Shut Up and Mix


No one sets out to be an Audio Engineer without goals and dreams they wish to accomplish in mind.  Goals, projects, and doing, are inherent to the term “engineer”.

Wikipedia defines “Engineer” as, “a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical, societal and commercial problems.”

While we may not be using mathematics to solve societal and commercial problems, we certainly use knowledge of process to creatively (with ingenuity) accomplish a desired goal.  Our goals are simply different.  We want to invoke feeling in our listeners, we wish to help an artist bring their dreams to life, and we want to help others learn exactly what is required within these processes.

We are often so excited about what we want to do that the excitement gets in the way of actually doing what we want.  In the past I’ve spent more time talking about ways to make a mix sound great with fellow mix engineers than I spent on the mix I wanted to make sound amazing.  In the end, the mix was at best, “meh.”  This happens far too often and far too easily in creative and “visionary” production.

I want to see my own dreams accomplished.  I’ve been able to bring a few to life, and know the feeling and image it invokes.  I want you to know it too, and I want you to accomplish the goals you dream of achieving; I want you to do what you’ve set out to do.

I’ve found nothing that better explains how we can fight this battle than a TED Talk by Derek Sivers titled, “Keep Your Goals to Yourself.”  For producers and audio engineers, this equates to, “Stop talking about (insert what we do), and go (insert what we do).”  It can be producing audio, producing video, writing music, making beats, mastering tracks, or anything else creative.  For me personally, it’s always been, “Shut up and mix.”

My favorite quote from Sivers is, “… If this is true, what can we do?  Well, you could resist the temptation to announce your goal, you can delay the gratification that the social acknowledgment brings, and you can understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing.”

I sincerely hope his entire explanation of this dilemma helps bring more of your dreams to life.