Martin Hannett

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Martin Hannett
Martin Hannett.jpg
Martin Hannett. Photo by Kevin Cummins
Background information
Also known as Zero, Martin "Zero" Hannett
Born (1948-05-31)31 May 1948
Manchester, England
Died 18 April 1991(1991-04-18) (aged 42)
Manchester, England
Genres New wave, post-punk
Occupation(s) musician, record producer
Instruments Bass guitar, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1976–91
Labels Rabid, Factory, Virgin

James Martin Hannett[1] (31 May 1948[2][3] – 18 April 1991), initially credited as Martin Zero, was an English record producer and an original partner/director at Factory Records with Tony Wilson. Hannett's trademark sound, most apparent on Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures (1979) and its follow-up, Closer (1980), is considered sparse, eerie and cavernous.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in Manchester,[4] Hannett was raised in a working class, Catholic[5] family in Miles Platting, Manchester;[4] he attended Corpus Christi school[6] and Xaverian College in Rusholme. In 1967,[6] he went to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), where he earned a degree in chemistry but chose not to pursue the profession.[5]

Career[edit]

Martin's uncle was a bass player and gave Martin a bass guitar when he was 14. Martin played bass with Spider Mike King and as member in a band called Paradox, in 1973, alongside Paul Young, later of Sad Café and Mike + The Mechanics.[6][2]

His production work began with the animation film soundtrack All Kinds of Heroes, written by Steve Hopkins (with whom Martin later worked again). By this time, he also began to mix live sound at pub gigs. Other early production works included Greasy Bear material, Belt & Braces Road Show Band's eponymous album in 1975 and five songs from Pete Farrow's repertoire recorded at Pennine Studios, Oldham, later included on Farrow's compilation album Who Says There's No Beach in Stockport. He attracted more musical attention in 1977, when, as Martin Zero, he produced one of the first independent punk records, Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch EP. Under the same moniker he produced early records by punk poet John Cooper Clarke, whose Salford monotone was complemented by drum machines, simple synthesiser motifs and Hannett's bass playing. Jilted John's first single (Jilted John) was Hannett's first hit single.[7]

Hannett became closely associated with Joy Division; Hannett's production incorporated looping technology to treat musical notes with an array of digital filters and both Melos analogue tape and Melos bucket brigade early digital echoes and AMS digital delay units. The Melos tape and Melos quasi digital BBD echo units were at the opposite end of the price spectrum to the AMS delays but Hannett loved using their crude echo effects. In his equipment cache, Hannett had a massive collection of bbd echo devices which he had amassed and called his bluetop echo and delay boxes. The first synthesizers Hannett and Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner used were Transcendent 2000s (which Hannett collected in large quantities in the late 70s) and then ARP Omnis. Hannett also owned and used several crude Jen SX1000s and an International 4600 synthesiser modular synth on many early recordings. Later in his career he owned a Minimoog and several ARP 2600 synths.[citation needed]

After sessions in the recording studio in the late 70s, Hannett would take a quarter-inch tape of his mixes home and play them on his home hi-fi and studio system in his music room, which at various times contained a plethora of equipment, including Revox A77 and B77 tape recorders, Ferrograph tape recorders, 2 pairs of Quad Electrostatic Loudspeakers stacked double height, two pairs of Tannoy Cheviot 12 monitors, several pairs of Tannoy Lancaster cabinets with HPD 12s and Monitor Gold 12s in, Tannoy Little Gold Monitors, Ferrograph S1 monitors and Auratone cube speakers. Power amps included Leak, Amcron DC300As, Quad IIs and Quad 405s and Phase Linear 700s. During the mid-80s he had a Terac four track quarter inch reel to reel and Tascam half-inch eight track recording system at home, with Tascam and Studiomaster mixers plus several custom built mixing desks of various sizes. If he played vinyl at home, he had Garrard 301 and 401 turntables with SME arms and a Thorens turntable.[citation needed]

