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  • Dana Nielsen

    at 1:31 am

    David! I love this query so much! And yeah, Kevin Parker is a badass. Honestly, I didn’t even realize he was behind those new Dua Lipa songs – what a cool pairing of peeps!

    I also really dig how you put together this playlist chronologically. So fun to hear his sound thru the years. Definitely a common style thread throughout (boom-bap hip hop inspired beats mixed with 70s ELO-style psych pop mixed with 80s synth pop and new wave … mixed with disco basslines and his signature ethereal vocal textures … at least, that’s my knee-jerk summary/description).

    I feel like you can also hear the evolution of the sonics or presentation (aka mixing) of his sound throughout the years as well. More popularity, bigger budgets, fancier mixers? Or perhaps he mixes his own stuff .. I can’t recall but will dive into those details for sure (🤔 if only f#$*ing Spotify would share those album credits with us I wouldn’t have to leave their platform to find basic recording info)

    My guess is, to get those sounds, he’s choosing instruments (and the treatment of those instruments – selection and tuning of drums for example) that are specific to the eras of recorded music that he most admires, and then continues to refine that era/mood-driven approach through the choice of microphones and recording techniques, including post-processing and mixing.

    I love producing recordings that are an homage to a certain era. Here’s one that comes to mind from a hilarious soundtrack I produced/recorded/mixed for the zany Spanish language Will Ferrell film Casa de mi Padre. While recording and mixing the song ‘Luv Butts’ I was referencing my vinyl copy of the Grease soundtrack – specifically the Frankie Valli title track.

    I’ve added that song and a few others to a quick “Sounds of an Era” playlist that features songs I mixed to sound like a certain era. Love My People is a track I treated to sound like 60s funk soul samples even tho it’s all live players together in a studio circa 2015. Yo No Se is an homage to vintage Cuban jazz records. For 123 I was referencing Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’. (FUN FACT: all but the Pom Poms and Grease songs also feature several of our fellow Protégés co-producing and/or performing! 🤯)

    In each of those cases I studied the EQ, panning, and saturation profiles of their given inspired era – from the instruments, how they’re mic’ed, the room they’re in, how they’re “blown up” on their way into pro tools via overdriven preamp or compressor, and then lots of filtering, EQ’ing, and shredding to taste during the mix to get the record to sound like my favorite references.

    I have a feeling that’s exactly what Mr. Parker does too … following that ‘favorite record’ sound in his heart, in his ear, and shaping it into existence by any means necessary, analog or digital.

    Ok, I’ve blathered on long enough, and I realize I didn’t give any specific suggestions specific to the tracks in your awesome playlist. Perhaps more later! And I look fwd to hearing what others here think!! 🤓