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Interviews with composers, arrangers, producers...


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LOL There's not one big place :P

I'm a HUGE pop music fan who couldn't give a rat's ass if one of my fave singers writes or co writers their stuff or not--in fact when discovering new music I often look at who wrote/produced first before anything else (prob comes out of that as a kid I listened ot mainly classical music, cuz I played, where you look at composer first and then was a theatre major with a lot of musical theatre--again where the composer is more important--then I got into electronic/dance music again where the producer is key and the vocalist is just another musician). However it's still even hard to find detailed discographies of many fo the big names producing rigth now (faves of mine, pop music wise right now are Biffco, Xenomania, Bloodshy and Avant, I still like cheasy ass Metro for dance pop, etc)

I think part of the reason is because pop stars still liek to pretend they write their own stuff. Seriously I love the Beatles but I hate that legacy--if someone's a good songwriter and can't sing why shouldn't he sell his songs to someone else? Before the Beatles, NO ONE was expected to sing what they wrote--Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Ella are never ever mocked for not writing their own stuff, as somehow making their singign less authentic, but nealry every modern pop artist is. Don't get me wrong--I LOVE singer/songwriters but... I mean an actor's talents aren't questioned because they don't write their own dialogue--neither should a pop performer's be I think

End of rant ;)

It can be REALLY frustrating. who, if anyone are you looking for in particular? Ther eis a LOT more info out there for some of the classic 60's/70s producers--my faves being Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb and dance music GOD Giorgio Moroder

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I know! :P

Exactly! I have this mania - I always check who wrote what, but sometimes the credits are so messed up, you don't know who wrote what in the end.

No one in particular. I would just like that interview to cover more technical information (eg. what equipment they use), what's their process when composing etc. :D

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Damn you you responded before I could revise ;)

Ya if you google specific people you can find interesting articles--usually in electronics/music making magazines where they mention specifics. Recently I noticed most of my fave Kylie Minogue recent songs were done by Biffco and found a good article online about their writing process, for instance and there are some amazing scanned articles online from the 70s about Giorgio Moroder's production techniques--amazing to read cuz now he's so respected within the industry for revolutionizing dance music, back then people found him souless and were worried of him taking over (and ya I always check the credits--I'm glad you do too--though it';s annoying, especially in this day and age where many tracks are download only often it's hard to FIND credits)

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Some I had saved

A GREAT fascinating piece with Giorgio Moroder from 1978 that gives youa good view of his critics, his techniques, etc back in the 70s is at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/clive.hocker/...1978/part01.htm

Xenomania are my fave current faceless production/writing team although they are FAR better knwon in the UK where now, thanks to the manufactured (and brilliant0 pop group Girls Aloud who they have produced and written everything for many serious music journals are actually paying them attention--rare in the pop business (Xenomania did co write Cher's Believe, with Metro, years back...) Brian Higgins runs them up and had an interesting interview last year after his latest Girls Aloud album that I saved and typed out that has some interesting things on the business even if you don't knwo his work:


With a Girls Aloud number one album in the bag, Brian Higgins talks about the art of creating hits

So, how did Xenomania come about?

I spent many years writing, recording and programming songs at a piano or a keyboard - that is where I learnt about song craft and arrangement. Then, prior to setting up Xenomania I spent two years as a session musician, programming lots of dance remixes, which taught me about record making. Xenomania was my attempt to combine all of these skills into one focused attempt to have a lot of hit records.

What do you think are your biggest skills?

I can write and hear a hit melody. When I met Miranda [Cooper, fellow member of the Xenomania production team], she had a take on lyric writing that I could never had and, as a result, I am not really a lyricist any more. She deals with all of that. I can hear a tiny bit of a musical idea and develop it musically until it is right.

For example?

It may be a beat and it may be a set of chords or a particular melody. For example, with [Girls Aloud's] Biology, I heard the intro and I knew that was a hit, although it was only five seconds.

A lot of the songs you write attract quite an adult audience. Does that surprise you?

I have no idea who buys the records I am involved in. You tend to view the world as you see it as an individual. I think I hear music now exactly the same way that I heard it when I was 14 years old, so I guess I am committed to trying to achieve that same rush of excitement or emotional connection that I identified with then. Generally speaking, I want to make music that young people love, but I can only hope that is being achieved.

Despite having written songs for lots of different artists, from Cher to Frank, you will always be associated with Girls Aloud - does that bother you?

