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Author Topic: 2016: Other News  (Read 3178 times)

Offline Angelinda

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2016: Other News
« on: 09 January 2016 - 02:06:44 »
This thread contains all news items about Depeche Mode which have been published in 2016 but are not regarding any upcoming or specific DM/solo project.
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #1 on: 09 January 2016 - 02:07:34 »
2016-01-08 - BBC4 (UK) - The Story of 1981

The year the teens take over and 80s 'new pop' is born with Depeche Mode, the teen-fronted Human League, Kim Wilde and Duran Duran all debuting, while Ultravox and Visage master the art of pop videos. The show embraces the shift with a new theme tune and titles and, as Legs and Co leave, invite a swathe of club kids and cheerleaders in to create a permanent 80s party atmosphere. Britain is torn between rioting, unemployment and the royal wedding, a mood captured in the Specials' Ghost Town, which the band perform on Top of the Pops, and then promptly split up in their dressing room at Television Centre.
With Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, the Human League, Kim Wilde, Midge Ure, Jerry Dammers (the Specials), Leee John, Freeez, Beggar and Co, Richard Skinner, Mike Read and Carrie Grant.
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #2 on: 17 January 2016 - 18:55:11 »
2016-01-17 - IASPM D-A-CH (Germany) - 40 Years of Mute Records

CfC: 40 Years of Mute Records
Dr Zuleika Beaven, Marcus O’Dair, Dr Richard Osborne (editors):
“40 Years of Mute Records: through Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, New Order and more”
Proposal Deadline: 4 March 2016
Deadline Full Chapters: 30 September 2016

As the influential independent record label Mute approaches the milestone of its 40th anniversary, this edited academic book will explore Mute’s wide-ranging impact in the music industries. Drawing from disciplines such as popular music studies, fan studies, semiotics, creative industries management, identity studies and musicology, each chapter will take a distinctive artist-led approach.
Authors should feel free to focus on artists from different phases in Mute’s history: from the early independent years, with artists such as The Normal, Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Boyd Rice, The Birthday Party and Einsturzende Neubauten; development of imprint labels such as Blast First and Novamute, featuring Sonic Youth and Richie Hawtin respectively; back catalogue acquisition with Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and Richard Kirk; mid-era Mute artists such as Laibach, Goldfrapp, Moby and Liars; and the new role of newly re-independent label as a repository of the historic greats of electronic music including New Order, Kraftwerk and The Residents.
The editors of this book are currently working with label founder Daniel Miller, Visiting Professor of Music in the Department of Performing Arts at Middlesex University. Once the final running order of the volume is settled, it will be offered to a major publisher for publication to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Mute in 2018.

Recommended Topics
Proposed chapters should be based around the case study of a chosen Mute artist and explore a theme related to the impact of the label. Themes may include but are not confined to:
Mute aesthetics
Technology and innovation
Producers and remixing culture
Music and other art forms, including videos
Gender and sexuality
Mute and localities
Mute business practices
The Mute family of companies and imprints
Mute’s relationship with other labels, from Rough Trade to EMI
The label’s journey from independent to major to new independent
Mute releases as artifacts and collectables
Fans of Mute and Mute artists
Target Audience

Academics, researchers and students in a wide range of fields with an interest in popular culture will find this text useful in furthering their own research in the field. While academic in tone, the book will also be aimed at Mute enthusiasts.

Submission Procedure
Researchers are invited to submit a 400-word abstract explaining the scope and topic of their chapter, and detailing the proposed Mute artist(s) who will form the case study at the centre of the chapter. Deadline: 4 March 2016.
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by 30 March 2016 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters must be submitted by 30 September 2016. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.

Submit to:

Editors: Dr Zuleika Beaven, Marcus O’Dair, Dr Richard Osborne
Dept of Performing Arts, Middlesex University London
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #3 on: 25 January 2016 - 23:57:45 »
2016-01-25 - The RobCast #68 (US) - Interview with Martin Gore from Depeche Mode

[Typed out by me.]

Rob Bell: Hi everybody, and welcome to another RobCast. We are actually on location, and we have an audience of three. So I'm here with Martin Gore, welcome Martin.
Martin Gore: Thank you, hello Rob, good to be here.
Rob: This is so fantastic: you have done so many things in your life, but this is your first time on the RobCast.
Martin: First time on the RobCast, and maybe it could be my first time on a podcast.
Rob: Is it really?
Martin: I can't remember doing an actual podcast where I sat and spoke.
Rob: Oh, this is just - "where you sat and spoke"?
Martin: Yeah. I mean, there have been music podcasts, you know, I've put music together for podcasts before.
Rob: Yes. But now you're actually on one. This is a big moment. Big moment. And then, obviously, Kristen Bell is here, and neighbour Susan? We'll call you neighbour Susan. And Kerrilee. So, we - lovely ladies on the couch - we're in... this is your studio.
Martin: It is, yes.
Rob: And you come here each day, and you make this glorious noise.
Martin: Yeah, I come here each day. I do something in here every day, whether it's actually [to] create a track, or make a sound or just fiddle around with a piece of equipment.
Rob: Do you ever walk out at the end of the afternoon, and [go] just like, "I didn't do one interesting thing today"?
Martin: Yeah, that happens, of course it does.
Rob: And do you ever walk out thinking, "The thing that I made today? That's pretty good..."
