Producer/ Mixer/ Musician
Clients include: Passion Pit, St. Lucia, Friendly Fires, Larkins, Moli,
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. Currently, Chris is in the studio with Belgian/British pop sensation, Moli, in the studio producing the up and coming band Larkins forthcoming album, who were dubbed by UK Press as ‘Manchester’s Next Arena Act’ and received the nod from NME as ‘100 Essential New Artists for 2020.’
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.” 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,” which saw Chloe nominated as Best New Comer for the 2013 Brit Awards.
By 2013, Zane’s reputation had gone global and he was called upon to work with Spanish dance pop group Delorean, 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. Zane continues to work with interesting European pop acts, having recently produced tracks for French pop sensation Olivier Dion.
Zane’s reputation as a mixer of note was growing, with highlights including “Dynamics” from Holy Ghost!, the St Lucia’s album “When The Night” and the debut album for Miniature Tigers. In 2013, Zane joined forces with the multi-faceted artist Wills. The pair formed an enduring creative collaboration including initial single “Going Through It” which Zane Lowe premiered on Radio 1 as his “next biggest hype.” Following single, ‘Woes vs. Whoa’ currently featuring as the soundtrack for the Ford Acura 2019 ILX campaign.
The third chapter of Zane’s work with Passion Pit commenced in 2014 when he produced and mixed their third album “Kindred.” Recorded at Zane’s Gigantic studio, (the previous studio home to the legendary Philip Glass) 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.
Having relocated to The Diary in London in 2016, Zane’s new studio has been inundated with some of the UK’s most exciting emerging talent including Shy Luv, Strong Asian Mothers, Chrome Sparks, Temptress, Aquilo and Eves Karydas. So successful was the initial Eves session, that Chris went on to produce her debut album entitled ‘Summerskin’ which Stack magazine called ‘One of the strongest releases of the year in a booming Australia pop scene.’ Singles from the album ‘There for You’ and ‘Further Than the Planes Fly’ were on hot rotation on Triple J. Since Chris’ arrival in the UK, he was written songs with a multitude of upcoming artists including Billy Locket’s Radio 2 playlists single ‘Empty House,’ the critically acclaimed come-back single for Chloe Howl “Magnetic” along with various tracks for Parlophone signed Elderbrook and new material with Aquilo.
Never neglecting his production and mix work, Chris has recently been in the studio with Fickle Friends, producing and mixing their last EP release ‘Broken Sleep,’ and the debut album for Spotify’s buzz band VHS Collection called ‘Retrofuturism.’ Chris is currently in the studio producing the debut album for Good Soldier signing, Larkins, having recently been nominated as ‘Ones To Watch’ at the 2019 AIM Awards, we’re excited to hear the results.
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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