Nigel Godrich

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Nigel Godrich
Born (1971-02-28) 28 February 1971 (age 43)
Westminster, London, England
Genres Alternative rock, experimental rock, electronic
Occupations Recording engineer, record producer, musician
Instruments Keyboards, synthesizer, sampler, drum machine, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, vocals
Associated acts Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, Ultraísta

Nigel Timothy Godrich (born 28 February 1971 in Westminster, London[1]) is an English recording engineer, record producer and musician. He is best known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead and is sometimes referred to as the "sixth member" of the band. He is also a member of Atoms for Peace and Ultraísta.

Godrich has also worked with acts such as Paul McCartney, Travis, Beck, Ride, Ultrasound, Jason Falkner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pavement, Here we go magic, Brazzaville, Air, Natalie Imbruglia, The Divine Comedy, The Sundays, U2, Metric, and R.E.M.

His production technique is notable for its dense layers of sound.[2]

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

The son of a BBC sound supervisor, Nigel Godrich was born in Westminster, London.[1][3] He was educated at William Ellis School in North London (where he shared classes with his friend and future Zero 7 member Henry Binns). Originally a musician (a guitarist inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa) he became interested in sound engineering and subsequently studied at the School of Audio Engineering. Post-graduation, Godrich became a junior staff member at the Audio One studio complex, working primarily as "a tea boy."

After the closure of Audio One, Godrich became the house engineer at Rak Studios, where he became a frequent tape operator for veteran producer John Leckie (with whom he worked on albums by Ride and Denim). Circa 1995, Godrich left Rak in order to work with Henry Binns (and with Binns' Zero 7 partner Sam Hardaker) on electronic dance music at their collective Shabang studio: however, within six months his reputation as a sympathetic and effective engineer-producer was leading to mainstream production commissions from the likes of McAlmont & Butler and, in particular, from Radiohead.

Radiohead (1994–present)[edit]

In 1994, working as an engineer under Leckie as producer, Godrich had worked as engineer on another Leckie production – Radiohead's second album The Bends. This would later prove to be a turning point in his career. His first collaborations with the band were on certain songs on the 1994 My Iron Lung EP, such as "The Trickster" and "Permanent Daylight". He went on to engineer Radiohead's second record The Bends (1995) and co-produced "Black Star" from the same album. Later in 1995, after the band found they got on well with him, he produced Radiohead's charity single "Lucky" as well as the tracks "Bishop's Robes" and "Talk Show Host" "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" b-sides, the former of which also appeared in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet). He would go on to co-produce the band's enormously successful 1997 album OK Computer (on which he made his name) and has performed the same task on every Radiohead album since then.

Nigel Godrich is sometimes informally credited as the "sixth member" of Radiohead due to his longtime collaboration with the Oxford band. He has gained notice for helping to define Radiohead's distinct sound, which established them as one of the more acclaimed rock bands in the world during the 1990s and 2000s. He is younger than all members of Radiohead (except Jonny Greenwood), which is a rare situation among producers for popular acts. When working on OK Computer at improvised studios without the close supervision of longtime veterans or record labels, both he and the band learned as they went along, ultimately crediting the open process with the record's success. Beginning new work in 2005, Radiohead initially tried collaborating with other producers for the first time in a decade, but they returned to the studio with Godrich late in 2006 to record their seventh album, In Rainbows (2007) and the band's eighth studio album The King of Limbs (2011).

Godrich also produced singer Thom Yorke's 2006 solo album The Eraser and performed with Yorke, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco in Yorke's band Atoms for Peace in two concerts in two shows in Los Angeles in October 2009.[4]

Other projects (1997–present)[edit]

Coming off his success with OK Computer, Godrich mixed most of Natalie Imbruglia's hit Left of the Middle (1997) and R.E.M.'s largely electronic Up (1998). He also produced Pavement's final album Terror Twilight (1999).

Godrich has collaborated with American singer-songwriter Beck several times, on Mutations (1998), Sea Change (2002) and The Information (2006). The first two of these albums, particularly the highly acclaimed Sea Change, were noted for their atmospheric folk/pop sound, a major departure from the sample-heavy, spontaneous style Beck was best known for. He has also worked with Travis three times, producing the Scottish band's commercial breakthrough The Man Who (1999), the follow-up The Invisible Band (2001) and The Boy With No Name (2007), although the band also worked with Brian Eno and Mike Hedges on the latter album.

