Interview

Steven Wilson on creating a 5.1 mix of Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood

Marillion / Misplaced Childhood 5-disc deluxe edition

Steven Wilson gives SDE an insight into his 5.1 process

Steven Wilson has kindly answered a few questions SDE put to him with regards to his 5.1 mix of Marillion‘s Misplaced Childhood. This new mix features on the 4CD+blu-ray edition of the forthcoming reissue…

SuperDeluxeEdition: Who approached you with the request to create a 5.1 mix of Misplaced Childhood?

Steven Wilson: I’ve been friends with the band for a long time, and have worked on album tracks for them in the past. As a 12 year old lad I even “accidentally” attended their first ever gig (I won’t repeat the story here but it’s on my SW Remixes Facebook page for anyone interested). These days I socialise fairly regularly with Steve Rothery and his wife Jo, and it was he who asked me if I would be interested in doing it. It’s always nice when the invitation comes directly from the artist.

SDE: You’re a busy man. Is it therefore important for you to be a real fan of the work, if you are going to undertake a surround remix?

SW: Yes very much, I really love the album, it’s one of the best pop / rock records of the 80’s in my opinion. I made the mistake early on of remixing a couple of albums by other artists that I didn’t have a strong affinity with, and I don’t think I did the best job. Not bad perhaps, but without the attention to detail that someone who knew the albums intimately would have brought to them. So ever since it’s been important to me to do right by the fans by bringing my own fan’s perspective to any project, that “nerdy” attention to detail that only someone who knows an album inside out can bring to it.

SDE: Were there any particular challenges, in terms of creating this Marilion 5.1 mix?

SW: Yes, there’s not much on it! I was surprised, because obviously it’s quite a big sounding album, but that’s because it’s beautifully recorded. In fact at any one time there’s usually only drums, bass, one or two guitar / keyboard parts, and a lead vocal going on. Occasional solos of course, but there’s barely any backing vocals, and very little in the way of what you might call sound design. The album just works really well as a well composed suite, but it’s quite simple in the way it’s arranged and layered, a very economic recording. So it’s certainly not a whizz-bang 5.1 mix, and I don’t think it would have leant itself to that anyway. I would describe it as being closer to a more immersive interpretation of the stereo mix. Sometimes that can be the right approach to take in my opinion. The lead vocals on the original album are quite far back in the mix sometimes too, and I stayed pretty close to that template, even though I might have mixed them louder if I’d been doing the album from scratch. But still they sound great where they are, that’s just a personal thing.

SDE: When was this mix created?

SW: Spring 2016, it’s taken a while to come out, as some of these big deluxe edition projects do. It’s often the artwork, sleeve notes, and getting clearances on photos and archive recordings that delay things.

SDE: How did any approvals from the band work? Was Fish and the current Marillion line-up both involved?

SW: Steve R came and listened to it, and made some changes. Then I sent the files to the band, but to be honest I don’t know who actually got to hear it after that. I didn’t get any more changes requested.

SDE: Were you in touch with producer Chris Kimsey at any point?

SW: No, only the band.


Misplaced Childhood is also being reissued as a 4LP vinyl box

SDE: Your process is to create a stereo remix on the way to the 5.1. Why isn’t that new stereo mix of Misplaced Childhood included as part of the reissue?

SW: The original stereo mix is absolutely the way it should be, I matched at as close as I could before doing the 5.1, but I felt nothing would be gained by including it. In the past I’ve tended to send my new stereo mix to the band/label as a kind of “oh by the way…” but I heave learned that if you do this they will always include it! (extra selling point I guess, “New Mix!”) So I’ve actually stopped delivering one if I don’t feel there’s any significant improvement or variation. For example I didn’t submit a new stereo mix for Tears For Fears “The Seeds of Love” either, it’s one of the greatest stereo mixes ever in my opinion, so I’ll only get a kicking (rightfully) from the fans if I try to go up against that! One caveat to this is that there are some cases where the label *have* to include a new stereo mix – for example with the Yes reissues, Panegyric licensed the albums from Warners on the condition that a CD with the original Eddie Offord mix would not be part of the package, and therefore be in competition with their standard CD editions. It could only be included on the blu-ray/DVD, so I had to create a new stereo mix for the CDs, and in some cases that was a tough ask, especially with Close to the Edge, where there were even a few keyboard parts missing from the tapes.

