DECONSTRUCTING MY MIX FOR 54-40 ’ S LIVE AT THE EL MOCAMBO ALBUM
By Clifton David Broadbridge
Somehow over the decades , Toronto ’ s El Mocambo , founded in 1948 by drummer Joe Brown as a Latin nightclub , turned into a globally-known music destination , hosting some of the world ’ s top blues and rock acts . Shows by U2 , The Rolling Stones , Blondie , The Cars , and the Ramones – oftentimes in the early years of those bands ’ careers – helped give the venue its “ Legendary ” status . But what set the El Mo apart from many of the other live venues in Toronto and around Canada was the “ live to air ” Chum FM recordings that started to take place in the 1970s , capturing many of these bands ’ in raw , intimate , and gritty performances with an audience that stood and screamed just feet from the stage .
So , for myself , having had a principal role in the El Mocambo ’ s renovations and design just a couple years ago – including the installation of new recording studio and post-production facility , as well as the partnership and design of the Fender Custom Shop El Mocambo guitars released in April 2022 for the Fender Dream Factory – I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to mix 54-40 ’ s new album , Live at The El Mocambo , which is the venue ’ s first official live release on the El Mocambo Records label . Having listened to tapes from classic shows recorded over the years at the El Mocambo , I strived to keep what I loved about the venue ’ s original sound while taking advantage of what the new space had to offer sonically . After all , owner Michael Wekerle spared no expense when attempting to make the El Mo the finest live streaming and recording venue in the world .
Over the years , I ’ ve been primarily a touring guitarist , singer , and songwriter , and happened to stumble my way into mixing and production . I basically couldn ’ t afford to get my songs professionally mixed , so I acquired the basic gear needed and began figuring it out . From there , I helped out friends ’ bands and continued to work on my own music . I also had the privilege of spending several years working with the great Eddie Kramer ( Jimi Hendrix , The Beatles , Led Zeppelin , etc .) as a studio partner , assistant , and co-mixer , which really elevated my understating and passion for engineering and the art of making records . This experience introduced me to working on an analog console with mostly analog gear , which is how I continue to work today .
Personally , I prefer the tactile experience a console gives me . Even before this , I worked with a Rupert Neve Designs 5060 summing mixer with an Avid S3 and really liked the hybrid setup with faders . With all of