Monday, July 11, 2011
5 Minutes With Martyn Ware of Heaven 17/Human League
Martyn Ware is a founder member of both the Human League and Heaven 17. He is also a record composer and producer, notably helping to revitalise Tina Turner's career in 1983 with "Let's Stay Together" and producing Erasure's I Say I Say I Say album in 1994. More recently, he has collaborated with Vince Clarke (as The Clarke & Ware Experiment) on two music projects; the Pretentious album (1999), and Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (2001). He has also contributed programmes to internet radio stations.
Martyn will be curating ‘An Electronic Phuture’ with Mark Jones at Vintage Festival in London on 29th July – an electronic revue featuring cameos from new artists and legends from the day.
Q1. What was the first record that you bought and how did it change your life?
MW: It was 'Pretties For You' album by Alice Cooper, it started me off on a path of eclecticism and curiosity in music that has remained with me to this day.
Q2. You recently collaborated with Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) creating spacialized the sound for Zinner which put it into 3-D using a system called 3-D Audioscape. How did this collaboration come about and are there others in the pipeline?
MW: Collaboration is my default setting - as I put my self out as a potential collaborator to many different areas, so returns a wide range of possibilities. The Nick Zinner collaboration came about through my expertise in the 3D soundscape field (and his love of early Human League). For instance, in my work as a cultural producer, this year alone I'm collaborating with the artists/musicians Mira Calix, Di Mainstone, Brian Duffy, Floating Points, Illum Sphere, Boy George, Andy Bell, Shingai Shoniwa, Midge Ure, Green Gartside, Elly Jackson, Polly Scattergood, Sandie Shaw, Kate Jackson, Sarah Jane Morris, choreographer Michael Clarke etc.etc.
Q3. At the upcoming Vintage Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in London you are presenting 'An Electronic Phuture¹ curated by Mark Jones and yourself It's described as an electronic revue featuring cameos from new artists and legends from the day. Any plans to bring this concept to the USA?
MW: We'd love to, but the logistics are frightening! Just trying to coordinate the diaries of all the people involved is bad enough - let alone the cost! So, unfortunately, unless a promoter can pay the bills, the answer is no I'm afraid.
Q4. Can you tell us a bit about The Illustrious Company?
MW: We create 3D soundfield for a ridiculous amount of different applications for artistic and commercial reasons worldwide - together with Vince Clarke we have created over 60 major installations over the last 10 years
We're about to put out a 10 year, 10CD retrospective of Illustrious work called 'House Of Illustrious' on Mute Records later this year - over 10 hours of previously unreleased material.
Q5. What are your feelings about the way the online world has changed the music industry in the past decade?
MW: It would be nice to earn more money to enable us to spend more time on creating new work - proceeds from recorded work have reduced dramatically for everyone. Apart from that, I love instant access to music, it's just a pity it's much more difficult to make a living from it!
Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen