Silas Hite is an Emmy winning composer and visual artist working from his studio in Los Angeles, California. His commercial scores have earned him an Emmy, a Grand Clio, a Cyber Gold Lion Award from Cannes, a Grand Effie Award and Adweek’s Spot of the Year. Both his original scores and songs can be heard in adult television shows such as Chef’s Table (Netflix Original) LAX (NBC), Eureka (Syfy), and Blue Mountain State (Spike) as well as childrens’ shows like Dance-A Lot Robot (Disney), Mater’s Tall Tales (PIXAR) and Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue!
He has contributed memorable music to some of the top selling video games of the past ten years (The Sims 2, The Simpsons, Skate 3), scored and co-scored many blockbuster and indie films such as Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and The Record Breaker. He was recently honored with a featured article in Juxtapoz magazine and his music has played in such venerable institutions as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the New York Museum of Modern Art, and in the spring of 2014, The Whitney Biennial.
Learning to Mix
I’m often asked by younger composers, how I learned to mix and produce my music. The short answer is, it’s an on-going life pursuit! You will never know it all and there is always room for improvement.
The longer answer is that I learned by necessity. The first seven years of my career were spent as an in-house composer at Mutato Muzika, my uncle Mark Mothersbaugh’s (DEVO) studio. When I began there, I was confident in my musical ideas, but I knew my mixing and production chops were lacking and not helping the music I was writing. I was working at a professional level and knew I had to up my game – and fast. We were writing so much music, there simply wasn’t time for me to hand it to someone else to mix. These were my solutions, perhaps they can help you.
1. Read as much as possible. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding mixing and production techniques. Tape Op, EQ, Mix Magazine, etc. I read, learned, and experimented every day. Fortunately I was responsible for writing an immense amount of music at my job and was able to continually practice and refine my techniques.
2. Ask for advice and feedback. I respectfully asked for advice from the more experienced engineers I worked with. Outside of work, I would take my mixes to other studios and compare my mixes on other monitors and in new rooms. I took notes and got opinions from friends who were also composers or engineers.
It’s important to note that it is not enough to simply ask for an opinion. The hard part is you have to be willing to listen to and consider their feedback without becoming defensive of your work. Being able to consider and apply constructive criticism will make you infinitely better.
3. Put in the time. I would come to work hours before everyone else because it took me longer to get my mixes to sound good. I had to put in the time. I was continually comparing my mixes to what I was hearing on TV and to my co-workers music, and trying to figure out how to make my mixes sound as good as what I was hearing.
4. Apply perspective. Once you’ve worked with a piece of music until you think it is sounding good, leave it alone. Come back the next day and listen with fresh ears. Perhaps listen in your car or on your stereo. The point is, you need to get time away from it to gain perspective.
Check out Silas’s work at: www.silashite.com
Learn to score with Silas and iZotope with their series of workshops! http://www.commercialscoringworkshop.com
Follow Silas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/satincowboy
LIKE Silas’s Composer and Visual Artist Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Silas-Hite-Composer-and-Visual-Artist/