75: Revisions_R2_FINAL


Revisions are perfectly natural. They’re what happens when two people love a piece of music very much but don’t completely agree on how it should sound when finished. 

These waters can be stressful to navigate. Do you push back on comments? Do you shrug and accept any feedback you’re given? How do you communicate your opinion effectively, tactfully and while strengthening the relationship instead of hurting it. And guess what? These are waters you have to navigate even if you’re completely DIY. You of Tomorrow will not agree with You of Yesterday. 

Don’t panic! We’re here to help. 

On this episode, you will learn:

  • Best practices for record keeping when it comes to revisions
  • Red flags in the revision process and how to navigate them
  • When and how to communicate your opinion – both requesting changes having changes requested in your work
  • How to build consensus
  • Strategies for maximizing efficiency and minimizing the number of revisions required
  • Why you shouldn’t worry about taking things a bit personally. This stuff can be tough to hear and EVERYONE goes through the same emotions. That’s why music is fun 🙂

{“type”:”inserter”,”blocks”:[{“clientId”:”67b95e82-bf09-4a02-85d7-8dfe4eb1ab59″,”name”:”core/separator”,”isValid”:true,”attributes”:{},”innerBlocks”:[]}]}

I remember very clearly the first album I ever mixed for someone else.

A strange thing happened.

Every time I would submit a mix to the artist, I had a hard time sleeping at night.

There was a violent oscillation between feelings of confidence and fraudulence.

“The mix is good. He’s going to love it”

“Is it good? Is it what he wanted? Oh god. I’m a fraud.”

I would dream of getting his response. Sometimes the response I dreamt up would be long and full of flowery praise. Other times, it would be terse and reflect how underwhelmed the artist was.

In fact, the album mixing process went well.

For every single song, the artist liked the mixes a lot but also had a few notes on tweaks and changes – which we would go through to end up with something we were both happy to call a finished record.

I’m talking about revisions. That’s what this week’s episode (aptly but ironically titled Episode 75: Revisions_R2_FINAL”) is about.

One key thing I’ve realized in collaborating with people on music (through mixing, production, or mastering) is that it exposes both parties (the artist and the producer) to a significant amount of vulnerability.

It’s a bit like dating. Both parties are baring their emotions and tastes. They’re hoping to receive validation of each but also hoping to LIKE what they see across the table from them.

The artist has put their soul into this musical piece and now they’re handing this precious baton (along with the embedded piece of soul) to someone else – who will hopefully take it across the finish line.

On the receiving end of the baton, the producer or mixer or mastering engineer is taking this precious work and shaping it to their own taste. In doing so, they too are exposing their subjective idea of what is ”good”.

Man. Talk about vulnerability. Everyone involved is making a statement about what they think is “good” and it SUCKS when someone thinks your “good” is trash.

The likelihood that everyone’s idea of “good” will be aligned from the get-go is next to nothing BUT with some good communication and a disciplined approach, you can shape the work to everyone’s satisfaction.

In fact, you can usually make it much better than either party could have managed alone.

That’s the beauty of collaboration.

But here’s the kicker. If you’re thinking “Well, I do everything myself. I write the music, I record it and then I mix it so I don’t have to worry about this”, I can’t tell you how mistaken you are!

You are a different person than you will be two weeks from now. 

You will still need to negotiate the difference between what you THOUGHT was good and what you THINK is good and you will have to do so with the same level of discipline and kindness that you would expect to receive (and give) to someone else.

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for successful revisions:

  1. File naming: The key is consistency and consistency takes discipline. You can use whatever system you want but here are some tips:
    1. Do NOT use words like “NEW”, “FINAL”, “OLD” in your file names. They mean nothing and you will only confuse yourself.
    2. Instead, use a sequential numbering system. The first mix is Song Name_V0. The next one is V1, etc., This way, when you look at your files, you know exactly which file is the most recent file.
  2. Session Management: Every time you make a revision, hit File, Save As and create a new file. The session name should be the same as file you will bounce out of it. So, if you’re up to V2, then the session name should be Session Name_V2. This way, when someone says “I liked the snare drum in V2 better” you can open the V2 file and see exactly what you were doing.
  3. Comparing versions: Use those critical listening skills. When comparing versions, pull both versions into a fresh session and level match them.
  4. Communication: Remember, it’s like dating. You wouldn’t tell someone you had just started dating that their hair looks like a possum had started making a nest in it but eventually gave up, would you? No. You would start with some compliments and then gracefully suggest that they may want to look in a mirror and that you’re only telling them because it happened to you last week and you really wish somebody had said something. Go into revisions with that mindset. Ask questions. Replace judgement with curiosity. 
  5. Music is subjective. OK. Some things might be “wrong” but in general your opinion is just your opinion. Be willing to “kill your darlings” as Hemingway once put it.

For more, check out Episode 75 where we talk about:

  • Best practices for record keeping when it comes to revisions
  • Red flags in the revision process and how to navigate them
  • When and how to communicate your opinion – both requesting changes having changes requested in your work
  • How to build consensus
  • Strategies for maximizing efficiency and minimizing the number of revisions required
  • Why you shouldn’t worry about taking things a bit personally. This stuff can be tough to hear and EVERYONE goes through the same emotions.

Do you have any nightmare revision stories? I’d love to hear them. Just hit reply. I read every email I get.

Cheers and happy recording.

 

Where to Find the Guys
Free DIY Recording eBook: https://www.howtorecordyourband.com
Vadim’s Studio Site – Get your FREE test mix today! – https://www.calmfrogrecording.com
Benjamin’s Studio Site – https://www.dreamloudstudio.com
Leave a rating. Be a friendhttp://www.getpodcast.reviews/id/1494761702

Vadim Kharaz

Vadim Kharaz mixes and produces music through his studio Calm Frog Recording.

He co-hosts the DIY Recording Guys podcast with Benjamin Hull because he knows that with a bit of knowledge and minimal gear, it’s possible for DIY musicians everywhere to get pro-quality recordings.