Tag: Glenn Gregory (Page 1 of 5)

HEAVEN 17 Clouds Or Mountains?

So what did HEAVEN 17 do on their first day of isolation?

Inspired by real life events happening right now, Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware have presented a video for a new song ‘Clouds Or Mountains?’. However, keen HEAVEN 17 fans may have noticed that it sounds familiar.

‘Clouds Or Mountains?’ was previewed alongside ‘Pray’, ‘Illumination’, ‘Unseen’ and ‘Captured’ as part of a work-in-progress sampler for the long awaited new HEAVEN 17 album ‘Not For Public Broadcast’, available only to subscribers of the now-discontinued Bowers & Wilkins ‘Society Of Sound’ in 2017.

Martyn Ware told The Electricity Club recently: “The origins of this song started about three years ago as an instrumental I’d done – I sent it to Glenn sometime later, and he felt inspired to put a ‘scratch’ vocal to it – we both loved the result, so Glenn created a video for it last week for fun – and this is the result”.

Clocking in at nearly six and a half minutes, Ware’s sparse electronic soundscape provides an eerie backdrop for Glenn Gregory’s impassioned baritone with a delivery that Martyn Ware says is “Very Scott Walker / David Bowie”, concurring with The Electricity Club’s assessment. And as the pace heightens, there are haunting echoes of ‘Boy Child’ by the man born Scott Engel and ‘Sunday’ from the former David Jones’ ‘Heathen’ album.

No stranger to the art of the crooner, Glenn Gregory had said previously to The Electricity Club in 2014: “The way I sing anyway, people always used to say I sounded a bit like a crooner, that baritone type thing… it’s good to have that sensibility. It’s pop, not rock. I was never into The Stones, I don’t really get them. I’d much rather listen to Scott Walker or Anthony Newley.”

In the meantime, a new boxed ‘Another Big Idea: 1996-2015’ has just been released with the lavish CD edition compiling HEAVEN 17’s two reunion albums to date ‘Bigger Than America’ and Before/After’ with an unreleased instrumental album ‘Space Age Space Music’ plus assorted remixes, re-recordings and live material.


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to HEAVEN 17

‘Another Big Idea: 1996-2015’ is released as a 9CD or 4LP boxed set by Edsel/Demon Records

Martyn Ware will be discussing ‘Reproduction’ + ‘Travelogue’ on Monday 6th April 2020 during a digital interview presentation with ditto.​tv at 1800 UK time, information on how to register to view this event online at https://ditto.tv/big-boost-mondays-martyn-ware-presents-reproduction-travelogue/

HEAVEN 17 presents the ‘Reproduction’ + ‘Travelogue’: 40th Anniversary Celebration at Sheffield City Hall (14th September) + London Roundhouse (15th September)

Meanwhile, the 2020 40th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour includes:

Sheffield O2 Academy Sheffield (20th November), London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (21st November), Bournemouth O2 Academy (27th November), Cardiff Tramshed (28th November), Bristol O2 Academy (4th December), Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA (5th December), Liverpool O2 Academy (11th December), Glasgow O2 Academy (12th December), Manchester Albert Hall (18th December), Birmingham O2 Institute (19th December)

https://www.heaven17.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heaven17official/

https://twitter.com/heaven17bef

https://www.instagram.com/heaven17official/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th March 2020

Ten Years Of TEC: BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FROM SOME PEOPLE WHO YOU MIGHT KNOW…

Over the last 10 years, The Electricity Club has been a voice for the discerning enthusiast of electronic pop.

With a balancing act of featuring the classic pioneers of the past alongside the emergent new talent for the future, The Electricity Club has become well known for its interviews and reviews, asking the questions people have always wanted to ask while celebrating the continuing development of the synthesizer in popular music. All this while holding to account those who deliver below expectations, assuring the listener that if they are perhaps not hearing the genius that some devoted fans are declaring, then The Electricity Club is there to assist in affirming or denying that assessment.

But when artists do deliver, they tend to build a strong relationship with The Electricity Club. So with the site celebrating its first 10 years, presented here are greetings and messages from some people who you might know…


Rusty Egan, VISAGE

TEC is 10 years old with the synth knowledge of a 50 year old. If I can’t remember something electronic I don’t Google, I TEC!


Glenn Gregory, HEAVEN 17

The Electricity Club and its wonderful leader Chi is like the League Of Super Heroes for Electronic Music. Our future is safe in his hands.

I have been involved in electronic music making for 40 years, yet one half hour conversation with Chi makes me realise how little I know. From then to now, he’s knows!


Neil Arthur, BLANCMANGE

Chi has been brilliantly supportive of BLANCMANGE, for which I am very grateful. We’ve always managed to have a good laugh during our interviews, as he would ask me about the darkness and gloom lying within a given BLANCMANGE song! I look forward to our next chat.

The Electricity Club has a very important place and a role to play, in spreading the news of electronic music, new and old, far and wide. Here’s to the next ten years. Well done and good luck.


