Thursday, August 11, 2011

Music Parable # 2: Martin Hannett & Joy Division


Joy Division, fresh from signing a deal with Factory records had holed up in Strawberry Studio’s in Stockport, England. Producing them was drug swollen and soon to be legendary producer Martin Hannett. As the band attempts to cut “She’s Lost Control”, Hannett becomes increasingly dissatisfied at what he is hearing being played by drummer Stephen Morris, who is playing a typical rock back beat. Hannett first had Morris change his drum pattern to that from the Ronnettes’ song “Be My Baby”, because he wanted something that sounded “colder and lifeless.” 

Hannett remained unhappy with what is coming back through his speaker cans and, despite using one of the first digital recording boxes, continued to insist that the drum sound was “leaking”. Finally, Hannett ordered the drum kit taken apart, and a more minimal kit reassembled using pieces taken from the toilet, on the roof the studio. This proved to give the track the distinct, almost industrial sounding drum sound that Hannett had wanted for the band.

Joy Division singer Ian Curtis would later hang himself. The rest of the band would solider on, initially with vocalist Kevin Hewick, before guitarist Bernard Sumner took over vocal duties and the band was rechristened New Order.

Hannett would continue to produce records and pioneer new uses of recording technology before his eventual dug and alcohol fueled demise in 1991. At the time of his death he had exploded to over 360 pounds.

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