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Archive for the ‘Clients’ Category

Client Feature: The Dirty Dishes

Posted by Keith Freund On January - 6 - 20102 COMMENTS

Ladies and germs, I present to you what is perhaps my favorite release that I’ve worked on to date: In The Clouds, a five-song EP and debut release from Boston-based indie rockers The Dirty Dishes.

The Dirty DishesI mixed and co-produced the record, also sharing mastering duties with Dave Cooley (produced both Silversun Pickups records and has mastered for J Dilla, Madlib, & Polyphonic Spree). They’re something like a female-fronted Silversun Pickups or Autolux. But fresher. And maybe with a dash of Smashing Pumpkins. Listen to all five songs on Bandcamp. My favorites:

» “Deer In Headlights” (catchy, indie)
» “Stolen Apples” (fun with a hint of evil)
» “Thin Air” (epic shoegaze)

Haggle with your favorite ticket scalper tonight outside Boston’s House of Blues to catch the Dirty Dishes opening for Passion Pit at their sold-out show. And in case you haven’t noticed, these blogosphere darlings have been hyping the hell out of the Dishes:

Download any song from their EP for free on Bandcamp or support the band by buying the whole thing:

BLOGGERS: feel free to post an mp3 for free download. You can also embed their Bandcamp player on your page by clicking the song title and then “Share”.

Client Feature: Miss Geo

Posted by Keith Freund On November - 25 - 20091 COMMENT

Miss Geo is a Rhode Island-based singer songwriter. Her new album, The Story, is an excruciatingly (yes) catchy indie-pop record with clever lyrics and tons of stand out tracks. Check out “Broken Wrists”:

I’ve been meaning to feature Miss Geo for a few months now, not only because the music is killer, but because I want to talk about a lesser known service that we offer at Fix Your Mix called stem mastering. Stem mastering, sometimes also called stem mixing or separation mastering, is a hybrid between mixing and mastering. To explain how this works, I’ll tell you a little bit about how this record was made.

miss-geo-album-coverThe Story was produced, engineered, and mixed by my good friend Rob Arbelo here in Boston. What I received from Rob was stereo “stems”–a single stereo track of drums, a stereo track of all the guitars combined, stereo vocals, bass, and a stereo track of synth/harmonies/noises combined. The benefit of mastering from stems is twofold:

  1. You can’t always be sure exactly how mastering will affect a mix. Sometimes guitars get louder, the snare’s sustain increases, the kick gets lost in the chorus, etc. By effectively mixing and mastering at the same time, I was able to quickly and easily tweak basic levels and EQ while retaining the essential character of Rob’s mix.
  2. One of the most often-cited benefits of mastering is an objective ear to lend fresh perspective to a mix. In my opinion, stem mastering is infinitely more valuable in this capacity than mastering alone.

I love working from stems, so if you’re a self-produced, DIY artist and want to mix it yourself without sacrificing the energy and clarity of a professionally mixed record, this may be the route to go. Or if you’ve spent months producing the hell out of someone else’s record and you’ve got a great mix that just needs a little tweaking, stem mastering will allow you to take a nice long nap while some other guy does the boring stuff!

UPDATE: We are now officially offering stem mixing at $80/song.

“Broken Wrists” was featured on Hype Machine yesterday and tons of people have been favoriting it, so if you like the song, heart/ReTweet this to bump Miss Geo up on the HypeM charts:

“Broken Wrists” on HypeM

You can also stream the full album on Miss Geo’s Bandcamp page. I recommend the tracks “Snake Soiree,” “Statuette,” and “Time Travel.”

Miss Geo links:

Client Feature: Lazy Mane & Kosherbeets

Posted by Keith Freund On September - 18 - 20092 COMMENTS

Kosherbeets and Lazy Mane

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.

Lazy Mane and Kosherbeets at Lenny's

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:

Stream the Fix Your Mix Supreme I.N.K Sampler (NSFW)

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!

supreme-ink-album-coverDownload the album for 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.

