"The Genesis of an album producer" - Nick Davis in conversation at The Farm Recording studio with Stuart Barnes, Peter Blight and Alan Hewitt. Interview conducted on Wednesday 29th October 2003.

This interview happened at very short notice during the midst of the Steve Hackett tour. My thanks to Nick for giving up so much of his time and to Stuart and Peter for helping to make it possible. Over to you, Nick…

S B: First things first, how is The Lamb going…?

N D: It's going really well actually. We have just done The Waiting Room which was a little complicated but it sounds really good. It sounds really good in 5.1 but it also sounds good …like the archive version but now we can separate it all out and make it sound fantastic. I am probably going to go back and listen to some of the first ones I did again just to check because you get fed up when you are mixing but no… it is really good.

S B: How long have these tracks taken? I assume you are working on them individually?

N D: I do a track a day, roughly except for The Waiting Room which I have been on for three days. It was mixed in two parts because it came from a section of music which was about twenty minutes long and we found the middle bit and the intro starts quite near the beginning of the recorded piece and then there is about seven minutes of what is…some of it is nonsense and then we get to the outro, the riffy bit so some of it is in two chunks… what was the question? (laughs).

S B: How long does each track take?

N D: Generally about a day and there is no sort of great rush and Mike and Tony like to hear everything so depending on when they are around it could take two days by the time I have seen them.

S B: So, do you set yourself time limits ..?

N D: Oh no, nothing like that. I am doing it in the running order of the album and so that takes about a day.

P B:
Is it only Mike and Tony who are involved?

N D: They come in every day.

P B: But only Mike and Tony…?
Click to enlarge
Nick Davis in conversation
Photo: P Blight/TWR

N D: Well, yeah…at the moment I think. I mean they are actually being very careful about the other people, you know they have often said "check the voice" or "check Steve's guitar" and so they are being very conscientious.

S B (grinning): No one is being mixed out of this one, then?

N D: No, not at all…no. Do you think they were in the original, then?

S B: No…not specifically on that album…no.

N D: You know I am always conscious that people say that Steve the guitarist gets… on some of his songs he is very loud and on other times his parts they are not meant to be loud because they are just part of a sound; if you know what I mean? And if you put them up loud sometimes when people aren't here you feel that you have to back their corner but it isn't like that anyway. It is not at all confrontational there is no one saying: "I can't hear my part" they are all far too long in the tooth for anything like that kind of nonsense.

S B: So no egos involved this time round?

N D: No, not at all. Actually Tony made me turn a keyboard down the other day and it was where you have that big swoop at the end of something …it was at the end of side two and I had it so loud and Tony said "you can't have it that loud". So, Steve's parts for anyone who is worried about it; they are as loud as they can be or as clear as they can be. You can't just turn up little noodling bits all the time because they are just irritating the same as some of the keyboard parts and it is all just part of … well that is what mixing is, really (laughs). Trying to make it sound like a record rather than lots of individual people trying to hear all their parts.

S B: So, how do you go about transferring a twenty eight year old album from an analogue tape into 5.1?

N D: First of all we have the tape baked because the glue fades on the…

S B: Is this the original tape?

N D: The original multitrack, yes. It is baked in an oven for … I don't know how many hours.. twenty four and that makes the glue re-stick to the plastic.

P B: Were they Ampex tapes?
Click to enlarge
The new 5.1 setup at
The Farm. Note the rear
speaker on the left (the
other one is out of shot)

Photo: S Barnes/TWR

N D: Yeah. And then you play it on to a 2" and into a Pro Tools system that is running at 24 Bit 192K and we record the multitrack into that and then I mix from that format and through the desk into 5.1.

P B: As easy as that? (laughter).

S B: It was 24-track I take it… the original master?

