Flood (producer)

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Mark "Flood" Ellis
Birth nameMark Ellis
Born (1960-08-16) 16 August 1960 (age 58) [1]
London, England
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk, synthpop, electronica
Occupation(s)Record producer, audio engineer, musician
InstrumentsGuitar, keyboards, vocals
Years active1978–present

Mark Ellis (born 16 August 1960), known by his professional pseudonym Flood, is a British post-punk and alternative rock record producer and audio engineer. Flood's list of work includes projects with recording acts like New Order, U2, Nine Inch Nails, Marc and the Mambas, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Ministry, The Charlatans, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Erasure, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, Foals, a-ha, Orbital, Sigur Rós, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers, White Lies, Pop Will Eat Itself and Warpaint. His co-production collaborations have included projects with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Steve Lillywhite, and longtime collaborator Alan Moulder, with whom he co-founded the Assault & Battery studio complex. In 2006, his work with U2 led to his sharing of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb .

Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. These communities produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.

Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1980s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock. Although the genre evolved in the late 1970s and 1980s, music anticipating the sound of the genre can be found as early as the 1960s, with bands such as The Velvet Underground.

New Order (band) British rock band

New Order are an English rock band formed in 1980 by vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris. The band formed after the demise of Joy Division, following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis; they were joined by Gillian Gilbert on keyboards later that year. New Order's integration of post-punk with electronic and dance music made them one of the most acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s. They were the flagship band for Manchester-based independent record label Factory Records and its nightclub The Haçienda, and worked in long-term collaboration with graphic designer Peter Saville.


He is not to be confused with Mark Ellis, the bassist from the British mod revival band The Lambrettas from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The mod revival was a music genre and subculture that started in England in 1978 and later spread to other countries. The mod revival's mainstream popularity was relatively short, although its influence lasted for decades. The mod revival post-dated a Teddy Boy revival, and mod revivalists sometimes clashed with Teddy Boy revivalists, skinhead revivalists, casuals, punks and rival gang members.

The Lambrettas are an English mod revival band, first active in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Named after the iconic Italian Lambretta scooter brand popular among Mods, the band was formed in Lewes. Their original line-up consisted of Jez Bird (singer/guitarist), Doug Sanders (guitarist/vocalist), Mark Ellis (bassist) and Paul Wincer (drummer).

Early years

Mark Ellis was born on 16 August 1960 in London, England. [1] As a child, Ellis attended St Olave's Grammar School in Orpington, England. He began his music career as the vocalist for the band Seven Hertz. During that same time, he began his professional studio career as a runner at Morgan Studios in London, [2] where he also served as Tape Operator on 1984 by Rick Wakeman. Ellis also was a runner at Battery Studios in London and held apprenticeships at Marcus Studios and Trident Studios. [3]

St Olaves Grammar School secondary school in Orpington, Greater London, England

St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School is a boys selective secondary school in Orpington, Greater London, England. The school is also known as St Olave's Grammar School, or simply St Olave's. It has admitted girls to its sixth form since 1998.

Orpington town in the London Borough of Bromley in London, England

Orpington is a town and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bromley, Greater London, England, at the south-eastern edge of London's urban sprawl. It is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. Orpington is in the traditional county of Kent.

Morgan Studios, also known as Morgan Sound Studios, were recording studios at 169-171 High Road, Willesden, north west London. The studios were notable for many recordings of the 1960s and 1970s by some of the most important British bands and artists such as Ten Years After, Arrows, Yes, The Kinks, Donovan, Vivian Stanshall, Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Greenslade, Joan Armatrading, Cat Stevens, Paul McCartney, Jethro Tull, Rod Stewart, Black Sabbath, UFO and The Cure. The studio was also notable for having the first 24-track tape machine in England made by Ampex.

Freelance and Some Bizzare Records

Flood moved up to house engineer before going freelance in 1981, the same year he worked as assistant engineer on New Order's debut album, Movement . The following year, he engineered Ministry's debut album, With Sympathy . He then became associated with Stevo's Some Bizzare Records label, leading to work with Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV, and Marc Almond's side project, Marc and the Mambas, among others. [2]

Audio engineer engineer who operates recording, mixing, sound reproduction equipment

An audio engineer helps to produce a recording or a live performance, balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization and audio effects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound. Audio engineers work on the "...technical aspect of recording—the placing of microphones, pre-amp knobs, the setting of levels. The physical recording of any project is done by an engineer ... the nuts and bolts." It's a creative hobby and profession where musical instruments and technology are used to produce sound for film, radio, television, music, and video games. Audio engineers also set up, sound check and do live sound mixing using a mixing console and a sound reinforcement system for music concerts, theatre, sports games and corporate events.

