With live music back on the agenda and all manner of events hopefully happening this year, we decided to step behind the scenes with Wilson Nash – producer and all round lovely geezer. You might not have seen Wilson before, as he spends the majority of his time in the studio, whipping sound into shape and creating aural awesomeness… We chatted to the man beside the mixing board and took a glimpse into Wilson’s World.
As it goes, I rather imagine Wilson’s World to be a studio ﬁlled with brilliance on the boil, buttons and levers and twiddly knobs galore… Lit with ideas and dim lamps… Scattered instruments and the souls of the nearly-made-its and the booming echoes of the ones that did. I have worked with Wilson before, but never been into the hallowed grounds of his studio. When I worked with Wilson, we made it interesting – guerrilla tactics and off-piste recording set ups… No one does it better!
Describe a day of your life when you’re in the midst of a session…
To your question, once all the setup is out the way and depending on the project and experience of the artist, a general sense of work and process descends. As boring as that sounds it is a process and crafting an album is like any project with deliverables. The preparation for the recording session happens in the artist’s realm away from the recording studio; I get involved once the artist is in pre-production and help shape the principal audio recording to post-production. Given there are usually a lot of factors to consider (and the artist’s enthusiasm) managing scope and the production budget is vital.
Whilst not glamorous the key to a successful record session (to get into the midst of) is planning – considering many moving parts, schedules, and key milestones. I identiﬁed early on in my career that whilst knowledge in acoustics, sound engineering, and recording techniques is paramount to producing a record, it also requires an approach to project management as much as any technical background in audio to execute the work, so over the years I have trained in Agile project management, and I am also a Lean Practitioner, so this helps guide the recording process end to end.
I usually work on small jobs in the evenings and at weekends for local artists based on their schedules, and pre-pandemic we would hold recording sessions for labels that spanned a fortnight or so, which is magic as you really get into the creative process then. With the pandemic changing how we work; I have shifted to a more freelance role based on the services oﬀered via my website where I cater to artists and businesses that need post-production on their digital audio.
One thing that I keep meaning to do is release video of sessions from over the years, I have GoPros running almost continuously during recordings and have plenty of magic (and compromising) footage… We all love a muso doc eh?
What’s the most stand-out moment of your production career so far?
I think there are a few! Working with Gilbert O’Sullivan and his team has been fantastic. Ethan Johns (son of recording legend Glyn Johns and producer of the Kings of Leon and Ray Montagne) was very inspirational and Andy Wright (Simply Red, Jeﬀ Beck, Simple Minds and Massive Attack) who is such a nice guy, I got to him meet at RAK on the forthcoming Gilbert record. Recording Rocco Deluca at Mont Orgueil was outstanding… Recently I helped on a world ﬁrst by being part of the production team that created an NFT that helped make Arch Hades the highest-paid poet in history, that was cool. I also think back to the early ’90s when I was starting out and spending time with Keef Flint of the Prodigy testing loudspeakers and talking about being on stage with RATM, that was golden. But overall, I’m most proud of helping local Jersey artists get recognized in the UK music industry.
Come on… you gotta have some stories. Spill (without names) something funny/weird/diva-ish/stupid that you’ve experienced with musicians or anyone in the business for that matter.
Haha – there have been a few (and some on camera) that I can recall but I’ll never tell. I will say that those artists that come prepared, humble, and open to creative suggestions, (and understand the business) are a delight to work with. When you’re trying to help someone who should know better and is being diva-ish it’s draining and these days I’m too old for that rubbish. Much better to fail fast, step away and have a good lawyer look over contracts in advance…
We know you’re something of a guerrilla producer and we know you’ve been known to record and do your thing in a myriad of places – where’s the weirdest or most memorable and why was it so?
Yeah, that’s right! Out of necessity mainly, because Jersey is so expensive to rent an alternate business property, I oﬀered to work anytime, anywhere on audio productions and that grew into a business model that took advantage of light/mobile professional recording rigs. I think recording Rocco was one of the standouts, plus the work we did together back in the day, like Roo Pane in a St Brelade’s ﬁeld… Jeez, I’ve recorded in bunkers, greenhouses, windmills, churches, castles, derelict buildings, rooftops, garages, orchards, nightclubs, you name it. I got to say that as the resident engineer at Jersey Rock Studios, it is a plus on the old back not to have to do quite so many load in/outs these days!
What are you making right now?
Right now, I am mixing the latest Hurricane #1 record for Golden Robot which is going great, that and trying to keep up on the online demand for post-production where I’m blessed to have a portfolio of regulars who help keep the lights on. Thanks, guys, you know who you are!
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Wow, OK… probably Metallica because they have been a constant inﬂuence on my life as a fan, guitarist, and music producer. Their records sound amazing, especially Master of Puppets which was released when I was in school in ‘86 and has been on every audio playback device I’ve owned to this day… I love their 2016 Hardwired record too, Greg Fidelman did an outstanding job on that sonically.
Wanna big up anyone at all?
My son, Roadie Nash. Without you I’m nothing.