In 2001, Godrich remixed U2's track "Walk On" for its single release. Godrich also mixed and contributed additional production on the French electronic group Air's albums Talkie Walkie (2004) and Pocket Symphony (2007). He produced the 20th anniversary version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?", released in December 2004.

In 2002, Godrich was hired by The Strokes to record their follow-up to Is This It, but was fired when their recording sessions together proved, in the band's word, "soulless".[2]

Godrich received his greatest visibility in 2005[citation needed] for his work on Paul McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, a job he got after being recommended by legendary Beatles producer George Martin. According to interviews, the idea of bringing in a younger producer was for McCartney to challenge himself, and accordingly Godrich fired McCartney's touring band on the first day's sessions, and demanded the star abandon songs Godrich felt to be clichéd, over-sentimental or subpar.[5] The resulting album was nominated for several Grammys including Album of the Year, and Godrich was nominated for Producer of the Year.

In 2010, Godrich worked with director Edgar Wright to compose the score for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, his first film work.[6]

From 2012 Godrich has been a part of Ultraísta, the three piece band, which also includes drummer Joey Waronker and singer Laura Bettinson, released an album in October of that year.[7]

From the Basement (2006–2009)[edit]

Main article: From the Basement

In September 2006, it was announced that Godrich, along with producer Dilly Gent, producer James Chads and John Woollcombe, were shooting the music series From the Basement, filmed from London's Maida Vale Studios.[8]

The series was to focus on intimate, live performances by musicians without a host or an audience. Godrich told Pitchfork Media in an interview, "We've got a lot of people that I'd like to see on the show [that] we're talking to. [But] I don't want to mention their names. Obviously, I'm really interested to capture some really iconic, bigger names– really the whole point is to get people who are having their moment, to try and get a definitive record of what they're doing."[9]

Godrich first conceived From the Basement as a means of authentically documenting music being made. Drawing further inspiration from British television music series The Old Grey Whistle Test, Godrich came upon the idea of a television programme. Despite early reports, From the Basement did not initially appear on British television, because of not taking on corporate sponsors.[9]

Originally when the pilot was in production, From The Basement was to be an online programme only. However, this was not feasible as it did not generate enough money to produce the episodes to the quality level desired. Instead, the producers went to international TV networks to receive money up front to produce the series.[10]

The series did eventually air on television; the first UK broadcast was on Sky Arts on 1 December 2007, featuring four songs performed by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke on 8 December 2007.[11][12] The United States premiere was on Rave HD on 22 February 2008, followed by a run on Independent Film Channel, as part of the network's "Automat" block of television programmes in the autumn of 2008.[13]

On 3 November 2008, the series of performances was released on DVD.[14]

Nigel briefly dated Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia[15] during their collaborative recording of her hit album Left of the Middle in 1997.

In 2000, Godrich won a Grammy Award for producing Best Alternative Album (and Album of the Year nominee) Radiohead's Kid A.

Discography[edit]

