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Heaven 17

In January 2017 Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 are sitting in Martyn’s London studio ‘The House of Illustrious’ discussing their forthcoming album and how they are giving Society of Sound members unique access to their working process.

Some 36 years after the release of their first album, the ground-breaking Penthouse and Pavement, Heaven 17 are still making music and in their own independent way.

‘We decided to create an album while we both in the studio at the same time – even though it is more feasible to do things remotely.

Simplicity was important – we had a few ground rules when we started this…keeping things to maybe four or five instruments, making it really simple and without over-filling it.

We wanted to use the original synth we’d used on ‘Being Boiled’ (originally released in 1978 by an early iteration of The Human League) – the Roland System 100. It’s still the best sounding syth. If you get lost and need some inspiration you plug this in – it’s warm, heart-warming – there’s soul in there! This was the starting pallet with the addition of some modern machines such as the OP-1 (from Teenage Engineering). Between that, which is very modern and that which is really old – that’s what the new Heaven 17 is all about. We’re not being old-fashioned for the sake of it.

We came up with the idea of only selling things on vinyl and through our Heaven 17 website, with no digital release. We decided to start with a series of double A side 12 inches.

We’d released two singles and then started talking to Bowers & Wilkins about doing a ’work-in-progress’ version of the new album, to expose the process of how we are making this record. We wanted to show partially-finished versions and to be honest about how things are created. It’s still skeletal in a lot of ways, it’s still open to change and it’s not mastered.

We think it’s a real rarity coming in half way through the album – you can actually see a work in progress and how its been built and where it’s going.

The working title is ‘Not For Public Broadcast’ and this is the only digital release of this music.

© David Buckley



Society of Sound members download the album here

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