Martin: I think I always feel good if I manage to get some kind of an idea of a song down. It changes your whole mood. I don't know if - you talked about Kerrilee on the couch there, that's my wife Kerrilee - I don't know if she notices the days where I walk out and I think, "I didn't do one thing in there today", and the difference between those days and the days when I finished a song. But I am definitely different. [laughs]
Rob: [To Kerrilee] No really? She's nodding her head vigorously. You can tell when he wrote something he likes?
Kerrilee: Yes, absolutely.
Rob: You can tell? Isn't that fascinating. I also find it interesting: everybody I know who's doing work that brings them joy, has days when they're like, "Yeah, I didn't really make much today." But in order to make other stuff, somehow that's part of the bargain, or the deal.
Martin: Yes. I mean, I don't think that anyone could ever expect to be able to be creative on a daily basis. There are gonna be times when something just magical just happens, and times where you're just at a complete loss.
Rob: Exactly. I was writing a book, it took me eighteen months, every day all day, to write this book, and it got so hard at different times, I would work for like a week on a paragraph or I'd work for a whole day on a sentence, and at the end of the day, delete that sentence. And I remember, the only thing that got me through is, the only way to make this, is to keep all the... It's like a search for all the stuff that doesn't belong in this book. And by the end of this process, somehow I will have deleted enough stuff [that] there will be something left. Which is sort of the opposite of it. So let's go way back: what are your first music... What did you first find yourself making music or enjoying music or understanding or appreciating it?
Martin: The first experience I had with music was discovering rock 'n' roll, and I was about ten years old. And I found a plastic bag full of records in my mother's cupboard. And we had a record player at home, so I was just fascinated by the technology, by the fact that you could just put this thing on, the arm came across. But just the sound that came out of the speakers, and I didn't understand what it was at the time, what attracted me to it. I think it was definitely something mysterious, but I would even go as far as to say that I didn't understand sexuality at the time or... obviously, because I was ten. [Rob laughs] But listening to rock 'n' roll records, there was something in there, that maybe I didn't understand but that I wanted to understand.
Rob: Yeah, it's like it'd strike some chord in you that you don't have language for or even a comprehension of, but it's real.
Martin: Yes.
Rob: And it's sort of vibrating in there. What were some of the records?
Martin: Elvis was on a lot of those records, there's quite a few Elvis singes. It was mainly singles.
Rob: Was she not playing them? Why were they in a plastic bag?
Martin: Oh, now I've got another story to add to that. [laughs] Because, obviously I loved these records, and I played them to death, and I think when I was about fifteen, I came home one day - maybe I was older, maybe I was more like eighteen, nineteen, and I was doing stuff with the band - and then I came home, and I wanted to listen to these old rock 'n' roll records because I hadn't heard them for a while, and I went looking for them, and I said, "Mum, where are those records? Where are your records, your old rock 'n' roll stuff?" She said, "Oh, I threw them away, they were old." [laughs]
Rob: She didn't know that you had been listening to them?
Martin: Well, yeah, but maybe I hadn't listened to them for a couple of years or so, because by that time I had got my own jobs and made a pittance, but spent every single penny that I made on buying records.
Rob: And when did you start playing music, or creating music?
Martin: I had a friend who played guitar, and he taught me a couple of chords when I was about thirteen. And I think he also taught me how to, like, read the guitar tabs, so I bought a guitar tab book, and taught myself the rest of the chords. And then there was this kind of like paper magazine, and I think it was weekly, maybe it could have been monthly, but I think it was weekly, and it was called 'Disco 45'. And it had all of the words for all of the chart songs in it. And I used to just sit in my bedroom and work out how to play the songs. Obviously, there was some that I couldn't because they were too complicated. But I used to spend years doing that, and I think that was one of the greatest things I ever did for myself, because just sitting there and working out the chords to songs and how the chord structures go: you go from a verse to a bridge to a chorus, and doing that over and over again, it was probably a great training for songwriting.
Rob: Yes. And the first one where you realised there's a 1, 4, and 5 and a relative minor and you realised almost everything stays within that, "Oh my Word, there's like a math underneath this or something!" Fascinating how many people say that, "Oh I spent ten years in my bedroom with a guitar", do you know what I mean?
Martin: Yes.
Rob: "I built a ten-thousand hours up", or whatever.
Martin: Yeah I did. I mean, I never became a great guitar player, but I think it was more songwriting.
Rob: Wait... [to the ladies] I'm not going to let him get away with that!
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: "I never became a good guitar player", I'm sorry, it's a friendly podcast, but I can, like, push back on that. [both laugh]
Martin: No, I don't think I ever, I never wanted to learn guitar solos.
Rob: Right, right.
Martin: I never wanted to be a guitar hero, it's something that never crossed my mind.
Rob: The guitar serves some larger thing called "The song".
Martin: Yes.
Rob: As opposed to [imitating electric guitar sound] "'Weew, weew', look at this!"?
Martin: Yeah. In fact, for the majority of those years, I played like a nylon acoustic [guitar] in my bedroom. So the wailing guitar solos didn't really work on it, anyway.
Rob: That's funny. You know, I remember my college roommate, Ian Eskelin, who will be so excited that we will are talking. I remember him saying one time to me, [in] like 1990, he's like, "The thing about Depeche Mode songs is that you can play them on a guitar." And he was always like, "And I bet underneath it all, somewhere, there's like an old, battered acoustic [version] that Martin Gore has." Like, he used to - like you do when you're in college and you're listening to your favourite albums - but he always used to have this theory, "That's why they're so great, because you can strip down all the various layers, and somewhere under there, the song works with just a guitar."
Martin: Well I used to always write on a guitar or a piano or something, or a keyboard, just to get the chord structure, the words, and I felt that, if the song is working in that context, then it's going to work when you put it to a beat or when you get electronics involved. And I'm gonna dig a hole for myself here, because I used to say this all the time, I used to say that if you start on electronics, you can fool yourself into thinking that what you're working on is better than it is, because you might get carried away with an amazing sound you've created, but you kind of disregarded working on the words, or the chords. But as time when on, I just think for inspiration - I still sometimes write songs on guitar and piano, but - sometimes these days, I do actually start with... you know, I might get a loop going on the modular system with, like, some drums and a baseline, and that might start me off with the idea for a song.
Rob: Yeah. So you're thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, you're playing guitar, you're playing guitar... When do you start playing... When does, like, "Let's form a band!" come into it?
Martin: Well, I had a friend who had a synthesizer, and he lent it to me for a two-week period. And I just really enjoyed it. I was a big fan of Kraftwerk at the time, and there was a burgeoning electronic scene, and there was bands like The Human League, whose early stuff I really liked, it was much more experimental than the The Human League stuff that is popular in America, which was kind of the 'Dare', 'Don't You Want Me' stuff. But their first couple of albums were quite experimental, and they had an EP out before that called 'The Dignity Of Labour', which I really liked. But anyway, there was a burgeoning electronic scene, so after this two-week rental of the synthesizer, I decided to go and buy one. And it just so happened that Vince and Andy had just formed a band-
Rob: -Nor, Norman?
Martin: No, that was my band, we weren't electronic. No, so they were were called at the time 'No Romance In China'. [laughs]
Rob: Ahhh... That was like, mid-'70s?
Martin: This must have been like, 1980, I think. It could have been late 1979, early 1980.
Rob: '80. 'No Romance In China'? That's like the best '80s band name ever! 'No Romance In China'! Can that even fit on a poster? That is fantastic!
Martin: [laughs] So at the time it was just Vince and Andy, and they hadn't played any shows for as far as I know, but I think they got wind that I was gonna buy a cheap synthesizer, so that was it, I was in the band. I think they came with me. They came on the train with me to London, to actually go to a music store, and I bought my first synthesizer, which was a Yamaha CS5, like a very small, cheap monophonic thing.
Rob: Yeah. I love how many band stories are, "Well so and so had equipment, so they're in." Like, "You have a drum-set, so you're in."
Martin: Yeah. [laughs]
Rob: So you're playing and, so where does Depeche Mode come in this? You've played for a while with them, Vince Clarke [and] Andy Fletcher, and you're playing with them. Does it get ahead of steam, are you any good? Do you have like, grand dreams or are you just like, "This is how we meet girls"? What does it mean to you at that point?
Martin: I didn't take it very seriously. I think that Vince was very, very driven, at a very young age, and I'll give him a lot of credit for that. But at the time we're talking about - this was before we'd even met Dave, so - the first thing that happened after that was, they were so impressed by my synthesizer-
Rob: [laughs] -and it was called "a synthesizer"?
Martin: [surprised] Yeah, yeah, it was a synthesizer, yeah! ...that they decided to also buy cheap monophonic synthesizers, and we were gonna become an all-electronic band. So, we did.
Rob: And were other kids in bands at that time doing this?
Martin: In England, there was, like I said, this scene that was happening, but we didn't have anyone in our town that was doing it. It was quite rare, still.
Rob: Yeah... Amazing. But somehow you're like, "Let's do it this way"? So you did it that way?
Martin: Yeah, the only other person was my friend whose real name was Rob Allen, but he went by the name Rob Marlow. [laughs] He was the one who lent me the synthesizer, he did have a band, but I was in his band as well, so that's why he had kind of an electronic band, because I was in the two bands.
Rob: And you're playing clubs...?
Martin: So we had a really bad named when I joined Andy and Vince. I'll give Vince credit for this as well. He came up with the name 'Composition Of Sound', which is awful-
Rob: Ahhh, second best '80s [band name]-
Martin: -no, that's awful! Especially when it was abbreviated to CoS, which I believe is a lettuce. [laughs]
Rob: [laughs] 'Composition Of Sound'. Ahhh, just so, awkward and great at the same time.
Martin: So we used to rehearse once a week at a youth centre, that's what they're called. And Dave came along for some reason, to one of our rehearsal sessions. And I think Vince must have asked him, "Are you interested in joining a band?" And we did an impromptu audition, and he actually sang 'Heroes' by David Bowie.
Rob: Hmm-mm. Good choice.
Martin: Yeah, I don't know how we played it, because we definitely didn't have that kind of musical expertise at that point, but we somehow must have muddled through it.
Rob: And could he sing then?
Martin: Yeah, he could, yes.
Rob: How old was he?
Martin: He always has been - well, he still is - a year younger than us, so I think we were... I think Vince was 20, I was like 19, so Dave was probably 18.
Rob: And you were like, "That guy can sing"?
Martin: Hmm-mm.
Rob: If it was a movie, was there like a magical moment, where one of you was like, "We got what it takes, we can go all the way"? Or was it just, "Oh wow, this is interesting. Maybe we could do something else"?
Martin: No at that stage it was still thinking about, "Oh well, now we got four members, we're kind of a band, maybe we should get some gigs."
Rob: Sometimes at that age, people are like, "Oh, this is what we're born to do, we're gonna go to the top", but for you it wasn't that? Well, you're British.