N D: Yeah, although I think they might have originally started at 16 track. I haven't got the original track sheets which is a bit of a pain in the arse I have some photocopies because they have at some stage been photocopied and they are nearly up to date but they are missing things and so when I start each track I have to sit and listen through everything and find out what is on every track and that doesn't always correspond to what is on the track sheet. And then just try and work out which parts they used. Sometimes Peter is just using a rough vocal and sometimes you just have to work out and sometimes there are parts that they haven't used and there was a feedback guitar part which they used on Fly On A Windshield which they didn't use on the first chorus and you have to check stuff like that because apart from making it sound better I can't… if they didn't want it in the original they didn't want it for a reason and I can't just stick it in there because that isn't fair. Then there is the vocals…You have to check that you have the right vocal because if there are two versions of the vocal you have to stick with the one they chose at the time.

S B: Were many tracks doubled up…as on one track there would be a guitar and also towards the end a vocal towards the end of the song….?

N D: Yeah, on some tracks there are about three or four instruments per track through the length of a song and on others there is a bit of free space it just depends on how complex the song was or how long it was.

S B: Obviously now with Pro Tools allows you to split it all up…

N D: I never split it all up on the desk, I just parallel out which is what I have always done with the mixing anyway. I just put them along the desk in different inputs.

P B: Do you find that if there are two vocals is finding which one is the right one is easy or difficult or… Or would it help to have someone who has listened to the album 200 times help?

N D: It is quite easy. I have listened to it thousands of times (laughs) I am normally good at remembering their albums pretty well because I re-mastered them and so I have listened to them I should say, at least 200 times! (laughs) or more while I was doing that process so I am pretty good at remembering if it is the wrong phrasing and so when I get caught out… and so I am checking it when I am mixing it I am listening to it the whole time I have it running along in sync with the original and I can just switch between the two…

P B: Phase it or…?

N D: No, just close and then I can just switch and just check. So, I think I have got it all right so far.

A H: Is this the only album that is likely to be done in 5.1?

N D: No, I think they are going to do the whole catalogue. I don't see the point really of picking one album …OK it is probably one of their landmark albums but you still you know… there is A Trick Of The Tail; there is Selling England By The Pound; there's Invisible Touch; there's the Genesis album and they all have strong points for different reasons so I don't see… They have spent the money investing in the studio to make it 5.1 possible and so it would seem silly not to go on and do the back catalogue. I don’t see the point in not doing it and putting so much pressure on one album and I think if they are not releasing it until next summer, they could have the whole catalogue done, I would have thought, by then.

S B: You said they have invested in the studio to make it compatible for 5.1. What exactly have they bought in order to do that?

N D: Well the big Pro Tools rig to hold the masters; six channel compression for the output for the desk. They had to renovate the desk because it was getting a bit crackly and that had to have some money spent on it and that is why the thing that sticks at the end of the desk for monitoring in 5.1 and that is about it really.

S B: Are you using any external effects or is all the work being done inside the computer?

N D: No, I do all the externals…I don't use Pro Tools plug-ins at all it is all external; reverb and compression and stuff. The Pro Tools is just being used as a tape machine.

S B: I take it you are going for quality with the effects rather than trying to downgrade some of the quality to emulate what was on the original album?

N D: I hadn't really thought about that, I just match them…No I don't downgrade the quality. I had to … there was quite a hard…on Carpet Crawlers I was tying to get the vocal sound right on that because it was quite effect-y and I don't know if you remember the vocal at the beginning of that. I actually thought it was in a room and I used a short plate on it and I try and match the sound but I don't care. If they sounded, if I sort of get what they were going for and it sounded crap I will try and make it sound better and I am trying to get the essence of what they did and to try and make it sound better. So, if it sounded rubbish I wouldn't try and make it sound rubbish again.

Click to enlarge
The 6 channel Avalon compressor
setup with ProAc monitors

Photo: S Barnes/TWR

Click to enlarge
Some of the extra processing
brought in for the project

Photo: S Barnes/TWR

S B: How different is it mixing a studio album compared to a concert?

