There are eleven songs to mix for the album “Imperative Drive”, but only two of them have percussionist Jarrett Plett bringing out the kick and snare drum instead of the cajon. I decided to mix the songs with full drum kit first, and use those as a gage for how hard-hitting the other 9 songs need to be. Admittedly, I have never done a full album where the cajon drum was the entire rhythm section.
On the streets of Vancouver, the cajon has helped define the band’s sound over the past two years, since Jarrett joined forces with violist Thomas Beckman and guitarist Matthew Lennox to complete the trio.
Jarrett has developed a sort of ‘wall-of-sound’ with his percussion setup: He sits atop a standard cajon drum, with a shaker tied to one ankle, and a tambourine tied to the other. He occasionally places a ride cymbal in front, with mallets and drumsticks within reaching distance should he need to switch one hand over to the hardware for a song or even just a section within a song. A lot of textures and rhythms emanate from his direction at all times.
Fans of the band have never heard Thomas’ epic flurries and Matthew’s rhythmic onslaught augmented by a hybrid rock drummer, so with that in mind, and the fact that one of these songs is the intro track to the album, it’s safe to say these final mixes need to set the tone.
The intro track “Rain”, and the album cut “Swagger” were both mixed on the first day, clocking in under 10 hours.
Although I setup a bass amp, intending to use it as a viola and drum distortion, I did not end up needing it.
The night before mix down, we recorded the intro soundscape. We were mainly looking for deep, swelling bass rumbles, similar to thunder. Jarrett played the parts on a Korg Wavedrum, which fed a bass guitar EQ pedal, and a mono-to-stereo reverb pedal.
We layered numerous performances using the built-in sounds of the Wavedrum, and then started feeding it signal directly from an iPad, using a program called Alchemy in order to create wind and rain effects.
During the mix down, we added the PanMan plug-in to some of the textural parts to create movement.