Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Disco Legends: Tom Moulton

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Tom Moulton

“I never made a dance record, I made records you can dance to.”
Tom Moulton (The man that mixed ''Disco Inferno'')

Real Name:
Thomas Jerome Moulton

Profile:
Tom Moulton is an American record producer. He is the originator of the remix, the breakdown section ("Disco Break"), and the 12-inch single vinyl format. He has humbly maintained that the last two innovations were pure accidents. Perhaps contrary to expectation, Moulton's early successes in "mixing down" dance records were the result of insistently taking away elements from the original multi-track.
Although not a disc jockey, Thomas Jerome Moulton was more essential to the rise of disco than any other single person in its history. Born in Schenectady, New York on November 29, 1940 music was in his life from a very early age. Moulton even quit high school to work in a record store in the late 1950s. With aspirations to become a radio DJ, he quickly found that he didn't have what it took to be a DJ in the turbulent payola-ridden radio scene of the 1950s.
His career started in the late 1960s with a self-made tape of overlapping songs created for the Fire Island bar and restaurant The Sandpiper. As the club in question was very high profile, it was only a matter of time before his skills were noticed and put to use pre-release by those in the music industry. Moulton preferred R&B and dance music, but actually mixed a wide range of popular recordings. A noteworthy quote has him saying, "I never made a dance record, I made records you can dance to."

Moulton worked as a model at the Bookings and Ford agencies before beginning his production career. Before that, he had worked in the music industry, holding a sales and promotion job at King Records (from 1959 to 1961) and similar positions at RCA and United Artists. He eventually left due to his disgust at the industry's dishonesty.
His notable achievements in recording technique include extending the high frequencies and tightening the bottom for better sounding play at high volume and lengthening for greater musical and emotional impact by repeating key passages.
He was responsible for the first continuous-mix album side ever, on Gloria Gaynor's seminal disco album "Never Can Say Goodbye", earning him the title the "father of the Disco Mix" . Among some of his other success in mixing songs are Three Degrees, The' "Dirty Ol' Man", MFSB featuring Three Degrees, The "Love Is The Message", B.T. Express' "Do It (Til You're Satisfied)", Trammps, The' "Disco Inferno", People's Choice's "Do It Any Way You Wanna", Andrea True Connection's "More, More, More" First Choice's "Doctor Love", and Claudja Barry's album "The Girl Most Likely".
Between 1977 and 1979, he produced Grace Jones' first three albums, including one of the singer's biggest hits, her rendition of Édith Piaf's "La Vie en rose".

Tom Moulton's innovative work was honored at the 2004 Dance Music Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City when he was inducted for his achievements as a Remixer. He is the official archivist of the Bethlehem Jazz and Salsoul music catalogues, and has overseen all of the digital remastering for the entire catalog. In late 2006 Moulton would remix the Brand New Heavies, The (featuring N'Dea Davenport) single "I Don't Know (Why I Love You)", a cover of the Stevie Wonder and Jackson 5 hit.
A Tom Moulton Mix is a phrase indicating that a dance record had been mixed by Tom Moulton. Prior to Moulton (and throughout his active years), no major player had prefaced their name with "A" and followed it with "Mix". One will find examples of this usage today, but in Mr. Moulton's heyday such usage was unheard of for those seeking respect in the industry. Moulton's use of the phrase led to similar usage by his contemporaries within the Salsoul Records family. Such usage would have given him the status of "mentor" rather than infringe his territory. In a late 1990s interview, Mr. Moulton himself cast aspersion upon Vincent Montana Jr.'s attempt to use this titling (Montana and Moulton were known to have had a difficult professional relationship).
"A Tom Moulton Mix" was later used as the title of a compilation of Moulton's remixes on Soul Jazz Records. Tom's remixes, both past and present, continue to be played on radio stations today, and more recently aired on Retro Soul Radio London, are Tom's outstanding Philly Regrooved Albums. Retro Soul Radio presenters Dave Simons and Neil Winter had the pleasure of speaking with Tom about his career, his music and his passion for the music industry. The interview was aired on Retro Soul Radio with his fans from all over the world locked in for over 2 hours listening to his tracks and what he had to say about them.
From Discogs




