Giorgio Moroder Is a 73-Year-Old EDM Badass
Giorgio Moroder is stressed.
Sitting at a cush booth at Spago in Beverly Hills, the Italian producer and two time Academy Award winner, trendy at the moment after his appearance on Daft Punk's recent album, just learned that his set at this weekend's Hard Day of the Dead will be 30 minutes longer than he anticipated.
He doesn't have enough material prepared.
He is freaking out.
At 73, Moroder will be the oldest person to ever play Hard.
He's been hitting the festival circuit lately, playing gigs in Japan, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and Amsterdam and keeping the same pace as artists young enough to be his grandchildren.
He admits this jetset lifestyle is tiring, but the thrill of tens of thousands of people responding to the music he plays? That makes him smile.
Maybe you don't know Moroder beyond his cameo on Random Access Memories, "Giorgio By Moroder," but the man is one of the architects of EDM. He's been called the father of disco and is known for producing many of the hits by '70s dance queen Donna Summer, with whom he was close friends. That astral synth on Summer's "I Feel Love"? Classic Moroder. Or perhaps you've heard "Call Me" by Blondie? That's him too. "What a Feeling", from Flashdance snagged him one of the Oscars. He also wrote the theme song for the 1984 Olympic Games in L.A. and "The Neverending Story" from the movie classic of the same name.
He perks up a bit when you mention this last song. "I just took that out of the mix. Do you think I should put it back in?" Um, yes!
Hailing from northern Italy, Moroder is basically a G. He's tight with the manager here at Spago, has worked with Bowie, produced the soundtrack for Scarface and once designed a limited edition Italian supercar. He lives in L.A. with his wife. They like the weather here.
While he tried to be a singer early in his career, he found was better suited to composing. "Every singer wants to become Michael Jackson, and now I'm almost like Michael Jackson. The second I go out there, 30,000 people are shouting. Basically, as a DJ, I'm where I really wanted to be as a singer."
His current wave of popularity was sparked by the rumor that he was working with Daft Punk. "Everyone in the world was waiting to hear that album, so to be part of it," he says, "suddenly I was back in business."
As such, a bunch of new school artists appear on Love to Love You Donna, a recently-released album of remixes by DJs including Afrojack, Holy Ghost! and Chromeo. He says it was emotional, listening to the master tracks of these songs (which he had been storing in his laundry room), and hearing the voice of Summer, who passed away last year.
Christelle de Castro / Red Bull Content PoolGiorgio Moroder at the Red Bull Music Academy
Right now, Moroder is into Avicii, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and Skrillex. ("His music is very out there.")
"I don't know how it happened," he says of being on lineups alongside these guys. "I kept asking Gary Richards when he booked me, do you think I'll be able to fill the tent?" He gets a bit nervous when you tell him that he and Deadmau5 have the same set time at Day of the Dead.
Some may consider him a curiosity act, and Moroder admits he isn't super dexterous with technology or as good at reading the audience as a guy like Tiësto, but the fact is he has more dance hits in his back pocket than most guys in the Beatport top ten.
Realistically though, Moroder is an older man who can't tour like Steve Aoki. His dream is to do a theatrical Vegas show incorporating his hits. "I could just take the elevator down from my room and play," he says, pondering how much money he could make on such an endeavor. He seems encouraged when you tell him that that seems like a reasonable possibility.
Giorgio Moroder plays Hard's Day of the Dead this Sunday, November 3.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.