Keep It Simple Stupid

I first learned of the K.I.S.S. concept in college jazz lab band. The professor, a horn player by the name of Bart, introduced the notion to soloists. I loved Bart; he was awesome.

Evidently there are two ways to interpret K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid, or, Keep It Simple, Stupid. I always considered the latter as proper interpretation. Evidently, the U.S. Navy, who by the way, coined the acronym, identifies with the former. Just keeping things stupid simple, or simple stupid, alleviates greater frequency of errors.

I’ve always thought in terms of, “Hey Stupid, keep it simple.” But that’s me and my sarcastic mind set.

I think it is a perfect way to interpret a mix, especially when starting with a foundation. Simplify, keeping the concept stupid simple, identify your substructure: drums, vocals, melody, rhythm tracks, use your own judgment, then base your mix on that.

I constantly cross reference mixes from the big boys, using compromised sound sources ( iPhone speakers, bluetooth speakers, crappy head phones, extremely low volume near-field play back, listening from another room, car stereos while driving…)

For me, the ultimate foundational K.I.S.S. mixing technique: Isolate the kick and the lead vocals. Make those two voices as musical as possible, then move on. That’s what I do. E.Q. and compress the kick drum and vocals and blend them the best I am able; everything else follows.

K.I.S.S. can also be applied to personal rehearsal. Being a drummer, I imagine the concept is much less complex. I break down rhythmic passages into 2’s and 3’s and slow the metronome to excrutiatingly slow BPM, requiring painful concentration, actually making my brain hurt.

When practicing like this, I can actually feel new neural paths carving different channels through my brain. I have told this can delay Alzheimer’s but does nothing to alleviate Some Timers or Delayed Intelligence.

In all my endeavors, I try to start with as basic as an idea as possible. It’s overthinking that complicates matters.

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