Mix Tips: CJ Eiriksson

Mar 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix


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How do you approach a rock male vocal? A singer-songwriter vocal? Do you like them in the room, a booth?

I’m a fan of quite a bit of compression for vocals, again with a Neve or API pre, followed by an 1176 compressor, as well as a limiter to keep things steady, usually an LA3A or LA2A. I want to be able to feel that vocalist up close, hear every vowel and nuance of a vocal, so it sits right up nice in the mix. An old tube mic like a Telefunken U 47/48 is always great, but I’m not at all against having a singer get loud and proud in the control room with a 58, cranking the studio monitors and giving the vocalist a nice exciting vibe to sing in. Recording and being in the studio to me is all about feeling comfortable and having fun. This will always come across in the performances. Anyone in music is pretty lucky to be doing this, we should always be having a good time I think. I can make anything sound good, fix notes, timing, whatever needed with Pro Tools, but there is no plug-in for a great performance!

Austin is forever pushed as the “live music capital of the world.” How does that influence the local studio scene?

Austin has an amazing, vibrant music scene. I have a pool of local musicians who are all good friends and super easy to get whatever I need done. I think that just about everybody plays guitar in Austin! When it comes to tracking, I am a fan of getting the band all set up, playing together and making sure tempos are good, but then really focusing first on getting drums, and go through each musician individually, fine tuning their parts, tones etc. There is probably a lot of “live off the floor” tracking being done in Austin, but that’s not always how I roll. I like to make sure everything everyone does really counts.

Where do you like to work in town? And why?

The music scene, along with the great amount of really good, reasonably priced studios, is what made me move here seven years ago. Places like The Wire, the newer one Austin Signal, and classics like the newly renovated Arlyn/Pedernales studios in the heart of the city—all great and my go-to places depending on what vibe/gear I’m looking for. Sometimes I may want to use an API desk, others only Neve pre’s, or I can mix on the SSL at Arlyn.

I mostly mix at a semi-private studio just outside Austin on a friend’s beautiful ranch, called BlueWorld Music. The setup there is a mixture of old and new school, Dangerous summing mixers, but a ton of classic outboard gear that is all normalized in the outputs. When I mix, I like to work fast, get the songs to a really good place quickly, then let the artist listen and give input, and follow up with recalls until its right, which is usually in one or two more passes. I always keep all my outboard at exactly the same settings, then do all my moves—any extra EQ, compression, effects—in the box for each song This way I can literally go through a whole album’s worth of songs a couple times in a day quite easily. I use a lot of plug-ins for mixing; I don’t think I could mix without Waves…

At the end of the day though, the most important thing is the song. We are making music for people to enjoy, and there is no better feeling in this business then to create a song that people love, relate to, and live their lives through the music. That’s why I do this. I love music and how it makes me feel. I want to make others feel the same!

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