I once had someone ask me what was the most important thing to do when mixing music. I replied with one word, “Balance”. Finding balance in your mix is the foundation to having everything sit in its right place. This will produce a great sounding final product.
Later on, I reflected some more about the importance of balance and realized how it was not only important in mixing, but to building a healthy workflow as a musician, producer and artist. Do we know what it feels like to be in balance? It’s not a trick question—even if it seems so at first.
I remember once being in the recording studio with multi-platinum singer, Kelly Rowland, working on ideas for her album. She was surprised that I was making something from scratch on the spot for her because she normally gets producers who just play beats from their phone and if she heard something she liked, they would write to it. I told her that creating on the spot allows me to get her input and help shape where to go sonically. However, doing it this way I knew I couldn’t spend thirty minutes tweaking a snare drum while an A-list artist is waiting on me to get things going.
There is a time and place for tweaking sounds and creating your own patches, but there is also a time for recording the idea and moving on.
“Balance is about distributing demands so we can stay on track. Sometimes that takes a lot of work. If that’s where you’re at right now, don’t be discouraged. It’s just part of the challenge.” -Michal Hyatt
If you are finding it hard to find a good workflow, consider giving yourself some time to drain yourself of the production distractions. One of the ways I am learning how to create this kind of balance in my workflow, is to be intentional with my time when working on music. I will schedule and block out some time that allows me to just study new techniques, or build my sound library. Then I will make sure I schedule time to just write songs without the distraction of heavy tweaking.
I want to encourage you to pick a time this week and do the same.
- What day of this week will you give yourself some time to learn something new?
- What time this week will you just focus on organizing and building up your sound library?
- When will you set aside some time to be somewhere other than your studio and have a voice recorder handy to capture new ideas?