10x Grammy winner Manny Marroquin has been shaping the world sonically with his mixes. His credits include the century’s biggest artists, from Beyoncé to Lizzo to Bruno Mars – and he is now nominated for two more Grammys, for his mixes of Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding (Best Album of the Year) and “Circles” (Best Record of the Year).
We asked Manny what was special about working with Post Malone this time, which is his favorite music he ever mixed – and which album he didn’t mix but wish he had.
Manny, you won a Grammy last year with Lizzo. The year before you were nominated for Post Malone’s Beerbongs and Bentleys. What’s new this time around, as you come full “Circles” to another nomination with Post Malone?
Well, there’s just so much diversity in Post Malone's Hollywood’s Bleeding album. I feel like it’s his coming out party as an artist. It’s 100% Post Malone, but this time around, he and producer Louis Bell really pushed the boundaries by challenging the definition of a song and experimenting with different elements from other genres. It’s not really hip hop, alternative, or pop – it’s all of those at the same time.
I would say that Hollywood’s Bleeding is very impressionist. It almost reminds me of how a painting by Van Gogh or Renoir would sound – where all the colors blend and seep into each other. As opposed to a Picasso, where everything is very bold and ‘liney.’ Louis Bell, who is an amazing producer and engineer, created these landscapes with Post Malone across the whole album.
What was your favorite song to mix from this album and what element about it caught your attention right away?
That’s a tough one! Not sure if I have a favorite, but “Circles” was a fun song. It was produced by Louis Bell and Frank Dukes, and it’s a timeless classic in my opinion.
When I first heard “Circles,” I thought to myself, “Ten years from now, it will still be relevant.” I remember talking to Frank Dukes during the production – he’s the one who said it first: “This could be Post’s biggest song ever.”
What did you use in the mix? Do you actually use your own Signature Series plugins?
You know, people ask me that all time! The answer is yes. Man, I created those plugins so that I could use them! So I use them on each and every mix I do [laughs].
The MM EQ went on all the vocals and across the stereo bus as well. The MM Triple D I used to treat Post’s vocals, but also to take out those harsh or boxy frequencies from other things like bass, kick or guitar.
The MM Distortion I used on this album in a very subtle but effective way. I used it a lot to automate things like bass and guitars, in order to make them cut through in places like choruses, or shine without bringing up the volume or EQ.
You mix songs that change people lives. What song or album changed you?
One that comes to mind is “Gravity” from John Mayer’s Continuum album. It was the first song I ever mixed for him, and working on it changed my approach to mixing. I learned a lot from listening to the lyrics. “Gravity” is a really heavy song, and it was where I began learning how to mix based on the lyrics – which gave me a new appreciation and a new awareness for mixing to serve the song.
John was coming out of his previous album which showcased more of a pop, singer/songwriter vibe. So, when it came to me, I wanted to give his sound more umph, more booty – the sound you would hear from a hip hop group like The Roots, whom I’m also a huge fan of. John just allowed me to do exactly that, and I went for it.
If you could circle back in time and get the chance to mix any album in history, which album would you choose?
I always wanted to mix Radiohead! I was always such a big fan of their work, their music. OK Computer is the album that I wish I would have gotten the chance to mix.
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