Nigel Godrich


Nigel Timothy Godrich (born 28 February 1971) is an English record producer, recording engineer and musician. He is known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead, having produced all their studio albums since OK Computer (1997) and most of singer Thom Yorke's solo work. He is a member of Atoms for Peace (with Yorke) and Ultraísta.

Nigel Godrich
Godrich performing with Atoms for Peace in 2013
Background information
Birth nameNigel Timothy Godrich
Born (1971-02-28) 28 February 1971 (age 50)
Westminster, London, England
GenresAlternative rock, experimental rock, electronic
Occupation(s)Recording engineer, record producer, musician, DJ
InstrumentsKeyboards, guitar, bass
Associated actsRadiohead, Thom Yorke, Atoms for Peace, Ultraísta, Beck, Air, Travis, The Smile

Godrich has also worked with acts including Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, U2, R.E.M., Pavement and Roger Waters. He is the creator of the music webseries From the Basement.

Early years


Nigel Godrich was born in Westminster, London, the son of Victor Godrich, a BBC sound supervisor, and Brenda Godrich.[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. Godrich began playing guitar, 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 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.[citation needed]

Godrich credited producer Phil Thornalley for teaching him his craft. He named his "heroes" as Beatles producer George Martin, for "inventing the job", and Trevor Horn, for being "the thing that really made me sit up and listen".[3]

Radiohead


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 to record B-sides; one of the songs intended for a B-side, "Black Star", was instead 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 supervision, he and the band learned as they went, and 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."[4]

Godrich has produced every Radiohead studio album since, and won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Album for Hail to the Thief (2003).[5] Godrich's father died during the recording of Radiohead's ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool (2016); Godrich wrote: "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."[6]

In 2006, CBC described Godrich's collaboration with Radiohead as "the most adventurous band-producer partnership in modern rock".[1] He has been dubbed the band's "sixth member", in an allusion to Beatles producer 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."[7] Godrich also plays Chieftain Mews, a long-running character appearing in Radiohead promotional material.[8]

Thom Yorke

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

Godrich has produced most of the solo work by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, including his albums The Eraser (2006), Tomorrow's Modern Boxes (2014)[9] and Anima (2019).[10] Yorke credits Godrich with helping edit his work, identifying which parts need improvement and which have potential. He gave the example of "Black Swan", a song from The Eraser, which originally 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."[11]

Atoms for Peace

In 2009, to perform songs from The Eraser, Godrich and Yorke formed Atoms for Peace, with Godrich on guitar, keyboards and synthesisers. The band also includes bassist 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.[12] Their debut album, Amok, produced by Godrich, was released in 2013,[13][14] followed by a tour of Europe, the US and Japan.[15]

The Smile

In May 2021, Yorke and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood debuted a new band, the Smile, with drummer Tom Skinner. The project is a collaboration with Godrich.[16] Guardian critic Alexis Petridis said the Smile "sound like a simultaneously more skeletal and knottier version of Radiohead", exploring more progressive rock influences with unusual time signatures, complex riffs and "hard-driving" motorik psychedelia.[17]

Other projects


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).[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 departure from the spontaneous, sample-heavy style Beck was known for. Godrich has also worked with Travis, producing their commercial breakthrough The Man Who (1999) and its followup The Invisible Band (2001)[1] and co-producing The Boy With No Name (2007) with Brian Eno and Mike Hedges.

Godrich produced Pavement's final album Terror Twilight (1999), with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood contributing harmonica on two tracks.[18] Songwriter Stephen Malkmus later described the album as "overproduced" and described conflicts with Godrich.[19] In response, Godrich tweeted: "I literally slept on a friend's floor in NYC to be able to make that album."[19] In 2001, Godrich remixed U2's "Walk On" for its single release, and also mixed and contributed production to Air's albums Talkie Walkie (2004) and Pocket Symphony (2007).

In 2002, Godrich was hired to produce the second album by the Strokes, but was fired when their work, according to the band, proved "soulless".[20] Godrich said of the failed collaboration: "The problem there was that me and [singer Julian Casablancas] are just too similar, we're both control freaks. He wanted to do it his way, I wanted to do it my way, and obviously that's the point of me being there. And I'm saying 'Well, why am I here if you're not prepared to try and do it the way I want to do it?' We got on great, it was just one of those laughable things where it just doesn't work. I wanted them to change, and they didn't."[3]

