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27 November 2014

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The Sound of Two Cities
Thursday 20 May to Sunday 18 July
Johnny Marr offers his views in the film Detroit and Manchester... two cities built on industry and in love with music, which is why, as part of their D Troit exhibition, Urbis gave DJ Elliot Eastwick the task of investigating just how much the Motor City has influenced the sound of Manchester.
Johnny Marr offers his views in the film

"I bumped into Scott Burnham, creative director of Urbis, in the pub," explains Elliot. "I was wearing a Joy Division T-shirt and we got chatting about the Peter Saville exhibition. Scott told me about the D Troit idea and I said that I'd like to get involved. I didn't expect anything from it, but he phoned me the next day and asked me what I wanted to do!"

Johnny Marr offers his views in the film
A badge from The Twisted Wheel

"I decided that I didn't want it to be a artefact thing, as that would be too much like Saville's show so I struck on the idea of creating a film."

In the video installation, Elliot speaks to the likes of Johnny Marr, Graham Nash, Doves and Graham Massey about how the different sounds to come out of Detroit has changed the direction of Mancunian sounds, from the Northern Soul movement through to the techno explosion.

"There's been three times that Detroit has made a major impact on Manchester. The first is Northern Soul, when artists that were literally unknown over there would play to a packed out Wigan Casino and Twisted Wheel here."

Elliot Eastwick
Elliot Eastwick

"The second was Iggy Pop. I spoke to Stephen Morris, and he said that he took Ian Curtis to see Iggy when he played Manchester and Ian was blown away by him. He went to see him every time he played Manchester after that. And the third was Detroit techno, which helped in changing the face of British clubbing at the Hacienda."

Quite why the two cities have become linked is a complicated issue, but Elliot has his own ideas. "They are both edgy cities, with reputations for being slightly dangerous, and they're both built on industry. In many ways, Detroit is like Manchester used to be, still knackered and in need of some help. One of the big things that came out of the film is that the artists that have been across to Detroit, like Doves and 808 State, were surprised to find that it's not the happening, buzzing place they expected it to be. It's actually really run-down."

The film will be shown in Urbis' lobby, outside the main D Troit exhibition, and Elliot's happy to be involved with the building. "It's a big building and a very nice one too. With enough effort, it could be something really special and I'd love to be involved in that."

In a nutshell...

  • The Sound Of Two Cities runs as part of Urbis' DTroit exhibition from Thurs 20 May to Sun 18 July. The film is shown in the main entrance hall and is free to watch. Entrance to the main exhibition is £5.

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