In 1990 a former student at SAE (School Of Audio Engineering), Godrich was employed at the now defunct studio complex Audio One. It's not a time he has fond memories of. "I was literally a tea boy. It was a five-floor building, and I had a pager. All day it would be like, 'three teas and two coffees in studio one please', and I was like, 'I hate this, I hate this'. I remember sitting there, thinking, 'I'm on the fucking bottom rung of the ladder, this is terrible'. And telling myself, 'I've just got to stick with it', because I knew I was going to have to go through something like that."
When Audio One closed, Nigel was taken on at Rak, a studio frequently used by award-winning producer John Leckie, and this was to be his workplace for the next four years. It was through Leckie that he got involved with Radiohead.
"John uses Rak a lot because it's a great studio for recording bands, and I was house engineer there, so I'd known him for years. I tape op'd for him, I engineered a Ride album, a Denim album, and then he asked me if I wanted to do Radiohead."
That project was The Bends, a notoriously difficult album for the band to make, described by bass player Colin Greenwood as "eight weeks of hell and torture". Godrich doesn't quite remember that side of it. "I had no responsibility on The Bends, I was just an engineer. For me it was just like, hey, they've gone off to have another meeting, they're all looking a bit stressed out and they all disappear for half an hour."
Though he was brought in as an engineer, Godrich also got a taste of producing Radiohead when Leckie was absent.: "John went off to a wedding or something, and we did a load of B-sides. It was like the parents had gone away, and everybody had a really good time. And one of them, 'Black Star', ended up on the album."
These tracks would eventually lead to more work with Radiohead, but in the meantime Godrich quit his job at Rak to go freelance, and set up dance studio Shabang with partners Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker: "I didn't go freelance thinking I would have a career, I thought I was going to go and do dance music in my studio."
But then the phone started ringing, and six months down the line he found himself engineering and mixing on The Sound of McAlmont and Butler...
"That was a really brilliant experience for me, because Bernard Butler, who was producing, is so talented, and it was very inspiring. One of the things I learned from Bernard was to be a bit more adventurous. He was not a studio guy, but he knew what he wanted. One of the things I don't like about music these days is that it's so polished, you lose the character, the bare grit of it. So if somethings a bit wacky, or untidy, it's good. I think I learned that off Bernard."
Godrich continued to work on and off with Radiohead, producing more B-sides including 'Talk Show Host', from the Romeo and Juliet film soundtrack, which was recorded and mixed in four hours, and 'Lucky' for the Bosnia War Child charity album, done in five hours.
Having had a bad time in the studio with The Bends, Radiohead set about creating their own environment for the making of OK Computer. "Parlophone gave them all this money on spec - a huge outlay, to go out and buy gear. They asked me what they should buy, and three months down the line I found myself sitting in front of all this gear. So Radiohead have a mobile studio now - there's a big mixing desk, two massive racks which you just plonk down, plug 'em in, pull the front off and all the gear is there, and a 2-inch tape machine, and it's great. You've just got the freedom to go anywhere, and that was the idea in the first place."
"They say you can be in the right place at the right time", says Nigel Godrich, pondering the nature of success. The affable 26 year old producer/engineer is having a taste of it after co-producing OK Computer with Radiohead, producing the critically acclaimed debut album from Silver Sun, and engineering for McAlmont and Butler.
Silver Sun are another guitar band to receive the Godrich touch; he produced their critically acclaimed debut album, which was released in May. "They're a great band, they're really quirky, but the guy writes loads of serious three minute pop songs with Beach Boys backing vocals. He did these demos that got him the deal on his home 8-track, and they just sound ridiculously over the top, messy but in a great way, really trashy and dirty. So the brief was to try and recreate that, as well as just to sort of bring it back into listenable territory, and I think we did it quite well."
He's also worked with the Sundays, one of his favorite bands, mixing a track, 'She' for their forthcoming album. "I did one mix for them, but I felt I couldn't really bring anything to it. I'm too much of a fan, and I just wanted it to sound like their other records. So I'll just have to go and buy the album when it comes out."
As for the future, Godrich has turned down a couple of offers while waiting for the right project to come along. "I hate the whole idea that you do work because work is there", he said. "I've got to be really into something to do it, otherwise I would find myself in the position I was in five years ago where I worked for a studio and I felt 'this is a job.'
"I'd love to do somebody unknown, for some band from nowhere who I could get on with, and who were good, to inspire me. As far as established bands go, I know something will come. Whatever is right will happen. What I really want to do is make records that people will remember."
His current listening favorites are Pavement, the new Supergrass album, and Joni Mitchell "because I always listen to Joni Mitchell." So it seems that it is possible to be a rising record producer and still be a fan. "Oh yeah, absolutely. I think that's because I look at what I like and I look at what I do, and I'm just striving to get the two together. I just react to people performing good songs well, and that's something that's going to stay with me."