Flood (producer)

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Mark "Flood" Ellis
Birth name Mark Ellis
Born (1960-08-16) 16 August 1960 (age 53)
London, England
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk
Occupations Record producer, audio engineer, musician
Years active 1978–present

Flood is the professional pseudonym of British post-punk and alternative rock record producer and audio engineer Mark Ellis. Flood's list of work includes projects with recording acts like New Order, U2, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Erasure, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, A-Ha, Sigur Rós, The Smashing Pumpkins and The Killers. His co-production collaborations have included projects with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Steve Lillywhite, and longtime collaborator Alan Moulder, with whom he co-founded the Assault & Battery studio complex. In 2006, his work with U2 led to his sharing of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

Early years[edit]

Mark Ellis was born on 16 August 1960 in London, England.[1] As a child, Ellis attended St Olave's Grammar School in Orpington, England. He began his music career as the vocalist for the band Seven Hertz. During that same time, he began his professional studio career as a runner at Morgan Studios in London.[2] Ellis also was a runner at Battery Studios in London and held apprenticeships at Marcus Studios and Trident Studios.[3]

He is not to be confused with Mark Ellis, the bassist from the British mod revival band The Lambrettas from the late '70s and early '80s.

Freelance and Some Bizzare records[edit]

Flood moved up to house engineer before going freelance in 1981, the same year he worked as assistant engineer on New Order's debut album, Movement. The following year, he engineered Ministry's debut album, With Sympathy. He then became associated with Stevo's Some Bizzare Records label, leading to work with Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV, and Marc Almond's side project, Marc and the Mambas, among others.[2]

Mute records[edit]

Following his work with Some Bizzare Records, Flood began working with Mute Records as their preferred producer, helming his first true production project with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on From Her to Eternity (1983–1984) and the follow-up album, The Firstborn Is Dead (1984). His work at Mute was as producer, co-producer, or engineer with each of the label's major acts, including Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke and Erasure, whose debut album Wonderland (1986) and its followup The Circus (1987) he engineered.

Mainstream commercial success[edit]

Flood's first mainstream commercial break came in 1987 when he engineered U2's The Joshua Tree alongside producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Shortly thereafter he co-produced Nine Inch Nails on debut Pretty Hate Machine along with John Fryer, Adrian Sherwood, and Keith LeBlanc. He also worked with Depeche Mode on their most commercially successful album to date, Violator. In 1991 he returned to work again with U2 on Achtung Baby along with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite. The following year, he also returned to work with Depeche Mode to record the album Songs of Faith and Devotion and co-produced three tracks of Nine Inch Nails' Broken EP.[4]

In 1993, Flood shifted from engineering U2's albums to producing them, sharing duties with Brian Eno on Zooropa.[5] In 1994, he worked again with Nine Inch Nails, this time on The Downward Spiral. In 1995 Flood co-produced The Smashing Pumpkins' album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness with longtime collaborator Alan Moulder, and PJ Harvey's album To Bring You My Love. Shortly thereafter, he assisted producer Nellee Hooper on Sneaker Pimps' Becoming X.[6] He also collaborated with Dave Bessell, Gary Stout and Ed Buller to create Node; an analogue synth heavy project that produced a single album, Node.

In 1996 Flood teamed up with U2 once again to produce Pop, released the next year. The following year, he assisted Billy Corgan and Brad Wood on The Smashing Pumpkins's 1998 album Adore and co-produced PJ Harvey's album Is This Desire?.

2000 to 2005[edit]

In 2000 he co-produced Machina/The Machines of God by The Smashing Pumpkins with Corgan. He also co-produced Erasure's Loveboat with Vince Clarke and Andy Bell of Erasure. The following year Flood worked again with Depeche Mode, remixing the single version of Freelove, and in 2002 he produced Richard Warren's Echoboy album Giraffe. He also co-produced I To Sky, by JJ72.

In 2003 Flood re-worked Cars for Gary Numan's album Hybrid. The following year he produced London based The Duke Spirit's debut album Cuts Across The Land. In the same year co-produced U2's 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'. In mid-2005 he mixed a-ha's eighth album, Analogue. The same year, he produced Soulwax's album Any Minute Now. Later that year, Flood also mixed Placebo's album Meds.

2006 to 2010[edit]

Flood co-produced The Killers' album, Sam's Town in 2006 with fellow English producer/engineer Alan Moulder. Later that year he remixed the debut single by Dark Room Notes, Love Like Nicotine. At the beginning of 2007, he co-produced PJ Harvey's album White Chalk with John Parish and PJ Harvey. He also co-produced a couple of songs on the Goldfrapp album Seventh Tree, which was released in February 2008. In late 2007/early 2008, he produced Sigur Rós's Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust in Iceland.[7]

Flood and Paul Hartnoll of Orbital co-produced the 2008 album by The Music, Strength in Numbers. He produced the 2009 album by The Hours, See the Light. He joined Steve Lillywhite again in 2008 to work with Thirty Seconds to Mars, on This Is War. And then worked with Editors on In This Light and on This Evening. He also collaborated with Nitzer Ebb again to finish up their first new release in over a decade, Industrial Complex. In 2010, he produced Belong by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Let England Shake by PJ Harvey.

Studios[edit]

Flood had a studio in Kilburn called The Bedroom.[8] He later opened the Assault & Battery studio complex with longtime recording partner Alan Moulder.[9] In 2008, Miloco Studios opened Assault & Battery 2, a tracking and mix studio in Willesden Green. Assault & Battery 1 came under the Miloco umbrella in Summer 2009, and both Flood and Moulder remain involved with the studios.

Production style[edit]

Frequent collaborator Billy Corgan has said of Flood, "Flood's incredible. Flood is a tremendous producer. Flood is very masterful with the sonics, but where he really shines is he's a great idea person. And I don't mean like he tells you, "Oh, put this chorus here." It's more like he can see an ambiance of the song that you don't necessarily see and he would really fight with us – not negative a fight, just he would really kind of push us to say there's another vibe here that you can get to."[10]

Pseudonym[edit]

According to producer Mark Freegard, Ellis' ubiquitous pseudonym, "Flood," was given to him by producer Chris Tsangarides during Ellis' early days at Morgan Studios and while The Cure was there recording. As a young studio runner, Ellis was responsible for responding to numerous requests from the recording artists and staff for tea and bacon sandwiches. Ellis kept up with the numerous requests for tea while the other runner remained largely unavailable, leading to Tsangarides nicknaming them "Flood" and "Drought," respectively.[11]

Selected engineering/production credits[edit]

Selected production credits:[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flood listing at allmusic.com
  2. ^ a b Dave Thompson, Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman Books, 2000, p. 767
  3. ^ "Flood and Howie B: Producing U2's Pop", Sound on Sound, Jul 1997
  4. ^ "Nine Inch Nails: Biography", Rolling Stone
  5. ^ John Pareles, "A Raucous U2 Moves Farther Out on a Limb", New York Times, Jul 1993
  6. ^ "Sneaker Pimps Sign With Tommy Boy", Billboard, Oct 2001
  7. ^ "Sigur Ros Tap Producer Flood for LP5", Spin, Nov 2007
  8. ^ "Assault & Battery 2 Insight", Miloco.co.uk
  9. ^ John Payne, "Editors and Producer Flood Bring Synths to the Forefront, Record to Tape, and Make Mistakes Great", EQ Magazine, Feb 2010/
  10. ^ "Guitar Center Interviews Billy Corgan"
  11. ^ "Which Would You Prefer In Your Studio: Flood or Drought?" Record-Producer.com
  12. ^ "allmusic – Flood, Credits". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 

External links[edit]