null Genelec Catches Up with GRAMMY® Award-Winning Engineer/Producer Trina Shoemaker
Genelec Catches Up with GRAMMY® Award-Winning Engineer/Producer Trina Shoemaker
Longtime Genelec user Trina Shoemaker, an acclaimed producer and mixing engineer known for her work with Sheryl Crow, Rodney Crowell, Queens of the Stone Age, Tanya Tucker, Josh Ritter, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Steven Curtis Chapman and others, has been spending more time than ever in her private personal home mix room, riding out the coronavirus pandemic with a number of projects. And just as important as ever to her work process is her 8351A three-way Smart Active Monitors™ from Genelec. Just this year, Trina’s work has appeared on several well-received releases, including new sets from the Indigo Girls, Tanya Tucker, the Wood Brothers, the Secret Sisters and Grayson Capps (who happens to be Shoemaker’s husband).
The new Indigo Girls album, Look Long, was a special mixing project for Shoemaker. She had been a go-to mixer for the band and their solo projects for years, but until a few months ago she was not involved in Look Long. Shoemaker notes, “I got personal calls from both Amy and Emily asking me my opinion on their working mixes with producer John Reynolds, and I think they had a hunch that I might want to join the project. I was blown away by the content of the songs and the production, and I definitely felt I could help by adding my perspective. They sent me the sessions via a physical hard drive, and when I opened up the files, the work was massive! The tracks practically had their own gravity. But I could tell this was just a magnificent album, and I was honored that they trusted me to join the project. Depending on the assignment, the balance can add a fresh perspective without stepping on the toes of the producer and the work they’ve already done with the artist. I had a great conversation with John, and we were definitely on the same page. John is a genius, and very evolved as a producer, and I was able to add an objective voice to the process.”
In some cases, the production was so massive that Shoemaker was overwhelmed: “I had to hide dozens of tracks from view just to make visual sense out of what was happening. But then I started with the drums, and everything was rock-solid. I basically didn’t alter the drums at all – those were played by John himself, and they were tight, punchy, modern and different. But the vocal harmonies and strings had large track counts, and I called up John and asked if he would stem those parts for me, because sonically he’s the producer and if I start changing the sonic footprint of a few dozen backing vocal tracks or a string sound, it changes the whole artistic signature that they built together in the studio. With those elements mixed down by John, I was able to focus on the lead vocals and the fundamentals of the band arrangement, and I was able to get really bold and experimental and have fun with it! Honestly it was months of work, on account of the scope of the production, but I feel like I got a PhD working on this record. I couldn’t be more proud.”
I could not have done it without my Genelecs.
Shoemaker’s Genelec 8351s are her go-to reference monitors, not only through the whole mixing process of Long Look, but for pretty much everything she has mixed in the last few years — and, in fact, she assigns an almost mystical power to what the Genelecs offer: “In one song, there was a bridge that had a shift in feel, but I didn’t think it felt quite right. There were some loops on the record that John used, and that’s a world I know really well. Clandestinely, secretly, I added a few loop elements from my own library to that bridge, and it makes all the difference in the world. It’s just a whisper, it’s very subtle – but listening on the Genelecs, it’s very clear what those elements are, and what they needed to be. I consider my relationship with my Genelec 8351s sacred and magical. They mean so much to me. I trust what they reveal, and I know my decisions made on Genelecs translate to any other listening device or environment.”
The Grayson Capps record was another special project, and her Genelec 8351s played a key role. Shoemaker notes, “Grayson is my husband, but he’s also a songwriter I have immense reverence for. This project, South Front Street, was a career retrospective, so it was important to create brand-new mixes of some material from several years ago, recorded under lots of different circumstances. South Front Street is my favorite record I’ve ever made in my life. It’s also the most important record I’ve ever made in my life, because it covers a body of work that includes Grayson and it includes me. I think it covers the time period from 1997 to 2019. It’s definitely not a greatest hits album. It’s a very personal project for both of us, and I selected all the songs myself. It’s a study on what I loved the most about him, with material from before we met and fell in love in New Orleans, right through more recent work that we created together. And the album speaks of that. These new mixes were created on my Genelecs, and it all happened in this room in front of these speakers. These speakers witnessed the entire rebirth of my life through that record. South Front Street is a very important, transcendent record for me, and I hope a lot of fans listen to it and hear what I hear in it. And I could not have done it without my Genelecs.”