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When The Mixing On Your Old Music Sucks…

Mixing can be...challenging

If you’re anything like me – and I believe most producers are – you will be a bit of a perfectionist. And, unfortunately, on the journey towards becoming the producer you are today, you will have mixed some great songs to a not-so-great standard. When I sit and revisit some of the tracks I made 2-3 years ago, I lament the standard of my mixing and feel a strong urge to go back into the sessions and remaster them entirely with my now-improved production skills. In fact, I have been doing precisely that with my first solo release Volition, but at every stage I find myself asking

Why am I bothering to do this?

which leads on to asking

Should I be doing this?

This is an interesting question, which I will attempt to answer.

First of all, there will be many for whom this question is irrelevant. Those who had the budget to hire a professional for mixing and mastering their stuff right from the start, or those who had the foresight (and the time) to perfect their production skills before ever releasing any material: fair play to you people, you may as well skip reading this post. But for any readers who have found themselves with this same mixing predicament at hand, here are my thoughts…

mixing, mixing music

Those hours spent mixing are worth it!

YES, you should remaster your old material! Every bit of music you make should be, at the very least, POTENTIALLY superb. If it hasn’t fulfilled that potential, it just means that at the time you released it, you didn’t have the skills to attain it. So, when you do acquire those skills, you should put them to use throughout every bit of music you have ever released.

Your music is your commodity, as well as your expression of your creativity and musical genius. Potential fans will discover you on the basis of how good your music is, and once they do, they will search for more of your music, expecting it to be up to the same standard. If I were to discover a song featuring a singer who sounds amazing on that track, I will find out their name and search for more of their music. If I were to then find a self-released EP which, when I listened to it, had sub-par mixing, or the mastering wasn’t up to scratch, I’d be inclined to think “OK, maybe later on they’ll release some better stuff”…and then, chances are, I’d forget all about them.

On the other hand, if I were to perform that search and find an EP packed with great-sounding material (which comes from good mixing), I would download it, listen to it and become eternally familiar with the name and face of the singer. I’d check back periodically for new releases, follow the social network profiles, attend gigs near my area, and who knows what else! First impressions are absolutely vital in grabbing a potential listener’s attention, and you have no way of knowing which of your songs will be the first they go to when discovering your existence. If there is even a single song that you can reflect on, in the most frank way possible, and say “I could have done better“, you should revisit it and make it the best it can be.

Now, I hear the arguments right here:

Just because YOU don’t like the way the mixing sounds, doesn’t mean someone else might not pick it up and think it’s the best song they ever heard!

or

Keeping the rougher sound of your early songs will show fans how you have progressed and evolved into what your are now.

I acknowledge both of these arguments, and thus will only posit what I am saying as my opinion. To address the first concern, I would argue that you need to retain control of your brand, particularly in the times when your fan base is not large enough to point you in the direction they want. You know how you want your music to sound, and hoping that some curious listener might pick up on one of your ‘imperfections’ and fall in love with it is just too much of a long-shot when you don’t have many fans yet! Aiming for a high technical standard when in the early stages of winning new listeners is a much better way of turning the odds in your favour. If, further down the line, your large fan base begins to show a love for some sound that you yourself weren’t too fond of, that’s the time to pick the fans’ thoughts and run with them!

To address the second concern: no-one who has never heard of you will give a damn about hearing how you progressed to your current sound. When trying to entice your first fans, they will need to be won over by every single song they hear. If you remaster your old, inferior stuff when your skills improve, you can still keep hold of the original mixes and versions. Then if, later in your career, you have a fanbase that you know would love to hear how you progressed, you have a special something that you can offer them to make them feel the love! Adoring fans will be pleased that you are willing to open up to them and show part of the story that made you who you are…but music-lovers who have never heard of you need to be won over by quality, both technical and creative.

Of course, these are only my thoughts. I will not proclaim myself as an authority on the subject, and I’d love to hear any opposing views from listeners and makers of music! Please subscribe for future posts like this one, and either comment or hit me up on Will-Powerz Twitter if you have a point you wish to make on this subject.

Thanks for reading!

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‘To My Last Breath’ – the Valentine’s Day 2016 EP

So here it is…bet you didn’t see this one coming! Underground, South London rapper who spits about political unrest and rage against the establishment drops a sugary little EP about love and commitment. Well, it’s happening, so deal with it! ‘To My Last Breath’ may, to some, seem like an attempt to cash in on the Valentine’s Day hype, but really it’s more about using Valentine’s as an opportunity to get out some unreleased songs that have been floating around for a few years now. The Will-Powerz persona is an all-round human being, and all-round people feel love and compassion more than they feel discontent and anger. Every one of these songs has meant a great deal to myself, and to someone else, at a certain point in our lives. It is my hope that they can mean something to some of those who decide to listen to them too.

The idea of seeking to cash in on special days throughout the calendar is not an unfamiliar concept to artists of all kinds. Many YouTubers, singers, filmmakers, TV impresarios, theatrical types and even artists try to make use of Christmas spirit, or Easter tidings, Halloween hype, April Fools shenanigans; you name it, the world tries to cash in on it. I feel the pull, as an undiscovered artist, of doing this – it is important to do whatever one can to get noticed. But I am determined to never undermine my own integrity in doing so. I do not preach that love and relationships are what a person ‘should’ be pursuing, or that people who are single on Valentine’s Day should feel inadequate in any way; in reality, I am single myself this February! But I have written songs about being in love when that feeling has been present, and what better time of year to put those songs out there than Valentine’s Day? Of course, I’m hoping they might get noticed in this context, but these songs were about very real feelings and emotions when they were conceived; they are not superficial creations whipped together for the sake of putting out a Valentine’s Day release!Will-Powerz

This is, for me, where the line of integrity is drawn. If an underground rapper doesn’t want to undermine his tough guy image by writing a love song, then fair play to him. But if he does release a love song with genuine heart and creativity to it, it should be taken on merit and judged as an extra dimension to his persona; not a ‘sellout’ piece. A person sells out when they cobble together some meaningless piece of trash for the sake of releasing it on a special occasion. It undermines their integrity if it lacks substance and is without any form of genuine heart or soul. I promise that every word in this EP, when it was written, came from the bottom of my heart, and I am proud to release it at a time of year when many people are thinking about precisely this sort of thing. I hope you all enjoy it!

The album is available for free (name your price) on my Bandcamp page (or click the player at the top of this post). Just click ‘Buy Now’, enter your desired price (£0 is fine) and get your download link!

All that being said, the romance and love are not emotions that are at the front of my mind at this moment in life. I am glad to have released these songs, but now my focus will shift to working with new talent that is arriving at LR, and on putting together a new Hip-Hop album for later in the year that will hopefully stand to represent more of my true heart and mind as I prpceed with life! Stay tuned by subscribing to my blog/newsletter, and by connecting with my social links, which are as follows:

Will-Powerz Facebook, Will-Powerz Twitter, Will-Powerz SoundCloud

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