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: So there's a bit more... Eddie Izzard has this great line about a British kid, like "I wanna go to the moon!" "-You're British, kid." "I wanna sell shoes!" "-That's more like it." He has this whole bit about...
Martin: [still laughing] Well, yeah. Well, Vince was quite driven as I said, so-
Rob: -So, he's pushing.
Martin: So once we started playing a few gigs and we started getting a small, local following, I think we then went into a recording studio, and maybe we recorded like three or four songs. And then Vince and Dave would go up to London and set up meeting with record companies and get sent out the door with their tales between their legs. But they kept at it for a while, but that didn't really get us anywhere, so...
Rob: And are you working just a regular job, are you in school, what are you doing when you're not doing 'Composition Of Sound'?
Martin: Oh yeah, so the moment Dave joined the band, we did change our name to 'Depeche Mode'.
Rob: Aaah, got it.
Martin: So I'm not sure if we actually played any gigs - I'm sure maybe one or something - under the name 'Composition Of Sound'. If I say we never did, someone's gonna tell me, "Yes, yes you did!"
Rob: "I've got a bootleg of it."
Martin: Yes.
Rob: And Vince was writing a lot of the material.
Martin: Vince was writing pretty much all the material at the very beginning.
Rob: And then you make the first album.
Martin: Yeah, so I did write two songs on the first album.
Rob: Then, after the first album, he leaves, and you start writing, taking over the major load of writing.
Martin: Yeah, the weird thing about it was, he told us he was leaving before the first album was even released.
Rob: Oh, and was that panic? Or was that, "Oh, we're gonna be fine"?
Martin: I think it was the wonder and the naivety of youth [that] meant that we didn't panic at all.
Rob: Fascinating.
Martin: We'd found a kind of mentor. We are still really good friends with this guy called Daniel Miller who was the head of Mute Records, and he was one of the leaders of the independent label scene, so he owned this independent label called 'Mute'. And we met him in 1980 when we supported one of his artists called Fad Gadget.
Rob: "Fad"?
Martin: Fad Gadget.
Rob: That's just fun to say. "Fad Gadget"! Unbelievable!
Martin: [laughs] So yeah, we supported Fad Gadget at this pub in London called the Bridge House, which was a little bit of an institution, as far as pubs go. I mean, it only held probably, like, 150 people. But we had played there on our own before, and in the beginning we only had like, ten, fifteen people turn up. But the night we played with Fad Gadget, obviously he had a big following, so there was an atmosphere. And Daniel saw us play and came backstage after, and said, "Do you wanna do a one-off single deal?" So, of course we said, "Yes!" I mean, not only was that amazing that someone had come backstage and offered us a one-off single deal, [but also because] it was Daniel Miller, and it was Mute Records. And he was probably the only all-electronic label in England at the time. And we were big fans of things like DAF, Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft, that he had put out, and he had his own thing called The Normal who did the original of 'Warm Leatherette'.
Rob: So you sort of admired this and looked up to this whole scene and him and the work he was putting out, and then he wants to make something with you.
Martin: Yeah, and it was just a one-off single deal, and I don't know if I've ever really spoken about this, but there was some other funny things he - you know what Doctor Who is?
Rob: Hmm-mm.
Martin: So we got a residency in a place called Croc's, which is in a place called Rayleigh, just outside of Basildon, where we grew up. And we met this one guy there who had an idea that he wanted to take us to Africa and play kind of like Doctor Who covers or something. Or, no, it was Doctor Who outfits! That was it, Doctor Who outfits! I don't know how he thought... But you know, when you're young, it sounded like, "Oh wow, maybe there's something in this. Maybe he's got a vision." Thank God, thank God Daniel came along when he did! [laughs] We could have been in Doctor Who outfits in Africa. I don't know what appeal there would have been for Africans in an English band in Doctor Who outfits, playing electronic music. [laughs]
Rob: That story is so awesome on so many levels. So many people, when they see somebody doing something and it's going well, and they've reached an audience or they've thrived or whatever, there's this, like, "Well, you must have started out and it must have been great and it must have...", but you were, like, one turn or conversation away from Africa and Doctor Who. Like, it could have gone some other way, but it didn't. I just find the whole... That's just a great mystery.
Martin: Well, the other mystery is that we actually went with Mute Records. Even though we loved them and they had all the aesthetics that we loved: the electronic side of it, there was the independent side of it which meant that they weren't part of any big label... But of course, they had no money. So they weren't offering us anything. And at the same time, we were being courted by big labels, like at the time there was Polydor, and I can't remember some of the others that were chasing us, but we had two or three of them that were after us. And they were offering us, at the time, 100.000, 150.000 pounds.
Rob: Which must have been crazy money!
Martin: For us, at that point, that was crazy money. And we said, "No, we are going with Daniel", because we trusted him. And I think that was a miraculous choice, because, like Wham! for instance - by the, I think it was the same guy who was chasing us, and I think it was Polydor - I think they ended up getting completely ripped off, didn't make a penny for the first, I don't know how many years.
Rob: Man. It's fascinating to me how many people early on had these moments where they either went with integrity and what they had in their heart, or large money. Somewhere in there, there was like, defining moments, where they went with soul and integrity and aesthetics that lined up with what they wanted to do, over big money. And then later, were like, "That was the right thing". Because oftentimes, it's "Oh, of course you could make those decisions, look at how well you've done." And I'm always like, "No, I guarantee you, they probably started making that decision every time."
