How limitation reveals the Master

Serious Sounds Sessions presents:

We are happy to share with you the videos of the first edition of our Serious Sound Sessions series and on top of that, we would like to introduce the next session with Matt Wiggins!

Using tuned glass bottles to create ‘Michael Jackson inspired percussion elements’ and the importance of limiting yourself to keep your creative mind going… Last February we hosted the first edition of Serious Sound Sessions where our special guest Ali Staton shared these ideas and presented many of his very interesting production techniques while deconstructing the mix he engineered and produced for Turin Brakes’ single ‘Keep Me Around’.

About Ali Staton: Read more…

From the demo, to the recording, to the mixing. During the 1,5 hour live stream via both Facebook and Youtube, Ali spoke about the whole process. Besides sharing his personal and sometimes unusual production tricks, he also spoke about his approach to producing and engineering this specific band and the variety of techniques used while doing so. An inspiring masterclass, giving a very interesting and broad perspective of the creative process from an engineer/producer point of view.

You might think ‘Aah, too bad I missed it!’. We understand. But we got your back! We edited the 1,5-hour stream in 3 parts and added some additional video material for you to enjoy. You can find the videos below.

Part 1 – From original demo to production

In this part, Ali speaks about the following topics:

  • Introduction from Ali Staton
  • What sound is the band looking for and how to achieve that in the mix, while keeping the core elements of the track and make it sonically interesting
  • Using a tape loop as a rhythm track
  • How to keep your creative focus without too much distraction
  • Adding some super interesting instruments and sound effect to add some ear candy
  • And answering some questions from the viewers in between (i.e. vocal production)

Part 2 – More about the recording process

In this part, Ali speaks about the following topics:

  • More about vocal production
  • The recording process and setup for adding strings
  • Efficient recording and the benefits of working with limitations
  • Overdubbing on tape vs the plugin version
  • Ali’s approach on recording and mixing with limited tracks
  • How to use compression to create character (tone controlling the compressed signal)
  • Fader riding vs compression
  • Using distortions, iPad apps and other sound bits to create interesting elements
  • Answering questions from the audience and viewers

Part 3 – mix

In this part, Ali speaks about the following topics:

  • Talking about Real World studio (Peter Gabriel’s studio) and recording at Rockfield
  • The mixing process in today’s world, the collaborative effort
  • More production techniques to add flavour and make it sonically interesting
  • Sharing some if his favourite plugins
  • Michael Jackson’s inspiration with tuned bottles
  • Using (slightly) distorted conga parts
  • Forcing yourself to limitations in order to keep the creative process going
  • How to make creative decisions and how to create value as an engineer
  • The finishing touches, using plugins on the mix bus
  • And full of amazing anecdotes! (Oh yes he has amazing stories)

We were very happy having Ali Staton himself in Amsterdam for the first edition of Serious Sounds Sessions, powered by and with special thanks to Universal Audio. And we are super excited to announce the next edition, which is scheduled for Sunday the 15th of April with mixing/recording engineer and producer mr. Matt Wiggins.

About Matt Wiggins

Matt is a mixing/recording engineer and producer based in the UK, and not just any. After studying music technology at Salisbury College, he developed his skills within Miloco Studios working with a number of leading producers including Paul Epworth, Ben Hillier and Spike Stent.
The variety of recording and mixing sessions enabled Matt to hone his skills using a diverse range of recording equipment from the classics to the bizarre.
In 2011, Matt began engineering full time for Paul Epworth, leading to projects in the UK and stateside including Paul McCartney’s ‘NEW’, Adele’s award-winning ‘Skyfall’ and the Foster the People LP ‘Supermodel’. Since then Matt has worked on outstanding albums and with artists like U2, The Stone Roses, Lorde, London Grammar and The Horrors, just to name a few. He also engineered and mixed tracks on the Glass Animals album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ which won this year’s MPG Album Of The Year award and for which Matt was nominated as Recording Engineer Of The Year.
As well as engineering with Paul Epworth at The Church [Epworth’s studio], Matt recently set up his own studio at Strongroom for mixing and production duties.

More details below…

Matt Wiggins at Abbey Road Institute for Serious Sound Sessions

Serious Sounds Sessions presents:

Mixing & Creative Decision Making

We are very excited to welcome Matt Wiggins for our second edition of Serious Sound Sessions at the Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam facilities.

This time, Matt will be joining us to take you through the mixing process in a unique way. As Matt explains himself: “As an engineer, you are often tasked with getting a track to sound as good as possible in a fairly short period of time. During the Serious Sound Sessions masterclass, we will take a recorded track and will be mixing it as far as we can get. We will start by discussing the aim and the direction of the track with the student (through our host) who produced and recorded it, followed by listening to some references and talk about applying the key elements of these reference tracks to the mix. After that, we add some production techniques while walking through the use of certain plugins and their specific purpose.”

This unique masterclass with Matt Wiggins for the 2nd edition of Serious Sound Sessions offers an incredibly valuable insight into the creative decision-making process. Besides that, it will give a very interesting comparison between the before and after version of the track.

What else do we need to say? You can attend this masterclass through Facebook Live, where you can ask your questions real time to Matt Wiggins himself!

Details about this event:

  • Sunday the 15th of April
  • Starting at 3pm
  • Duration: 1,5 hours max
  • Hosted by Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam
  • Powered by Universal Audio
  • Live streams for Facebook and Youtube
  • If you want to attend this event in person and/or more info about the event:

Reference links: Ali Staton / Matt Wiggins / Universal Audio