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Nick Launay is an Englishmarker record producer and recording engineer. He has produced recorded and mixed albums by artists including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire, Public Image Ltd., Kate Bush, Talking Heads, Gang of Four, Grinderman, INXS, Midnight Oil, The Living End, Silverchair, Lou Reed, The Cribs and Supergrass. He lives in Hollywoodmarker, USAmarker.

Career background

The son of French author André Launay, and fashion model Eve Launay, Nick was born in Londonmarker, Englandmarker on March 5th and moved with his family to a village in Spain at age eight, where his parents adopted a bohemian lifestyle. The family returned to England in 1976, where Launay developed a love of punk rock.

In 1978 he began working at Tape One studios on Tottenham Court Roadmarker, where he was trained to edit hit songs for K-tel Top 20 compilation albums, reducing their length to 2½ minutes in order to fit 20 songs on one album. He recalled: "The trick was to keep all the good bits that people would recognise."

According to his website, Launay was late at work one night "frantically editing and reconstructing an experimental version of "Pop Muzik" by UK pop band M, for his own amusement, when he was visited by respected mastering engineer Denis Blackham". Blackham was so impressed with the new extended version, he played it the next day to M’s Robin Scott. Launay says his version was released as a 12-inch single and became a Top 10 hit in the UK and other countries.

In 1980 Launay moved to Virgin Records’ Townhouse studios, where he worked as an assistant engineer on albums including The Jam’s Sound Affects and XTC’s Black Sea, assisting producers John Leckie, Tony Visconti, Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham.

In 1981, as the most junior member assistant engineer, he was conscripted to work on a Public Image Ltd recording session for a single, "Home is Where the Heart is". In a PiL fansite interview Launay recalled:

Days later Launay was told PiL wanted him to mix a new song they had worked on. He was asked by the Townhouse manager whether he had done a mix before. "I remember lying and saying, 'Yes of course I have'," he said. "She told me I would have to work alone, as no other assistant would do it. Once again I couldn't believe my luck."

Launay co-produced the band’s Flowers of Romance album (1981), which brought praise for its sonic oddities and prompted other bands including Killing Joke, The Slits, The Birthday Party and Gang of Four to ask that he work with him.

He worked for two months as engineer on Kate Bush’s self-produced The Dreaming (1982), about which he remembers:

He worked with producer Colin Newman of Wire on The Virgin PrunesIf I Die I Die (1982) before securing his first major production role on the fifth album by Midnight Oil, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (1982).

Production technique

Asked in the Mix interview for his formula for making a record, he said he usually went into rehearsals for about two weeks, experimenting with songs and arranging them in different ways, but with "strong, solid ideas" about how the songs should be arranged. After about two weeks' work, he enters the studio with the band.

Production credits

• "Popsicle"
• "Gangster of Love"
• "Lifetime Piling Up"

Mix/Recording credits


  1. Biography at Nick Launay's website
  2. Nick Launay interview at Fodderstamp website, 2003

External links

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