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26 July 2022

"You're trying to find that thing in midi and it sounds pretty cool. And you're like, that's all right. You keep it low on the mix, cuz it's a little inauthentic, but it's still creating an effect, but then he'd replace it with a legit string recording." - Josh Lee Hamilton

About the 


Josh Lee Hamilton is an indie folk and roots singer-songwriter from the Northern Rivers of NSW, Australia. Known for his smooth and warm sound he endears the listener with his honest and heartfelt songs that tell stories of love, struggle and faith.

The Production Talk Podcast - The modern way of producing music

In this episode:

  • Josh's early days and how he got discovered by Tripple-J Unearthed

  • How Josh won an award and a recording session

  • Which signals Josh recorded at home, and which he recorded with the help of professionals, such as Garrett Kato and Jan 'Yarn' Muths

  • Josh's home studio setup

  • The pros and cons of recording in a studio vs at home

  • Josh's editing tricks: NOT to the grid


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Extra Content:

Contact the podcast host Jan 'Yarn' Muths at

Disclaimer: The Production Talk Podcast is independent of (and not related to) my teaching responsibilities at SAE.


Jan 'Yarn' Muths or, in the studio


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Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome to the Production Talk podcast with me, Yarn, of In this podcast series, we celebrate the modern way of producing music. We want to talk about all things related to songwriting, recording at home and music production. So, if you produce your music at home, this is the place to be. Please subscribe and recommend this podcast to all your friends. This is the Production Talk Podcast episode 53. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome back to another episode of the Production Talk podcast. I'd like to begin this episode by acknowledging the traditional owners and custodians of the country that we are meeting on today. The Arakwal people of the Bundjalung nation, and I'd like to pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. Blessed love. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: With me today is Josh Lee Hamilton. Thank you so much for joining me today. Welcome on board. How are you today? Josh Lee Hamilton: Great. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: We are here to speak about your brand new album that was just released a couple of days ago last Friday. But before we jump into this, would you mind to introduce yourself and tell all our listeners about yourself and your musical career? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, well, my name's Josh. I go by my full name of Josh Lee Hamilton as an artist. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. And I'm just a, a local singer songwriter musician from the Byron bay area from Northern rivers. I grew up around this area and here I still find myself. Yeah. And just yeah, I've I. I love writing and creating and, and having my shot at producing too. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: great. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. So, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And how old were you when you picked up your instrument? You, you, you play guitar and you sing. Do you play any other instruments? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Well, my, my musical journey started with the drums. My dad, dad was a drummer and then it, I progressed a base. And then I'd I think in my like late teens, I was just like obsessed with the idea of writing songs. Writing melody and, and probably one of the best instruments for that is guitar Jan 'Yarn' Muths: mm-hmm . Absolutely. Josh Lee Hamilton: it just, I sort of drifted away, even though I was very obsessed with that stuff when I was younger. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, I'd become more of a songwriter and just went down. Yeah. Grab the guitar and was pretty much self-taught. Yeah, so I had a few formal lessons, but nothing too rigorous and long Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Yeah, I wouldn't have guessed that. Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh yeah. I got some strange things that I do, but yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. all right. So your new record is out a new album and you actually released it as an album where, because you know, a lot of musicians today released just a string of, of singles, but it's a proper old school album. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Well, to be honest, like it was preceded with a fair few singles from it. But I wanted to, I was at this point where the amount, the content that I had, I wanted to sort of package it and make it something to define. That musical moment in my life. And that's where I was like, I had nine songs and like, that feels good together as a package. Josh Lee Hamilton: Mm-hmm , even though it's been a slow burn riding and producing sort of adventure over the last, I guess it started in 2018. So four years, it should take long. It should take a lot quicker than that, but yeah, I've had a lot of other things going on, so yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I understand. Well, obviously there was COVID that probably made things really hard, but you're also young dad. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Congratulations. You've got your second one now. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: do you get any sleep? Josh Lee Hamilton: I'm pretty lucky actually. I've sort of yeah, I she's pretty good. And she, cuz I gotta work during the day sometimes. I, I get a pretty good wicked, but yeah, I've gotta get up early for the first one. And so yeah, that's sort of the deal that was struck yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's it's the first couple of years of being a dad, you know, you are, you are tired. That's normal. I wouldn't get, wouldn't have gotten through it without coffee myself. Josh Lee Hamilton: tired. That's for sure. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: cool. But it's great to see that you still find time to make music and you, if I'm not mistaken, you actually stopping by here to meet me on the way to a gig. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Is, is that right? Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Yeah. So what local venues do you like to, to play at? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, so here around Byron. TE's been really good lately is the beach hotel. They've just put on heaps of artists all through the COVID period and they've put on like a, a good sort of setting for someone like me. Who's a bit more like chill and sort of acoustic singer songwriter that doing a lot of day gigs and. