After travelling the world performing New Order’s back catalogue, Peter Hook and the Light head to Leeds this weekend. JAMES NUTTALL spoke to him.
‘I was quite surprised when you press people compared Music Complete to it,” begins Peter Hook in a silkily scornful tone.
When asked about the chart-topping Technique LP, the fifth album of his former band New Order, he is keen to touch upon the group’s 2015 release – a release that doesn’t carry his signature bass playing, or his consent.
Many musicians emerged as stars from the 1980s Manchester music scene, but few reached the successful heights of Peter Hook.
Aside from his unique way of playing bass as a lead instrument, he also co-wrote the hits of both Joy Division and New Order.
Despite the lawsuit with his former New Order bandmates over use of the name without his involvement or approval, Peter Hook and the Light have sold-out gigs all over the world, performing the back catalogue of his former group.
This year they’ve made it to the end of the 80s in New Order’s discography. The new tour will see The Light perform two of Hook’s former band’s best-known records, Technique and Republic.
Audiences can expect a show of more than two hours’ worth of music, but Hooky reassuringly mentions that there’s the chance for a break: “Funnily enough, there is an interval,” he laughs.
“The break is actually quite welcome and it also gives people the chance to go to the bar, so the venues are quite happy. A comfort break, we call them.”
Technique was released in 1989 and was the first New Order LP to reach No. 1 on the UK charts.
Partly recorded in Ibiza, Hooky has warm memories of the sessions: “Can you imagine someone sending you to Ibiza to work in any way, shape or form? Especially when they were as easily led as we were.
“It was recorded a little bit in Ibiza, but mainly in Bath, which at that time was very sunny. So, I think it was inspired by Manchester and it was illuminated by Ibiza.”
As for the follow-up, 1993’s Republic, which also topped the charts, Hook’s memories are little less fond. The difficulties of these sessions still linger in his mind: “We weren’t particularly getting on for Technique, but it was nicer circumstances.
“By the time we got to Republic, we definitely weren’t getting on and times were very difficult; so, Republic to me always felt really gloomy, really dark.
“I never understood why I didn’t like it. It was done, primarily, to save Factory Records and to get the money to save The Hacienda [the famous Manchester nightclub].
“Ironically, it saved neither and it just put us through hell while we were doing it; nobody wanted to do it. Everything fell apart while we were recording.”
It wasn’t until this tour, which calls at Leeds’ O2 Academy on Saturday night, that Hooky discovered the reason behind his ambivalence. “Strangely enough, when I came to play it and listen to it in detail, which I hadn’t done since we recorded it, I realised what was wrong with it.
“We never finished it off, we couldn’t get out of the studio fast enough.
“I was actually hearing some really nice things and it was an absolute delight to be able to finish it, because we’ve hardly played anything on Republic.
“To get them up and play it I actually found myself enjoying it much more.”
Peter Hook and The Light have already embarked on several successful world tours, working their way through New Order’s back catalogue. While the arrangements do stay true to the original albums, there is the odd variation to fit what Hook believes the track should have sounded like.
Now 62, Hook says that being in charge of his own band has afforded him the freedom to tinker with the arrangements.
“I do get the freedom that I don’t have to compromise. In groups, it always has to be a compromise and it’s usually the one that’s best at sulking who gets their way.
“The reason we’re [The Light] still together is because we didn’t clash heads as much as the members of New Order.”
Hooky has been noted by fans, critics and bass anoraks for his continual use of the same bass guitar model throughout his career.
His trusty Yamaha BB1200s has appeared on every Joy Division and New Order album, to date.
His dedication to the brand is being rewarded this year and Yamaha is releasing a Peter Hook signature model.
“It’s wonderful, I’m over the moon about it, it’s the first signature model for 10 years, I believe.
“It only existed for a year, the BB1200s, I’ve got quite a few of them. I think they made 175 and I think I’ve got eight, so there’s not that many of them about.”
Peter Hook and the Light play at the 02 Academy Leeds on Saturday,February 9. For tickets go to www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academyleeds