This all started with Eric Poline. This was his pick. Sometimes I see a remix competition or just hear a tune and go “yeah this is the one.” Well it wasn’t me this time.
The downloaded stems were from some sort of live performance. I’m not really sure if they were perhaps mixed with studio tracks (like the drums and guitar) because some of the stems had 0 bleed from other instruments in them and others like the vocal track and piano track had a ton of bleed, compression and FX when they were delivered. Receiving stems that contain surprises is never all that fun, however it’s pretty common. Most of the time I’ll use Izotope RX or any number of restoration tools to try to restore the audio. James’ mangled vocal track seemed as much as I can tell to be an artistic decision for the song. So we kept as much of that as we could. Eric emphasized it in some places with a very unique glitch and ring mod effect.
But before all that could go on we had to get the track in a shape that everyone could work on it. This meant first tempo mapping the original so that it could be set to a click and all of our effects would work on the same clock. That took about 2 weeks to do. lots of “cntrl + i” in the pro tools edit window. Allot of going back to alternate versions and seeing what tracked James groove the best. Eventually I came out of that process with a pretty accurate tempo map of the original song. I used the conform properties in pro tools to “straiten” out allot of the track and then used the tempo properties to speed up the whole thing. Appropriate elastic settings were used for the individual stems. Once the tempo had been changed and elastic processed I went ahead and re-imported the groove template i had made but only for the vocal. I then sent that vocal track to Eric in San Diego for processing.
While Eric was working on the vocal track (I had supplied him with a basic scratch track to work to) Steve Husted, Josh Jones and I tried to create the new bed track that would go under the sped up glitched out vocals Eric was making. I had already played down most of the horns by the time the guys came. Simple, I just played what James played on the piano the entire song. Mostly because I couldn’t figure a way to get rid of it. Those hits became the basis for the new rhythmic feel of the song. James vocals were not done yet thus not reliable to groove to so we went ahead and muted the vocal track while working on the instrumental. Josh was next on the drums. I think we did like 4 or 5 runs of the song and that’s really all he needed. There was initially a tambo part and cowbell that I had on the scratch track those ended up not entirely working with the new groove so I re-recorded them.
The Bass part that was supplied kinda worked, but it also really didn’t work in allot of areas. It had to go… good thing for me Steve Husted loves to make great music. Again, we just muted the old bass track (i had edited it for the scratch track) I think Steve played along for about half hour and we decided on something real tasty. He has this new FX Pedal kit hes fond of. It can make some really strange sounds but he conservatively chose an Octivar, and I think it ends up sitting really nicely in the mix. I ruffed up a mix to send to Eric so he could make sure the vocals were working.
Eric sent me back 6 stems of crazy fucking out vocals. They were insane! I think his attached message said “This shit gets thick in some places but I kinda like it.” I listened the first time. All the faders were at unity and man, it was like being in a Maxel commercial… just blew my hair back.
I spent about 2 hours mixing it the first day. The CD player in my car has been acting up and not playing burnt CD’s so I asked a few friends to reference the mix for me. They were all pretty happy so I spent another couple of hours cleaning things up and looking for problems. Think I got rid of most of them. Brings us here. Hope you enjoy.