|Labels||Universal, Islands, London, London UK, Major Records|
Hugh Padgham is a British record producer. He has won a string of awards, including four Grammys, with Producer of the Year (1985) and Engineer of the Year amongst them. A 1992 poll in Mix magazine voted him one of the world's Top Ten Most Influential Producers.
Padgham started out as a tape operator at Advision Studios, working in recording sessions for Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. From there he went to Landsowne Studios and moved from tape-operator/assistant engineer to head engineer. In 1978, Padgham got a job at The Townhouse, where he engineered and/or produced acts including XTC, Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins.
Padgham's previous work with Gabriel and Collins led to a long and enormously successful collaboration with Genesis in the 1980s, which produced a string of hit albums and singles including Genesis and Invisible Touch. In addition to his work with Genesis and XTC, Padgham co-produced two albums with The Police: Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity.
In the 2000s Padgham had immense success with Sting as well as McFly. He enjoyed four (4) number hits in 2005 and 2006 with McFly as well as Eight Top Ten Singles. In 2002, Padgham produced The Tragically Hip album In Violet Light, which includes the fan-favorite "Its a Good Life if You Don't Weaken". Padgham has recently produced and engineered the debut album from I Was a Cub Scout, I Want You To Know There Is Always Hope.
Padgham currently lives in Chiswick with his long-term partner (designer Cath Kidston), his daughter Jessica (16), and his dog Stanley (often shown in Cath Kidston catalogues).
Hugh can be reached through his management company, Joe D'Ambrosio Management, Inc., at 914.422.0022.
Padgham is credited with creating the 'gated' drum sound used so prominently on Phil Collins' single "In the Air Tonight", and which became the template for much of the recorded pop drum sound of the 1980s. The effect is believed to have first been used on the 1980 third self-titled solo album by Peter Gabriel, which Padgham engineered and on which Collins played. At this time, Padgham was working regularly as the recording engineer for noted UK producer Steve Lillywhite, and they collaborated on many well-known albums and singles in the early 1980s.
Padgham's 'gated drum' effect is created by adding a large amount of heavily compressed room ambience to the original drum sound, and then feeding that reverb signal through an electronic device known as a noise gate. This unit can be programmed to cut off any signal fed through it, either after a specified time interval (in this case, some tens of milliseconds), or when the incoming signal falls below a preset gain threshold. The result is the arresting 'gated reverb' effect, in which the reverberation cuts off abruptly, rather than fading away.
In a 2006 interview, Padgham revealed how the effect was first engineered:
The whole thing came through the famous "listen mic" on the SSL console. The SSL had put this massive compressor on it because the whole idea was to hang one mic in the middle of the studio and hear somebody talking on the other side. And it just so happened that we turned it on one day when Phil [Collins] was playing his drums. And then I had the idea of feeding that back into the console and putting the noise gate on, so when he stopped playing it sucked the big sound of the room into nothing.
Artists for whom Padgham has produced or engineered include: