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  Under The Grill
New Order Back after a lengthy break, we put New Order's Peter Hook and Stephen Morris under the grill backstage at TOTP.

TOTP: Your recent comeback show at Liverpool Arena solicited rave reviews along the lines of 'simply peerless'. It must feel good to be back...
Hooky: Yeah. The concert was a bit nerve-wracking. Itís always worse playing near home. We thought for some magical reason that by playing Liverpool, none of our drunken mates would turn up. But needless to say, our drunken friends are very resilient and turned up. But, no, it was a bit like a homecoming and I really enjoyed it.

TOTP: Were you nervous?
Yeah. I think I scared Steve with my nervousness.
 He gets really nervous. You would think he had never done a gig before.
Hooky: I donít know why. I just do. Itís funny; it was making Billy Corgan nervous.

TOTP: How did it come about, playing with Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. Did it feel quite strange?
He is an old friend of mine. I first met him when
New Order played in Chicago. My mate brought him along and said: "This is so and soís son and he is thinking of forming a band." And a few years later I met him and he was in the Smashing Pumpkins. Our paths have always crossed. We have got a lot of mutual friends.

TOTP: Was he a big fan of yours?
He was a big fan of
Joy Division in the old days. That is what he said when he come up to me that day. He didnít really say much. He was very shy. He was just someone that you kept meeting. And the thing was that I got asked to play on the last Smashing Pumkins' record. Which I did... So, anyway, I played for him and it was logical from there. Bernard got into the Smashing Pumpkins - he had been reintroduced to it by his 18-year-old son. So he said to me: "Do you think we could get Billy on this because it reminds me of him. I can hear him on it." Then I just phoned him up and he was up for it. I think he had been a bit disillusioned with the Pumpkins and the way it turned out, and he spotted a gap playing for us.

TOTP: You have a new single and album coming out. What led you to getting together again?
Itís what you do after youíve done gigs. Next thing you do, you do a record. So we did.
Hooky: It was just a simple matter of getting together again. There was a little unapproachable bit where I think we needed the space after all we had been through. Once weíd had that space, and we met up again and realized that there was something still there, it was just like unfinished business. Itís like the old relationship thing. It hangs over you dinnit? If you think it is over, itís fine. If you think it is unfinished, then it is something that you have to explore. And that was basically what we did.

TOTP: Does the new material follow the traditional New Order sound?
Hooky: The only thing that we wanted to do was sound contemporary. With the competition you have these days I think it is important to think about it. With New Order, it is a little bit easier because you can afford to get a good producer and stuff like that. And thatís what happened. We got a great producer called Steve Osborne. We all wanted to play and Steve wanted us to play. It was just like-minded souls looking for some oasis in the wilderness. And lo and behold we found some.

HookyNew Order on their new album, their old label, Factory records and receiving critical acclaim...

TOTP: You chuffed with the outcome?
I think it is top. Plus I really enjoyed making it. And I canít say that about many New Order records. We are all like-minded though. We all had a bad time making some records; individually, collectively, personally and everything. It was quite nice to be free of all the Factory stuff and all the business stuff, even though it left a fantastic legacy. It is nice just to get on with what you do best - music.

TOTP: Can you compare it against your other albums?
Never. No.
You canít really say this is better than that.

TOTP: New Order always had a distinctive style, especially your record covers. Again, will that continue?
There are very few of us left. The one thing that is nice is that we keep Peter Saville doing the sleeves. He still has an eye and he is still good at it.

TOTP: How did your close-knit production staff come about? Have you always used the same people in key production roles?                        Hooky: It was a concept of Tony Wilson's. To make a record you need a record company - that was Factory. You need a record producer, which was Martin Hannet. You need someone heavy-handed to make them all work together. You need a graphic designer - that was Peter Saville - to do the sleeves, and you need a guy who owns the studio - Peter Brierly from Cargo Studios. And then all you need when you got them five is the group! So then Tony went out and got a group. Us. And Peter Saville is the only one left out of the five that he started with.

TOTP: A critic wrote recently : "Every important pop development of the last 20 years - from U2ís epics to Radiohead to Detroit Techno - is rooted somewhere in this bandsí  back catalogue." That is some tribute.
Hooky: It's nice, but it doesnít help you pay your gas bill does it? There is only one thing we have ever done, which is to try and do everything we have done well. And I think that by doing that, and by being a little of the wall - especially with Stephen and Bernardís interest in technology - we were right at the cutting edge then. Cutting edge sounds too good for it because it was very rough edge. It was interesting that, by pushing them and by marrying that with the rock thing, we did create something different. And you can hear that in every U2 record. I think we borrowed a bit form Detroit ourselves to be honest, especially with working with Arthur Baker. The thing is, when you look back at the way Factory was, they were quite good at letting you take chances. Whereas people donít take many chances these days. Itís all very formulaic.  

New Order on the Manchester thing and owning their own nightclub.

TOTP: Regional cities such as Manchester have produced some of the best bands of the last 20 years - Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Stone Roses, Oasis. Why do you think that is?
I donít know? Even Liverpool. They have produced a lot of bands as well. I donít know whether it comes out of that old Northern misery thing. There is not that many at the moment. Mind you, youíve got The Doves, Elbow, Badly Drawn Boy. If you could find out and bottle it you would be quids in.

TOTP: How was the the whole Hacienda/house music thing?
It started in 1982 and it finished in 1996/97. So for me it didnít start with Acid House. The Hacienda was opened for 15-16 years of very up and down things. It was a very important gig for bands at one point. A lot of bands used to gig there. Things like The Tube were recorded there. Madonnaís first UK gig. It was nice to see the dance music thing go because it was the first time it made any money. But unfortunately it starting making money just as Factory started losing money, when the Happy Mondayís were at their most expensive. When the Hacienda went down again after the Acid House thing, Factory went down with it, which gave us all our problems really. We were very lucky to get out of it really.

TOTP: The upcoming movie 24 Hour Party People chronicles that scene. You looking forward to it?
Hooky:  It makes me wonder whether it will be like Backbeat, which is an excellent film about music. Or like the Blues Brothers. It is quite nice. It gives you something to look forward to with the premiere and that.

TOTP: Back at TOTP then?
Yeah. We are the only band that appear on TOTP and then watch our record sales go down. The guy said to us: "Itís amazing, you play live and your record goes down every time. Every other band it goes up." The great thing about TOTP was that your mum got to see it. It was one of those things. We fought for ages to get on live and when we came to do it we realised why people didnít do it. But we were punks and you had to have your punk credentials didnít you.

TOTP: Finally, where do New Order go from here?
The thing is you didnít know what the gigs were going to be like at the start. But you went through with them and they were very good. You didnít know what the LP was going to be like and even though it was hard work it is a great album. The only thing you have to do is make sure it isnít like last time and enjoy it. You can carry on then. None of us havenít got something else that we can do. So itís not the be all and end all. As long as you do enjoy it and you have got something to say and something to communicate thenÖ