Dave Bascombe’s career in production began at Maison Rouge studios 30 years ago where he worked with bands including Echo & The Bunnymen, Wham! and Culture Club. “It was fantastic, really exiting, a real resurgence of that kind of pop that had been so naff in the 70s,” he remembers. His big break, though, as engineer and ultimately producer came with Tears For Fears…
“It was the big one really,” he says. “On Songs From The Big Chair I was engineer and on The Seeds Of Love I was co producer and recorded and mixed it too. That track has gone into a bit of folklore [as taking an age to record]. It’s true to say the album [The Seeds Of Love] took a long time, maybe two years, for various reasons but that track was one of the fairly straightforward ones despite there being a lot going on. It had proper direction and was planned quite carefully. Looking back it was quite remarkable really.”
Over the years Dave has also worked a lot with the Mute label with bands like Depeche Mode and Erasure and, more recently, has worked with a very diverse range of artists. Last year, for example, he worked with Placebo, Aha and Korn!
Bascombe is currently setting up his own room at Metropolis Studios and has had Focusrite’s Liquid Mix installed there for several months now.
“I love it,” he says. “The sound is great and I love the fact that I can choose to make up my favourite EQ. In fact now it’s the default setting which is a couple of bands from a Neve and the top end of something else. I like to be able to mix and match. I also did some comparisons with some software emulations and it [Liquid Mix] just seems to have that something extra, something fruity, something more like the real thing. It has a bit more balls compared to other stuff I’ve used. I use it on all my stuff, pretty much everything I’ve been doing for the last few months.”
“I have a lot of other stuff but the Liquid Mix is one thing that I do choose for particular things, like I might use the Neve EQ for guitar. It’s the emulations I like because they do seem to have something that’s a bit more chunky and immediate sounding than software ones.”
Dave is as busy as ever and currently working with Funeral For A Friend and Bruce Springsteen. After 30 years in the business though, he still has as much enthusiasm for the role as ever…
“I’m just still trying to make the perfect mix — a great mix without too much grief.” he says, and then adds modestly: “It’s funny that the ones that people talk about I sometimes think were a bit of an accident!”
“People sometimes think of me as a safe pair of hands or they might have liked stuff I’ve done in the past: the Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears and more recently the rock stuff. In this industry people get pigeonholed very easily and I’m lucky enough to have avoided that. I just think I’ve been incredibly lucky and I still love it!”