Gary Daly, CHINA CRISIS

Thanks for all your wonderful support Chi, so glad someone has taken the time to ask some great questions…


Sarah Blackwood, DUBSTAR

I love The Electricity Club website. It’s a treasure trove of informative articles, both a very readable historical archive and a forward looking platform for encouraging new talent. In what can be traditionally and lazily categorised as a very male dominated scene, Chi encourages great music regardless of gender and I enjoy the updated Spotify playlist if I’m ever stuck for what to listen to whilst running.

As regards interviews, it’s always enjoyable – Chi is a bit too easy to talk to and his passion for music and synth geekery shines through – heaven forbid you try sneaking a (cleared) sample past him, he will spot it!

Is it 10 years already? Happy birthday TEC!


Chris Payne, DRAMATIS

With 18,000 likes and 12,000 Facebook followers; The Electricity Club under the guidance of its purveyor Chi Ming Lai, has become the leading place for the Electronic Music fan. Intelligent, well written and well researched journalism with a great team of writers presenting an array of brilliant fascinating new acts (and some older ones as well!), hopefully it will continue for at least another 10 years.


Tracy Howe, RATIONAL YOUTH

Congratulations to The Electricity Club on ten years of brilliant reporting of, and support to, the electronic pop scene. TEC is the authoritative publication “of record” for fans and makers of synthpop alike and is the international rallying point and HQ for our music. We look forward to many more years of in-depth interviews and probing articles, all in the beautifully written TEC style. Happy birthday TEC!


Mark White, ABC + VICE VERSA

Chi Ming Lai and Paul Boddy are two of the most learned, nay, erudite music journalists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, a rare experience indeed to be quizzed by a pair who know their onions. And unusual integrity. Chi promised me if we asked, he would turn off the tape recorder and it would never appear in print. And has been true to his word. This has literally never happened in my career. Also these two chaps are bloody good fun. I laughed til I cried. Go see the movie!


Rob Dean, JAPAN

10 years of The Electricity Club? Only one for me (yes, I know…), but it’s heartening to know that Chi and the crew have created a site so cutting edge for us die-hard fans of electronica. Having read the highly entertaining VICE VERSA chaps interview, I was delighted to be asked to do my own, confident that the questions would be thoughtful and intelligent and yes, a little bit probing too. Here’s to the next 10 and thank you!


Richard Silverthorn, MESH

On several occasions I have done interviews for The Electricity Club. Every time I felt like they actually cared about the music and scene and put some educated thought into the questions. It’s good to feel that enthusiasm.


Tom Shear, ASSEMBLAGE 23

Congratulations on 10 years of covering and supporting the scene! Here’s to another 10 and beyond…


Sophie Sarigiannidou, MARSHEAUX

I first met Chi at Sparrowhawk Hotel, Burnley in November 2000 for an OMD convention. It took me 13 hours to reach by train to Burnley from London due to bad weather.

I saw him playing live (!!!!) with his covers band THE MESSERSCHMITT TWINS, they were having their time of their life, dancing and singing, so so happy! Us too of course!! From that moment on we became friends.

Then he supported our band MARSHEAUX from the very early beginning and I thank him a lot for that! It’s always great having Chi asking questions for interviews . We as a band had our best interviews with The Electricity Club! We spent a lot of hours talking about the history of electronic music and the future of synthpop. My favourite articles on TEC are the “A Beginners Guide To…” series, you have a lot to learn from these pages!!! Happy Anniversary Chi, we’ve indeed had 10 amazing years with TEC. I hope and wish the next 10 to be even better.


Erik Stein, CULT WITH NO NAME

The Electricity Club elected not to review earlier CWNN albums, so we just had to keep making better and better records until they would finally relent. They finally gave in from album number 7 onwards, and it was well worth the wait. The writing was spot on and not a single DEPECHE MODE reference in sight.


Mark Reeder, MFS BERLIN

Congratulations and a very Happy 10th Birthday TEC! Over the past 10 years, The Electricity Club website has developed into becoming the leading website for all kinds of electronic synthpop music. It has become a familiar friend, because it is something I can personally identify with, as it is maintained by fans, for fans.

However, it is not only commendable, but can also be quite critical too, and that is a rare balancing act in the contemporary media world. It has been a great source of regular electronic music information. I have discovered and re-discovered many wonderful electronic artists, and regularly devour the in-depth interviews and features.

Through TEC, I have been introduced to and worked with some of the wonderful artists presented on your pages, such as QUEEN OF HEARTS or MARSHEAUX and in return, it has supported my work, my label and my artists too, and I thank them for that! We can all celebrate ten years of TEC and together, look forward to the next 10 years of inspiring electronic music.


Per Aksel Lundgreen, SUB CULTURE RECORDS

The Electricity Club is a highly knowledgeable and very passionate site! They are digging out rarities from the past as well as exploring and discovering new acts, giving them attention and writing about them often before anybody else around have even heard of them.

This makes TEC a very interesting page to follow, as their in-depth stories about older bands “missing in action” as well as the latest stuff “in the scene” gets perfectly mixed together, giving you all you want basically in a one-stop-site for everything electronic. I also love the way they give attention to unsigned / self-released bands and small indie-labels, giving everybody a fair chance as long as the music is good enough. Congrats on the 10th Anniversary, well deserved!


