Giorgio Moroder: in the Moog for dancing
After years in the wilderness plotting pyramids, watches and supercars, the dance-music pioneer Giorgio Morder is back in the electronic limelight
At the Ice Mansion: Georgio Moroder in Los Angeles in 1981. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Comeback clubs: Giorgio Moroder at the Output in New York this year. Photograph: Karsten Moran/The New York Times
Giorgio Moroder knew it was time to think about music again when the pyramid in Dubai was scrapped. But, oh, he says, that pyramid, that would have been quite a sight rising from the sands of the Arabian Desert. He sighs at the thought of what might have been.
“It was the time when they were investing millions and billions in Dubai, and it would have sat quite well with that,” he says. “I worked with a famous architect here in California, and it was going to be a giant construction, bigger than anything around it. Maybe the pyramid was a little too big, but I didn’t want to compromise. Then the crash came, and all those projects were dumped.”
There were other things that might have been. There were ideas for lavish high-tech watches. “I had two totally new ideas which were absolutely great and innovative at the time, and somebody else did them because I didn’t have enough finances or contacts.”
“I made good money and I spent some money,” he says of those lost years when he was out of favour with the music industry. “I suppose I spent time chasing stupid things, but I still loved it. Now, though, I’m back in business and I’m ready to work again. If I have an idea – I don’t have one yet – it’s going to be much easier to find the right people to work on some project. My name is out there again.”
Moroder’s name is up in lights thanks to two helmet-wearing Frenchmen. He appears on Giorgio By Giorgio, a spoken-word homage on Daft Punk’s most recent album, Random Access Memories. On the track he narrates his life, from growing up in a small German town to his adventures with the Moog synthesiser.
The track is nine minutes long, but even that can’t pack in every aspect of a career that stars Donna Summer, Blondie, David Bowie and reels of soundtrack work, including for Flashdance, Top Gun and Midnight Express. Here’s a man who has left an indelible electronic mark on the music world.
The dalliance with Daft Punk – aka Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo – seems always likely to have happened, given that he hugely influenced the duo. Listen to his 1977 album From Here to Eternity and it’s like listening to the Daft Punk vocoder-and-synths template of today.
The respect is mutual. “One of my all-time favourite tracks is One More Time,” he says, referring to their hit from 2000. “I loved the way they treated the voice with the vocoder and the compression. I knew their hits and always thought they were a great band.”
The French-Italian summit happened at a restaurant in Los Angeles a few years ago. “They said if they’d an idea for a collaboration that they would contact me. A year later, I was in Paris and they called me and said they had something. They wanted me to come to the studio and just talk and they’d do the rest. So I did that: I spoke for three hours about my life.