N D: Quite different. My philosophy of concert recording in 5.1 is to keep the band at the front; the vocal at the centre at the front and mainly audience and effects at the back so that when you are watching the picture you get the feeling that you are in an auditorium with the crowd behind you and the band in front of you and occasionally I will move instruments to the back.
More so on the last… I probably started less so on the Way We Walk and more so on Serious Hits Live and more so again on Invisible Touch but I still think that generally with a live one I want you to feel that you are at the concert when you have got the picture in front of you. With a studio album I still rely heavily on the front but I put effects and instruments behind but not solely behind because I think because a) you never know how people are going to react and if you rely too much on the satellite speakers and if they haven't got their 5.1 set up properly they could be missing something really fundamental so I have to rely on whether they have their stereo left and right working quite well. So it relies on those but I use the rears more for the studio stuff.

S B: What have been the good points of this album so far?

N D: Oh God… Chamber Of Thirty Two Doors is a big surprise actually, how that sounded and I thought that In The Cage wasn't as good on tape as I was hoping it was going to be and I think that was because I mixed that live version from LA and I actually think that the band adapted how they played it when they played it live and they played it better because they were a bit straighter, and I think it is fair to say that with things like In The Cage everybody is playing very fancy and it is a bit over ornate. So, that was a thing that wasn't as good as I wanted it to be and I might go back and look at it again. I'm not sure if it is the mix I just think it is my memory of the live version is that it is straighter and it sounds more powerful for that reason. This one, Phil gets very Jazzy on the last verse and there is no real beat going through there although it is incredibly well performed. I think that they improved it by touring it really and I think the live version is a better version but things like Fly On A Windshield are fantastic and The Lamb… especially the intro sounds really good. It is all good actually.

P B: Is it just the lead vocal at the front?

N D: I didn't put any lead vocal at the rear; it is just in the front three speakers and effects and everything else at the rear.

P B: So, if you turned your front three speakers, you could have the Karaoke version? (laughter).

N D: More or less. No, it would sound pretty weird!

S B: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

N D: Err… The Waiting Room was pretty tough and there was another one which was quite hard… Lilywhite Lilith was quite hard . The Waiting Room was hard because it is… it was trying to work out because it was quite odd and trying to work out which bit of music it is when you are listening to this twenty minute chunk and trying to figure out which tinkle they used. But no great challenges really.

P B: When you said twenty minute chunk…?

N D: As I said, it was a piece of music called "Evil Jam" and they just messed around for fifteen to twenty minutes and then The Waiting Room is two sections out of that.

S B: So you have twenty minutes on multitrack?

N D: Yeah. Well probably eighteen minutes, actually.

S B:
And you have to figure out what they used?

N D:
Then trying to figure out what they used in the two sections.

S B: Has anything gone wrong yet?

N D: I hope not! (laughs).
Click to enlarge
Nick Davis, Stuart Barnes
and Geoff Callingham

Photo: A Hewitt/TWR

A H: Just as a matter of curiosity, when they were actually doing the live Lamb… for the archive set. How much of it was actually…I think the phrase used at the time was that some of the vocals were "repaired"?

N D: Yeah, I think that about thirty to forty per cent of it was re-sung.

A H: What was the reason for that?

N D: It wasn't on tape because of either a costume reason or a technical reason and there were no lead vocals and so all these people saying "Oh you've gone and repaired it, that's sacrilege.." Well I just think that listening to a concert without lead vocals would annoy me so. You can either be a purist about it and have no lead vocal or you can get it repaired and have a lead vocal. Everything that was useable was used and anything that was sung was sung because it didn't exist.

A H: That was the thing that was never really explained..

N D: Nothing was.. the band would never repair anything out of choice, they always try and not repair it and you were listening to a good version of a song without a lead vocal and thinking this is a shame not to use it for the sake of not singing a vocal. There were also a couple of other songs on that album and Steve did a bit of guitar as well for the same reason really; either it was not on tape or there was a horrendous buzz on it or something. It was only repaired because technically it had to be. Not because…if it wasn't good enough they wouldn't have used it and they wouldn't say …"That's not good enough, re-do it" they are not that kind of band really.

A H: That is I suppose where people like me get…agitated when you hear that that has been done and you don't know the rationale behind why it was done. What you have just said now obviously makes perfect sense of it but people didn’t know that and that is why people were saying "what the hell is going on?!"

