Mix Tips: CJ Eiriksson

Mar 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix


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CJ Eiriksson

Eric Jarvis, president of the Texas chapter of the Recording Academy, turned Mix on to CJ Eiriksson. We had asked about Austin, and he came back with a list of what’s going on, who’s hot. “CJ might be the ideal subject,” he said, “He’s starting to write a lot, too, with everyone from Alien Ant Farm to up-and-coming Austin hip-hop artist Zeale.”

The Canadian-born Eiriksson, after a stop in Los Angeles, has settled in to Austin and its music scene, while continuing to work far and wide. The producer/mixer/engineer/songwriter, managed by Sandy Roberton of World’s End, has a discography that includes U2, Matchbox Twenty, Jack’s Mannequin, The Rocket Summer, Hoobastank, LIVE, Incubus, Phish and many, many more. He’s also governor for the Texas chapter of the Recording Academy. We asked him to answer a few questions about what he’s seeing in and around town these days, and how he likes to work.

You seem to have this knack for working with major artists and up-and-comers/locals. How would you describe the basic differences in the approach to recording?

I work with the same drive and passion with any artist, whether it’s Bono or a kid recording in his bedroom. Obviously, having a big budget can make the studios a lot nicer, and lunches tastier, but music is music; every successful musician at one point was unknown. I have worked with several bands that went from just starting out to huge success over the years, including Incubus and Hoobastank, so I’ve seen first hand that no one is born a famous rock star, but anyone has the potential. Sometimes it’s nice to have lots of time to work, but I almost prefer to have limitations. It gives you a sense of urgency to commit and get things done; over-thinking is the enemy of music.

I also notice that while you work in a wide variety of genres, you seem to have an affinity for rock. How do you get a great electric guitar sound, from mic to pre to effects to mix?

I am a fan of all music, including some Austin hip-hop I’m currently producing/writing, like breaking-out artist Zeale or the duo RAS, Riders Against the Storm. But I definitely have had a lot busier career in the rock/pop world. I tend to keep things simple when recording electric guitars, usually just a 57 and a Royer 121 pretty close-up, straight and a 45-degree angle, into either a Neve or API mic pre, sometimes busing both together through a compressor, like an LA2A if its more of a lead part. Then I commit both sounds to one channel. I tend to mix as I’m recording, always looking toward the big picture, making decisions and not leaving too many questions for later. If you work quickly and get a lot done fast, it’s really easy to sit back afterwards and see what the song needs or is missing.

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