Hot on the heels of one of the biggest oldskool parties of the year, Elysian. I present you my back stage interview. While the party was in full swing I was taken back stage and interviewed by the lovely Mandy Vandertouw. We discussed everything music… creating music, listening to music and of course partying to music! It was a great experience and a wonderful way to remember the night. Keep your eye on the Sydney Rave History facebook page as there will me more interviews from other artists coming!
So over the years I have read many texts and watched many videos talking about mastering and how to master your tracks to sound just like the big boys. But, you know, no matter what super-duper plugin or process I tried I could never get things to compare to a professionally mastered track. Many people on the net simply dismiss the mastering process and say, “ohhh you will never get it to sound like the pros unless you have thousands of dollars worth of hardware”. And while I know it is usually worth while to get someone else to master your track just so another set of ears can hear it, I also know that many electronic musicians do master their own stuff and get good results, and lets face it, electronic music is ephemeral and not made to last the ages so it really only needs to sound good on a big sound system and probably gets played only a handful of times.
The other problem I have faced is that 99% of stuff on the net talks about mastering rock/pop kind of stuff, mastering dance music or heavily electronic orientated hip-hop is very different. For instance, when mastering rock/pop music for the radio you might put a high pass filter in to cut everything below say 40hz since there is very little musical content there that would add to the music. But, if you do that with dance or 808 style hip-hop all the phat-ness is taken out of the track and on a big loud club system the subs get very under utilised… hmmm subs, we love subs….! The other thing is that dance music has to be loud! very loud! Screw the loudness war, most people complaining about things being too loud are referring to rock music and music played by real people, dance music has to be 110% LOUD all the f’ing time!
Anyway to get to the point, of all the info I have taken in over the years this video is probably the best one I have seen. The guy breaks it down into simple steps and takes time to explain what each stage is for. It also helps that before I watched this I had already played with pretty much every plugin he uses and have a fair idea what they do and how to use them, but it’s the usage, processing order and reason why each plugin is used that is important. Sadly once again, he is talking about mastering some crappy rock/pop track so ignore that and try it out. The proof is in the pudding, and today I was able to use the principles talked about in this video to turn what was a fairly lifeless mix into a punchy, exciting and loud mix! My track itself is pretty boring, but I was very pleased that I was able to play the track on many different system and it stood up well in relation to loudness and frequency response.
So give it a try even if you use similar plugins built into your DAW or any of the many free plugins that are available. And oh I have also signed up for the free pdf and course that he conducts so I will let you know how that goes.
I only recently heard that at some time in the past Queen released the 24 track masters of Bohemian Rhapsody. I really don’t think they where ‘released’ more like leaked, probably at a time when a re-mastered version of their tracks was being done. So, I went hunting and found it on the interwebs… ahhhh fantastic interwebs! and I could not resist the chance to take a listen and mix the track for myself. All I can say is that this must have been a feat of engineering prowess, nearly every second of all 24 tracks was used up, the engineer would have been working overtime on the faders to get this down, it would have been a fantastic performance in it’s own right.
This youtube clip is the end result of my attempt at it, with all the advantages of a modern DAW. I had fun with it, I did not reference the original because I figured there was not point in just doing the original over again, I wanted to put my own spin on it. I wanted to beef things up a bit and bring the vocals and harmonies out more, they are so epic! I took a little creative license with some panning, especially on the vocals to make the mix move around a bit more and I also went through and cut out a lot of noise and applied noise cancelling where required to get rid of that dirty 1970’s grunge. Anyway, it is what it is, I could play with this for days, but it’s always good to call it over and move on to the next thing. Oh, and you can download a high quality version here.
So I threw myself a challenge, to remake Labworks techno slammer ‘Psycho Green‘. The idea came about because of a thread on facebook. Firstly it was suggested that a track like this could be done on an iPhone these days, then I threw it out there for someone to try and re-program it in Rebirth….. well I can’t stand re-birth, the sound of it is great but the interface sucks beyond all belief and dealing with pre-programmed patterns is a workload that my memory cortex cannot handle these days, so I did it in my weapon of choice, Cubase 6. Now I know it’s not perfect… far from it… the 303 does not sound right and the hats are not programmed right in a few spots, but after spending ages trying to get it to sound perfect I realised that the track I was referencing from was firstly recorded off record, then compressed into a video, then converted to youtube FLV (ie: rubbish!), then ripped down as an mp3 by me…. ummm… yeah, so much for sonic quality….. but I’ve spent all the time I’m prepared to on this. To be honest I think it sounds better but not as dirty, which was exactly the problem I was faced with….. the sounds where far too bright and clear, more like 2011 sounds and less like 1993 sounds…… I found myself knocking the top off a lot of the sounds to get it right, thus the not-so-dirty 303, but I did use a bit-crusher and tube to overdirve it a bit. Anyway take a listen and you can download the high quality version HERE
We move on…. following the ‘massive’ success of the re-release of Reaver EP#1, I’ve decieded to do the same with EP#2…. yeah! I hear you all scream….. anyway this is the first track off the EP, the only track on the A side, ‘Reavers Choice’, a cheesy rip off of an old rave track called ‘Ravers Voice’, which for some strange reason I cannot seem to find on youtube.
Time for some HARDCORE! This is the next track off Reaver EP#1, Mental Orgasm. Don’t ask me what I was thinking when I wrote this, I think it was around the time of the rise of Hardcore in Sydney. Makes sense I guess…..
Here is the next installment in our thrilling series about Reaver EP#1. This is the third track on Side A called drop. I have re-recorded this straight out of an Amiga emulator on my PC so that you can hear it in all of it’s original 8bit glory…. whooo yah…!
Here is the next track in our continuing series about Reaver EP#1, this is the second track of the EP ‘The Prank’. Obviously I wrote this a long time ago and can’t really remember what I was going for, lets just call it eclectic ! Chuck in a few synth hits, a few rave back beats and a number of ripped off samples and what do you get ? A warehouse track…. anyway take a listen…..