Rough Mixes – What are They

For me, a mix is not a rough mix until I am done tracking. Regardless of the overall quality and cohesiveness associated with a project, I am not bouncing tracks to stereo and seriously evaluating tracks as they pertain to a song until they are all somewhere in the project, whether they be sub-mixed, muted, or frozen. I may have not even decided whether or not I will even use a track until I have completely finished transferring my musical ideas from my mind to my hard drive.

Often, I will choose to use or not use a track only after I have the opportunity to listen to it along with one or more other tracks, like say a Bass track in a group of other Rhythm instruments.

I prefer to do that by soloing and creating sub grouping in the console section of my DAW or mixing console. I may want to change the part musically or audibly, so mixing down or bouncing tracks at this point is pointless.

Rough mixes, for me, are used for perhaps honing overall FX and setting the final send, pan, and volume levels on my busses, and usually entails several different formats associated with several different ways we listen to music. It is where I tweak the Compressors and I am checking for clipping and saturation levels of different tracks as they modulate amongst the other tracks in a mix.

Of course, my personal workflow dictates I am doing this throughout the entire process of recording but the process is progressive, in that earlier tweaks may have been before other tracks and FX were added and though necessary in the overall creative process, are not permanent, as in a final mix or a contending rough mix.

Rough mixes is where I really focus on bringing the mix together as a complete entity. I think less about tracks and more about the completeness of the song.

It is less about,“How do these tracks sound together in a mix.”  It is more about, “How do these tracks sound in a mix, at these levels, in these formats, on these speakers, on my personal audio system or in my car or on a surround system (That is a whole different story).

Rough mixes are Keepers, whereas up until that point, aside from the musical and technical data (Mainly MIDI and Automation data), everything else would be considered Scratch Tracks.


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Here is another one of those potpourri “What Day is it Songs.”

Now we have Sunday and Saturday…

We had a bit of a holiday in that we needed some maintenance. It is good stuff though…It’s all about workflow, but it’s still work.

I lost a FireWire interface in a Lightning Storm. It was like a lout Thwaak. It took me a minute to figure out what was going on, until my DAW politely informed me that my interface was disconnected and would I like to retain my settings.

I tried disassembling it and saw an electrolytic capacitor had exploded, but after replacing it, the lights would just blink. Of course, nothing else about it was serviceable.

So that slowed me down, as I was beginning to try a multi-DAW work approach.

I’m looking for a replacement but a lot of Life things have cropped up in the past few weeks, that always insists on taking priority.

I did manage to put this together in between. As usual, I have no name leaping out at me so for now, we’ll call it “Saturday.”

LIt seems like for me, weekends are a good day to start a project…I will rename it as soon as the lyrics are done….It’s funny because with all the instrumentals, I still hear a song in there…I just want to leave a little room for when I become truly inspired.

Maybe along the way I will meet up with that something special energy.

I don’t want to work at it…musically I have options. Like in this piece, I am a couple of mute switches and maybe some drum/percussion editing away from a Reggae tune…

Anyway, it’s there…I can hear it, and I can feel it… the words that is…

Only something gets lost on the way to my mouth… and unlike musical roadblocks, which I see as an opportunity to deviate and explore, I somehow don’t feel that way with words…

I feel like once they’re there, it’s done and though something may sound good to me today, tomorrow it sounds corny, like you wouldn’t believe.

Then again, there are a lot of classic songs, with corny lyrics….

These artists are obviously doing something I haven’t tried yet…🤔😕🚀


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Oh, Positive

Originally called Saturday, here is another one of those, What day is it diddys.

I decided I have to become more serious about titling my works…so I am now calling it, “Oh, Positive.”

Like my blood type, subject to change…

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Music and Expression

I know I stand in a small group when it comes to music, from a Player perspective.  I love the way It pushes emotions from deep inside my soul, out through the tips of my fingers.  I am not always Blue and I don’t always Feel like Dancing the Night Away.  I am not mostly performing in front of a crowd, so I can’t draw off of what an audience might be craving at any particular time. I think what makes me a part of a relatively small cross-section of musicians, is that Improvisation is what drives me the hardest.

I am not always playing. I have always felt I have been a Listener, far longer than I have been a Player.  But, as I also realize, I don’t always play what I like to listen to.  

Complimentary to that, I don’t always listen to what I like to play, genre-ally speaking.  Part of the reason, I believe, is because when I am playing, I am expressIng how I feel at any particular moment and when I am listening, I am choosing to hear what I want to feel like, or how I was feeling like.

The thing I like most about Radio, is the variation of material from song to song.  There are Rock Stations, Country Stations, and at one time Jazz Stations 😎, but I often tire from listening to one particular genre for too long.  Maybe tiring is not quite the right word.  Perhaps complacent or uninspired is closer to how I feel.

My own recordings are perhaps an exception, not because I am an egoist, though like most artists, it’s probably true to a certain extent, but because I am also very self-critical.  I am listening for mistakes that I can learn from…something I did, which may have worked, but had not intended.  

In music, mistakes are not always a negative thing.  Some are called Accidentals.  I have expanded that to include what I call, Intentionals, which are like intentional accidentals.  I’m not sure if that is a real musical thang but if it isn’t, it should be.

Finally, with regards to my own recordings, I am listening for technical faults.  For me, it is part of being a Musician.  It doesn’t matter that you’re playing the right chord, if your instrument is out of tune or your amp is cranked and the speakers are crackling.  As a Listener, the satisfaction comes after the sound enters my ears.  I get very distracted by sonic infidelities and other residual interferences.  How I intended the song to sound, as a Player, does little to satisfy me, as a Listener.  

I often do things I didn’t intend, musically, that is…and it isn’t all bad… I think it is those times, when I feel most content, when playing music.  I learn something.  It is somewhere between not knowing what I’m doing, because I have never done it, and knowing exactly what I am doing because while it is happening, it seems quite logical and ordinary, as though I have done it a million times.

Improvising music, if I were to try and describe it in a physical realm, is orgasmic.  While my heart is bleeding emotions, my soul is being massaged by the sounds.  

When improvising, I am less concerned about making mistakes because mistakes are inclusive.

Does it mean I don’t like playing songs? No. Often that is how I come up with songs. Sometimes I am Blue and I start out that way and before long, maybe I do feel like dancing.

I’m just saying… Improvising music is fun.


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The Great Chicago Fire

I, a witness, can tell you that cow was nowhere near that fire….

That fire was caused by inadequate fire codes.  Wooden sidewalks?  Sawdust layed in the streets to reduce the effects of dirt roads.   Seriously?  You’re trying to blame the cow?


Verdict for Cathy, the O’Leary family and Kelly, the cow!  Not Guilty…




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