Jane Caley aka Anais Neon, VILE ELECTRODES

When VILE ELECTRODES were just starting out, we heard through the Facebook grapevine about a new electronic music blog called The Electricity Club. We had a London gig coming up, and had recently made a promo video for our song ‘Deep Red’, so we dropped them an email about both, not expecting to hear back, since we were virtually unknown. However it transpired they really liked our sound, likening us to “Client B born and raised in the Home Counties fronting Dindisc-era ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK”.

The Electricity Club subsequently gave this very description to Andy McCluskey, which piqued his interest such that he checked out our music. We were invited to tour Germany with OMD as a direct result!


George Geranios, UNDO RECORDS

Chi is a really rare quality of a man. He is passionate about music which is so obvious of course while reading The Electricity Club. Through our mutual love for OMD, we discovered that we have the same musical taste. TEC helped us promote all of Undo Records projects and finally we ended collaborating and releasing this brilliant TEC double CD compilation! Chi, I wish you health and to continue writing the best music texts in the industry!!


Adam Cresswell, HAPPY ROBOTS RECORDS

Some people say The Electricity Club doesn’t support the scene but I’ve not found that to be the case; having been a part of two TEC gigs and the recent CD, I know how much blood, sweat and tears they put into what they do. TEC might get a few people’s back-up, but they know their stuff when it comes to synth-driven music and I’m massively grateful that they have supported so many Happy Robots artists since 2010.


Stuart McLaren, OUTLAND

It’s no secret that the burgeoning new synthwave genre shares a common history with the great synthesizer acts and pioneers of the 80s, like Dolby, Jones, Luscombe, Wilder, Daly et al who created new soundscapes with what we now define as vintage synths.

These sounds are brought back to life by pioneers in their own right like FM ATTACK, GUNSHIP, ESPEN KRAFT and BETAMAXX to name a few.

The Electricity Club and Chi Ming Lai have always been at the forefront of championing, interviewing and reviewing the luminaries of this great instrument past to present, and are likely to remain the de facto voice of the synth scene well into the future… we agree on one thing and that is FM-84’s singer Ollie Wride is deffo one to watch as a star for the future!


Paula Gilmer, TINY MAGNETIC PETS

Happy Birthday TEC. thank you for your support. You never fail to impress with your encyclopedic knowledge of synthpop. Here’s looking forward to 10 more!


Mr Normall, NUNTIUS

I’ve been following most of my favourite artists since they were brand new and often this means 30+ years, yet reading articles and interviews by The Electricity Club, I have learned every time something new about of my favourites.

Following The Electricity Club have made me paid attention to several new acts that I would likely know nothing about if they hadn’t appeared on the page.


Catrine Christensen, SOFTWAVE

An outstanding magazine supporting new and upcoming artists whom they choose carefully as they have great taste of music regarding to their huge knowledge within the synthpop genre, when it comes to their writing and promotion – there’s no one like them. Happy birthday 😘


Elena Charbila, KID MOXIE

Happy 10th birthday TEC! Your love and commitment to the synth community is unparalleled and your support has meant a lot to me on a professional but also on a personal level. Here’s to the next 10 years! 😘


Alexander Hofman aka Android, S.P.O.C.K

I’m a fan of The Electricity Club for several reasons. You showed up when I perceived the majority of the electronic scene had turned more and more harsh; as much as I can appreciate an occasional emotional outburst, I’m a happy guy and thus I’m into pop – TEC showed, and still shows me that there’s still electronic pop music being made. Good electronic pop! Which makes me glad, as I find the greater part of the generally popular darker scene to be of lower musical quality.

Moreover, TEC writes in an amazingly happy tone – remember, I’m a happy guy, so it’s right up my alley. Add the fact that TEC regularly publishes interesting articles, using intelligent and varied vocabulary, shows enormous knowledge and interest of the theme, the style, the scene – and I’m hooked. Thanks for being around – keep up the good work, it’s much needed! And congratulations – let’s grab a beer again! 🍻


Text compiled by Chi Ming Lai
15th March 2020

Play To Win: The Legacy Of HEAVEN 17

HEAVEN 17 started as a pop subsidiary of BRITISH ELECTRIC FOUNDATION, a production company signed to Virgin Records formed after Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh left THE HUMAN LEAGUE in 1980.

With Glenn Gregory as lead singer, the trio eventually became almost as successful as their former sparring partners Philip Oakey and Adrian Wright who had recruited Ian Burden, Jo Callis, Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall to score a chart topper in ‘Don’t You Want Me’ on both sides of the Atlantic.

THE HUMAN LEAGUE had a huge selling hit album as well in ‘Dare’, for which Ware and Marsh received a small royalty as part of the original divorce settlement. Whereas at the time, THE HUMAN LEAGUE had a purer synthesizer vision, Ware had been keen to incorporate his love of soul and disco into proceedings.

