GRAMMY® award-winning mixing engineer Chris Lord-Alge explains how he brought his signature sound to the 2012 CLA Song Competition Winner, and compare the original and CLA mixes.
Q&A with Chris Lord-Alge
Why did you pick this song?
After listening to everything a few times, the Elle song was a standout and the production and the performance really stood out. The song itself is what grabbed me; the power of the story and Elle’s delivery are what sold me.
What impressed you most about the original mix?
The most impressive part was the groove and the balance of the track and the vocals. It was very punchy and clear, and stood out from the pack.
How did you put your stamp on it?
With any mix, I am all about the heart and soul of the song, the vocals and the message. But, of course, the groove and the drums are part of my sound.
What Waves tools did you use in this mix?
My Waves toolbox is always open: I use the CLA Bass plugin on bass, the CLA Drums plugin on overheads and room mics, the CLA-76 and L2 for vocal compression, and the API 550 and HLS Channel for vocal EQ.
Q&A with winners Elle & The Fury
How did you hear about the Waves/Audiofanzine CLA Song Competition?
We saw the Waves Facebook post, and then the email from the Waves mailing list.
Have you worked with Waves plugins before?
Yes, the Renaissance Maxx bundle was the first set of third party plugins we bought after getting Pro Tools at our home studio, which is a small, foamed-up spare bedroom.
What are your favorite plugins?
We use the SSL 4000 Collection, CLA Classic Compressors and Renaissance Vox on everything.
When you entered, did you feel you had a good shot of winning?
We really had no idea what to expect. When we made the Top 25, we thought it was a possibility, but we didn't want to get our hopes up.
What was your reaction upon hearing you were chosen by Chris Lord-Alge as the winner?
I looked down at my phone and saw an email pop up from Waves with "WINNER" in the subject and gasped so loud that Daniel knew we'd won, without me even saying anything. Then we jumped around and called people.
What was it like working with Chris? Did you give him any direction in terms of what you were looking for?
We didn't give him any direction; we wanted to see where he would take it on his own. It's Chris Lord-Alge; we knew he'd make it sound great. We printed the effects we wanted to keep, and then just let him do his thing.
What do you think of the new mix you received?
It's amazing how CLA can identify the most important elements of the song and make them speak. The mix sounds big, wide and open. He managed to make each track stand out and blend at the same time.
What are your plans going forward, now that you have a song mixed by one of the top mixing engineers in the world?
We're in the process of finishing up the rest of the EP, trying to make the rest of the mixes stand up to Chris's mix. This is obviously a big boost for our band, as we look to reach more people, both fans and industry. And we're really f**king excited!