It was the announcement in September 2015 that sent shivers down the backbones of the yellow and black Whitworth Street army. Legends Park & Pickering selecting and performing Haçienda classics alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra in a beautiful setting. The event has taken the UK by storm with shows up and down the country, here Dan Prince gets the world exclusive with the baton waving, vinyl playing masters of sound…
The whole project looked an extremely audacious one from the outset with two different styles of music, two different concepts and a lot of people involved. What were your main worries in the beginning?
Graeme : To be honest, my only worry was whether it would work on stage and the fact that we didn’t have much too much rehearsal time before the first show. Musically I wasn’t worried in the slightest because I knew that the tracks we chose to score and arrange would work beautifully with a 70 piece orchestra, which they did. The rehearsals went beautifully and everything worked superbly so after that it was really the nerves that kicked in.
It looked like the first show in Manchester took you by surprise a bit?
Mike : “The first show in Manchester was a tough one as we had no idea whether the concept would work. Also the mad reaction of the crowd took us by surprise. It’s a mammoth task to blend so many elements together in a live mix and a performance but we’ve done five shows now so it really coming together now.
How does your performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall rate in the best moments of your career list?
Graeme : Absolutely. It was an incredible night with the most wonderful audience showing their love. It has to be right up there.
What is the actual process from start to process of organizing the musical element of the show?
Mike : The process was started in the middle of last year when we put together a mix together for the orchestra. There was a process of deciding which tracks would work or not and hen a backing track of the mix was created. We had a rehearsal in Manchester in January then it was onto the gigs.
Are any of the Manchester Camerata old enough to recognize any of the Haç classics?
Graeme : Yes indeed. There are a few of them old enough to remember the tunes from when they were first released but most of the younger members know the songs anyway. We did try to pick timeless classics that are familiar to all ages.
What tunes brought a tear to your eye when played on the big stage?
Graeme : Hearing my remix of The Brand New Heavies’ ‘Back To Love’ was pretty intense. ‘Promised Land’ got me as well and I almost lost it when I heard the soaring strings of Kid’n’Play’s ‘2 Hype’. And as for Inner City’s ‘Good Life’…a hairs on the back of my neck moment.
What musical instruments were you given to play at school?
Graeme : “Recorder, clarinet and double bass. I played clarinet in my school orchestra but gave it up to teach myself saxophone.”
Mike : ” All I had was the Triangle! Music lessons in my days at school are not worth talking about really.”
You both obviously still ram out club nights. What age groups are supporting you out there at the moment?
Mike : At our club nights these days the demographic is from 18 to 40’s I reckon and we both play mainly new contemporary music. There’s a lot of “youth” that turn up to our gigs and also The Hacienda gigs.
Which was the tune that brought the house down for you…
Mike : Quite a few of them brought the house down but ‘Ride on Time’ and ‘Voodoo Ray’ are very popular, ‘Pacific State’ too.
Having sold out Manchester and London, you have now announced a series of new shows including an open air show in Birmingham in July. Where is this journey leading you, is Haçienda Classiçal set to run and run…?
Mike : Thats a tough one, we’ve done five gigs now with more to come and more be announced. I think given the sheer scale of the project and with the show can’t be put on anywhere it has to be a special event for it to work. So we have to be careful and choosy and make sure that the venue fits the event properly.
Enjoy Haçienda Classical at Castlefield Bowl, Manchester on July 2nd, The Rainbow Open Air, Birmingham on July 31st – and watch out for more announcements soon…