It is often said that to improve at your craft, you need to work with people who are better than you. Sure, it feels good being the top dog in your small town pee wee league, but let’s be honest, to be the best, you need to play with the best. Some of us go to music school to continue our musical progress, some collaborate with more experienced players, while othersenter opportunities on Indaba Music.
Dale Crowley, a life long musician and composer, chose the latter path. An active member of the Indaba Music community, Dale has participated in over 50 opportunities—even winning a handful of them over the years! Despite Dale’s past “wins”, it was his recent “losing” effort in the Pensados Place Mixing Contest that had the most profound impact on him among all his opportunity experiences on Indaba music.
As many of you know, Dave Pensado is a legendary mixing engineer (Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and more!) and host of Pensado’s Place, an uber popular web TV series where Dave talks all things recording, mixing and production with the industry’s top talent. In this opportunity, Dave Pensado challenged the Indaba Music community to mix down the song “Wicked Knee” by Billy Martin, drummer of legendary Jazz/Jam group Medeski, Martin and Wood.
On his experience with mixing and working on this track, Dale says “…it was a real doozy to mix. It took me ten or twelve passes to get a mix I was satisfied with, and I spent well over a week on it. During the remix I watched 90% of the videos Dave Pensado had posted on his site, which are all full of sage advice on mixing and mastering. I probably learned more during that week than I have in the past several years, and in addition to new techniques, I learned about all the mixing and mastering tools used by the pros. It was like apprenticing at a top notch studio.”
Ok, ok, obviously watching a professional engineer at work is going to be helpful, but according to Dale, that was only the beginning. “Dave’s fame brought many new producers to Indaba and they were all there helping me with my mixes! Imagine having dozens of pro producers listening to your mix and making valuable comments. That is what it was like, and I found the process invaluable.”
Here at Indaba, it’s not just about the incredible artists we bring in, but also about the community of musicians who are determined to help one another learn and grow. Again, if you want to be the best, you have to play with the best.
Dale finishes with “Music is a social art. My experiences working with fellow Indaba musicians has been both gratifying and uplifting.”