This project came through at the perfect time as I was able to apply newly obtained skills to mix this track in Pro Tools. I managed to get this done while in-between multiple projects. The client is a Reggae music composer and producer called Bellyfull, the track is a powerful Roots Reggae song with a heavy influence of Nyahbinghi drumming.
“The Nyahbinghi is heard here, raising the power of Earth to the sky. Through rhythmic beats on the heavy bass drum, you can feel the earth’s very centre- and the rhythms forming above the bass, from smaller drums, carry the Rasta cry of freedom and dignity into sky above, lit with stars so bright they seem to point the way to eternity. Here the bredren, the sons, the sisters and daughters of Rastafari have come to relax and share their innate power in nature. Some play the drums. Others dance in an unfrenzied, flowing motion. Each has his own, but all emanate from, and return to, the essential rhythm. Nyahbinghi.”
The good thing about this project was being able to mix a Reggae song while I was heavily involved in two other music genres so I found a healthy balance of listening to everything differently and clearly. I love my Reggae music which helps but at the same time I put my work hat on as I was required to do a job which was mixing.
I received the stems and got them all imported into a new blank session that was setup for the project. My first session of listening a realized I needed to write some notes down about the original wav files and communicate these back to the producer which was successful. With the newly received stems I imported them into Pro Tools and was able to make a start on getting all the levels right. The first processing I used was subtractive EQ’ing and compression where needed. I had three bass stems to work with and all of them were used. I aimed to make them sit nicely with the kick drum.
There is some old samples of Rastafarian speech in the track which I brightened up as much as possible without distorting them or making them peak. There is also a Lion sample which ended up having some processing and automation.
The guitar sound had already been processed by the producer, as he wanted, so I just made it complement the flute sounds.
The drums were sub grouped together and ran through parallel drum compression.
My aim with the vocals was to make them clear in the mix.
I setup 3 Aux delays and 3 Aux reverbs which, in my original ruff mix, I used lightly.
Once I had everything processed and sitting nicely I sent my ruff mix back to the producer. Both the producer and artist listened to the ruff mix and jotted down some notes but were overall pretty pleased with the mix. At that stage I had not done any automation to anything as I had to get some other projects completed first but that also gave me time to listen to the mix and make some notes of what I was going to automate.
When I fired up the session again I went straight into automation of volumes and effects which were used on many of the tracks like vocals, backing vocals, choir, bass, guitar, drums and flutes. I also made the necessary adjustments as per the producer and artist request.
Could I have done anything different?? Yes, I would have loved to have mixed this in the big Audient studio at school.
Outcome?? I am on the right track with mixing and I have picked up more work from this track & experience!!!
Here is the final released song, which became available for free download today, so get comfy, grab a cuppa green tea and ENJOY!!!!