To launch the first volume of his new autobiography, Human League and Heaven 17 founder Martyn Ware was in conversation with journalist Lucy O’Brien sharing stories from his time in both bands; the book also follows his series of podcast interviews with contemporary musicians across the electronic genre.
Ware began speaking about the early electronic scene in Sheffield emerging from the industrial noise of the city, meeting Ian Craig Marsh in a youth project called Meat Whistle and going to see Roxy Music at Sheffield University, with Brian Eno specifically influencing his interest in making music. The pair were doing sporadic live synthesiser performances when they met Adi Newton, forming the band The Future before the latter left to form Clock DVA.
Their search for a much needed singer resulted in their schoolfriend Phil Oakey joining the band lineup (later renamed The Human League), but following contention at Virgin who signed them, Ware lamented about how he was forced out of his own band by Oakey, agreeing to handover the name to him but retaining 1% of the profits from the next release, which luckily turned out to be ‘Dare!’.
Following Ware’s formation of new band Heaven 17 with Glenn Gregory, he met Tina Turner who did backing vocals on the band’s song ‘Bored Confusion’, and talked about finally getting a hit single with ‘Temptation’, which just missed out on getting to No. 1. He also joked about having to share a recording studio with The Human League while in H17 and realising one day from some leftover backing tape that the girls could not sing, a comment that unfortunately ended up being published in the music press.
Ware finished the interview talking about his podcasts and political interests, and his current and future musical projects.
01/09/22: Martyn Ware @ Walthamstow Trades Hall, London.
Photo © Ayisha Khan.
© Ayisha Khan.