He produced the 20th anniversary version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?", released in December 2004, which also featured Yorke and Greenwood.[21] 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][22] The album was nominated for several Grammy Awards, 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.[23] In October 2012, Godrich, along with Joey Waronker and singer Laura Bettinson, released an album as Ultraísta. In 2015, he produced the live album Roger Waters: The Wall,[24] and made a cameo appearance as a Stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[25] He mixed the Red Hot Chili Peppers' eleventh studio album, The Getaway (2016).[26] Godrich produced the fifth solo album by Roger Waters, Is This the Life We Really Want?, released in June 2017.[27] Godrich, a fan of Waters' work with Pink Floyd, was critical of Waters' previous solo work and felt his role as producer was to "encourage him, to push him a little bit".[28]

From the Basement (2006–2009)

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.[29] 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."[30]

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.[30]

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.[31] The series did eventually air on television; the first UK broadcast was on Sky Arts on 1 December 2007, featuring four songs performed by Thom Yorke on 8 December 2007.[32][33] 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.[34] On 3 November 2008, the series was released on DVD.[35]

Discography


Year Title Artist Credits
1990ScandaloGianna NanniniAssistant engineer
1990Tune InThe Silent BlueEngineer, producer
1991SuperstitionSiouxsie and the BansheesAssistant engineer
1992Vivienne McKoneVivienne McKoneAssistant engineer
1993Buffalo SkinnersBig CountryAssistant engineer
1994Carnival of LightRideEngineer
1994HeitorHeitorEngineer
1994My Iron Lung EPRadioheadProducer, engineer
1995The BendsRadioheadEngineer, producer ("Black Star")
1995Feeling MissionHarvest MinistersEngineer
1995TotallyTeeEngineer
1995Booth and the Bad AngelTim Booth & Angelo BadalamentiEngineer
1996English and FrenchHopperEngineer
1996Sun..!Sun..!Engineer
1996Sound of..McAlmont & ButlerMcAlmont & ButlerEngineer, Assistant engineer, Mixing
1997OK ComputerRadioheadBalance engineer, recording technician (Producer)
1997Silver SunSilver SunProducer, Mixing
1997PlagiarismSparksEngineer
1997Left of the MiddleNatalie ImbrugliaMixing
1998MutationsBeckProducer, Mixing
1998Sisters in PainJamaicaEngineer
1998Try Whistling ThisNeil FinnRemixer, mixing
1998UpR.E.M.Mixing
1999Can You Still Feel?Jason FalknerEngineer
1999The Man WhoTravisProducer, mixing
1999Terror TwilightPavementProducer
2000Kid ARadioheadProducer, engineer, mixing
2001"Walk On"U2Remixer
2001AmnesiacRadioheadProducer, engineer
2001The Invisible BandTravisProducer, mixing
2001RegenerationThe Divine ComedyProducer
2002Rouge on Pockmarked CheeksBrazzavilleProducer, Mixing, String ensemble, Fender Rhodes
2002Sea ChangeBeckProducer, engineer, mixing, synthesizer, percussion, keyboards
2003City ReadingAir & Alessandro BariccoMixing
2003Hail to the ThiefRadioheadEditing, Mixing, Operation, Recording, producer
2004Absent FriendsThe Divine ComedyMixing
2004Heroes to ZerosThe Beta BandMixing
2004Talkie WalkieAirProducer, engineer, Mixing
2004When It FallsZero 7Guitar, Sounds
2004"Do They Know It's Christmas?"Band Aid 20Producer
2005Chaos and Creation in the BackyardPaul McCartneyProducer, piano and Epiphone acoustic guitar loops
2005GueroBeckMixing
2005The Roads Don't Love YouGemma HayesMixing
2006The EraserThom YorkeProducer, Mixing, musician, arranger
20065:55Charlotte GainsbourgProducer, Mixing
2006The GardenZero 7Acoustic guitar, engineer
2006The InformationBeckProducer, engineer, Mixing, keyboards, Programming, Effects, Scratching, Tambourine, percussion, background vocals, Speak & Spell, whistle, Tote A Tune, Kalimba, drums, Game Boy
2006Dad's Weird DreamSilver SunRemixing
2007Pocket SymphonyAirProducer
2007The Boy With No NameTravisProducer
2007In RainbowsRadioheadProducer, engineer, Mixing
2008Odd CoupleGnarls BarkleyEngineer, Mixing
2010Turn OnsThe HotratsProducer, engineer, Mixing, Additional instruments and noises
2011The King of LimbsRadioheadProducer, engineer, Mixing
2011Supercollider / The ButcherRadioheadProducer, engineer, Mixing
2011The Daily Mail / StaircaseRadioheadProducer, engineer, Mixing
2012A Different ShipHere We Go MagicProducer
2012UltraístaUltraístaComposer, engineer, Mixing, producer
2013AMOKAtoms For PeaceProducer, Programmer
2014WarpaintWarpaintMixing
2014Tomorrow's Modern BoxesThom YorkeComposer, producer
2015 Junun Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, the Rajasthan Express Recording, engineer, Mixing
2016 A Moon Shaped Pool Radiohead Producer
2016 The Getaway Red Hot Chili Peppers Mixing
2017 Is This the Life We Really Want? Roger Waters Producer, keyboards, guitar, sound collages, arrangements
2019 Anima Thom Yorke Composer, producer
2020SisterUltraístaComposer, engineer, Mixing, producer

