While talking with a friend of mine about the possibility of working with The Cold Stares for the first time, he said to me “You better get really analog really fast!’. He was so very right!
The Cold Stares had been working on this album in Nashville and for reasons I won’t go into, they pulled the project from the studio they were working with and were in a battle to get the raw tracks. Tracks in hand, they took them to a big name mixer who mixed a couple of the songs. This is when the album came to my attention… Brian brought the tracks to me to get my opinion of the mixes and I said I would love to have a shot at mixing a song or two. The tracks were Jesus Brother James and NGS4U. I was very proud of the mixes and ended up getting the gig to mix the album!
There are several tough parts about mixing a Cold Stares record, the biggest of which is competing with how HUGE they sound live! It is tough to bring the excitement of their live show to the car stereo and in my opinion, it hadn’t been done up to that point. They really wanted it to sound dirty, dark and unpolished which was very much outside my comfort zone at the time, but we pressed on. I began rolling off high frequencies at every turn and really just concentrated on making this an album that begged to be turned up.
When it came time to mix the vocals, Chris said something to me that stuck with me through every recording we’ve done since. “I don’t want the vocals to sound like a high definition Canon 5D photo. I would prefer they sound like an old Polaroid”. That made a lot of sense to me and I created the vocal sound based on that. That rolled over to the mixes in general where I was always looking for dirt and character at the expense of a polished sound.
If you have never heard The Cold Stares, do yourself a favor and check them out at www.thecoldstares.com. We are about to start up a new round of recordings in 2016 and I can’t wait to hear whats next!