Nigel Godrich

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Nigel Godrich
Melt Festival 2013 - Atoms For Peace-29.jpg
Godrich performing with Atoms for Peace in 2013.
Background information
Born (1971-02-28) 28 February 1971 (age 45)
Westminster, London, England
Genres Alternative rock, experimental rock, electronic
Occupation(s) Recording engineer, record producer, musician, DJ
Instruments Keyboards, guitar, bass
Associated acts Radiohead, Thom Yorke, Atoms for Peace, Ultraísta

Nigel Timothy Godrich (born 28 February 1971) is an English record producer, recording engineer and musician. He is best known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead, having produced their every studio album since OK Computer (1997); he has been dubbed the "sixth member" of the band, in an allusion to George Martin being called the "Fifth Beatle".[1] Godrich has also worked extensively with Radiohead singer Thom Yorke on his solo material, and is a member of the bands Atoms for Peace (with Yorke) and Ultraísta. Other acts Godrich has worked with include Beck, Paul McCartney, U2 and R.E.M.

Early years[edit]

Nigel Godrich was born in Westminster, London, the son of a BBC sound supervisor.[1][2] 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 studied at the School of Audio Engineering. After graduating, Godrich became a junior staff member at the Audio One studio complex, working primarily as a "tea boy".[1]

After the closure of Audio One, Godrich became the house engineer at Rak Studios, where he became a frequent tape operator for producer John Leckie, with whom he worked on albums by Ride and Denim. In 1995, Godrich left Rak to work with Binns on electronic dance music at their collective Shabang studio. Within six months he began working with mainstream acts including McAlmont & Butler and Radiohead.

Radiohead (1994–present)[edit]

Godrich is best known for his work with the rock band Radiohead, with whom he has recorded all but their debut album.[1] Godrich first worked with Radiohead when Leckie hired him to engineer two songs for their 1994 EP My Iron Lung.[1] The band nicknamed him "Nihilist", approving of his efforts to take their sound in new directions.[1] He went on to engineer Radiohead's second album The Bends (1995), working under Leckie as producer. When Leckie left the studio to attend a social engagement, Radiohead and Godrich stayed in the studio to record B-sides, one of which, "Black Star", was eventually included on the album.[1] In 1995, Godrich produced Radiohead's charity single "Lucky", plus the B-sides "Bishop's Robes" and "Talk Show Host", released on the "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" single.[1]

Radiohead invited Godrich to produce their third album, OK Computer (1997).[1] Working in improvised studios without the supervision of veterans or record labels, he and the band learned as they went, and later credited the open process with the record's success. In 2013, Godrich told the Guardian: "OK Computer was such a big thing for me because I was given power for the first time. Some of these incredibly intelligent and insightful people said 'do what you want' to me so I worked my arse off for them and together we did something that represents where we all were at the time. And it stuck for some reason. People got it, so that changed my life."[3] He has produced every Radiohead release since, and won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Album for Hail to the Thief (2003).[4] Godrich said of working on Radiohead's ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool (2016): "Making this album was a very intense experience for me. I lost my dad in the process. Hence a large piece of my soul lives here in a good way."[5]

In 2006, CBC described Godrich's longtime collaboration with Radiohead as "the most adventurous band-producer partnership in modern rock".[1] He has been dubbed the "sixth member" of the band, in an allusion to George Martin being called the "Fifth Beatle".[1] In 2016, Godrich said: "I can only ever have one band like Radiohead who I've worked with for this many years. That’s a very deep and profound relationship. The Beatles could only have ever had one George Martin; they couldn’t have switched producers halfway through their career. All that work, trust, and knowledge of each other would have been thrown out of the window and they’d have to start again."[6]

Thom Yorke and Atoms for Peace[edit]

Godrich (left), Joey Waronker (rear) and Flea performing with Atoms for Peace in 2014

Godrich also produced both of Radiohead singer Thom Yorke's solo albums, The Eraser (2006) and Tomorrow's Modern Boxes (2014).[7] Describing his collaborative process with Godrich, Yorke said: "[The Eraser song] 'Black Swan', back in the day, was a six-minute load of crap. Except for this one juicy bit, and [Godrich] goes past and goes, 'That bit. Fuck the rest.' Usually it's something like that."[8]

