Liam Howe

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Liam Howe
Liam Howe 2021 Synth Selfie.jpg
Liam Howe in 2021
Background information
Birth nameLiam Coverdale Howe
Born (1973-09-29) 29 September 1973 (age 48)
OriginHartlepool, England
Genres
Occupation(s)Producer, engineer, programmer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist
InstrumentsSynthesizer, guitar, bass, programming, string arrangement
Years active1991–present
Labels
Associated actsSneaker Pimps, Ape Mink Press, Marina and the Diamonds, Lana Del Rey, FKA twigs, Adele, Jessie Ware
WebsiteLiam Howe on Twitter Liam Howe on Instagram

Liam Coverdale Howe (born 29 September 1974, Elwick, Hartlepool, England) is an English, London-based record producer, musician and songwriter. Since forming 1990s cult band Sneaker Pimps in 1996, he has been a producer for Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds, FKA Twigs, Ellie Goulding, and Tom Vek.[1][2]

Discography[edit]

Musical beginnings[edit]

In 1992, after numerous indie attempts to create music, he formed the dance act F.R.I.S.K., with fellow northerner and childhood friend Chris Corner, and released the white label The Soul of Indiscretion EP. This was self-funded and a recorded number of 1500 were pressed. The act was subsequently signed to Clean-up records, a subsidiary of One Little Indian Records.[3]

Whilst studying fine art at Reading University, Howe formed the production company Line of Flight with Corner and other art students Joe Wilson and David Westlake. They released The World as a Cone EP under this title in 1994. Line of Flight produced many of the acts on Clean-up records and contributed numerous remixes to the 1990s dance scene. This exposure led to a deal with them to release an album, which was undertaken by their new and upcoming output teased as Sneaker Pimps.

Sneaker Pimps[edit]

Wanting a bigger audience, Howe and Corner began writing for a more song based project. Ian Pickering, a lifelong friend of Howe's joined the writing team as a lyricist. With an album of material written, singer Kelli Dayton (who had been introduced to Howe and Corner through Derek Birkett of One Little Indian) was invited to sing and the band Sneaker Pimps was then formed. The debut album Becoming X was recorded entirely in Howe's father's house in Elwick; a small village on the outskirts of Hartlepool. Howe and Corner produced the record under the Line of Flight umbrella, with contributions from producers Jim Abbiss and Flood.

A further three albums were released after Becoming X; Splinter, Bloodsport and Squaring The Circle, along with a multitude of singles and EP's. Howe also played live keyboards with Sneaker Pimps on three out of their four albums, to date.

Ape Mink Press (AMP)[edit]

Having produced for other artists and making a return to Sneaker Pimps, this inspired Howe to make a reprisal to producing his own content under the name Ape Mink Press.

Ape Mink Press, otherwise known and cited as 'AMP' on releases, is a solo venture from Liam Howe. It originally started as a secret entrance into the Sneaker Pimps comeback in 2021, in which they released their fourth and long-awaited solo album: Squaring The Circle. The plan being, that sources would drop information or content through the Ape Mink Press name - which is actually a direct anagram of Sneaker Pimps, but this was slowly faded into silence, until several singles for the Squaring The Circle album were released and remixes from the then-mysterious AMP were teased and eventually made available.[4] Howe, who then made it clear from numerous online interviews and press notes for the remixes, that this was not only a secret alias from himself for producing music, but a full-fledged solo project. He later hinted that not only would there be more remixes for the album, but there would be a whole new album of his own work, released under the AMP title, in 2022.

So far, there has been two Sneaker Pimps EP's with remixes provided by AMP and there will be a remix for every track on the Squaring The Circle album. This isn't the first time that an alias has been used by Howe, as there was previously: Line Of Flight, F.R.I.S.K. and most recently with Ultrafox: The Zip.

Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result Ref.
ASCAP Songwriting Award 6 Underground (with Chris Corner and Ian Pickering) ASCAP Songwriting Award Won [5]

Branching out[edit]

Through the success of Sneaker Pimps, Howe's writing and production skills gained international recognition with hits such as 6 Underground and Spin Spin Sugar, which led to collaborations with artists such as Marilyn Manson, Placebo, Echo & the Bunnymen, Natalie Imbruglia, Nerina Pallot, and Emilíana Torrini.

Howe and Wilson then formed the band Ultrafox in 2001, with the German twins, Claudia and Connie Holzer. Ice Skating was released on User Friendly Records and featured contributions from Sneaker Pimps' Chris Corner and Dave Westlake

Howe, Corner and Pickering had written a fourth Sneaker Pimps album, but it remained unreleased. Demos of it leaked circa 2005. There were further demos leaked for a newly planned Sneaker Pimps album, but that was delayed until 2021. Demos of this also leaked circa 2006. Corner relocated to Berlin with the success of his solo project IAMX, whilst Howe stayed in the UK to further his writing/production career. The pair reunited in 2013, with Howe contributing synthesizer and recorder parts to the fifth IAMX album, The Unified Field. Then, in 2021, Sneaker Pimps released their fourth album Squaring The Circle

Production and writing with other artists[edit]

Since Sneaker Pimps, Howe has written for, produced and developed a whole host of respected artists including Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds, Tom Vek, Jessie Ware, Mikky Ekko, Adele, FKA Twigs, Say Lou Lou and Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile.

