Featured Story - Luke Smith
Having worked with an incredible array of world class artists including Eric Clapton, BB King, Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan, Manchester-born keyboard player Luke ‘Duke’ Smith has just finished a short tour of Australia as part of George Michael’s 15 piece live band. The tour was the first time George had played in Australia since the ‘Faith’ tour in 1988, and the band performed three stadium dates in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.
Luke first worked with George back in 2002 on the ‘Patience’ album, and then first toured with him in 2007 on the acclaimed 25 Live Tour, which saw the band perform to over 2 million people worldwide. We caught up with Luke just prior to the tour during the band’s week-long rehearsals at Air Studios in London, where Luke talked us through his keyboard rig – and particularly his Minimoog Voyager.
“The Moog Voyager works brilliantly for recreating that Bernie Worrell P-Funk sound, which George is a huge fan of. But as well as authentically capturing that vintage sound, the Voyager has all the benefits of up-to-date features including MIDI and patch presets – so it’s now really accessible, and of course stays in tune a whole lot better than the original 1970s Minimoogs!”
The Voyager forms a key part of Luke’s impressive set-up, and sits alongside a Yamaha Motif ES7, Yamaha S90ES, Hammond XK3 and Roland D550, plus a computer rig running Synthogy Ivory Piano and Miroslav Vitous Strings. But there’s something special about the Moog that Luke really appreciates, as he explains:
“I’ve used the Moog regularly both live and in the studio, and there’s a quality about it that lets it sit really smoothly in the track. Whether you’re using it for lead or bass parts there’s a certain magic to the Moog sound that makes it completely unique.”