In 2009, to perform songs from The Eraser, Godrich and Yorke formed Atoms for Peace with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, drummer Joey Waronker of Beck and R.E.M., and percussionist Mauro Refosco of Forro in the Dark.[9] The band played eight North American shows in 2010.[10] In February 2013, they released an album, Amok, again produced by Godrich,[11][12] followed by a tour of Europe, the US and Japan.[13]

Other projects[edit]

Following his success with OK Computer, Godrich mixed most of Natalie Imbruglia's hit album Left of the Middle (1997)[1] and R.E.M.'s Up (1998). He also produced Pavement's final album Terror Twilight (1999).[1] 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 Sea Change, were noted for their atmospheric folk/pop sound, a major departure from the sample-heavy, spontaneous style Beck was best known for. Godrich has also worked with Travis three times, producing their commercial breakthrough The Man Who (1999),[1] the follow-up The Invisible Band (2001)[1] 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 work together, according to the band, proved "soulless".[14] Paul McCartney hired Godrich to produce his album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) after being recommended by Beatles producer George Martin. Godrich fired McCartney's touring band, and demanded that McCartney abandon songs Godrich found clichéd, over-sentimental, or subpar.[1][15] The album was nominated for several Grammys including Album of the Year, and Godrich was nominated for Producer of the Year.[1]

In 2010, Godrich worked with Beck to compose the score for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, his first film work.[16] Since 2012 Godrich has been a part of Ultraísta, along with drummer Joey Waronker and singer Laura Bettinson; they released an album in October that year.[17] In 2015, Godrich made a cameo appearance as a Stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[18] He mixed the Red Hot Chili Peppers' eleventh studio album, The Getaway (2016).[19]

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.[20]

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."[21]

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.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23][24] 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.[25]

On 3 November 2008, the series of performances was released on DVD.[26]

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 ("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
2014 Tomorrow's Modern Boxes Thom Yorke Producer
2015 Junun Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, the Rajasthan Express Producer
2016 A Moon Shaped Pool Radiohead Producer
2016 The Getaway Red Hot Chili Peppers 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 c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Everything In Its Right Place". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Gibsone, Harriet. "Nigel Godrich: what he really thinks about Spotify". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-21. 
  4. ^ "Past Winners Search". Grammy.com. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  5. ^ NME.COM. "Radiohead producer talks 'intense experience' of making 'A Moon Shaped Pool' | NME.COM". NME.COM. Retrieved 2016-05-09. 
  6. ^ "Nigel Godrich interview: Radiohead and I have a profound relationship". 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  7. ^ Tomorrow's Modern Boxes vinyl packaging
  8. ^ "Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich on Atoms for Peace, the State of Dance Music and What's Next for Radiohead | Music News". Rolling Stone. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "A New Career in a New Town: Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich open Pandora's Box and run AMOK as Atoms for Peace". Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Q&A: Thom Yorke on Atoms for Peace's 'Mechanistic' New Album". Rolling Stone. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Petridis, Alexis (21 February 2013). "Atoms for Peace: Amok – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Calendar". Xlrecordings.com. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Atoms for Peace Announce U.S. and Japanese Dates". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  14. ^ McKinnon, Matthew (24 July 2006). "Everything in Its Right Place". CBC News. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  15. ^ McCartney, Paul. "Paul McCartney Tries to Recapture a Fresh Sound: NPR Music". Npr.org. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Music - Review of Ultraísta - Ultraísta". BBC. 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  18. ^ Renshaw, David (2015-12-17). "Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich plays a Stormtrooper in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'". Nme.com. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  19. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers finishing eleventh album with Radiohead producer". Kerrangradio.co.uk. March 22, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
  20. ^ "New music show will preview Radiohead songs". qthemusic.com. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ Godrich, Nigel. "From The Basement – Welcome". fromthebasement.tv. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  23. ^ Mike Mulvihill (1 December 2007). "Saturday Digital Choice". The Times. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  24. ^ "Thom Yorke's 'From The Basement' on SkyArts". ateaseweb.com. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  25. ^ "Radiohead Add Dates, Listen to Good Music". Pitchfork Media Inc. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  26. ^ "Various Artists – From the Basement [2008][DVD]". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 

External links[edit]