DIY is going beyond the artists’ responsible for releasing some of our most seminal albums, instead looking at the mixers, the engineers and the producers; the people on the desk who make it all happen. In the first of our profiles, we take a look at Gareth Jones, a producer with 30 years’ experience and a quite unique figure given his continued relevance throughout this period.
Jones (born in 1954) began at the BBC in his 20s, working as a technical operator in Bush House, all whilst sending CVs off to studios, asking if he could work with them on a release. The first album he worked on was a huge success; John Foxx’s ‘Metamatic’. Foxx produced the record himself, but as a junior engineer, Jones was already associated with one of New Wave’s most synonymous works. His reputation then took off after working with Depeche Mode on their third record, ‘Construction Time Again’, experimenting with sampling methods that went on to define subsequent pop records for several years.
Pitting himself in Berlin during the ‘80s after being asked to travel there by a Vienna-based punk band, Jones worked closely with bands like Erasure and most notably, Wire, helping to produce records that were attributed with the “industrial” scene of the time. Today he tends to be associated with Mute Records, due to his work with Depeche Mode.
Jones continues to work with bands who experiment and look to record in ways that might not appear conventional. Look at his 2000s-era resume and you see a slew of inventive groups with an genuine forward-thinking ear: These New Puritans, Liars, Grizzly Bear. Jones helped mix Interpol’s ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’; an album sometimes regarded as one of the most important releases of the last decade. As audio engineer of ‘Veckatimest’, he helped Grizzly Bear become an established American alternative force, breaking into the Bilboard top 10 for the first time in their career. Returning to Berlin, he mixed arguably Liars’ best work, ‘Drum’s Not Dead’, before resuming duties with the band for their 2007, self-titled follow-up.
The fact that he was able to identify the sheer inventive promise of a band like These New Puritans on their ‘Beat Pyramid’ debut just goes to show Jones’ continued ability to stay in check with new ideas and recording techniques. The Southend-on-Sea band might not have proved doubters wrong until their sophomore ‘Hidden’ album, but Jones was as swept up by their potential as much as the Domino label was at the time. Even more recently, Jones has worked closely with Emmy the Great, We Have Band and Wild Palms on their latest records.
First record produced: Nick Cave - The Road To God Knows Where / Live At The Paradiso
Most recent record produced: Wild Palms - Deep Dive
Best-selling record produced: Depeche Mode - Some Great Reward
Best-selling single produced: Depeche Mode - Master and Servant
Also known for: Composing the soundtrack for the ‘John Tucker Must Die’ film.