The Production Team:

David Lord & Warne Livesey


As well as running this website, I’m a self confessed recording studio geek!  I have always been fascinated with how records are made, and how the various sounds are committed to tape.  When I find the time, you’ll catch me in front of a reel-to-reel tape machine and rack of analogue equipment helping to create and capture all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds.  I have been chasing David and Warne for a number of years for their recollections of working with Europeans and How We Live, and I’m pleased to present the results!  They are a great read, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  Thanks to both for their time!


David Lord

After remixing (and remaking) a number of tracks for the Vocabulary album in 1983, David Lord went on to produce the Live and Recurring Dreams LPs for the Europeans, as well as the How We Live LP.  Many of the songs were recorded and mixed at David’s own Crescent Studios, in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath.  A popular, and well renowned studio throughout the 1980s, it played host to many other big acts of the era including The Korgis, Tears For Fears, XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen and many more.  David’s work on Peter Gabriel’s fourth LP (aka ‘Security’) was also groundbreaking, featuring some of the first digital sampling technology.  Crescent has long since closed, but David still lives in the city, and has a small studio at his home, with some of the original equipment.  I caught up with him in late November 2014 for a reminisce about Crescent, and his work with the band.  By his own admission, his memory is not what it used to be, but it is all good stuff nonetheless!  Thanks to David for his time, and use of his photographs.


Please have a look at David Lord‘s own website at for more information on his work.



How did you end up working with Europeans?


It was through Mark Thompson, who was managing me at the time.  He was managing Roy Harper then too.


Any recollections of the ‘Europeans - Live album’ ?


All I remember is doing some live stuff with them in a club in North London somewhere.  I think I just went along.  There was a mobile truck there. 


Tell us more about recording the Recurring Dreams album...


We did rhythm tracks up at Rockfield, and I suppose most of the overdubs at Crescent.  I remember at Rockfield, we used an acoustic piano, (the same one featured on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody!) but I seem to remember most of the piano was the Yamaha Electric Grand. Steve was having trouble with headphones and we ended up with his piano in the Control Room at Crescent, I’ve got a picture of it sloping up that way so he could stand between the two speakers.  He liked to play and sing at the same time.  We managed to record some of the vocals that way, using a Shure SM57 microphone.  We did a lot of that with Peter Gabriel too, recording ‘live’ with a Shure in the control room rather than all the pressures of being in front of a (big and expensive) U47 microphone!  We were pretty intensive with overdubbing.  I have a feeling we replaced the bass.  Colin would have played his guitars in the control room.  I think he had a radio transmitter to a stereo rig up in the studio.


Can you sum up your role as a producer?


I thought they were great songs.  I’ve always loved those songs. It’s awful that I can’t remember such things when you’ve worked so intensely on a lot of stuff.  Sometimes when I listen back to things I have no recollections that it was even me who recorded or produced it!  Some bands you feel you could contribute a lot to.  But a band like Europeans, I’m not sure they really needed a lot of my ideas.   They were pretty fully formed.  Warne probably contributed a lot too.  He’d worked with them before I knew them.  I enjoyed working with them.  I was surprised when they fell out.


Do you have any particular recollections of making the How We Live album?


A friend of mine’s husband, Bruno Schrecker was a famous cellist in the Allegri String Quartet.  I thought of having a real quartet (for the title track ‘Dry Land’).  They came and played in the foyer at Crescent, as it was more ‘live’.  I don’t think they had done any overdubbing before, so wearing headphones was a bit odd for them.  It just about worked out alright. 


There’s a little chapel near here that was used for art exhibitions.  It was a graveyard behind the studio, and when they redeveloped the area they dug up all the graves and the chapel was left there.  For the acoustics, we put an amp in the chapel and ran a guitar lead down there.  Bands used to rehearse in there!  We once recorded the Burundi Drummers in the field behind the studio.  I quickly set up some microphones around them and we tried to spread the word round Bath to get an audience down!



Crescent Studio, Bath


David Reels





Manny Elias, drummer for Tears for Fears appears on the album.  Was that your connection too?


Manny was our local drummer.  I only ever did one track with Tears for Fears called ‘Suffer the Children’.  Although we did all their stuff up ‘til then as they were an acoustic duo managed by a local hairdresser who discovered them.  We did lots of demos in my flat down the road.  Glenn Tommey (my assistant) turned them into a ska band called ‘Graduate.’  They did a lot of gigging and touring before they became Tears for Fears.  When they released their first album, they re-recorded ‘Suffer the Children’ but my version was used as the b-side of the ‘Mad World’ single.



Are you still producing?  What have you been up to recently?