Year Title Artist Credits
1990 Scandalo Gianna Nannini Assistant engineer
1990 Tune In The Silent Blue Engineer, producer
1991 Superstition Siouxsie and the Banshees Assistant engineer
1992 Vivienne McKone Vivienne McKone Assistant engineer
1993 Buffalo Skinners Big Country Assistant engineer
1994 Carnival of Light Ride Engineer
1994 Heitor Heitor Engineer
1994 My Iron Lung EP Radiohead Producer, engineer
1995 The Bends Radiohead Engineer, Producer on one song ("Black Star")
1995 Feeling Mission Harvest Ministers Engineer
1995 Totally Tee Engineer
1995 Booth and the Bad Angel Tim Booth & Angelo Badalamenti Engineer
1996 English and French Hopper Engineer
1996 Sun..! Sun..! Engineer
1996 Sound of..McAlmont & Butler McAlmont and Butler Engineer, Assistant engineer, Mixing
1997 OK Computer Radiohead Balance engineer, Recording technician (Producer)
1997 Silver Sun Silver Sun Producer, Mixing
1997 Plagiarism Sparks Engineer
1997 Left of the Middle Natalie Imbruglia Mixing
1998 Mutations Beck Producer, Mixing
1998 Sisters in Pain Jamaica Engineer
1998 Try Whistling This Neil Finn Remixer, Mixing
1998 Up R.E.M. Mixing
1999 Can You Still Feel? Jason Falkner Engineer
1999 The Man Who Travis Producer, Mixing
1999 Terror Twilight Pavement Producer
2000 Kid A Radiohead Producer, engineer, Mixing
2001 "Walk On" U2 Remixer
2001 Amnesiac Radiohead Producer, engineer
2001 The Invisible Band Travis Producer, Mixing
2001 Regeneration The Divine Comedy Producer
2002 Rouge on Pockmarked Cheeks Brazzaville Producer, Mixing, String ensemble, Fender Rhodes
2002 Sea Change Beck Producer, engineer, Mixing, Synthesizer, percussion, keyboards
2003 City Reading Air & Alessandro Baricco Mixing
2003 Hail to the Thief Radiohead Editing, Mixing, Operation, Recording, producer
2004 Absent Friends The Divine Comedy Mixing
2004 Heroes to Zeros The Beta Band Mixing
2004 Talkie Walkie Air Producer, engineer, Mixing
2004 When It Falls Zero 7 Guitar, Sounds
2004 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid 20 Producer
2005 Chaos and Creation in the Backyard Paul McCartney Producer, Guitar Loops
2005 Guero Beck Mixing
2005 The Roads Don't Love You Gemma Hayes Mixing
2006 The Eraser Thom Yorke Producer, Mixing, musician, arranger
2006 5:55 Charlotte Gainsbourg Producer, Mixing
2006 The Garden Zero 7 Acoustic guitar, engineer
2006 The Information Beck Producer, engineer, Mixing, keyboards, Programming, Effects, Scratching, Tambourine, percussion, background vocals, Speak 'n Spell Whistle, Tote A Tune, Kalimba, drums, Game Boy
2006 Dad's Weird Dream Silver Sun Remixing
2007 Pocket Symphony Air Producer
2007 The Boy With No Name Travis Producer
2007 In Rainbows Radiohead Producer, engineer, Mixing
2008 Odd Couple Gnarls Barkley Engineer, Mixing
2010 Turn Ons The Hotrats Producer, engineer, Mixing, Additional instruments and noises
2011 The King of Limbs Radiohead Producer, engineer, Mixing
2011 Supercollider / The Butcher Radiohead Producer, engineer, Mixing
2011 The Daily Mail / Staircase Radiohead Producer, engineer, Mixing
2012 A Different Ship Here We Go Magic Producer
2012 Ultraísta Ultraísta Composer, engineer, Mixing, producer
2013 AMOK Atoms For Peace Producer, Programmer
2014 Warpaint Warpaint Mixing

Composition credits[edit]

Year Song Artist Album
1997 "She" The Sundays Static & Silence
2004 "Speed Dial No 2" Zero 7 When It Falls
2006 "Movie Theme" Beck The Information
2006 "Soldier Jane" Beck The Information
2006 "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" Beck The Information
2006 "Motorcade" Beck The Information
2010 "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Original Motion Picture Score)" Nigel Godrich Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Original Motion Picture Score)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/all/results?recordCount=-1&forenames=nigel&surname=godrich&fromYear=1971&toYear=1971&_performExactSearch=on&event=B&recordType=ALL
  2. ^ a b McKinnon, Matthew (24 July 2006). "Everything in Its Right Place". CBC News. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  3. ^ THE ARTS: The holistic approach to music: POP: Ludovic Hunter-Tilney meets Nigel Godrich just in time for the producer's 'mid-life crisis' – article by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in The Financial Times, 27 August 2001 (reproduced on Nigel Godrich unofficial website
  4. ^ http://radiohead.com/deadairspace/index.php?a=505
  5. ^ Paul McCartney Tries to Recapture a Fresh Sound: NPR Music
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/89gw
  8. ^ "New music show will preview Radiohead songs". qthemusic.com. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Matthew Solarski (14 December 2006). "Nigel Godrich Talks "From the Basement", Radiohead". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Godrich, Nigel. "From The Basement – Welcome". fromthebasement.tv. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  11. ^ Mike Mulvihill (1 December 2007). "Saturday Digital Choice". The Times. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "Thom Yorke's 'From The Basement' on SkyArts". ateaseweb.com. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  13. ^ "Radiohead Add Dates, Listen to Good Music". Pitchfork Media Inc. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  14. ^ "Various Artists – From the Basement [2008][DVD]". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  15. ^ http://www.musictoob.com/natalie-imbruglia-and-chris-martin-are-getting-cozy-4989

External links[edit]