TREVOR HORN ON ABC:
"When ABC approached me I was very surprised and a bit sceptical. I think they'd met a lot of other producers before they turned to me. I said "What do you want a producer for? 'Tears' is a really rough record but it's good," and they said, "Yes, but it wasn't meant to sound rough, we wanted it to be more polished, more professional." They were very different to what I'd expected, I wasn't expecting them to be so clever. I thought Martin would be a complete arsehole and he turned out to be the complete opposite. ABC have good manners and they're very polite to people which is something I appreciate, I like the way they seem to take into consideration the people that they make records for . . .
When you make a record you can live out fantasies. I invented a whole fantasy world - I built it and arranged it. I don't pay any attention to who Dollar really are as people. Dollar are a special case because they wanted me to write the songs and do the whole thing, whereas ABC records are about what's in ABC's heads, not what's in my head, the core of an ABC record comes from Mark and Stephen. You know, they've done a lot of things that have cost a lot more money than they needed have, they spend a lot of money making good B-sides. A lot of people couldn't give a toss about the B-side, if it takes more than two hours they start getting shirty about it.
That's what it comes down to in the end, most people aren't prepared to spend the money. They want the product to be done as cheaply and economically as possible. I'm expensive but I put everything into it, I take a lot of care, but I don't know how long I'll be able to do that, I'm bound to get to the point in a couple of years time where I just won't have the emotional stamina to be like that anymore...."
Trevor Charles Horn was born on 15th July 1949 in Durham. The son of a double bass player with the Joe Clarke Band inspired Trevor to become a bass player and on occasion played alongside his father. He was also a member of a youth orchestra at Johnston Grammar and played in a selection of school bands. After finishing school Trevor moved to Leicester to begin working as a professional musician playing in the local ballrooms and began to build a home studio. Using his studio equipment he was now showing another talent, that of constructing records. This ability would lead him on his way to becoming a musical director & record producer, starting out producing jingles and unsuccessful records including some unsuccessful punk bands. His first claim to fame was being musical director for Tina Charles as well as being her bass player on her number one hit "I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance)" and her the follow up singles.
Teaming up with her keyboard player Geoffrey Downes and guitarist Bruce Woolley the trio formed The Buggles in 1977.
They started off writing and recording rough demos of songs, in between Trevor producing for Chromium, The Killers, Lips and Gardner & Boult. After the Buggles were turned down by various record labels in 1978 their big break came in 1979 when Chris Blackwell signed them to Island Records. By this stage the Buggles were just Trevor and Downes after Wolley had left to pursue his solo career. With the help of engineer Gary Langan, the two men recorded their first and only number one hit single, Video Killed The Radio Star. After that they continued to come up with songs for their debut album The Age Of Plastic and released it along with their second single "The Plastic Age" in early 1980. The Buggles were on a sharp decline and the project was abandoned when the two men joined the group Yes. Trevor became their new vocalist on their album Drama and also toured with them. After the two men left Yes they decided to record a second Buggles album, but part way through Downes left to form the group Asia. Trevor continued with the album as a solo project with collaborations from other musicians. After the album Adventures In Modern Recording failed to chart, and on the advice of his wife & manager Jill Sinclair, Trevor concentrated on becoming a serious record producer rather than a performer.
He began to produce for the likes of Dollar, Spandau Ballet, Philip Jap, before making a real impact as a producer on ABC’s The Lexicon Of Love [Sarm East Studios]. By this stage Trevor had gained a production team including Langan, Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik, Bob Kraushaar, Andy Richards, Steve Lipson and Louis Jardim. The next big project was Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock before returning to Yes as a producer. At the same time Trevor was setting up his record label, ZTT with his wife and ex-NME journalist Paul Morley. He & his wife had already set up a publishing company called Perfect Songs Ltd. in 1982 along with his own production company Trevor Horn Productions and a label was the next logical step for his activities, although they had no acts to sign until Langan played Trevor a cassette of what he & Jeczalik had came up with. Trevor soon became part of The Art of Noise along with Dudley & Morley and launched ZTT with the Art of Noise. Trevor’s role in the group was very different to that as how the media perceived it. Because Langan & Jeczalik were part of his production team, the press assumed it was Trevor who founded the group, ignoring the fact that it was his engineer and his programmer who actually concieved it. Trevor's part in the group was that of a mentor and having final say on what was released on his label.
The second act signed to ZTT were Frankie Goes To Hollywood and by producing them made Trevor a household name. From 1983 onwards whatever Trevor produced became a hit earning him no less than three BPI Brit Awards for Best British Producer (1983, 1985, 1992). His work with that band resulted in three number one hit singles: Relax,Two Tribes and The Power Of Love along with a number one album Welcome To The Pleasure Dome in 1984. In that same year he also produced for ZTT's third act, Propaganda as well as letting Midge Ure & Bob Geldof use his SARM recording studio (that he had purchased from Chris Blackwell) free of charge to record the charity single Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid with Trevor remixing the 12" version of the single. Trevor left the Art of Noise to continue on his productions after their debut album was released where he went onto produce for artists such as Godley & Creme and Grace Jones in 1985.
After 18 months success with ZTT, the first acts to leave were the Art of Noise in 1985, Propaganda in 1986 and in 1987 Frankie Goes To Hollywood split up. This left the label without a big name act as it's three main artists had gone in addition to other acts such as Anne Pigalle creating a dark period for the producer and his label. Morley, ZTT's head of marketing had also left the label to continue his own career before Frankie Goes To Hollywood's ex-lead singer , Holly Johnson won a courtcase against ZTT over his contract in 1988. After these set backs the label signed the first of it's new big acts, 808 State with Trevor producing for the likes of Simple Minds, Paul McCartney and Pet Shop Boys for the remainder of the 1980s.
The 1990s saw Trevor produce and sign Seal to his label. This collaboration went onto become a long term partnership and saw Trevor win a 1995 Grammy Award for Record Producer Of The Year for singer's hit Kiss From A Rose in the United States. Working with Seal saw the producer working with Dudley again. The label began to sign up new acts: MC Tunes, Shane MacGowan, Shades Of Rhythm, Lomax, Tom Jones and Kirsty MacColl to name but a few. Throughout the 1990s Trevor produced for the likes of Rod Stewart, Mike Oldfield, Marc Almond, The Glam Metal Detectives, Tom Jones, Lomax, Betsy Cook, Tina Turner, Richard Marx, Gary Barlow and Genesis amongst others. He also teamed up with Hans Zimmer to create the score to the film Toys. In 1997 a newly reformed Art of Noise, consisting of Trevor, Dudley, Morley and Lol Creme began work on the concept album The Seduction Of Claude Debussy based upon the music of his favourite composer. The album was released in 1999 and was followed by a tour in 1999/2000 before disbanding.
The new millennium has seen Trevor work with Lisa Stansfield, t.A.T.u., Belle & Sebastian, Captain, Leann Rimes, Faith Hill and Elton John. In 2004 Trevor took to the stage with the Buggles, the Art of Noise and various acts he had produced since 1979 including ABC, Seal, Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones, Lisa Stansfield, Propaganda, Dollar, Yes, Bell & Sebastian, t.A.T.u. before ending the show with a reformed Frankie Goes To Hollywood for the Prince’s Trust Concert – Produced By Trevor Horn in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Charles. To tie-in with the event ZTT released a double CD entitled Produced By Trevor Horn featuring 25 years of hits as a record producer. The concert was released on DVD as Slaves To The Rhythm in 2008 featuring behind the scenes footage and interviews. 2006 saw Trevor contribute towards the making of the Art of Noise archive boxset And What Have You Done With My Body, God? Later that year saw the producer form yet another band along with Creme, Steve Lipson, Chris Braide and Ash Soan called The Producers. This new group has played several live shows and released their debut single Barking Up The Wrong Tree in August 2007. The band’s first album Watching You Out There has still to be released. In addition to ZTT Trevor owns Stiff Records, the label is home to The Producers, along with an impressive back catalogue.
2008 saw the 25th anniversary of ZTT and a boxset containing the best of the label’s back catalogue was made available to buy in later October 2008. The last quarter of a century has seen a wide range of other artists signed to the label including: Act, Andrew Poppy, Adamski’s Thing, David’s Daughters, David Jordan, Glenn Gregory & Claudia Brucken, All Saints 188.8.131.52., Honky, Lisa Stansfield, Lee Griffiths, Raging Speedhorn, The Frames, The Flood and The Marbles. Earlier in 2008 Trevor and Langan were in the studio recording material for Escala’s debut album. The following year Trevor indtroduced and played on some of the songs when ABC performed their classic album The Lexicon Of Love at the Royal Albert Hall in April along with two other Art of Noise members, Dudley conducting with the BBC Concert Orchestra along with Langan on sound duties. [© Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008-2009]
Want to know more about Trevor Horn? - Read his latest interview with Simon Price [Stoolpigeon.co.uk] here.
Gary Langan (born 19 April 1956) is an audio engineer and record producer.
Gary’s recording career began as an assistant engineer at SARM Studios where he worked closely with founder and renowned producer Gary Lyons, his first and foremost tutor, Mike Stone, Roy Thomas Baker and the interminable Trevor Horn.
