In this exclusive video--part of The Collaborators series directed by Ed Lachman--we talk to Giorgio Moroder, the legendary producer, about his collaboration with Daft Punk on their new album Random Access Memories.
Most anyone but dance music historians are familiar with the work of legendary Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder without knowing who the hell the guy is. Songs like Donna Summer’s "Love to Love Ya Baby" and "I Feel Love," Irene Cara’s "Flashdance… What a Feeling" from the movie Flashdance and Berlin’s "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun are a few of Moroder’s more recognizable songs. And who could forget Kenny Loggins’ "Danger Zone." Yup, that’s Moroder’s too. In total, the producer, performer, and songwriter’s list of credits reads like Meryl Streep’s resume. And it might be even longer—though Moroder never got to sleep with Jeremy Irons (so far as we know).
What’s perhaps more impressive than the amount of great dance, pop. and soundtrack music Moroder has written is the scope of his compositions. Much of his soundtrack work, including the 1978 theme from Midnight Express (the score for the movie earned him his first Academy Award), varies greatly in sound and scope. A few of his other most recognized soundtracks include American Gigolo, Scarface, and Superman III, but Moroder also scored The Neverending Story 1 and 2. And he’s been handsomely rewarded for his efforts. In total Moroder has taken home three Academy Awards and three Grammys.
Moroder was born in 1940 and started recording his own songs in 1965 with The Shadows. His first major revelation came when he discovered the Moog, an early version of the synthesizer, with which he created pulsing, otherworldly background sounds for early disco acts including Donna Summer, who Moroder first worked with on 1974’s Lady of the Night. The combination of Moroder’s songwriting and production abilities and Summer’s performance skills and sultry vocals was as potent as Quaaludes and blow—and the two remained a team for eight albums between 1974 and 1980.
Not content to be tied down, Moroder also collaborated with a wide range of other artists including: Blondie, David Bowie, Japan, Frida, Emmylou Harris, Nina Hagen, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Nelson, Bonnie Tyler, and Cheap Trick. In addition, Moroder released 13 solo albums between 1969 and 1992.
In the spirit of dance music, Moroder’s melodies have been sampled by countless pop, electronic, and rap artists big and small, including Madonna, Lil Wayne, Fatboy Slim, Rick Ross, Underworld, DJ Shadow and OutKast.
Almost 50 years into his career, Moroder remains a forward thinker, as he expressed in his interview with The Creators Project. "What the world needs now is not only good dance songs, which I think are out, the world needs something new."