Saturday, February 28, 2009

Greater Than One

Greater Than One

Greater Than One is British Electronic musician, Michael Wells. Along with Lee Newman, in the mid 1980's, Wells formed Greater Than One as a performance art group, mounting art installations and film presentations around Europe.

Their first releases were on cassette, put out in 1985, while the pair were studying at The Royal College of Art, in London. At least a half dozen albums followed, with additional recordings released under different names, including Church of Extacy, GTO, John and Julie, Killout Squad, L.E.D., Salami Brothers, Signs of Chaos, TD5, Technohead and Tricky Disco. Wells has recently released new work as Tricky Disco (2007). Newman passed away in 1995.

At least two Greater Than One albums were put out by the techno music label, Wax Trax, in Chicago, which is how I came to find out about the group, discovering a few of their LPs hidden away in the vinyl library at my college radio station, around about 10 years later. They've also released albums on the Side Effects label, ROIR, Torso and their own label, K=K. Brainwashed Archives recently announced plans to release the entire recorded works from Greater Than One (1987-1991). Check it out HERE.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Michael Wells, of Greater Than One...

*Name: Greater Than One

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: G.T.O.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Technohead/Tricky Disco/Signs ov Chaos/John & Julie/S.O.L.O.

Michael Wells

*Founding Members: Michael Wells & Lee Newman

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Electronic music, Sampling/Techno

*Another genre descriptor: Originally Post Industrial Deconstruction.

*Why you use this descriptor: Greater Than One was a concept that could include many forms of media manipulation... Film/Art/Music/Performance etc.

*Location: England

*Original Location: Liverpool, England

*What is your creative/artistic background: Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication and Master of Arts in Fine Art (Royal College of Art, London).

*History: Since 1986. Greater Than One started as a performance/art project, the seeds of which were sown when I was studying at the Royal College of Art in London. The first music releases were a combination of cassette recordings, photos, objects and graphics sold in limited editions... for some strange reason Wax Trax records in Chicago got hold of one of them and asked for an album to be recorded... this became the first album, "All the Masters Licked Me.” At the same time we were making art installations and exhibitions in Europe, covering everything from video and film presentations to ' live' performances... we were even invited to create a 'Happening' of our choice in Amsterdam... We decided to stage a public “manifestation"/“Demonstration". We gathered a number of volunteers and printed banners and t-shirts with the word TRUTH printed on them... We organized to have two white police horses with police riders to lead the "march" through the streets and canals of Amsterdam, stopping at significant monuments for photographs. Along the way we gathered more people until we were hundreds... It was a demonstration for Truth, but against nothing... This was as much a part of our work as the music... At the same time as recording the albums for Wax Trax we diverted our attention to the growing club scene, as acid house and techno were new and undiscovered areas. We morphed the name into G.T.O. and created a few new monikers - Tricky Disco (Warp Records) and John & Julie (XL) both our middle names... These became successful on many different levels and enabled us to enter the Club and DJ world... and we performed and DJ'd around Europe. I continue to make music under different names... A new collection will be issued by Brainwashed soon… Artist name: S.O.L.O, title: Hidden Melodies… a collection of minimal doodlings...

*Born: Liverpool & Ipswich

*Motivations: To be creative means creating things that previously did not exist.

*Philosophy: It's purely a personal reaction to the world we live in... It can't be any more than that.

*How would you like to be remembered: A decent version of myself.

*Web address: Refer to


Ryan W said...

OT, but I gotta ask: What was that track that had someone reading bingo numbers mixed in with morse code & a few other things? You spoke highly of this track, and played it a few years ago.

Jon Nelson said...

I have a few ideas...
Drop me a line at
Assembly (at)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wells,

You may be long dea, but I got to tell you that GTO played a significant role in who I am and what I believe in. Horrifing or not, I still enjoy the music that you helped make. Take pride in what you've accomplished.