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A DECADE OF DOCUMENTING SHEFFIELD MUSIC

 
 
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made in sheffield
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'Made In Sheffield instigated a broader debate on the music and identity of Sheffield.' Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2005

"Wood presents an endearing portrayal of young people desperate to forge their own future..." -- Peter Relic, Rolling Stone

"The story told in director Eva Wood's documentary Made in Sheffield makes a valid argument that what happened in Sheffield during the late seventies and early eighties was a dramatic change in rock and roll." 8/10 Pop Matters

Uncut - 5/5

Mojo -
"Fascinating"
Rating: 4/5

Q Magazine -
"Excellent...strangely passionate and moving"
Rating: 4/5

Record Collector
- "If you need a history lesson on how sparks flew out of a barren industrial estate creating some of pop's most influential music - then this is a must buy"
Rating: 4/5

London Evening Standard
- "A perfect textbook description of how a musical scene develops, flowers and fades"

Guardian - feature

The Guardian - 'fascinating...film-maker Eve Wood gives a sense of what it was like to be young, creative and ambitious'

Times - feature

Jockey Slut - feature

Mojo - 'The definitive story...quarter of a century on & the music still sounds like the future'

Sandman - 're-evaluates sheffield's place in pop history'
go to: features/edition003-dec2002/eve wood

Drowned In Sound - 'One of the most striking things about the film is the way it conveys the sense of a musical community'

swedish radio item on Made In Sheffield and interview with director

DJ magazine - 'well worth a watch'

BBC Online - 'collates a disparate music scene into fifty minutes of interviews and footage of early performances.'

Night Waves - ' It captures the spirit of that time flawlessly...
this film captures the essence of the seldomly explored aftermath of punk. A great achievement
.'

Yorkshire Post - ' social document of a time when Sheffield music conquered the scene.'

Sheffield International Documentary Festival - 'its a reminder of the days when pop mattered'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yorkshire Post 01-07-02:
'Singing the praises of Sheffield

A defining moment in the documentary, Made in Sheffield, comes when a musician hurls his electric guitar from the balcony of one of the city's high-rise blocks of flats.
It symbolises the innovation which was happening in Sheffield's music scene in the heady days of the late Seventies and early Eighties, when the band members joked: "We didn't even bother learning the three chords – we just used one finger."
There weren't many punk bands in Sheffield, but, as John Peel says in the film, the city became imbued with the spirit of punk; Phil Oakey, leader of Human League, long shorn of his funny haircut, also acknowledges that punk was the catalyst for the explosion of bands and live venues.
Film-maker Eve Wood has now produced and directed Made in Sheffield, with her husband, Richard, as co-producer. They normally specialise in films about climbing, but were stung into this documentary by comments in the Press at the time of the opening of the National Centre for Popular Music, suggesting that not much musically worthwhile had come out of the city.
It's true that before 1977, the only household names were the legendary Joe Cocker, and the balladeer, Tony Christie; but for a short while, Sheffield dominated the charts almost as much as Merseybeat had done two decades before.
The film not only celebrates the achievements of Human League, Heaven 17, Def Leppard, ABC and Cabaret Voltaire, but also long-forgotten bands like 2.3, The Extras and Artery.
Jarvis Cocker, of Pulp, who continued the Sheffield success story, recalls of the latter band, whose singer made a habit of rolling around on stage like a dervish: "They were really intense; they created an atmosphere where there was almost a bit of mild hysteria going on."
And John Peel, with characteristic under-statement, concedes he was "quite keen" on the band, and "can still derive pleasure from them".
Pete Hartley, who was a sound technician for The Extras, must surely have been the role model for Sheffield comic actor Graham Fellows' creation, John Shuttleworth. Talking about the band's legendary gigs at the Broadfield pub, he says, wistfully: "That must have been a good time, but it's a bit of a blur," and he remembers: "You had to fight to get your seat on the train to fame."
Sadly for their future careers, several of these bands headed down to London to try to make their fortunes, while agents and others with influence in the music business were heading up the M1 to investigate the rumours about something exciting happening. What they came across were the daring projects being undertaken by men like Oakey, Martyn Ware and Chris Watson, of Cabaret Voltaire. Ware had recruited Oakey for the first version of Human League because "he was a complete renegade, I thought he was tall and would look good at the front", and was startled when he came up with lyrics including words like "sericulture".
The band were heavily influenced by the German electronic wizards, Kraftwerk, and came up with the concept of making music without conventional instruments; they couldn't afford synthesisers, so built their own. When the band's single, Being Boiled, reached the charts, it startled the city.
Chris Watson says that what drove the tightly-knit community of musicians was not only a desire to succeed, but also to escape from what he regarded as "a vision of Hell", the steel industry of the time.
"People in Sheffield always had an ear for something new, and it's always been a special place for music," he says. "There wasn't much to consume culturally, so we were forced to get somewhere to express ourselves."
Martyn Ware says: "We were rubbish. We couldn't play music, but we didn't form to make music, simply to have the enjoyment of being part of a social group of people with similar aims."
Cabaret Voltaire used to perform from the back of a van, opening the doors to let people hear the music. "We did one-off performances in public toilets and other bizarre places," remembers Watson.
As the top bands began securing lucrative record deals and appearing on Top of the Pops, and Human League was described as "the future of pop music" by David Bowie, it seemed the band was not big enough to accommodate both Oakey and Ware.
"It wasn't very pleasant, being dumped from your own band in favour of ambition," says Ware. "I was shocked profoundly for a long time."
He went on to form Heaven 17, while Oakey's recruitment of Susan Gayle and Joanne Catherall, two schoolgirls who were dancing in the audience, to make the number one hit, Don't You Want Me Baby, is part of rock legend. While a handful of bands like his have enjoyed continuing success, for the majority, the bubble burst.
A combination of rare archive footage and revealing interviews with the famous and not-so-famous makes this not just an evocative film for the rock anorak, but also a social document of a time when Sheffield music conquered the scene.