It does not bother me in the slightest. I am very proud to be associated with Girls Aloud. That is just the way it has turned out. We have had a lot of success with Sugababes, but they were always a multi-produced entity. The bottom line is that Girls Aloud went around the same blocks [of songwriters] in order to find the second single. They came to us last and we delivered No Good Advice. At that point our relationship became permanent. Colin Barlow [who signed Girls Aloud to Polydor] said to us very clearly that we had the ability to deliver an indie sound for a pop band. It is now 13 Top 10 hits and has been the longest of our relationships.

Would you agree that your music is very British?

Virtually all my influences are British. I love The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations was a big influence on me - but they weren't a patch on The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I wouldn't understand a modern R&B record if it bit me on the ****. I like things that are up-tempo and exciting. [Cher's] Believe was an international smash, but when it was initially written I was into The Stone Roses and Madchester - that very British scene helped influence the writing of the song. Girls Aloud have a quintessentially English sound that is defined through the band.

Do you like any R&B songs?

Crazy In Love was an amazing record. The best of R&B is fantastic, but that is because they are melodically pop. [Justin Timberlake's] SexyBack and [Nelly Furtado's] Maneater are like European electronic records. I don't hear that much of a traditional US record; I hear them as electronic pop. To me [Outkast's] Hey Ya is a Eurocentric drum & bass record.

What is your favourite of the tracks you have done?

Biology. We were chasing the soundtrack of a film [with Girls Aloud] and doing that disrupted us creatively. It was making us miserable. Something had to come out and that was Long Hot Summer. It was made in a panic. It was a disaster record. I can't stand it. The reaction that set about resulted in Biology and I think that it is a wonderful record - so uplifting. It meant so much to us and it really set Chemistry up well.

How do you feel going into 2007 and beyond?

I have been with Miranda [Cooper] for 10 years, Nick [Coler] for seven and Tim [Powell] for 11. I admire these people enormously and they are my friends. If we are going to continue to be successful it is because we will stick together. Next year there will be a drive in the US, hopefully a new Girls Aloud album and a new Sugababes record, plus anything else inspiring. We are also moving down the road. With the Girls Aloud and Sugababes greatest hits, the new publishing deal with Warner/Chappell and moving, it is a new era. We see ourselves as wanting to be back at the beginning and to let go of what has happened to date. The minute we think that we have nailed it we are probably finished in this business.

Brian Higgins is part of the Xenomania production team - which also comprises Miranda Cooper, Nick Coler and Tim Powell - that has produced songs for artists including Kylie Minogue, Texas, Sugababes and Girls Aloud. Higgins also co-wrote Cher's international hit Believe. He has just extended his publishing deal with Warner/Chappell.

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Also a few years back The Guardian did a GREAT article on Xenomania (again) that was a part of a series they did focusing on Pop Producers. I foudn the Xenomania one at http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0...1261034,00.html At the end is a quick guide to some other current producer/writers liek Linda Perry, The Matrix etc. This kinda info is MUCH easier to find in British/European press just cuz pop music is much bigger there and taken more seriously. I also love how the interview has poor Higgins admitting why after largelyw riting Believe for Cher he didn't produce it.

Soundonsound has a lot of interviews that focus ont he technical aspects that I kinda glaze over but always have good stuff. Here's an interview with Rob Davis who has been around with rock music since the 60s (!) and has had a second life now with pop thanks to co writing Kylie's Can't Get You Outa My Head http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may02/articles/robdavis.asp

ANd here's a great one with my faves, Biffco :)http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec01/arti.../biffco1201.asp it's over five years old though when they were just getting known (though they had already had hits for the Spice Girls) for up to date info you can find some good stuff at their new homepage http://www.biffco.co.uk/

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No prob :D this kinda stuff is a HUGE interest/love of mine so I'm thrilled to be able to discuss or whatever :)

Found one other--a great SoundonSound piece on UK new superstar Mark ROnson (who's largelyr esponsible for Amy Winehouse's music "sound" amoung others) http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may07/articles/ronson.htm

Sound on sound might be worth looking at in print if your library has it--some of their best looking articles (here's one on Madonna's Like a Virgin and how it came about http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep07/arti...racks_0907.htm) you can only see bits of online

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The Matrix http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr06/articles/matrix.htm

BabyDaddy (aka Scissor Sisters' producer) http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov06/articles/scissors.htm

THe incomparable Trevor Horn who basically created Frankie Goes to Hollywood--has done the best Pet SHop Boys records, did ALL of Seal's early records, etc etc http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar05/arti.../trevorhorn.htm

And Phil Ramone who is just one of THE biggest names in the business and actually had many of his first hits working as a soudn engineer for Bacharach in the 60s--he's done many fo the best Broadway cast albums, rock albums, pop--just EVERYTHING http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr05/articles/ramone.htm even though he doesn't really have a personal "stamp" the way all theother producers I mentioned do

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