David AllisonSt. Paul Recording Connection

Incredibly Average - Transition Posted on 2016-05-29 by David Allison

Transition is the first released song for my band, Incredibly Average. It marks our transition to incorporating an electronic sound into our music. It is definitely more on the dubstep side, and it introduces who we are with an incredibly average bang. The melodies of the verse and chorus (drop) were originally two separate creations Zach had composed a while ago. I worked with Zach to modify the verse melodies to sync with the drop, and I brought an idea to the second drop that Zach expanded upon for the song’s final break down. I was honored to have my fingerprint on the final composition of the song. Dalton (featured beautifully in the song's artwork) wrote and sang the vocals, which were just to introduce us to our listeners as a band.

Transition has definitely been the most fun track that I’ve mixed so far. Zach’s composition was definitely next level. I’ve never had to consider so many different sounds in a mix, which was a huge challenge that forced me to take my skills up quite a few notches. Fortunately I love the style of this song, making it a challenge I was eager to tackle.

The drums really came alive once I ran them through Adam’s outboard gear. He has a YAMAHA 2-channel compressor/limiter that made the kick and snare hit super hard with great coloration. There was also a drum loop on a single track with a variety of rim hits, open and closed high-hats, and other less prominent percussion hits. At first I had no idea what to do with this track because of how random it was. I ended up using the square setting in the pencil tool and dragged it across the pan types in ¼ note grid. This produced an effect where the hits come in randomly on the far sides of the stereo image, but having the randomness evenly divided between left and right at ¼ note values made it very musical and a much better addition to the mix.

The song has ten different synthesizer tracks that I separated with automated panning, boosting and attenuating frequencies same frequencies on different synths, and volume automation. I used a driver plugin to add some color to the lead synth in the verses. Mixing the bass was tricky because there was a sub bass synth didn’t mix well with the lead synths. I bussed the lead synths to an aux track with a bass harmonics generator that I used to add and mix in bass from the lead synths with the sub bass, producing a much fuller sound from the leads in the drop.

The vocals and guitars were quite easy to mix. Dalton’s voice has a lot of presence and our recording was very well done. I used an outboard dbx 160 to compress the vocal and a desser to remove the undesirable popping sounds. Zach had already done the distortion and equalization on the guitars, so I just did some extra equalizing and compression to make them really stand out and shine, especially in the drops. The rest of the mix came together very well once I automated the volumes across each of the tracks.

The song’s mastering is what really brought it to life. In my mastering chain I used the outboard YAMAHA compressor, the PuigTec equalizers, Greg Wells MixCentric knob, and Steven Slate’s FG-X Dynamics Rack. In this chain I mellowed out the high-mid frequencies, sweetened the harmonics, and made the track loud and punch as hard as possible without creating distortion. Overall I would say that the track turned out to be my best mix yet! 

Here’s a link to the track: http://soundcloud.com/incrediblyaverage/transition

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