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Flood
Birth name Mark Ellis
Born 1960
London, UK
Occupations Producer, Audio engineer
Years active 1978–Present

Flood is the professional pseudonym of the British post punk/alternative rock record producer Mark Ellis, whose work often blends synthetic and organic elements. Some of his best-known works include collaborations with Depeche Mode, U2, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Sound, Erasure, Curve, Nitzer Ebb, The Killers, Sigur Rós and PJ Harvey. In 2006, his work with U2 led to his sharing of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

Contents

Biography

Flood attended St Olave's Grammar School in Orpington. His music career began in 1978, when he got a job as a runner at London's Morgan Studios. In September 1980, he was guitarist for the band 'Seven Herz', who recorded, produced and released a cassette album under the title 'Forbidden Frequency'. The album comprised seven original songs and was originally scheduled to also feature a cover version of The Velvet Underground's song "White Light/White Heat", until the song's publishers denied permission.

In 1981, Flood went on to work solo, scoring his first major studio project as an assistant engineer on New Order's debut, Movement in 1981. He went on to work alongside Soft Cell, Psychic TV, and Cabaret Voltaire, also engineering Ministry's With Sympathy, before helming his first true production project with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on From Her to Eternity (1983–1984). This was followed by The Firstborn Is Dead (1984), Kicking Against the Pricks (1985–1986), Your Funeral... My Trial (1986), Tender Prey (1987–1988) and The Good Son (1989). For Erasure, he engineered on Wonderland (1986) and The Circus (1987).

1987 saw Flood's first big commercial break when he engineered U2's The Joshua Tree alongside producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. From there, he worked with The Silencers on A Blues for Buddha, Nine Inch Nails on Pretty Hate Machine, Depeche Mode on Violator, and Pop Will Eat Itself on This is the Day, This is the Hour, This is This. In 1991 he then went on to work again with U2 on Achtung Baby, along with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite.

1992 saw Flood producing the The Charlatans on their second album, Between 10th And 11th. Meeting a lukewarm reception when released, the album is now generally much more appreciated. The same year he also reunited with Depeche Mode to record the album Songs of Faith and Devotion, released in March 1993.

In 1993, Flood graduated from engineering U2's albums to producing them, sharing duties with Brian Eno on Zooropa.

In 1994, he worked again with Nine Inch Nails, this time on the groundbreaking The Downward Spiral.

In 1995 Flood worked with two very successful bands – The Smashing Pumpkins, with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, sharing production duties with long time collaborator Alan Moulder, and PJ Harvey, with To Bring You My Love – albums that were big hits that year. Shortly thereafter, he assisted producer Nellee Hooper on Sneaker Pimps' Becoming X. He also collaborated with Dave Bessell, Gary Stout and Ed Buller to create Node; an analog-synth heavy project that produced a single album, Node.

In 1996, Flood teamed up with U2 once again to produce Pop, released the next year. In 1997, he assisted Billy Corgan and Brad Wood on The Smashing Pumpkins's 1998 album Adore and co-produced PJ Harvey's album Is This Desire?.

In 2000, he co-produced Machina/The Machines of God, by The Smashing Pumpkins, with Corgan. He also co-produced Erasure's Loveboat with the members of Erasure.

In 2001 Flood worked again with Depeche Mode, remixing the single version of Freelove.

In 2002 he produced Richard Warren's Echoboy album Giraffe. He also co-produced I To Sky, by JJ72.

In 2003 he featured on Gary Numan's Hybrid album where he re-worked the track "Cars".

In 2004 he produced London based The Duke Spirit's debut album "Cuts Across The Land", which, due to financial issues with their record company City Rockers, was not released until a year later (on Polydor). In the same year co-produced U2's 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'.

The Summer of 2005 saw him mixing a-ha's eighth album, Analogue, which was released in November 2005. Another album he produced in 2005 was Any Minute Now by Soulwax.

In late 2005 and early 2006, Flood also worked on mixing Placebo's new album, Meds, which was released in March 2006.

In 2006 he co-produced The Killers' album, Sam's Town with fellow English producer/engineer Alan Moulder. Sam's Town was released in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2006 and in North America on 3 October 2006.

In late 2006 Flood remixed the debut single by Dark Room Notes, "Love Like Nicotine", which was released in June 2007.

At the beginning of 2007, he co-produced PJ Harvey's album White Chalk with John Parish and PJ Harvey (released in September 2007).

He also co-produced a couple of songs on the Goldfrapp album Seventh Tree, which was released in February 2008.

In late 2007/early 2008, he produced Sigur Rós's Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust in Iceland.[1]

Flood and Paul Hartnoll of Orbital co-produced the 2008 album by The Music, Strength In Numbers. He produced the 2009 album by The Hours, See the Light.

He joined Steve Lillywhite in 2008 to work with 30 Seconds to Mars, on This Is War which was released in December 2009, and recently completed work on Editors: In This Light and On This Evening. He also collaborated with Nitzer Ebb again to finish up the first new Nitzer Ebb record in over a decade, Industrial Complex, to be released by Major Records on 22 January 2010.

Frequent collaborator Billy Corgan has said of Flood, "Flood’s incredible. Flood is a tremendous producer. Flood is very masterful with the sonics, but where he really shines is he’s a great idea person. And I don’t mean like he tells you, "Oh, put this chorus here." It’s more like he can see an ambiance of the song that you don’t necessarily see and he would really fight with us – not negative a fight, just he would really kind of push us to say there’s another vibe here that you can get to."[1]

Pseudonym

Several rumors describe the origin of Ellis' ubiquitous pseudonym, "Flood." Three are worth mentioning:

  1. It was given to him when he was a studio assistant due to his strategy of keeping studio hands and musicians awake through the "constant brewing" of tea. [2]
  2. Future Music Magazine stated in 1994 that it was because he constantly spilled tea in the studio.
  3. In a recording session with The Cure, one assistant engineer supplied tea and coffee proactively whereas the other assistant was very slow at doing so. Cure frontman Robert Smith nicknamed the two assistants 'Flood' and 'Drought'. [3]

References

  • Ackney, Jason. Flood. Music.com. 18 June 2004. Accessed 12 April 2005. [4].
  • Beyda, Adam. Flood. Interview with Mark Ellis, excerpted from Music Producers. 2nd Edition. Accessed 12 April 2005. [5]

External links

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