Jason Schweitzer’s 10-Step Guide To Mixing The Stars

In the second part of our exclusive Jason Schweitzer interview, the man who has mixed everyone from Dre to Gray, Bizkit to Rhymes, offers up his top 10 mixing tips…

1. Listen
“I start every mix by listening to the song as sent it to me. I listen a few times so I can get the vibe and the feel.”


2. Ask
“If you have a track with six keyboard parts it really helps if you know which ones the artist likes and which are just colour. You could spend a lot of time making one sound great and then you realise they don’t want it.”

3. Strip back
“I then mute the vocals and listen back a couple of times and maybe take the things out that I believe are the colour – the filler – and then I get down to the basics, usually drums, bass, maybe a guitar or a keyboard or a synth. I go to two or three things that make up the core skeleton of the song.”

4. Treat the mix like a house
“I’m old school and believe in house building. You start with the foundation and you go from there so drums and bass. If those don’t work then nothing else works.”

5. Drums
“Then I get the drums going, the kick and snare. Usually in urban music there might be hats going on or weird stuff around it but I always start with the lead stuff like the kick and snare then the hi hat.”

6. Bass and kick
“Then I put the bass in and see how it’s working. I’ll get the bass and the kick drum working together and then I start adding all the other drum stuff.”

7. Identify the junk


“Most of the time you are leaving everything in, you have to see what the vibe is and what it is about the rough they don’t like and what you think is detracting from the core purpose of the song.”

8. And identify the important
“And then you find things that are actively making the song better and then you let those lead and find ways to strategically fill in the gaps with other stuff that they have that works well.”

9. Identify what can be improved.
“Every sound has a purpose in the song so I like them to hear it all. It might not be the star of the song but they have brought it to the song for a reason. When the artist says ‘I always thought that keyboard part was a little too much but I love that you have pushed it to the back and put a little sparkle on it’ – those are the kinds of parts I am looking for.”

10. Think of it in 3D
“Mixes these days can be very two dimensional and flat. In fact I like to think of a mix in three dimensions. I think of a mix as up and down, left and right and front and back. I like to have a very large dynamic range, most people mix to a very small area.”