James is a professional mix engineer who has mixed singles for multi-platinum artists such as Robbie Williams.
James started out in Los Angeles, working alongside renowned engineer Jack Jospeh Puig, and independently mixing and recording several projects for Robbie Williams.
Since then he has gained experience in a wide range of studios, from the iconic East West studios in Hollywood to Question De Son studio in Paris.
James’ impressive myriad of experience working with experienced artists and producers across a wide range of genres in Australia, U.S.A and Europe is a reflection of his advanced mixing and production techniques.
James works directly with artists and clients to achieve a professional, polished sound that not only captures the essence of the song but makes sure that it translates to the listener as well. He currently mixes out of his own dedicated studio.
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Interview with James Millar
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have my own dedicated mix suite which I built myself. It took a while to get the room tuned and build all the necessary bass traps and diffusers, but it sounds great now! I've got multiple sets of monitors, some outboard EQs and compressors, the UAD plugins and the rest happens inside the box! Having gear is great, but without a decent room, it's not going to help you.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to get my sessions set up the day before I start mixing. Setting up sessions is the least fun part of the job, but still important, so getting that done the day before means that when I come to mixing, there's nothing to get in the way of the creative stuff!
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: The key to a good mix is identifying what the main elements of the song are and making sure they shine. Sometimes that might be a vocal, other times it might be highlighting specific rhythmic elements that are keeping the song driving. Whatever it is, I bring this to life. Usually, I find, this works best when theres been good communication with the client about what they want from the music. So I guess I also try bring a real understanding to the process as well.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on all sorts of different genres - from straight up Pop, to experimental electronic music, to rock or hip hop. I think it is important to understand all types of music, as it helps you become a better mixer. I am often picking up tricks or techniques from one genre of music that I can then apply to another. I think it gives me a real edge in terms of delivering quality modern mixes.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Be wary of where you arrange your sounds across the frequency spectrum. One of the major goals of mixing is to make sure everything has its own space. While there are plenty of things I can do to make that happen, there is no substitute for good production. If you have too many instruments or sounds that sound the same, things will get lost.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been mixing for almost 9 years now. I studied an Advanced Diploma in Sound Production in 2011 and dived straight into the industry after that.