From Recording to Mastering

Session: Carolina // Natalee

Recording

Before recording, I received a few different bounces (1 with Demo Bass, 1 with no Bass, 1 with no Vox or Bass). Starting with the Bass part (I have recorded for this artist before and she trusted me with the groove of the song). I recorded live along to the tracks she sent me. Afterwards, I edited the bass track a little bit in terms of cuts and comping from different takes. 

Natalee wanted to go in a different more vintage/funky feel with this track. For a reference she sent me Forget Me Nots by Patrice Rushen which I thought was so awesome. Natalee and I shared a very similar taste in music from the get go. I wanted to keep the feel she was going for but also make it sound modern (think like, Say So – Doja Cat, Kali Uchis type stuff). Also hearing this feel in a KPop track is just really cool in general. Had to be careful with the clarity of the Bass because I feel like the low end is the first thing to go when sound quality is lost. Part of the struggle is that you can end up making the bass way too loud and boomy and battling the Vocals for focus and attention (In this song the bass part is relatively busy).

Mixing/Mastering

EQ and Compression needs to sound clear especially in this case when it is being bounced back and forth (From South Korea). (File type Required: 24 bit 48k Hz .wav). After a lot of struggling to mix the initial mix, I eventually asked Natalee for a version of her mix without my bass track and ended up mixing my original Bass into the final Master for the best possible result. The low end came out really nicely and translates very nicely to lots of different types of speakers. 

I was also sent the Vocal tracks (BGV and Lead) with Double-tracks included (Bounced Submix/Track Group w FX). Originally I had intended to use these tracks for additional doubles to get some more space in the sound but I was noticing some harsh High Mid range EQ issues in the Latest Mix at the time.. The isolated vocals she sent me were a lot easier to make pop in the mix. I eventually Asked her for a version without: Bass, Vocals, and  HH (I wanted to replace the HH Sample as it was adding to the Mid High Harshness I mentioned earlier). 

The Mid High Problem was easily fixed in the isolated tracks. I also added some Stereo Width to the BGV using Wider, nothing too crazy for the BGV just made sure they were hitting my ears right.

After balancing out dynamics between the Highs and Mids, I used some Mid/Side EQ in Ozone 9 on most of the Cymbals, and anything with that harsh bite to it. I Fattened up the kick with a low pass filtered Kick double (Found the thickest Kick I possibly could). When I say thick I don’t mean big and boomy I mean short and sweet but powerful. A Dance type kick but Low Passed out. Didn’t boost the sub frequencies much at all (0.4 db at the most). Didn’t need a super hard kick for this but having that hard layer in there will give the track the drive and that pulse it needs. Once the Kick pulse was where I wanted it I listened through sort of a mental checklist of things I wanted to listen for. 

After listening to this track countless times it’s easy to pick out things that are just your ears playing tricks. I always do a sort of focus group with anyone who wants to listen (Some friends, Berklee/Work colleagues), I also tell the artist to do the same! it’s entirely optional but I have gotten some great feedback almost every time. 

Check out the video below!