“My manager, Sandy Roberton, suggested I do some mixes on the Michael Hutchence album. This was right after Michael had died, so that was quite a surreal experience. There was one song on the album that Bono had guested on. After I did this mix, Bono called me and said, ‘I love it. I really think you saved the song. I’ll be in touch about maybe doing some mixing on our album.’
“I was laughing to myself because my manager had told me beforehand, ‘Mix this song. Bono sings on it, he’ll love it, and you’ll be working on the new U2 album.’ And it turned out, he was right – that’s how it all happened! So all kudos to Sandy for that one.
“U2 are the hardest-working band I’ve ever known, and mixing for them isn’t a fast process. I usually spend a day, maybe two, working on any mix, but with U2 mixing is just part of the ongoing re-evaluating process. They’ll hear a mix and say, ‘OK, now we’ve heard it that way. Time to rethink things.’
“I could sometimes spend seven days on a mix, then go upstairs to dinner, and while eating, I would hear the band playing the same song in the recording room. I would say, ‘I recognize that song,’ and somebody would answer, ‘Oh, yeah. They’re re-recording it. After hearing the mix, they now think they can get a better groove going.’
“Nothing is finished with U2 until the final mastering is complete. Bono is often known to be in the mastering room adding backing vocals in the final minutes. They have an unwritten rule that nothing gets approved unless they all like it. So it's hard to get a mix approved because you have to make sure that firstly the band loves it, and then you have Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Steve Lillywhite – and then the label has to like it, as well.
“I remember one night after I did the mix for Elevation, the band turned up, and they all seemed to love it. They even applauded at the end of it. I called my wife and I said, ‘Well, I think that one is done. They loved it.’ And she said, ‘No, it isn’t. You’re fooling yourself.’ And she was right – I spent another week mixing it!"