Captain’s (B)Log: Friday 18th of January 2019

It's on to the next stage of Kate's album this week. In the meantime, we are making plans for the whole of 2019, even listening to Kate's song on Ruth Jones' Desert Island Discs on the way to a meeting!

Kate's album is now at the 'mixing' stage of the album making process, so we thought we'd ask 'The Mixer' himself Mr. Josh Clark a few questions about the mixing process...

Sally: What has been done up to this point where the album is mixed?

Josh: At the point when I start mixing an album, all the parts have been recorded (a couple of parts from the more distant performers arrived on the morning I started), and Damien usually gives me a pretty good rough mix and some notes to work from letting me know how he and Kate would like each song to sound.

Sally: What does the process of mixing involve?

Josh: It's mostly a case of ensuring that the right elements can be heard in the right proportions, so making sure the focus is on either Kate's voice, or an instrumental melody, but that they sound 'supported' by the accompanying instruments. It's not quite as simple as that sounds though, because there are usually lots of parts competing for the same space, and it's my job to make sense of them and ultimately make it enjoyable to listen to.

Sally: How do you work with Kate and Damien as artist and producers during the mix?

Josh: We all have a pretty good understanding now of how we all work, and what we like. We're at a point where I can make fairly radical decisions based on what I think Kate and Damien will like, and they're asking for fewer changes than when we began working together a few albums ago. Damien will join me for parts of the mixing process when there are more decisions for him to make.

Sally: What will happen next?

Josh: Once we're all happy with the mix (there will be a few versions before we reach that stage), we send the completed mixes to the mastering house, which is conveniently owned by Nick Cooke, the accordion player in Kate's band. Nick will continue the work we've been doing by ensuring that the mixes we've made translate to listeners' various listening systems as well as possible whilst maintaining Damien's vision of how the album should sound. He'll also creates the master files for the CD pressing house to use.

Sally: What skills do you need to be good at your part of the job?

Josh: Primarily people skills! Yes experience, knowing the equipment inside-out, being able to listen well are all essential, but making sure that everyone is happy is by far the most important part of the job. Also, being a musician helps too, it helps me interpret what the performers intended.

Sally: Is mixing a science or an art?

Josh: Definitely both. 

Keep your eyes peeled for news on the next stage in future blogs...

Earworm of the week: Underneath the Stars (which was on Desert Island Discs this week whilst we're also doing festival planning...coincidence or what?)

This week’s teabag count: 72 (We are cutting back on wine, but tea is taking over!)

Steve’s Quote of the Week: It's not the cough that carries 'em off...

More next week…