As a musician and mix engineer, I play both sides of the field. With good communication to customers, I can get a strong idea on how THEY want it to sound.
What's the most important part of a mix? Trick question. The answer is everything. As a rock musician, I like the drums to have a rhythmic punch. The bass guitar depends on the drums. They need to have a locked-in groove. The lead and rhythm guitars depend on the beat. They need to have some bark, growl, and roar, while moving along with the bass guitar and drums. Then if everything is going right, the vocals need to dance along with the guitar and also make you want to sing. They must sound bright but not sharp or knife-like.
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Interview with Panama Kinal
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Wrote and produced my own album. Took 3 years to learn the process. Now I can write, record, and mix great songs in a matter of hours.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: My next album
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital because I've never had the pleasure of working with pure analog, although vinyl records are awesome.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll mix the song as if it were my own. Run all my tests, and consider the requirements I ask that they want.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The potential for creativity and the flexibility of the work hours and office location (if you have a home studio)
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That the quality is all in the mix engineer. The truth is, the most important part is the raw recording. Getting a really great recording is the most vital part of the process.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: If there is a song or songs they'd like to sound similar to
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My Jackson Soloist, Peavey Vypyr, solar panel to power the gear (we'll worry about food later), my acoustic guitar, harmonica
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Played guitar seriously for 10 years, writing music for 5 years, recording and mixing obsessively for 4 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: On the borders of punk rock, heavy metal, and glam rock
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Chris Lord Alge because I'd learn how his drums are so explosive in his songs.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Give yourself a reasonable timeline. You will never have the perfect mix. Finish what you started and move on. You'll get better with time.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Electric guitar, fast mixing
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I play guitar, bass, drums, sing and write songs so I have a good understanding on how a track could and should sound.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Make sure the levels and panning are right. It should sound pretty good without any effects. It should also sound good in mono. Then bus the tracks together. End up with 3 bus tracks: Guitars, Drums and Vocals. Bus these 3 tracks into a reverb bus (used for slight reverb and "glue"). Feed that bus into a sub mix bus (used for master eq, compression, limiter etc.) Import a reference track. Then work from the sub mix all the way down to the individual tracks if needed, although it's not usually needed to go that far. That's the benefit of top down processing. Once mixed and mastered, I'll play it on a cheap stereo, my smartphone, computer, car, beats pill, and headphones. I'll compare it to other popular songs to see if it will stand up to par.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I use Studio One 4. I have 2 KRK Rokit 5 speakers elevated about 6 inches off the desk. I use Bowers and Wilkins PX headphones also. The room is about 20 feet by 20 feet. I have a Carlsboro electric drum kit. I use a Jackson Soloist and play out of a Peavey Vypyr. For recording electric guitar, I use an SM57 and an MXL V63M condenser mic. For the 57, I put it right up to the amp cabinet (slightly moving it and adjusting the angle to get the right sound) and the MXL is the room mic. I use the MXL for vocals as well.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Chris Lord Alge, Jimmy Iovine
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing songs