Behind The Mix: Jonathan Rado

Ever listen to a dense recording and wonder how in the world all those tracks were recorded and mixed? We’re about to pull the curtain back on that process with a new series called "Behind The Mix" that features artists breaking down their songs one layer at a time.

In this inaugural edition, Jonathan Rado takes us stem-by-stem through “Follow The Leader,” off the 2017 LP Hang.

Despite the dense layering and tight production, the track was recorded and mixed analog to tape at Electro-Vox Studios in LA and engineered by Michael Harris and Adrian Olsen. As Rado puts it, “Not having endless options with things is what creates magic in recordings.”

”Follow the Leader” was actually recorded twice, first with Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips playing drums and several other instruments (parts of which were sampled and kept), and later with Brian (bass and acoustic guitars) and Michael (drums) D’Addario from The Lemon Twigs playing live.

Listen carefully and you’ll hear no less than than six keyboard parts, including a Fender Rhodes (right speaker) doubled with a Wurlitzer (left speaker), Drozd’s harpsichord hits sampled with an Akai MPC, strings from a vintage ARP Solina, an upright piano (mono), and a grand piano (stereo).

Michael’s drum sounds were a product of Hal Blaine’s “Monster” kit – with five rototoms – played live, with the Kent snare triggering a LinnDrum. The blended sound was recorded to tape.

Horns and strings were arranged by Trey Pollard and Matthew E. White of Spacebomb Studios in Richmond, VA and recorded in a different studio in Virginia. Vocals were recorded with an old Neumann U87 mic.

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