From hosting legendary Einstürzende Neubauten gigs to inspiring Michael Winterbottom’s modern classic, 24-Hour Party People, Manchester’s legendary Hacienda sits next to clubs like New York’s The Paradise Garage, Chicago’s Music Box, and Berlin’s Tresor in the pantheon of venues that defined an entire musical movement. Opened in 1982 as an offshoot of Factory Records, the venue was largely funded by label hit-makers New Order. By the late ’80s, it was ground zero for the explosion of acid house that would define the first wave of the global rave movement.
A new compilation, Hacienda 30, celebrates three decades since the club first opened its doors. The three-CD set focuses on the heady acid house days, with mixes up by resident DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, as well as New Order bassist Peter Hook. Beatport spoke with the always gregarious Hook to try to understand why, 30 years later, the sound of the Hacienda and the scene that it inspired continues to capture the imagination of dance music fans young and old.
Do you remember when and how the idea for the Hacienda first came up?
People like to think there was some great master plan with the Hacienda, but like most things Factory did, it was more natural than that. I think Rob (Gretton) and Tony (Wilson), having had the Factory Club at the Russell Club, may have had the idea bubbling away previously, but we opened the club simply because people like us (i.e. punks) had nowhere to go. No one played our music or tolerated our clothes. It was to give us somewhere to go out in Manchester.
What was your immediate response?
When it was pitched to me, it seemed so simple and so cheap. It was also going to be useful to us personally, to our friends, and also to our city. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Little did we know, eh? Be careful what you wish for.
What sort of venue were you envisioning in 1982?
When we were working with Arthur Baker, we had been to New York and seen rooms made into clubs with little or no decoration—very minimalist and utilitarian. Peter Saville recommended Ben Kelly to design the Hacienda and Ben was given a very open brief to do what he wanted. He always says he tried to interpret the design as Factory Records writ large and took the design aesthetics of Factory and applied them to a club space. Whatever he did, it was absolutely fantastic and still looks amazing now.
What other venues had inspired you?
The New York venues, really. Hurrah, Tier 3, Danceteria, and Area. We came back from NY wanting to re-import that sort of club into Manchester.
Legend has it that once acid house hit, the Hacienda was packed with ravers going full-on every night. How accurate is that?
There was a period when you could see the club getting increasingly busy from 1986 onwards and when people started traveling from all over the country and queuing round the block on weekends. The club was absolutely huge.
How often were you actually there?
I was ever-present at the club; used to eat there as well when we had the restaurant. I was in there every night when I wasn’t touring, or hungover, or looking after the kids.
And what were you usually doing? (Raving? Working? Hanging in VIP?)
Placating, avoiding, conjuring, swerving, ducking, and diving! The usual! The Hacienda never had a VIP area as it was against our principles, which made it more open and accessible because you could approach anyone in there… or be approached.
How many times did you play at The Hacienda?
I played there a lot. All the time, in fact.
Did you ever DJ there?
No. I only got into DJing later on.
What was the biggest challenge in picking the tracks for the compilation?
The tricky part of compilations in getting hold of the tracks and mixes you want. So you try to get a combination of your favorites and also what’s available to be optioned. You start out with a long list and some come in, some don’t.
The whole set seems really focused on the dance music legacy of the Hacienda, more than the live band scene. Why did you make that decision?
There are two Haciendas, in many ways—the live indie pre–’87 days, and then the dance years. The two don’t really mix. However, I would really like to do one of live bands next.
What’s one record you’re really disappointed you just couldn’t fit on the comp?
We were trying to get MC Buzz B’s “Never Change” for my CD. He was in the Ruthless Rap Assassins. It’s a Manchester hip-hop tune that samples Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is.” Real classic and quite rare. Sadly, the clearance didn’t come in time to use it.
Factory Records was known for doing things on a handshake. How did you end up owning the name and trademark for the Hacienda?
When Factory went bankrupt, companies were circling the name, including the Ministry of Sound, Cream, and Gio Gio. Rob was distraught at this and what could happen, so despite being absolutely skint at the time, I bought it off the liquidator for Rob.
Is there any place in the world now that reminds you of the Hacienda?
No, nowhere. There’s nowhere that seems to have that blend of idealism and creativity with no boundaries and lacking any sense of financial considerations or consequences.