Foo Fighters and Grammy winning producer Gil Norton chooses SE
Gil Norton’s production credits read like a who’s who in the world of music and he recently won a Grammy for the Foo Fighters album Echoes, Silence, Patience And Grace. After a quarter of a century producing the best, this man knows his gear, and of the sE range he says: “a great range and a mic to suit every occasion…”
“I never intended to be a record producer!” says Gil Norton looking back at a quarter century of doing just that, and doing it with some of the biggest names in the business. “I started engineering around 1980 at Amazon, an 8-track studio in Liverpool. I was working with various local bands producing demos - there were loads around Liverpool at the time.”
One such band were Echo And The Bunnymen with whom Gil got his first big break working on the album Ocean Rain. “That was really when I realised what I wanted to do,” he says. “I started working with 4AD, some US bands and Throwing Muses which led to the Pixies and eventually the Foo Fighters who were big Pixies fans. When Dave [Grohl] was looking for a producer he thought of me and we had a meeting and that was it.” That meeting eventually led to a Grammy at this year’s awards when the Foos picked up Best Rock Album for the Norton produced Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace…
“I never intended to be a record producer! I started engineering around 1980 at Amazon, an 8-track studio in Liverpool. I was working with various local bands producing demos - there were loads around Liverpool at the time.”
“I had a fantastic time,” says Gil looking back at the ceremony. “I was in the third row from the front with George Martin at the end of the row and Yoko Ono in front! I talked to Dave and asked what he thought about us winning and he said ‘I don’t think so’. But then we did! I got up on stage with the band which was nice as well.”
Gil discovered the sE range by way of his engineer, Adrian Bushby, and now uses the Reflexion Filter, Gemini, Titan and 4400a mics.
“I really like them,” he says of the range. “I use the Gemini as an ambient room mic, maybe put it in front of the kick. The Titan I use for bass as it can take a large amount of signal. I also used it with Gomez as Ian Bell has a really big voice and it took it really well.” “I used sE ribbons with the Foos. Other ribbons tend to lose it in the higher frequencies but the sE’s handle it perfectly. The whole sE range is great. They are well-crafted microphones - simple, good, clean and affordable. Within the range you can cover everything - there’s a mic that suits any need. They are also really durable which is good.”
“In fact I can’t remember a single session over the last 5 years on which I haven’t used an SE mic…
I’ve also found the 4400 to be a hugely versatile mic - it’s great for acoustic instruments, and I especially like it on drums and percussion. Its hyper-cardioid pattern is extremely useful on toms and snare as it controls cymbal spillage really well and delivers the great punch and tone”
Gil is also a fan of the Reflexion Filter... “It is a good one for me,” he says. “I thought it was a great idea. We were doing the Counting Crows at Avatar Studios in New York and we tried to do the vocals live in a little room but we were getting reflections off the glass making it sound boxy. I had a Reflexion Filter sent out and it really helped take the boxiness off the vocal.”
Gil has a busy few months ahead with a new project taking him to LA until 2011. But while the future maybe busy, how does he look back at 25 years of top-flight production?
“I’ve worked with lots of great bands they all mean different things at different times,” says Gil. “The Pixies were a highlight and Throwing Muses - that whole 4AD period was special. But the last 2 years have been just incredible having Counting Crows and Foos come back after ten years. I’m just enjoying it and looking forward to the future.”