Born in London (UK) on 5 March 1960, Nick Launay started working at Tape One studios in London when he was 18 years old. He was trained to edit hit songs for K-tel Top 20 compilation albums, reducing their length to 2½ minutes in order to fit 20 songs on one album. One night he was editing and reconstructing an experimental version of 'Pop Muzik' by UK pop band M for his own amusement, when he was visited by mastering engineer Denis Blackham. Blackham was so impressed with the new extended version, he played it the next day to M’s Robin Scott. Launay says his version was released as a 12-inch single and became a Top 10 hit in the UK and other countries.
In 1980, Launay moved to Virgin Records’ Townhouse studios, where he worked as an assistant engineer on albums including The Jam’s Sound Affects and XTC’s Black Sea, assisting producers John Leckie, Tony Visconti, Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham. He worked for two months as engineer on Kate’s album The Dreaming.
His first major production role was on the fifth album by Midnight Oil, '10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1' (1982). He went on to produce albums by other bands including Blue October, Public Image Ltd, Gang of Four, Killing Joke, The Birthday Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Nick Launay about Kate Bush
She had all these wild ideas. She would come in in the morning and go, in her very high voice, "Nick, can we make the drums sound like cannons?" So we would go in and try to make this drum kit sound like it was cannons going off – every kick drum, every snare. We made up these corrugated iron tunnels coming out of the drum kit, and we would mike up the tunnel. (Nick Launay, Mix Online, 1 February 2004)
- Nick Launay. Wikipedia, retrieved 20 September 2017.