Making of a Grandmaster – Part 3: In The Studio

by Dave Evans on April 28, 2011

In previous blogs I have described how I have won the opportunity to have my very own Grandmaster made for me at Music Factory. With thanks to Richard Lee (Mastermix Label Manager) and Helen Lee (Production Manager) I was given complete control over the mix. So, following weeks of deliberating over the tracks, checking labels and creating a running order it was time to step into the studio with one of the hottest young producers around and half of SBS Goes Dutch – Danny Holland.

It amazing how much work actually goes into creating a mix as long as a Grandmaster, I thought it would be a case of finding cue points and layering up the tracks, stick a few cheeky acapella’s over the top and out in a day.

How wrong could I be!!!

Working with someone like Danny shows just how technical this job is and how talented the producers here are. Using Wavelab as the software for creating the mix all the tracks had to be loaded and stretched out to the same BPM for making the mix easier to fit together, this took the better part of the first morning and gave an indication that the 3 days set aside would be fully used.

(If you ever meet Mr Holland ask to see the ‘piano notes’ tattoo on his arm, that’s dedication to your job for you)

I had already created the running order to use with a strong start courtesy of Robin S to grab the audience attention and finishing with an anthem to surprise the crowd. The order soon had to be changed as the keys were slightly out and despite Danny’s ability we had to amend the order as certain tracks sound more suited to each other in a different order due to key clashing. The speed at which Danny thinks and creates new edits is amazing, looping little parts of songs to assist with the smooth running makes the mix sound so much better and as a DJ a lot easier to use.

I was certainly glad I had back up tracks as I ended up replacing 3 tracks from the original listing to create the final 30 track 79 minute mix .

Its not just the cue points that have to spot on, each beat has to match correctly and this is where the producer earns his money as Danny had to check each mix section over and over again adding effects to enhance the mix where appropriate without overloading it. It’s a sign of the reputation that he has earned in his short career so far that he has such a keen eye for detail. Where I had ideas for mixes in my mind, together we worked on different views to come up together with something that is both personal to me and also I hope you enjoy and use on its release.

It’s not just the CD that needs attention, I was given control of the packaging as well and trying to come up with an idea and developing it that fits the theme of the release is not as easy as it seems.

So it’s now all ready to go out into the world. Many thanks to NADJ for the event that I originally won the prize at, Mastermix for trusting me with their product, Danny for his skills in the studio in helping me put the final product together and all the people who assisted in cutting down the original 150 track selection – you know who you are and I thank you all.

GM Rewind: Dance Music – The Way It Used To Be.

Out now on CD at www.mastermixdj.com and download at www.mastermixdigital.com

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