Three days after the bombing that rocked Manchester Arena claimed 22 innocent lives, Bernard Sumner was set to deliver the keynote discussion at the International Music Summit in Ibiza. Seeing as Sumner’s iconic bands Joy Division and New Order hail from the city where the tragedy occurred, it was only fitting that moderator and BBC Radio 1 host Pete Tong asked him about the terrible events.
“It breaks my heart,” Sumner said at the beginning of the discussion. “What pointless loss of life, pointless act of brutality. Obviously, it’s my home city, it strikes a note with me. It’s just gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking what’s happened to mainly teenage girls at the concert in Manchester. It just seems completely barbaric and pointless. It breaks my heart.”
The incident could have been even more painful for Sumner if not for a stroke of fate. The daughter of his former bandmate Peter Hook happened to be at the Ariana Grande concert the night the bombing took place. Thankfully, she was marked safe following the attack.
Back on Ibiza, the discussion shifted to less tragic topics. In particular, Tong focused his questions on Technique, New Order’s 1989 album that was largely recorded in and influenced by the Spanish island. The discussion found Sumner recounting his first encounters with club culture, discovering Ibiza electronic music, and how Technique came about. He remarked that he thought the type of dance music the record had was “ahead of its time,” which explained why it wasn’t as well received in the US as it was back in Europe.
In the full, hour-long talk, Sumner also touched upon how New Order’s heavy partying lifestyle burned them out on tour, how their old performing style caused riots in Boston, and what fans attending The Manchester Festival at the end of June can expect from the band’s five shows. “We’re going to do something special,” he revealed. “We’re going to play I’d say about 90% songs that we don’t normally play live … We’ve pulled the molecular structure of those songs apart and there’s a orchestration being score for them at the moment. But instead of playing with a real orchestra, we’re going to be playing with a synthesizer orchestra. Which has been difficult because we’ve had to make new sounds for the old material again.”
Watch the entire keynote discussion above.