This months interview isn't technically about The Human League, but Gold Legions recent re-release of Philip Oakeys collaboration with Giorgio Mororder was a good opportunity to put the spotlight on this undervalued album from 1985. So I caught up with Arthur Barrow who played a key part in the making of the album to learn more. It was a long time ago, so details were naturally blurry, but Arthur still came up with some interesting bits and pieces.
Interview by Niels Kolling,
Itís been really interesting reading your bio on your webpage as you done so many different things from playing with Frank Zappa, being in a jazz group to exploring the early days of the synthesizer. But how did you hook up with Giorgio Moroder?
I heard that he was looking for a keyboard player/programmer. I got an audition with him, he liked what I did and put me to work right away. He was just starting his '80's comeback with "What a Feeling." (Irene Cara)
What was your knowledge of Philip Oakey and The Human League before the project began?
It probably spanned a bit more than a week. We started on it in Los Angeles, and spent about a week in Europe on it, too, just doing the tracks. Nothing in advance of that.
How did Giorgio, Philip and yourself divide the tasks of recording the
album between you?
Giorgio Moroder wrote the basic music, I played synth and bass and programmed stuff, Philip Oakey did the vocals.
worked alone with an engineer for the most part. Philip Oakey was not
present - in fact, I don't recall ever even meeting him! I was not
around when the vocals and mixing occurred.
The usual synths I used back then: Linndrum, Jupiter 8, Serge Modular, Emulator and maybe there is a ppg wave synth in a few places on the album. Fender Jazz Bass, fretless bass.
I know itís a long time ago so details may be blurry, but any thoughts or memories of the actual recording the album?
Too blurry - but the main thing I was impressed with was Giorgio Mororder's decision to segue all the tracks together. That was fun.
Any track from the album where you were particuarly satisfied with the
I would say NOW - I had to go listen again (Vinyl!).
Leagues live set ever since it was released, and at some point they also included Good-Bye Bad Times. That must tell you that Oakey still value your work?
I guess so - that is nice to hear!
Philip Oakey is famed for collection old synths, do you have any
favourite synth or other equipment yourself?
ones I named before, my EML 101 (picture), my Oberheim Xpander and my Roland JD
don't know enough of their music to say - sorry.
me it was Zappa!
Youíve got one hell of a CV, but if I was allowed to pick out one
artist, how was it working with Nina Hagen?
Pretty wild - one of the first things I did when I got in with the
Giorgio Moroder crew - she would talk about the space ships she saw on
the way into the studio!
Thanks for asking - Time will tell...
Great in a lot of ways, but that stuff with the old analog synths was a lot more fun! Triggering and gating, playing most of the parts by hand, etc.
You seem like a very busy man, so what are the future plans for Arthur Barrow?
Check out the below link to learn more about Arthur Barrows career and future projects;
And you can buy the re-released CD edition of the Oakey & Moroder album here.