Damon Albarn talks Joy Division; Peter Hook performs Gorillaz collab in new live video
The result of almost two years’ work by the team at indie production house Cup & Nuzzle, this is a detailed, brilliantly researched documentary series. Not only does it boast interviews with all the surviving members of the band (which, as Hooky fell out with everyone, is no mean feat of intra-band negotiation), but also with those who are often forgotten, such as Lindsay Reade, Tony Wilson’s first wife. (Reade points out that it was her money, as well as Wilson’s, that funded Factory Records’ first ever vinyl release, a sampler that included Joy Division and the Durutti Column; she is also dismissive of the Hacienda’s acid house revolution. “I preferred it when it was quiet,” she says.)
The archive is great: we hear the band’s first stuttering interviews, Hannett’s twiddling of a bass sound, Wilson’s brilliant pontification. “Musicians know fuck all about music. They’re given the gift of writing, but their attitude to it is bollocks,” he pronounces, which is true and made me laugh. The new interviews with the band members are relaxed and revelatory, and there are other contributors whom you might not expect: designer Virgil Abloh, producer Krystal Klear, the Pet Shop Boys, Damon Albarn and Bono, as well as the more familiar (when it comes to Manc tales) Shaun Ryder and Liam Gallagher. Plus, the whole thing is narrated by Maxine Peake, who is just the right combination of enthusiastic and cool. Be warned: this is a long listen, taking eight episodes to get to Blue Monday, but it’s compelling throughout. I know this story inside out and I really loved this series. [Miranda Sawyer for The Guardian]
The new Joy Division / New Order podcast Transmissions: The Definitive Story of Joy Division & New Order recently launched (that's an excerpt of The Guardian's very positive review above), and as mentioned, it features some very famous guests, including Bono, Johnny Marr, Thurston Moore, Damon Albarn, Radiohead's Johnny and Colin Greenwood, Liam Gallagher, Karen O, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, and more.
Damon Albarn is on the latest episode, and he had a lot to say about Joy Division, as NME points out. "There’s nothing like it, no one else sounds like Joy Division," Albarn said. "They created their own sound and I think that’s true of any decent band. That’s what is special about bands."
"It’s the sum of the parts as well as the atmosphere that they create, you know?" he also said. "It shouldn’t work but it does."
The fact is that they played those records live together. That’s why they sound like sometimes the beat is not quite there and everyone’s really struggling to play that well, cause that’s not easy to play like that.
But then you get the madness of Ian on top of that. So his words and his delivery are as fractured as the way they’re trying to keep up with the beat and play, and his mind’s moving like that. It’s what all good music should aspire to be.
Remember what they’re called: they’re recordings. They should be a recording of a moment in time.
You can listen to the first two episodes below. Episode three of the eight-part series premieres Thursday (11/12).
In very related news, Joy Division / New Order co-founder Peter Hook just released a live performance video of his collaboration with Damon Albarn's band Gorillaz, "Aries," which appears on the new Gorillaz album Song Machine, Season One - Strange Timez. Hook and his band The Light did the performance quarantine style, as you can watch for yourself below.
Last (for now) but not least, New Order will release their 11/9/2018 Alexandra Palace show on multiple formats in April 2021, and to tide you over they've put out the video for "Sub-culture" from the show. Watch below.