in , ,

Interview: Mixing the Concerts of ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ with Re-Recording Mixer Lindsay Alvarez

If there’s anything that is immediately evident while watching the Amazon Series Daisy Jones & The Six, it’s the rich textures of the soundscapes that immerse you in the rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere of 70s LA. Lindsay Alvarez, a re-recording mixer for the series, plays a major role in envisioning that audio environment. Alvarez, alongside the sound mixing team, is Emmy nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for “Track 10: Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide.”

In our conversation, Alvarez breaks down the layers that go into building up the texture of the show’s sound, specifically the concert scenes in her Emmy-nominated finale episode. From the electric energy of the live performances to the intimate moments behind the scenes, we discuss the authenticity and emotion that she adds to the auditory experience of the band’s journey.

Read the full interview below.  

Welcome to Awards Radar. This is Danny Jarabek, and I am very excited to have with me Lindsay Alvarez. She is a re-recording mixer for the Amazon series Daisy Jones & The Six and she is also Emmy nominated for this series for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for ‘Track Ten: Rock and Roll Suicide.’ Lindsay, congratulations, and thank you so much for chatting with me how are you feeling? 

Alvarez: Oh, my god I’m feeling so excited and thankful for being recognized for this episode. It was a lot of hard work with all the songs that are involved in it and making sure that you get the emotional climax that you’re supposed to receive from this show. I love it. I’m so happy. 

I’m so happy to see this nomination as well because this was one of my favorite shows of the year and I’m glad to see it get the recognition it deserves with your department being a huge part of that as well because this show is so sound and music driven, it’s intrinsically part of the show and, I think, deserves that recognition. So, just to start it off, I know you’ve been in a ton of different projects of film and TV series in the sound departments, many of which just even looking in the background of your Zoom, some posters that I’m quite familiar with and love quite dearly. So, Daisy Jones & The Six, what drew you specifically to this project and why did you want to be a part of it? 

Alvarez: It was a couple of months before we were supposed to start mixing that I was told about the show, and it sounded so interesting to me because I love the idea of the fictional band and going to different real-life venues. I was probably one of the few people who hadn’t read the book before working on the show. My mixing partner, Matt Waters, had read it and he said, “Whoa, okay, this is how they’re doing this part of the book in the show when we’re mixing it.” But it was all unknown to me, so it was all unfolding before my eyes as we were mixing. But I was able to see the pilot with a rough cut of mix and as soon as I saw that I said, “I’m in. It’s beautiful.” I wanted it to not be like a music video when it comes out, but I wanted to put the audience there. I wanted you to feel like you’re there. That’s one of the hardest tasks because there are multiple recording sources for every song because they record it when they’re on set, but there are also prerecorded tracks that they do in the studio and so you have to blend the two, or however many options that you have, to make it all sound like you’re there. I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but this is what I love to do. 

There is something that I am so fascinated by with this show because it has so many layers to it in terms of sound and music. That is the whole idea of the show. It lives and breathes sound and music. Your department is such a huge part of bringing that to life. What are all the layers that you are bringing in to tell that audio story of this show? How much of it is stuff that was captured on set versus what you’re adding in post-production? What are all the layers and what’s the process of beginning to blend them?

Alvarez: I was so thankful that I did have so many layers to work with because sometimes you just want it to feel like how it sounded when they were there, even if in one of the earlier episodes I know how it’s supposed to sound when they’re at the Whiskey or the Troubadour here in Hollywood. But they also capture it there when they’re filming and, of course, we have the tracks from the studio that were mixed before coming to me by Mike Poole, which was amazing because he’s a mixer in Nashville. So, I was happy that I didn’t have to start with square one with hundreds of raw files. I get things like the drums, the bass, the guitar, the organ, and the vocals, and then on top of that, I get the production sound that was shot on the day. Sometimes it’s not necessarily usable because they’re performing and playing when they’re on set, but they might have playback in the recording as well, just so that they’re in sync and it’s almost like a click track. You take certain things like, “Oh, I like how the drums sound with that live feel. So maybe I’ll see if I can get a layer of that with the music that has been done in the studio.” But you just use some EQs, some reverbs, and delays to put it in the space. For me, I think my process is I start with the vocals and then I bring in another layer of the music. Let’s get the drums in, let’s get the bass in. That’s so much fun because I love beefing it up. It is a process, and you attack each song differently. With the final episode, ‘Track Ten,’ you’re thrust into the middle of them approaching, going onto the stage, the crowd going wild, and we’re all thinking, all right, this is it. This is our big finale. Let’s go for it. Matt Waters, the effects mixer, put some reverb on them getting set up on the stage and he’s got the crowd going. Then it becomes fun because you build the crowd so big, but then you let it come down because when the band starts playing, that has to be in your face. Drums going, the whole band playing, and so you have to make sure you don’t fatigue the audience with all the music. It’s nice how they even built the episode so that you have this song here and then you go into earlier in the day so that it builds up to the end of the night. You approach it all scene by scene and then make sure it flows well. And of course, everybody’s in the room and feeling the vibe, and we try and get everybody’s notes and address them all. 

