The creation of the Epic Music Mix - or - why the **** does it take so long?
I calculate a time around 200 hours of work to create a Epic Music Mix. You think that's crazy? Let me tell you about the process:
1. The idea and the songs
The first step can take hours to months of time. It's the most random of all. Usually I get the idea what to mix from just a single song. It's like : "This song is so great, I have to create a mix around it to share it with the world." - Thinking of it, I could name you this one special song for each of the 15 mixes. It's usually the first or second song of the mix.
For example - "Brothers of Blood" (God of War III) for Epic Music Mix XV
The second half to this part is more difficult. Finding songs to fit the overall idea, born from the first song mentioned. I gather around 40-50 songs before starting to mix anything at all.
When choosing the songs, it's only a matter of my own personal taste, I never add a song to a mix because someone told me to. Of course, giving me a hint to a great soundtrack which I start to like for myself is another way ;)
2. The first prototype
Now I start juggling around with the songs, cutting out the climatic parts, finding out which ones fit the best or simply sound better then the others. A very simple mix of nearly all possible songs emerges in this step. It's a really raw thing to hear but around 30minutes long at first. During this, more then half of the songs from step 1 will become deleted from the project. (Good bye Legend of Zelda Theme - you didn't fit once more)
The deleted songs find their way back to my "Epic Music Mix Songs Pool" where some other 100 are waiting for their chance. Since the songs have come to the closer round once, they get their chance to show up in another mix of course.
One song wandering from the closer round back to the pool for years is "One Winged Angel". (Sephiroth! you know the one) A great track, but it's just soooo different from any other song... Maybe I should do a "One Winged Angel - Generations Mix" instead... good idea - what do you think? Comment ;)
So after trying around, deleting songs and cutting parts, one more step towards a fnisihed Epic Music Mix is done. Around 20-25 songs are left by now.
3. The mix is born
By now, I usually have a vague idea of what the tracklist looks like, still that doens't mean there aren't any changes till the last minute. When the order of appearance is complete, it's time for the transitions. And it's really as boring as you can see in the picture. I'm just putting the ending and the beginning of 2 soundfiles on top of each other, and try around until a very sweet transition between the two is done.
For this I'm zooming in to the smallest amount of seconds showable to me, regulating the songs position in steps of 0,1sec. If needed, I change the cut once again to enlarge or shorten the track. Actually the order of appearance is determined by the pure fact if songs are "transitionable" (Wordcrafting skill increased).
So I got the tracklist and the transitions. That's it, right? Wrong.
4. Stay a while and listen
The mix is nearly done, from now on everything running in my playlist, mp3-player, way to work or anywhere is this newly made Epic Music Mix. While listening I check for very little details in Volume and if there are any cracking sounds because of bad sound quality (I'm using a pair of the cheapest headphones ever to check that, if they can play the mix without problems, everything should do it).
Since every song has another source or soundtrack, it's normal that the volume is very different. I'm using Steinbergs "WaveLab" together with the "LoudnessMaximizer" tool in order to increase the volume of the quieter songs, always keeping in mind not to boost the loudness to much, because it can ruin the sound quality very fast.
After this workover, I'm listening to it again and again. Repeating the process so many times until there are no more things to be taken care of and the mix is finished!
(I'm not talking about the "Intro" to each mix, since it actually hasn't anything to do with the musical part - still it takes another huge amount of time)
By the time a Epic Music Mix is released, I heard it more then 100 times.
But it's all about the quality ;) And I'm always giving everything to provide the best of it =)
Hope you enjoyed this blog about the creation of an epic music mix.