After a written request for an interview we're finally sitting opposite him in the lobby of the Strawberry Studios in Stockport, near Manchester. 'Martin moves in his own mysterious way' Howard Devoto had told us that same morning. He rolls a joint (the first of many) and gives me a smile from underneath his coated glasses. Behind him a photograph of Abba's Agnetha, his biggest musical hero. 'I take that picture home with me every night' he jokes. He is soft spoken, often diverges from the subject and is sometimes unintelligible. 'A lot of musicians find it hard to work with him', according to Devoto, 'because he doesn't communicate very well. He sits like Buddha behind the mixing desk: untouchable'. England's new wave producer number one is an enigmatic character, who finds it hard to talk about his work. This is his third interview.
Jilted John, Buzzcocks, John Cooper Clarke, A Certain Ratio, OMD, Durutti Column, Joy Division, Pauline Murray, Basement 5, Magazine, The Only Ones, The Psychedelic Furs... this is just a selection of all the bands Martin 'Zero' Hannett has produced in the past five years. He has developed his own unique sound. Dub techniques, delayed reverb, elastic drums and other 'special effects' give away the producer's identity. There are people who buy every record produced by him. Reasons enough to visit the man and find out about the hows and whys. The interview including interruptions will take the whole evening and go into the night. Martin is just finishing the first New Order album. During the breaks he sits with me and answers some questions. At five o'clock in the morning, everybody else has long since left, he takes me home with him. The uncooperative man from earlier that evening has changed into a very kind and willing person.