London, England was electric with the Pop Music explosion of the mid sixties when Nick Blagona arrived there to be a part of it all. Nick began his recording engineer apprenticeship at Decca Studios and then became a staff engineer at Wessex Studios.
In 1971, on a visit home to Canada Nick met with André Perry and they discussed the unprecedented idea of building an environmental studio in the Laurentien Mountains. ‘If you build it they will come.’ And come they did. Word spread very quickly that North America’s first residential recording studio housed a world-class engineer in Nick Blagona and that the setting was perfectly conducive to creativity and anonymity.
Throughout the 70s Nick engineered albums for Chicago, Rainbow, The BeeGees, The Police, The McGarrigle Sisters, Uzeb, Robert Charlebois, and several repeat engagements by Cat Stevens and Nazareth. Over the years this great sounding studio drew the famous of the time.
Nick began his production career with April Wine’s Harder/Faster which reached #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 and for which Nick was a Juno nominee regarding the singles, “Say Hello” and Streetheart’s “Under My Thumb”.
This is an ever evolving industry and by late 1983, with offers requiring Nick to take substantial time away from ‘Le Studio’, he decided he’d pursue work as an independent engineer/producer, and so co-produced, engineered and mixed Kim Mitchell’s ‘Akimbo Alogo’. He also engineered and mixed both Boy’s Bridgade’s and Streetheart’s most successful albums.
Nick became the creative engineer/mixer for Deep Purple when they reformed in 1983, engineering and mixing Perfect Strangers, House of Blue Light and Slaves and Masters. Meanwhile, Nick engineered and mixed several solo and duo albums for Roger Glover and Ian Gillan.
After nine years of lengthy recording jaunts around the world with Deep Purple, in 1992 he set home base in Toronto. Initially, aligning himself with a respected top-flight studio was necessary. McClear Pathé Studios was just that venue and for the first year Nick worked as the engineering supervisor there where he once again began developing Canadian talent. While there Nick recorded: Bruce Hornsby, The Canadian All Stars: A Tribute to Glenn Miller; Memo Acevedo and the Jazz Cartel: Building Bridges; he also travelled to Nashville where he recorded George Jones, Live in Tennessee. (Nick also mixed this to video).
During the nineties Nick produced many independent Canadian and American albums.
He creatively engineered and mixed albums.
He engineered musical film scores,
He engineered for film and television,
He continued to be prolific in many musical genres including country, classical, rock, pop, jazz and world music, and,
He forged a new facet of his career as a Mastering Engineer.
In early 1996, Metalworks Recording Studios built a world-class mastering room with Nick Blagona in mind. Nick was asked to be the principal in-house Mastering Engineer. Almost fifteen years later Nick has mastered well over 2000 projects from across the country there.
Nick continues his production and engineering career. In the last half of the 90s Nick completed two engineering projects with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble and a 2B3 project with a world-class B3 keyboardist/producer Lance Anderson, and members of Little Feat. He also co-produced, engineered, mixed and mastered a classic Jazz album, ‘The Birth of Sprawl’, for Rita Di Ghent.
With the new Century Nick mixed a second project for Grüvoria, a new breed of funky jazz. Nick completed the remix and mastering of Tea Party’s Triptych, which sold platinum in Canada and Australia. Once again Nick pioneered sonic solutions in Canada, this time in DVD 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound for audio/video applications and worked with Jeff Martin of Tea Party to create an interactive 5.1 Surround DVD of Tea Party’s best videos. David Usher asked Nick and Jeff Martin to create a retrospective of Moist in DVD 5.1. In the early 2000s Nick engineered, mixed and mastered the Tea Party CD InterZone Mantras.
With the advent of digital work stations, always interested in advancement within the art of recording and it’s attendant technological innovations, and with his mind and sensibilities imbedded in the tropics, Nick opened his own 5.1 studio environment, Psychotropic Studios, and while he occasionally masters at Metalworks Mastering Lab, he likes to polish his own projects in his sonically exquisite home studio.
Nick loves to travel the world working as an independent producer/engineer. He’s been working with a talented producer Julius Butty as engineer to Alexisonfire, Protest The Hero, Callaghan and Hunter Valentine.
Nick Blagona has been integral to the history of music recording in Canada and internationally, and he has created recordings that played pivotal on the world stage for almost 45 years. From his early recordings to a 40-year retrospective of Ian Gillan’s, Nick has been a mentor and inspiration to so many talented engineer/producers we know and respect today. He learned from the best and those that follow will be inspired by the best in Nick’s incredible body of work, as well. He is a Canadian national treasure and his legacy will speak for itself.
Awards: 3 Juno nominations, won 1 Felix for best engineer.