Producer/ Mixer/ Musician
Clients include: Passion Pit, St. Lucia, Friendly Fires
Producer, mixer and engineer Chris Zane has lent his multifarious talents to a host of album projects from a range of highly influential bands such as Passion Pit, Friendly Fires, St Lucia and The Walkmen
Having relocated to The Diary in London in 2016 from Phillip Glass’s old studio in Tribeca, NYC, Zane’s new studio has been inundated with the the hottest new acts including Shy Luv, Strong Asian Mothers, RIVRS, Temptress and Eves Karydas, the latter of which he produced her stunning new single “There For You” as well as numerous tracks of her forthcoming album. Alongside his production and mix work Chris has been writing with likes of Chloe Howl, of which he produced her critically acclaimed comeback single “Magnetic” as well Foxes, Taya, Harry Foxx, and Hannah Jane Lewis. Chris also co-wrote Warner Records hot new signing Billy Lockett‘s single “Empty House” and continues to work with Billy on tracks for his forthcoming EP. Alongside his writing sessions Chris has also worked on Spotify’s buzz band VHS Collection’s debut album and mixed tracks for Ninja Tunes’ Chrome Sparks and Promises Ltd.
Chris also received critical acclaim for co-writing and co-producing IAMSOUND’s Wills. Including his two singles “Woes vs Whoa” and the Zane Lowe premiered “Solid Gold”.
A classically trained musician, Zane discovered the primal joys of playing drums as a teenager. A short and ungratifying stint at music school lead him to Supersonic Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but the bright lights of New York City beckoned. By 2000 he was engineering and assisting at a host of Manhattan based studios, before finally finding his home at Gigantic.
The early noughties were a fruitful era for the alternative/indie scene – especially on the east coast. A wave of such were eager to find someone who could help to translate their leftfield ideas to their recordings. As a man focused firmly on progressive pop, Zane was a kindred spirit.
Zane immediately established a reputation for himself with initial projects including Calla’s “Televise”, Ambulance LTD’s eponymous album and tracks on Les Savy Fav’s compilation “Inches.” This sparked a run of projects in which Zane’s skills were called upon by a veritable A-Z of the American indie scene – Tokyo Police Club, Harlem Shakes, Asobi Seksu, White Rabbits, Shy Child and HeartsRevolution – as well as cult labels such as Frenchkiss, Beggars Banquet and One Little Indian.
Two particular highlights during the time were The Rakes’ swansong album “Klang” which was recorded in Berlin, and his production and mixing work on The Walkmen’s “You and Me.” Spin descrived the album as an “emboldened fairytale of New York City rock.”
By 2008, Zane was recognised a champion of future talent. He produced the then-unknown Mumford & Sons EP “Little Lion Man” and then commenced an enduring creative partnership with Passion Pit’s breakthrough album “Manners.” Clash described it as “a pop record that exists in a world of its own, carving a sub-genre niche which only fits their expansive, tonally decadent material”, while Pitchfork stated that it was a “heart-to-heart populist record that’s every bit as sincere as it is infectious.”
“Manners” showcased the many talents that Zane brings to production. Rather than trying to impose the same soundscapes on all of the projects that he works on, he approaches each album on its own terms and collaborates with the artist to help them bring their own particular vision to life. Sometimes this entails him employing his music school-honed skills as a percussionist and arranger: in others, it means getting in their heads until they’re ready to take the song to a place bolder than they’d previously imagined. Whatever he and the band agree the record needs, Zane works creatively toward achieving that goal.
Zane’s work with Passion Pit continued with the 2012 album “Gossamer” which peaked at #4 in the States. This was soon followed by four tracks on Friendly Fires’ “Pala” album which also boasted production courtesy of Paul Epworth. That year also delivered Pacific Air’s debut “Stop Talking” for Universal, St. Lucia’s “When The Night” for Neon Gold, as well as both production and mixing for tracks on the Chloe Howl album on Columbia including the single “Rumour.”
Also in 2012, Zane’s work with Spanish dance pop group Delorean saw them mix up recording locations as they switched from Gigantic to the band’s own studio in Barcelona. The resulting album “Apar” drew Pitchfork to make glowing comparisons with the likes of Cocteau Twins and New Order. Zane subsequently produced French quintet Natas Loves You album “The 8th Continent” at the renowned Contrepond Studios in Orleans.
Around this time, Zane also developed his reputation as a mixer, with highlights including “Dynamics” from Holy Ghost!, St Lucia’s album “When The Night” and single for Little Daylight (“Restart”) and Royal Concept (“Radio”).
In 2013, Zane enjoyed the opportunity to work at Jamaica’s Geejam Studios where he produced and mixed the debut album for Miniature Tigers. Back home, Zane joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and producer Wills. The first single to drop was “Going Through It” which Zane Lowe premiered on Radio 1 as his “next biggest hype.”
The third chapter of Zane’s work with Passion Pit commenced in 2014 when he produced and mixed their third album “Kindred” which was released the following year. Recorded at Zane’s Gigantic studio, the album also features collaborations with the pop mastermind Benny Blanco. Another artist eager to repeat his work with Zane was St Lucia, who called upon him to work on this year’s “Matter.” Another project that emerged in 2016 was his mix work on Sizzy Rocket’s “Thrills” for Yebo Music.
Zane’s diverse musical obsessions span everything from Daft Punk to Paul McCartney, which helps to make him of the most skillful and versatile producers around – as evidenced by his contributions to Calla’s dark atmospherics, Shy Child’s bubbly dance-pop, Asobi Seksu’s indie-shoegaze and Passion Pit’s electro-gloss. Easily able to navigate differing genres with passion and expertise, Zane also possesses an inherent understanding of the social dynamics of bands, which can be a vital skill within the creative process. Whatever a band wants to achieve with its music, Chris Zane is the man who can bring their potential to life.
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