“Don’t think, just do”: Former Giorgio Moroder collaborator says the godfather of disco was “all about the melody”

“Most of the great writers I learnt stay away from writing too much on an instrument. They just hear the melody and then everything else kind of comes from that.”

Giorgio Moroder performing

Image: Daniel Boczarski / Getty Images

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In a new interview, former collaborators of ’80s disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder discuss what it’s like working for the legend himself as well as the musical philosophies behind much of his creative endeavours.

Recalling his time in the studio with Moroder, Ross Hogarth – an engineer from the artist’s team at Oasis Studios – says one lesson he learnt was “to never lose your sense of humour in the studio ’cause any time one of us take ourselves too seriously, you lose perspective on what you’re doing.”

“He would come in, and the first thing he’d go ‘Are we working?’”

As Hogarth explains, Moroder’s mantra in the studio could be summed up with the producer’s oft-used phrase: “Don’t think, just do.”

“That was the key of it,” says Hogarth, adding that Moroder’s songwriting “was all about the melody; he didn’t write the lyrics, he wrote the melodies, and these melodies are the core of what his hit songs were all about.”

Beside him, arranger Anthony Marinelli concurs: “It was all melody driven music,” he says, citing the case of Kenny Loggins’ Meet Me Halfway, the 1987 hit written and produced by Moroder.

“[Loggins] wanted to change the chords and so Giorgio just said ‘get on the phone with him. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but make the chords work.’ And by then I kind of knew what he meant by ‘make the chords work’, which was: don’t mess with the melody — do the chords he wants but don’t let him mess with the melody too much.”

“Most of the great writers I learnt stay away from writing too much on an instrument. They just hear the melody and then everything else kind of comes from that,” Marinelli concludes.

Elsewhere in the chat, the pair also talks about Moroder’s love for reverb on, well, pretty much everything including hi-hats, kicks, and bass: “With Giorgio we put a ton of reverb,” says Hogarth.

Check out the full conversation below.

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