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.
|Birth name||Nigel Timothy Godrich|
|Born||28 February 1971|
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, Beck, Air, Travis, The Smile|
Nigel Godrich was born in Westminster, London, the son of Victor Godrich, a BBC sound supervisor, and Brenda Godrich. 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.
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.
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".
Godrich first worked with Radiohead when Leckie hired him to engineer two songs for their 1994 EP My Iron Lung. The band nicknamed him "Nihilist", approving of his efforts to take their sound in new directions. 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. 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.
Radiohead invited Godrich to produce their third album, OK Computer (1997). 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."
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). 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."
In 2006, CBC described Godrich's collaboration with Radiohead as "the most adventurous band-producer partnership in modern rock". He has been dubbed the band's "sixth member", in an allusion to Beatles producer George Martin being called the "fifth Beatle". 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." Godrich also plays Chieftain Mews, a long-running character appearing in Radiohead promotional material.
Godrich has produced most of the solo work by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, including his albums The Eraser (2006), Tomorrow's Modern Boxes (2014) and Anima (2019). 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."
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. Their debut album, Amok, produced by Godrich, was released in 2013, followed by a tour of Europe, the US and Japan.
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. 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.
Following his success with OK Computer, Godrich mixed most of Natalie Imbruglia's hit album Left of the Middle (1997) and R.E.M.'s Up (1998). 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) 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. Songwriter Stephen Malkmus later described the album as "overproduced" and described conflicts with Godrich. In response, Godrich tweeted: "I literally slept on a friend's floor in NYC to be able to make that album." 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". 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."
He produced the 20th anniversary version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?", released in December 2004, which also featured Yorke and Greenwood. 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. The album was nominated for several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and Godrich was nominated for Producer of the Year.
In 2010, Godrich worked with Beck to compose the score for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, his first film work. 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, and made a cameo appearance as a Stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He mixed the Red Hot Chili Peppers' eleventh studio album, The Getaway (2016). Godrich produced the fifth solo album by Roger Waters, Is This the Life We Really Want?, released in June 2017. 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".
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. 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."
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.
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. 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. 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. On 3 November 2008, the series was released on DVD.
|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||My Iron Lung EP||Radiohead||Producer, engineer|
|1995||The Bends||Radiohead||Engineer, producer ("Black Star")|
|1995||Feeling Mission||Harvest Ministers||Engineer|
|1995||Booth and the Bad Angel||Tim Booth & Angelo Badalamenti||Engineer|
|1996||English and French||Hopper||Engineer|
|1996||Sound of..McAlmont & Butler||McAlmont & Butler||Engineer, Assistant engineer, Mixing|
|1997||OK Computer||Radiohead||Balance engineer, recording technician (Producer)|
|1997||Silver Sun||Silver Sun||Producer, Mixing|
|1997||Left of the Middle||Natalie Imbruglia||Mixing|
|1998||Sisters in Pain||Jamaica||Engineer|
|1998||Try Whistling This||Neil Finn||Remixer, mixing|
|1999||Can You Still Feel?||Jason Falkner||Engineer|
|1999||The Man Who||Travis||Producer, mixing|
|2000||Kid A||Radiohead||Producer, engineer, mixing|
|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, piano and Epiphone acoustic guitar loops|
|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 & Spell, whistle, Tote A Tune, Kalimba, drums, Game Boy|
|2006||Dad's Weird Dream||Silver Sun||Remixing|
|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||Tomorrow's Modern Boxes||Thom Yorke||Composer, 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|
|2020||Sister||Ultraísta||Composer, engineer, Mixing, producer|
|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|
List of composed songs
|Nigel Godrich||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Original Motion Picture Score)|
- 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.
- 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
- "From The Basement On A Television: DiS talks to Nigel Godrich". DrownedInSound. Archived from the original on 21 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- 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.
- "Past Winners Search". Grammy.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- 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.
- "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.
- Yoo, Noah. "Radiohead Join TikTok, Reveal New Chieftain Mews Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
- Tomorrow's Modern Boxes vinyl packaging
- Frost, Thomas (May 2019). "Thom Yorke: Daydream nation". Crack Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
- "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.
- "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.
- Petridis, Alexis (21 February 2013). "Atoms for Peace: Amok – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Calendar". Xlrecordings.com. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- "Atoms for Peace Announce U.S. and Japanese Dates". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 12 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood form new project, the Smile". the Guardian. 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
- Petridis, Alexis (23 May 2021). "Live at Worthy Farm review – beautiful music marred by technical meltdown". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
- "The Quietus | Features | Rock's Backpages | A Pavement Interview: Terror Twilight, Radiohead, & Going Overground". Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- "Stephen Malkmus Opens Up About Recording "Overproduced" Terror Twilight With Nigel Godrich | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- McKinnon, Matthew (24 July 2006). "Everything in Its Right Place". CBC News. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Godrich, Nigel (29 November 2009). "Flashback: making Band Aid 20". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- 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.
- "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World". 13 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016 – via IMDb.
- "Roger Waters Talks New Album, Moving Past 'Spectacle' for Tour". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "New music show will preview Radiohead songs". qthemusic.com. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
- 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.
- Godrich, Nigel. "From The Basement – Welcome". fromthebasement.tv. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
- Mike Mulvihill (1 December 2007). "Saturday Digital Choice". The Times. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
- "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.
- "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.
- "Various Artists – From the Basement [DVD]". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2009.