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jtbStudio mix
I have to confess, when I first listened to this song, I only listened to the first part of it, decided it was just another boring EDM song and put it in my "won't mix" pile. But after listening to the whole thing in the podcast, it really piqued my interest - mixing it would be a real challenge, to keep it true to both the EDM and rock styles, yet still make it a single cohesive song.

The singer has a lovely clear sound, so the EDM sections didn't need much work, just a bit of shine at the top-end. However, I really wanted a different sound for the rock sections, so I thickened it up a bit by pitch-shifting it +5/-5 cents left and right, compressed hard, and blending a tiny bit of this in. I also added a bit of hair to her voice by running it through a guitar amp sim (some horribly distorted heavy metal patch), compressing that hard and blending it back in :-)

I really didn't like the guitar sound in the preview mix during the rock sections. These parts sound like they should be full-on, in-your-face rock, so I ran the guitars through an amp sim and blended that back in, in increasing amounts as the song progressed.

Another thing I did that made a huge difference was mute half the kick hits. Especially in the first part of the song, it completely changes the groove and makes things much more laid-back, which increases the contrast when we get to the big rock sections. The pattern actually changes from hits on the 2 and 4 during the intro and 1st verse, to 1 and 3 in the 2nd verse, but you don't really notice because the snare comes in and takes over defining the beat. The original 4 hits per bar doesn't start until the "falling" section, which really helps pick up the energy in that section, in preparation for the much bigger and louder 2nd half of the song.

I also copied some of the snare parts to the 2nd half of the 1st outro, to add a bit of variety and help lift the energy as that section progressed.

I automated some stereo spread for the synth part at the end of the 2nd verse, spreading it wider, which really helps segue from the clear open EDM sound of the 2nd verse into the dense, heavier rock sound of the 1st chorus. Automating the fade-out for the guitars at the end of both choruses was also really important, since it provides a smooth segue back into the EDM sound.

I did my usual trick of bussing all the guitars and keyboards together, and side-chaining the kick and snare into a dynamic EQ, with a cut at 125 Hz (for the kick) and another at 3.2 kHz (for the snare), which made a huge difference in helping these elements cut through the mix, especially during the very dense rock sections.

Song sections:
- 0:00 intro
- 0:14 verse
- 0:28 verse
- 1:00 chorus
- 1:18 verse
- 1:47 falling
- 2:15 bridge
- 2:44 drop
- 3:01 chorus
- 3:19 outro
- 3:47 outro

.mp3    Heartbeats (jtbStudio).mp3 --  (Download: 9.89 MB)

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Hi there i like the sound of mix,kick sounds nice also the snare,iam not a fan of what you did with beat of the song thougth,it sounds alittle empty?thanks for sharing your mix.
Reaper user
(16-10-2019, 04:59 PM)Cudjoe Wrote: iam not a fan of what you did with beat of the song thougth,it sounds alittle empty?

You say "empty", I say "relaxed", "laid back", or "restrained" Wink

I tried a lot of different combinations for the kick, but listening again to both my mix and the others, I'm happy with the call I made. It's about creating contrast between the different sections of the song, building up tension and release over the course of the entire song:

- 0:00 intro: very "empty", establishing the "heartbeat" of the song (the original sounds like me after my 4th coffee for the morning Undecided)
- 0:14 verse: the singer comes in, with her lovely tone and delivery, picking up the energy a bit
- 0:28 verse: energy picks up again as the snare takes over the beat
- 1:00 chorus: energy picks up again with the full-on rock sound
- 1:18 verse: energy drops down as we go back into the EDM feel
- 1:47 falling: energy picks up again because of the doubled kick (the listener might not even notice this, but you definitely feel the change in tempo. She's singing "We're falling, we're falling", so that 4th-coffee feeling is definitely appropriate Smile), which leads into the next section
- 2:15 bridge: full-on rock sound again
...and so on...
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