Peter Hook is a true pioneer of music, having been a part of Joy Division and New Order, the music speaks for itself. His involvement with education and books certainly proves he’s a unique and stalwart figure, as well as significant contributor to British culture. Having recently been on tour with his band Peter Hook and The Light and Hacienda Classical, I was fortune to catch up with the busy man!
You’re a tad busy at the moment? How’s the tour been going?
Things have really been amping up this year! Hacienda Classical is on tour again and I’m doing the new set; it’s very Graeme Park! I must admit, he’s taught me a lot to be honest. I feel very lucky although I might change my mind tomorrow!
[The Peter Hook and The Light] ‘Substance’ tour has also been going great, I always suspected it would go down well and even though a lot of the Joy Division tracks aren’t well known, surprisingly it’s those tracks that are doing down the best, a lot of the time the Joy Division tracks go down better than the New Order ones. You can never tell what the response is going to be, but I guess it’s no coincidence that most people at the gigs have got Joy Division T-shirts on. You see the odd New Order T-shirt, but predominately it’s Joy Division, it does depend on each gig. I’m not sure what the is reason, however, it’s nice whatever to get a good response regardless.
Any gig highlights to mention?
Do you know what, they’ve all been great, we feel very well-rehearsed, we haven’t had a bad gig yet. Each one is selling out, considering in 2010 we were playing to one to two hundred people, to now be playing to over a thousand, it’s really grown. It seems we’re doing something right! It’s no wonder that New Order are pissed off! Unfortunately we haven’t reached an agreement with them, so it’s very sad, but you have to stand up to what you believe in.
Playing Mexico City was incredible, they went nuts! The reaction was amazing. They did a survey about which band was chosen the most to play and it was Joy Division, it blew our minds! Not what we expected. The guide told us the Stone Roses played there last week and they got 5000 people and we got 4992, so we’re coming after you Ian!
Is there’s any chance of reconciliation with New Order?
Well let’s put it this way, at the moment it’s at the worst point of any divorce you’ve ever seen and it’s been like that for six years, insanely. It’s like asking your ex missus when she’s cutting your suits up when you’ll go out again, no chance! You’ve just got to get on with it unfortunately.
Have you been adapting your set, playing new songs?
It’s been great to play those songs again and sometimes people ask if we’re going to write new songs and be honest I’m not sick of these old ones yet! When you’ve been away from something for so long, it feels like news songs. Great songs by any band last forever; for example, I was listening to Ennio Morricone this morning and what fantastic records they are, they still sound great! Thank God we wrote a few decent tunes!
If someone had said to me in 1976 do you think I’ll still be doing this in 2017, I would have definitely said no. Some songs don’t suit being played live, so I have to play the tracks in the right order and that work. The tracks that are difficult you just have to knuckle down and work hard at. The reason why New Order don’t play ‘State of The Nation’ and ‘Shellshock’ is that they’re difficult tracks to pull off, but I like that it’s a challenge.
It’s weird to think how much of a negative reaction we got when we first started, it felt like we’d done something wrong. It’s taken a while to get over that. It’s taken a while to win New Order fans over, I think they thought I’d done something wrong, or the split was my fault, which wasn’t the case at all. Well you just have to move and were still hear and still smiling.
So how is Hacienda Classical looking?
Well someone is definitely smiling on me, considering it’s mostly sold out and no one has even heard the new set! It is a great compliment. To me the Hacienda has a great story in England and people really pick up on it. All the nights we’ve done and how we delivered Hacienda Classical last time shows how much appreciation there is, again there’s a lot of expectation but there’s lot of trust in it as well. It’s great to share it with Mike Pickering and Graeme Park. Mike is intrinsic to our history, he started the Hacienda and put on Joy Division in 1979 in Amsterdam. It’s nice to keep it in the club if you like.
Last year’s response was fantastic, although I find the gigs nerve racking, as I do the sound and ‘Blue Monday’ live. Even though I do less and I’m scared to death before each gig! Although, it’s nice doing the sound and watching all those old men off their tits! I had a good innings in my time and I’m amazed I made it. I definitely consider myself blessed to still be playing!
You released book last year (Substance: Inside New Order) how’s the response been regarding that?
I haven’t had any law suits so I must be doing something right. It’s going really well, it’s been a slow grower, although it’s gone down well in America. It’s selling steadily.
How about the education side, any developments there?
The Masters degree is still running and going really well. You have to have a BA to do it, so it’s a small audience, however it still remains popular. It’s nice to mentor the kids. It’s nice to hear their ideas. I still believe it’s a much better idea to gain some practical experience, so they work with FAC251 and Hacienda Classical and have access to some pretty deep inner workings that I believe they wouldn’t get on any other course, so it’s good.
What other new developments are you up to now?
I’ve just done a track with Rusty Egan from the Rich Kids. I’m doing a track with Kraftwerk at the moment, and also working with Reverend and The Makers.
If there were 3 things you would say about the music industry right now, what would it be?
It’s difficult. You need a lot of self-belief and there’s too much choice. It’s a very competitive climate right now, although thankfully there’s plenty of people who still love to hear live music.
Words by Tareck Ghoneim - Photo by Conor Griffiths
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