Starting out as a tea boy /runner, Gary’s enthusiasm soon saw him progress to an assistant on a variety of hit albums including Bay City Rollers’ “Rollin”, Queens “News of the World” and “Day at the Races” and was present to witness the first edited playback of the timeless Bohemian Rhapsody (which many will know was constructed in three sections due to its length and complexity).
During his time at SARM, Gary worked on many classic recordings including ABC's "The Lexicon Of Love" and Yes and has been instrumental in creating numerous hit records including UK number ones for Spandau Ballet, the Boomtown Rats’ hit album “Rat Trap” and The Buggles’ “Video Kills The Radio Star” – for which he received the NME Engineer Of The Year Award. Gary also worked and appeared on Malcolm Maclaren’s 1982 album "Duck Rock".
In 1983 Gary co-founded the "ZTT Records" label with "Trevor Horn", Paul Morley and Jill Sinclair. Gary was also a founder member of the ground-breaking group "The Art of Noise", who were the first to use the revolutionary Fairlight CMI Sampler noise to create listenable, popular, dance music – resulting in numerous hits including Tom Jones’ rebirth hit “Kiss”, the Max Headroom experience with “Paranoimia,” and, most notably, a Grammy Award for the cover of the Peter Gunn theme on the “Visible Silence” album. This was a personal landmark for Gary as well as the music industry in general as it broke new barriers in the academy’s awards due to it being, a. instrumental and b. A piece of urban music created by white musicians, which became hugely popular in the urban markets. [Gary departed in 1986 after touring in support of the group's In Visible Silence album]
In 1983 Gary, alongside Carey Taylor and ex SARM studio manager Karin Clayton formed One Management, which looked after the interests of various engineers / producers / keyboard programmers, before founding the illustrious Metropolis Studios in Chiswick two years later. Gary spent a year seeking the best staff across the board, from engineers and management to maintenance and service to make Metropolis the UK’s premier studio and, with working relationships based on respect and trust, the Metropolis engineers were encouraged to push their work as far as they could – further than they may have had the freedom to do at the other studios of the time. Alongside his Metropolis business commitments, Gary continued to engineer, produce and mix albums and singles for a variety of top artists including Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Scritty Politti, Public Image, Billy Idol and Spandau Ballet – who he became close working allies with, producing four of their five albums. The nineties saw Gary venture onto the international stage with a spell in the States working with a selection of producers including Jon Carin, of Pink Flloyd fame, and mixing Billy Idol’s hit album “Whiplash Smile”, and in Europe working with The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell on “Wild” before teaming up with Chris Hughes (better known as Merrick, the drummer and Producer for Adam and the Ants and Co-producer and drummer with Tears for Fears) for a variety of projects including albums for Propaganda and Gay Dad. The late nineties saw Gary enlisted by SSL to lecture on the use of their consoles to Japanese studio staff and students in Tokyo. Gary highlights this as a great experience, which allowed him to pass on his skills to those as passionate as himself as well as forging strong links within the Japanese market. The international links paid off with Gary teaming up with Personzs, a very successful Japanese group, enabling mixes for a selection of albums over the years in London, NY and Tokyo. Present day and Gary has just completed 5.1 mixes for the Spandau Ballet DVD “Live (at the NEC)” and Jeff Wayne’s epic - ‘War of the Worlds’ as well as albums for James “Pleased To Meet You” – working alongside legendary producer Brian Eno, Wild’s debut album “Time” (EMI Classical new signing and brainchild of impresario Mel Bush). Gary was also once-again reunited with Trevor Horn for Lisa Stansfield’s sophisticated new album “The Moment” and the soundtrack for the remake of cartoon classic Magic Roundabout, whilst also finding time to record singles for hotly tipped London rock act Rooster’s self-titled debut album and work with PSII on the research and development of new game “Play Mix”. Record producer Gary Langan is a leading producer and his video interview is hereThe War of the Worlds is described, in Gary’s own words, as “An original masterpiece of epic proportions” and due to the depth of Jeff Wayne’s 1978 original composition there has been no stone unturned in the production of the 5.1 version, “The complexity of the original meant it was one of those definitive albums made for 5.1 mixing.”
2005 saw Langan creating the SACD mix for the re-issue of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.
In 2008 Langan produced the ABC album "Traffic".
In April 2009, Langan took charge of the front of house duties for ABC at the Royal Albert Hall. The concert was also not only a reunion for various members of the band, but also for the team involved in the making of The Lexicon of Love. Anne Dudley arranged the songs for, and conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra, Trevor Horn supplied a speech and backing vocals.