Qayaas ‘Blog’ – The Art of Mixing By Khurram Waqar

QayaasThe Art of Mixing

With this blog, I really want to start an informal interaction with all of you whereby you get to to see the internal workings of the band, the various logistics that we face, my thought process and input in terms of songwriting,coming up with interesting parts, tracking the songs in their true essence and getting totally lost in the “art of mixing” … 🙂 If you are a musician, then mixing is a counter-productive excercise. The reason being that your concentration gets diverted from your main strength (be it vocals, guitars or drums etc.) into the intricacies of sound engineering. It looks pretty simple on the outside. How difficult could it be to record a song and make it sound close to a song from a multi platinum selling rock album? The answer is that if you are new to this, it may probably take years.. maybe more. The ppl who produce these albums have years and years of experience behind them. Their hair have turned grey doing it plus they have the best studio equipment at their disposal. The important thing to note over here is that their job is just to produce the album. The musician or band comes into the studio, records the songs and then their job is finished. When you have to make the songs, record them and then mix them yourself, the whole dynamics of the situation change. I hope you get an idea of where I am coming from. I am really glad and happy that Sarmad is a part of Qayaas. Although he joined in a little later when we had tracked most of the stuff, his production experience helped us a lot in getting the mixes of the 2 songs ready in a short span of time. Tanha had been fully tracked in Aug 2008. I was at that time reading a lot of books on audio production (actually had been doing so for the last 2 years) and applied all that knowledge to get a good mix going. As with mixing, you learn as you move along and each sitting opens new avenues.I had prepared roughly about 30 mixes before we all thought that we had come close to what we wanted. It was a difficult song to mix because of its constant varying dynamics. Various techniques were employed to make the drums sound tight and fit in well with the mix. The same can be said for the rest of the instruments. I specifically mentioned the drums because if you have managed to make them sit well in the mix, the major portion of the work is done. This all had taken a good 4-5 months as in parallel, the tracking of the other songs was also going on. Sarmad, being a gentleman that he is, offered to take care of the final mix and mastering of all the songs. So I made individual 32 bit wav files for every track of “Tanha” and “Umeed” and took them over to his studio. He made some minor adjustments to the Tanha mix, adding some nice reverb to Umair’s screams, cutting out some unwanted low frequencies etc. and then mastered the track. During this whole process, there was constant collaboration between Sarmad and myself. Umair and Fifu also chipped in with their thoughts. All in all, we all worked together to make the mix sound what it is. I still remember all of us riding in my jeep listening to the first mastered version of Tanha at ear piercing volume and it sounded darn good. It rocked. Didnt sound too squashed or too over the edge. There were a few minor issues which were resolved in the next few sittings and we had Tanha ready by all means. It felt really good, powerful and well balanced. Well, I guess, it’s enough for now as I have also run out of gas. More for next time …. Be good and keep rocking.