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    How do you stay in that mindset? How do you push yourself and stay creative? Nothing comes easy. What you're going through has been experienced by every successful top engineer, producer and mixer. Our careers are roller coasters until we figure out how to maintain our affluence. What comes naturally is a starting point. You take that rough diamond and polish it. I stay in the mindset because I love what I do and it's easier to do when I have great music to mix. Getting great music to mix is the part that takes time and patience to accomplish. It's all reputation and word of mouth. I remember thinking during the time that I wasn't doing as well as my peers, and thinking jealously that the reason they were doing so well was because they were mixing guaranteed million seller bands. What I didn't consider was why and how they got in that position of affluence. It's not luck. I push myself and stay creative because that's the way I am. I want to be mixing the greatest bands and singers of our time and in order to do that, I have to mix records that attract them to me. I'm always thinking about new ideas just like a songwriter is always writing new songs in their head. I'll be walking down the street one day, like I did last week, and suddenly i'll have an epiphany about a sound I've been trying to go after. Something triggered the answer. The way to get to that point is to exercise the brain to always be thinking about ideas. Eventually that muscle becomes strong and it comes more naturally.You have to find what comes naturally and develop that talent. It's not always the first thing you love. Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but at one point in my young life, I realized I didn't have the makings, and music was becoming a stronger force in my life. It began as a drummer in a band, eventually it led to engineering and finally to mixing. I'm one of the lucky ones that found what they love to do and can make a living at it. A pivotal summer, many years ago, is still fresh in my mind when I stressed and struggled wondering if I would ever find something that I loved and be good at.
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    “The TG console from Abbey Road is an amazing board, it sounds great, it's very reliable, it's incredible. But bands would come to my studio because of that board and whoever had worked on it, whether Pink Floyd or one of the ex-Beatles working on a solo album. This meant that their expectations often were really skewed and weird. They expected their record to sound as good as whatever records had been made on the board, putting that burden on me and the console. I felt like saying, 'Look, a lot of famous records have been made on this board, but what made those records great was not the board but the artists and their abilities.' People freak out when they see a real Fairchild, and yes, it's an amazing compressor, but it's not going to make your vocal. It's not going to turn you into an amazing singer. It simply magnifies what you do, and if you are a horrible singer, it will magnify how bad you are. So to remove those kind of preconceptions from my studio, I liquidated a bunch of stuff and kept what I actually used to make records. As for the gear that's in there now, the studio is predominantly a vehicle for me doing my thing, so I don't need to have a gear list up. But bands are so gear-hungry these days, they want to know what compressor you're using and what mic pre, and what microphone, and while I appreciate the interest, because I was the same when I was a kid, when I am making a record with them I want them to be the musicians. I don't want them worrying about the gear, because it's not relevant to their performances. I just want musicians to tell me what they want to hear, as in more or less of something or darker or brighter. I prefer for bands to speak in those terms. Putting up a gear list, or even having close-up photos taken of my gear, perpetuates this gear pornography thing, as in 'Oh, let's go and work there because he has an U47, ' or, 'They have a Fairchild.' Who cares?” -KEVIN AUGUNAS
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    That creative input needs to be pretty focused?
 I mix things that sound completely different. I want to know the basic [feel] they're looking for, instead of going down totally the wrong road and having them turn up and say: "What the heck is that?" It has happened. In fact, one of my most memorable mixing experiences goes back to the Divinyls in the Eighties, when I mixed an album ["Desperate"] for them. (It was like their first or second record on Chrysalis.) I had just finished mixing Roxy Music - "Avalon, " which was pretty "lush, " rich sounding and wide. I was feeling pretty high and mighty about [that album]. {Laughs fondly at memory.] These guys were a punk band; very rough and kind of "small." And I'm mixing this [album] with lots of big delays and everything, and thinking it sounded pretty cool.
   The band came in and they just went: "That sucks." [Laughs.} They were very nice about it; "We need to talk, " they said. "It's kind of the wrong direction. It should sound like this little 'spiky' ball, with jagged things coming out of it - kind of compact and annoying and rough." So, I went back, listened and thought: "What was I thinking about?" I just cleared it all out of my brain and started over. It was just so much better. 
   You just can't get too high and mighty, and think that you always know what's needed. You have to examine the music and figure what the music wants. You cannot just say, "Okay, I'll take out Effect #36, because it always works for me - it may not be appropriate.
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