Charlie Francis - Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Musician

Charlie Francis was born in York, so keen to experience the 1960’s that he got here 6 weeks early. At secondary school he became obsessed with music and a fortuitous meeting with Jon McLoughlin in the school dinner queue led to him becoming a bass guitar player.

At 19 Charlie moved to London to seek wider musical opportunities. He immediately got a gig with the ‘Punk Poet’ Patrik Fitzgerald, recording a single and touring Britain as part of Patrik’s band.

Next came a year long stint playing bass as part of ‘Toyah’, the band formed around actress and singer Toyah Willcox. An album, several tours and tv appearances and a live album filled a busy year. An Old Grey Whistle Test appearance was a highlight:

In the next few years Charlie worked on many studio sessions as a bass player, notably with Bert Jansch on recordings by Bert’s future wife Loren.

Having written songs from an early age he next formed his own band The Lost Boys with his old friend Jon McLoughlin and after a couple of false starts eventually signed a record deal with MCA records in 1986.

As with so many large record deals of the era, a complete change of personnel at MCA while Charlie and Jon were recording an album in New York meant that the record remained unreleased.

At this point Charlie decided that the studio was where his future lay and started to become versed in techniques of programming, sampling and engineering at London Bridge Studios in London.

While he was developing his skills he continued to write, and a song he wrote with Farrell Lennon ( ‘Suddenly’ ) was recorded by Parlophone artist Sean Maguire becoming a number 18 UK hit in 1994.

Meanwhile Charlie had started to work frequently as an engineer at Stone Room studios in West London from mid-1992. This was where he met Sean O’Hagan and the High Llamas, co-producing a number of songs on their Santa Barbara album which was released in 1992 eventually being re-released by V2.

Thus began a collaboration which took in the band’s next two albums ‘Gideon Gaye’ and ‘Hawaii’. More recently Charlie has worked with Sean on an album by Soy Un Caballo and invited Sean to write string arrangements for Poney Express’ Daisy Street album.

Charlie also worked with the larger indies such as Creation Records and Beggars Banquet throughout the nineties, producing many records.

In 1997 the call came from REM which saw Charlie working with them in Athens Georgia and San Francisco on what became the album ‘Up’. Subsequently Charlie also mixed their ‘Perfect Square’ live DVD and for several years became their trusted mixer for all European TV and radio broadcasts, including Glastonbury and Live 8.

In 2003 Charlie relocated to Cardiff where he quickly became familiar with the thriving local music scene and embarked upon a symbiotic relationship with Music Box studios which continues to this day.

Recently Charlie has revisited his songwriting skills through a number of collaborations alongside his continuing and extensive production and mix work.

He is always on the lookout for exciting artists and music which remains his consuming passion.