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You can get there in time
I saw this great quote today, attributed to Albert Einstein: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
This felt so resonant. It particularly reminded me of when I was first starting to mix records. I didn’t have an ideal monitoring situation, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
So I would get a mix done that I thought was pretty great … and I would run a cable to our home stereo so I could listen to it there, and I would hear a bunch of things that I hadn’t heard in the studio. So then I’d revise the mix based on notes from that environment.
When it got sounding pretty good on the home stereo, I would burn it on a CD and take it in the car … and I would take notes on all the issues that I noticed there. Then I’d go back in the house, address my punch list, and take it back to the car. I would sometimes quite literally do this four or fives times a day.
Was this a good process? Hell no. It was terrible and often stressful. And mind-bogglingly time-consuming. But we were super poor, because we were just starting out and weren’t getting enough work yet, so I had the time to do it, as terrible as it was.
But, you know what? Those mixes and albums, every single one of them, all eventually turned out great. I listen back to my early output and I have no complaints. The records I’m making now are for sure more technically accomplished and generally better-sounding … and they take me a fraction of the time … but those first efforts hold up. And I got there through sheer grit and determination.
It’s not that I was so smart about making records … it’s that I stayed with the problems as long as was necessary to resolve them.
Stubbornly — jamie