SDE: You *did* create a new stereo and 5.1 mix of B-side Lady Nina, but why didn’t Freaks get the same treatment?

SW: I wasn’t given the multi-tracks for that song, maybe they are missing.

SDE: Did you have any involvement in the new remastering of Misplaced Childhood?

SW: No.

SDE: Have you/will you be doing similar work on other Marillion albums?

SW: Unfortunately these days I’m not able to do the same amount of remixing work as I was, as the increased momentum and work load coming from my own music have left me with less and less time. But I promised the band I would do Brave, because that’s a conceptual album that *is* very layered and has a lot of sound design in it, one of those albums that seems like it was almost recorded with a future 5.1 mix in mind. At least that’s my hunch at the moment, I haven’t started on it yet. I don’t know if the band plan to get any of the other albums mixed into 5.1 by someone else, or just stick to stereo on the other reissues in the series. But there are other guys out there that could do great surround mixes of that material for sure.


Thanks to Steven Wilson for answering these questions.
Read about his new album, To The Bone.


The 4LP vinyl reissue of Misplaced Childhood has now finally  come down to a reasonable price on Amazon UK and at the time of writing is now £54 for the four-LP ‘boxed’ set.

More to the point, they’ve finally got their act together and listed the 4CD+blu-ray edition which until now has been notable by its absence. This can be pre-ordered for a decent £25.

Misplaced Childhood will be issued on 21 July 2017.

Signed editions are these are available via the Marillion and Fish websites!

Compare prices and pre-order

Marillion

Misplaced Childhood - 4CD+DVD deluxe edition

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.74
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.73
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 35.67
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 29.69
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 29.69
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 35.58
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 42.77
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 29.99
FNAC fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 29.99
Currency:

Compare prices and pre-order

Marillion

Misplaced Childhood - 4LP vinyl box set

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 59.72
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 63.69
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 60.86
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 69.44
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 65.48
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 71.38
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 92.91
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 72.99
FNAC fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 72.99
Currency:

Misplaced Childhood / 5-disc box set

CD1 MISPLACED CHILDHOOD (2017 REMASTER)

  1. Pseudo Silk Kimono
  2. Kayleigh
  3. Lavender
  4. Bitter Suite
  5. Heart Of Lothian
  6. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
  7. Lords Of The Backstage
  8. Blind Curve
  9. Childhoods End?
  10. White Feather

CD2 LIVE AT UTRECHT 1985

  1. Emerald Lies (intro)
  2. Script For A Jester’s Tear
  3. Incubus
  4. Chelsea Monday
  5. The Web

CD3 LIVE AT UTRECHT 1985 (MISPLACED CHILDHOOD)

  1. Pseudo Silk Kimono
  2. Kayleigh
  3. Lavender
  4. Bitter Suite
  5. Heart Of Lothian
  6. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
  7. Lords Of The Backstage
  8. Blind Curve
  9. Childhoods End?
  10. White Feather
  11. Fugazi
  12. Garden Party
  13. Market Square Heroes

CD4 DEMOS & B-SIDES (2017 REMASTER)

  1. Lady Nina
  2. Freaks
  3. Kayleigh (Alternative Mix)
  4. Lavender Blue
  5. Heart Of Lothian
  6. Lady Nina (Steven Wilson Stereo Remix)
  7. Pseudo Silk Kimono (Demo)
  8. Kayleigh (Demo)
  9. Lavender (Demo)
  10. Bitter Suite: Brief Encounter/Lost Weekend (Demo)
  11. Lords Of The Backstage (Demo)
  12. Blue Angel (Demo)
  13. Misplaced Rendezvous (Demo)
  14. Heart Of Lothian: Wide Boy/Curtain Call (Demo)
  15. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) (Demo)
  16. Passing Strangers: Mylo/Perimeter Walk/Threshold (Demo)
  17. Childhood’s End? (Demo)
  18. White Feather (Demo)

BR

  1. Childhood Memories (Documentary 72 mins)
  2. Misplaced Childhood – Steven Wilson 5.1 Surround Mix
  3. Lady Nina – Steven Wilson 5.1 Surround Mix
  4. Lady Nina – Steven Wilson Stereo Remix
  5. Misplaced Childhood – 96/24 Stereo Remaster
  6. Kayleigh (Promo Video)
  7. Lavender (Promo Video)
  8. Heart of Lothian (Promo Video)
  9. Lady Nina (Promo Video)

