Strokes Producer, Gordon Raphael Talks To Berlin Students

6 January, 2016

What do The Libertines, Regina Spektor, The Plastics and The Strokes have in common?

Time’s up…! The answer is, they’ve all been produced by Gordon Raphael.

Gordon started out as a musician, playing keyboards in bands during the height of grunge in the 1990s, before making the move to music production. Since then he’s worked with artists of many genres, including high profile, critically acclaimed records like Regina Spektor’s Soviet Kitsch and The Strokes’ Is This It. The latter would of course go on to sell millions of copies around the world, eventually being voted NME’s Number 1 ‘Album of the Decade’ and taking the Number 2 position in Rolling Stone.

In addition Gordon has worked on musical projects with Ian Brown, Damon Albarn and Skin of Skunk Anansie, keeping his output varied and his standards high. Resident in Berlin since 2005 – by way of his Seattle hometown, and later New York and London – Gordon visited BIMM Berlin to share some musical escapades and advice with our students.

Gordon told how, after getting a taste for the recording process, he made the move to New York where he worked at Transporterraum Studio, switching comfortably between analogue skills and new digital technology in his work.

Landing the gig to produce The Strokes’ debut in the early noughties was a landmark moment, but not without its hitches, as Gordon explained:

“When I played the mixes for The Strokes’ debut album Is This It, the president of RCA Records at the time said to me, “This is the worst sounding record I’ve ever heard!” I just barely managed to squeak out, “I disagree!”…”

Luckily, history and record sales would prove him right! Gordon had some sound advice (pun intended…) for BIMM’s budding producers:

“Ask the artist what they want to sound like. So many producers are preoccupied with putting their own stamp on the sound that they forget that they’re producing someone else’s music.”

Gordon’s artist-led approach has made him a popular choice of producer for many musicians, and his friendly Q&A session at BIMM Berlin has made him even more popular with our students. Luckily, we’ll be seeing more of Gordon when he joins BIMM Berlin as visiting faculty on our Music Production course.

Read more about our Music Production courses below:

BA (Hons) Electronic Music Production

BA (Hons) Music & Sound Production 

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