‘See You Next Year’ is Pigeons & Planes and Big.Ass.Kids’ first-ever compilation album and will feature original, unreleased songs from 10 of our favorite rising artists. The project is being distributed by ADA, and we’ll announce the lineup soon. Until then, follow See You Next Year on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on the project.
There’s a reason compilation albums are hard to make. This infinitely litigious industry has made sure of that, and moving across labels for an album release—it can get brambly. You need to find artists, managers, and producers who believe in the mission.
It’s been six years since P&P’s last such gathering of sounds—though last time it was a mixtape, one that has held up really well incidentally. See You Next Year is definitely an album.
There are a lot of reasons behind that distinction. Here’s one: When P&P announced See You Next Year on Instagram, Mike Dean saw it, and commented: “Need an executive producer?” That’s just how he operates. “Sometimes I’ll just see something on Instagram and I’ll reach out to the person on DM,” Dean says from the top floor of his home studio. “That’s how, like, half the projects probably get started.”
Two weeks after that comment, there he was on Zoom. A music legend, talking about how he could help with See You Next Year. And having really good ideas. Things kept moving, and soon Mike Dean was set to mix, master, and oversee the completion of the project. Every artist on the album could bring their track to Mike Dean to finalize their songs and collaborate in person.
As an executive producer, Mike Dean had already exceeded all expectations. But he wasn’t done: once the sessions started, the album started to take shape in a real way. Interest flowed both ways: the artists, naturally, wanted to draw some insights from the experience. Dean is an audiohead, and loved hearing about how each new song got made.
When P&P announced See You Next Year on Instagram, Mike Dean saw it, and commented: “Need an executive producer?” That’s just how he operates.
Sounds straightforward enough—until you remember this is a compilation album. Every artist organizes projects differently, and our executive producer encountered a range of DAWs, presets, and unfamiliar plugin bundles. Dean handled it all. There was one other engineer in an adjoining studio, but there was no pretense or partition when it came to actually mixing the tracks. When Dean compliments one artist’s track grouping, they laugh: “Honestly, I didn’t think that you’d be the first one opening it.”
Dean’s home studio is a historic spot—the main room is one of two on the top floor, and has played host to a medley of superstar clients over the years. The walls are lined with rare Junos, Jupiters, Moogs, and vocoders. “Michael Jackson played ‘Billie Jean’ on that one in the corner,” Dean says during one session. “And we made Kanye’s ‘Feedback’ right here, by putting a mic up to this speaker.” He navigates to the raw feedback files as proof, and we get a glimpse into the staggering scope of Dean’s sonic library, terabytes of music history stacked into neat rows on his server.
In Mike Dean’s studio, you don’t need to overcomplicate the process. “For the most part, I just throw some big [EQ] bands on it and move them around until it sounds good,” Dean says at the end of the day. Understatement of the year, perhaps.
The artists on the See You Next Year compilation will be revealed soon, but it’s an eclectic mix. The one consistency is Dean’s ability to make each song the best version of itself. Sometimes he’d ask a pointed question about the artist’s preference on how a snare sounds, or how far they recorded from the mic. More often than not, he’s asking for an opinion on direction. More or less? Up or down? “In the earlier stage [of their careers], artists are more open to suggestions,” Dean says. “As I’m mixing stuff, I’ll hear things that they do when they track it, that they can change for the next album. You always give them advice like that.”
In Mike Dean’s studio, you don’t need to overcomplicate the process. “For the most part, I just throw some big [EQ] bands on it and move them around until it sounds good,” Dean says at the end of the day. Understatement of the year, perhaps, but it’s another indication that he’s the perfect person to executive produce this project.