No1 25Aug1984

Heaven 17 have been hidden away for so long, they've come over all bashful . . . and employed models to make the video for 'Sunset Now' for them! Debbi Voller talked to Glenn Gregory about the band's new LP, single and video, Joe Shutter shot the shoot.

Wondering what Heaven 17 have been up to since their last hit single? Well Glenn Gregory reckons there's not very much to tell, since they've mostly been shut away in studios to record their new album 'How Men Are' and new single 'Sunset Now'.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't got a few good stories tucked away.

"We've been working for about seven months. But we've also spent an equal amount of time messing around!" grins Glenn. "We equipped the studio with a snooker table, a basketball net, a squash court made out of acoustic screens, some remote control cars which we built tracks for - and Ian brought his weights in so we could all work out!

"We also made an enormous sign one day that said: HEAVEN 17 SAY NO CRUISE IS GOOD NEWS, and climbed out on the studio roof in the early hours of the morning to hang it outside the building for everyone in Oxford Circus to see.

"But things got a bit heavy and it had to be taken down - the police were involved."

Strong political opinions may be shared unanimously within the group but where music's concerned, the odd difference can crop up.

"We'd written 15 potential songs in all and put their titles on a big chart so we could have a kind of Eurovision Song Contest and award them marks. The nine with the most got on the album, judged by me, Martyn, Ian, our producer and our manager.

"But there was a bit of jury knobbling going on, I reckon, cos there was one song I really wanted to go on the album and it didn't make it."

Heaven 17 have allowed themselves an interim glimpse or two of the outside world for promotion purposes, and although they're now popular with the likes of Germany, Italy and Spain, it seems America still isn't too impressed.

"But then they're a bloody weird bunch anyway," Glenn adds snidely. "I mean, good God, they've got Billy Idol at No.4 in their charts, haven't they?

"Actually it was really funny. Ian lost me and Martyn in Europe because of a dream he'd had where he saw himself sitting in a car watching a plane crash which Martyn and I were f lying in! After that he insisted on parting ways and taking a train to Italy but he overslept and missed his stop.

"By the time he got to our meeting point we'd already done the interview and gone onto the next, and so it went for two days! When he found us we were on our way home. He hadn't done any work but he was completely shattered."

The new Heaven 17 video for 'Sunset Now' is said to have broken away from all conventional forms of video production, so just how different is it?

"Well, it's novel in that none of us are really in it! The set's a five foot by five foot model on which hundreds of tiny lifelike models are presented, including some of us.

"The backdrop's a rolling screen of different backgrounds- you could say it's like a sophisticated form of Disney. You have to see it to believe it..."

Try looking at these stills for starters.

Martyn views an artist's impression of the threesome as cowboys. Perhaps the song should have been called 'Sunset Gun'. . .

Artist Ray Smith brings the champagne girl to life. The group's video is made of a series of fantasy images, loosely related to the song. Spot the links by reading the lyrics.

Small but perfectly formed. No, we're not talking about Prince - it's the Heaven 17 diddymen.

Martyn cuts his mate Glenn Gregory down to size.

Although Martyn is holding this cartoon Glenn, the character is actualy worked mechanically by designer John Couty. Some figures are worked by hand - such as the girl on a champagne cork.

Wonder if this is the lads' idea of Heaven ? Three bikini clad beauties on cloud nine.