From SoulJazz Records:
Tom Moulton is one of the most important people in the history of dance music. From inventing the first ever 12" single to remixer to the stars, the trademark "A Tom Moulton Mix" is a mark of quality given to only the finest records -From Grace Jones’ seminal "La Vie En Rose" to the million-selling MFSB disco anthem "Love Is The Message", to over 4000 remixes. "As in Life, there are musical benchmarks against which other works are usually sized up in their field. When thinking of Dance Music, and its now long and proud heritage, there is no denying that one of the yardsticks everyone comes back to time and time again is the visionary body of work that Tom Moulton has accumulated over the course of his long and illustrious career. François Kervorkian January, 2006 Tom Moulton began his career in the early 1960s as a Promotions man at the legendary R’n’B label King Records, home of James Brown, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard and The Midniters and many more. In the 1960s he also began a career in modelling that would run parallel to his music. In 1971, he visited New York’s Fire Island, the infamous gay holiday resort where he describes seeing ‘white men dancing to black music’ for the first time. It was here that Tom Moulton first began splicing up tapes for the discotheque. In the early 1970s DJs played 45rpm seven-inch singles which lasted around 3 minutes. Tom Moulton wanted to extend the time of a song in order to keep people on the dancefloor. His first remix was BT Express "Do It Til You’re Satisfied", followed by "Peace Pipe" which he ‘extended’ to over 6 minutes long – and with this invented the "Remix". He then took this further with Gloria Gaynor’s "Never Can Say Goodbye" which Tom Moulton mixed together as an 18-minute medley, once again designed for dancers. The first time I heard a Tom Moulton "Disco Mix", I realized that this was the definitive version - they were pumped up, spread out, often with a much needed intro & break added. These seemed to be mostly philly-oriented records that I was already in love with, and now they had new added parts, which lots of times was now the best part of the record. It seemed clear that Tom was able to pick the records he would work on, everything had class, which still holds true today, whenever I talk to him, he's working on a wide assortment of sensational music and after all these years, he’s still completely passionate about it all - a real musicaholic. Danny Krivit In 1974 whilst continuing his search for louder, longer records he cut the first 12" single ever along with cutting engineer Jose Rodriguez. (Al Downing – I’ll be Holding On). He also started to write the first ever Disco column for Billboard magazine. Tom Moulton personally delivered many of his original acetates to the underground dance DJs in New York City such as Richie Kaczor, David Rodriguez, Steve Aquisto, Bobby DJ, Larry Levan and Walter Gibbons. In the 1970s Tom Moulton became the most in-demand remixer in the world. "A Tom Moulton Mix" became a signifier of both musical integrity and chart success as Grace Jones, The Trammps, MFSB, Loleatta Holloway, Andrea True Connection and hundreds more all benefitted from the sonic beauty of "A Tom Moulton Mix". "Tom Moulton played a major part in laying the foundations of dance music as we know it today. Over three decades he has designed numerous Disco classics as well as Pop hits ranging from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes to Robert Palmer (he was behind "Every Kind of People") taking them many steps above. Today at 60plus he is still mixing and producing, in a crusade against the current musical mediocrity. From a little corner of his Manhattan apartment, his eyes locked on a computer he is harnessed to deliver the legendary Tom Moulton mix, he breathes life into songs that were gathering dust in warehouses, usually forgotten by their current owners, the Major labels. And what a life that is, one that is vibrant and thrilling, miles away from the droney sound of contemporary club music. Tom is definitely a man of sheer brillance, a quality that is all too rare in our scene, meeting him was one of the best encounters I've ever had. Dimitri from Paris - January 2006" This is the first album to bring together some of the classic and rare tracks that have been blessed with "A Tom Moulton Mix" on the record label. It is the story of one man and his amazing role in the history of the rise of Disco from it’s funk and soul roots to the hedonistic days of Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage.
http://www.souljazzrecords.co.uk/releases/?id=5956


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Other info links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Moulton
http://www.discomusic.com/people-more/6325_0_11_0_C/
http://www.discomusic.com/search/?weblog=&keywords=Tom+Moulton&criteria=all&where=all

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