Exclusive interview with Peter Vogel – the man behind the Fairlight CMI synth
Synth designer Peter Vogel, creator of the groundbreaking Fairlight CMI synthesizer, is featured in a new article in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. Along with the print article, there is also a short video, embedded above, about the Fairlight and its influence on popular music since its debut in 1979.
For a certain kind of music nerd, or a music nerd of a certain age, Australian Peter Vogel is a messiah figure. To them, he is the ”man who changed the world”.
With an old school friend called Kim Ryrie, Vogel invented a strange and important musical instrument (of sorts) called the Fairlight in 1979. The ungainly keyboard, huge processor and clunky old green-screen monitor was hailed as the world’s first sampler – a digital sampling synthesiser.
Its full name was the Fairlight CMI, with those letters standing for ”computer musical instrument”. The pair developed it in Ryrie’s grandmother’s house in Point Piper, Sydney. And it was popularised by the household names of international pop music through the 1980s: Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, Devo.