I cannot think of post-punk or alternative rock without thinking of Flood. He’s produced and engineered many popular bands in those genres for three decades, and has no doubt inspired many other producers. I promise you, it would be almost impossible for you to not recognize a band he has worked with. But before he was Flood he was Mark Ellis, and he played bass in a mod-revival band called The Lambrettas. During that time, he got a job as a runner at a London recording studio and steadily began moving up the ranks. Soon after, he made the decision to leave the record company to go freelance. He got his first major gig as an assistant engineer on New Order’s 1981 debut album, Movement. I’m a Joy Division fan myself, and if you weren’t already aware Movement was the first record New Order put out after Ian Curtis’s untimely death.
In 1987, Flood began working on U2’s seminal album Joshua Tree, which later inspired other opportunities for both parties to collaborate on later projects. After this, his career took off and he began working on many other projects you might recognize: Depeche Mode’s Violator, Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine, Smashing Pumpkin’s Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Clearly after decades of technological changes in the music industry, you’re bound to evolve with the changing landscape. When asked by Audio Media International how a role of a producer has changed over the last 20 years, Flood replied
“I think over the years a producer has to be more technically aware and also be able to manage budgets/finances. I think the most significant change has been the rise of computers and the fall of the recording industry. One of the most important roles of producers and engineers is as sounding boards – professionals with vast amounts of experience and training. These are attributes that cannot be acquired easily but are all too easily cut to make a budget work.”
His most recent work of note is PJ Harvey’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, which he co-produced and co-mixed with John Parish and PJ Harvey. During the making of this album, Flood participated in an art installation called Recording in Progress where fans could watch him, PJ Harvey and Parish through one-way glass as they made the album come to life. Check out the most recent single off of Polly Jean’s album below!