A MUSICIAN and producer known for creating some of the most influential records in music history will fulfil a lifetime’s ambition when he performs at the Durham Brass Festival.

Multi-award winning Trevor Horn, who is probably best known for his work as a producer on countless hits in the 1980s and for being one half of the new wave band the Buggles, was born in Durham.

So to step out of the studio and on stage at the festival next month will be a dream come true for the 71-year-old.

He said: “At last, I finally get to headline a gig in my hometown.

“I’ve got to tell you though I’m already nervous. Obviously, it’s been lockdown and you go slightly crazy without even knowing it and then suddenly there’s a gig on.

"So, this will be our first time back in front of an audience for god knows how long. On top of that it’s my first time playing Durham since I left when I was 16 and I’ll have my Uncle Joe and my cousin Kevin watching me. So, I’m thrilled and I’m terrified at the same time.”

Horn spent his childhood in Stonebridge, learning bass from his father John, who worked at a dairy during the day but had a second job playing the double bass in local ballrooms.

He said: “There wasn’t a lot of money back then, my parents had four kids, so my Dad worked playing five nights a week. Loads of my uncles played in brass bands too, they loved to play and have a drink, so music was everywhere growing up in Durham. I grew up with my Dad’s double bass and electric guitar in the house so I got my hands on that and I’ve been playing ever since.”

He left Durham aged 16 and by the early 1980s had started a career which saw him become one of the most revered producers of the era.

His studio prowess was fundamental to enormous hits like Slave To The Rhythm, Two Tribes, Relax and Video Killed The Radio Star.

All are song likely to make the cut for his show at Durham Racecourse, on Friday, July 16. He says he’s still working out what to play but doesn’t argue with the description of his concerts as "banger heavy".

While best known as a producer Horn started off as a performer.

The 71-year-old had occasional moments back onstage, touring with Yes and Art of Noise, but had taken a long break from playing live until he came back with this band in 2006.

He said: “Why do I do it? Well, it’s certainly not for the money I can tell you that, and it is so much work.

"I do it because I enjoy it and because I’ve had 40 years in a studio. That’s enough, you want to get out.

"Also, not many people play pop music correctly, they use backing tracks, and we try not to.

"When you have a backing track, you know the arrangement is going to be exactly the same, you’re stuck in the tramlines and you’re going to go to the depot no matter what happens.

"For me that takes away some of the excitement, it’s much harder to screw up playing to backing tracks but to be honest who cares if you mess up, at least the crowd know it’s live.

"That’s why we have a seven or eight-piece band with four singers on top, everything you hear we’re playing.”

The show will see an expanded Trevor Horn band, featuring a six-piece brass section, and he’s been known to dip into his little black book to invite some A-list guest vocalists for the night too.

“In the past we’ve had loads of people. Seal, Jamie Cullum, Tony Hadley and Jim Kerr. Seal likes to come and play if he’s in town because he likes to just hang out and not be the main guy, it’s much less strain for him, it’s a relief to just be part of the band sometimes.

“I haven’t started to ask people to come and guest yet.

"It’s interesting coming up to Durham, I’ve got a choice of a few people I can ring but I’m not going to say anything until I speak to them. I have four singers in the band, two guys and two girls, plus there’s me and Lol Crème so we’re well covered.

"There are people that I’d love to get, I asked Dave Gilmour a while ago, but he said no because he’d just be nervous.

"I’d love him to get him to come and play one day. Whoever is there though, this gig will be special.

"I think my Dad would have loved to have seen this show. When I was playing with Yes we were on at the City Hall in Newcastle I remember looking out and there were half my relatives in the audience singing along and seeing my Uncle John in the third row. He told me ‘it were over bloody loud’, nothing’s changed,” he said.

Durham Brass Festival takes place from Wednesday, July 14 to Sunday, July 18 and is a Durham County Council event supported by Arts Council England. For details of the programme and tickets visit brassfestival.co.uk