This online article I ran across about ’80s electronic pop outfit Propaganda also serves as a short warts-and-all early history of ZTT, Trevor Horn’s always intriguing imprint:
(Paul) Morley had begun his career as a music writer. Famed for largely spearheading the career of Joy Division through his coverage in the NME, he had, however, in January 1983, immediately prior to receiving Propaganda’s demo, abandoned journalism so that he could concentrate on establishing ZTT (or Zang Tumb Tuum to give it its full title), together with producer Trevor Horn and Horn’s wife, Jill Sinclair.
While Jill Sinclair concentrated on its day-to-day management, and Horn produced the bands on its roster, Morley was ZTT’s publicist. Responsible for its carefully-crafted image, he designed most of its early record sleeves, often adorning them with secret messages and symbols, and became eventually involved in creating a clothing range for it. He also manufactured slogans for the label and in florid prose wrote manifestos and missive statements for it and its bands.
“ZTT’s main aim is to re-establish the glory of pop records as one of the fanciest and most fascinating ways of communication in the 20th century,” Morley proclaimed in a 1983 agenda in an early example of the exhibitionism, bluster and ambition for which his label would become renowned. “And to make ZTT the most interesting, provocative, crazy, and unpredictable record label of the ’80s.”
There’s a lot more of interest here for fans of ZTT, Propaganda, or tales of massive label / artist falling-outs. Here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2.
While you’re at it, check out more of Paul Morley’s visual (and textual) influence on Art of ZTT … and Zang Tuum Tumb And All That is an impressive archive of all that pertains to the label.
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