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Feature: Peter Hook

Peter Hook

Rhino Records has re-issued 5 of New Order albums, each one re-mastered from the original recordings and containing a second disc with remixes extended versions, B-sides, and sleeve notes with interviews from the band.

With yet another trawl through their back catalogue, albeit with some re-masters, bass player turned DJ Peter Hooks rattles through some brief answers to some unanswered questions regarding the mercurial Mancunian electronic dance pioneers including whether they have indeed finally called it a day?

Do you look back on your back catalogue with fondness, or are there particular albums and times that stand apart form the rest?

There's not one album in particular. They are all as important as each other because they do remind me of times and places and people though. So yes I do look back on the work with great fondness actually.

Most fans seem to be happy with the remixes with most people commenting on how much clearer everything is. Was that your intention?

Well we've had a few problems with the Warner's end but that was the intention yes. Then there was also that fact that the remixes can potentially compete with modern sounding records

Given your strained relations with band members, did you collectively oversee the mastering? If so did that lead to any disagreements?

In fact me and Steve oversaw everything, so it was quite obvious so there were no disagreements

New Order

You've often been asked about the future of the band and it seems to be finished, yet on your MySpace you have left the band membership dates open ended?

I didn't do that intentionally, but I can be bought ha ha!

Looking back to the beginning of the band's career, at what point did you feel able to take on production duties without the help of Martin Hannett?

Well, Barney and I just soaked up his techniques like sponges, then later when he became too difficult to work with or when we thought we could do it better, we went solo.

Given the fact 'Ceremony' didn't sell well at the time, did that knock your confidence, or were you already working on the singles like 'Temptation'?

We never put any importance on sales, we jut assumed we were right in what we were doing and we were ably backed by Rob Gretton, Tony Wilson and Ian Curtis telling us we were.

Much has been made about the financial draining effects of The Hacienda club , yet without it, would the band have developed in the way it did from dark electronic music (via disco) to Acid House?

I guess we will never know 'cos we don't have the alternative! But I think it wouldn't have changed it much as we were away most of the time anyway.

Could the band have progressed without Tony Wilson's drive and vision?

Yes I think we could but I'd refer to the above to answer that question.

Like many bands before and probably since, you were tied into a deal that lost you money. But presumably you were too busy being a band to notice at the time?

The truth is we were too busy to notice what happened to all the money and in truth to busy too care really.

Do you see any sense of irony in the fact that Peter Saville has overseen the design of the packaging and booklet staying close to the original Factory Records aesthetic, when the original album art work cost you 10p for every unit sold?

Well I really love what Pete does but he does need looking after as he doesn't live in the real world!

You've talked about the twin band staples of 'chemistry and compromise'; at what point did the band lose its equilibrium in that respect?

Really that's a personal thing with every member, but if you are specifically asking me then the answer is, it was when I got sober.

Given your shift from early electronics to the New York Disco thing and then Acid House, were all the band members persuaded by the shifts into different directions or was it organic?

I wasn't happy at all at the time as I wanted the band to rock out more, but funnily enough all these years later I love it to death now. Funny that

Georgio Moroder was an undoubted influence on you as he was on bands like Sparks. It's curious to view a disco pioneer as such an influential figure on a bunch of fiercely independent Mancunians?

I suppose it was funny to view Georgio as an influence on us but I loved his work. But it was Donna Summer who actually gave us 'Blue Monday'.

Wouldn't the old Punk values of the Joy Division and the early New Order have been dismissive of figures like that?

Possibly that's true but then again how would you describe Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren?

Another great quote from you about the band is that of 'grabbing the moment and making it yours', and while that referred to band performances, it also seems to apply to New Order 's role as a catalyst in a fast changing music scene?

The honest answer is that you have to believe in what your doing otherwise your f***ed. Also you just have to keep going and really, that's the only advice you can give!

Given that mostly everything here has already been issued on ''Substance' is it simply aimed at band completists?

Well we still believe in the work as I already said, and I still think its great, but record companies have their own agendas, and as my wife says "if you suck Satan's expect a mouthful"

What did you think of the film '24 Hour Party People'?

I thought it was very funny, well done and it's probably very influential too.

At what point did you conceive as the bass a being a front line instrument?

The moment I strapped it on (haha), yes, but I try and beat everyone at everything, it's in my nature.

Did that lead to any conflict with other band members?

I guess they already new the kind of person I was so it was no surprise to them.

When did your first interest in DJ'ing emerge and how do you manage to remain at the cutting edge of the decks?

I think it was about 4 years ago although at first I resisted valiantly. But I stood in for a mate and eventually thought this is great, real cuttin' edge. I don't consciously try and keep at the cutting edge, its just second nature now. I just do what I do!

With special thanks to Chris Hewitt /Ozit records.

On September 29th 2008 Rhino UK will be officially releasing five NEW ORDER collectors’ editions. The range will feature the first five studio albums Power, Corruption & Lies, Low-Life, Movement, Brotherhood and Technique all re-mastered and expanded.

Interview © November 2008 Pete Feenstra. All rights reserved.

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