to give you one type of haircut despite you asking for something different. I have to be able to learn new techniques constantly and be able to mix a raw '60' style mix in the morning and a modern Dubstep blockbuser in the afternoon!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I'm mixing a lot of Pop records at the moment from all the world. I have a lot of clients in the far east these days as their pop market is very buyoant at the moment. I stil have a mainstay of Hip Hop from from the US/UK but also from new territories like Russia and South America. I work a lot in the studio recording acoustic artists and still love mixing Rock also and in particullar a good bit of Metal!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Some Tips for Tighter Bass Balancing your bass frequencies in a mix can be quite a tricky thing and there are some seemingly counter intuitive actions you may have to undertake to emphasize this region that may not be initially obvious. Bass frequencies eat up headroom in a non obvious way, meaning that there may be a lot of information down there that you can't' necessarily hear depending on the system your using. This can reduce the loudness of you track and ultimately the impact of your bass overall. The two main bass elements of most tracks are the kick and the bass Instrument itself. They can hopefully occupy slightly different areas of the low end. A kick generally likes to shine around -60-70hz whereas a bass instrument unless it's a sub bass tone can dominate around 80hz. Knowing this gives us an opportunity to high pass frequencies below our target frequencies. High passing is a good practice to use when 'clearing up the mud' of mix on a lot of instruments including vocals and guitars etc. With the kick you can quite easily high pass (a roll off of around 12db per octave is a good shelf) from around 55hz and lose a lot of flabbiness. This can then allow us to boost our target frequency with EQ or use a harmonic exciters such as Rbass/Loair from Waves or Cosmos form Nomad factory to emphasize further this 'energy' frequency that were interested in. It's a like a trade off in order for us to get our energy focused where we need it. All this is fine but unless we can hear the low end correctly then it's very hard to know how it will translate or how it balances with the rest of your track. For this you either need a full range system that includes a well calibrated sub speaker or if you're on a budget then a good set of headphones coupled with a full range speaker emulator (like the VRM box by Focusrite) can yield some useful information.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I was initially inspired from a mixing perspective from Listening to Michael Jackson records as a child. Listening to Thriller was a watershed in appreciating the presentation of the sound in a record and I quickly scoured the credits to find the name of Bruce Swedien. . and His philosophy on mixing is a huge influence still. Aroudn this time I alos discovered the Beatles and their soundscapes were a huge influnece to begin a career in music There are a host of modern mixing engineers that I admire 'Mike Spike Stent' springs to mind as does 'Jason Joshua' Dave Pensado etc..