Days Spent Mixing
Total Number of Tracks Mixed
Sophro – Gone For Now E.P
2015 saw some great artists pass through the doors of Studio Z and my favourite by far was the ambient electronic outfit ‘Sophro,’ a Manchester based three piece formed on the composition masters course at Salford University. An incredible trio of excellent musicians whose innovative compositions are offering something totally different to everything on the local scene at the moment.
Having recorded their tracks in Salford Universities recording studios where, long ago, I completed my studies, I knew we would be dealing with good quality raw audio. This meant the mixing could concentrate on enhancement and creating a sonic atmosphere rather than fixes and tweaks as can often be the case when dealing with pre-recorded stuff from non professional studios.
Before starting on any mixing job I like to sit down and get to know the tracks to get the complete picture before applying any processing. When I did this for Sophro, I immediately connected with the music, finding myself lost in the atmospheric soundscapes they had created, deep with so many layers and subtleties. I knew this would be a lovely project to work on…
The front-woman and songwriter of the group, Diemante Pranckeviciute, gave me a very open brief, the main thing she wanted was creative input from the mixing process as well as balance, clarity and layout. Having such freedom on a project allows for the creative juices to get flowing properly and it only took some basic cleaning up (filtering, balancing and minimal equalisation) to create a blank canvas to start experimenting with effects.
The ambient electronic style called for heavy processing and at Studio Z we are really into layering multiple delays and reverbs to create a warm, wide mix with plenty of depth (listen on good headphones for full effect!). Often you will find two, three, four delays and two reverbs on the lead vocal, if not more depending on the song. They might not always be heard at the front of the sound stage but it’s what makes up the texture, without which the vocal can sound naked, sat on top of the mix and isolated from the other instruments.
A really important point, and a view shared by the band in question, is that the studio should not be viewed as a place to go to simply edit the recording project, push some faders, twiddle some knobs etc. The studio is an instrument in itself. Mixing is an artform. It is one thing to balance the tracks so everything is blended in a pleasant manner. It is something different entirely to do what it takes bring a song to life. The song should take on its own persona, leave any egos behind at the control room door and finally, become a work of art.
Andy Garvey, Studio Co-Manager.