Q&A: Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware on ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ 35th Anniversary Tour

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Heaven 17 and BEF will be coming to Sheffield’s City Hall on the 25th October as part of their dual headline tour.

Its been thirty-five years since the release of their landmark debut album, Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware will be celebrating the record that launched their career by performing a brand new electronic version of ‘Penthouse And Pavement’ live and in full.

Part two of each show will also feature a live set from tour virgins B.E.F (British Electric Foundation) who will be taking their sound out of the studio and on the road for the first time.

The album has been recognised as one of the most vital albums to emerge from the New Wave movement in British Electronica and has featured in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”.

Many special guests will join BEF, such as Mari Wilson, Glen Matlock and  Peter Hooten.

We spoke to Martyn about renewing their musical palette, BEF and the current tour.

What is the BEF, where did the idea come from?

The idea of the BEF is that when we signed with Virgin as a production company, I had the thought that myself and Ian Marsh create a load of group identities with different singers and sounds, a mini Motown really. Heaven 17 was the first project and as it transpired it turned out to be so successful it took up all the time.

Is it hard to take something from a studio setting on to a stage?

As the BEF we never performed live until about seven or eight years ago, it is quite complex getting everyone on board. The cost of transport and persuading people who are famous in their own right to perform with us can be quite hard. Coordinating it is quite a pain in the neck, so I abandoned it a few years ago. Although, I was persuaded by my manager/agent that there was an epitype for the BEF. Following that we did some shows at the Roundhouse and they were very successful, then we did a bunch of stuff at Rewind shows across Britain which were even more successful so i’m kind of stuck with it now. We have ended up doing Heaven 17 and BEF on this tour, so its kind of like two gigs for the price of one really.

How do you feel about being able to celebrate the 35th anniversary of ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ on the 25th October in your home town?

Yeah, I’m thrilled that people are still interested because we enjoy doing it and I still think the original album sounds pretty good, obviously it’s dated to a certain extent but it still sounds a bit fresh. I guess that kind of style has come back in now. Im glad that people still pay us to perform what we like doing.

You once said you’re sick of the corporate world having no imagination, how will this tour be different in bringing a creative element?

We are doing brand new arrangements of all the songs, brand new arrangements of famous songs with special guests for that matter. Its kind of a renewing of our musical palette really.  So that is a pretty radical thing, we are not trying to reproduce what we have done, we are looking to the future as always. This is a unique tour and it is never going to happen again, so if you are thinking ‘they’re going to do it again, I have heard it all before’ A: you have not heard it all before B: we are never gong to do it again. So this is your one and only opportunity if you fancy coming along, we guarantee it will be a very special night.

Give into that temptation :  Buy Tickets Here


Words by Heather Finnamore and Holly Brown


Khushi is your entertainment editor

1 Comment

  1. Charles Martin

    October 31, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I saw the show in Birmingham and it was completely amazing. The P&P album continues to sound amazing and strong all this time later, and the second “half” with BEF and an array of special guests — wow! Martyn and the ladies doing superb arrangements of great covers … heaven (17) indeed for a fan like myself. A truly memorable night and as the article says, two great gigs for the price of one!

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