Martin: Yeah, we came from very working-class backgrounds, it wasn't like we had so much money that we could easily make that decision. I worked in a bank, in a clearing house, until our second single, just before our second single was released, that's when I left, and decided to take it seriously. I decided to take it seriously when the first single got to, like, number 50 or something, 50 something in the British charts, because we literally hadn't done anything to get it to number 50. We hadn't taken it that seriously. So we started thinking, "If we take this seriously, and actually put a bit of effort into this, maybe we can make something of it."
Rob: That was so great. OK so was there a day at the bank, that you had your last day at the bank, and they were like, "What are you gonna do?" and they were like, "I've got a synthesizer"?
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: I mean, there must have been some day when you were done at the bank? That must have been a huge moment?
Martin: I had to give my notice, yes. And I remember my manager saying to me, "You're making a big mistake."
Rob: Yes! I was just gonna ask, was there a manager who said, "Do you understand the mistake that you're making?"
Martin: Yeah.
Rob: Because there's always some manager saying "Do you understand the mistake that you're making?"
Martin: Yep. Yeah no, there was, and I think I realised before that when they sent me off on some kind of like, course, that was to further my banking. And I had to study, like, accountancy and law, and I think I was supposed to do the course for six months or so. And I think I survived about two months, and I went to my manager, and I said, "I just can't do this, I'm really sorry."
Rob: [laughs] Ahh, that is so good. So, then the band takes off, then album, album, album... When did you realise, "Oh wow, these songs strike a chord with people"? That you could make something and then you'd share and it would do something in people?
Martin: I think that took a while, because the first album for instance was very different, because nine of eleven songs were written by Vince, and we just write in completely different ways. And even with the second album, I didn't really know what I was doing, I was still only, like, 20 I think. And it did feel like I had been thrown in the deep end, so it's a real mishmash, and there's no real direction, there's this kind of pop, and there's, like, little hints of a direction that we might be going in in the future. But I don't think there's anything on there that made people turn their heads and go, "Wow, they're doing things really different", apart from the electronic aspect. Because there are some people who loved the fact that we were still going down that electronic route, and very early on there were some people from, like, the Detroit techno scene who say that they were influenced by our early stuff.
Rob: Yeah. "Just Can't Get Enough" was [on the] first album?
Martin: Yes.
Rob: OK, so, and that's Vince?
Martin: Yes.
Rob: So, we go from "When I'm with you baby..." within a couple of albums, 'Black Celebration', 'People Are People', those are very different. I mean, there's a depth that, in only a few albums, what you're singing about and writing about, shifts. That's a long way from "When I'm with you baby..." Do you know what I mean? What were your influences? And I know for many people, Depeche Mode was singing about The Big Stuff, when lots of people were like, "Hey baby..." Do you know what I mean?
Martin: I think that meeting Daniel was a big turning point in our lives. And then I would say that another big turning point in our lives was meeting an engineer called Gareth Jones, who was living in Berlin at the time, suggested that we go to Berlin to record an album, and he was vegetarian, he was worldly, he was older than us, and I just think that that just helped to... for me personally, I was very inspired by being around Gareth and being around Daniel and recording in Berlin. We went Hansa Studios-
Rob: -which is where David Bowie went, and where U2 went later.
Martin: Yeah, and where Iggy recorded, and obviously they were our heroes, so we couldn't believe we were there. But I just think it was the right time as well, because we were maturing. We were all get getting older, and we were getting to travel the world. I mean, [in] 1982 we did our first tour where we travelled Asia and got to witness Asia as a twenty-year-old or whatever, [or] a twentyone-year-old, and I think that had a big influence on the writing for 'Construction Time Again', which was more of a kind of outward looking album, not an album of love songs.
Rob: Because, you're good British kids who work in banks, and you have tea with your mom, and then all of a sudden you're in Berlin, and then you're in Asia. I have to believe that your head must have been spinning at certain moments. Like, we're a long way from the village... Do you know what I mean? From "my bedroom with a guitar", and the cultural... and the raising of consciousness, let alone a vegetarian engineer who's been, like... At a young age, those have a huge impact. Did you ever just think, "How did we...?" You must have had like a conversation going among yourselves?
Martin: Everything did happen quite quickly before us, because, I remember when we first went up to London, when we were nineteen or whatever, when we were recording the first album, I think Daniel suggested, "Let's get an Indian." And we all looked at each other and were like, "Indian? What's that?"
Rob: "Curry? What are you talking about?"
Martin: We came from Basildon, at that time, there were very few restaurants in that town. I think there was one Chinese takeaway or something. I think you could sit down, because once we tried to go in and sit down, but they wouldn't let us because we looked too weird.
Rob: I just find it... There's all sorts of theories of why people grow, but generally, we are handed something in life that we don't, [with] our current categories and labels, don't have any way to make sense of, and so, when confronted with something new, whether it's paying loss, suffering, some cross-cultural interaction, we either... it breaks us... and that's what allows you to move forward in the greater enlightenment/consciousness/expansion/growth/maturity/spirituality/etcetera. We either are willing to go through that pain of, "I'm a long way from where I grew up", and we move into greater maturity/growth/expansion, or we dig in our heels, and resist it/fight it, become even more entrenched. But what I always find the great mystery, is that for some reason, at each stage for you all, is [that] you just kept going, [to] Berlin, Asia...