“We wanted a little distance between what THE HUMAN LEAGUE had been and probably were still going to be, and what HEAVEN 17 were about to become..” remembered Glenn Gregory, “The balance in any group is obviously changed when anyone leaves or joins… things were naturally heading in a different direction just by the very fact that the dynamic of the group had changed, I suppose the real turning point was when we had written ‘Fascist Groove Thang’ (only about ten days after THE HUMAN LEAGUE had split) and Martyn had suggested we put a bass guitar solo in the middle breakdown…”

Featuring young Sheffield bassist John Wilson who also turned out to be a master on rhythm guitar and powered by Simmons SDS-V drums, ‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’ was a salvo of urgent electronic funk that won the support of the serious music press, but got a ban from the BBC due to its Ronald Reagan baiting lyrics and warnings about the resurgence of extreme right wing ideology. It only fired the trio up even more!

The resultant ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ album was released in Autumn 1981. It was a landmark achievement, cleverly combining electronics with pop hooks and funky disco sounds while adding witty social and political commentary. It fell into two halves, the ‘Penthouse’ side being more electronic avant pop like an extension of THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘Travelogue’ while the other ‘Pavement’ side was aided and abetted by a game changing piece of digital technology; “The Linn Drum became within a day, the new direction” recalled Martyn Ware, “that and discovering John Wilson were the two things that defined ‘Penthouse & Pavement’.”

In a mood of buoyant optimism, ‘Play To Win’ celebrated aspiration, while the title song with its blistering burst of guitar synth by Wilson wittily captured the greed of yuppie culture during the Thatcher era. But on the other side of the coin, ‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’ and ‘Height Of The Fighting’ reflected The Cold War and the horrifying spectre of Mutually Assured Destruction. The album fittingly ended with ‘We’re Going To Live For A Very Long Time’, a humourous ode to the dangers of religious fundamentalism that had a connected end groove on its original vinyl to ensure it went on for infinity…

With electronic music technology becoming more sophisticated while affordable and user friendly, Ware upped the ante with its production values; “We’d moved on by then to programming using the Roland MC4 Microcomposer so there was a lot of numeric programming on that album.” he said, “That drove my System 100 and Ian’s System 100M. The original demos are really just the programmed parts which then got layered over with real instruments.”

Securing the talents of notable session musicians such as Ray Russell, Simon Phillips and Nick Plytas as well as retaining John Wilson, ‘The Luxury Gap’ had a glossy sheen which combined synthesizer programming and digital drum computers with orchestrations, brass, jazz piano, rhythm guitar and guitar synths.

The first single ‘Let Me Go’ with one of the first uses of the Roland TB303 Bass Line sequencer was a striking slice of art funk, offset by deep delayed thrusts of Jupiter 8 but again failed to be a Top40 hit.

Interestingly, its recording had concocted a few conundrums in the studio. “When we finished ‘Let Me Go’” remembered Gregory, “we realised we’d lost the original beauty of the demo so we did it again…so basically, ‘The Best Kept Secret’ is ‘Let Me Go’ but redone with an orchestra. So we got two songs out of it.”

More obviously pop oriented than its predecessor ‘The Luxury Gap’ hosted two international hits. ‘Temptation’ was euphoric soul fusion of epic proportions utilising strings and the voice of Carol Kenyon. “Martyn had the idea for the Motown backbeat but it’s still very electronic really… there was this part that built and we decided to try an orchestra.” Gregory explained, “So we were in the studio with this massive orchestra and it was like ‘oh my god’, it was amazing because it was so different. It was a complete game changer.”

Meanwhile ‘Come Live With Me’ was a heartfelt cinematic ballad with no instrumental break which was delivered so sincerely, that it veiled its origins as an inter-band joke. “I was at that time I wrote it, seeing a young girl and I was getting a few jibes” recollected the HEAVEN 17 front man, “The words were making us laugh! It was all messing around! That’s where it all came from and we were quite surprised we’d written quite a beautiful song by the end of it because we were laughing like mad.”

‘Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry’, ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ and ‘Key To The World’ pointedly explored the themes of ‘The Luxury Gap’ and maintained HEAVEN 17’s socio-political consciousness despite their entry into the mainstream. But there were other highlights; ‘Lady Ice & Mr Hex’ provided a weird fusion of jazz piano, polyrhythmics, Linn Drum and acid squelches while the frantic energy of ‘We Live So Fast’ presented what it said on the tin.

Success brought money and this was reflected in Autumn 1984 with the Fairlighted jamboree of third album ‘How Men Are’.

“The operational reasons for moving to the Fairlight were that Ian had bought one without asking anyone and with his own money… £40,000!” affirmed HEAVEN 17’s musical director of their newly accquired workstation, “I was going ‘Are you sure about this Ian?’, it seemed a little extreme but he was keen”.

The results were mixed and the many options provided by the computer from Sydney, Australia led to the start of HEAVEN 17’s artistic confusion. But without doubt, ‘Five Minutes To Midnight’ was an outstanding opener. Referencing The Doomsday Clock and following on from ‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’ to highlight the absurdity of Mutually Assured Destruction, it used and abused the Fairlight, throwing in ‘Protect and Survive’ styled civil defence announcements, deathly whoops and a doomy orchestral crescendo bringing a frightening finality to proceedings…

“I’m a big fan of ‘How Men Are’ looking back on it” said Ware, “I think it’s an underrated album and that was when we were probably in our most daring and creative phase.” That daring creativity manifested itself on the sub-ten minute closer ‘And That’s No Lie’, an ambitious adventure in sound that threw in everything from abstract sonic experiments, jazz piano, Fairlight samples, gospel voices and an orchestra, plus some excellent live bass and guitar work from John Wilson and Ray Russell respectively.

