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The Comedy of Errors

Heritage Orchestra

19 September 13 words: Kristi Genovese
Conductor/Composer Jules Buckley tells us what it is like to re-work the songs of Joy Division
Jules Buckley Heritage Orchestra Interview

Jules Buckley from Heritage Orchestra chats to LeftLion

You co-founded the Heritage Orchestra with Christopher Wheeler back in 2004- how and why did that come about?
Well, I was studying composition at music college and as undergrads we were only offered a kinda meagre 30mins of orchestral rehearsal time in a whole 4 year degree. Chris got in touch and asked about putting together a large ensemble group for a club night he was running at Cargo in Old street at the same time and we soon realised we had similar intentions to setup a large orchestral group and mosh in local clubs and get our music played. I guess it was about taking the initiative.

How do you choose the musicians in your orchestra?
I kinda “leafleted" the inboxes of my colleagues at college who I felt would be into the project and the response was very positive. That and a hell of a lot of beers afterward!

Joy Division - Re Worked is all about fearlessly stepping into new terrain to pay homage to the band rather than simply covering the songs.  What Joy Division song has been your favourite to reconstruct and which one was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge would definitely be Love Will Tear Us Apart as it’s probably the tune most people know and associate with Joy Division. Chris W asked Tom Trapp our fantastic arranger to take the song in a very different direction and I think he really achieved this. I also loved the rework we put together of Transmission; it has a kind of Steve Reich valve plugged in and when the drums kick in the shit kicks off big time.

How much time did you spend listening to the original Joy Division songs?
A hell of a lot. For us to really get inside this music, Scanner, together with the rhythm section (Adam,John and Matt) and Tom worked it in stages. First Scanner worked his sketches, then the band remixed those, Tom added the orchestrations at which point the ensemble and I got together and smashed it all into shape.

Have you had any criticisms from Joy Division fans?
Not yet...

Live_Transmission Joy Division Reworked Poster

How about the remaining Joy Division members; what does Peter Hook think?
I don't know personally but Chris Wheeler might be able to tell you. Hopefully Peter digs our interpretation.

How long does it take you to prep a show like this?
Well once all the technical stage plans have been made and everything's agreed then it'd be about one day band rehearsal and one day full orchestra rehearsal then show time.

Can you talk us through the process from the initial idea of the project to eventually pulling off the final spectacle?
Laura Ducescci had the inspiration for the idea and soon got in touch with Chris to discuss it. She knew she wanted Scanner involved and so the next phase was Scanner choosing the songs, working his sketches and then meeting up with the band - they then jammed the songs/remixed it hard until everyone was happy. We then added Tom Trapp as arranger to work his magic and then mix in the orchestra and one conductor. Show time.

You've personally performed at various locations around the world including Wilderness Festival, Royal Albert Hall, Meltdown Festival, and The Barbican. Are there dream locations you would love to perform a show at to take it to the next level?
Hmm. Fuji Rock? Or perhaps The Hollywood Bowl, Rome? The pyramids?! Difficult to say. We are so excited about this UK tour that afterward we may feel we've done it.

Any advice to LeftLion readers who may be serious about orchestrating classical/nu-jazz music?
A broad understanding of orchestration and how instruments work always helps but mainly it's all about having a fresh conceptual start point. The rest can be worked out as you go.

Live_Transmission: Joy Division Reworked is at the Royal Concert Hall on Monday 23 September 2013.

Joy Division Reworked website

Heritage Orchestra website

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