Martin: Yeah well, when Gareth suggest Berlin to record a part of 'Construction Time Again', we jumped at it, and we loved the experience, and within two years of that, I was living there.
Rob: Oh were you? Right!
Martin: Yeah, so I moved from Basildon to Berlin.
Rob: Unbelievable! So how long did you move in Berlin?
Martin: Two years.
Rob: Incredible. And was your family back in Basilton [sic]? Like, could they come with you, in a sense? Not like, move there, but did they understand what was happening, like "This is great", or were they just like, you know, "Send cards"?
Martin: Yeah, no one ever came over when I was there, to visit. But no, I think that they understood that, yeah, the band was doing well, by that stage. So it wasn't... If the band had been doing horribly, they might have been saying to me, "What are you doing? What are you doing, son?"
Rob: Right, right, right. And so: another album, another album, another album, and then you're like, arenas, stadiums, videos, it gets really big. When does it get crazy? Is it just one flow, gradual, or where there moments where you looked at each other, like, "Oh this is, like, the next level."?
Martin: I think we were very fortunate that things were very gradual with us. So with the first album it was successful in England, and it did kind of okay in Europe, but 'Just Can't Get Enough' was kind of a very underground hit, maybe in clubs in America, but nothing really. It didn't make that many inroads. So maybe by the second or third album we had started to do a bit better in Europe. But we kind of had written America off. We just felt that we were too European for America.
Rob: Yeah. And for a British band, America is just massive, wide, vast. So at what point did you have some moment, like "Let's try America"?
Martin: Well yeah, we almost gave up, I think we played in 1983, and we were playing small theatres, and the attendance was kind of okay but not amazing, and every interview we went into was kind like justifying ourselves as a band, because we were electronic and we weren't "rock". So we almost gave up. And then, I don't know why, but somebody talked us in coming back in 1985, I think it was, [when] we came back.
Rob: Depeche Mode almost gave up.
Martin: [laughs] No, in America.
Rob: Oh, in America, okay. Phew! But justice is a hard slog, yeah.
Martin: Yeah, it just seemed like, we were just like hitting our heads against the wall every time we came to America. And then we came back in 1985, and the whole alternative radio thing had happened.
Rob: Yes!
Martin: And we just couldn't believe it! We were playing sheds and there were like 15.000 people there every night. It was incredible.
Rob: Absolutely incredible. And then the Rose Bowl, the '101' album is '90...? '89, '90?
Martin: I think we actually played in, I think it was '87, '88...
Rob: So within, whatever, five years, you're playing the, you know... That's just unbelievable. Now, there are, like, fans, I'm assuming you're having, like, super-fans, outside the hotel, there's travel, money, people coming at you, wanting to be in on the inner circle, how did you personally cope? Or how did you... Did you have somebody, like, "Okay, this is how you manage this level", or were you just sort of figuring it out? I mean, a lot of people, their own sort of sanity goes out the window at some point, because it's just... I mean, we've seen that happen so often.
Martin: Yeah, I think our sanity did go out of the window, and we did what, I think any, well most, young people in our situation would do. We ended up, like, partying, that became part of our M.O., every... The shows were kind of, like, very secondary back then. It was like, "Let's get back to the party."
Rob: Oh, really? It was like, "Let's play this show and then let's party"? Fascinating. And did the wheels come off at some point?
Martin: Yes. So, in 199... Well, before then, really. I was gonna say, 1993/'94 tour that we did for 'Songs of Faith and Devotion', it was an eighteen-month tour, and we went all over the world, and there were times when we were in Singapore, and we had been on tour for, I don't know, fourteen months, and you start having these thoughts, "Why are we in Singapore? We don't even sell any records here. I'm just gonna get drunk again!" We all managed to get through that tour without dying, but just about, I think.
Rob: Yeah. Fascinating. Now, from early on, there's this spirituality, sexuality... You're not always writing about what other bands are writing about. There's a depth, there's a profundity, there's this... What I pick up, there's a [familiarity] with the sacred, but it's not the "sacred", necessarily, of the cathedrals, it's the "sacred" in flesh and blood and skin and bone, and, where did that [come from]? What were you reading? What were your... The spiritual themes that are running through this, it's techno music, it's computer music, it's "we can dance to it", but it's also speaking to the soul. Where did that... Did you have a model for that, or were you just, "This is what these songs should be about"?
Martin: I didn't-
Rob: -God, that was a long question.
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: I just kept going!
Martin: You know there wasn't a model, a template that I had.
Rob: Sometimes people are inspired by somebody, who are like, "I wanna do that", but...
Martin: Yeah, I think I've always been interested in spirituality, and religions even. I've never followed a religion. Sometimes I envy people who do, because I feel that they have something that I never quite get to.
Rob: Like a grounding, or a path.
Martin: Yeah. So, I was quite familiar with the Bible, and I used to read other religion's books, and I found that quite motivating when it came to writing songs. I think it's always a good topic, especially if you can then turn in into, like you say, more of a "flesh and bone" thing, and twist it slightly. I always quite liked the idea of being in a pop-group, but being able to be as subversive as I wanted. I quite liked that. There's something nice about, "Oh, they're just a pop-group", but...
Rob: Right! Oh, I love to hear you say that, because that's what everybody who is sort of reading the liner notes of your albums is [thinking], like, "This guy is... He knows what's doing, right?" So you had this, "Yes, we're just a pop-group, come buy a ticket, dance, buy the T-shirt, great." But then these themes that what we're talking about are some of the deepest questions and subjects that humans have been wrestling with for thousands of years. I assumed Church of England would have been big in your village? Or was your schooling giving you some of that imagery?
