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.

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    Que ansias!!!! Ya no falta nada!!!
    Me encantó el comentario sobre Lucid Dreamer ” the perfect late night headphone experience.”……TAN vos.

    Todo lo mejor como siempre y ….”Que los cumplas feliiiz, que los cumlas feliiiz, que los cumplas princesita!!! Que los cumplas feliiiiz!!!!!”

    Te extrañamos en Buenos Aires…..ANSIOSOS!!!!!


  2. 07/30/2013

    Hi Tarja! I miss u and i love u 🙁

  3. Emmi

    Nice blogpost – oli kiva lukea 😀

  4. 07/30/2013

    Great!! Very nice interview

  5. 07/30/2013

    Hey Tarja!

    Nice interview of Tim! I can’t wait to listen to your new masterpiece! 😀

    Lot’s of love from France!

    Sandra xoxo

  6. 07/30/2013

    hello tarja you post a very good interview i really like some kind of your bands that you have mentions from the list.
    suddenly i am kind that to know of your song it will gonna sound good . I am so impressed by the songs from your new album but as-well as good as a old songs .but my favorite it will be my winter storm . btw this album is so amazing i want to met you and to give me an autograph thank you dear :*:* I love you tarja and sharon den adel is my favourites soprano ever.

  7. jamie

    hi tarja you are a very important artist in my life i know u r a real inspiration plz be healthy n happy always

    jamie from korea

  8. Tom

    Hi Tarja,

    Can’t wait for your new album!

    Greetings from England!


  9. Bruno Oliveira (Brazil)

    Although super-bands like U2 or Pearl Jam being very known worldwide, the Tarja’s voice is certainly on another level! I mean, very superior level. It’s like having seen “The Lord of the Rings”, after that, all other films seem somehow just … weak.

    “Her three dimensional textures”, I remember once Tarja said about Colors for her different voices – that is so cool ! 🙂

    “These days most albums are mixed without ever meeting the artists.” 0_0 That’s not cool.

  10. 08/01/2013

    hello tarja good good morning i hope you have have a good good day because i just feel a passion for your music i know that your album sounded good in many differents way but i can’t wait for to sing your own lyrics i feel your music with love . thank thank you so much for your music is it such a touchable songs i just want to ask will you came to london?in one day?Thank thank you so much.

  11. Juan Pablo

    Once again: you did it!!!! you’ve managed to grow as an artist again, I’m SO PROUD of you as a fan 😀 . You are obviously the kind of artist who actually takes in consideration all criticism: positive and negative one, I can tell that by the new songs, you improved in the areas you had to improved, and you kept your strong points with revived energy 😉 .
    I know I shouldn’t speak about the new songs, but I won’t be a hypocrite, I heard some already (don’t worry: not sharing, and I’ll every version of “Colours In The Dark”, as I did with “My Winter Storm” and “What Lies Beneath”), and I couldn’t hold back, I just had to tell you: you surprised me with your evolution, you’ve developed your own style, and this time I can perfectly see YOU in every song, I perceive your essence in the melodies and the lyrics.
    This is not: “good songs for a great voice”, now it’s simply: “amazing pieces, period”. It feels like a more “organic” work, that’s also daring, risk taking, experimental, and most importantly: HONEST 🙂 .
    I may not be in love with the artwork (I still can’t get over it… XD), but this is your best album by far, you should be so proud of yourself 😀 . Someone told me there’s also a little participation of your baby in one of the songs! hahahahahahaha… XD … she’s already a rockstar 😀 .
    Well, that’s it from now, I merely wanted to tell you how AMAZING you are 😉 .
    PS: “500 Letters” HAS to be a single, that track is waaaay too good <3

  12. 08/01/2013

    Tarja you are so good singer 🙂 Omg … I just want to scream singing to your music.thank you so much. for your music .

  13. 08/02/2013

    hey good morning tarja 🙂 I wish loads of good luck to your new album .thank you for the song of victim of ritual i really like it .thank you .