Martyn Ware is a seminal figure in the landscape of electronic music, with a career spanning several decades marked by innovation and a keen sense of social awareness. As a founding member of The Human League and Heaven 17, Martyn has not only contributed to the evolution of synth-pop but has also infused his work with political commentary, reflecting his views on society, economics, and human rights.

Martyn was born on May 19, 1956, in Sheffield, England. His early musical ventures began with The Human League, which he co-founded in 1977. The band emerged from the post-punk scene, distinguished by its use of synthesizers and a futuristic aesthetic. The Human League’s early work, including tracks like “Being Boiled” and “Empire State Human,” showcased Martyn’s interest in combining avant-garde sounds with accessible pop structures. Their music often featured dystopian themes and critiques of contemporary society, reflecting the band’s leftist leanings.

However, creative differences led to Martyn’s departure from The Human League in 1980. This split allowed him to explore his vision more freely, leading to the formation of Heaven 17 with fellow ex-Human League member Ian Craig Marsh and vocalist Glenn Gregory.

Heaven 17’s debut album, Penthouse and Pavement (1981), was both a commercial and critical success. The album’s fusion of electronic music with funk and soul elements was innovative, but it was the lyrical content that set it apart. Ware and his bandmates were explicitly political, addressing issues like capitalism, consumerism, and social inequality. Songs like “We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang” directly criticised the rise of right-wing politics, particularly targeting the policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

The band’s name itself was a reference to Anthony Burgess’s dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, hinting at their continued engagement with themes of societal control and rebellion. Heaven 17’s music videos and artwork further underscored their political messages, often using stark, industrial imagery to complement their critique of modern capitalist societies.

Beyond his work with Heaven 17, Martyn has had a significant impact as a producer. He has worked with a variety of artists, including Tina Turner, whose hit “Let’s Stay Together” he produced. Ware’s production style is characterised by his meticulous approach to sound and his ability to blend electronic elements with traditional instrumentation, creating rich, textured music that appeals to a broad audience.

His influence extends beyond the music industry through his co-founding of the Illustrious Company, which focuses on 3D sound technology. This venture reflects Martyn’s ongoing commitment to innovation and his interest in how sound can shape human experiences and environments. The Illustrious Company has worked on a variety of projects, including installations and public art pieces, that explore the immersive potential of soundscapes.

Martyn’s contributions to music and politics remain significant. His work with The Human League and Heaven 17 helped define the sound of the 1980s and continues to influence contemporary artists. His willingness to address political issues in his music has inspired many to see pop music as a valid medium for social commentary. Martyn is a lifelong socialist as a result of growing up in a working class family in Sheffield. His dad was a toolmaker who died prematurely as a result of the hardships of his employment.

In recent years, Martyn has remained active both musically and politically. He continues to produce music, participate in public discussions, and support various social causes. He attends pro-Palestinian marches regularly, campaigning against the Zionist apartheid state of Israel. His engagement with modern technology through the Illustrious Company also highlights his belief in the power of sound and music to affect change and enhance human experience.

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Martyn, in which he described his politics and the despair he experiences in society as inequality and powerlessness become greater and greater as time passes.

Martyn talks about his experiences as a teacher at a London university and the weakening of trade unions. He discusses how governments are now run by lobbyists obsessed with nothing but money and influence. He shares his thoughts on the disappearance of working class alternative comedy… and the lack of confidence the working classes have in themselves when operating in what is perceived as a middle class arena and in being able to make a difference.

And so much more….

Martyn makes it clear that we can only find solutions once we fully understand the problems.

Martyn details his vision for change by producing his own manifesto. Too radical? Not radical enough?


Proportional representation

Written constitution 



Public social housing

Increase taxation on rich

Pay MPs more and ban 2nd jobs – no paid lobbying

Move Parliament to somewhere unglamorous

Renationalise public utilities/no foreign private ownership

All arms sales to be publicly announced before licenses issued

Refund WASPI women

Lower retirement age

Rebuild NHS and dentistry

Public works renewal programme – roads etc

Recognise and fund the arts properly

Prosecute corrupt politicians

Support small music venues

Make multinational companies pay tax

Ban special tax arrangements 

Remove charity status for private schools

Divest ownership and control of national media companies – enforce fit and proper ownership test

Make care homes free

Mental health

Climate change

Universal Basic Income

Let us know.

Also, please send us yours for publication by commenting below or submitting via

Thank you, Martyn, and we will hopefully chat again very soon.

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