Martin: Well, funnily enough, Andy and Vince used to go to the Methodist Church, and I think they were going there when the band first started. This is probably stuff I should not be telling anyone. [laughs]
Rob: Well, don't worry. Don't worry, it's just a podcast. We just edit that last part out.
Martin: [laughs] But I remember, Andy I think it was, inviting me along to the Methodist Church one night, and I think I must have been sixteen or seventeen, or something like that, and I just went along, there was like a concert on, or something. I think Vince was actually playing. And he had an acoustic duo at the time. [laughs] But there wasn't a lot going on in Basildon, apart from sitting in your room and learning songs from 'Disco 45', so for a short period of time, I used to go along to the Youth Fellowship, like, occasionally. Even though I didn't believe any of it. But I found it kind of interesting. And I also found it interesting that every week they used to finish with their prayers, and it was usually prayers for people who were sick and dying. And then the next week they'd come back and most of the people on the list were dead.
Rob: [laughs] And you were like, "Something about this is not working!"
Martin: Yes! Again, I think it was inspiring, in a way, even for songwriting, because I think Blasphemous Rumours was kind of based on that kind of experience.
Rob: Aaah, yeah, yeah, like, "This sort of thing says the thing, but it's actually not working. Or at least this understanding of it doesn't seem..." So you're writing lyrics: did you ever bring David some lyrics, and he'd be like, "What the... What is... I can't sing this!", or, "This is amazing!", or would you discuss, or would he just [go], "Ah, Martin, the transcendence and imminence of the corporeality that I see here with your pro-materialism understanding of..." I mean, did he have, like... What are those interactions like? Because, songwriters in other bands probably aren't being like, "I think you should sing this." Do you know what I mean? At that time.
Martin: Yeah, I don't think we ever had a real in-depth conversation about the songs, you know-
Rob: -No way!
Martin: Dave always says that he likes to get his own interpretations, which I think is the greatest thing about music, and the greatest thing about words and poetry or whatever, that everybody gets their own interpretation. And I get asked all the time in interviews, "Can you explain this song to me?" and I say, "No, because if I tell you my mundane meaning of the song, it's gonna take away all of the magic that so many people feel for it."
Rob: Because somebody says to you, "Oh my word, this song got me through the hardest period of my life, what was it about?" and you're like, "My... god... died... and there was cereal... and I had my zipper stuck on my sweater..." Right? I don't wanna know that!
Martin: When I've been asked this in the past, I was using this example: in that bag of rock 'n' roll records, there was 'Sweet Little Sixteen' by Chuck Berry - I mean, Chuck Berry was even done on the Mann Act or whatever, for transporting minors across borders - but in his book, in his autobiography, he said, "Oh, I just wrote that song because my agent told me that that was the age group that I was appealing to."
Rob: ...So weird. Okay, I got a couple of song questions and then we can wrap it up. So I'm gonna ask a couple of song questions: 'It's No Good', that chorus, "Don't say you..." - I'm not even gonna sing it.
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: When you wrote that, were you like, washing the dishes and all of a sudden you were going, [to the melody of 'It's No Good'] "tun, tun, tun tun..."? When you come up with a hook that's that just... fantastic, - as somebody who admires a great hook - does that come...? Because, you're in the studio, and all of a sudden you're like, "tun, tun, tun tun...", and were you walking the dog? Oh, I'm just gonna keep humming it.
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: Do you know that that works as soon as you find it?
Martin: No. And it specifically remember that song, and one of my friends will be very pleased that you asked about that one, because, there's a friend of mine called Denise Da Silva, who lives in Australia, and I don't see her very often at all, but when I wrote that song, I thought that maybe it was a little on the "poppy" side. We always have this kind of like, line that we draw in the sand, and if a song crosses over too much, then it's like, "Ohhh, we're not sure, what are we gonna do?" If we do it, we're gonna have to really change it or something. So I didn't think, "Oh, this is an amazing song, this is a great hit", I was [like], "I'm not sure about it", and I actually remember playing it to Denise Da Silva on a guitar, and she said: [tries an Australian accent] "No Martin, that's it. You gotta do that. That's a hit."
Rob: Oh really?
Martin: Yes.
Rob: She just recognised, in it's most bare bones...?
Martin: Yes.
Rob: So you're not aware that we're gonna get that thing lodged in our front-temporal cortex for the next thirteen years because it's so...? You're just, "It came out somehow, here it is"? You're not necessarily aware of what it is?
Martin: No, I think there have been maybe a couple of times, I think, when we've been in the studio as a band, and we finished something, and we may have looked at each other and thought, "Maybe that could be a hit." There's been a couple of times. You know, we're English, like you said!
Rob: You're British! Right.
Martin: [laughs] One of the funniest ones, I think, was 'Personal Jesus', [of] which we thought it wouldn't get any airplay whatsoever, because we weren't sure if you could even - in America especially - say "Jesus" on the radio.
Rob: Yeah. So, obviously the ancient old question, but what came first with that song? The title, the lyrics, the guitar part - which is just fantastic, obviously...?
Martin: This is gonna start a little strange, because-
Rob: -I think we passed that a long time ago.
Martin: [laughs] When I write songs, I often don't sit down and write a poem, or complete a piece of music and then start writing words to it. I'll pick up a guitar, or I'll start playing some songs on the piano, or start a bassline running on something, and I'll just start singing what comes naturally to me. And that's where the ideas for the songs come from. And I don't know if that's tapping into something that exists somewhere or... I'm not sure. But the songs sometimes kind of write themselves.