Anything that I find interesting and suits my set up.  It’s a small recording space.  The occasional singer or instrumentalist.  I’ve done a lot of new age stuff.  Until a year ago or so I did some TV and film stuff, such as Cracker, Ruth Rendell Mysteries & Rebus.  I’m still working with some guys from the Korgis and Stackridge.  I’m doing a lot of archiving and ‘rescuing’ for people.  I’m currently transferring some 78s and some BBC test pressings of the ‘Westminster Cathedral Choir’ from the 1940s and 50s.  I find that, and sound restoring really interesting.  I still do some mixing too, although it tends to be folk-y stuff, not heavy rock.  I’ve written some music for a couple of radio plays.  There’s a singer called Chloe Goodchild, and also a girl called Stevie Nicole Brown that we found busking in Bath.  She’s just started to write her own songs which are quite promising. (Visit her site at ) If someone comes along like that that I think is worth helping, I will, otherwise I consider myself semi retired.  I’ve got my pension now!


Here are a handful of great Europeans photographs taken by David Lord during the ‘Recurring Dreams’ overdub sessions at Crescent Studios, Bath in the summer of 1984:


Mr Dugmore Mr Hogarth


Mr Hogarth on the keys MTV


Ferg and Steve Warne




Warne Livesey



Starting as a demo engineer for Europeans, Warne progressed to engineer for Recurring Dreams and then the How We Live album.  Working closely alongside David Lord, they helped capture the sound of a band at their peak.  After working with Euros and HWL, Warne worked with Matt Johnson on two The The albums, followed by increasingly high profile producer roles with Midnight Oil (Diesel and Dust), Julian Cope and Deacon Blue.

He currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada, at his own studio ‘The Command Centre’.  I interviewed Warne by Email in June 2015.


Visit Warne’s website at


How did you come to work with ‘Europeans’ ?


I had been doing a fair bit of work at a Wave Studios (my own projects and productions etc) and Europeans booked in to do demos. They needed an engineer and the studio owner asked me to do the session as I freelanced for him a fair bit. I remember they brought in a lot of gear to the session.  More than would be typical at that studio, as it was more of a low budget studio and they were a band with a major label deal. I specifically remember Steve having a lot of keyboards and racks. Whilst I was setting up microphones they had a piano tuner work on his Yamaha CP70. After an hour the band arrived and Steve went over and switched on all the racks and started playing the CP70 with a load of chorus, delay and reverb on it. It was the 80s after all! After a few minutes he looked at the piano tuner and said, “sounds great, thanks”. The piano tuner looked confused. That was the first time I met them all.


We had pretty guerrilla sessions. They had some great songs and we got on really well. The band were very pro and had their shit together. They were all strong players. So we basically blasted through bed tracks and did overdubbed vocals and a few extra bits. I got sounds pretty quickly and it all sounded pretty good for demos.


You worked alongside David Lord in the mid 80s.  How did the engineer / producer relationship work in the studio?


After the experience working with them on those demos I guess they liked what I did as they suggested to David Lord (who they had decided would produce the record) if he would be OK with me engineering. David was open to the idea and asked to meet me, which we did and got on well. I was really excited to work with him. I loved his work, particularly the 4th Peter Gabriel record. After we worked on the Europeans he asked me to engineer for him on a bunch of other records. I learned a lot from him. He is a seminal producer to me. He is a great musician. And also understands sounds and is a great engineer. He is an audiophile, but his desire to create new sounds would lead him to treat all the rules with a healthy amount of contempt.  And I guess we were on the same page in that regard.


Up until that point, I had had an atypical journey in recording. I started as a musician. I never worked in a studio as a staffer, so I didn’t come up through the ranks of assistant etc. In fact I produced a record before I learned how to engineer. But I was hungry for all knowledge about recording. So I looked for every opportunity to make records with people, in any capacity. David understood how music and sounds related. He was an expert at crafting all elements of music so they blended and enhanced the whole. He was creative himself, with lots of ideas. But also encouraged everyone else to be enthusiastic about contributing. He was how I imagine George Martin would be, and how I aspire to be: inspiring the artiste to be the best version of themselves whilst also contributing your own creativity.


Although I had produced, engineered, written and played on recordings before then, working on "Recurring Dreams" was a very important record in my career. Everything I had done to that point was low budget and Indie. People would come to me with maybe £10k and say, can we make an album? And you would make it work. But working with the Europeans was my first experience of a major label budget. I don’t know what that record cost. But I would guess 10 times what I was used to. So, even though I had worked with many talented and accomplished people to that point, this was the first time I experienced really doing a fully pro record. And David Lord being at the helm with all his experience showed me how it was done… and that knowledge would become invaluable in the near future.