I can’t even imagine what your audio timelines are beginning to look like with all these different components added in, but that’s what makes it sound so rich and so textured. Looking at specifically some components of what you talked about here at the end, you’re creating the scene that’s a stand-in for Soldier Field. It’s a full stadium atmosphere—a sold-out stadium atmosphere on top of the music. You have so many other things happening in that scene, but this whole episode, how did you build those components in to make it feel like you’re embedded in this live performance atmosphere? 

Alvarez: It’s a huge thanks to our supervising sound editor, Mark Relyea, who provided Matt Waters with the crowd sound effects so that he can mix those not as a wash of white noise, but so that it has texture. On top of that, we have Loop Group, which is where you put about ten actors into a studio, and they do all the voices for all the background characters and the extras, so we have individual callouts from them. We also have production sound on top of that. Chris Welker, our sound mixer, who was part of shooting this in New Orleans at a stadium, had a scene with about 100 extras. That comes to me and that helps with the texture so that it’s not just white noise going the whole time. You approach it layer by layer and thankfully, with our sound editors and sound editing team, we’re able to put it together to avoid a homogeneous feel, but also add certain callouts that make it feel like an ocean. It has peaks and valleys. It comes up, crashes, and then dies. In one scene in that episode where the crowd starts singing, our music supervisor, Frankie Pine, was there on the set teaching the extras how to sing this song. They were able to capture that because we’re supposed to turn these hundreds of extras into thousands of people, which is quite the task. You use those layers, you use delays, you use loop group. We also threw a mic up on the mix stage where we were and said we needed individual voices now because we’re in the audience and I want to hear some of those people. We bring up the mic and we’re like, “All right, let’s sing it!” So, you almost become a conductor which is a little bit like what a mixer does, but it was a lot of fun. It’s a short period before the lead singers sing along with the audience, but I love that moment.  

That’s something I love about the way that you’re mixing this, too is that there’s such a hierarchy to it all, where you get moments of pure energy of the crowd and that atmosphere and the energy happening between the crowd and the performers. But you also have these moments where it dials back and you’re able to hear individual people speaking to each other on stage or off stage, and it makes it a really special and dynamic environment. I’m curious, diving into the period piece component here, is there anything that you were consuming or watching or listening to immerse yourself in that environment? 

Alvarez: Definitely. One of my favorite movies is Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous

Oh, I love that movie. 

Alvarez: Working on Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood was amazing because the film was scored with radio DJs, and they had used stuff that he [Quentin Tarantino] had recorded from his record player or his tapes and his own archives. Another was Queen, or Freddie Mercury, when he went up at Wembley Stadium. I’ve only seen YouTube recordings, but it’s him singing and he has everybody repeat him before he goes into Under Pressure. He’s singing and they imitate him. I said, “Whoa, I love how that sounds. It’s so cool.” For that moment I wanted to achieve that. If we can make it sound like we’re there, like Freddie Mercury, I would love that. But you listen to those, and I have my own sound memories of concerts and being at live venues and festivals that you take away from that because I know how it sounds when the stage is far away and you’re way in the back or when you come forward. Use sound memories. Know your favorite films. 

Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for your time, and congratulations to you and your team for the incredible work here and the recognition at the Emmys. I’m extremely excited for everyone to hopefully see this if they haven’t already. It’s a fantastic show and so much fantastic work from your department. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. I appreciate getting to hear a little bit more behind the scenes. 

Alvarez: Thank you so much for having me. It was fun talking about it. 

Absolutely. Have a great rest of your day.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Written by Danny Jarabek

The 2023 Gold Digger Mid-Year Award Winners

The Top 25 Best Film Editing Winners So Far (Updated for 2023)