Peter Hook on the Hacienda, New Order and setting sail with the North Sea Sounds DFDS cruise

Peter Hook
Peter Hook
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New Order legend Peter Hook is getting ready to rock the boat when he sets sail for this year’s series of North Sea Sounds music cruises.

The musician will be taking to the stage for the second in a duo of cruises, which will drop anchor in Amsterdam after departing from North Shields on November 17.

As a founding member of iconic British bands Joy Division and New Order, who went on to form Peter Hook & The Light in 2010, the singer and bassist is no stranger to lively audiences.

He says the cruise crowds can look forward to an evening of music, covering everything from Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart to New Order’s Ceremony.

Q: Are you looking forward to North Sea Sounds, is the middle of the North Sea one of the more unusual locations you’ve played? 

A: It’s funny because people are beginning to do gigs in more unusual locations nowadays. We did a Hacienda Classical at Brighton Racecourse in September. If you’d asked me 12 months ago would we be likely to do gigs on a ferry, I’d have laughed. However we did one with Shine Festival in Spring and it was amazing. Everyone really went for it and the atmosphere was incredible, it really, really went off so, yes it will be unusual, but the

uniqueness of the occasion and doing something like this will make it very special. It’s like people are off on a mini break with a club / gig night either side so you’re playing to a going on holiday and coming back from holiday crowd so the people are always in a very good mood, hopefully.

Q: What can people expect from your set? I imagine you always get a good response from North East crowds?

A: Yes the North East has always been very very good to us and at all of our concerts the crowds are very enthusiastic. I know it can be a bit of a cliché about northern crowds but they certainly know how to throw it down, losing themselves in the music. The whole of the North East has always been a great supporter of the bands. I Remember when we played early Joy Division gigs at Middlesbrough Rock Garden for Bob Last and then I’ve visited the region many times with New Order and now The Light.

It certainly helps that what we play is iconic material from two fantastic bands which have had such great influence on music and cultural history which people hold such a great affinity with. As for The Light we play these with dedication and passion and we’ve been touring the world with these sets to great reactions. We’re just finishing up a tour of Australia and New Zealand and that has been amazing, sold out gigs and fantastic crowds everywhere. It’s fantastic to be able to tour the world playing these songs which people hold in such high regard. It shows you what we as a band achieved and weirdly it’s when you go away that you realise it more that you have had all this reach and influence on people’s lives with your work.

Q: What was it like being amidst the creative energy of the Madchester scene and what’s it like being back on the road with your peers with Hacienda Classical?

A: Oh my god, to describe the creative energy of the Manchester scene, it was an immense period and it really took place over so many years and is continuing now. People forget that although the 88 to 91 period is the one people seem to concentrate on that Manchester was always kicking bands-wise. Look at Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols at Free Trade Hall, us lot, James and all of the other bands Manchester has thrown up and continues to throw up bands that have worldwide appeal. The thing is Manchester’s creative energy was ongoing through punk and throughout the Eighties even prior to acid house and the dance revolution at The Hacienda.

See being at the Hacienda in that period was being at the epicentre of it, you saw it all, all the madness and wildness and those times that have come to shape people’s lives. In many ways because Manchester’s so small, everyone knew each other and that gave it a real dynamic. They were amazing and heady times, there was a sense of hope and optimism, about arts, music and the city and that’s what I think it still represents to people. For me that’s why what we did and continue to do radiates not only with the people who were there but younger people who come to events and the concerts to try and discover what it was like.

As for Hacienda Classical, it’s kind of been like that as well. It’s almost like a distillation of The Hacienda spirit in a club event with an orchestra, DJs, the choir, guests, lazers, lighting, it’s a full on experience really. I’ve been astonished at the reactions that we’ve had and to play

places like the Royal Albert Hall and even open Glastonbury, we’ve all had a fantastic time. It really seems to bring back The Hacienda for people and the crowds are absolutely rocking.

Q:There must be many, but what are your highlights of being in Joy Division and New Order. What do you think it was about the bands that struck such a chord with people?

A: Well I think a lot of it is down to chemistry and a lot of it is down to sheer bloody hard work to create the body of work we did. With Joy Division, we were only together for such a short time and to achieve what we did is testament to itself, considering that we were only professional for something like ten months before Ian died. The thing is that things flowed very very freely in Joy Division, we could write tracks in an instant, like a few hours whereas later, and with New Order’s use of emerging technology things took longer so it we all worked exceptionally hard to get those sounds. I think that, as well as our working with people like Martin Hannett and Arthur Baker, both of whom I think are studio geniuses, gave our work an edge which has lasted the test of time.

As for the highlights, really there are so many it’s impossible to isolate. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to have such a fantastic time across my career and long may it continue. I’ve no intention of retiring any time soon.

Q: There’s a wave of nostalgia for bands of that era at the moment - why do you think people hold such a fondness for that period of music? Do you think in an age of digital downloads and manufactured bands, people are craving that live music experience?

I think that authenticity is important. I remember chatting to my good friend Peter Saville about this and I agree with what he said in that what we did with Factory Records, the bands and also The Hacienda was authentic and nowadays there aren’t the same sort of authentic stories in rock and roll or music nowadays. It’s funny I was watching the George Michael documentary and he said that the era of the superstars in the Eighties and early 90s - him,

Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson and the success and publicity that they had - you wouldn’t get that again now, that sense of widespread crossover success where people were just absolutely massive throughout the world. Even if you look now, it’s bands like U2 who are still huge touring-wise who broke through in the mid-Eighties. Undoubtedly, it makes it a lot harder for new bands to get to that stage now, partly because there’s no record company tour support like you used to get. I was delighted to see that Manchester’s Everything Everything are headlining Alexandra Palace in a few months. It’s good when those newer bands go up in scale for venues and hopefully more younger bands will get those opportunities but yes the live scene remains very strong and we have a whole legion of music fans of all tastes, be it indie, metal, rock, or dance to thank for that.

•DFDS’s North Sea Sounds with New Order’s Peter Hook, Kraak & Smaak and Hacienda DJs departs Friday, November 17. Book at www.dfds.co.uk/music or call 0871 522 9955.