With a CV boasting credits such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, V for Vendetta, Jason Bourne, Atonement, Captain America, The Avengers and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, engineer, mixer and producer Nick Wollage has established himself as one of the most revered talents in the world of film and TV. Here, he tells Headliner about his route into the industry, how he came to ply his trade at the legendary Air Studios and the “indispensable” role of Neve consoles in his workflow…
How did you get into the world of mixing scores for TV and film? Was this something you always wanted to do?
When I set out on the path of being an engineer, I was only interested in making records. I listen to music all the time and I just wanted to be involved in the record production process. That’s what I was motivated by. Try as I might to avoid it, I kept getting sucked into doing TV and bits and bobs that weren’t records. This probably has something to do with the fact that the Tonmeister course at Surrey University infuses its graduates with a particular skillset that is appropriate for TV and film music. It’s a music degree, so you tend to be a bit more music savvy in a schooled, academic way, and the technical skills it teaches you marry very well with TV and film. So, I’d be in a recording studio and a job would come in for a TV show and I always seemed to get that job. It just happened by osmosis really, without me trying to move into that world.
Is that how you came to be working at Air Studios?
When I came to Air that very much was a conscious decision. I found myself being involved in film and TV projects here and there, and I still really wanted to be involved in the record industry, but work on that front was waning quite significantly by the mid-‘90s. So I saw an opportunity here and had a chat with Geoff Foster, who is the chief engineer here, and luckily got myself a job. That was a definitely a conscious move into film scoring.
How does Air compare to other studios?
One of the things you find when you work here is that you have to pull yourself up on it. It’s very easy to be spoilt by the array of equipment and the technical standards you can expect. It’s good to remind yourself that not everywhere is like this. You can apply a similar thing with the presence of George Martin. He was very present towards the end of his career and while he was still well.
The first time you meet someone like him it can be slightly overwhelming, but soon it becomes familiar. He was just an amazing ambassador for the place and the music industry in general. And people would always fall for his charms. The moment he’d appear in the doorway everything would stop, but not in an anxious way, it was like the head of the family had just walked in. I was lucky enough to work with him as well, as he was still making records then, and I was involved in a few of them so that was great.