In 2008 and 2009, Howe worked extensively on the Marina and the Diamonds debut album The Family Jewels co-writing and/or producing the majority of tracks. The album entered the UK charts on its week of release at No. 5. He also worked with Diamandis on her follow-up album, Electra Heart, in 2011. The album entered the UK charts on its week of release at No. 1.

In 2010, Howe produced the CocknBullKid debut album Adulthood on Island Records, including the co-writes Yellow and The Hoarder, with Hannah Robinson and Mexico with Gonzales. Also in 2010 the track Little Dreams was released on the Ellie Goulding reissue Bright Lights. The song was co-written and produced by Howe.

In the summer of 2010 Howe, along with others, produced Tom Vek's much anticipated second album Leisure Seizure.

In 2011, Howe wrote several songs with Lana Del Rey and other collaborators such as Guy Chambers for her debut album Born to Die. The track Lolita, written with Hannah Robinson features on the record.

2012 saw collaborations with Foxes, Fallulah and old band mate Chris Corner for IAMX. Also Howe worked extensively with London Grammar on developing their debut album.

In 2013, Howe co-produced FKA Twigs first and second EP and contributed to her debut LP. He was also behind tracks from VV Brown and Fallulah, and Dan Croll.

2014 saw contributions to Jessie Ware, Sampha, Kovaks, Sonia Stein, and Simonne Jones.

In 2015, Howe worked with Maxine Ashley, Jam City, Natalie Duncan, Aluna George and the Kanye West signed artist: Kacy Hill.

2016 brought collaborations with TsarB, Rob Bravery, Kyla La Grange and Hannah Peel.

In 2017/18, Howe worked with Lissie, Jessie Ware, Nilüfer Yanya, Aurora, and BEA1991.

The 2019 Sarasara LP Orgone on One Little Indian was written and produced in collaboration with the artist.

In 2020, Howe collaborated with Conor O'Brien from the band Villagers, Gillian Maguire, Ben Romans, and Lees, along with much anticipated work for the new Sneaker Pimps album, with fellow band mate Chris Corner.

2021 brought Howe to produce the second album of the French duo Cats On Trees. This process was conducted entirely remotely due to the pandemic. Also over lock-down, Howe worked with American band Paragon Cause. Howe has co-written and co-produced Lees, with Eg White. The first single was Honeymoon Suite. The majority of 2021 was taken up with finishing the (then) pending Sneaker Pimps record.

Later, in 2021, Sneaker Pimps at last released their long awaited 4th Studio album Squaring The Circle, on September the 10th 2021. The writing credits are true to the three original writers: Chris Corner, Liam Howe and Ian Pickering. The release was some 18 years after their last record Bloodsport. They enrolled Simonne Jones as co-vocalist. The song Fighter was the first single to be released featuring vocals from Simonne.

Swiftly after the release of Squaring The Circle, Howe's own personal art project Ape Mink Press (also known as AMP) came to the surface in the form of remixes and reworks of some of the Squaring The Circle tracks. It is rumoured that there are AMP remixes of the entire record and these may well be released at some point.

Ape Mink Press has an album in production, which will be releasing in 2022.

Film[edit]

Howe's compositions have appeared in many films, most notably The Saint, Danny Boyle's A Life Less Ordinary and Alfonso Cuarón's Y tu mamá también.[6] In 2009, he composed the soundtrack to the Sundance multi award-winning film Obselidia, using an orchestra of obsolete instruments. Howe has directed music videos for both Sneaker Pimps, and the electronic act, Motor. As a visual artist, Howe has exhibited installations in galleries such as London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and the CCA Glasgow. 2015 saw the release of Howe's second major film score to Bleeding Heart [7] which starred Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet and was directed by Diane Bell. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on 16 April 2015. Diane Bell's 3rd Film Of Dust and Bones also has an original score composed by Howe.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Liam Howe | Credits". AllMusic.
  2. ^ "FKA Twigs - EP2". Discogs.com.
  3. ^ "Amidio | Music alive". Amidio.com.
  4. ^ "Joyofviolentmovement | AMP". joyofviolentmovement.com.
  5. ^ "Liam Howe Bio at ASCAP". Ascap.com.
  6. ^ "Liam Howe". IMDb.com.[unreliable source?]
  7. ^ "Tribeca Review: 'Bleeding Heart' Starring Jessica Biel & Zosia Mamet". Blogs.indiewire.com.

External links[edit]