Composition credits

Year Song Artist Album
1997"She"The SundaysStatic & Silence
2004"Speed Dial No 2"Zero 7When It Falls
2006"Movie Theme"BeckThe Information
2006"Soldier Jane"BeckThe Information
2006"The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton"BeckThe Information
2006"Motorcade"BeckThe Information
2010
List of composed songs
  • "Universal Theme"
  • "Hillcrest Park"
  • "Fight!"
  • "Love Me Some Walking"
  • "Talk To The Fist"
  • "Rumble"
  • "Feel The Wrath"
  • "The Grind"
  • "Hello Envy"
  • "Mystery Attacker"
  • "Second Cup"
  • "The Vegan"
  • "Bass Battle"
  • "Sorry I Guess"
  • "Roxy"
  • "The Ninth Circle"
  • "The Fight Is Over"
  • "Gideon Calling"
  • "Level 7"
  • "Welcome To Chaos Theatre"
  • "Fast Entrance Into Hell"
  • "Chau Down"
  • "Game Over"
  • "So Alone"
  • "Round 2"
  • "A Different Guy"
  • "Boss Battle"
  • "Blowing Up Right Now"
  • "Aftermath"
  • "Bye And Stuff"
Nigel GodrichScott Pilgrim vs. the World (Original Motion Picture Score)

References


  1. McKinnon, Matthew (24 July 2006). "Everything In Its Right Place". www.cbc.ca. Archived from the original on 17 July 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  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' Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine – article by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in The Financial Times, 27 August 2001 (reproduced on Nigel Godrich unofficial website
  3. "From The Basement On A Television: DiS talks to Nigel Godrich". DrownedInSound. Archived from the original on 21 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  4. Gibsone, Harriet (22 August 2013). "Nigel Godrich: what he really thinks about Spotify". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. "Past Winners Search". Grammy.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  6. NME.COM. "Radiohead producer talks 'intense experience' of making 'A Moon Shaped Pool' | NME.COM". NME.COM. Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  7. "Nigel Godrich interview: Radiohead and I have a profound relationship". 6 July 2016. Archived from the original on 26 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  8. Yoo, Noah. "Radiohead Join TikTok, Reveal New Chieftain Mews Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  9. Tomorrow's Modern Boxes vinyl packaging
  10. Frost, Thomas (May 2019). "Thom Yorke: Daydream nation". Crack Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  11. "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. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  12. "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". 28 January 2013. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  13. Petridis, Alexis (21 February 2013). "Atoms for Peace: Amok – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  14. "Calendar". Xlrecordings.com. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  15. "Atoms for Peace Announce U.S. and Japanese Dates". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 12 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  16. "Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood form new project, the Smile". the Guardian. 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  17. Petridis, Alexis (23 May 2021). "Live at Worthy Farm review – beautiful music marred by technical meltdown". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  18. "The Quietus | Features | Rock's Backpages | A Pavement Interview: Terror Twilight, Radiohead, & Going Overground". Retrieved 25 June 2016.
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  20. McKinnon, Matthew (24 July 2006). "Everything in Its Right Place". CBC News. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  21. Godrich, Nigel (29 November 2009). "Flashback: making Band Aid 20". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  22. McCartney, Paul. "Paul McCartney Tries to Recapture a Fresh Sound: NPR Music". Npr.org. Archived from the original on 21 May 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  23. "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World". 13 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016 via IMDb.
  24. "Roger Waters Talks New Album, Moving Past 'Spectacle' for Tour". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  25. Renshaw, David (17 December 2015). "Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich plays a Stormtrooper in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'". Nme.com. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  26. "Red Hot Chili Peppers finishing eleventh album with Radiohead producer". Kerrangradio.co.uk. 22 March 2016. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  27. NME.COM. "Roger Waters confirms he is working on a new album with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich | NME.COM". NME.COM. Archived from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  28. "How Pink Floyd's Roger Waters refound his fire at 72 - The Nation". The Nation. Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
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  31. Godrich, Nigel. "From The Basement – Welcome". fromthebasement.tv. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  32. Mike Mulvihill (1 December 2007). "Saturday Digital Choice". The Times. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
  33. "Thom Yorke's 'From The Basement' on SkyArts". ateaseweb.com. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  34. "Radiohead Add Dates, Listen to Good Music". Pitchfork Media Inc. 1 December 2008. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  35. "Various Artists – From the Basement [2008][DVD]". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2009.