I SCREWED UP

advice focus mastering

Sometimes we have to screw up to learn. One time I screwed up was around the early 2000s. I was working on an album called Vertigo, by Groove Armada. At the same time, I mastered a song called Sweet Like Chocolate, which was the number one record at the time, too.

They were pressing quite a lot of these, and I was mastering both of them on the same day. They happened to be in the same room, and I put the sticker for Sweet Like Chocolate on the Groove Armada Vertigo album. They were in a rush to get them pressed, so nobody checked them, and they pressed 60,000 each. It was only after that they realised my mistake.

Of course, it came back to me and the studio I worked for at the time had to pay the bill for all those CDs so they could get repressed. Imagine just how scared and gutted I was at the time: I was in the music industry only four or five years, and I thought that my career over. The thought of having to pay for all of those was also horrendous. But the flip side of this is I check things meticulously since that time. Before, I was so slapdash and didn't pay as much attention to anything I was doing. Now, I'm very systematic.

My point is you need to have systems in place, work on just one thing at a time, and work through things until they're done. Concentrate on what you're doing, rather than do loads of things at once and risk mixing things up. I run my own business now, and I don't want to be the one who has to pay, though it's not just that. I also want to be sure that it's gone as perfect as I can get it out there. I don't want that horrible sinking feeling that something's wrong with it.

You should do it, so you know in your heart that it's gone out and it's right, and nothing's going to come back to you because you checked it. It's about making sure you've got systems in place, and being responsible and professional, working through one thing at a time, rather than juggling and keeping plates spinning on loads of different things. And yeah, don't press the wrong labels on the wrong CDs.



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