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The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

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The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

Postby Zukan » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:27 pm

I have always loved The Cars......there isn't a song I don't like and Heartbeat City was a seminal album for me and in particular for the genius combinations of sounds presented by that magician Greg Hawkes.

I have tried to find out which synths were featured on their songs but there seems to be all manner of disputes on the net about what was used on what.

Someone put an ethnic straight here please. Dave?
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Re: The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

Postby Arpangel » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:32 pm

Zukan, me too, loved them, their synths always sounded just like er.....synths! they featured the basic synthetic sound, no attempt was made to make them sound like anything else, as for what they used, don’t know, but he did have a liking for Moog’s I believe.
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Re: The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

Postby desmond » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:55 pm

Zukan wrote:I have always loved The Cars......there isn't a song I don't like and Heartbeat City was a seminal album for me and in particular for the genius combinations of sounds presented by that magician Greg Hawkes.

I have tried to find out which synths were featured on their songs but there seems to be all manner of disputes on the net about what was used on what.

I think "Drive" was a masterpiece pop song/power ballad and always loved the way it sounded.
I always thought the bass was DX7 but it's actually analog, listening to the isolated tracks. The multitrack is fascinating.

From micke, who *really* knows almost everything about what synths were used:

According to an interview published in the Dec 1983 issue of Keyboard magazine, the gear used used in the making of that album included a Fairlight CMI, Roland Jupiter-8, Ppg Wave 2 (that was "lying around in the studio and mainly used for metallic sounds") MC-4 microcomposer, CR-78, TR-808 and Linndrum.

Greg also had a Prophet 5, VP-330 vocoder/strings, Jup-4, Mini-korg 700 (his first synth) and ARP Omni at the time but I don't know if any of those saw any use.

I quite liked this too:

There's a long standing joke, accurate or not, that "Heartbeat City" isn't the Cars at all; it's really just Mutt Lange and a Fairlight.
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Re: The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

Postby Dave B » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:10 pm

You know how it is with albums Zukan - you take the credits with a pinch of salt ...

I do know that he had a Prophet 5 which saw many years of service and, during the more recent reformation (gods bless Ric and Ben) he was using a soft synth version live.

For the Heartbeat City tour,I remember he had the P5 and a Jupiter 8 and, I think, a Memorymoog (brave man). He also had a Synclavier II by that point (suicidal / madly rich man). I have a vague memory that he also had a couple of Xpanders tucked away but couldn't swear to it.

(There's a live show on youTube somewhere which is grainy video but stuff was visible in places)

The follow up album 'Door to Door' was covered in D-50 I seem to remember. But Greg Hawkes will always be associated with the P5 sync lead sound to me

;)
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Re: The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

Postby desmond » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:17 pm

According to the Music-Sound-Output magazine from Jan. 1985, Greg used two Jupiter-8, two Memorymoogs, two Synclavier II, a Yamaha DX-7, a Yamaha DX-9, Roland MSQ-700, Roland MC-4 (as master clock) and a Linndrum for the Heartbeat City live tour.
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Re: The Cars - Greg Hawkes' synths

Postby Dave B » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:25 pm

Well I was close ... :D
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