Howie B.


Debut Post Homogenic

Howie B.

Composition | Programmation - Production - Remix

Howie Berstein musicien et producteur écossais, il a produit de nombreux remix, participé à plusieurs groupes, et travaillé avec de nombreux artistes.
Il a partagé la vie de Björk dans les années 90.

Travail avec Björk


  • Ingénieur du son



Dans les rééditions d’Homogenic, All is Full of Love est renommé All is Full of Love (Howie’s version).

Howie B. à propos de Björk

« On s’est rencontrés au tout début des années 90. Elle avait emménagé à Londres, commençait à sortir et on se rencontrait dans les clubs. Ma première impression d’elle... une femme vraiment très gentille. Et j’ai trouvé qu’elle était une très bonne danseuse.
Un jour, j’ai reçu un coup de téléphone de sa part, elle me disait que ça serait bien qu’on fasse une chanson ensemble. La semaine d’après, on était en studio. Je lui ai demandé quel genre de chanson elle voulait faire, elle m’a dit quelque chose de vraiment positif et gai. J’ai proposé deux ou trois musiques, elle s’est mise à chanter dessus. En deux ou trois matinées dans mon studio, c’était fait, mais ça en est resté là.
Six ou huit mois plus tard, elle m’a appelé, souhaitant en finir au moins une. C’est devenu I Miss You, une des chansons de son deuxième album. Ça a été très simple de travailler avec elle : on s’est amusé et exprimé en même temps. Nous n’avons peut-être pas les mêmes univers, mais nous avons les mêmes idées, les mêmes intentions, la même volonté d’exciter les gens grâce à notre musique.
La seule chose ferme à laquelle elle tienne, c’est de ne surtout pas savoir où on va. Elle est très exigeante en studio, elle donne tellement le meilleur d’elle-même que c’est son droit d’être exigeante. Il se passe beaucoup de choses dans sa tête, elle a toujours plein d’idées et il faut ensuite qu’elle les sorte. Et en même temps, elle est ouverte aux idées des autres, elle est prête à bouger. J’adore être en studio avec elle, elle y fait naître une atmosphère généreuse, c’est une personne inspirante. Et sa cuisine est extraordinaire (rires)... Elle est très Björk. Seul son fils a une personnalité proche de la sienne. »

Björk : Témoignages, Anne-Claire Norot et Joseph Ghosn ( - 2001

Howie B et Björk
enregistrement de l’album Post, 1995.

Howie B. à propos de Debut

She was going out with a good friend of mine, a DJ called Dom Thrupp. He and Nellee were from Bristol, there was the Wild Bunch crew, who became Massive Attack, and Soul II Soul. We were all in cahoots. They were heady times ! Socialising and work fused. One night Nellee and her went to the Milk Bar with a DAT machine, and when they came back they said, “We’ve recorded the vocal to ‘There’s More To Life Than This’ !” They did it in the club. She had this ability to bring weird people together and make it work. She came in with songs about her relationship, there are lots of references to Dom and her son Sindri on Debut. It was very personal, but we could all relate to it.
It was all about beautiful chance. I wouldn’t say luck. It was timing, and chance.

Uncut - Avril 2017

Howie B. à propos de Post

"I think the most bizarre situation was me refusing to go into a cave to record vocals with Björk, all because of my fear of bats. I said point blank ’I am not going into that cave’. (Adopting his best Björk voice) ’But you shall come in’, she was saying, "we are going to records vocals in the cave". Well, I’m not, I said.
And it was one of the few times that I have ever said no. That was in Nassau in the Bahamas. And I didn’t go in. I’m not fucking going in a cave."

DJ mag

That proved too much for me ! She said, “Oh Howie, I’d love to hear what my voice sounds like in a cave.” The assistant found a cave, but he didn’t tell us it was full of motherfucking bats. I crawled in and straight back out ! Björk lasted about 45 seconds in there. In the end, we added ‘cave reverb’ to “Cover Me” in the studio, and it sounded great. The other one was, “Oh Howie, I want to record my vocals standing in the sea.” Oh God ! Recording outside is very difficult, because of the wind. I scrambled around, hired a sports mic, a generator, a kilometre-long lead, and we did it at night. There was a beautiful innocence to her ideas, and we were all like, OK, let’s give it a shot. We definitely went there. Whether it always worked or not was another matter.
With “It’s Oh So Quiet”, she said, “I love the sound effect they get on these old ’40s films when they dance.” I said, “Björk, it’s not an effect. It’s tap dancing !” “No !” That was a gorgeous moment.

Uncut - Avril 2017

Howie B. à propos de Homogenic

I had a wee studio in Goodge Street, really an office, with an eight-track, a sampler, a record deck and a Mac desktop. No insulation. She would come in at 11am and say, “I want to sing !” OK ! Set up a mic, and off she went. There were offices either side of me – a travel agent, management places – and the whole building could hear her, because she always sings like a mama ! They were typing away, listening ; six months later it’s on the radio. No matter where we were, all the songs on Homogenic were recorded that way, in a room with speakers, with no vocal booth or headphones, the music blaring and her singing her heart out. There’s loads of spill but it makes total emotional sense, and she really took to it. I was on tour with U2, and she would fly in with the master tape and, boom – we would lay down a vocal in a studio, then she would fly off again. It was great. Her vocals were off the mark. You didn’t ever really get used to her singing.
She recorded the strings and backing track for “All Is Full Of Love” in London and Spain. Then she arrived in New York, and we turned that song around in two days. It was done on John Lennon’s old Neve desk. I mixed it and sent it to her, she did one little overdub, and that was it. It’s stunningly beautiful. It’s among the top five songs I’ve ever worked on, although I can’t actually be objective about it, because at that time we were in a relationship together. Unfortunately, the working relationship stopped when the relationship stopped. We didn’t even attempt to do music after that, but there are absolutely no regrets at all. I listen to the body of work with a big, big smile on my face.

Uncut - Avril 2017


Un long portrait/interview lui est consacré dans le Telegraph 01