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Tom Moulton (1940 - )

Related: twelve inch single (vinyl) - American music - seventies music - dance music - studio - disco - mix - proto-disco

Soul Jazz presents: A Tom Moulton Mix (2006) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Tom Moulton, photo unidentified


Tom Moulton was a fashion model on hiatus from the music business when he visited Fire Island's Botel during a photo shoot. "I got a charge out of it, all these white people dancing to black music." Painstakingly, he spent 80 hours making a 90-minute dance tape using sound-on-sound and vari-speed to create a nonstop build. The Botel's owner rejected the tape, but the competing Sandpiper offered to listen, and Moulton left the reel. At 2:30 on a Saturday morning, Moulton was awakened by a call from the Sandpiper that was unintelligible except for the screaming of dancers. To a tape!


Tom Moulton (1940) is an American record producer and originator of the remix and the 12-inch vinyl format.

He was one of the earliest disco DJs in New York, USA. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Moulton [Aug 2005]

The First 12" was a 10" :-)

"OK, Well - You have to remember something - so many great ideas are accidents... I mean - I thought it [the 12" single] was a great idea AFTER the fact.

You see, this is going back now to the early 70's, when I first started I took my records to Media Sound to master.

Tom continues; "So, the thing is - one day I went in there to Josť - Josť Rodriguez - and I had "I'll be holding on" by Al Downing and I said; "Josť, I could really need some acetates." And he said; "Just Tom, I don't have any more 7" blanks. All I have is like the 10"." And I said; "Well, if that's the only thing - we're gonna do it, what difference does it make?". So he cut one, I said; "It looks so ridiculous, this little tiny band on this huge thing. What happens if we just like... can we just like, you know, make it bigger?". He goes; "You mean, like spread the grooves?" and I said; "Yeah!". He goes; "Then I've got to rise the level." I said; "Well, Go ahead - rise the level." And so he cut it like at +6. Oh, when I heard it I almost died. I said; "Oh my God, It's so much louder and listen to it. Oh! I like that - why don't we cut a few more?". So it was by accident, that's how it was created.

But for the next song we cut, we went for the 12" format instead of the 10" and the song was "So much for love" by Moment of Truth. That was the birth of the 12" single.

Claes Widlund interviews Tom Moulton (1999) http://disco-disco.com/tributes/tom.html [Dec 2004]

On Vince Montana [...]

Tom Moulton in an interview with Claes Widlund :
And, if you listen to Vince you would think that Gamble & Huff kept stealing from him. Look at this, it has been so many times where I have tried to help out Vince and I just don't understand him.
But at Salsoul... He got mad at me when I produced the album the... Oh, what the hell was it called now - "Street sense". And I was only asked to do it because Vince was being so difficult with Salsoul. He was giving Salsoul such a hard time. And then I remixed the Christmas album, he knows that."

"You know, Vince can not say someone else does anything good. I wish I could understand him, I just don't. I just try and try and try, but I just don't understand him, so... 'Cause he didn't tell you that his album "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - this is after he starts mixing his own records "A Vince Montana Mix". I mean, that's about as close to copying me as anybody can. And then he begs me to mix his album because Atlantic rejected it. He called me the day before Christmas and begged me. I said "Vince, I can't do this." He said "You're a shit" and then "Oh Tom, I'm sorry and bla bla bla bla bla" I mean, I couldn't believe it - no one else could either.
And I said "Vince, I'll do it on two conditions...". He said "What's that?". I said "You are not there and if you say one word to me other then Hello or Goodbye - I'm leaving!". And he did, and no one would believe it. Well I ended up mixing it, then they accepted it." --

Claes Widlund interviews Tom Moulton (1999) http://disco-disco.com/tributes/tom.html [Dec 2004]

Profile by Brian Chin

Tom Moulton's concepts singlehandedly created a new industry of remixing--producing records with greater dance impact. He leapfrogged Philadelphia sonics by rebalancing the frequency range, extending the high frequencies much further than Motown ever did. "Because 45s were geared for radio, they were all 'middle,' and you couldn't cut a lot of [bass] onto the record. A lot of records didn't have the fidelity and sounded terrible. But you were playing them for the songs, not the fidelity."

That regard for the integrity of a song also guided Moulton in the studio. He not only sharpened sound for high-volume nightclub play, but he also restructured records, setting up hooks and repeating the best parts, greatly amplifying the original song scheme's tension and release. He'd tweak levels obsessively all through the record--effectively rephrasing a track or vocal by hitting the volume control--when he felt it would increase intensity. "I was so wired into the song. They thought I was crazy. But you go for the blood and guts, the thing that really counts in a song." Moulton's hook might be a mistake by the players, and he points out that the insane sonic power of "Disco Inferno" happened when he was compensating for a console that was set up wrong. Repeatedly--with the simple woodblock in "More, More, More (Part 1)," in the strong but never overdone pop pump of "Instant Replay"-- Moulton made good records stronger. His blueprint has been used thousands of times over.

Moulton worked in promotion for Scepter Records, and mixed DCA Productions' "Dream World" by Don Downing for the label. In 1974, when DCA called him to work on Gloria Gaynor's first album, he made history. Never Can Say Goodbye featured a side-long medley of three long songs segued together. Meco Monardo says it was "a revelation" when Moulton extended three-minute songs to more than six by lengthening the instrumental. But Moulton knew by instinct that this would intensify and modulate the impact of a song or a series of songs: "You start here [he points down], and go allll the way up." Incredibly, Moulton's credit does not appear on the album because of a potential conflict: he'd by then launched the first music trade-paper column on the scene, "Disco Mix," in Billboard.

Like everything else in disco, formula set into remixing, but it wasn't Moulton's fault. He often critiqued remixers for making music into a DJ tool, instead of mixing to maximize the original intent of a song. He used drum breaks, for example, as transitions within a song, to set up an emotional rush with the return of the rest of the music, or when key changes made a break necessary to create dramatic structure--not merely because drum breaks made it easier for a DJ to mix in or out of a record. "People have said, 'You make disco records,' and I said: 'Wrong. I make records you can dance to.' I wouldn't know how to make a record just for discos." source: http://www.rhino.com/features/liners/75595lin7.html

--Brian Chin

Disco records

"People have said, 'You make disco records,' and I said: 'Wrong. I make records you can dance to.' I wouldn't know how to make a record just for discos."

Soul Jazz presents: A Tom Moulton Mix (2006) - Various Artists

Soul Jazz presents: A Tom Moulton Mix (2006) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track Listings
1. I'll Be Holding On 2. Keep On Truckin' 3. La Vie En Rose 4. Moonlight Loving 5. Peace Pipe 6. Dream World 7. You've Got The Power 8. Make Me Believe In You 9. Free Man 10. Needing You 11. Feel The Need In Me 12. Moonboots 13. Lip Service 14. Love Is The Message 15. More More More 16. Won't You Try

Product Description
''A Tom Moulton Mix'' is released today on Soul Jazz Records. This is the first album to bring together some of the classic and rare tracks that have been blessed with the phrase "A Tom Moulton Mix" on the record label. 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 in an incredible career that has now lasted over 30 years.

New Tom Moulton compilation on Soul Jazz.

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