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    “My career hasn't been an overnight success - it's been a slow, slow climb. I've been here 19 years and seen lots of other people move here and have a huge hit and they're off and running with their career. It might not last very long, but I’ve seen a lot of people with that perceived success, and it often doesn’t have much to do with talent. At this point I'm OK with that, as I think there are so many intangible elements involved with something that becomes a hit record, movie or book, and it plugs into some sort of collective mythology where people can see themselves in the song or movie - and that's something you can't control. You just have to get lucky with that. There's plenty of producers whose work I really admire and am influenced by, who don’t approach it as I do and aren't even capable of approaching it as I do. I'm very hands-on. Some of the best records are made by guys who didn't play any instruments and don’t even know how to operate the equipment, they just use their objectivity and their ears. I'm a huge fan of Nellee Hooper - he just listens to stuff apparently. I’m a huge fan of Rick Rubin. Rubin can't play an A chord on a guitar, can't plug a mic in - he just knows if it's right or not. He approaches it completely differently to me. But at the end of the day, there's something really great going on. I realise that talent is a hard thing to quantify. What is talent - playing an instrument, writing a song? Some of the best musicians are horrible songwriters - some of the best songwriters are horrible musicians. It manifests completely differently. When things take off, there's so much luck involved. Haydn said the invention of a simple melody is a work of genius. I stand behind that. To do simple at a level of excellence is the hardest thing in the world to do. To nail simplicity and to have it believable - does that take a lot of talent? I don't know. “
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    What are some things that can, or should be done during mixing to make the mastering process more productive for the mastering engineer? I think the best thing that I can recommend is very very simple; translation. Get out of your ivory tower, stop mixing all alone in your own little studio, and number one, take your recording around and listen to it on as many different systems that you may be familiar with, or maybe unfamiliar with if possible, and see how your mix is translating. If it’s not translating, generally go back to the drawing board and try mixing again to deal with that problem. That will solve almost 90% of the issues that could happen when you get into mastering, and save a heck of a lot of money too. The next thing is communication. If you’re thinking of mastering, and you have a mastering engineer in mind; as soon as you’ve finished your first mix and you think you’re happy with it, send it off to that mastering engineer for his or her criticism and judgment of how that mix is sounding to see if it’s ready for mastering or if there are further things that can be done in the mixing that would make an even better master. If you can take care of these two areas, you’re going to have an excellent master. The rest of what I could say is relatively specific to equalization or problems in different frequencies and more common issues that occur. But if you yourself as a mixing engineer do those two things I described, then almost all the other problems that could arise will become evident.
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    What approaches or techniques have remained constant for you, despite all the changes in recording technology? For instance, it’s been said you’re not a fan of ambient mic’ing.
 Well, that quote was especially applicable to Siamese Dream (1993) by the Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan and I wanted to put the sound right in your face – we didn’t want anything to sound three feet away, or five feet, or ten feet. With the drums, we did have some extra room mics, and we may have used a few extra with the guitars, but in general, I really found that if you get one mic, put it right in front of the amp, and get the right sound, you simply don’t need six microphones placed, y’know, behind the cabinet, around the cabinet, across the room, and all that. That’s not the case with everything: even on that record, on some things I may have used a tube mic on one speaker, and a condenser or dynamic on another speaker, and blended them together. But that simple close-miking technique is the sound of that record. The guitars are very in-your-face – they have a very immediate sound. That was the goal. I should contrast that with how we did things for the last Garbage record. There are a lot of weird, ambient-sounding guitars, and trashy, roomy drums. I record drums here at my house, in a very lo-fi set-up; I literally have a mono mic sitting in the hallway by the bathroom downstairs here, and it sounds pretty roomy, pretty trashy, but it sounds good. And sure, that original drum sound does have an ambience. What I find is that those room noises, that space, when you start running them through compressors, effects boxes, and plug-ins like Trash – that extra compression and distortion really brings out that room sound, the ambient sound, and brings a lot of character to the recording.
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