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Talkback: Mikko Gordon

Engineer & Producer By William Stokes
Published June 2023


Born in the UK, engineer and producer Mikko Gordon grew up in Helsinki before returning to study at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since then he has formed a close working relationship with Radiohead super‑producer Nigel Godrich, who he first met through his wife, Laura Bettinson (aka Lau.ra), who is producer, DJ and vocalist in Godrich’s own outfit Ultraísta. As well as touring with Thom Yorke and Phil Selway as live engineer for their respective solo projects, Mikko engineered the debut album by the Smile, the trio comprised of Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and drummer Tom Skinner. He also toured with the band and mixed their live albums.

“Originally, I was thinking, ‘I want to be in a band,’ but I realised very quickly that I hated the democracy of the process!” Mikko laughs. “Wearing the producer’s hat and working in the studio is much more interesting to me.”

At the moment I can’t stop listening to

I’m listening to a lot of electronic music at the moment; Luke Abbott is a current, huge favourite. ‘Swansong’ would be a song I’d recommend to check out. The sounds are just so... organically synthetic is the best way to describe it: you know, they’re modular, but they’re so real! The way they jump out, all the drum sounds and things. It’s amazing.

There’s also an Australian band I recently discovered called the Lazy Eyes, who are wonderful! Really young band, just doing really interesting stuff. And Nilüfer Yanya would be another one for me. She’s an amazing UK artist, just her sound and her vibe. I’ve been listening to her a lot. I did a session with her and her band as part of another series of the From The Basement programme.

The project I’m most proud of

I’ll have to say engineering the Smile album [A Light For Attracting Attention]. That was just an incredible experience for me. Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood are just such incredible artists and musicians, and Tom Skinner as well — such a phenomenal drummer. It was a really fun and challenging project at the same time. We recorded to tape, working quite quickly. It was a very, kind of, free environment for the band. Just to try and figure out stuff, to play things live together. I think, especially after Thom making a lot of electronic records, the band were just really enjoying having three people in a room playing music together. And the kind of excitement that came from that. We were trying to minimise the role of computers, you know, recording to tape and just keeping things moving. It was just an incredible album to be a part of, to be creating sonics around these songs that were coming together.

The first thing I look for in...

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