I recorded a previous project with Alex and Adrian when in last years band project Plateau. They are super-talented guys with a crystal-clear vision for their music; they make production decisions without hesitation. They also are really fun to work with, and give me a lot of leeway in helping them achieve their musical goals. I feel like “The Fifth Beatle”.
This project, called Shmohawk, was going to be a little bit different with just the two of them and the fact that Alex (drums/bass/percussion/engineering) recorded his own tracks – this was going to be a mixing and mastering project. Adrian plays guitar and does all the vocals and harmonies, while Alex does everything else. They recorded all of the tracks in a house over a weekend with a bunch of friends using minimal recording equipment, which is a testament to Alex’s ability to get great sounds with budget gear and a laptop.
Alex sent me all the files and I got to work. They had requested a more “analog” sound then I have given them in the past. The first mixes I gave them were too just too traditional, too clean, not dirty enough, so I did another pass pushing the envelope using only analog or classic type FX. I paid special attention to only use plug-in emulations of classic hardware compressors and tape machines, and resisted the urge is to use more modern techniques and plug-ins (oxymoron), figuring that if I used only those classic type of effects, I would have a better chance of getting that 60s and 70s sound and the result was just what they were looking for.
I used Steven Slates digital tape machine on every track in different combinations of bias and tape formulations. Each track also got Steven Slate VCC virtual console collection using the API based characterization. Other plug-ins I used were classic compressors and classic settings of EQ, for giving that warm, fat, analog sound. Most of my mixes have some of these plug-ins, for instance most all of my mixes I use VCC. When use correctly these tools help to glue your mixes together.
Shmohawk was a fun project featuring great music!