5 Questions with Nick Franglen

Experimental artist uses iZotope’s audio effects software for his own sonic adventures and collaborations with John Cale, Björk, and more.

Artist Stories  |  January 9, 2015

izotope-5-questions-with-nick-franglen

Nick Franglen is a musician, producer, and artist based in the UK. Best known for his work with the British electronica duo Lemon Jelly, he's collaborated musically with a diverse roster of artists including John Cale, Björk, Hole, Primal Scream, Pulp, Blur—even William Shatner. And his experimental sound art installations have been performed in novel locations such as mines and submarines.

A classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist, Franglen has also composed extensively for film and television. His current projects include the dark electronica duo Blacksand and his own solo efforts.

On using iZotope gear live with Velvet Underground legend John Cale:

I've played live with John Cale many times since we co-produced his album Hobo Sapiens in 2003. John's recent shows at The Barbican in London were unique and tech-heavy, featuring speaker-carrying aerial drones that flew around the auditorium, coordinated and choreographed to music played live by five of us on stage—John, his usual band, and me. Amazing shows! I was playing keys, running a computer or two, looping and effecting sounds coming off the stage, a whole bunch of things.

I used Iris for quite a few of my sounds—perfect for a skewed soundscape—and Trash for the distortion on John's viola as he developed audio drones to play with the drones flying above us. In the past I'd have whacked it through a pedal but Trash gave me loads more control and sounded fantastic. Tons of character, exquisite noise.

Why do you think you've been successful at your chosen craft while others have burned out or faded away?

I don't know about other people. But I do know I'm really curious about things, and I'm not all that interested in how other people respond to what I do, so my idea of success is if I get something interesting or satisfying out of it myself. I've been working with installation art as much as music just recently but it all comes from the same place. I can't see myself getting bored anytime soon, there's lots going on out there... and in here too...

If you could give one piece of studio advice to folks who are new at recording, what would it be?

Studio advice? Wash. Who wants to spend hours in a small room with someone who hasn't washed? You want work? Wash.

What's the craziest thing that you've ever witnessed in a studio?

I couldn't possibly tell you that, there was quite a bit of partying in the days before recording budgets collapsed. I remember riding a motorbike into Olympic Studio One and revving the tits off it until all the alarms went off and all that... A printable barking mad highlight has to be flying to LA to record William Shatner for our album. Watching him deliver his vocal brought tears to my eyes. The guy's a legend—we partied afterwards!

Have you ever met one of your heroes? What happened?

Funny things, heroes. As part of the work on a current album project of mine I met the Dalai Lama in Riga last year, and though spending time with him was a life-affirming, often surreal experience—I even ate a meal with him at which he shared some of his food with me—it simply couldn't compare with how spun over I was when Captain Sensible of The Damned told me he liked my Legacy installation. I got super tongue-tied and giggly. No disrespect to His Holiness, but he never released Machine Gun Etiquette when I was a teenager.

If you could ask iZotope one question, what would it be?

Not a question, a request: Audio Brundlefly [from The Fly, 1986] please. Not the middle of the movie Brundlefly when he's all pumped up and manic, the end one when he's fused with the telepod. Thanks.

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Learn more about Nick Franglen.

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