|arold Faltermeyer is a German composer, producer and engineer. He is best recognized from his analogue synthesizer soundtracks for movies Top Gun, Beverly Hills cop, The running man, Kuffs, Tango & Cash and both parts of Fletch. He released his own album, called Harold F. in 1988, then in summer 1990 in Munich he worked with Pet Shop Boys on their album Behaviour (plus Miserablism, which eventually became a B-side). He also played keyboards on Billy Idol and Cher’s records, produced Glenn Frey’s and Patti Labelle albums and remixed a couple of songs (including one from Falco). Then he moved on into other projects, such as creating soundtracks for computer games or producing dance music projects.|
n article about Harold Faltermeyer was printed in Literally 4:
Harold Faltermeyer, producer of the Pet Shop Boys new LP, is best known for Axel F, the theme tune to the film Beverly Hills cop which he composed, produced and performed, but he is one of Germany’s most famous producers. In the ’70s he became well known for his work with producer Georgio Moroder. In recent years he has had divided most of his time between records for the German market and a long stream of film soundtracks.
“The Pet Shop Boys contacted me in March, I think. At first I thought, ‘why, for heaven’s sake, are they taking in an outside producer? Why aren’t they doing it themselves?’ So that made me curious. They came over to Munich to meet me and I think they were shopping around for someone who fitted their preliminary information for the album—to do it with old, vintage synthesisers—and that’s absolutely up my alley.
I was already a fan. When I first heard West End girls I thought this was a very innovative thing. It’s not a singer’s voice, but it has so much personality. My three favourites were West End girls, Rent and Always on my mind. I’m not a big album listener but of their’s the first one is my favourite.
When we met in Munich we went through their new demos. The first one that struck me was Being boring. I had my thumbs up at that. So hard was only the basic groove—no melody—but I liked the interchange of the ‘up’ orchestral parts and the tough electronic groove.
We starting recording with This must be the place.... I had to get adjusted. It was different for me because with films you have less time; here you had unlimited time to choose a tambourine sound, for instance. You can tweak and twiddle and tweedle with the songs forever. It was also different because usually I composed a lot of the material and your fingers want to play something you would have composed. Their songs are quite unusual, especially the timing of the lyrics. It isn’t unmusical, but it’s very strange. It’s a very strong signature.
Before I met them I had a feeling, because their stuff is very intellectual, that I’d expect two intellectual guys, and I was right. I think in some way the need each other very much. Neil is probably the deep brain of the whole thing, then from the other side comes a very fresh rhythmic guy, Chris Lowe. Neil is not very rhythmical, whereas Chris has very good rhythmical ideas, and this somehow describes their characters. Neil is the doctor of the group, the scientist, whilst Chris is more the guts feeling musician.
I found they both like beer very much. I’m working in a place outside Munich. It’s my house and I built a studio there two years ago. I think in England you have five o’clock tea. We had our seven o’clock beer in Munich. We went to my so-called ‘hut.’ It’s a replica of a mountain hut in the grounds of my house, and we have real Munich beer on tap in there. Chris was the one who said ‘hut time’ first. If we were ten minutes late he would say, ‘so what about the hut now?’ Needless to say, the work slowed down a little after that.
Disagreements? Well, I’m a very tough guy when it comes to timing and the actual production quality. That makes a singer not very happy. In these new songs they haven’t changed, they’ve just got a little more thoughtful, a little more clever, and a little more complicated, and the songs have higher melody ranges. Now we have nearly finished, my favourites are, for the energy, This must be the place... I like Nervously a lot—it’s a very innocent song in a way; and So hard. It made a big big jump for the first time I heard it. And we giggled a lot when we first heard Neil sing the lyrics ...‘whose matches are those?’ cracked us up a lot. It has a lot of spirit and it’s very true.”
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