Better Than Being Dead
Peter Hook is one of the luckiest men alive. He played bass for Joy Division and New Order; he produced records for bands like the Stone Roses and the Stockholm Monsters; he was part owner of the legendary Hacienda club in Manchester; he's toured the world several times over; and he has recently become a DJ. And he knows he's lucky, too: "Fucking great, innit?"
OC Weekly: Do you spin your own music?
Peter Hook: Well, at first I tried not to: Someone out of New Order playing New Order? That seemed really bad. And everyone used to fucking moan at me all the time 'cause I wouldn't play New Order. So I've tried to find a way of playing New Order so that it makes me happy a little—I use some obscure mixes and some mash-ups and stuff, and I tend to satisfy people who love New Order in that way. The funny thing is it's got Peter Hook from New Order on the bloody flier—people who come see you are gonna have the same taste in music, basically. And it's nice to please people.
The Hacienda club in Manchester had so many influential DJs spin there: Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, Jon Da Silva and Dave Halsam.
We started the whole thing, didn't we? It's all our fault, all these overpaid DJs.
That's the beginning of the DJ with cult status.
I came into deejaying by default, really. I have to admit it wasn't my love of deejaying music that got me into doing it, but it was any excuse for a party. After that I started getting more interested in making it work—making nights special and making people dance. I'm just doing a Hacienda compilation at the moment actually, 'cause we've never done an official one. There's over 100 tracks to sort through, and sometimes it doesn't seem that exciting—you've got to listen to a hundred fucking tracks! But it will be worth it in the end.
There's a quote from Jarvis Cocker of Pulp in the newMojo magazine where he says, "Deejaying is the new allotment."
That's an interesting point, that. I might get a few ducks and geese for my allotment. It's funny, though, because when you see a lot of DJs—especially a lot of these celebrity DJs—they're absolutely awful, aren't they?
Yeah, such boring, repetitive music.
I heard a great story about Marc Almond [from Soft Cell]. He was contracted to spin for an hour and 15 minutes. He turned up and he had two people with him, which means he can't make much money. When he got to an hour and 15 minutes, he turned the record off! He didn't even wait for the end or fade it out. So the owner comes and asks, "Oh, are you all right? What happened?" And Almond says, "Well, it's after an hour and 15 minutes and I'm going now."
Nick Hornby has a DJ character in his bookHigh Fidelity who says "meeting promising women is what deejaying's supposed to be about." Any truth to that?
I know Nick Hornby very well—I've read all of his books. I don't know, really. At my age, I do it because I enjoy it, but it's quite a difficult thing to do. On these little forays, I set out on my own, going from place to place, trusting in the people that have fucking phoned you up. And I must admit, on the last tour, I had a fantastic time, every single date. I did Austin, and there was only about 40 people at the show. We still had a fucking great time, you know what I mean? Just the 40 of us!
Any desire to produce any new bands?
I don't get asked, you know? I think it's that thing when once you're hot, you're hot, and then you're not, you know? I actually got back into remixing. I did a Killers remix that got banned—which I was delighted about. You know that one: "I Got Soul But I'm Not a Soldier"? I was looking at USA Today, and they've got the soldiers that died in a little column at the bottom, don't they? And I just thought that was really fucking sad. It made me think about when you see soldiers fighting on TV. They have no personality—you don't know the soul, do you? I got me mate to interview some soldiers and he put them on it, talking about why they were soldiers and why they did it, because to me it's a completely alien thing that anybody would want to go out and be shot at in the name of anything. I did a dance mix of the track, put the soldiers on it, and the fucking record company won't put it out because it was too political! There you go—49 years old and still being political.
Well, you came from a working-class English town, and now here you are, deejaying all over the world and playing all over the world.
Yeah, it's fucking great, innit? Honestly, I could pinch myself sometimes. I mean, sometimes I look out there at the audience and they're all fucking screaming at me for the Smiths or the Stone Roses, and I'm going, "I don't play the fucking Smiths! I don't fucking play the Stone Roses!" You get yourself into some quite funny situations with it, you know? But it's better than fucking being dead, isn't it?
PETER HOOK PERFORMS A LIVE DJ SET WITH GUEST DJ JUAN MENDES AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA, (949) 642-0600; WWW.DETROITBAR.COM. SAT., 9 P.M. $15. 21+.
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