We’re teaming up with some of the most esteemed producers, engineers and mixers in the game who are lifting the hood behind their biggest hits.
In the latest episode of #TheMakingOf, Teezio give us an access-all-areas look into the process for mixing the opening track to the album’ ’Till The Wheels Fall Off’, featuring Lil Durk and Capella Grey.
The song touches upon Brown’s relationship with God and very personal challenges in his life, so it was vital Teezio matched that intimacy and depth within the mix.
Teezio takes us through his vocal chain for Chris, the importance of reductive EQing, as well as how he co-mixed the track with his collaborator and close friend, Bainz, by using Audiomovers.
Huge congratulations to Teezio who was nominated for multiple awards at last nights Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album for his work on Chris Brown’s ‘Breezy’.
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I want to show you guys a mix session for a song called wheels fall off, which was the first song on the breezy album with Chris Brown. Let’s just jump right into it.
let’s start from the top mix template. As you can see, I’ve delivered this record, obviously, it’s out. So these are the deliverable prints up here. We’ve got my busing my drum buss bass bus, music bus, which sort of everything feeds, which feeds my outboard gear and comes back, we have all the drums here you can see kick, snare rim, down here, we have the 808 in the bass, which in this case, actually, it was two basses on top of each other, I had processing happening on each individual bass, and that processing started to sort of go against each other, and it kind of made the two basses not sit with each other.
So I had to make a decision to inactivate all that and create a bus for both basses to feed and sort of try to treat that as one whole bus with everything on it. That I feel like is a moment where I was put out of my comfort zone, right and I had to do something that normally wouldn’t do.
Music down here you’ll see in pink, which is pianos keys, couple of vocal chops, and then we’re getting into the vocals, these are Chris’s leads for the verse, sort of the part where he says free one and slime, which is here at the top of this verse.
So I’ll show you the EQ, which is a pro-q 3 and you can see I’m shaving off 120, I’m sort of getting all these bad frequencies and just notching them out. Some of these are pretty deep. I mean, you’ve got over a DB cuts, a lot of my E cueing is reductive I don’t, you’re not going to see me adding too much with these sort of EQs.
To make things brighter, you can just reduce low end to make things lower end-y you can just reduce high end, everything has an opposite and equal reaction.
That’s sort of my cutting process with him to cut everything down. Then I take this UAD pultec EQP-1A and I’ll do a 10k boost. And that sort of just opens up that air on his vocal. From there, I’ll limit the vocal or not limit but put it through this 1176 limiting amplifier, which is just a compressor.
After that I bring in this neutron taking away that bottom end in his vocal and allowing the clarity to shine. After that I put the limitless on there, which is a limiter which sort of pushes everything more forward into your face, which people like that sort of intimacy you can have with the vocal.
Once that happens when you push the vocal forward, you’re gonna get things that again start to come out of the vocal, which is where I re-attack and I put a soothe plugin on there.
So we’re having a good amount of reduction. But again, this is all in part of smoothing and cleaning it up. There’s that and I ended off with this C-2 Compressor which I’ll show you again, my reduction is I mean, it’s pretty, it’s a pretty high reduction. Let’s get down here to nine so we can see exactly, I’m doing five DBS of reduction, which is a lot on the compressor.
But when you hear this record again, sonically this record is very in your face, it’s very aggressive. It’s sort of a dark record. Subject-wise it’s sort of a dark record as well, in more r&b type of sound record that Chris might do, there might not be five DBS of reduction, they might be a little more dynamic.
I love mixing for what it needs. I don’t like doing some Well, that’s how I’m supposed to do it. I do it that way every time. That’s not always the case. music isn’t black and white. It’s very grey, as great as it can get.
We’re getting down to more stacks. These are hooks, there’s a choir sort of singing to the wheels fall off. It sounds like a big group of people. That’s what these vocals are.
And then we’re coming down to Durk. So when I got this record, Chris did his parts. We said let’s get Durk on it. We hit Durk. Durk gave us the verse. So that’s when I hit Bainz. And I said, Hey, Bainz, can we can you mix this with me?
So we can call mix it blah, blah here and he knew the whole subject and everything of what was going on. So I sent him the vocals. He makes it we used Audiomovers for him to play back to me. Okay, it sounds dope. Yeah, I think it sounds dope, I’ll make it sit in my mix. Cool. So he sends me back, these vocals which are mixed on his end.
So when he got to me, the vocal had to sort of adjust it and sort of take out some frequencies to get it to sit right within my whole process, I’m more or less just kind of squeezing him into the pocket rather than reducing his dynamics and sort of sitting him in, right.
So this is the last compressor This is the ChikenHead. What that is, is actually a plugin compressor that in real time, sends the audio out to the box, converts it to audio, runs it through like real compressor channel, and then re converts it back into digital all simultaneously in one.
So it’s a crazy I mean, he’s won the tech award, like three years in a row already. Like DSP is on another level. And this is on every record. It always is my finisher. It’s sort of what takes it and glues it and glues it right. It’s like something being flush, right? Like the vocal is more flush with the mix and it doesn’t sound like it’s sticking up. So that’s sort of what this compressor does. And that sort of seals everything off.
And then from there, we’re done right like the mix is done and we’re ready to send it off to the artists for approval. That’s it.