iZotope, Czarface, and MF DOOM


Every Friday, we’re sharing a newly released song or album from one of our favorite artists and talking with them about how they used an iZotope product on it. This week with spoke with Joseph Caserta, mix engineer for the new Czarface/MF DOOM collaboration Czarface Meets Metal Face! (released 3/30 on Get On Down).

Caserta utilized several iZotope products to achieve the right mix, particularly on the all-important vocals (e.g. RX was used on Doom’s vocal to the point where he had his own DePlosive preset). The result is a record that manages to sound equal parts “small basement” and “pro studio” (in the best way possible).

“I started using Ozone back when I was doing mash ups for CrooklynClan.net (under the moniker Mash Up Mafia) and I was trying to figure out why some of the other mashups were louder than mine. Since at the time I was teaching myself mixing and mastering, going through the presets in Ozone served as a learning tool for me. Reading the name of the preset and seeing what it did to the settings of the different modules gave me a better understanding of how the things interacted with each other to affect the sound. As my skills and scope of work progressed, I started to dig into the creative elements of Alloy and Nectar and later getting into repair and clean up with RX.

“As anyone can hear, Czarface takes a very minimal approach. Seeing as it was conceptualized in the same vein as “Enter The 36 Chambers” and “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx,” my job was to make subtle enhancements to the vibe i was given. 7L has his own technique of layering his sounds and samples using outboard gear, so most of the time I would get a full stereo drum stem to work with. The Ozone Imager (which is a staple on my drum bus anyway) was used mainly to mono anything below say 150 Hz as well as some subtle widening to the top end.

“Vocally, things were almost supposed to sound like the mic was being passed around RZA’s flooded basement in 93' (haha). So while I didn't want to take away the lo-fi vibe, the De-plosive and Mouth De-click, and De-crackle modules in RX were used to the point that Doom got his own preset in De-plosive. Esoteric likes his vocal to be very warm and close in proximity, so throwing Alloy on his vocals just for the Exciter section became a go-to move.”

—Joseph Caserta, mix engineer


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