Can you remember any unique recording techniques or set-ups that the band used?


Yes. So, with all the pieces in place, off we all went to the legendary Rockfield Studios in South Wales, to make the record for real. We set the drums up in a different room to the rest of the band. It was acoustically great, but a bit weird for communication. We tracked beds with everyone playing, but were really only focused on drums and bass, which we printed to a 16 track 2” Studer tape machine. This was David’s call upon learning the studio had a 16 track head block. And it was solid gold ladies and gents and all those interested in recording things, because this is about as good as it gets. Even to this day you will not hear better sounds than those recorded on a 16 track 2” Studer. You had to have SMPTE time code on one track then we filled the remaining 15 tracks with drum and bass madness. What’s more, after we had completed all the rhythm track recordings, we bounced them to a 24 track slave (reducing the 15 tracks to 5) so we had 18 tracks to record overdubs to.  They had a Trident console there at the time, which sounded great. And we used a lot of chorus and delays and synths and shit. It was the 80’s after all. And we got good a Space Invaders.



Mixing at the desk

After we finished recording, the band asked me where I would like to mix. To be honest, the concept of mixing in a different studio was alien to me at the time. But I had read "Sound On Sound”, and I knew people, and it was the early 80’s, and everyone was a buzz with SSL, and I loved Trevor Horn, and I knew he and Julian Mendelson and Gary Langan worked at Sarm Studios, so I said Sarm. And they said “OK”. Then I privately freaked out. I had no idea how an SSL worked. Never seen one. I just thought it would be awesome. I had a few weeks to prep, so I called SSL and said, “look, I’ve got myself into a bit of a pickle.  I’m an engineer and I’ve never worked on one of your consoles, but I’m booked into Sarm to mix a record in a few weeks and… help!”. They said, “No problem. come to Oxford and we’ll give you a manual and let you play in our studio for a day and it will all be good”. So that’s what I did. I got the train there one day and they gave me a bit of instruction and a manual, and then they left me in their studio and said, “pick a multitrack and have fun”. I went through the box and found a copy of “Making Plans For Nigel”, by XTC, and produced by the incredible Steve Lillywhite, and thought “Yer, baby!”. And I sat there for a day, doing my own mix of “Making Plans For Nigel” and learning how to use an SSL.



After Europeans split, you worked with Steve and Colin on the ‘How We Live’ album.  How was this different from working with the Euros?


Yep. Well, it was different, and the same. The music was mellower and I produced some of the latter.



Did you enjoy working at Crescent Studios in Bath, and do you have any particular memories of your time there?


Yes, I loved working there. I did a lot of work there with David and also took my own projects there sometimes. Bath is a great city and a cool place to spend time in. I remember there was a quirky B&B I stayed in there. The couple that ran it were kind of nutty and charming. The woman used to wake us up for breakfast by singing opera down a cheap intercom. It was kind of a ‘Fawlty’ Towers experience!


Are there any standout songs that you remember working on?


Well, ‘You Don’t Want Me In Your Life’ and ‘Acid Rain’ were cool.

Have you seen Steve, Colin, Ferg, Geoff or David since working with them in the 80s?


Well, by coincidence, Geoff married my manager and I used Geoff on a few sessions with other artists, so I did see him a fair bit. Also, I got Steve to play a piano solo on a The The record, but that was technically still the 80’s. Colin and I remained friends and saw each other from time to time. But I guess I haven’t seen any of them in 20 years or so, which makes me sad. Still, I haven’t seen bits of myself in that long, so there you go. What I do know is, if I did see them I would give them a big hug and it would be like it was yesterday when we were all young whipper-snappers.


Your post-Euros cv is filled with many amazing credits.  Which other bands or artists have you particularly enjoyed working with?


Thanks. As I said earlier, that experience would prove invaluable when I started to get bigger production gigs myself. The The was the first big production gig for me. And is still one of my favourite projects. I did 2 records with Matt. They were very exacting recordings, taking a year each. Matt Johnson is an incredible talent and we really pushed ourselves on those records to make something unique. We also had pretty limitless resources and got to work with great players, orchestra, horns and even a male voice choir. It was good times. Then I’ve done 4 albums with the Australian band Midnight Oil that were great fun too. I love Australia, and the band were killer. I also work a lot with a Canadian artist called Matthew Good. We are actually just finishing up our 7th album together. But to be honest, I pretty much enjoy every record I work on. I love recording and music people. And I only take work I’m really into. So it’s always fun and challenging in a good way.


Mr Livesey 

December 2015

Back to Articles