SolidStateLogic, has announced that Rik Simpson has installed a Matrix Console in Coldplay’s Beehive studio in North London. Coldplay set up the Beehive in 2010, and Chris Martin asked Rik to be involved in the design and build of the new studio. The band recorded the majority of the Viva la Vida at the Beehive with Rik as engineer. Viva la Vida went on to win three Grammys and Rik went on to co-produce (as well as engineer) Coldplay’s fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, at the Beehive last year. He tried out the Matrix in the process – and kept it.
Mylo Xyloto went platinum in theUS after just two months and was nominated for Best Recorded Album at the BRIT Awards yesterday, where Coldplay took home the award for Best British Group, the band’s seventh BRIT.
Rik first started using SSL consoles when he was fifteen. “Over the years I’ve learned different consoles but I do find myself coming back to SSL equipment which is why we have the Matrix in the studio now,” he said. “Matrix has changed the process in the studio by making things more fluid and quick. The band are fast workers and there isn’t a great deal of time to set stuff up, so any time I can save through having something as easy to use as the Matrix is a great thing.”
When choosing a new console for the Beehive, Rik wanted a nimble console that could recall settings between sessions. “We had another console which wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do so I was looking for a small footprint console that I could sum through and have control over all my balances internally in Pro Tools. I didn’t really need any mic amps because we have a whole load of boutique and valve mic amps that we’ve accumulated. I found out about the Matrix and also found about the ability to use the faders as a DAW controller, which means if I’m mixing I can do, for example, all my vocal levels with the faders and it writes the automation into Protools, with is great. So you get a clear transient signal path that isn’t coloured much but is just punchy and full, with the added bonus of being able to do all your fader moves and rides and automation actually on a work surface as opposed to just using a mouse. It’s a very well thought out desk and there are options that you don’t really have on any other desk. I got it in to try out and it stayed here.”
The Matrix is the now the centerpiece of the Beehive and sits in the middle of the large hall, which has no control room. “The Matrix fits into the Coldplay set-up as a kind of hub for everything to come into before it hits the speakers. On a typical Coldplay session I sit here kind of at the helm. I see my role as the conduit for all the noise that is coming my way, so I’m the interface between the tape recorder and the band and I try to make that as effortless as possible for the band so they don’t really realize I’m there. Then they can just do their thing and make a noise…”
Rik first worked with Coldplay on their second album, Rush of blood to the Head, at Mayfair Studios in 2002. When the album was finished, Rik went on tour with the band, helping them with extra keyboards and backing tracks of strings and percussion. Alongside producing with Coldplay, Rik has worked with a number of other artists, including Jay-Z, Jamelia, Kasabian, Natalie Imbruglia, Portishead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and PJ Harvey.
SSL have recorded a six-minute video of Rik talking about how he records and mixes the ‘Best British Group’ (BRIT Awards 2012). You can watch it at www.solidstatelogic.com/music/matrix/video.asp