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. That's, that's been pretty good lately, like the last year. Yeah, and then I, I was, I'm going to play fresh tonight, which they've just gone from doing for the last five or seven years, a gig every night. Sometimes it was two gigs a day, every day of the week, but recently they're taped it back. Josh Lee Hamilton: Three nights now so I'm doing one tonight, but yeah, , it's been a while. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: But let, let's talk about your, your album. So you said you started four years ago. So can you share the process of, of how the songs were written with us? Were, did you finish writing all the songs before you started recording? Was there a cutoff point where you said, okay, songwriting is done and now it's time to head into the studio? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Or how did it happen? Josh Lee Hamilton: It didn't happen like that Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Josh Lee Hamilton: it was very much yeah. Progression of songwriting and, and recording as I went. Yeah. Yeah, to be honest, I look forward to doing my next one, cuz that's how I want to do it. I sort of wanna have a lot more. Ducks lined up yeah. But yeah, it was a bit of more of a, just a a flow through life of wrong of writing and then getting in the, in, into a studio and recording and okay. Josh Lee Hamilton: And yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: so you were still writing some songs while you were already tracking some other songs, is that right? Josh Lee Hamilton: other, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's why probably why it took so long. I mean, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Josh, when do you know that a song is ready for recording? You know, when do you get to the point where you say, okay, I'll leave the lyrics, the arrangement, the melodies, everything is perfect. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: We'll leave it like this and we'll track it now. How do you know that you're at this point because songs evolve. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Well, I'll tell you how songwriting often goes for me. Josh Lee Hamilton: Like a chorus comes and then, and then I'll get a pretty good, like, and then I love writing bridges. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, Josh Lee Hamilton: then and then I have a ver first verse and then I'll, I'll. Decide. I might even go and play live with a song just with the choruses one verse. I repeat that first verse and a bridge, but then when it comes to studio time, I'm like, oh, I've gotta write a second verse like this. Josh Lee Hamilton: I, I can't. Like I was so excited about the song. I just wanted to go and play it, you know, like and hadn't written my second verse. So that usually the very last thing for me to do in terms of writing is writing a second verse. And then also like trying to work out that version of be a song that's. Josh Lee Hamilton: Guess it's a tight little package, like when you play live and that you can go over that five minute mark and it is nice when you can make it a concise little package that's and trying to work out, which bits, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So you, you're Josh Lee Hamilton: pulled back. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: you're saying that, you know, life, the songs can be a bit longer, but when you track, they need to be, Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, they don't have to be, but like, I guess yeah, I, not that I'm really going for commercial purposes, but it is good when they're just. Josh Lee Hamilton: Bit of that smaller like four, maybe four minute max. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Yeah. Good point. Mm. Josh Lee Hamilton: unless you're doing some experimental Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, yeah. Right. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. A friend of mine once said that, you know, it's, it's important to finish a song before the listener is, is ready to skip to the next song so that, you know, by the time you get to the end of the song, they just wanna go back and listen again, rather than saying, okay, I've got it now. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Let's skip forward. Josh Lee Hamilton: that's and especially in this modern world of streaming, that's like, you've gotta create that desire to listen again. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, yeah. That, that's a good point. Yeah, that's a good point. Good. And then some of the work that you did was actually recorded in studios. You know, we worked together for a small section there, but other parts were recorded at home. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: If I'm not mistaken. Can you explain? And can you expand on that? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Well, First few tracks. I was just at Garrett studio. So he's yeah, he's got a cool little garage studio, which is with some solid gear and stuff, and he's got a pretty good ear. And so, yeah, I worked with him for about four songs. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I, I guess some of our listeners may not know which Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh, sorry, Garrett Kato. He's a sort of like a, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: a big name in the industry? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Yeah. He's a great singer songwriter and does great production as well. So Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yes, I love his music, so an amazing human being and very creative, Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Yeah. He's awesome. So that was great process sort of seeing how he works and sort of being inspired to, to try and do what I can as well. It was a combination of. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: like Josh Lee Hamilton: Having that sort of like creative growth and skill, skill growth as well. Josh Lee Hamilton: Like obviously there's skill in it. And And then also , it's another factor is like working out a way that you can make good music without massive budgets. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of course, which Josh Lee Hamilton: is like, yeah, it's it's as an independent artist if you're getting paid amazing advance yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So Josh Lee Hamilton: town, but yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Would you mind to just sum it up for me? Which, which signals did you record in a studio and which ones did you record at home? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. So so my ones that I sort of started record, like the bread and butter of recording is hair in the breeze hair in the breeze seasons. Oh, I've gone blank. Yeah. About five songs. Feels like fire. Josh Lee Hamilton: There's two others. I just can't even think of 'em. Yeah. Oh, I still love you, but yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: So most of like the, the bread and butter of those songs I did at my mom's place. She's got this. Cool. Yeah. So she's where I've her place is in the, in the country. It's an old primary school and it's got this high ceiling. It's got a Blackboard in it still, and it's got this amazing, like. