American-born, UK-based record producer/mixer Craig Silvey doesn’t choose projects based on size. It’s all heart and infatuation. He’s done multi-million selling records for R.E.M., Portishead, Florence + The Machine and Arctic Monkeys while also diving deep into Julien Baker, M Ward and Amen Dunes. He has been the recipient of various awards, including two Grammys for Arcade Fire and a Producers Guild Award for Goldfrapp’s Tales Of Us.
In an age where many mix engineers prefer to work exclusively in the box, the process of recording the mixing The Suburbs comes from a different era.
...he continues to be one of today’s most successful, and fashionable, mixers as is demonstrated by recent credits that include Goldfrapp, Florence + the Machine, Anna Calvi, Frightened Rabbit and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Going further back in time he’s also worked with REM, Santana, Ray Davies, Nine Inch Nails, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, Pearl Jam, The Coral, Portishead, The Magic Numbers, and Arcade Fire. Silvey’s working methods clearly remain relevant...
...it was like we'd recorded a record without actually realizing it, which never happens. It's pretty impossible.
Beginning his career as an apprentice engineer at Russian Hill Recording in San Francisco, he was taken under the wing of legendary recording engineer George Massenburg. Through Massenburg, in the early ‘90s, Silvey progressed to working at Skywalker Sound for Lucasfilm, learning the old school arts of recording and mixing on albums for Mariah Carey and Linda Ronstadt, along with orchestral records and movie projects including Jennifer 8 and the Sean Connery-starring Rising Sun.
In ’94, he co-founded Toast Studios in San Francisco. At Toast, Silvey worked with such diverse artists as R.E.M., Money Mark and Suzanne Ciani. “By the age of 25,” he says, “I had a full training in many genres.”
From the ‘00s on, Silvey’s reputation as a top-flight mixer began to grow, as he completed landmark projects such as Portishead’s Third and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.
As a producer/engineer, everybody seemed to like my rough mixes... I think I just started then kind of insisting that the stuff that I either produced or recorded, I mixed it as well. At The Garden, I tried to concentrate on mixing. That became my specialty.
Now based in his latest incarnation of Toast Studios in West London, Silvey utilizes an array of vintage and modern equipment. The past decade has seen him mix Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It And See, Bryan Ferry’s Avonmore, The National’s Trouble Will Find Me, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and Everything Now and Noel Gallagher’s Chasing Yesterday and Black Star Dancing EP. As a producer, he has worked with Baxter Dury, Bear’s Den and John Grant.
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