Night Waves Canadian electronic magazine 17-09-02:
"Made in Sheffield" is a documentary that details the evolution of the
fertile Sheffield music scene as it unfurled between the late seventies and
mid eighties. Sheffield, best known as an industrial, blue collar city
famous for its steelworks and mines, also gave birth to some of the most
exciting and innovative bands of the past two decades. Groups like ABC,
Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Pulp, Heaven 17 and Artery all came from the
northern British city.

This film is an absolute must-see for anyone who has a serious interest in
the early 80s British new wave scene. It captures the spirit of that time
flawlessly, primarily through interviews, archival photos and ultra rare
video footage. What's most intriguing is how much the interviewees
seemingly have not changed. The majority of them still seem to retain the
youthful spark of creativity that was so omnipresent in their work twenty
years ago.

Indeed, those being interviewed provide the element that really makes this
documentary so special. Phil Oakey comments about the Human League being
"the punkiest band in Sheffield" and Chris Watson of Cabaret Voltaire
explains the excitement and peculiar nature of early Cabaret Voltaire
performances (some apparently held in public toilets!) and Ian Craig Marsh
of Heaven 17 sums up the goal of the movement. "We wanted to kill off rock
and roll". Stephen Singleton shares a comical anecdote about how he
couldn't show up for work one day because he had to appear on Top of the
Pops! Indeed, this film is loaded with endearing moments such as this,
giving us a humanic glimpse behind the revolutionary music.

Another great facet of this film is the extremely rare footage, particularly
of a Vice Versa appearance (they were an early incarnation of ABC), the
Human League performing "The Path of Least Resistance" on BBC TV, and
amateur footage of ABC's first live show. Afficianados will think they've
died and gone to new wave heaven.

Eve Wood must be commended for directing such an important document of an
all too brief period in pop history. The film succeeds in pulling us
directly into the Sheffield underground, complete with zines, night clubs,
weird bands, record labels operated from somebody's bedroom and all the
ambition and creativity that really made that period so special. So many
films have focused on the rise and fall of punk, yet this film captures the
essence of the seldomly explored aftermath of punk. A great achievement.


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