Although there were hits in ‘Sunset Now’ and ‘This Is Mine’, these singles highlighted that with the exception of ‘Flamedown’, the ‘How Men Are’ album material was not ultimately as strong as it had been on ‘The Luxury Gap’. One case in point was ‘The Skin I’m In’, an insipid ballad in the vein of SPANDAU BALLET’s ‘True’ although it was partly saved by a plucky acoustic guitar solo created using a Roland System 100!

But the world was changing. Synthpop was falling out of fashion and while potentially there was still success to be had across the Atlantic with the advent of MTV, thanks to the unexpected success of SIMPLE MINDS, British acts were under pressure make themselves more palatable to American audiences.

“So consequently when it came to making ‘Pleasure One’, we’d lost our confidence a bit because it felt like we were slipping.” Ware recalled, “So we started employing more session players and moving towards a more traditional rock sound. And that wasn’t a deliberate decision. We lost confidence not in our songwriting but in the sound that we had, so it like really lost a bit of identity… We wanted to move on but there wasn’t anywhere to move on to from a sound point of view.”

But to be fair, a good number of acts from the school of Synth Britannia like THE HUMAN LEAGUE, OMD, ULTRAVOX and BLANCMANGE were having something of an existential crisis and even those who had tasted major success in the US like DURAN DURAN were falling apart.

Released in Autumn 1986, the conventionally band driven ‘Pleasure One’ which also saw the return of Carol Kenyon was given a lukewarm reception. Highlights included the groovy call for world unity ‘Contenders’ and the LEVEL 42 aping ‘Trouble’, while ‘If I Were You’ brought in an unexpected influence from THE BEATLES. But overall, HEAVEN 17 had lost momentum.

Ware’s success as a producer for acts like Tina Turner and Terence Trent D’Arby was perhaps placing his artistic focus elsewhere, but when Glenn Gregory appeared on the album cover of 1988’s ‘Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho’ wearing a Stetson and cowboy boots, the writing was on the wall.

“‘Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho’ was the nail in the coffin; we’d completely lost our way by then as far as I was concerned! We were retreading some ideas and some of the things we were doing were not working. I think we all knew it had run its course at that point” lamented Ware, “But ironically, it wasn’t that we’d run out of musical ideas, it was just that vehicle because at that time, I was doing Terence Trent D’Arby album which showed myself, Glenn and Ian that we’d still got creative ideas but we’d lost focus on what HEAVEN 17 should be at that point.”

‘Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho’ were the affectionate nicknames given by Terence Trent D’Arby respectively to Ware, Gregory and Marsh, but the album possessed none of the enthusiasm or spirit of the former GI who Ware had been working with on ‘Introducing The Hardline According To…’. ‘The Ballad Of Go Go Brown’ was the cue for some fans to exit, although ‘Train Of Love In Motion’ was a better single. Meanwhile ‘Big Square People’ was as good as some of blue eyed soul of the times.

But with mainstream audiences finding younger acts such as WET WET WET, HUE & CRY and JOHNNY HATES JAZZ more to their liking, HEAVEN 17 effectively went on hiatus between 1989 to 1995, although a dance enhanced Brothers In Rhythm remix of ‘Temptation’ became a surprise UK Top5 hit in 1992.

Then in 1996, the trio reunited to re-explore their electronic roots with a new album ‘Bigger Than America’ and in 1997 toured as the opening act for ERASURE whose 1993 album ‘I Say I Say I Say’ had been produced by Ware.

Although there has only been one further album ‘Before / After’ in 2005 and the departure of Ian Craig Marsh not long after, HEAVEN 17 have been regulars on the live circuit since 2008, often showcasing ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ and ‘The Luxury Gap’ in full where their political commentary still remains sadly relevant in the modern world.

‘Play To Win – The Virgin Years’ captures the glorious imperial phase of HEAVEN 17 and the developmental pace of music technology through these five albums. Featuring a 36 booklet with new interviews and archive photos, the CD version is particularly desirable with its plethora of extended mixes, radio edits, instrumentals and non-album tracks such as the standalone single ‘I’m Your Money’ and its B-side ‘Are Everything’ plus the brilliant and very different demo version of ‘Temptation’ which took its lead from SOFT CELL’s cover of ‘Tainted Love’.

Gregory, Ware and Marsh’s ultimate legacy is being able to use music to deliver socio-political statements with good tunes and a sense of humour while also applying a juxtaposition of programmed technology with live musicians to provide a unique sound for the times.

“Some things will always be relevant” summarised Gregory, “We wrote about subjects that touched our lives and our souls, things that mattered not just to us as individuals but also to us as a part of a political or social system. We never preached and always (I hope) ranted with wit and humour”.

As the band once stated during their 1996 return: “TRUST US – WE’RE ENTERTAINERS”.


