“If I Never See Your Face Again” Maroon 5 featuring Rihanna

After successfully sending other album tracks to radio, the band and producer/mixer Mark Endert were ready for a new challenge, one that involved re-cutting vocals.
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“If I Never See Your Face Again” | Maroon 5 featuring Rihanna
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Single: “If I Never See Your Face Again”

Album: It Won’t Be Soon Before Long (A&M/Octone)

Dates: Duet vocals recorded on February 14, 2008 at Henson Recording Studios, Studio D, Hollywood, CA; mixed in February 2008 at Scream Studios, FL

Producers: Mike Elizondo, Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, Mark Endert, Eric Valentine, and Maroon 5

Engineers: Mark ‘Spike’ Stent and Mark Endert

Mixer: Mark Endert

Other Projects: Endert works with artists including The Fray, Anna Nalick, Gavin DeGraw, Madonna, Vertical Horizon, Five For Fighting, Fiona Apple, Tonic, Quietdrive, and others.

Single Songwriters: Adam Levine and Eric Valentine

Mix Console: Solid State Logic 9072J (Scream Studios, FL)

Mix Monitors: Yamaha NS-10 and Genelec 1031A

Audio Platform/DAW: Pro Tools|HD

Vocal Microphones: Sony C-800G (Rihanna) and Neumann U67 (Adam Levine)

Select Vocal Tracking Processors: Neve BCM-10 sidecar (Neve 1073 mic pre-amps), Universal Audio/Teletronix LA-2A leveling amplifier, GML 8200 parametric EQProducer’s Diary

As the duet version of “If I Never See You Again” recently hit radio, iTunes, and so on, Maroon 5’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long—the band’s 2007 full-length album—was already deemed a success. The original version of “If I Never …” kicked off the album, and after successfully sending other album tracks to radio, the band and producer/mixer Mark Endert were ready for a new challenge, one that involved re-cutting vocals.

“It’s amazing how radio changes constantly,” Endert begins. “In the time it took for their record to transpire through the singles, they had an opportunity to do a duet with Rihanna. They thought it would be great to take ‘If I Never …’ and do it as a duet.”

Before tracking Rihanna’s vocal alongside Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine at Henson in LA, Endert made a few tweaks to ‘If I Never …’ for Rihanna to vibe on during the sessions. “I suggested, ‘Let’s go more track-oriented with this,’ diminishing some of the actual drum kit that was recorded and leaning a bit heavier on the programming,” he explains. “The idea behind that was to get the song into the shape of what she was used to. We relied more on keyboards and programming to get her pumped up when she heard the version. It was a new perspective of looking at a ‘band’ track.”

(click thumbnail)Mark Endert
Using a Sony C-800G condenser on Rihanna, a Neumann U67 for Levine, and Neve 1073 mic pres for both—“a favorite of mine for both male and female vocals,” offers Endert—the three captured this cleverly cynical duet, ironically, on Valentine Day. “I like LA-2As for cutting vocals to the Pro Tools system, and I ended up throwing a GML EQ for notching out or enhancing—it’s such a precise EQ. For Rihanna, I wanted a little top added with a little midrange out. So, it was LA-2A and GML to Pro Tools for the vocals.”

Citing his job as a prolific mixer, Endert is an advocate of committing to decisions ‘in the moment.’ “If you leave too many things to the end, it requires a lot of gear and processing at the mix stage,” he offers wisely. “For the things that I’m mixing myself, I try and commit to those decisions, like for vocals, immediately.”