New Order are heading to town on Friday April 7 for their first-ever live performance in Dubai. Ahead of their one-night-only gig at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Time Out Dubai caught up with the band’s bass player, Tom Chapman (right), to find out a few things you probably need to know about the Mancunian electro-pop icons ahead of their arrival.
1) They have a LOT of friends
Some bands like to work totally solo, others prefer to collaborate. New Order’s most recent album, Music Complete, features some of the music industry’s biggest hitters collaborating on the record, such as Iggy Pop, Elly Jackson from Le Roux, The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers as well as a co-writer and producer guest appearance from one of The Chemical Brothers, Tom Rowlands.
“Brandon [Flowers] is a good friend of ours from the early days of The Killers,” says Chapman. “Whenever he’s in town we’ll spend time together and it felt natural to get him involved with the record.”
2) In fact, New Order made The Killers
Sort of. Flowers is such a fan of New Order that the band name “The Killers” came directly from the music video for New Order track Crystal, in which the on-screen band are called, you guessed it, The Killers.
Don’t believe us? Here you go:
3) But The Killers never wanted New Order’s help
With their early records, Hot Fuzz and Sam’s Town, being particularly guitar-driven, from the third album Day & Age onwards, The Killers took on a distinctly electronica sound. With the connection between the two bands long established, it seems a little surprising that New Order never actively contributed towards The Killers’ sound.
“No, there really wasn’t any collaboration,” says Chapman. “Brandon is a very close friend of [New Order frontman] Bernard [Sumner] and he values his opinion on music as a friend. Whenever he’s in town performing either with The Killers or solo we’re always invited and Bernard has joined Brandon on stage before; so perhaps there’s an indirect influence in there.”
4) Dubai fans can expect to hear the hits
They’ll be chucked in, for sure, and a couple of surprising tracks too – Joy Division perhaps? But Chapman insists the gig at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium forms part of the Music Complete Tour, and the set list will largely reflect that. But it won’t be totally focused on the new record - if you’re hoping to hear Blue Monday you won’t be disappointed.
“Sometimes playing new material can be a bit of a challenge if people haven’t heard it and expect to hear all the tunes from the ’80s,” he says. “It’s a good showcase though, playing a bunch of new sounds and seeing what people make of it. You can’t rest on your laurels and just play the hits, and you can’t expect to progress by doing so. We’ll be playing a lot of stuff from the new album, so really this is the Music Complete tour. There’ll be hits, obviously, and the sounds people wanna hear, and there’ll be some huge songs we really wanna play that will be a bit of a surprise to some people.”
5) But new isn’t necessarily bad
Music Complete marked a reversion to classic New Order sounds. After the band’s two most recent albums saw them explore more guitar-driven tracks and a slightly heavier tone, Chapman says New Order wanted to recreate a bit of the late-’80s magic the band became known for. If you’re a fan of classic New Order, this album will be a pleaser.
“We felt the last two records, Get Ready and Waiting for the Siren’s Call, were very much guitar-influenced records,” says Chapman. “And also the band Bad Lieutenant I was in with Bernard was also very much guitar heavy, so it felt quite natural to make an electronic album and that was the direction we wanted to take. We still use the guitars, of course, but make it more electronic, and we succeeded with that.
“To help us achieve that sound, we sought the help of Tom Rowlands from the Chemical Brothers, who came on board and helped us with a couple of songs to help get us in the mood. We co-wrote a couple of songs with Tom, where he was mainly working in a producer capacity, but also helped out with the writing of a couple of tracks.”
6) And there’ll be lights, lots of them
Expect the performance to be reflected by a pretty spectacular visual show – with a mix of video and full-on light effects creating an ambience to match the set list.
“It’ll be a combination of new and old tunes, coupled with a visual extravaganza that will accompany the set,” says Chapman. “We’ve been using the light show for the last year – there’s a lot of video from the songs’ music videos accompanied with a few extras for the audience to enjoy.”
7) No guests are “planned”
Sadly, Chapman says there aren’t any plans for guest appearances at the Dubai show – however, we live in hope for a live union of New Order and The Chemical Brothers. Too. Much. Awesome.
From Dhs349. Fri Apr 7, 8pm-12.30pm. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, www.platinumlist.net