‘Play To Win – The Virgin Years’ is released by Edsel Records as a 10CD or 5LP coloured vinyl 12” x 12” boxed set on 29th March 2019

HEAVEN 17 will be opening for SQUEEZE on their 2019 tour, dates include:

Scunthorpe Baths Hall (17th October), Sheffield City Hall (18th October), Gateshead Sage (19th October), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (21st October), Leicester De Montfort Hall (22nd October), Birmingham Symphony Hall (23rd October), Oxford New Theatre (25th October), Brighton Centre (26th October), Southend Cliffs Pavilion (27th October), London Royal Albert Hall (29th October), Bath Forum(30th October), Hull City Hall (1st November), Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (2nd November), Manchester Salford Quays The Lowry (3rd November), Northampton Derngate (5th November), Guildford G Live (6th November), Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (9th November), Bournemouth Pavilion (11th November), Cambridge Corn Exchange (12th November), Cardiff St David’s Hall (13th November), Llandudno Venue Cymru (15th November), Harrogate Convention Centre (16th November), Reading Hexagon (17th November), Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (19th November), Ipswich Regent (20th November)

https://www.heaven17.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heaven17official/

https://twitter.com/heaven17bef

https://www.instagram.com/heaven17official/


Text and interviews by Chi Ming Lai
12th March 2019

AFTERHERE Live in London

AFTERHERE are Berenice Scott and Glenn Gregory.

Gregory is best known as the front man of HEAVEN 17 while Scott is a singer / songwriter who is also the Sheffield electronic pioneers’ live keyboardist; she joined their concert set-up in 2011 while releasing her most recent solo album ‘Polarity’ in 2014.

As well as HEAVEN 17, the pair have also been part of HOLY HOLY.

A supergroup led by Spiders drummer Woody Woodmansey and producer Tony Visconti, HOLY HOLY perform the songs of DAVID BOWIE from the period between 1969 to 1973 at concerts around the world and it was while touring that AFTERHERE came into being.

What began as a platform for soundtrack work eventually mutated into songs for their debut album ‘Addict’; “Glenn being part of one of the most innovative electronic bands calls to mind elements of KRAFTWERK and of course HEAVEN 17” Berenice Scott said to The Electricity Club, “We both love classic, brilliant songwriting such as the HALL & OATES catalogue and one of my favourite singers is Karen Carpenter, and then we kind of end up meeting somewhere in the middle with a shared love of DAFT PUNK.”

For their debut gig at Venue 2 of 229, an underground location in Central London, Scott and Gregory reversed their known roles from HEAVEN 17. Beginning with an introspective instrumental ‘Butterfly’, it was certainly unusual to see Gregory behind two synthesizers.

The soulful electronically assisted pop of ‘After the Night’, with its rainy backdrop and gentle backbeat from Al Anderson on electronic drums, showcased how with Scott taking the majority of the lead vocals, AFTERHERE’s songs take on a more personal and emotional level compared with the socio-political animal that is HEAVEN 17.

‘Darkstar’ saw Gregory take the first verse in a duet with Scott, their two very different voices working well in unison and providing enough anguish around a solid bassline, swooping electronics and subtle piano.

Aided by a synthetic rumble and thundering rhythms from Anderson, ‘Unbroken’ was full of emotive drama with Scott exclaiming “I’ll be there for you”. The jazzier overtones of ‘It’s OK’ were disturbed by some solid schaffel beats, although Scott’s terrifically rich voice was not overawed by the dominant percussive backbone.

With a solemn demeanour, ‘I Won’t Cry’ with its mix of piano and synths came over like an electro-FLEETWOOD MAC and was amusingly boosted by Gregory’s BEE GEES inspired falsetto backing vox. Then in a nod to HEAVEN 17 and DAVID BOWIE, Scott provided solo piano interpretations of ‘Temptation’ and ‘Wild Is The Wild’ which were both voiced by Gregory.

The haunting overtures of ‘Liar’, which formed part of AFTERHERE’s first soundtrack commission, more than suited the parent TV show’s heavy subject content; “is he dead?” grinned Scott to the audience at the song’s conclusion in a reference to the series one cliffhanger…

The excellent ‘Addict’ album title track dealt with emotional exploration of relationships, but proceeding were injected with a dancey boost, courtesy of the funky GOLDFRAPP of ‘Breaking Rules’; with groovy reminisces of ‘Twist’ and ‘Yes Sir’, the song’s captivating sexually charged seduction almost got Scott up on her feet, although she remained somewhat the reluctant front woman despite having the voice and looks to more than fulfil the role.

The nocturnal atmospheres of ‘A Place To Be’ were perfect as the penultimate song of the evening before Berenice Scott and Glenn Gregory closed with a stark trip-hop styled cover of ‘All Along the Watchtower’.

With an introduction by ‘Liar’ and ‘Vanity Fair’ director James Strong, he explained how he wanted the music for his shows to be slightly darker in tone. A song that has been reinterpreted by many in the past including Jimi Hendrix, Bryan Ferry and U2, authentic guitar sounds emerged from Gregory via his Roland GAIA. Combined with Scott’s spooky air, it came over like MORCHEEBA doing Dylan.