<i>Movement</i> (New Order album) 1981 studio album by New Order

Movement is the debut studio album by English rock band New Order, released on 13 November 1981 by Factory Records. At the time of its release, the album was not particularly well-received by critics or audiences, only peaking at number thirty on the UK Albums Chart. However, retrospective critical reception has been very positive.

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American industrial metal band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include vocalists Nivek Ogre, Chris Connelly and Burton C. Bell, guitarists Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor, bassists Paul Barker, Paul Raven, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos and Paul D'Amour, drummers Bill Rieflin, Martin Atkins, Rey Washam and Roy Mayorga, keyboardist John Bechdel, and rappers/producers DJ Swamp and Arabian Prince.

Mute Records

Following his work with Some Bizzare Records, Flood began working with Mute Records as one of their preferred producers, heralding his first production project with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on From Her to Eternity (1983–1984) and the follow-up album, The Firstborn Is Dead (1984). His work at Mute was as producer, co-producer or engineer with each of the label's major acts, including Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke and Erasure, whose debut album Wonderland (1986) and its followup The Circus (1987) he engineered.

Mute Records Ltd. is a British independent record label owned and founded in 1978 by Daniel Miller. It has featured several prominent musical acts on its roster such as Depeche Mode, Erasure, Fad Gadget, Goldfrapp, Grinderman, Inspiral Carpets, Moby, New Order, Nitzer Ebb, Wire, Yeasayer, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Yazoo, and M83.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Australian alternative rock band

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in 1983 by vocalist Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey and guitarist Blixa Bargeld. The band has featured international personnel throughout its career and presently consists of Cave, violinist and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, bassist Martyn P. Casey, guitarist George Vjestica, keyboardist/percussionist Toby Dammit and drummers Thomas Wydler (Switzerland) and Jim Sclavunos. The band has released sixteen studio albums and completed numerous international tours, and has been considered "one of the most original and celebrated bands of the post-punk and alternative rock eras in the '80s and onward".

<i>From Her to Eternity</i> 1984 studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

From Her to Eternity is the debut studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released on 18 June 1984 on Mute. Produced by Flood and the band itself, the album's title is a pun on the James Jones novel, From Here to Eternity, and its subsequent 1953 film adaptation.

Mainstream commercial success

Flood's first mainstream commercial break came in 1987 when he engineered U2's The Joshua Tree alongside producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Shortly thereafter he co-produced Nine Inch Nails on debut Pretty Hate Machine along with John Fryer, Adrian Sherwood, and Keith LeBlanc. He also worked with Depeche Mode on their 1990 album, Violator . In 1991 he returned to work again with U2 on Achtung Baby along with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite. The following year, he also returned to work with Depeche Mode to record the album Songs of Faith and Devotion and co-produced three tracks of Nine Inch Nails' Broken EP. [4]

U2 Four-member Irish rock band, from Dublin

U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr.. Initially rooted in post-punk, U2's musical style has evolved throughout their career, yet has maintained an anthemic quality built on Bono's expressive vocals and the Edge's effects-based guitar textures. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal and sociopolitical themes. Popular for their live performances, the group have staged several ambitious and elaborate tours over their career.

<i>The Joshua Tree</i> 1987 studio album by U2

The Joshua Tree is the fifth studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and was released on 9 March 1987 on Island Records. In contrast to the ambient experimentation of their 1984 release, The Unforgettable Fire, the band aimed for a harder-hitting sound within the limitation of conventional song structures on The Joshua Tree. The album is influenced by American and Irish roots music, and through sociopolitically conscious lyrics embellished with spiritual imagery, it contrasts the group's antipathy for the "real America" with their fascination with the "mythical America".

Brian Eno English musician, composer, record producer and visual artist

Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI is an English musician, record producer, visual artist, and theorist best known for his pioneering work in ambient music and contributions to rock, pop, and electronica. A self-described "non-musician", Eno has helped introduce unique conceptual approaches and recording techniques to contemporary music. He has been described as one of popular music's most influential and innovative figures.

In 1993, Flood shifted from engineering U2's albums to producing them, sharing duties with Brian Eno and The Edge on Zooropa . [5] In 1994, he worked again with Nine Inch Nails, this time on The Downward Spiral . In 1995 Flood co-produced The Smashing Pumpkins' album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness with longtime collaborator Alan Moulder, and PJ Harvey's album To Bring You My Love . Shortly thereafter, he assisted producer Nellee Hooper on Sneaker Pimps' Becoming X . [6] He also collaborated with Dave Bessell, Gary Stout and Ed Buller to create Node; an analogue synth heavy project that produced a single album, Node.

