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Metropolis Mastering John Davis Statement

It is with great sadness that Metropolis Mastering announces the death of our colleague and friend John Davis. 

One of the UK’s most accomplished and successful Mastering Engineers, John passed away on the morning of September 13th after a short illness at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London. 

John began his career at the BBC in the late 1970’s running off cassettes for producers. John then joined the tape library at CBS Studios in London in 1984. Over an editing job one day he formed a relationship with Phil Oakey of the Human League. Phil would subsequently always ask for John and a mastering career was born. He joined Metropolis Studios in 2008 where he quickly established himself as a formidable talent in the largely mysterious ‘dark-art’ of mastering. 

As an irreverent, uncompromising and naturally gifted engineer John found his community working with mix engineers and artists that valued authenticity and vision, matching John’s lifelong commitment to always serve the artist and the music. 

The moniker ‘music-person’ is thrown around all too often but any artist who was lucky enough to have an attended session with John would encounter one of the most deeply knowledgeable and enthusiastic music fans working in the industry. A voracious and avid reader John would consume biographies and memoirs at an alarming rate to the very end. 

Over a storied and all too short career John was called upon by many artists including Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, The Killers, Lana Del Ray, Blur, Gorillaz, Jacknife Lee, Florence and the Machine, FKA Twigs , U2, Haim, Dua Lipa, Roni Size, Soul II Soul, Snow Patrol, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Prodigy, Tricky, The XX and Badly Drawn Boy to bring his talent to their vision with incredible levels of success. 

In 2014 John won a Grammy for his work remastering the Led Zeppelin catalogue, as well as the Music Producers Guild ‘Mastering Engineer of the Year’ award in 2016. 

Recently John worked with Jockstrap on their startling debut album and could be heard telling anybody who listened what a talent they were, he was immensely proud of them. John’s son Felix Davis, himself a successful mastering engineer at Metropolis Studios said of his father, “I love my Dad. He was an authority on all things music related and I feel immensely lucky that I got to share many (but nowhere near enough) years learning from him. His passing has left me and my family utterly heartbroken and I would do anything to be able to just sit and chat with him again, debating which David Bowie live album was best or whether New Order were superior to Joy Division. I owe so much to him and hope to be even half of the respected figure he was.” 

John will be greatly missed by everybody in the Metropolis family. We send all our love, condolences and sympathies to John's family and friends. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. God bless you John, the music lives on. John is survived by his five sons Barney, Felix, Jay, Eden and Skyle


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