Grammy Winner Jacquire King On Mixing In The Box

2016 Apr 11, 2016

A few months ago, when Grammy winner Jacquire King (Kings Of Leon, James Bay, Mutemath) told me he was transitioning to mixing all in the box, I knew I had to get him to share his approach with you.

Last week he graciously sat down with me to talk in detail about his mixing approach and philosophy, specifically how he starts a mix when working in the box.

In this action packed interview Jacquire walks you through his mix buss approach, a secret trick he uses to gain stage and get the low end of his mix perfect, as well as his approach to recording music so that the mix comes together faster. Watch, pay attention, and take notes. Your music will thank you for it later.

Don’t Romanticize The Past

One thing Jacquire said was that it’s pointless to romanticize the days of all analog recording and mixing. In his own words:

The anlaog world is full of compromises and difficulties – Jacquire King

In this interview Jacquire walks through his mixing template and setup as well as his approach to tracking bands and producing artists. Some of things we cover include:

  • The missing piece for most artists when producing a record (this totally applies to home studio musicians) – 5:57
  • Why as an artist you must also see yourself as a small business – 8:24
  • The mistake many producers make is wanting to be in complete control  15:19
  • One simple strategy to getting the low end in your mix perfect every time (this blew my mind) – 20:09
  • The trick to learning your room/speaker’s bass response (and how to compensate in your mix)  28:19
  • The “hand raising” mix approach that allows you to know what to do next in a mix – 30:49
  • Why printing your mix in realtime is a strategic last step to getting your mix just right  34:09
  • How too much flexibility is a bad thing (and committing early and often is more strategic) – 37:09
  • The danger of compartmentalizing each instrument when recording (or mixing)  39:12
  • What we as engineers can learn from Motown music (hint: it wasn’t the gear) – 47:12
  • Why you shouldn’t focus on making a “good” sounding record  48:19

It’s Always All About The Music

What I love about Jacquire (and one reason I wanted to share him with you) is his unshakable love for music. To him, engineering and mixing are only all about the music, not the gear or techniques.

Even watching him work at Studio La Fabrique last year, you could tell he didn’t quite care what tools he had as he would just grab whatever mics were laying around. Also, when it came time to mix, he didn’t really focus much on certain frequencies or techniques. Rather he focused on the relationship of the instruments to each other.

He was trying to get an emotional response out of the listener by simply balancing the tracks agains each other and making something fun, exciting, and musical.

I know that sounds vague and artsy-fartsy – but really that is what great engineering is about: getting out of the way of the song.

If you spent half as much time on your songwriting, arranging, or performance as you did on looking up reviews of plugins or searching for the latest mid-side mixing trick, your final recordings and mixes would improve by leaps and bounds.

What Was Your Big Takeaway?

Watching interviews is great and all, but only so far as you lock in on one or two key lessons and take them to heart.

So let me ask you: what was the biggest takeaway from what Jacquire shared? What one thing surprised you the most or intrigued you the most? Share below!

And be sure to checkout more about Jacquire here on his site.

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