It’s great to finally play these songs live for the first time, especially the ones that we don’t normally perform. It was a challenge to work out how exactly we would program the tracks up, and make them sound as near to the originals yet fit into a live contemporary format. We did about half of the tracks each and I made sure Martyn got the most difficult ones. He had the joy of ‘Lady Ice and Mr Hex’ for example!
Connecting with the tracks after such a long time was no problem at all, in fact after the reprogramming and the rehearsals the songs felt as new and fresh as the day they were written. It’s strange but when you do go back and deconstruct the songs and then rebuild them, you notice parts that you had just forgotten were there… maybe lost or turned down low in the final mix… it’s a very enjoyable process. I really think the songs benefit from such close re-attention.
Good question. The thing is normally I wouldn’t listen to these albums as a whole. It is only the fact that we have had to go in and take a really close look at them to be able to play them live that made me listen. To be honest it was a pleasant surprise, they sound really good!
We certainly are. The whole look of the show is really important to us both and we will be utilising the screens again, and hopefully it will be a great visual show.
Mart does everything. I just turn up and sing!
Yes I think I remember that double-album cassette thing. I was once in Saudi Arabia and I bought a double cassette of ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ and I was quite surprised to find that it had half of the tracks on it and then some random Spandau Ballet tracks. I think it might have been a bootleg… we won’t be playing any Spandau tracks this time round however, but we are still looking into what extra tracks we will perform. I can promise you though there will be surprises. Maybe a few never-heard versions of our tracks and even some Heaven 17 versions of early Human League songs, although not ‘Don’t You Want Me’!
That’s right. ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ was done in a rush of excitement, revenge and bravado but by the time we got round to writing the demos for ‘The Luxury Gap’ the whole lay of the land had changed. We were all living in London by that time and the cultural differences between Sheffield and London certainly went some way to influencing the tracks on ‘The Luxury Gap’. Music technology was moving forward fast as well, and we were eager to be at the head of all those changes and that also had an impact on the tracks. I still remember the day Ian came in to the studio with his Fairlight. “How much!” I said, “You could have bought a new flat for that…”
We were never really a part of any ‘scene’ in fact we pretty much kept to ourselves really. We certainly didn’t feel any pressure to sound or look like any other bands, and if anything we would have tried very hard not to sound like any one else. I think we were just different. We worked in an unusual way, we wrote in an unusual way and we recorded in an unusual way… we were not a normal rock and roll band. I think we might be getting there now though!
Yes ‘Let Me Go’ is my all time fave Heaven 17 track, but ‘Come Live With Me’ is a close second. I love ‘Key To The World’ – which is still as relevant today as the day it was born – and I adore ‘Lady Ice And Mr Hex’, one of the most elegant drug related songs I can think of. It really is a good album, no wasters or fillers, just close to the bone good tunes.
It’s a hard one that… I, we would love to spend time on some new Heaven 17 tracks but it’s a different world now, do people even still want new Heaven 17 songs? Answers on an electronic postcard please! We do have half-written half-baked ideas around and I’m pretty sure that one day soon we will actually do it… there I’ve said it!
23 – O2 Academy Liverpool / 24 – O2 ABC Glasgow / 26 – O2 Academy Newcastle / 27 – O2 Academy Sheffield / 29 – O2 Academy Birmingham / 30 – O2 Academy Bristol
1 – O2 Academy Bournemouth / 2 – O2 Academy 2 Oxford / 3 – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London / 10 – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg / 11 – Fabrik, Hamburg / 12 – C-Club, Berlin / 13 – Live Music Hall, Köln / 14 – Anker, Leipzig / 16 – Forum, Bielfeld / 17 – Het Depot, Leuven
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