Giorgio Moroder discusses his innovative work at Moogfest

Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Giorgio Moroder held court at Diana Wortham Theater April 25, sharing stories from his incredible body of work with a packed room of adoring fans.

An influential (and Academy Award-winning) Italian composer, producer, songwriter and filmmaker, Moroder, at 73 years old, is known for pioneering synth-heavy disco and electronic dance music.

He’s worked with everyone from Elton John to Janet Jackson and David Bowie, and he shared laughs with the Moogfest crowd over some of the experiences he’s had over the years.

For example, although he praised Freddie Mercury as a “genius with an incredible voice,” Moroder also revealed, “He was very difficult to work with.”

Much of Moroder’s talk with moderator Dave Tompkins focused on his soundtrack work.

After completing the soundtrack for Scarface, Moroder recalled his horror at the reception the film received at its 1983 premiere.  “There was not any applause at the premiere, than someone booed,” he remembered. “That was absolutely terrible.”

It worked out in the long run though, as he noted that the film went on to “become a cult classic” after it was released in video.

One of his favorite soundtracks he ever worked on was for Top Gun, he said. He wrote the song, “Take My Breath Away” for the movie, calling it one of his favorite creations. Always the perfectionist, however, he revealed that if he could record it over again, he’d tone down the drums a bit. “It’s a little too heavy,” he said. “It’s a romantic song.”

Moroder also displayed a good sense of humor about himself and how his iconic look has evolved over the years. When Tompkins displayed several images of him in his younger days sporting a prominent mustache, Moroder laughed. “When I see that now I think ‘what,’” he said.

The discussion ended with loud applause and a standing ovation for the legend after Tompkins revealed he’s celebrating his 74th birthday in Asheville tomorrow.


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