Title: The ZTT master plan for world domination
Author: Stuart Husband
Source: No. 1
Publish date: 9 March 1985
THE ZTT MASTER PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION
Zang Tuum Tumb released their first record barely 18 months ago. Since then, with Frankie and now Art Of Noise, they’ve achieved a success and a notoriety that’s left all the other companies standing.
But the team of Paul Morley, Trevor Horn and Jill Sinclair aren’t resting on their laurels. They’ve got some new entertainers and some new schemes to launch on an unsuspecting public.
As Paul says: “Frankie were just the start. There’s a lot more going to happen.”
Exactly what is going to happen? Paul Morley fills in the details as he guides us through the next three months of ZTT…
By Stuart Husband
FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ single released March, as a three-track seven-inch featuring ‘Happy High’ and ‘Get It On’, and a four-track 12-inch with ‘Relax International’. UK tour March/April, to be followed by Europe and a massive 40-date jaunt round the United States.
Paul: “This single will finish off an era of Frankie - it begins the second phase. We went up to BANG with the LP. Now we’re in post-BANG, which we’re going to call the Escape Act.
“Frankie are now a mainstream pop act, up there with Duran and Spandau, and we’re going to be playing around with the position that they find themselves in. It’s not that they’re going to be controversial in the way they were when they started - there’ll just be a certain irony in their position.
“After this single and the tour, the Pleasuredome imagery will be finished.
“The band are preparing a lot of new, different-sounding material, which won’t be what people expect of them. We won’t be releasing that until the end of the year.
“That’s what the Escape Act means - a starting from scratch, a new beginning in a way.
“Frankie will be a very different animal by the end of the year - it’ll be intriguing to see what happens.”
Visually they’ll be developing the ‘polo player’ haute couture image they unveiled on tour in America.
French solo singer-single ‘Hey Stranger’ released middle of March, LP ‘Everything Could Be So Perfect’ following in April.
Paul: “Everyone knows that there’s a big vacuum in pop at the moment - Frankie wasn’t enough on its own to fill it. Pop has become completely boring, completely bland and full of glitter and glamour.
“Anne’s single is very lush, very well performed and produced (by Luis Jardin), but it’s still quite raw. She sings in a French accent, about herself, about being a stranger in a strange country - that in itself is unique.
“Anne’s music is very much about doubt and uncertainty. Her music’s highly melodic, idiosyncratic, abrasive and disturbing… that’s unusual for pop singers.
“She’s not like Sade of Alf, who are singing conveyor belt songs full of conveyor belt images. There’s nothing about her that is controllable. So it’ll be interesting.”
ART OF NOISE
‘Moments In Love’, follow-up to ‘Close (To The Edit)’, released end of March.
Paul: “Art Of Noise were concerned with their American success, in a way that we don’t like any of our entertainers to be cornered - people thought they were a hip-hop group.
“So ‘Moments In Love’ is the obvious follow-up, ‘cos it’s completely different. It demonstrates the versatility of Art Of Noise - they’re an adventure.
“Everything can be involved in Art Of Noise - that’s why we have the two masks, the happy and the sad. The silly and the serious.
“There’s only been a small indication of what they can do and will do, so far. Art Of Noise are intelligent musicians that can really play framed within a kind of comment on things as they are, or as they’re not.”
Composer of modern classical music: LP ‘The Beating Of Wings’ released end of March.
Paul: “I think Andrew is a maker of supremely beautiful music. It’s reflective and dramatic.
“He’s the perfect exponent of that moment where the avant-garde beats up into New York dance.
“He’s one of those isolated individuals that I’ve always felt rock music should champion, like Neil Young or Leonard Cohen.
“It’s been a difficult project for ZTT, but very worthwhile, and now it’s all down to how people want their music - whether they’ll rise to the occasion.”
German pop group who had a hit with debut single ‘Dr Mabuse’ last year. Follow-up ‘P-Machinery’ and LP ‘A Secret Wish’ released in April.
Paul: “Propaganda are how I always imagined Eurythmics, Thompson Twins, groups like that, would sound… full of ideas and genuinely full of new ways of looking at pop music. Those other groups always disappointed so much when you realised there were no twists to the cliches, no upsetting of the predictable.
“Propaganda’s LP will be sophisticated, expensive, high-powered and highly-charged. It comments on the obvious things of the twentieth century, like machinery, danger, love and uncertainty in a way that really makes you feel you’ve been somewhere.
“That classic ZTT feel!”
‘SUDDENLY THERE CAME A BANG’
A book on Frankie Goes To Hollywood released on ZTT etc. in April.
Paul: “This will be the first release on ZTT etc., a new company which will deal with projects that can’t find a place within ZTT itself. It’ll deal in print, film, cloth and opinion.
“This book, detailing a year in the life of Frankie - all the truth, lies, fact and fiction - was due to come out in February. But it’s been held up because the printers have refused to work on it, because of the content and the picture on the cover. (The ‘animals’ cartoon which appears on the back of the LP cover, minus the figleaves.)
“That’s a bit of a shame, ‘cos the whole point of our first release was to show up all those other crappy rock books that people like Omnibus publish.
“Our basic point was that people’s lives were being restricted by the poverty of imagination, so we put together this rich and fulfilling work, and it’s been pulled back by the kind of abstract power that always stops young people getting the best out of life.”
A hot pop combo containing former Pigbag members Angela Jaeger, Simon Underwood and James Johnson - single ‘Sleepwalking’ released early May.
Paul: “Angela’s voice is brilliant, and Simon and James both have a very clear-eyed view of what they want to do. It ties up considerably with ZTT. They’re remarkable and special. They make a particularly refreshing pop music.”
Soundtrack to the new Nic Roeg film, released end of May on ZTT etc.
Paul: “The soundtrack features jazz pianist Gil Evans, Stanley Myers who wrote the Dear Hunter theme, Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17 duetting with Claudia from Propaganda, and Roy Orbison. A single by Orbison, ‘Wild Hearts’, will be out on the Action Series at the end of March!”
No. 1: What do you want ZTT to mean to people by the end of the year?
Paul: “I hope a lot more people will have noticed the detail, the sublety… what was involved, beneath the sheer accessibility of the surface. I hope they’ll have realised that we were trying to say that there was more available to them in their entertainment and their hopes and dreams.