N D: It is not like some bands who have done live albums and none of it is live (laughs) this one is very, very live and incredibly I think the Invisible Touch DVD I don't think that has been overdubbed at all and so what you get is what they played and Serious Hits Live too…that was a fantastic mix.

A H: I was at both and listening to them it really was like being back at the gigs in the field again and I must admit the job that has been done on them is superb. It brought back a lot of very happy memories…. Muddy ones as well!

S B: We might as well get on to the Invisible Touch DVD now, what did you think about the appeal that went out on the web site for the machine?

N D: I thought that was really good wasn't it? And when you have had these tapes sitting there for ages and everyone thought it was a lost format and Bill (McCormick - Genesis Webmaster) came down and I was doing The Way We Walk and I said…"Look, we could do Wembley if we could play these bloody tapes" and so the band…well Bill put out a request on the site and I spoke to a guy in New York and a guy in Germany and I took the tapes over to the guy in Germany and we transferred them and it is a good format and it looks good.

A H: How many of the machines were made originally because it was an experimental format, wasn't it?

N D: It was more than an experiment and I think there must have been about thirty to forty of them around the world. I have heard since that a lot of stuff was filmed in this format and it is actually a better format than modern digital format but it is hard to keep going whereas with digital you just use compression, that format didn’t and it was very good.

P B: Physically, how many tapes would there have been?

N D: I think the show was about three reels per camera and I think there were about seven cameras. I know the masters were three reels per camera.

P B: Have you tried for a multi angle with this one?

N D: No. Just because it was too expensive to convert the tapes, we are just converting the masters but when you do a multi angle you have to convert you have your camera tapes and when you are editing they have to convert the camera tapes which were Beta Cam for Phil and also for Mike and Tony and they convert it to a U-Matic which is a much cheaper format to look at and it is not broadcast quality but you can sit there and The Way We Walk had 190 tapes! So you sit there and you watch the U-Matics of it because you can't play the camera tapes without hiring in a machine which would cost a fortune to watch all the camera tapes.
So, you just watch them on these copies; there are no copies of the Hi Definition tapes so you would either have to sit and watch it all on the Hi Definition tape or copy it twice and that would be prohibitively expensive.

P B: Was Hi Definition so expensive because of the price these people with the machines were going to charge?

N D: Yeah, they charge a fee for copying the tape or rather for renting it. You can't buy those machines anymore.

S B: Was all the re-mastering for the DVD done here after you had got the tapes back?

N D: It was mixed at Sphere Studios in London and the tapes basically we didn’t touch the picture quality and so that is just converted straight onto the DVD.

S B: Do you get involved in the visual side of things?

N D: Not really, no. I did on the multi angle stuff because it was me that sat and watched what the camera choices would be which was very hard work but the picture quality and stuff is organised by a guy called Ray Shulman at Isonics.

S B: Was the audio multi tracked as well?

N D: Yeah. We wouldn't do any of these releases if there wasn't a multi track because you can’t ,… you can simulate 5.1 but it is crap.

S B: So what about that DVD are you particularly pleased with?

N D: I love the full version of Tonight, Tonight, Tonight I think that is fantastic. I love Home By The Sea; I think that is stunning and it is a really good mix and I am really pleased because the bass pedals are so loud (laughs) and Los Endos is another of the highlights for me.

S B: So the advice is get a Sub Woofer?

N D: Oh yeah!

P B: About the conversion process from Hi Definition, I can't remember what you said you converted it to but in PAL anyway the Hi Definition looked really muddy, there was something very NTSC about it that didn't please me at all visually when I saw the video, and I am wondering if there was anything done differently in converting it this time?

N D: I don't know. It was just converted to digital Digi Beta regular format and HD Cam which is Sony's new format. It looks slightly dark at the end of the concert and always with live videos I always think they are slightly over edited.

S B: So, everything went according to plan with that DVD?

N D: Yeah, I think so.

S B: Do you have a say in what the extras end up being?

N D: I hunted to try and make some extras available. We knew there was this little mini documentary which was on it. We all get together and say "What can we do?" It is very hard isn't it and it depends on just how much money they want to spend in making it.