It was an enjoyable debut performance from AFTERHERE with Scott particularly impressing. Gregory had said he was particularly nervous in his new role as a live musician, but he needn’t have worried. Both he and Scott just need to get a bit more confident within their role reversals and everything else will nicely fall into place.


With thanks to Sacha Taylor-Cox at Hush PR

‘Addict’ is released by Manners McDade in CD and digital formats

https://afterhere.co.uk/wp/

https://www.facebook.com/AfterhereMusic/

https://twitter.com/WeAreAfterhere

https://www.instagram.com/weareafterhere/

http://www.mannersmcdade.co.uk/composer/glenn-gregory-berenice-scott/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Chi Ming Lai and Richard Price
8th October 2018

AFTERHERE Interview

AFTERHERE is the brand new project of HEAVEN 17 front man Glenn Gregory and live keyboardist Berenice Scott.

While Glenn Gregory along with band mates Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh scored a number of hits including ‘Temptation’, ‘Come Live With Me’, ‘Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry’ and ‘This Is Mine’ as HEAVEN 17, Berenice Scott joined their live set-up in 2011 while releasing her most recent solo album ‘Polarity’ in 2014.

As well as HEAVEN 17, the pair have also been part of HOLY HOLY, the supergroup led by Spiders drummer Woody Woodmansey and producer Tony Visconti who perform the songs of DAVID BOWIE from the period between 1969 to 1973 at concerts around the world.

As AFTERHERE, Berenice Scott and Glenn Gregory got their first commission for the soundtrack of the ITV drama ‘Liar’. With their debut album ‘Addict’ due for release later this month, music from it will feature in another ITV drama ‘Vanity Fair’ due for broadcast in September 2018.

Berenice Scott kindly chatted to The Electricity Club about the comings and goings of AFTERHERE and more…

You’ve been working live with HEAVEN 17 since 2011, so how did AFTERHERE happen?

Glenn and I started chatting about working together on something a couple of years into my playing with HEAVEN 17. We didn’t really have a firm idea of what that might be, we just kind of started conceptualising things… Glenn would occasionally ping ideas my way, things he was working on for his other film / TV composing projects, or new H17 tracks, things like that.

But it wasn’t until we were touring together with HOLY HOLY that we began to formulate AFTERHERE and what that entity might be. In fact, I remember standing in the corridor of a rehearsal studio in London called The Joint, guitars blaring out David Bowie and both of us deciding on the name. So I guess that’s the moment that it happened!

You began with providing the soundtrack of the TV drama ‘Liar’? How did you find that experience of putting music to moving pictures?

Absolute joy from start to finish. I’d witnessed Glenn at work scoring for a TV film before we started working together and it was enthralling to see the process and also the choices Glenn would use and why he would do particular things in places to aid the pace, mood and story. Since studying piano classically from a young age I’ve always written piano compositions, so when Glenn and I were pitching for ‘Liar’ it was fascinating to combine all these elements. Particularly with a heavy subject content such as ‘Liar’ it was moving to be supporting the storyline whilst retaining that subtlety that’s needed for scoring. With pop music, it’s out and out emotion isn’t it! Glenn and I love building the sometimes long tension and release that’s involved with film composing.

Conceptually, how do you see AFTERHERE differing from your own solo work?

I think I’d say that I find the initial approach to writing very similar; I still try to access the same creative flow and emotion, but that very quickly becomes a joint project, with both our wells of taste and experiences being pooled together.

Because we have a very similar work ethic it is a pretty seamless transition from the singer / songwriter world I’ve inhabited to the more cinematic, electro concept we visualise as being ‘us’.

What particular artist influences were each of you bringing to the table?

As the album started taking shape we both started to naturally pick out and identify various influences… Glenn being part of one of the most innovative electronic bands calls to mind elements of KRAFTWERK and of course HEAVEN 17. We both love classic, brilliant songwriting such as the HALL & OATES catalogue and one of my favourite singers is Karen Carpenter, and then we kind of end up meeting somewhere in the middle with a shared love of DAFT PUNK. When we’re asked about what our tracks sound like I think we both agree that those could be our references.

What is the creative dynamic of AFTERHERE with Glenn, was it decided quite early on that you would be lead vocalist?

There’s never a moment before we start writing a song that we decide on who will sing. In fact strangely we just start an idea and write as if we both could sing it, almost as if we might be writing for another singer because it’s the song and story that is most important to us. It’s only when its fully taken shape that the song settles on either one of us. It’s invariably a case of “you do it” – “No you do it!” That kind of thing for a while before we agree on who has to stand up and leave the comfy studio chairs to sing.

But you do duet with Glenn on ‘Dark Star’…

When I get to the studio in the mornings, Glenn will usually have been in a couple of hours before me, brushing up on yesterday’s session, having a fresh listen etc. Often I get there and he’ll play me what he’s been up to and I’m always like “Yes that’s f****** brilliant!!”

Well, on one of those mornings he played me ‘Dark Star’ with his vocals and I was blown away. It had to be a duet. The lyrics suddenly made sense and gradually the ending vocal arrangement developed and became a much bigger thing too in the process.

You’ve played around with a few subtle vocal processing techniques on the album, so when do you decide it’s appropriate to use in a recording?

I don’t know really, it shifts and changes for me every day. Some days I’ll wake up and just sing with a morning growly voice and not give a sh*t. ‘Blackout’ was one of those. And then sometimes I’m searching for a precision and particular sound that probably doesn’t exist, but I’m still going to die trying and also test Glenn’s patience in the process ha! It’s all just a choice isn’t it?

What are your views about how it is used in modern mainstream pop?

As long as you know you’re happy to sit down in a room with a piano or guitar and just sing without a mic, effects etc, then I’d say just knock yourself out in the studio – experiment away. Even if you arrive back at a place without any effects. Glenn’s voice for example requires nothing at all! You could leave a channel completely naked with his voice and still have clarity, volume and presence. I’m all for that, I also love creating an almost ethereal atmosphere, but it’s a fine balance.

‘Blackout’ could be described as “dubstep soul”?

‘Blackout’ started with an early morning after a late night voice, it was all about the feel of the vocal.

I played it to Glenn who loved it immediately, the only danger was would we be able to find that voice again when we finally wrote the finished lyrics!

Glenn did some beautiful work on the backing track, in fact it was ready for a vocal for about 4 weeks, all we had to do was wait for the right time to do it.

We had planned to do it after getting back really late from a gig one night – I stayed over at Glenn’s house with the intention that we both got up at 6AM to go straight into the studio to get the same husky vocal from the guide, but of course that didn’t happen! Waking up late and Starbucks got in the way of that. It was about a week later when I finally did the vocal and thankfully managed to match the vocal from the rough.

And if it’s Dubstep Soul that we created, I’m very happy that we did.

HEAVEN 17 lyrics are often reflecting socio-political concerns, has this been the case with AFTERHERE or have they been much more personal?

It’s more personal, well, universal and personal I’d say, all the songs on the album are emotional and connected both musically and lyrically.

Was the Kim Wilde track ‘Without Your Love’ which you and Glenn did with Gary Barlow for the ‘Fly’ soundtrack souvenir from 2016 originally pencilled in for AFTERHERE?

Well spotted! In a roundabout way it was sort of pencilled in… we actually had a song that Glenn sang, I forget the title now, anyway Gary Barlow happened to hear it as he was in contact with Glenn for a different track for the soundtrack, and somehow we all started working on that original piece to eventually make ‘Without Your Love’. Kim felt like the perfect choice, so Glenn gave her a call and that was that.

So what’s the title track album opener ‘Addict’ all about?

‘Addict’ is all about emotion and emotional involvement, exploration of relationships, it’s about discovering depths, nuance and desire. Sometimes leaving something or someone behind is the only way to discover that you need it, and maybe that you shouldn’t need it! It’s about connection beyond the everyday and the heartache or joy involved in that.

The wonderful ‘Breaking Rules’ is a surprise and appears to have you exploring your inner GOLDFRAPP?

That’s really great to hear, thank you! We always wanted to have a driving track on the album that you could hopefully move your feet to, party to… possibly get in a little trouble! I don’t know, we’re both fans of classic club tracks and I guess as the song is set in a club-type setting it was always going to push towards having that feel.

You’ve done a trip-hop styled cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’, how did that come together? The song’s been reinterpreted by many people in the past, which version is your own favourite?

Glenn and I were working closely with the director James Strong when we were composing for ‘Liar’, and as he started filming for the new ITV blockbuster ‘Vanity Fair’, he came to us to bat ideas around for a possible theme for the show. He knew he wanted it to be slightly dark in tone, but also to have the lyrical relevance needed for introducing the show each episode.

We all circled around ‘Watchtower’ and let that idea percolate for a bit whilst James continued filming and we were recording our album. At some point it just popped up and sprung itself into shape in the studio as the edits of the opening titles started being sent over to us along with visuals and ideas from James.

In terms of my favourite version I would have to say Jimi Hendrix’s, it’s the version I know most well and I’m sure I’m not alone in that!

Was there any new interesting bits of kit that you found a revelation to work with recording this album, either hardware or software?

Glenn! Haha! No but seriously, when I was laying down vocals something felt very different to any other times I’ve recorded in studios, whether alone with myself engineering or with other artists and producers.

We sort of found a zone, I can’t really explain it other than a total trust just being there which allows you that kind of creative freedom. Equally if something isn’t working it’s fantastic to have that trust so you can set aside ego and move on and try different things.

Are there any plans to take AFTERHERE out live at all?

Yes definitely!


The ‘Addict’ album is released on 31st August 2018 via Manners McDade

AFTERHERE play their debut live concert at London’s 229 Venue2 in Great Portland Street on Thursday 4th October 2018

http://afterhere.co.uk/wp/

https://www.facebook.com/AfterhereMusic/

http://www.mannersmcdade.co.uk/composer/glenn-gregory-berenice-scott/

http://www.berenicescott.com/

https://twitter.com/mrgregory

https://www.instagram.com/weareafterhere/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
4th August 2018, updated 31st August 2018

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