It was 2003 when I first discovered Lazy Mane & Kosherbeets through the grapevine as they began to generate a buzz in the North Atlanta area. I got Kosherbeets’s number from a mutual friend, picked his brain about music, recording, etc., and the rest is history. I cut my teeth mixing his solo release, Dude, College, and now his joint effort with long time collaborator Lazy Mane: Supreme I.N.K.
They’ve since shared the stage with a number of hip hop notables including Atlanta mainstays the Ying Yang Twins and quintiple-platinum act Nappy Roots (of “Awnaw” fame). Tonight, Friday, Sept. 18th, 2009, you can catch the duo at Lenny’s in Atlanta performing with Dungeon Family* artists Killer Mike (featured on a number of OutKast songs), Cool Breeze, and Rico Wade of Organized Noize.
I don’t know exactly where to pin down their sound-a little Bone Thugs here, some early OutKast there, and a combination of all those jazz records, photographs, and history books they’ve got lying around the studio. The result is a classic sound that spits in the face of trends and resonates on both an intellectual and primal level.
Supreme I.N.K is their best to date, particularly The Springtime, which is a sample-based, major key uptempo song with “instant classic” written all over it, and The Galaxi, a trippy, dark, futuristic beat with lyrics and live sax to match.
In honor of the album’s release, I’ve thrown together a sampler with some of my favorite cuts from the album:
Mixing In An Unfamiliar Environment
Mixing in an artist’s studio is kind of like becoming fluent in Pig Latin. You’ve already got all the skills you need, it just takes a little bit longer to get your ideas out at first. To get familiar with their speakers (Event 8s) and room, I referenced their influences for similar instrumentation/arrangements but used more recent mainstream songs to get the low end sounding current. We also checked mixes in a number of consumer environments including a few vehicles with decked-out audio systems and took notes for revisions.
Supreme I.N.K. is the only full album that I’ve mixed entirely independent of my own gear and rig.** It was done entirely in the box (plug ins only, no outboard gear) using primarily the Waves Diamond and SSL plugin bundles in Pro Tools.
Fixing Their Mix
I consider all of my projects to be collaborative efforts, but especially in this case–they did the rough mixes and final tweaks, I sculpted the sound into a more professional and cohesive arrangement. So this was one of those cases where I literally “fixed [their] mix” rather than playing the traditional mix engineer role.
I read that one of my favorite engineers, Rich Costey, did this on Foo Fighters’ latest, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. The tracking engineer did the initial mix work if I’m not mistaken and RC was brought in to finish it off.
They’ve intentionally eschewed iTunes and Amazon in favor of a more grassroots approach by giving away the album for free online and selling physical copies at shows. So check them out at Lenny’s if you can, and grab the album. It’s free!
*I owe Will (Kosherbeets) a special debt of gratitude for introducing me to my favorite rap album of all time, Dungeon Family’s Even In Darkness. Dungeon Family is a more or less defunct (hibernating?) collective which includes OutKast, Goodie Mob, Cee-Lo, et al.
**For my clients reading, note that I don’t generally do attended sessions–the time we save from this is one of the ways we can provide an incredible value at a rate that’s affordable for independent artists–but I made an exception for these guys because of our long time relationship and hey, it gave me a good excuse to go back to Atlanta for a few weeks.