The Team - last changed October 19 2003
added Feb. 5 1998:Trevor Horn Aka "The Knife"
Trevor Horn rarely works the equipment himself. He usually leaves all the nuts and bolts of studio work to his team that he surrounds himself with. "I never have anything to do with [the technical] side. Even though I own [a Synclavier] and I know what it can do, I don't always push the buttons. I just sort of sit there and dream the thing and I have people that work it. But it's possible to get a helluva lot of expression out of the Synclavier - it's possible to do lots of things where people would never dream that there wasn't somebody to play the thing", he once said in an interview. However, he always gets his hands dirty doing Vocal comps in the digital editing software Pro Tools. Still, he can get very impatient and careless, so that his technical assistants have to tidy up some of his edits. One of his favorite engineers, Tim Weidner (see below) therefore gave him the nickname "The Knife". According to one of Horn's former staff he is "a dab hand" at midi sequencing with Opcode Vision, but they could convince him to switch to Logic Audio as most of the session programmers are using this software.
added Feb. 5, revised June 23, 1998:The Technical Assistants
The job as a "Technical Assistant" to Trevor Horn for sure is an honor, as one of them put it. However, work in music's top class naturally isn't always easy (doh!), as one former TA reports:
"Note that Trevor is a quietly spoken man that is very generous and helpful. He does however get very stressed and he can blow his top. He especially gets frustrated when the technology he is renowned for using lets him down - which due to his working methods and his working hours, up to 19 hours and frequent 'all nighters' - equipment failures happen with alarming regularity!"
Horn's demanding working cycle takes its toll. People at Sarm management and maintenance are reported saying that Technical Assistants have been "dropping like flies", sometimes being replaced after a few weeks of work. Oh, and btw, despite all the stress it's the TA's who get to drive the Volvo station wagon, not Horn himself as I used to claim on the News page.
added Feb. 5 1998:Tim Weidner
Tim Weidner is Trevor's preferred mixing/recording engineer when in the UK, (although Trevor does sometime take him to the USA, one instance being the second Seal album and also they worked together in various locations for the Tubular Bells 2 album).
Weidner started work in a slaughter house before getting a job on the night reception at Sarm West studios. Rising through the ranks as a 'gofer' through to assistant engineering and finally becoming one of the 'in house' sound engineers for Sarm. He now works freelance being managed by Sarm Productions.
A former colleague described him like this him: "He is without doubt one of the finest and most efficient engineers in the world. He is also handy on Pro Tools which Trevor utilizes, and is a dab hand at midi programming with Logic Audio. Tim is 32 years old and is a really nice chap."
revised October 19 2003:Steve Lipson
During the eighties, one of the people who pushed the buttons for Master Horn was Steve Lipson. Being a well know producer on his own nowadays, he started his producing career while still with Horn, in succeeding Thomas Dolby as the producer of Prefab Sprout and later he played a key role in the production of the second FGTH album 'Liverpool' (see below). He was also responsible for much of Trevor Horn's work with Propaganda.
But as most people in Trevor's team he also featured on some of their artist's records as a musician. He not only co-wrote 'Slave to the Rhythm' but also played the lead guitar, bass guitar and keyboards on it. While working on the first FGTH LP, Lipson, according to an interview, told Horn, that he could play guitar - Mr. Modest said, "I can play some guitar ...well a little bit." So Mr. Horn thought something like: "Oh great! A bit is not enough for my productions, I can't use him" (see under music + technology).
On another day, while walking through the dungeons of Sarm West studios, Horn heard an "awesome guitar part" playing behind a closed door. Upon opening the door he saw Steve Lipson was playing on his guitar. Almost angry he asked him: "Why didn't you tell me you could play that good?", and Lipson just answered "But I did!" Later Trevor Horn explained, that "most people who say they could play guitar are talking a lot of bullsh*t and I also wasn't sure about Lipson's personality(!), but he was really great."
After this episode they both recorded 'Relax' together, without the Frankies, because, as Horn dryly put, "they were back in Liverpool, when we wanted to record the song..." Since then, Stephen Lipson has been one of the key guitar players on almost all Horn productions. Asked later why "Relax" is so full of sexual innuendoes he said that his wife was away on a business trip and therefore he was so horny that he just had to do it that way.
Their cooperation reached it's climax on the work for 'Slave To The Rhythm', "maybe our last really exiting project", as Horn asserts. "When we recorded 'Slave' I was almost like the artist while he was the producer. - I had all the crazy ideas, while he said in the control room or behind his guitar and translated them into action." Steve Lipson also pioneered in the technique of tape less sequencing. Nowadays used by almost everyone with a keyboard and a computer, back in 1983 this procedure was much more complicated. After Lipson taught Horn how to do it, they both began working on it, which in the beginning led to horrendous crashes, especially during the work on Propaganda's 'Dr. Mabuse' (see under music + technology).
Frankie Goes To Hollywood's second album 'Liverpool' Lipson was the first producer. The band recorded the inital version of the album together with Lipson in the Netherlands. He then passed on his finished master tapes to Trevor who spent five more months (re-)mixing the tracks. He got the boys in the studio for some overdubs and re-recordings and the whole processed an additional 500.000 pounds. (Thanks for this info go out to Irv, the soon to be webmaster of the upcoming Official FGTH site - see the links section.)
Some time in the late eighties Horn and Lipson separated under circumstances unknow to me. However, Horn is quoted several times that they are not plannig to work together again.
Steve Lipson launched a successful solo career as a producer. His latest works include the third Annie Lennox solo album 'Bare'. Before that he produced her on 'Medusa'. He also produced the last Geri Haliwell album and the most recent Sophie B. Hawkins album. (See the APRS page, listed in the links section, for a more detailed overview of his work.)
More To Come
There are many other "regulars" credited again and again on Horn produced records. E.g., former Art of Noise colleague Anne Dudley is still responsible for most of the string arrangements in his productions. Former Yes colleague Trevor Rabin helped out on the last Tina Turner album and many more names appear again and again on his records. As soon as I have more information on some of these names (Steven Fitzmaurice, Robin Hancock, Tony Phillips, etc..), I will post it here.
Copyright © 1995-2005 Christoph Roeckerath, Germany.