P B: Was there any talk of putting the promo clips (the song videos) on?

N D: No, I don’t think they talked about that. I think they are talking about a DVD …you know there are two video VHS's I think there is talk of doing those on a single DVD with the extra tracks from We Can't Dance and I suppose, Calling All Stations and the whole in 5.1 and that would be a great DVD.

A H: They also have to find a couple of promos which weren't put on either of those videos, because there are a couple of others that they didn't use….if they wanted to go all the way back and include the one promo from the Gabriel period they would have to use the "Tony Stratton-Smith Presents…" version of I Know What I Like for a start, which they have got… that is no problem. There was a promotional video I remember because I saw it on Top Of The Pops for Match Of The Day.

N D: There isn't much chance of that seeing the light of Day! (laughs)

A H: But once again, I did a lot of hunting around in the band's film archive for The Genesis Songbook programme and the one thing I noticed there was that they actually had the original American laser disc of The Way We Walk with that little collection of promos for the album at the end which never got used anywhere else and I thought: that's a great idea. So, obviously if they are going to extend it and bring it right up to date then great because not many people saw … a couple of the promos from the album didn't get great amounts of airplay, to be honest and the ones from Calling All Stations got practically zilch.

N D: I think the DVD videos would be a nice collection because it broadens it rather than just being because it…it has to have Many Too Many on it because for me any Greatest Hits without it is incomplete for me. The thing is if you just have Greatest Hits with all the commercial successes you are missing such a depth of music from the band and I think that is what is annoying about Greatest Hits really they just go for chart hits.

A H: Can you ever…maybe you can solve a mystery here. Do you ever remember any promotional videos being made for any of the songs …there is supposed to be a promotional video done for On The Shoreline…?

N D: I wouldn't have thought so. Wasn't it used as a title thing for a film? Because of the cost of videos they would never make something they weren't going to use, that would be such a waste of money. I think it was used as a film title sequence.

P B: I assume that if you wanted to do this you would want to sync up a better audio track with the video. How would you go about it?

N D: It should work because it was mixed originally from the master tracks and so we should be able to do it again, hopefully.

P B: But sometimes the speed of a clip can vary…

N D: Yeah, I suppose so, we would have to do some stretching but I haven't thought about that and don't want to think about it! (laughs).

S B: How did you first get involved with the band?

N D: Mike & The Mechanics Living Years, I engineered that album for Mike.

S B: How did you come to do that?

N D: I think I had a track out called Kiss Like Judas by It Bites and it sounded quite good and so I think it was because of that track that I got the gig to engineer Living Years.

S B: I suppose that when it comes to working with Genesis there are trademark sounds to do with Phil and his drums did you have to learn how to get that sound or…?

N D: Not really he has got the sound I just record it; it is not a feat of engineering it is just the way he plays it and the way he sets his drums up and the rooms he plays in.

S B: With that particular sound in general; how is that made up?

N D: You mean the clattery drums? It is a stone room is the main feature of the sound really; a small stone room and the way he tunes his heads and the way he hits them and lots of compression on the ambience of that room and that is it.

S B: Are the drums mic'd up individually?

N D: You do yeah.

P B: Does he overdub drums much?

N D: No, he just plays them.

S B: Were those big power fills, were they overdubbed at all?

N D: They were all played.

S B: Have you influenced any of the equipment purchases here?
Click to enlarge
Nick Davis, Peter Blight and
Geoff Callingham

Photo: S Barnes/TWR

N D: Yeah…the swimming pool! (laughs) I suppose so, yeah but only when Geoff and I need to do something and we figure out what we need to do and then we choose it.

S B: How different was Calling All Stations to We Can't Dance in terms of recording?

N D: Well it was different because it was so unsure really what we did. We didn't know what drummer we were going to use, we didn’t know what singer we were going to use and the writing was not as firm at the beginning so it was very different really. We didn't even know if we were going to finish an album to be honest.

S B: Were you involved from day one? Were you sitting there while they were writing stuff…?

