I think it would be a great idea for everyone (who wishes to) to share their thought process for mixing the wasteland song for the contest. Why they made the decisions they did, as it would help me (and others) see point of view of other mixes submitted. It would also help learn how certain thoughts get translated into mixing decisions.
I will go first
I am a firm believer in the magic of the song. I feel every mix is different and there is no “template” that can magically mix a song that is received well by the listeners. I think a mix should work alongside the feeling of the raw song.
I try to “zone” into the mix, and try to get inside the mind of the artist and get an idea of feelings and emotions. Trying to get to the “core” of the performance before I make any kind of mixing decisions.
In case of @Cristina 's wasteland, I heard a lot of emotions, natural cracks in the voice, solitude, dryness of a wasteland and a personal touch. I knew right away that a song like this should not use a generic “commercial music” template. I painted a picture of the sound in my mind and made choices like isolation of vocals by creating an envelop around the voice, enhancing the feeling of isolation, anger and pain. I chose strings to increase the intensity of the emotions.
Normally at this stage, I looked for proper reference tracks I used some Christina Perri and Rachel Platten and Dixie Chicks songs for the reference for wasteland.
Ill be honest, I never listened to the original reference track till after I submitted my mix. Did not want to be biased