Misplaced Childhood – 4LP edition

LPA MISPLACED CHILDHOOD (2017 REMASTER)

  1. Pseudo Silk Kimono
  2. Kayleigh
  3. Lavender
  4. Bitter Suite
  5. Heart Of Lothian

LPB MISPLACED CHILDHOOD (2017 REMASTER)

  1. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
  2. Lords Of The Backstage
  3. Blind Curve
  4. Childhoods End?
  5. White Feather

LPC LIVE AT UTRECHT

  1. Emerald Lies (intro)
  2. Script For A Jester’s Tear
  3. Incubus

LPD LIVE AT UTRECHT

  1. Chelsea Monday
  2. The Web

LPE LIVE AT UTRECHT

  1. Pseudo Silk Kimono
  2. Kayleigh
  3. Lavender
  4. Bitter Suite
  5. Heart Of Lothian

LPF LIVE AT UTRECHT

  1. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
  2. Lords Of The Backstage
  3. Blind Curve
  4. Childhoods End?
  5. White Feather

LPG LIVE AT UTRECHT

  1. Fugazi

LPH LIVE AT UTRECHT

  1. Garden Party
  2. Market Square Heroes

You might also like…

40 responses to Steven Wilson on creating a 5.1 mix of Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood

  1. Johnny H says:

    Hi Paul, great interview, thanks for posting. One thing about Steven, he always seems such a nice guy. And more than that, it appears that everything he adds his name to, not just the remixes but solo work and the music with other artists, is always of such a high standard, especially regards the packaging. I love the work he’s done on the Tull albums. The book format with dvds and bonus discs should have been the benchmark for bands like Zeppelin and Floyd to follow. Anyway, just ordered this.

  2. LeBaron says:

    Hi Paul,
    Great interview, as always!
    We’re even teased by a short comment about the still-to-be-released Deluxe box set of Tears for Fears’ Seeds of love.
    Can’t wait for both these releases!

  3. fabiofranco says:

    Great Q&A!, always a treat to know more about what’s going on behind this de-luxe projects and of course the work of Mr. Wilson. Very interesting the info about the Panegyric/Warner license details!

  4. Kauwgompie says:

    Super informative as always. Thank you Paul!

  5. adam shaw says:

    Enjoyed that very much Paul .
    Did he mention he was doing anymore Yes albums ?

  6. Andy P says:

    Does anybody know who was responsible for the remastering?

  7. Vince says:

    Great job Paul, I’m a big fan of SW’s work, now if we could only get an update on the long mentioned Roxy Music 5.1 mix!

  8. CJ Feeney says:

    Not much to surprise me in the interview, except perhaps the lack of band input/feedback to SW on the mix. Perhaps with the new album last year the drive for the process came from the record company rather than the band.

  9. Andrew M says:

    Awesome Paul. Really excited for this – but had forgotten I hadn’t preordered as the links weren’t live. Have now done so. Really informative interview and enjoyable – as always! The vinyl set and the five disc for less than £80. Well worth it!

  10. Andrew M says:

    Also just realized this is out the exact same day my second daughter is being delivered (due to circumstances we know in advance). That’s going to make a special album even more memorable!

  11. Mike Villano says:

    The next few months are a bumper crop for us hardcore SW fans. The remixes of “Songs From The Wood” and “Misplaced Childhood”, the upcoming new album, and a very nice-looking book about Porcupine Tree due around November.

  12. Mike Villano says:

    One more thing – Great interview, Paul! Been enjoying the site for years now. I don’t know if you ever saw an American zine from the 80s-00s called ICE Magazine, but I used to be managing editor of it for a few years. It was the first (maybe only) magazine that previewed new CDs, very much like SDE. You guys are a very worthy successor!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Kind words Mike, thanks! I do remember ICE – I confess I used to read it in Tower Records in Piccadilly when they had an enormous magazine section full of weird and wonderful mags and sometimes fanzines, from all over the world. Talking of SW, I’m excited because I have bagged second row tickets for the second of his Royal Albert Hall gigs next year. Just need to wait 10 months!!

    • Craig says:

      I loved that publication. Thank you very much for all the work that went into it.

  13. Dave H says:

    My bet is Tears For Fears releasing a new album this year with some tour dates. The STSOL super deluxe edition being released in 2019 as a 30th anniversary edition along with an anniversary tour playing the whole album in full.