N D: wasn't involved from DAY ONE but the songs developed while I was there and it was just different because we were unsure of what we were doing.

P B: Was it frustrating at all?

N D: Frustrating …I think they missed the third writer I think that was a key thing and in hindsight I think everyone knows that.

P B: Did Ray not get involved on that level?

N D: Not early on because we didn't know it was Ray, you see and they had to have songs to audition people with and so songs had to be written a bit so that we could audition singers we couldn't just have them singing cover versions..

P B: But Tony and Mike had written songs before presumably without Phil?

N D: True, true but lyrically… yeah I suppose they had they just missed the third writer.

S B: Were you at the auditions?

N D: Yeah, I did the auditions with Mike and Tony.

S B: Did you have any say?

N D: Well, we just talked about it really and there was another guy with a very good voice called Dave Langdon I think his name was and he was very good and he didn’t have any experience of being in a band which was a bit of a worry. Ray's voice sort of stood out and he didn't have too much baggage with him but a good voice.

P B: Somewhat Gabrielesque was that the clincher?

N D: Yeah…. Obviously that was an appeal with the sound of that voice, that husky…

S B: So, technically speaking, Calling All Stations was recorded on hard disk?

N D: Radar yeah..

S B: How was that different, easier, harder, whatever to working with tape?

N D: It is easier because anything you do you can undo so if you drop stuff in you don't have to worry about messing things up and it has just changed the way in which you can fly things around from chorus to chorus and you can try for a much more creative recording process because you can undo things.

S B: Have you heard any of the soundboard tapes from the archive?

N D: No. I wouldn't want to (laughs).

S B (screwing up his question sheet): That gets rid of a whole line of questions (laughs). Would you not want to hear them?

N D: Not really no. I think soundboard tapes they don't sound that good because everything sounds quite small on a soundboard tape because you are playing it through a f**king massive PA and in a very big arena and so every sound that comes out of the desk is quite a small sound but because it is going through a wall of speakers into an auditorium, it ends up sounding very big. But when you listen to the tape it sounds very small. You have no audience in there and so no… I don't particularly like sound board tapes really.

A H: It just begs one question really… is that archive extensive?

N D: I think it is quite big, yeah I would have thought because the band probably taped every show and so I would have thought that they have got most of them. Is the archive of sound boards quite big, Geoff?
(Nick asks Geoff Callingham who has just walked into the room)

G C: Well it is all cassettes and it is in a flight case … it is in a box about three feet high and two feet square.

S B: So there is no interest at all in them from your point of view or from the band's..?

N D: I don't know about the band but I don't want to listen to live soundboard tapes. I think live concerts sound great when they are recorded and mixed properly but just listening to a soundboard tape has no appeal to me. That isn’t to say that other people shouldn't listen to them.

S B: How was the Serious Hits DVD done?

N D: It was a multi angle one wasn't it? The same thing really; get the tapes up from the tape archive and watch the alternate camera angles and work out what could be there…

G C: Keep away from the midges! (laughter) That gig was in the middle of a field and we all got bitten.

N D:
Yeah, do the camera angles first and then the multi tracks and then into Sphere for about a week of mixing and that's it. Give it to Ray Shulman.

S B: What worked well on that particular project?

N D: I thought it all worked really well actually because it was such a great concert and I have to say I was stunned by just how good the band were and I thought the venue was fantastic and it sounded good …I really liked Another Day In Paradise; I thought In The Air Tonight was fantastic and Take Me Home was incredible. Colours was incredible and they were the highlights for me but it was a fantastic concert.

S B: Another good thing is that it is the WHOLE concert and not just bits from different nights it is one concert.

N D: The Band were just incredible and Phil looks like he is having such a good time and there is that bit where he can't even talk because the crowd are just cheering so much. It was just phenomenal, really good.

A H: But that begs the question about the other DVD, the Live And Loose In Paris and the one key question about that one was why put out half a gig?