As a producer, Hannett was never content until drum sounds coincided with the sounds in his head. Legend has it that he once forced Joy Division drummer Stephen Morris to take apart his drum kit during a recording session and reassemble it, with parts from a toilet. He reputedly had Morris set up his kit on a first floor flat roof outside the fire escape at Cargo Recording Studios, Rochdale. The studio was used for the recording of Digital, Glass, Atmosphere, Dead Souls and Ice Age. Hannett's unorthodox production methods resulted in drum sounds mixed with synthesisers that were complex and highly distinctive. According to Hannett: "There was a lot of space in [Joy Division's] sound. They were a gift to a producer, because they didn't have a clue. They didn't argue. A Factory Sample was the first thing I did with them. I think I'd had the new AMS delay line for about two weeks. It was called 'Digital'. It was heaven sent."[8]

A rift developed with Factory and he sued them in 1982 over various financial matters. The dispute was eventually settled out of court; the lawsuit is listed as part of the Factory Records catalog as FAC61.[1] When Hannett returned to produce the Happy Mondays he worked as a freelance producer and was not reinstated as a Factory director.[citation needed]

Susanne O'Hara was his partner from 1972 until 1984. They lived together from 1975 in Chorlton and Didsbury, in Manchester. Susanne worked with Martin at Music Force, a musicians' cooperative in Manchester, until it closed when Hannett's production career began to develop, around 1979.

Death[edit]

Post Factory, Hannett's career declined due to his heavy drinking and drug use, especially heroin; his weight eventually reached 26 stone (165 kilogrammes, 363 pounds).[citation needed] Hannett died on 18 April 1991 at the age of 42 in Manchester, as a result of heart failure. Hannett is survived by a wife, son and stepdaughter. His headstone at Manchester Southern Cemetery pays him tribute as the creator of The Manchester Sound. A film documentary – looking at Hannett's life and featuring many of the people he was in bands with, engineered or produced – was released on DVD on the 23rd anniversary of his death on 10 April 2014. A book was released the same day, Martin Hannett – Pleasures of the Unknown by Chris Hewitt.[9] Several weeks after his death, Factory Records released Martin: The Work of Martin Hannett (FACT325) as a tribute.[10]

Fictional portrayals[edit]

Hannett was portrayed by Andy Serkis in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, which was based on Tony Wilson's career as the co-founder of Factory Records and The Haçienda nightclub. In the DVD commentary, Wilson notes a review that described Hannett as Serkis' "strangest role" and points out that Serkis is best known for his portrayal of Gollum in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Wilson concludes that the reviewer's implication is correct, that indeed, Hannett was far stranger than the Lord of the Rings character. Hannett was portrayed by Ben Naylor in Anton Corbijn's film Control (2007).

Selected discography[edit]

Albums produced[edit]

Singles and EPs produced[edit]

Compilations[edit]

  • Martin: The Work of Martin Hannett (Factory Records, 1991)
  • And Here is the Young Man (Debutante, 1998)
  • Zero: A Martin Hannett Story 1977–1991' (Big Beat, 2006)
  • Martin Hannett- Maverick Producer, Genius and Musician 2-CD set ( Ozit Morpheus Records Sept 2011)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "FAC 61 Martin Hannett Lawsuit | Cerysmatic Factory". Cerysmaticfactory.info. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  2. ^ a b Simmonds, Jeremy (2008). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars. Chicago Review Press. p. 272. ISBN 1-55652-754-3. 
  3. ^ "Manchester – Entertainment – In a lonely place". BBC. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Martin Hannett / Biography by James Nice". Ltmrecordings.com. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  5. ^ a b "martin hannett". martin hannett. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  6. ^ a b c "Martin Hannett / Interview with Jon Savage". Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2015-04-20. 
  7. ^ "Martin Hannett". Martinhannett.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  8. ^ Savage, Jon (May 2006). "Faster, but slower". Mojo. 
  9. ^ "Martin Hannett – Pleasures of the Unknown: Amazon.co.uk: Chris Hewitt: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  10. ^ "Factory Records: FACT 325 Martin, The Work of Martin Hannett". Blog.factoryrecords.org. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-20. 

External links[edit]