The man behind Joy Division

Chris Hewitt with the DVD and book

Chris Hewitt with the DVD and book

First published in News

RECORD industry VIPs are to celebrate the life of a legendary producer at next month’s preview of a film by Wincham record company owner Chris Hewitt.

He wasn’t just the fifth member of Joy Division is a film about Martin Hannett, Factory Records’ in-house producer, who was renowned for his ground-breaking experiments with sound.

The film is a three-hour, 47-minute reportage-style documentary which explores his life through 150 hours of interviews and studio footage.

The extensive list of those interviewed includes Factory Records co-founder Tony Wilson, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Lindsay Reade, Mick Middles, Stone Roses members and Vini Reilly.

Chris, 60, owns Ozit Morpheus Records, and has produced and directed the film, of which there is to be a pre-release preview at the Gorilla music venue in Manchester on Thursday, April 10.

The evening starts at 7pm, and includes performances by people who worked with Hannett, such as Dave Formula from Magazine, members of the Invisible Girls and Paul Burgess from 10cc.

Also released on the same day is a new 204-page book by Chris Hewitt – Martin Hannett – Pleasures of the Unknown, looking at Hannett’s life and recording techniques.

Hannett was fascinated with the number 23, and the film preview takes place on the 23rd anniversary of his death.

The evening is organised by Chris, whose aim with the film and book is to offer a new perspective on Hannett’s life and his importance to the music industry.

“The films 24 Hour Party People and Control have almost created a caricature of Martin as someone who was wild and out of control,” said Chris.

“He was extremely intelligent, and liked to break a record down into how it was recorded and analysed everything.

“With the DVD and the book I wanted to give everyone the full facts and counter this comic caricature of Martin.

“Without him there would have been no Joy Division, New Order, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch, John Cooper Clarke or Jilted John.

“The film shows how the educated teenage gang member turned from record collector, hi fi fanatic and bass player into the creative genius who harnessed the sound of industrial machinery in Manchester, and using early synthesises, subtly layered those sounds into the production of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album, setting the benchmark for The Manchester Sound.

“Everyone attending the preview will be coming to celebrate Martin’s life, and so far include people from America, France and Holland.”

The DVD of the film is due for release in May on Ozit Morpheus Records.

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