    How does that sound Paul?

    • SimonP says:

      STSOL is a single ;)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      They’d never play the whole album in full. Having interviewed both of them for the notes in the reissue-that-hasn’t-happened-yet, it’s clear that Curt basically dislikes most of the record, save for Seeds, Badmans, Advice and Woman in Chains.

      I guess 2019 would make sense, but I really hope we don’t wait that long. Most of the work for this reissue was done in 2015!!

      Personally, I don’t think the new album will come out this year. It’s very hard to predict though. After the ‘roll’ of Hurting in 2013 and Songs in 2014 it’s been pretty disappointing how things have panned out. This has been entirely down to the band and their management.

      • Julian H says:

        In other words, the entire side 2 (not really ‘most of the record’ then)… which is a shame since certainly “Year of the Knife” and “Famous Last Words” have to be counted among TFF’s best songs ever, IMO. But since TFF didn’t play the first two albums from start to finish either, nothing surprising there…

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Good point, I guess ‘half’ of the record is a bit more accurate. He didn’t play on those songs and wasn’t there when they were recorded, so it’s not so surprising that he doesn’t feel passionately towards them!

          • Julian H says:

            I thought Curt played bass on all songs except “Badman” (on which he does sing one measly line though) and “Standing on the Corner…”, on both of which Pino Palladino played bass? Are the credits inaccurate?

            What about the b-sides? I’d love to hear “Always in the Past” live one day…

            Also, TFF did play “Falling Down” and “Raoul…” and continue to play “Break It Down Again”, neither of which had any involvement from Curt at all – not even on paper :-)

  14. elliott buckingham says:

    i just wish the cd version would flow without the old gap that would have been side 1 and side 2

    • CJ Feeney says:

      The live version of the album should flow – at least on the CD not on the LP
      Personally, I like releases that respect the original album and SW always respects the original artist’s intentions. This should be a great release.

      • Dave H says:

        Not if you have to get up to change CD2 to CD3!

      • Ex-Oligarch says:

        I grant you my memory may be faulty after all these years, but if I recall correctly, when I saw the tour for “Misplaced Childhood” in Los Angeles, the band did pause after “Heart of Lothian.” I always thought the closing of that song worked really well as a break point. (“And the man in the mirror has sad eyes.”)

  15. Thanks for the great interview
    I’m sad Steven is too busy to remix much this year as he has done such great work especially with King Crimson, Tull & Yes

  16. Michael G says:

    A great bloke and a good musician, please any Roxy Music 5.1 would be wonderful.

  17. Francisco says:

    Thanks for the interview, great stuff as usual!

  18. John D says:

    Would love a 5.1 of Godley & Creme’s masterful ‘Consequences’. SW has spoken highly of it in the past…
    Well, I can dream.

  19. Matthias says:

    Oh, this was a great read. Thanks for sharing! I love that Steven Wilson is so approachable and such a lover of the work he’s doing. When you wrote that he reached out to you first, I wasn’t even surprised.

  20. baward says:

    I really hope he will do more XTC; arguably some of their best albums (Black Sea & English Settlement in particular) have yet to be redone. Maybe they’re in the can already though.

    As good as he is, in some ways I am glad he seems to be scaling back his multichannel remix work and opening up opportunities for others. There must be talented engineers as keen as mustard to do what he does. As he says himself: “But there are other guys out there that could do great surround mixes [of that material] for sure.”

  21. Adam says:

    Only just seen this whilst browsing, although I ordered the set from Fish a while back. As always a great read.

    My only gripe is I’d love them to have started with a super deluxe box of ‘Script for a Jesters Tear’. I know a 5.1 mix would have been unlikely, but there were demos and live sets aplenty (I had some great live tapes from Aylesbury Friars) from the period.

    I recorded them at Liverpool Royal Court, traded the tape, as you did back then, and was amazed that my recording appeared on a bootleg vinyl album!

  22. Patrick R says:

    Has anyone noticed the mistake on page 11, bottom right hand column of the ‘book’? I think they might mean Gerry Anderson unless there is an unexpected link between Thunderbirds and Northern Ireland…..needless to say, I’ve sent a photo of it to Private Eye!

  23. Gisabun says:

    Parlophone has added an additional run of both BR/CD and vinyl editions but that will be it. Both Fish and Marillion may be signing further copies [see their respective web sites].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *