The Charlatans
The UK indie-rockers join the traveling Haçienda circus
By: Dan Grunebaum | Apr 13, 2012 | Issue: 942 | No Comments | 2,304 views

Courtesy of Jaspex

Joy Division, New Order, Factory Records, The Haçienda… the pop pedigree of Peter Hook is the stuff of history. A few years ago the English bassist and impresario began to visit Japan with his Fac51 Hacienda tours. Surfing a wave of nostalgia for his back catalog and the Madchester sound that emerged out of Hook’s notorious Haçienda club, the tours have proven remarkably successful. So much so that they’ve now morphed into a full-fledged festival. In addition to performances of Joy Division songs by Hook’s band The Light, the Haçienda Oiso Festival bill emphasizes the crossover between rock and dance music that is the Haçienda’s musical legacy, with bands like The Whip and DJs such as Carl Craig.

Also to perform are The Charlatans, a group whose association with The Hacienda and Factory Records made them part of the Madchester wave. Metropolis reached founding bassist Martin Blunt ahead of the group’s visit, to ponder the meaning of Madchester for a new generation.

Tell us about your memories of the Haçienda.

During late 1989, I attended a couple of club nights at the peak of Acid House. It was a euphoric experience both in terms of the music and the people there. Most of the band went there on and off between 1988-90. Mark [guitarist Mark Collins] witnessed The Smiths there in 1983. He went out the next day to buy a guitar. Also I saw Primal Scream there in 1992 on their first tour in support of their Screamadelica album. It was a great show but the club was less than full. A month later it went massive. When we finally played there in 1994 on our Up To Our Hips album, the club was very much sold out. An incredible night and glad we got to say we played there.

How did the Haçienda and Madchester scene impact the Charlatans’ early days?

Culturally, being connected with Factory records had a big impact on the band—especially Tim [singer Tim Burgess] with the music of Joy Division and New Order. But what was being played at Hacienda on some nights during the late 1980s by the DJs and fledgling bands from the North-West produced a fantastic melting pot of sounds.

Tell us about the relationship between rock and dance music in the Charlatans’ sound.

As well as being influenced by certain British groups from 1960s, ’70s and ’80s with a twist of seminal German groups such as Can and Neu, several members of the group have always had a passion for black American soul music such as from the Stax and Tamla labels. This got a lot of us into late ’60s/’70s funk. For some of us, these records were still being played in the clubs we attended growing up in the 1980s.

What does the Haçienda movie 24 Hour Party People get right and wrong?

I think the film is very entertaining. But as somebody said, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

How did you survive all the “E and glee?”

By knowing when to say no—sometimes.

How did you come to be part of Peter Hook’s upcoming Haçienda Festival in Oiso?

We were approached at the start of this year and always wanted to do a couple of gigs outside the UK for this project. This seems a fantastic event and something slightly different. And besides, we very much enjoy playing live in Japan.

Why are audiences still so obsessed with Madchester?

I think the trickle-down effect musically still interests some people from over the past 20 years, and from time to time a younger generation finds something still fresh in the sounds and the songs.

What kind of set are you planning for Japan?

It will be the Tellin’ Stories album with tracks from around that period. Some of these songs we have never played live.

You are reportedly working on a new album. Give us a teaser.

Yes, at some point at the end of this summer we’re going to our own studio (Big Mushroom) to start initial recordings on our 12th studio album. We want to make something epic!

  • The Haçienda Oiso Festival, Apr 28-29 (listing).
  • Win tickets to the festival here.
  • Buy The Charlatans’ album Tellin’ Stories here



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