Record producer - Gary Langan- video interview
Gary Langan, record producer, artist and recording engineer, is simply in a class apart. From his earliest days as a rookie at SARM Studios, Gary's work has always stood out. We caught up with Gary at Metropolis Studios, London, watch our exclusive video interview here.
Gary’s recording career began as an assistant engineer at SARM Studios where he worked closely with founder and renowned producer Gary Lyons, his first and foremost tutor, Mike Stone, Roy Thomas Baker and the interminable Trevor Horn.
Starting out as a tea boy /runner, Gary’s enthusiasm soon saw him progress to an assistant on a variety of hit albums including Bay City Rollers’ “Rollin”, Queens “News of the World” and “Day at the Races” and was present to witness the first edited playback of the timeless Bohemian Rhapsody (which many will know was constructed in three sections due to its length and complexity).
During his time at SARM, Gary worked on many classic recordings including Lexicon Of Love, ABC and Yes and has been instrumental in creating numerous hit records including UK number ones for Spandau Ballet, the Boomtown Rats’ hit album “Rat Trap” and The Buggles’ “Video Kills The Radio Star” – for which he received the NME Engineer Of The Year Award. Gary also worked and appeared on Malcolm Maclaren’s 1982 album "Duck Rock".
Gary was also a founder member of the ground-breaking group, Art of Noise who were the first to use the revolutionary Fairlight CMI Sampler noise to create listenable, popular, dance music – resulting in numerous hits including Tom Jones’ rebirth hit “Kiss”, the Max Headroom experience with “Paranoimia,” and, most notably, a Grammy Award for the cover of the Peter Gunn theme on the “Visible Silence” album. This was a personal landmark for Gary as well as the music industry in general as it broke new barriers in the academy’s awards due to it being, a. instrumental and b. A piece of urban music created by white musicians, which became hugely popular in the urban markets.
In 1983 Gary, alongside Carey Taylor and ex SARM studio manager Karin Clayton formed One Management, which looked after the interests of various engineers / producers / keyboard programmers, before founding the illustrious Metropolis Studios in Chiswick two years later.
Gary spent a year seeking the best staff across the board, from engineers and management to maintenance and service to make Metropolis the UK’s premier studio and, with working relationships based on respect and trust, the Metropolis engineers were encouraged to push their work as far as they could – further than they may have had the freedom to do at the other studios of the time.
Alongside his Metropolis business commitments, Gary continued to engineer, produce and mix albums and singles for a variety of top artists including Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Scritty Politti, Public Image, Billy Idol and Spandau Ballet – who he became close working allies with, producing four of their five albums.
The nineties saw Gary venture onto the international stage with a spell in the States working with a selection of producers including Jon Carin, of Pink Flloyd fame, and mixing Billy Idol’s hit album “Whiplash Smile”, and in Europe working with The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell on “Wild” before teaming up with Chris Hughes (better known as Merrick, the drummer and Producer for Adam and the Ants and Co-producer and drummer with Tears for Fears) for a variety of projects including albums for Propaganda and Gay Dad.
The late nineties saw Gary enlisted by SSL to lecture on the use of their consoles to Japanese studio staff and students in Tokyo. Gary highlights this as a great experience, which allowed him to pass on his skills to those as passionate as himself as well as forging strong links within the Japanese market. The international links paid off with Gary teaming up with Personzs, a very successful Japanese group, enabling mixes for a selection of albums over the years in London, NY and Tokyo.
Present day and Gary has just completed 5.1 mixes for the Spandau Ballet DVD “Live (at the NEC)” and Jeff Wayne’s epic - ‘War of the Worlds’ as well as albums for James “Pleased To Meet You” – working alongside legendary producer Brian Eno, Wild’s debut album “Time” (EMI Classical new signing and brainchild of impresario Mel Bush). Gary was also once-again reunited with Trevor Horn for Lisa Stansfield’s sophisticated new album “The Moment” and the soundtrack for the remake of cartoon classic Magic Roundabout, whilst also finding time to record singles for hotly tipped London rock act Rooster’s self-titled debut album and work with PSII on the research and development of new game “Play Mix”.
The War of the Worlds is described, in Gary’s own words, as “An original masterpiece of epic proportions” and due to the depth of Jeff Wayne’s 1978 original composition there has been no stone unturned in the production of the 5.1 version, “The complexity of the original meant it was one of those definitive albums made for 5.1 mixing.” (WOTW is released by Sony Music on 6 July 2005).
Gary is represented by Karen Goodman at Upfront Management.
Credits include: artist album Role
Special thanks to Scott Mathews for the kind use of his music and to George Shilling for asking the questions. Many thanks to Gary Langan for giving his time and to Zen at Resolution Magazine for helping tie things up.
Feature produced June 2005