When it comes to electronic production, Alex Braithwaite aka SUB-human just about encompasses all facets – having notable remixes for Kanye & Fatboy slim to mixing and mastering Oliver Tree, MØ, Killer Mike, Vera Blue, Example, RL Grime, Daniel Johns, Louis The Child, Body Ocean & DMA’s to name just a few… We had a chat with Alex about his production and the mixing and mastering processes for some of the biggest artists in the world.


Tell us about yourself & what you’ve been up to recently!

Hey! My name is Alex aka SUB-human. I’m a mixing and mastering engineer, music producer and educator. My latest projects have been two tracks, one is a What So Not remix and the other is a Slumberjack original. I leave them un-named as they’re yet to be released.

How would you define your role as a mixing & mastering engineer for those unaware?

I use my technical knowledge to refine and preserve the musical creativity of my clients, so that their art can be appreciated on any playback system. In the ever demanding realm of electronic music, the chase for perceived loudness alongside clarity is only achievable through some level of sacrifice to the song. I am very good at ‘hiding’ the sonic sacrifice to achieve music that is loud yet clear and still dynamic enough to feel great on big systems.

How has it been working alongside such a diverse range of artists?

Truly a dream. Working with a diverse range of artists has been incredibly fulfilling, both creatively and technically. Every track is a new puzzle to be solved and a diverse range of artists enable me to get very good at solving unique problems as they come.

What was one big lightbulb moment you had when it came to music production?

For mixing / mastering it was something I call ‘reverse engineering the loudness’. The short of it is that I produce and mix into the loudness (a basic mastering chain). For the creative side of production it has been learning to embrace imperfection in the creative process. This allows ideas to flow freely without letting my engineer’s ear get in the way.

Definitely! Does your approach change with mixing & mastering different genres of music? 

Essentially I have an idea of what the ‘correct’ version of each genre should sound like (make sure you keep up your referencing skills my budding engineers!). The job each time is to identify where the mix isn’t living up to my expectations, relative to genre, and correcting.

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You’ve achieved so much as both a producer and engineer, how often are you adding sounds / additional production into tracks at the request of clients + how does that work?

Ah that’s very nice to say! In the last few years I’ve been doing more general work for select clients. Where I basically get a project and it’s up to me to add what’s needed. That might just be a mixdown / master, or may involve some additional production. The additional production may be re-doing certain elements or adding my own, it really is a case by case situation. The main bulk of my work is still your more traditional mixdown / mastering without production.

Knowing your frequencies is such an important part of mixing – are there any techniques you’ve used or suggest for improving your mixing skills?

Referencing is probably the most important for me. You need to know what you are aiming for as everything is relative. Without a target to aim for and compare your mix against, you’ll start mixing in circles. When starting out, I can’t recommend enough that you pick a handful of songs to be your gold standard. Keep listening to them on as many playback systems as possible as well as looking at the frequency balance through an analyser (I still use the EQ8 as mine!).

From there, your referencing/comparison skills will help you hear the changes you make, and let you know if they are helping or not. Really focus in on one element in the song and see how the various EQ adjustments affect it. Keep at it – your ears and brain need to be trained. If you’re already pretty solid but want to go to the next level, focus on automation and creative contrast. Once you know what you’re doing, it’s not so hard to make everything sound loud and proud. The real secret is intentionally adding imperfections across sections to create contrast.

What releases are coming up for SUB-human?

I have several unreleased tracks in the pipeline, including some exciting experiments in drum and bass. I’m also launching a new house project later this year, with a focus on a more deliberate approach to branding and release strategies. Lastly, I am very excited to be starting my relationship with Liveschool this year. The school’s holistic approach to creating the next generation of talent is something I am proud to be getting involved with.


Check out the free download OTO 808 x Biscuit drum rack here!