Mix engineer for artist Polly Paulusma
Mixing 24 folk songs and ‘Invisible Music’
Polly Paulusma is a brilliant recording artist, songwriter and literary scholar
The relationship with Polly started in 2018 when we began collaboration on a 24-track slow-release album, Pivot, which meant I would mix a song each month that would then be released solely to Polly’s Patreon supporters.
Mixing as a discerning process
I fell in love with Polly’s sound and characterful songs. She is a sophisticated songwriter with a clearly defined artistic voice and a wonderfully interesting and diverse palette of creative ideas.
When you first start mixing, it is a discovery, an unfolding process that begins with lots of questions, and forming a new relationship from scratch with the music; finding out what the artist wants to say and how to approach that in the mix.
Polly is a delightfully good communicator, which really helped me as a mix engineer. Her secure knowledge of her sound was pivotal in steering me towards the right mix decisions and through this process I learned some of the secrets of how Polly makes her music.
Creating a cohesive blend of different audio recordings
The audio I was working with was a combination of professional studio recordings and home-studio audio. I usually received Polly’s raw recordings with her own guide mix, and the job was to find an overall balance, tonal blend and to elevate it to its final mix state. Occasionally, there were songs where I added additional production using keyboards, and the odd job of editing, but mainly the songs were in good shape.
Looking ahead to Polly’s 9th album
Polly knows her sound and where the sweet-spot is and we would often turn around a mix quickly, sometimes from receiving Polly’s feedback to releasing the track on Patreon the very next day. Now Polly is going to select her favourite songs for the next album, and we’re in the exciting position of adding live strings and re-recording some vocals and guitars to add gloss for an album release due in 2022.
Working with James over an extended project has been a joyful, creative, productive experience for me. He is incredibly positive, professional, and reliable, and most importantly he has golden ears. He has an amazing knack of getting to the heart of a mix quickly and finding its natural equilibrium, and he has seemingly infinite patience to listen and work with artists to get the track right. Work with him.
Polly’s latest album Invisible Music was an additional mixing project
Invisible music – folk songs that influenced Angela Carter is a new folk album that I was asked to mix for its release in May 2021. The album is a combination of songs performed by Polly and readings from singer songwriter Kathryn Williams and novelist Kirsty Logan. Read more about the concept here.
‘intoxicating…. an impressive album that really deserves to be heard’ – Mark Radcliffe
The album has been championed by Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, featured in The Guardian/Observer and various folk radio shows and media around the UK.