Howie B. Talks Original Soundtracks 1

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-11-06)

Today was the 25th anniversary of the release of the Passengers album, Original Soundtracks 1 and to celebrate the 1995 album released by U2 with Brian Eno and other guests, we asked readers over on Twitter if they would be interested in a follow up to the album. Howie B, the Scottish DJ and producer who worked on the album put his hand up to say he would love to do a second part, and took the time to answer some questions for us today.

Howie B.: My hand is up for Passengers 2. Oh yes it is.

U2Songs: What’s your favourite song on the first one?

Howie B.: I would say “United Colours,” I think it’s such a great opening track for an album dynamically and sonically. It’s “what in heaven’s name is going to happen next”.

U2Songs: Are there any of the songs on Original Soundtracks 1 you’d love to go back to and do something different with?

Howie B.: Maybe a falsetto on my backing vocals on “Elvis”. For me [the] beauty of that album was it was so off the cuff. It may not sound like that though it was. So for me it’s untouchable. Make part 2 yeah!!!

U2Songs: Maybe some day we will get a reissue set with a few rarities and you’ll get a chance to play with a few things.

Howie B.: That would be a pleasure. There were a few beauties that didn’t make the album. Some alt mixes too…

U2Songs: Ah, we’ve heard a lot of alternate titles from Eno’s diaries, any song titles you remember that got the cut? Did any of the music continue into the making of Pop?

Howie B.: Song names I can’t really remember that far back . As for Influencing “POP” I would say it socially and artistically introduced me to the band and vice versa. So yes I’m a way it was a stepping stone to Pop.

U2Songs: When they brought you in for Passengers did they give you a defined role they wanted you to play? Or was it all left pretty open?

Howie B.: After a few hours in the studio they suggested I take the tapes and set up in a separate studio down town Dublin . So if I went and experimented. Well to be honest they didn’t have a clue who I was they had heard a couple of 12-inches I had released as an artist on MoWax and Pussyfoot Records. That was it. So I walked into Hanover Quay on Thursday morning blind as they were. That’s what was great about the trip.

U2Songs: From Eno’s diary it looks like the album was worked on over three or four months off and on? How much time did you spend with them working on it? Was any of it put together when you came in or were you there from the earliest stages?

Howie B.: They had been on it for two months I came in for the last month. I think they had hit a wall of some sort and needed someone to break it down.

U2Songs: It’s a favourite here, so happy you came in to work on those walls. Do you remember if the “Passengers” concept had been born by that time?

Howie B.: I remember talk of it but it came together factually with all the different artists that contributed to it with out very much ego. Special!!!

U2Songs: It’s a great album. Love that U2 went so experimental and pushed into new territories. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions!

Howie B.: My pleasure. Have a great weekend HB

U2Songs: You as well! Be safe!

For those who follow us on Twitter you could have followed along with the questions and answers as they happened. We thank Howie B. for taking a few moments to speak with us about the Original Soundtracks 1 album on the 25th anniversary of its release. Howie B.‘s mention of alternate mixes and unreleased tracks backs up what Brian Eno has claimed over the years, saying that a number of additional tracks were recorded with Holi doing vocals, and someday he hopes that those will be released.

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