We spoke to Giorgio Moroder about his new album and the video for "74 is the New 24," premiering today on The Creators Project.
After a memorable collaboration with Daft Punk on 2013's Random Access Memories, electronic music legend Giorgio Moroder is back, releasing his first album of solo material in over 30 years. Announced today, the album is set to drop in spring 2015 on Sony/RCA and features a new batch of notable collaborators including Britney Spears, Sia, Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX, and more. Alongside the album announcement comes a new video for the track "74 is the New 24," premiering exclusively on The Creators Project.
The video, directed by Jai Lewis with help from Andromeda Software Development, is a striking digital landscape of beautiful, strange images that demand rewatching. "We wanted to achieve that Giorgio Moroder 'retro-future' feel," explains Lewis, who is also collaborating with Moroder on a 2015 DJ tour. Lewis continues: "His attention to detail is especially sharp and the sheer amount of time dedicated to this production will surely reflect this. I don't know how this man has the energy to tour, work on an new album, be a family man, and last of all, musical pioneer." The Creators Project spoke to the man himself, Giorgio Moroder, about his career, creative process, and influence on modern music.
The Creators Project: Hello, sir. How are you today?
Giorgio Moroder: I’m great, very excited. I just broke my finger, unfortunately, but other than that, everything is great [laughs].
Oh no. Which finger?
Pinky. I have to spend six weeks in a cast. It’s not so bad.
What do you think was the biggest impetus behind your 21st century reemergence?
Daft Punk, who I love. After they asked me to be on their record I started to get offers to DJ, which I had never done, and that was a great thing, and then I started to get offers for a deal, and Sony/RCA was the best, so I went with them. And I love so many artists, working on the new video with Jai Lewis, and collaborating with Sia, Kylie Minogue, I met with Lady Gaga, who was terrific, so talented. [Moroder re-mixed Gaga and Tony Bennet’s “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”]. At my age, in 2014, I was more than happy. And now, between my collaborations and DJing, I love my second career.
How do you feel when people talk about your influence in the sound of new artists?
It’s quite nice to ponder, but most of the time, I don’t see any resemblance. But it’s quite nice.
What’s your opinion of the revolution in digital workstations? As in, a kid can go on YouTube, watch some tutorials, and come up with something on their laptop, in their bedroom, that sounds totally professional.
I think it’s a good thing. There’s so many more people with, hopefully, more talent, who can make a great song with one mic, one laptop. The Moog required a lot of tuning, it would go out of tune quite often, so a lot of time was spent stopping, tuning, starting again. And then we had to hire a studio, hire musicians, but of course, all the technology doesn’t really mean anything without talent.
When you were working on what later became known as quote unquote “your sound”, did you have any specific direction in mind, or were you experimenting, like how, for instance, the creators of Acid House chanced upon their sound, a kind of happy accident?
It was all improvisation, experimentation. With a song like “I Feel Love” [Donna Summer’s 1977 smash that changed the template of disco], I started with a bass line, you know, C, G, D, C, A, etc. and then we added sounds on top of that, the snare, kick, hi-hat, and then, it was in the mix, the delay was what changed the sound and so the bass went from ‘da da da da’ to [faster] ‘da da da da da da’ [laughs] and that was a big change.
What’s your process like when you’re collaborating with somebody versus working on something by yourself?
Well, sometimes, I would just be delivering a final product, and sometimes….it really all depends on the project. When I was working with Kenny Loggins [Moroder composed the music for “Highway to the Danger Zone,” from Top Gun] I delivered the track, it was ready, I gave him directions in how to sing it. When I was working with Kelly Rowland, the chorus of the song wasn’t working, so Kelly came up with an idea for the chorus, and it turned out great, it’s different in a way from how I used to work. Today, I collaborate with musicians, I can be on Skype with Germany or England, working on a song from 3,000 miles away. Everything depends on the situation.
What do you think are the necessary elements for a great song? And how do you see your role? How do you see yourself? Like a composer/conductor?
Yes, more like that, because I’m not much of a singer, so I think a singer is terrifically important, and I think that getting the best musicians you can is probably the other most important thing. And on dance songs, with some exceptions, notably Calvin Harris, a female voice is important. On 60-70% of electronic dance music, it’s a female voice, and so having a great singer, and great musicians, those are essential.
What do you think of the new video [for the single “74 Is the New 24”]?
I love it. I love the idea of transformation, I love that it’s a video you can watch more than once, I think that is great. You see, you know, the rhinoceros transform, it’s beautiful, I’m very happy with how it turned out.