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Apollo Artist Sessions Vol. VIII: Just Blaze & Phony PPL

Just Blaze & Phony PPL

Title “Why iii Love the Moon”
Writer Phony Ppl
Mixed by Just Blaze and Andy Wright
Recorded by Andy Wright
Talent Phony Ppl
Full Version Listen on SoundCloud

Session Notes

In this Apollo Artist Session, watch legendary producer Just Blaze (Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar) track and mix Phony Ppl’s “Why iii Love the Moon” through Apollo 8p High-Resolution Interfaces at UA's Studio 610 in Scotts Valley, California.

Live Tracking

For the session, all of the drums were tracked through the API Vision Channel Strip Strip plug-in, driving its colorful preamp and using its filters and expander on the kick drum. The vocals were recorded through the Neve® 1073TM Preamp and EQ Collection plug-in followed by the 1176LN from the 1176 Classic Limiter Collection plug-in. The EQ on the Neve was flat and the vocal was compressed pretty hard on the way in — around 10 dB or so — enabling [Phony Ppl vocalist] Elbee’s dynamic style to sit just right in the band mix. The keyboards and synths ran through the Neve 88RS plug-in and the bass was tracked with the Ampeg B-15 Bass Amplifier plug-in. The guitar track was a combination of a DI and the ’55 Fender Tweed Guitar Amplifier plug-in.

The Mix

For the mixing process, Just Blaze and his engineer Andy Wright used a ton of SSL E Channel Strip plug-ins across all of the drums along with Ocean Way Studios plug-in to create a nice, tight “Studio B” ambience. For the bass, the Ampeg SVT3 Pro plug-in was used to add a touch of flavor along with the UA 1176AE compressor and Neve 1081 EQ. On the guitar subgroup there was an 1176AE, the Sonnox Oxford EQ to roll off lows and highs, focusing the the midrange before being finished with a Neve 1081TM EQ for a little high shelf.

Vocal Mix & Effects

Just Blaze’s lead vocal mix chain on this track is formidable. He started with a Teletronix LA-2A Gray, compressing between 5-7 dB, then to a Sonnox Oxford EQ, high-passing up to about 100, then a Neve 1081 EQ for some high boost, followed by Oxide Tape Recorder and finally the UAD Precision De-Esser — quite a chain.For the time-based effects, he had Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb, EMT 140 Plate Reverberator, and Eventide H810 plug-ins, and a bunch of stock Logic tape delays and Space Designer. On his master bus, the mix was finished off the SSL G Bus Compressor, followed by the bx_digital EQ, and finally the Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder plug-in.

— Darrin Fox