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July 1, 2014

Get Lucky - Daft Punk

Written by : Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Cristo,Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers
Produced by : Daft Punk
Recorded by : Alana Da Fonseca, Florian Lagatta, Mick Guzauski Peter Franco Phil Joly, at Electric Lady studio
Mixed by : Mick Guzauski at Conway Studios
Mastered by : Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering

Spotify link :
iTunes link :

The entire Daft Punk album made quite a stir because of the deliberate choice to buck many of the trends in modern dance music. In addition to being a massive hit, Get Lucky is a very interesting song to study from a mix perspective. Their attention to detail leaves no doubt that every element of this mix was carefully chosen and executed. If you can avoid dancing along for a few minutes you'll find some unique sonic choices that support this extremely unique (by today's standards that is) take on dance music.

This song has a very static arrangement, the majority of this tune contains the same core group of instruments which are predominately analog sources:

Drum Machine
Synth String Pad
Synth Lead

The panning compared to many pop/dance tunes is very narrow, sitting many elements on top of each other near the center of the soundstage. Imagine 9:00-3:00 on a clock, here’s where all the elements are placed:

Bass - 12:00
Drums - 11:30-12:30 very centered, you can occasionally hear the hi hat open a little to the right
Claps - 9:00 and 3:00 these are the widest elements, one set hard left and one set hard right
Guitar - 12:00 keeping the rhythm section centered and Niles' brilliant funk guitar up front
Piano - 10:30-1:30 the grand piano is fairly wide, the high side is on the right and the low side is on the left
Rhodes - 1:30
Wurlitzer - 10:30
Vocals - the verse starts off with a single vocal at 12:00, doubles split to 10:00 and 2:00 in the prechorus and then closes in to 11:30 and 12:30 for the chorus.
Drum Machine - 12:00
Vocoder - 12:00
Synth String Pad - 12:00
Synth Lead - auto-panning from 10:00-2:00

It sounds like there is a nice soft plate reverb with a decay time probably just above 2 seconds or so, it’s easily heard on the snare, claps, vocals. The bass and guitar are kept very dry. There's also a dotted 1/8th note delay on the vocals that increases on the chorus and is panned out slightly to the right and left.

What EQ? Everything sounds natural and organic, the only thing that is slightly hyped is the low end of the bass which is the driving force of this song. After reading a few articles about the making of this album I'm not surprised by this approach.

Unlike every tune on the radio, all the compression done to this song is very imperceivable - transparent and natural is the vibe. The song top to bottom never has much of a dynamic build, subtle changes in the arrangement account for all the dynamics in this song, again nothing drastic.

There is a nice and deliberate softness to the whole song that lets it just ride along. It's a very pleasant feeling that doesn't leave your ears stressed out and just allows you to enjoy the funky disco feel of yesteryear modernized only by its precision. The mix serves up a super clear picture of the most important pieces of the mix: Vocal, Bass, Guitar, Drums and then blends all the keyboards into one funky bed supporting those key elements.

Your Turn
What do you hear? From a sonic perspective what do you think about this song? What can you take from a song like this and apply to your mixes?

Mix Analysis by Ben Lindell