In 1996 Flood teamed up with U2 once again to produce Pop , released the next year. The following year, he assisted Billy Corgan and Brad Wood on The Smashing Pumpkins's 1998 album Adore and co-produced PJ Harvey's album Is This Desire? .

2000 to 2005

In 2000 he co-produced Machina/The Machines of God by The Smashing Pumpkins with Corgan. He also co-produced Erasure's Loveboat with Vince Clarke and Andy Bell of Erasure. The following year Flood worked again with Depeche Mode, remixing the single version of "Freelove", and in 2002 he produced Richard Warren's Echoboy album Giraffe. He also co-produced I To Sky , by JJ72.

In 2003 Flood re-worked Cars for Gary Numan's album Hybrid. The following year he produced London based The Duke Spirit's debut album Cuts Across The Land . In the same year he co-produced U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb . In 2004 he produced Soulwax's album Any Minute Now and in mid-2005 he mixed a-ha's eighth album, Analogue , and produced Yourcodenameis:Milo's debut album Ignoto . Later that year, Flood also mixed Placebo's album Meds .

2006 to 2013

Flood co-produced The Killers' album, Sam's Town in 2006 with fellow English producer/engineer Alan Moulder. Later that year he remixed the debut single by Dark Room Notes, Love Like Nicotine. At the beginning of 2007, he co-produced PJ Harvey's album White Chalk with John Parish and PJ Harvey. He also co-produced a couple of songs on the Goldfrapp album Seventh Tree , which was released in February 2008. In late 2007/early 2008, he produced Sigur Rós's Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust in Iceland. [7]

Flood and Paul Hartnoll of Orbital co-produced the 2008 album by The Music, Strength in Numbers . He produced the 2009 album by The Hours, See the Light . He joined Steve Lillywhite again in 2008 to work with Thirty Seconds to Mars, on This Is War . And then worked with Editors on In This Light and on This Evening . He also collaborated with Nitzer Ebb again to finish up their first new release in over a decade, Industrial Complex . In 2010, he produced Belong by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Let England Shake by PJ Harvey.

In 2013, Flood worked again with Depeche Mode, being responsible for the mixing process of their album "Delta Machine", which was produced by Ben Hillier.


Flood had a studio in Kilburn called The Bedroom. [8] He later opened the Assault & Battery studio complex with longtime recording partner Alan Moulder. [9] In 2008, Miloco Studios opened Assault & Battery 2, a tracking and mix studio in Willesden Green. Assault & Battery 1 came under the Miloco umbrella in Summer 2009, and both Flood and Moulder remain involved with the studios.

Production style

Frequent collaborator Billy Corgan has said of Flood, "Flood's incredible. Flood is a tremendous producer. Flood is very masterful with the sonics, but where he really shines is he's a great idea person. And I don't mean like he tells you, "Oh, put this chorus here." It's more like he can see an ambiance of the song that you don't necessarily see and he would really fight with us – not negative a fight, just he would really kind of push us to say there's another vibe here that you can get to." [10]


According to producer Mark Freegard, Ellis' pseudonym, "Flood," was given to him by producer Chris Tsangarides during Ellis' early days at Morgan Studios and while The Cure was there recording. As a young studio runner, Ellis was responsible for responding to numerous requests from the recording artists and staff for tea and bacon sandwiches. Ellis kept up with the numerous requests for tea while the other runner remained largely unavailable, leading to Tsangarides nicknaming them "Flood" and "Drought," respectively. [11]

Selected engineering/production credits

Selected production credits: [12]

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  1. 1 2 Flood listing at allmusic.com
  2. 1 2 Dave Thompson, Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman Books, 2000, p. 767
  3. "Flood and Howie B: Producing U2's Pop", Sound on Sound, Jul 1997
  4. "Nine Inch Nails: Biography", Rolling Stone
  5. John Pareles, "A Raucous U2 Moves Farther Out on a Limb", New York Times, Jul 1993
  6. "Sneaker Pimps Sign With Tommy Boy", Billboard, Oct 2001
  7. "Sigur Ros Tap Producer Flood for LP5", Spin, Nov 2007
  8. , milocostudios.com
  9. John Payne, "Editors and Producer Flood Bring Synths to the Forefront, Record to Tape, and Make Mistakes Great", EQ Magazine, Feb 2010/
  10. "Guitar Center Interviews Billy Corgan Archived 2 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine "
  11. "Which Would You Prefer In Your Studio: Flood or Drought?" Record-Producer.com
  12. "allmusic – Flood, Credits". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 16 May 2011.