November 22, 2021
Some people have had a disproportionately successful music career, having written, produced, engineered or played on a staggering number of sublime pop records. One such person is Phil Thornalley.
Phil cut his teeth in the studio in the late 1970s with pop supremo Mickie Most before a precocious career engineering, producing and/or playing with The Cure, Prefab Sprout, Johnny Hates Jazz and Thompson Twins, among many others. His work on TT’s ‘Into the Gap’ earned him a Grammy nomination. Paul and Sean of course quiz him on his time working with Andrew Gold and Graham Gouldman on their second set of Wax songs, ‘Magnetic Heaven’. Since the ‘80s, he’s enjoyed some spectacular success as a songwriter, most famously perhaps with Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ and two number ones for Pixie Lott. He’s also worked with Bryan Adams. So this guy has some pretty spectacular pedigree!
Phil’s production style in the mid-late 1980s - along with that of his peers - could be dismissed lazily as dated or of-its-time, but closer examination reveals some delights. We were gobsmacked by his recycling of 10cc’s pioneering tape loop techniques for his work on an ‘80s classic…. We won’t spoil the surprise!
The biggest revelation though has been Phil’s own ‘band’ project: his two albums as Astral Drive. Possibly Sean’s favourite new discovery of the year! It’s deliciously great pop, full of hooks, great melodies and 60s/70s sounds, and we have a lot of fun quizzing Phil on his obvious influences: Todd Rundgren features heavily!