Client Feature: SV & DJ Jove

Posted by Keith Freund On September - 9 - 2009COMMENT ON THIS POST

jove l_b8773d77364c4ab2960378a79e018012Earlier this year, Phil and I began working with rap crossover group and production team, SV & DJ Jove, who have become two of our most promising unsigned clients. Check out a sampler from their club anthem “Act Stupid!” and SV’s catchy R&B single “You Know” (currently on the front page of

You may recognize DJ Jove (birth name Vinnie) from MTV’s new reality series Is She Really Going Out With Him?, a show about bad boys that date good girls or as the network puts it, “douchebags and the women that love them.” From the creator of popular blog and book Hot Chicks With Douchebags, Is She Really Going Out With Him? chronicles the trials and tribulations of an alpha male in his natural habitat, which in Jove’s case includes his internet show, Reset Radio, where two porn stars have a cannoli-sucking contest live on the air.

Watch more highlights on by clicking on the image below:

WATCH DJ JOVE ON MTVThis guy knows how to work a crowd. A little YouTubing turns up dozens of live shows including a video of Jove doing part of a set in a bra (I’ll spare you the link). To get a sense of his live presence, also check out clip 2 from the series where he spins in a club filled with scantily-clad women. He raps the first verse on “Act Stupid!

As a producer, SV has a diverse but signature sound from club rap (think Black Eyed Peas) to pop-R&B (a la Rihanna or Akon). Although born and raised in Brooklyn, some of his beats have a Miami feel to them, particularly “Act Stupid!” In others, he juxtaposes tribal and Middle-Eastern sounds with a mainstream, synth-based club minimalism (like in Rich Boy’s “Drop”). SV is also making moves as a rapper and lyricist–his hook writing ability in particular is phenomenal.

Breaking Onto The Charts

Look out for these guys in the coming months. Today, there are really three ways for an artist to break onto the rap and pop scene, any of which could propel SV & DJ Jove to the top of the charts:

  • A guest spot from an established artist – the Drake model
  • “Going viral” – the Soulja Boy model
  • Grassroots / paying dues – This is the model for most big rappers today including as TI and Lil Wayne. Can take up to a decade to reach peak potential. One could argue that like with rock music, these artists largely benefited from the promotional dollars of the “old music business” (pre-2000s) and that this sort of success may not be as viable in today’s short-attention-span/everything’s-free marketplace. On the other hand, if you told me that Wayne was eventually going to be a Top 40 artist back when I was jamming on his Tha Block is Hot album, I wouldn’t have believed you. I always thought of him as one of the under-appreciated members of Cash Money Records. So I think there’s actually an objective reason for why these artists stood the test of time and went from moderately successful Southern rappers to Top 40 artists: talent.

DJ Jove & SV - Act Stupid! - Single - Act Stupid! Buy “Act Stupid!” on iTunes

Buy “Act Stupid!” on Amazon MP3
SV on Myspace

SV & Jove in the studio

Recent Project: Ex Norwegian

Posted by Keith Freund On May - 18 - 2009COMMENT ON THIS POST

Miami-based indie rock band Ex Norwegian is a Fix Your Mix artist we’re excited about right now. They’ve been featured on XM radio, performed live on Sky News (London) and at the 2008 CMJ Music Marathon in New York City where I saw them play for the first time.

Click here to check out “Sad Wonder” off their new album Standby.

Ex Norwegian

I was blown away by this song upon first listen. Usually when you think of psychedelic music, you think of effects, but to me, these chord changes are psychedelic. Add a catchy melody, loud-soft dynamics, and an arrangement that holds your interest all the way to the end and you’ve got a recipe for success.

I knew right off the bat that I wanted to emphasize the synth pad “ahhhs,” so I mixed the chorus first. That’s how I usually begin a mix: pick a section or element of the song that excites me the most and build the rest of the mix around it.

They were going for a retro sound with a modern twist. Drum samples and compression define the modern rock sound, so I dropped the former and kept the latter.

Rock mixers today tend to rely mainly on samples for drum ambience rather than reverb or room mics. Instead of doing either of those, I downplayed the drum ambience altogether and focused on punchiness instead. This was also important because the other instruments were being sent to several different reverbs and delays.

To keep it modern, the individual elements and overall mix were compressed a good deal more than Ex Norwegian’s old-school references (Big Star, David Bowie, ELO) and I added a vocal stutter edit during the first verse for some extra modern flare.

I also went heavier on the low end than a standard rock mix, which worked out perfectly because the electric bass locks up with the kick drum. (This goes along with one of the themes that tends to comes up when Phil and I have philosophical discussions about music: Arrangement is King.)

Standby is filled with stand out tracks. My personal favorites are Sad Wonder, Aventura, and Add Vice.

Ex Norwegian on Myspace

Buy Ex Norwegian’s debut album Standby on Amazon MP3.


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