Uma Noite Romântica com João Borsch is a full-length, vivid tour of João’s experience as a listener. If its pop vitrine is said to reflect an infatuation with musical icons, the rock-driven inner workings ground the whole record in a search for connection through drama, divergence and impact.
This record had three clear mixing challenges. First, achieving a striking, impactful aesthetic without losing any of the overwhelming production/composition detail. Secondly, shaping a sound that fits alongside industry-standard pop records with remote recordings from dozens of different uncontrolled rooms and environments. And lastly, getting comfortable getting out of the “Mixing chair” every now and then to revisit production details and re-record parts. These hurdles resulted in a process whose main trait was the ability to embrace a recording environment’s sonic character and signature – even if said recording space is actually a group of totally distinct untreatead rooms and locations.
- Mixing and Mastering
- Released January 2021
- Independent Release (currently signed to Warner Music Portugal)
THE NERDY PARTS:
I think this record might have retaught me how to mix mids. And to fully explain that flashy statement, I need to go back in time a bit.
João composed and laid down his tracks for much of the album in the same music room where we started writing, producing and mixing music sometime in 2009. Growing up we were super into rock, metal, electronic dance music and generally loud, banging music (google exercium on bandcamp to visit our early teen angst). Those genres and stylistic tropes informed much of the early ideas on what sounds good and what the goal of shaping a given sound is – and they definitely have a tendency to thrive on fat drums and thick bass/guitars/synths, rather than meticulously orchestrated arrangements.
It’s interesting that this ended up being the record that demanded me to rethink how I looked at all the non-obvious sounds and instruments. Since then, João has been through the academic perspectives on music and, generally, just playing/writing in much more varied genres. Thus, now his music appears to extend itself along three vectors. Firstly, a pop “BLASTING Queen on the hi-fi” type of ecstatic energy, then the colorful melodic/harmonic structures, and lastly the edge that noisy genres typically bring.
So to approach the mix for this work, a fat, punchy, in-your-face mix would be insufficient in regards to respecting the actual compositions. Every time I’d find myself working a snare a bit too much, it could mean losing the highlight on some spicy passing chord. And mids are where all lies.
The mixing process was slow, to a point where it was probably excruciating for João. Not only did we have to revisit production and recording a few times for parts that totally need to be rerecorded or rethought, at the time I wasn’t doing music full-time, but juggling it with having a food business. On the flip side, that allowed for so much learning time for João, that he started the process doing “alright” recordings and evolved, at the end, to sending over tracks that pretty much mix themselves.