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In 2009 I was teaching a class at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, England. I had written a History of Popular Music course for them and invited the acclaimed producer Trevor Horn to do an interview with me in front of the 240 students at the Odeon Cinema, near the Academy.
Not only did Horn revolutionize record production, he also changed the public’s perception of what a record is. He also redefined the role of the producer.
Horn was voted Best British Producer 1983, 1985 and 1992, Rolling Stone’s Producer of the Year 1983, Best Producer Q Awards 1991 and Music Week Best Producer 2004.
Horn shocked and awed with his first hit with his ‘group’ Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star. He went on to produce astonishing records for ABC, Godley and Creme, Rod Stewart, Simple Minds, Malcolm McLaren, Genesis, Cher, Tom Waits, t.A.t.u., Leanne Rimes, Faith Hill, Robbie Williams and Seal. He also produced groups in which he was a bandmember such as The Art Of Noise and Yes.
I was fortunate to work with him as arranger on records for Frankie Goes To Hollywood (Watching the Wildlife), Tina Turner (Whatever You Want), Pet Shop Boys (Left to My Own Devices) and Grace Jones (Slave To The Rhythm).
This interview took place March 2009 and Horn discusses his career and production concepts. He details “how the process” works and how “the recording studio becomes a musical instrument”. To anyone interested in becoming a producer, artist or songwriter, this interview is supremely valuable.
Making it even more so is that Horn brought along his manager Clive Black who had previously been head of A&R at EMI Records. (I had previously known Black because in 1990 he signed my artist Silje Nergaard to EMI).
Listen closely, take notes and enjoy!