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, Josh Lee Hamilton: Like live like E existing Rebo in it, which is probably not ideal if you want control over your sound, but I've sort of like when it comes to vocals, especially like live performances, I'd sort of just make the most of it and yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. So, and then also I've even done drums in there. Garrett did two drum tracks. He comes, he brought his gear to my mom's place and he is like, This place is awesome. Like he want, he wanted to hide my mom's place out during the day, while she was at work to do his own stuff. So, yeah. Yeah. And then we, we did about three or four tracks at drums here at SAE didn't we? Josh Lee Hamilton: So Jan 'Yarn' Muths: A while ago. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. In 2020, so, and they were like yeah, I I'd done the bread and butter. I just. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I, Josh Lee Hamilton: With where I'm at to, to do a full drum sound is beyond my skillset. And also, yeah, my gear so Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Help me out quickly. My memory is a little bit of a, because it's been a while, but Wasn't that a package of a price that you won somewhere? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Or am I remembering that incorrectly? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, no. Yeah. So I, I won like a singer songwriter category. In the north coast dolphin awards and the prize package was recording time here at SAE. And I was like, oh, I really need to do drums for my songs. And this is the perfect opportunity. So, yeah. Excellent. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: excellent. yeah, look at that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's how it came. That's how we actually met for the first time. Yeah, Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I was Josh Lee Hamilton: Cox playing Jan 'Yarn' Muths: drum. Yeah, that's right. Ben big shout out to Ben legendary drummer. Yeah. The thing is, you know, I probably was at the dophin awards there as well, but we probably walked, you know, Or met each other there. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I'm not even sure if we have, but we probably set each, you know, next to each other somewhere. Yeah. And then we actually met in the studio and cut the drums into the big room and, you know, hit record. And I think he brought in some playback files, some, some guide vocals of her room. Remember correctly. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: had something to listen to like guitars and focusly Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, guitars. I think, I think I'd only got to guide track stage on a few of those songs. Yeah, so maybe one of them was more, a lot more further along. But most of the songs were at guide track, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: just, yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: trying to play my tightest tracks for the drummer Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that that's fair enough. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And you know, the idea for guide track is always to replace them later anyway. Yeah. So you ended up with, you know, drum files and I think, you know, from there it moved then on to your home studio and then you bounced four and back with Garrett. So I guess the files traveled quite a bit from photos in one studio, and then I think we needed to get the files into, was it logic? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Were you working in logic at that time? Yeah. Yeah, Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, yeah. I think he just gave me a big export of all the, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of way files. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. So there we go again, it's, it's what I call D a w hopping. Yeah. Which is a bit of an involved process and you know, a lot can go wrong along the way, but it worked out for you. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Excellent. And when you then worked with Garrett, did you stay in the same piece of software or did you, or change DAW again? Josh Lee Hamilton: Well, with those songs that I produced and I, I came to you with the drums, I pretty much, I sort of finished him off. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: like Josh Lee Hamilton: With my own means with my studio that I set up out at my mom's place and her, yeah. So I pretty much did all my instrumentation and tracking myself. Yeah. And I actually sent one song to Garrett for a mix and then a guy up in Brisbane that I know as well. Josh Lee Hamilton: So yeah. So mixings sort of. Josh Lee Hamilton: I, I had a good shot at it cause I like trying to do it, but then I realized that I've gotta like hand it over. So yeah. so Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So you sent the mix out to two different people and was it like, like a mixing shootout where Josh Lee Hamilton: oh no, no, just, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: who's better or Josh Lee Hamilton: I knew that a certain song was gonna suit a certain mixer and then Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, good. Yeah. Right. So you already had a feeling for who's strong at certain certain tones or certain vibes. Yeah. Yeah. Mm, excellent. Look, I, I listened to the record many times and I didn't pick up on different mix engineers. To me, it sounds like one album, you know, Josh Lee Hamilton: that's good. I was worried about that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I wouldn't be able to pick the song. Can, can you spill the beans? Can you, can you tell us which. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Who, can you also say the name of the guy or is that something Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh yeah. Brett Anthony. Sure. Yeah, he's a Yeah. He's, he's an interesting fellow actually, cuz he he does a lot, a lot of composition stuff. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, okay. Josh Lee Hamilton: brilliant piano strings player and he actually, oh, he was amazing asset because he'd add these like beautiful, like. Sort of textural string lines, even, it was just stroking one note on a violin and it just like, he'd send back a mix. Josh Lee Hamilton: And he said, oh, cuz that's what I'd do. I'd like, I'd love the idea of like some sort of text string thing. And you're in logic. You're trying to find that thing on a mid and it sounds pretty cool. And you're like, oh, that's all right. Like, and you sort of keep it low on the mix cuz you know, it's a little. Josh Lee Hamilton: Inauthentic, but it's still creating an effect but then he'd replace it with like a legit string recording and, and sometimes keys in that. And I was like, oh my gosh, I still got to the next level. Like, so that was yeah, a big factor as well. Why? I was like, oh Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Did you know about that or did he just Josh Lee Hamilton: No. He told me he was gonna do it. Josh Lee Hamilton: And I'm like, yeah, sure. Like if you want to like, and then I'm like, oh yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It was worth that. Fantastic. And say again, which song was that? I think I missed that earlier. Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh, well that particular song, the first song I sent to Brad was seasons. And it's sort of got this droney string that just harmonically goes through the thing as a pad and. I was just like, oh man, that just took the song to another level. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm at added the vibe. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. It was a real vibe thing. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: mm, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's, that's one thing that I really like about the, the record. It takes me places. It triggers my imagination and, you know, the cover artwork that you found for it is, is perfect for a reckon. It's a perfect place and you know, it it's so relaxing your music. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's it's vibey and. Takes me to, you know, a nice little cottage fire going beautiful view over the countryside. That's, that's sort of where, what I feel when, when I hear your music. I'm not quite sure if you could relate to that, if you even intended anything like that, but that's what it does to me. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. That's good. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's calming very nice. Josh Lee Hamilton: We all Jan 'Yarn' Muths: good for kids by the way. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's funny. Hey, like, like maybe like feels like fire's a bit more of. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of a Josh Lee Hamilton: I've beat song and, but yeah, people still say it's calming. So I just I like that was me giving it a good red hot go Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's your vibe, guess. Yeah. Cool. Nice, nice. And so in retrospect, which parts of the album came together easier and which ones were more a struggle for you? Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh, yeah. I guess to be honest, like the last two songs that I worked through, which was days like yesterday and still love you. I got to a point in them where I was just like, yeah, sort of tracking. And then it got to the point where. I just didn't know what was going on, you know, and you get lost in a song even like the mix isn't making sense. Josh Lee Hamilton: EV like you get a feel, even when you're just tracking and you're sort of doing subtle mixing as you're going. You're like, ah, everything's clicking. And yeah, it was one, there was those two songs. And I guess I had to work through, 'em a bit harder with the mixed guy as well, just to get it all, to sit, to make it feel like it made Sonic sense. Josh Lee Hamilton: And the song worked as a vibe like. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: There's always those songs that are a bit more yeah. Testing and they just don't flow. But, and I don't, I guess, I don't know, like, it'd be nice if every song did, but yeah, maybe it should, but Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, yeah. Look, rest assured every, every album has the songs that come together easily and the ones that are a real problem. Yeah. But you know, that doesn't really matter. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You know, creative processes are meant to be a bit messy, I reckon. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. It's so what advice would you have for other musicians who are maybe stuck in their own projects and, you know, don't really manage to break through and, and get somewhere. Josh Lee Hamilton: Mm. I don't know. I'm at a stage right now where I'm just like, just keep doing it, like, I guess. Yeah. That whole idea of perfection can be very stifling. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Josh Lee Hamilton: especially, yeah, like. When it's that combination of creativity. And also if you are self producing, it's a technical world as well. Yeah. And then like probably no, like for me right now, it's just like, oh, I definitely know my limit. Josh Lee Hamilton: Like I can't make like punch out a killer mix, you know, like I sort of know about it and that, so that's to know where to hand it over, you know, but. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. I reckon just maybe not be too, like, people can be very hard on, on themselves, you know? And just, yeah. And it's amazing, like how things are, like some songs are subpar, sonically or whatever, and they still go really well. Josh Lee Hamilton: Like if the songs got like a certain magic in it, you can rely. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that. Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: Quite a lot, you know, obviously there's a, there's a Sonic quality that can be that bad that you can destroy it. But with the amount of access we have to gear in home, basic home studios, you can pull it off. Like it's not impossible. So yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. That's what I reckon. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: all right. Would you mind to share bit more about your home studio? How does it look like how big is it? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: What kind of gear do you use? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. So it's portable. I wish I had a permanent space I'm working on that. But yeah, like I, when it comes to, I just have an interface, I don't have any, so I've just got the CLAT focus, right. CLAT. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: They're Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, I Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Really good converters. Josh Lee Hamilton: yet. So. And then when it comes to my mics, I mostly use a road NTK with the one that's got the external power supply. Josh Lee Hamilton: It needs the, the, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. It's a tube microphone. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Tube microphone. Yeah. So, and yeah, I, it's got a nice sort of like brilliant sound about it sort of seems to work with like most of my songs and my sound in general. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. I'm, I'm keen to get more options up my sleeve. Like, I, I pretty much use that through for all my tracking. Josh Lee Hamilton: I've got another, like less expensive road mic, like a $400 road entity, one a or something. And yeah, like if I'm trying to get it to a stereo like sound for my acoustic or something, I'll use that one at the same time, but yeah. Yeah. That's and in terms of my gear, that's basically it and then a logic session and yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And I guess some headphones do, do you have speakers? