Tim Palmer interview
Tim Palmer has produced and mixed albums for a huge selection of classic and alternative artists, from Robert Plant, David Bowie and Tears For Fears to Ozzy Osbourne, Goo Goo Dolls and U2.
In 2001 Palmer was nominated for a Grammy for his mixing work on U2′s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Now living in Austin, Texas, he has built his own mix room and continued producing and mixing for Jason Mraz, Blue October, David Cook and many others. Tim has been moderator for 2 years at SXSW, and a guest speaker for the Recording Academy.
Tim Palmer started his career at Utopia Studios in London during the early 80′s where he mixed the number one single ‘Died in your arms tonight’ for Cutting Crew. In the latter half of the ’80s, Palmer became a producer, and his keen ears and technical knowledge contributed to groups such as the Mighty Lemon Drops, the Mission, Texas, and Tears for Fears.
Tim produced ‘Now and Zen’ for rock icon Robert Plant, a US top10 album, and David Bowie’s debut LP with Tin Machine. To close the 80′s Palmer mixed ‘TEN’ for Pearl Jam, which went on to sell over 14 million albums, and got in the top 50 best album sellers in US history.
You can read here a short interview that Tim kindly answered for this web page.
1) Name your favourite Tarja song from “Colours in the Dark “, if you have any and why.
It’s tough to pick just one favorite song from the album, so I’ll pick two. The first is the song ‘Never enough’, it’s classic Tarja, great vocal, strong chorus and yet it rocks hard without losing all the 3 dimensional textures that are such an important element to her sound.
Secondly I choose ‘Lucid Dreamer’ as I am a sucker for the dramatic and melancholy side to her songs. This song is a real journey and is the perfect late night headphone experience.
2) How has it been to work with Tarja?
This is the second time that I have mixed an album for Tarja, I also mix most of the recent live albums and 5:1 mixes.
I always enjoy the process, which is basically in 2 parts.
The first part I work alone in my studio here in Texas getting the songs into shape ready for the arrival of Tarja and Marcelo, her co-producer. At this stage the mixes are about 75% completed.
The second part is more fun, now that Tarja is at the studio, we can work on all the fine-tuning and final details to the mixes. We work hard, eat, mix and generally have a great time.
These days most albums are mixed without ever meeting the artists. I miss that one on one, social side. I am glad that with Tarja we are able to achieve this.
3) You have been working with several amazing singers and charismatic figures like Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, Bono to name just few. How do you see Tarja as a singer?
Tarja is without question a fabulous vocalist. I am so glad she has taken from her classical roots and created such an eclectic style to her recorded music. I think many rock fans would never have experienced a soprano like Tarja if she was brave with her music choices. The combination of her vocal style with the heavily textured rock sound is unique.
4) How would you describe Tarja’s music?
Tarja’s music is Cinematic, orchestrated rock.
5) Could you tell us something about the technical side of mixing Tarja’s album?
The biggest challenge with her music is to make it all count. Every thing must be heard. The vocals are obviously super important, but so are the big guitars, loud drums, and driving bass, then lets not forget the subtle percussion, loops, and keyboard textures. It takes a while to get it right, but when the story unfolds correctly, it’s very rewarding. I like the challenge.