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Stormzy’s New Album Gets the Atmos Treatment in PMC’s Demo Studio
UK – UK loudspeaker manufacturer PMC recently made its Dolby Atmos demo facility in London available to producer Will Reeves so that he could mix the Atmos version of Stormzy’s third album This Is What I Mean.
This Is What I Mean, which was No. 1 in the UK album charts for three weeks is being hailed as the rapper’s most important album to date because it shows vulnerability by dealing with personal themes such as heartbreak, inner peace, masculinity and religious faith. Released through Def Jam, the album is also available as an immersive audio experience on streaming services such as Apple Music.
Will Reeves was commissioned to create the Atmos mixes in October, having previously mixed a number of Atmos tracks for other Def Jam artists. He asked PMC if he could use its demo facility in London because he was already collaborating with the company on a Beyond The Mix seminar showcasing Atmos mixing techniques to aspiring producers and engineers.
“PMC’s facility is an amazing room with exceptional acoustics and monitoring,” he explains. “I knew that by mixing the album of there I would have the best possible chance of making it sound incredible. Delivering great results with Atmos involves skill and a thorough understanding of the format, but it also involves great monitoring so that you can really hear what is happening with the soundfield. PMC is widely regarded as the industry leader when it comes to Atmos monitoring systems so I knew I couldn’t do much better than the company’s own demo room.”
GRAMMY and BRIT Award winning producer and engineer Heff Moraes, who is PMC’s brand ambassador and an expert on mixing Dolby Atmos music, adds: “We were delighted to be able to host these sessions, Will and I have known each other for a long time, ever since he began his career assisting me at Tape London – and it is always a pleasure to help a friend.”
Stormzy’s album was recorded on Osea Island in the Blackwater Estuary, Essex. He worked with a team of talented writers, producers and musicians and describes the experience as a ‘beautiful, spiritual coming together’. Most of the stereo mixing was carried out in Los Angeles by engineers Alex Ghenea and Leandro Hidalgo who worked in their own studios, one of which (Leandro’s) is also equipped with PMC 8-2 monitors. Top mixer Mark Stent also mixed three tracks at his studio in London.
Will Reeves and his assistant Pierpaolo Demarchi created the Atmos mix for the single Hide & Seek and then followed it with the mix for Firebabe. Once Def Jam had approved both mixes, the rest of the album was quick to follow using stems provided by the stereo mix engineers.
“It was challenging because we had to gather material from a number of different sources,” Reeves says, “but once we got underway it was very straightforward and we had the whole project finished in less than a month.”
In picture: Heff Moraes and Will Reeves at PMC Studio London
13th January 2023
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