Click to enlarge
AH manages to
squeeze a word in
edgeways with Nick
(or is that the other
way round?)
Photo: P Blight/TWR

N D: Don't ask me… I mixed the stereo version of that which was broadcast in Paris just before Christmas and maybe that was the decider. Maybe they decided just to put that out. I don't actually know what was on that. I wasn't really involved with that one all I did was check the sound someone else was mixing that in 5.1, it wasn't me. I remember we had some chronic technical problems mixing that and it was on a new SSL desk at Metropolis Studios and the desk caught fire and it was just unbearable. That one was terrible pressure because we had to mix it for the TV schedule which was three or four days or something ridiculous and it was chaos.

S B: Are there any plans to do the rest of Phil's back catalogue?

N D: I don't know to be honest I am not as involved with Phil as I am with Genesis and I would have thought that they might do them and it requires the multi track and the video to exist still which if it was shot will still exist and possibly they will do more, I don't know.

S B: Going back to the Way We Walk Live DVD project , that was your first project of that type was it?

N D: For Genesis? My first yeah.

S B: How do you go from being a producer/sound engineer working with two speakers to 5.1 and six, effectively?

N D: You just have to go on a learning course in your brain really and workout how you are going to do it and workout what you want to do with the sound and then work out how you can do it if you see what I mean…technically how you do it. It is the same with everything, once you have got the idea technically how you can do it that is the best because then you can just do what you want to do and it is a bit of a learning curve but it is not that complicated - but don't tell anyone else that! (laughs).

S B: Speaking about that how do you get to that learning curve, because obviously you need the equipment to do it, you can't literally buy the equipment because it is expensive…?

N D: Someone said to me can you mix something in 5.1 in France it was and I contacted the studios in France and said I need an SSL desk and need to work out how to do this in 5.1 and need two days in there and they have a sales studio and they are very good and they get you out there and teach you how to do it. You mess around and decide how you are going to do it and then you get to the first gig and make a f**k up (laughs). It is not a training course, they let you use the studio for nothing because obviously they want their desk to be used and they just leave you in there and tell you roughly how to do it and you just fiddle around and do it.

S B: What do you think of the official Genesis web site, you have your own forum on there…

N D: I think it is pretty good I like involving people, the Internet is good for that .It is a little irritating sometimes and I get asked a few questions a lot and I think Bill is going to put a FAQ section up. I like it… some people are a little anal but…

S B: How did you get into engineering?

N D: I was in a band and I was a drummer and we went into a studio and I thought I like this and I got a job in the tape copy room at Polygram's studios and then I moved around All the old school people did it that way. Maybe nowadays you can just learn how to use Pro Tools and walk in with your "hit".

With that (or thereabouts) the interviews ends. Nick then beckons the three of us into the control room where he gives us a sneak preview of his favourite bits of the IT DVD (see above). The video was put onto one of the two TV screens above the desk. Shortly into the preview Geoff Callingham decides to increase our viewing pleasure by pulling down the big screen and switching the projector on. This had to have been one of the funniest things I have witnessed in a long time; Geoff climbing on a chair in order to pull the screen down, and then getting a feather duster out to clean it!

Sure enough, as Nick said, these bits were very good. Los Endos is stunning (emotional too - AH). On the virtue of this, I am buying a sub-woofer for my home set-up.

After that, Nick loaded up the current Lamb song he was working on, Chamber of 32 Doors, and he played it to us. What a privelige it was to hear a 'work in progress' such as this, played back on the system it was being mixed on. Everything was so clear.

Once again our thanks to Nick for giving up so much of his time to talk to us. We hope you find the results interesting! - SB

Click to enlarge
The ProTools system used
for playback

Photo: P Blight/TWR

Click to enlarge
A preview of the IT DVD.
Believe it or not, the screen
on the top right actually says
The Waiting Room, as that
was the song Nick was working
on at the time of the interview!

Photo: P Blight/TWR

Click to enlarge
Another view of the Avalon
compressors and the ProAc

Photo: P Blight/TWR
Click to enlarge
The big screen and Left,
Centre and Right speakers

Photo: S Barnes/TWR
Click to enlarge
AH getting emotional about
Los Endos

Photo: P Blight/TWR