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, I've got the Yamaha HS sevens, I think Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Lovely. Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: So I use those not so much in a session. I sort of just keep my headphones on in the session. I don't I sort of use those when I'm. through mixes and assessing other people's mixes Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, yeah. Right. Josh Lee Hamilton: my benchmark of Jan 'Yarn' Muths: But when you track, you just leave the speakers off and, and use headphones only. So it's basically a focus right. Interface. Two microphones from road headphones, and you're ready to go. Yeah. Cool. Doesn't have to any, doesn't have to be any more complex than that. Josh Lee Hamilton: No. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: this way. Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: I'm looking forward to. Getting some more gear, but I, like I said, like, I was just like, I'm not gonna let you know what I don't have stop me doing stuff. So yeah. Mm-hmm Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You mentioned that you also played with MI in, in logic. Do you have an, a keyboard for that or do you work on with the mouse and the piano role editor or what what's your workflow there? Josh Lee Hamilton: okay. So this is interesting, cuz I love keys in the song and I, and and obviously doing MIDI for other things like strings and that. But I'm not very much a keys player, so I have a keyboard, I play it and then I go back and I edit it and so I like, I practice it as much as I can, but yeah, it's often pretty simple stuff, but yeah, just go back and edit the touch, the velocities of the notes, try and make it sound human. Josh Lee Hamilton: So it's not like I don't, I don't put things on. That's another interesting thing. I, I learned on the process as well. I didn't edit to the grid. I edited to like what was driving the song in my mix. So like say if a drama and a bass was really pushing it, I'd edit to their, their wave, you know? Like, so that became my reference rather than everything had to line up with the, the click track grid. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, that's a fantastic piece of information. So you actually didn't go for the grid line, but you lined up the transient basically. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Yeah. I, I don't know if people do that or not, but I know a lot of people like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: is a good Josh Lee Hamilton: chop up, chop up their stuff on the grid, but sometimes I'm like, oh my, yeah. Like that could, if the song's already working Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: rhythmically Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, so, because that's my wake point in my playing Jan 'Yarn' Muths: is Josh Lee Hamilton: piano skills, but I was, it's simple and I like, I can pull it off, but then in terms of media, you have the opportunity to edit. Josh Lee Hamilton: So I do and it's a, and yeah. And that's that I was just decided, oh, I should edit to, like, what's creating the rhythm of the track, you know, not, not necessarily the grid, not everything's about the grid, so Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yes, that's right. That's right. I sometimes use a little production trick. That's called temple mapping. Yeah. Where I basically teach my DW in this case, pro tools to move the grid to where the drummer hit it. Josh Lee Hamilton: oh, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: so, in other words, the grid is no longer a static now Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: a computer, but it actually moves to where the drummer played it Josh Lee Hamilton: that's cool. Eh, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: a hard workflow. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's very, very simple to do. And then everything else can fall onto the grid and locks in with the drummer, which is a, Josh Lee Hamilton: That is, I wish I didn't know about that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I can show you. It's also, it's doable and logic as well, Josh Lee Hamilton: my gosh. Yeah. I had a feeling that I'm like, I'm doing things manually, but I feel like I'm missing out on some very valuable skill right now that I should, that would make cuz the workflow wasn't ideal. Actually. It's very tedious. Just going through and Jan 'Yarn' Muths: course it's time consuming. Yeah. Yeah. But look, nobody cares about how you did it, you know, it sounds great. And that's all that counts, you know, the result is there, so it really doesn't doesn't matter how you did it. But I really like the idea, you know, and it, it, it plays, it makes sense in. The, the vibe that I'm getting from your music is definitely not, you know, the grit kind of a vibe it's, it's really organic, you know, a human feel to it. And now, now that you say that you edit it to the drummer's performance, not to the grit, that makes perfect sense. You know, that explains some of, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: The beautiful vibes that I'm catching here, I guess. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Lovely. Josh Lee Hamilton: Songs are good when they're pushing pull. So yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. I, I know that sometimes things can, you know, go wrong in production. Did you have any catastrophes along the way, any dramas, any lost files or computer crashes Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh, I've been pretty good when it comes to that. Just that practice of backing yourself up. Like, I have, I had lost a lot of stuff before, once on an old computer back when I was younger and ever since I remember just being like basically the computer that had my, I have the recordings of what I did when I was younger, but it's only MP3s like the, all the solid files of the sessions and the webs. Josh Lee Hamilton: I couldn't do anything with an MP3. Like I lost, I lost it all. Yeah. Like strangely enough, some of that, that stuff I got featured on triple J on earth when I was younger for like stuff I did in my bedroom, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: And they, they rang me up, like, do you wanna be a feature artist? Like we love this song that released and, and, and yeah, so it was a really weird, like, Experience of like, just putting something out there then it, and it, I mean, it didn't blow up or anything, but it was a cool, like encouragement to, you know, like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of course. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: How old were you when that happened? Josh Lee Hamilton: I was 21. Yeah. So it was a while ago. Yeah, that the solid files, like in terms of like like that was purely self mixed, wasn't even master. They played tracks that weren't even mastered like yeah. On radio. So, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. So yeah, I just put it up in triple J like it was full DIY and, but yeah, I didn't have the opportunity to master 'em because I'd lost. Josh Lee Hamilton: Like you can, can you master an MP3? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, it's probably not re Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, like I lost. Yeah. So that, that was traumatic Jan 'Yarn' Muths: depends a bit on, you know, what, what bit rate MP3 it is. Yeah, you're definitely not with. Bad one on, you know, look, chances are once it's an MP3, once you start to bring up the musical detail, you also hear all the imperfections that MP3 introduces. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So it's a trade off and chance are that, that wouldn't work. But look again, it doesn't really matter, you know, you got the media attention, it was played on the radio. So it was obviously good enough for them. So who can argue with that? You know, it was definitely good enough. That's fantastic. Let's just stick with the album production for for a little bit longer. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So you didn't actually have this point where you switched from songwriting into re recording. That was more of a gray area, a transition period. What about the step from production and recording into mixing? Hmm. Did it all happen at the same time or was it also, you know, song by song on ongoing? Josh Lee Hamilton: I'd usually have like two songs done and then two songs that I was working on. So like yeah. They sort of come in pairs or sometimes triplets, you know, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: know? Yeah, right. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. It was just like, to be honest, I was sort of not doing things to a solid plant. It was just doing things when I could Jan 'Yarn' Muths: mm-hmm Josh Lee Hamilton: so, and where things are at, but but yeah, when it came to mixing, I. Josh Lee Hamilton: I'd really give it a red hot shot, my own Gove, like where I wanted it to be sonically and just especially with levels, like, and then even just effect wise and tone. And I'd send that to the mixer as my pre-mix, you know, so to be Jan 'Yarn' Muths: my friends point. So Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, and I enjoyed that. Like, I was just like, it's something I wanna get better at. Josh Lee Hamilton: And, but yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: okay. And did your mix engineer use this as the foundation at work from there? Or did they start from the beginning? Josh Lee Hamilton: I actually don't know. I was very curious about that. Cuz I'd send them the logic session that have most of the only thing that can be the, the tricky thing is if you are depending on a sound from a plugin Jan 'Yarn' Muths: and Josh Lee Hamilton: don't have the plugin, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, Josh Lee Hamilton: it actually, I don't think that actually happened. I think it, yeah, like I use Val Hala reverb for just my guitar stuff. Josh Lee Hamilton: Sometimes with a vocal effect and seems like those guys had it. So yeah, it was good. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, they're really good revers. And they're also very reasonably priced to find. Yeah. You know, what, are there 50 bucks or so for something that can Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. I bought the whole, whole suite of them. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice. good. Excellent. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Excellent. So so you said that, you know, two songs were done and then you worked on the next two. So when the second lot of songs got into mixing stage, did you reference back to the previous ones to just keep it tonally and balance wise and in the same pocket? Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: I did. And that's what I was aiming for. I did find some songs had different energy and, and even like, maybe that's an energy thing, but then even like from a technical perspective, like the gain structure might not have matched. I was like, why is this song sitting just a little so. Yeah. So I guess when you're doing things like an album piecemeal with a lot of time between songs that continuity of like your settings and of sound and, and energy, it might, might even be subliminal might be within yourself, like how you're performing in that, you know, in that moment compared to six months ago. Josh Lee Hamilton: So, yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I found. But I definitely tried my, I was conscious of that and I was trying to do everything I could like, especially in the post production realm to get it to be close. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Right. Okay. So when it comes to, you know, you mentioned gain staging and, and the volume of, of mixes that sometimes actually takes to the mastering stage for it to be, you know, balanced out because when you mix several songs, And you work on the last song. Chances are you don't exactly know how the overall energy of the first song was. Because it it's such a time consuming process. So it's quite normal for, you know, a bunch of approved mixes to be somewhat inconsistent in volume. Yeah. And then mastering that's when that's straightened out, I guess. Yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: So with the mastering, I used the same master Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So was that done in one lot? Song by song as well, Josh Lee Hamilton: by song. And I was always telling her like Kathy Norton is her name she's down, based down in Sydney. Was always saying, can you get it to be close to the Sonic realm of these other songs? Because this is, it's all tying into the, so I was conscious of that and letting her know. Josh Lee Hamilton: So Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So she basically knew to keep it in a similar pocket as the first song she mastered and yeah. Then she could reference, she probably had him on fire, I would Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. And kept him and, you know, always made sure they worked together because I guess that's one of the things we really want for mastering when it comes to album work is to make sure it sounds consistent. Yeah. And yeah, like it all belongs together, which is probably not the case. If you master individual singles without considering the other songs. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Actually the only song she did master was the very last one on the album called seasons. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, wow. So, so the, yeah. Right. Brett Josh Lee Hamilton: mixed and mastered that one. Yeah. And I was just like, oh, I don't wanna change it. Like I've already released it. I didn't. So, and it, because that's what, one of the reasons I made it, the last song as well. Josh Lee Hamilton: So it's like the taper off Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So then it Josh Lee Hamilton: felt if it did feel different sonically, it was the last song. You can do that with the last song. