Joe O'Connell mixes 95-second cinematic spot for Polo Red Rush

Driving badass red Corvettes and vintage Mustangs, Ansel Elgort takes us on a whirlwind night out in LA chasing and racing on salt flats until dawn. Master perfumer Olivier Gillotin for Ralph Lauren shared his inspiration behind the scent “We like the idea of capturing the moment of the heart starting to beat faster, but finding a way to make that last.” To keep this cinematic journey going mix engineer, Joe O’Connell was able to capture the thrill and feeling of excitement with his sound design and mix for the 95-second spot edited by Ted Guard of Rock Paper Scissors.

You’ve worked with this creative team for some time now. At this point in your relationship, how much of it is, "This is what I want, this is what it should be," versus, a more open collaborative effort?

It’s definitely a collaboration, and in most cases, they expect that I’ll experiment with different approaches. We’ll watch the spot together and get a general idea of some things to try, and then I’ll put some working mixes together to share before committing to a particular direction (i.e., traditional vs. stylized effects, minimal effects or more music driven, a combination of those things, etc.).

Is there a process you go through deciding how much sounds you take from an already existing library versus creating entirely new sounds for a given project?

Definitely. We have a vast library that we curate ourselves that covers most of what we need in terms of traditional, non-stylized or music-based sound effects. From splashing to door slamming and car engine revving; however, if for some reason I’m not finding the right sound there, I’ll foley it.

 Any other interesting tidbits to listen for in this spot?

 My favorite moment is when the engine sounds and the music crossfade in tune with each other at 1:02. It’s the interesting subtle stuff that’s unique to a particular spot that I like most.

 What questions do you ask a client before getting to work on their project?

 Is there anything I should reference for direction, do they have a strong sense of what they’re looking for, or would they like me to surprise them? I’ll always try to get a feel for the vision of the project, and so I can assess how much I should speak up or shut up…hahaha.

 But seriously, I just want the clients to walk away feeling they had a great experience and can say, “yeah, I love that mix.”

Sonic Union