"Are Friends Electric" lead sound

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"Are Friends Electric" lead sound

Postby THM » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:55 pm

After reading the Vox Humana thread, I wondered what synth Gary Numan actually used for "Are Friend Electric ?". Was it also the Polymoog Vox Humana sound, or rather one of his Oberheim synths, or what else ?

What did he use on his original studio version ?
What did he generally use on his live gigs in the early 80ies (for that song) ?
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Postby micahjonhughes » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:58 pm

There is a video on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu6MDdxBork

Looks like MiniMoog that day.
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Postby gfriden » Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:10 pm

As far as I recall, it was all Mini Moog on the Replicas album, and I think it didn't even belong to Gazza but was a rented instrument. He started using the Polymoog soon after though, as is evident from the following clip:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Uu6MDdxBork

It looks like Chris Payne is using a Mini Moog and a Polymoog (the synth version, so it would not have had the Vox Humana preset). Billy Currie is definitely playing his favourite synth the ARP Odyssey. Here's a clip from the Touring Principle tour '79.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=qTYtAU8hyn0&feature=related

Still doesn't sound like a Vox Humana, but the band is definitely already using the Polymoog. It was, without question, Gary's favourite synth, the one that defined his sound for years to come. I believe he only replaced them in '88 or something.
Last edited by gfriden on Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby calyx93 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:10 pm

AFAIK - Numan didn't start using Oberheims until later in his career. "Electric" is most likely just Mini and Polymoog alongside guitar, drum and bass.

I'm sure Micke will know the exact details though.
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Postby hfinn » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:58 pm

Gary has said that the OB-Xa is his favorite synth of all time. Although he didn't start using them until a bit later.
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Postby gfriden » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:59 pm

Gotta love that strange guy and his strange music! 8)
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Postby THM » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:17 pm

So it seems to be a Polymoog or a Minimoog ? Even thinking of the fact that the Minimoog is monophonic ?

Micke, or anybody, do you know more ?
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Postby gfriden » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:57 pm

This is what Wikipedia's entry on the studio version of the song says:

'The instrumentation is quite minimalistic: there is a conventional drum and bass guitar backing track, some additional heavily flanged guitar (particularly in the instrumental break), subdued vocals and most prominently, Minimoog synthesizer. These synth parts include a slow-paced sawtooth bass riff, and some soaring portamento background lines.'
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Postby Mpresev » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:44 pm

I think his best work was EXILE released in 1998.
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Postby Micke » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:25 pm

To the best of my knowledge, Gary Numan was only using a rented Minimoog* and a Roland SH-2000 on "Replicas" (music recorded in Dec '78 to Jan '79).
I'm pretty sure the Minimoog is responsible for the main (bass) riff on "Are Friends Electric". Not sure what he used the SH-2000 for though.

Regarding the Numan live footage posted by gfriden above; the one from the Old grey whistle test was recorded in late May '79, the second one was recorded in Sep, 1979 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. Billy Currie was part of both performances as was Christopher Payne.

Billy's setup at that time consisted of the usual Arp Odyssey, Elka Rhapsody 610 and I believe a RMI electra piano, though I'm not sure what Chris Payne used aside from a Minimoog and Polymoog.

On the spring/summer 1980 tour they used the following stage setup:
Gary Numan: Minimoog (x2) and Roland SH-2000
Chris Payne: two regular Polymoogs, one modified polymoog, two minimoogs and a Yamaha CP-70 electric grand.
Deniss Haines: Yamaha CP-30, Polymoog, minimoog, Arp Odyssey, Arp Pro Soloist.
Russel Bell: minimoog and polymoog.

* Gary bought his first minimoog in the summer of '79.
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Postby THM » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:32 pm

A big THANKS for all this great info !!!!!!!!

I still couldn't believe he used a Minimoog for that song, but still it appears he did it that way.

Thanks for all replies !!
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Postby gfriden » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:51 pm

Micke wrote:To the best of my knowledge, Gary Numan was only using a rented Minimoog* and a Roland SH-2000 on "Replicas" (music recorded in Dec '78 to Jan '79).
I'm pretty sure the Minimoog is responsible for the main (bass) riff on "Are Friends Electric". Not sure what he used the SH-2000 for though.


Strange little synth, the SH-2000. AutomaticGainsay has a clip up on Youtube where he defends it from its detractors.* Have to watch it when I get home from work! (What? Watch clips from Youtube at work you say? Never! How dare you insult my Swedish/Scottish work ethic!) (OK, so in reality I can't watch Youtube on my work computer because the bastards never updated Adobe's Flash Player and I am prohibited from doing so myself...)

*Edit. AutomaticGainsay's Youtube clip is a demonstration of the SH-1000, not the SH-2000. They both seem like VERY cool, archaic vintage synths though. Very tweakable! Great sound!
Last edited by gfriden on Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Spike Vincent » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:09 pm

I'd stake my left bollock it's a Minimoog.Largely because the Man himself told me.
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Postby gfriden » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:24 pm

Spike Vincent wrote:I'd stake my left bollock it's a Minimoog. Largely because the Man himself told me.


And I'll stake my right one so that makes an even pair! Largely because i trust the Welsh. Cymru Am Byth! :wink:
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Postby Spike Vincent » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:35 pm

I'm only half Welsh.....
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