As an EDM producer, your mix is EVERYTHING. Without a solid mix to hold up your track, all of your hard work with songwriting and production can easily fall at the wayside.
So what do you do when your production skills and songwriting skills are up to par but your mix tends to be lackluster? Today, we’re tackling 2 Easy Steps Toward Stronger EDM Mixes.
Finish More Tracks
When walking through a lesson with a client, or even just when they ask for some minor advice in how to get stronger EDM mixes, I always ask one question; “How often are you finishing tracks?”
A follow up question to this could be, “Do you actually ever finish tracks?” I almost always get close to the same answer: “I have about 100 unfinished or barely written projects.”
If you’re reading this article right now, I’m guessing you’re in a similar position. What’s funny is the answer to this question is within the question itself. FINISH MORE TRACKS. I bet that a lot of you are in a position where when you have a good idea, it’s super easy to start writing the rest of the song.
However, when it’s tough to get the idea out, you overproduce an 8 or even 16 bar loop for hours on end. As you’re working on this loop your production and writing skills are naturally getting better.
You start to come up with new and interesting ideas for transitions, turnaround sounds, layers, different sound FX etc. etc. Do this enough, and you all of a sudden get a lot better at production and songwriting. However, your mixing falls flat.
Because you’re not mixing! All this time, you’re producing, writing, editing, and tweaking; but you never actually get to the meat and potatoes of working on your actual mixdown.
Every time you work this way, your songwriting gets better and your mixing does not keep up. It’s important to finish every track you start so that you can strengthen your mixing skills right along side your songwriting.
How do you actually get yourself to finish those tracks to keep your mixing up to par?
The best way to finish more tracks is by shortening the length of your tracks. Try focusing on an 8 bar loop, duplicate the loop for 2 minutes, and then start to eliminate sections and work on filling in the little pieces. It’s always easier to remove sections to create breaks and tension, than it is to actually create something from nothing.
This last section is really one of the main key pieces to getting better at overall mixing. As I’ve stated in previous articles and on my podcast, leveling is 90% of the mixing process.
I have so many clients that are pleasantly surprised, and often shocked at the amount of processing I’m actually doing during the mixing process. It usually takes me2 – 3 hours to fully mix a song.
The first 1 – 2 hours is spent strictly on leveling and making sure every sound is playing at its appropriate volume. This is the KEY to getting the BEST mix possible.
Once you’ve nailed the leveling process, everything seems to get so much easier. You know what to process where and for how much, and the pieces that need more work stick out.
Less is always more, so don’t overprocess, make sure that your levels are correct, then move toward processing sections.
If you’re unsure of the best way to approach the leveling process and nailing it, I’ve got a guide to leveling your tracks when mixing that you can check out here.
When working on your mixing skills there’s really 2 key things that will get you where you want to be.
1. Time – finishing more tracks and taking the time to seriously work on your mix, are going to increase your overall mixing skills in the long run.
2. Leveling – working on your leveling skills while actually mixing is going to be the KEY to better mixes, your mix is NOTHING without proper leveling.
Keep working, and keep writing, it’s the only way to move forward toward stronger EDM mixes