Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mixed Messages

Things are getting a bit crazy up in here, up in here.

The mixing process has started, FINALLY after waiting for a bleeding month, we hauled our asses once again to Ashfaqs’ to create our first mix of Sultanat.

Once again Yasir and I had to make the trip because OK’s trying to study and Imran is in India shouting "Tendulkar prances around like a little girl" He was always one to stir shit up.

As usual, on Friday when we got to studio we found it locked and bolted. Our new engineer, who calls himself "Vicki" (I kid you not) had gone out to chill for a bit and decided not to come back. Hence I shall now refer to him as S**kDicki.

After the ritual screaming at Ashfaq, he gave us the next session and after running around trying to get harddisks, we got to the studio and started mixing Sultanat.

For those of you who don’t know, the mixing process is the stage where you set the level of each instrument playing in the song. You set how loud the drums are relative to the bass and guitars, you see if the vocals need more bass and treble, things like that. Its done digitally and it is to create a balanced sound for the whole band. Sounds easier than it is, because its all highly technical, in fact there are people in the recording industry who spend all there time just doing this. And here we were, a bunch of wannabe’s doing it without any prior experience. Although I must mention due credit to Yasir whose technical knowledge regarding audio engineering certainly helped to explain a lot to me. (happy Yasir?...)

The hardest thing is trusting your own judgement because most average listeners can’t tell if your song sounds the way you want it to, Its very slight differences in sound and impact that have to be noted. And after 4 hours of listening to the song over and over again, your ears start playing tricks on you. For e.g. I could have sworn that Ashfaq Bhai was singing "My Heart Will Go On" . Okay, so maybe he wasn’t. But I wasn’t sure.

The other thing is that when you create your first mix, it sounds different on everything. So while "Sultanat" sounded incredible in the studio speakers, it sounded really weak and subdued in the car stereo. Drums were too loud, guitars too soft, vocals too tinny. Bottom line: Major depression. I guess it was naïve to think we would get it right the first time. I was so excited about finally having a listenable mix, but then I didn’t make anyone listen to it except a few close people.

It’s just that sinking feeling you get, when you’ve worked so hard at something and when you finally reveal it, and people don’t scream in ecstasy. I honestly had pictures in mind of making people listen to the first notes of "Sultanat" and see them bounce around with excitement. Guess I’ll have to wait a little longer, work a little harder.

On a lighter note, it appears that we will be sharing the studio with ABRAR. That’s right, the man behind hits such as "Billo Dey Ghar", "Majajni" and "Nach Punjaban" is going to be at the same studio as us! Now I don’t care what people say, but I am a bonafide fan of this guy and I cannot wait to meet him and post my picture with him up on the blog. Bhangra Zindabad.

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