A Heavenly Exclusive!

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Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Martyn Ware. With an extensive and impressive career in music, from his early work in The Human League to creating soundscapes via Illustrious, a company he formed with Vince Clarke in 2001, Martyn knows a thing or two about what makes good music. Now, while you will have to wait until April, when More Eighties is published, to discover what it was like for him working with Tina Turner and why he is now warming to Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s output in the Eighties (yep, you really did just read that!), I can reveal a little ‘exclusive’ which came up during our chat.

I had asked the BEF founder member about his inspiration for pushing musical boundaries and continuing to innovate. He told me “We’ve created a new track with Heaven 17, which nobody’s heard yet, which will be coming out soon, called ‘Clouds Or Mountains’. Where we’ve been experimenting with Heaven 17, it sounds amazing. With Glenn Gregory’s voice, it sounds like Scott Walker. That’s an exclusive.” h17

I ask if that have a release date yet.

“No, we’ve got to discuss it. We’ve got a special deal going with Bowers & Wilkins. They’ve got this thing called Society of Sound, where they release high definition audio. They’ve got this subscription thing where you subscribe and every month they send you an album digitally, in the highest possible format. It’s downloadable for a month and then that’s it, it’s gone. This is going to be their February one. It’s like a work in progress version of the new album, so it includes all the existing singles. It’ll be on their service for a month and then it’s gone, until we release the album.”

The concept of providing a limited availability teaser for fans is one which appeals to Martyn, as a remedy to the constant influx of music which now prevails.

“There’s no wait nowadays. You can stream everything everywhere. I read today that Prince’s entire output is going to be available on all the streaming services from February 16th. That’s like about a hundred hours of stuff. It’s just ridiculous.”

However, there’s nothing ridiculous about wanting to hear the latest Heaven 17 material. Society of Sound, here I come!

 

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Much Moore Than The Competition

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As I sat at the table on Saturday afternoon, waiting for my cup of tea, I became aware that I was in a situation many ladies of a certain age would envy. The reason for this was that the man doing the honours in the kitchen was former Brother Beyond and Worlds Apart frontman, Nathan Moore. I met the singer ahead of his performance at a 48 Hour Party Weekend at Camber Sands, East Sussex, to discuss his memories of my favourite decade, for my next book ‘More Eighties’.

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Nathan and me after the interview

Looking remarkably youthful for his 51 years,  Nathan recalled his time fronting one of the most popular boy bands of the late Eighties, and talked about being invited to dinner by Madonna, the band’s rivalry with Bros, and the impact Stock, Aitken and Waterman had on Brother Beyond. You’ll be able to read about this and more, when the book is released early next year, as well as Nathan’s thoughts on being part of the increasingly popular 80’s circuit.

I asked Nathan what material he will be performing later that evening.

“I like to give them what they want,” he answers, before surprising me by continuing “I’ll give them ‘Living on A Prayer’ and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. It’s about having a rocking night. That’s what they’re here for. That’s why I don’t do obscure album tracks from Brother Beyond, because the evening would just go a bit flat.”

I am intrigued by the idea of one of pop’s pin-ups channelling his inner rockstar, and can’t wait to see his performance.

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Nathan about to go on stage

Later that evening, as I make my way through the venue to meet Nathan backstage, I have no doubt that he has read the crowd well. There appears to be an Ancient History theme to the fancy dress being worn, with Centurions and Egyptian Hieroglyphs mingling with crowds of toga-wearing partygoers, all ready for a fun Saturday night. Unfortunately, the act Nathan has to follow is an Elton John tribute, with a penchant for performing tracks such as ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Candle In The Wind’. The subdued set was better suited to a mellow Sunday afternoon. It was going to be no mean feat whipping up this audience into a frenzy. However, whip it Mr. Moore did – and then some!

Opening with ‘Be My Twin’, and performing an eclectic mix of songs which, as well as the rock tracks, included ‘Footloose’, fellow Hit Factory performer Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up and a cheeky rendition of Bros’s ‘I Owe You Nothing’, alongside Brother Beyond hits ‘The Harder I Try’ and ‘He Ain’t No Competition’, the singer delivered a set that not only proved his versatility, but had the crowd going wild.

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Driving ’em wild!

An on-stage remark that people in Camber Sands didn’t appear to be as raucous as those he had encountered the week before in Southport, soon saw Nathan in receipt of a bra, thrown at him with gusto. This was followed by lots of grabbing by the women in the front two rows, whenever he ventured towards the stage barriers, which was often. Like I said before, he knows his audience and just how to please them.

Talking of which, I mustn’t neglect to mention what was, for me, the highlight of his set, a cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’, the perfect showcase for Nathan’s vocal talents, and conclusive proof that he is so much more than a pretty face in a boy band. Oh, and he makes a lovely cuppa too!