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I get, it will play. Joe will played. Josh Lee Hamilton: And it felt good as the last song anyway, so yeah, well, yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I'm actually quite amazed. You. To me, it really sounds like an album that was produced. It's cohesive. It's like, you know, coming out of the same record. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And Josh Lee Hamilton: On bro. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: it apart here, it's the odds were not actually yeah. With you on this, you know, there were so many things that could, could lead to different tonal changes. Josh Lee Hamilton: It could have, it could have been a real mess. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. That was clearly an option though, but you know, creative processes can be messy and again, the outcome speaks for itself. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. So I, I really enjoy the journey that this album takes me on. So I, I really like how you arranged the songs on the album, how the energy flows through it and Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Cool. Yeah. Oh, that's great to know that you, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I'm old. School's Josh Lee Hamilton: it's a nice package. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I still, I still like to listen to album, start to finish and, you know, I know that doesn't happen a lot these days, but yeah, it's, it's very enjoyable. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: The journey that you'd take us on there. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I also tried it on my kids in the car calms 'em down too. Josh Lee Hamilton: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's in competition with the wiggles now. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: Doesn't calm kids down. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: No, not really. say what advice would you have for us to get the best performances out of yourself when you, when you are at home? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And you are the engineer and also the musician, and you constantly need to alternate between playing your instrument and performing, and then operating logic and managing microphones and game staging, you know, the technical mindset. Yeah. How did you manage moving in and out of these two worlds? Did it make it harder for you to perform Josh Lee Hamilton: well, it's interesting you say that because actually the main draw card of self production for me. Was actually that ability to have a bit more flexibility to capture the best performance, you know, like I guess if you're going in and doing a session with someone and you're on the clock and you're paying like money often like can be pretty expensive. Josh Lee Hamilton: And if it's that day you're out, for whatever reason, you just had a horrible sleep the night before. Coming down with something or, yeah, like I don't know, like that was the draw card to like, have that flexibility, like, oh, I'll just do it again. Like, I'll find that day when I'm perform, like I'm in a better head space and that's a bit of a bummer that that day meant nothing, but I'll just give it, yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: You know, so that when it comes to performance, that was the big draw card. But then on that moment, when you're balancing Yeah, the technical world, the creative world, the feeling world, cuz like when you're singing and performing, you don't really wanna be thinking about that stuff. You wanna have that stuff, you know, distance. Josh Lee Hamilton: So yeah, it's a little bit tricky like cuz lately I've been trying to just pull off some really good live recordings and that is high pressure in the sense that you gotta get through a whole song. Not stuff up, anything like when you're playing tracking guitar and voice at the same time, you like, you can't be sort of like why you're playing, thinking about something else. Josh Lee Hamilton: Cuz you might then sing the wrong, wrong lyrics or just hit the wrong chord. And then even though you performed, you know, 90% of that song, amazingly that one stuff up like could just be like, oh, I've gotta do it again. So Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: I don't know, like I, but yeah. I guess there's less pressure when you're tracking just instrument by instrument. Josh Lee Hamilton: Like cuz you know, you've got more editing power, like that helps. So, but yeah. And I try and get all the technical stuff done at the start and then I try to switch off from it. Yeah. Cuz I, yeah, I believe that a performance is, are better when you're not really engaging with that technical world too much. Josh Lee Hamilton: just as an energy thing, you know? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Wise words, Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: definitely. . Do you find that when you, by yourself, is it harder to understand whether, you know, what your performance was like do when you work with others? Is it easier to say, whoa, that was a really good take, you know? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Do you, I, I know that when you perform yourself, it's sometimes you need other opinions yeah. To, to really see through. You did and hear it with somebody else's ears. Is it harder to do this by yourself? Do you find, Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, that is the downside. Yeah. I, and I, I guess, I mean, you just left your own ears and your own decisions and your own means. Yeah, just when it comes to like reflection and assessing what, you know, Something's good or not. Sometimes you need that. Yeah. That feedback that, that sound board to yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: Outside perspective. So yeah, the home, the home studios, solo DIY environment that I reckon that's the downside about it. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And did you get a bit of feedback from the people you collaborated with with Garrett and Josh Lee Hamilton: I, when I was tracking with Garrett? Absolutely. Yeah, that was definitely upside. So yeah. Just straight up, like that was a great take or that, yeah, you should definitely do that again. Like, you know, like And just like creative decisions as well. Like, should that part exist or not? Should it be less or more? Josh Lee Hamilton: And you know, like yeah, it's definitely beneficial to have that feedback and that realm, as long as, as you are not going down the path of Creative conflict Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Which can happen. Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. That's just, doesn't take too long for that to happen sometimes. So, yeah. It's yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, good. So you're not done with the album, and I know that, you know, getting to the stage when it's mastered and you finally release the record, that's a huge milestone, but it actually continues. then on and you now need to promote your album and I guess, play life and tour a lot. I hope. Have you ever got shows booked? Yeah. For the next coming weeks and month. Josh Lee Hamilton: it's interesting. Hey, cuz like some of the songs have been released to sing signals, singles and yeah, I've put in some more work on some songs when it, when it comes to promo than others, like depending where I'm at, you know, like and like with this album I've done a little bit, but I've sort of. I've, I've let it be just a little bit, because I've just got so many other things going on. I just had a Jan 'Yarn' Muths: kick Josh Lee Hamilton: My second born six weeks ago and it's a little crazy in the house. So but I do, I was just, I went to a, a whole concert for someone else's album watch the other week. And I was just like, oh yeah, I wanna do that because it's so nice to celebrate your music and your hard work. Josh Lee Hamilton: And With some sort of live experience, it's something more intentional. So Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: that's yeah, I plan to do that in the spring, I reckon. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Right. obviously with a young family, you know, all BES are off and you just have to, I guess, live your life day to day in, Josh Lee Hamilton: a little bit. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: But you've got a bit of a gem there with your album, so do whatever you can to make some noise around it and, and draw attention to it. And definitely, you know to all the listeners go to the show notes, scroll down, hit the button and listen to Josh Lee. Hamilton's new album. Days like yesterday, what's your preferred place for, for listeners to go to? Josh Lee Hamilton: I mean, I, I digest music on Spotify. That's where I am. Yeah, Spotify, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: or the other streaming services. Josh Lee Hamilton: all the same. Like the experience. It depends. Depends what one you choose. Like, I guess. There's a lot of value in, if someone decides to purchase it purchase it on iTunes, you know? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Josh Lee Hamilton: but then yeah, like I listen to a lot of music on Spotify that I like, so, and you know, and I share it around if I like it too. Josh Lee Hamilton: So yeah, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: fantastic. And do you plan to release the album as CD or vinyl as, as hardware, so to speak? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah, I do. Yeah. I wanna be at my gigs. I haven't re organized that yet. It's so interesting because like, you know, even just five years ago to have that ready was the biggest deal. But now it's just like, You ask yourself the question, should I print out CDs? Like, you know, and if you're not doing live shows, then why would you Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that's a really Josh Lee Hamilton: so expensive to print out like CDs, like but yeah, I, I'm still doing enough shows, especially locally and it's amazing, you know, like people still buy 'em. Josh Lee Hamilton: You're not like that used to, it used to be a lot more of a flourishing scene, but. Yeah, but I wanna hand over what's current in my music world to people. When I, they see me play not what's a, another CD I released in 2016 could find your way, like it's sort of not on par or representing where I'm at musically, so yeah. Josh Lee Hamilton: I'm keen to have this one printed Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Good idea. Josh Lee Hamilton: this. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice one nice one. And people want to find out more about you and your music. Are you on social media or have you got a website? That we could refer to? Josh Lee Hamilton: Yeah. So social media wise, I'm on all the, the platforms Instagram. Facebook. I'm not on Twitter. I don't know. Does do musicians go on Twitter? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: awesome. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. Yeah. And a website. Josh Lee, Probably should update that yeah, but yeah, you can find me out there in the, the ether Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic look I'm going to put all the links into the show notes to your social channels and of course your website. And please keep me updated. If you play local gigs, I'm always happy to put this out on the podcast community on Facebook. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Promote this there and let everybody know where they can see you live. Josh Lee Hamilton: yeah. I'll definitely let you know about if I do a an album or show in the area that be, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That will be fantastic. Josh, thank you so much for sharing all of this with us today. It's an amazing record. Everybody. You have no excuse, head over, click the button, do the right thing and listen, crank it up a little bit. Put on some good headphones. If you want to you know, it's, it's really a little bit for treat for your ears and new record. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Thank you so much for being with us today, Josh. Thank you. She's. Josh Lee Hamilton on the production talk podcast. What an amazing episode. So I really appreciate you coming on board and sharing all your stories and your wisdom with us. I warmly recommend to head over to any of the streaming platforms to check out Josh's album days. Like. Yesterday, check out Josh on social media. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And if you get to see him live enjoy the show you are up for musical trait. Thank you very much for listening to the production talk podcast. If you want to reach out to me, you can do so via my website, a mix Do you, where I offer music mixed down services to anybody who needs a little bit of help pushing their projects to the finish line. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Before we finish. I would also like to just maybe drop one more little thing on you. Musicians, Australia is an organization that's been pushing for a minimum wage for live shows. And I would love to see musicians embracing this and putting an end to low ball offers and venues that under. So I believe that they suggest a minimum payment of $250 per musician per show. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And I think this is the absolute minimum that musicians should ever accept. I believe actually that you're probably worth quite a bit more. So don't undercut your mates, but yeah. Okay. That's just a final thought for the episode. A message to all the listeners, to all the musicians, to know what you are worth and don't budge on this. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, thank you very much for listening to this episode. This is all for today. I shall speak to you again and next week for yet another episode of the production talk podcast. That's all for today, bye for now.
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