Rob: So there's some way in which... It's almost like you allow your mind, the rational/analysing/staring out into distance/always taking in data and the route with which we stand outside of ourselves and go, "I think I'm doing okay, did they like me? Did I...", it's almost like you sort of have to get in the place where that is quiet or out of the way - or the monkey mind, as some traditions say - and then you just sort of listen to what's a layer or two below, and it comes out.
Martin: Yes.
Rob: And that came out: "your own personal Jesus" came out over the top of a loop or a guitar part or something.
Martin: Yeah, I mean, the melody is not that complicated.
Rob: Did the band... Were you like, "It's called 'Personal Jesus', obviously." Was the band like, "Oh, yeah, that will work. It's great" or were they [like], "What? What? What?... This time you have gone too far, Martin."?
Martin: No. Obviously we weren't thinking about it as a single straight away when the band first heard it, and I think it got made much more commercial, in a good way, in the studio, than from the demo. But I think that when we actually decided to release it as a single, we were a little hesitant.
Rob: And then you're the first person to be surprised by how much reception it gets.
Martin: Yeah, all of us! We couldn't believe how successful it was.
Rob: That is fascinating. And 'Personal Jesus' is on Violator. There's a song on there called 'Policy of Truth': what in the world are those sounds? Do you know what I mean? Like, if someone came from a different planet, and I was just playing any music, I'd be like, "This is a guitar, this is drums, this is harpsichord, this is a flute..." But on that song, if I played them that song, I'd be like, "... That's like a... I don't..."
Martin: You mean the main riff kind of sound?
Rob: The riff, there's like three or four parts that are like sort of stacked in very tightly in the mix. I assume there's some really subjecting aesthetic thing going on where you're just like, "It should sound like striking the edge of a glass bottle mixed with a..." Do you know what I mean? In the studio, are you just, "I'll know it when I hear it"?
Martin: I think it's more organic than that. I think part of the sounds that you're talking about are samples that we... even during Violator we were doing quite a bit of sampling, so it probably came from some weird Asian instrument sample CD or a classical Asian music CD, with a bend in it.
Rob: Okay, because, our ears, we pretty much know the palate of sounds, and I don't have a bent Asian thing in my database at the moment, so I hear it, and I'm like, "What is..." And then one last question: [on] Live In Berlin, there's this 'Just Not Tonight'...?
Martin: 'But Not Tonight', yeah.
Rob: 'But Not Tonight' Just 'But Not Tonight'. There's this moment at the end, there's like a refrain - I will not sing it for you - and then the song fades, there's this gap, and then the stadium, slowly, like, like a wave coming towards shore, it gradually begins to form, and you hear a couple of people singing that refrain, and then more, and then more... You're standing there on a stage in a stadium and this thing that apparently dropped out of somewhere for you a month or two or three or years earlier, whatever. Do you know what I mean? You've just given people this gift, the song is over, and an assembled mass begins to repeat this refrain, and it's got joy and grief in it. It feels like everybody is... You know, Buddhists have this thing called resonating interval, when we're all breathing at the same time it's almost like we physiologically begin to sync. Obviously that's the communal power of singing and laughing. Where are you in that moment? Do you know, "Oh, this is the part where we stop and they keep going", are you just present in the moment, [or] are you like, "I need my guitar for the next song"? Do you ever just go, "I'm Martin Gore and I made this noise and this is my life and 50.000 people are spontaneously taking this thing that came through my British man-self"? Do you know what I mean?
Martin: No, it is amazing. Virtually every night when we're on tour, we are extremely spoilt by our audiences. And those magical moments just happen on a regular basis. And during the set, there are probably three or four times where they'll do something like that at the end of different songs. And it goes on for five minutes, and Dave will usually eventually say something or clap his hands or do something to stop them. But it would actually be an interesting experiment to see how long it would go on if we didn't actually stop them.
Rob: Because the crowd would be like, "We can do this all night."
Martin: Yeah. That is a very European thing, by the way. It doesn't tend to happen so much in America. The Europeans love singing.
Rob: Yeah. Because you always had your local, your pub, where everybody sang, and music was shared, and communal. And for so many Americans, music is for people who know how to sing, or performance. You perform because you're a musician, as opposed to something we all share. We don't have a tradition, other than, for many people obviously, a church. Otherwise, there aren't that many communal singing places, as opposed to... And most people live in the suburban sprawl, so there isn't just: you walk down the block and there's a collected body of songs that everybody knows.
Martin: Yeah, well, in Europe, I think that our audience is so fanatical, and it is kind of cult-like, and maybe it's even verging on church-like. So maybe it is a bit like some kind of communion that goes on in those moments.
Rob: Absolutely, yeah. I always say: there's something else going on here. There's something else going on here. There's something that connects us, that flows through all of us, and there are these moments when we all experience it and taste it and you can almost see it in the room. And obviously, religion is the attempt to name that, which can be very helpful, and not helpful.
Martin: Yes.
Rob: Fascinating. So did this and not asked you... There will be another Depeche Mode album?
Martin: We are planning to have a meeting within the next few weeks, and we're hoping to get started in April, I believe.
Rob: And do you have stuff swirling around in your head, or your hard-drive? Do you have overall themes and ideas, or just specific little "Don't say you want me..."?
Martin: [laughs] You're a closet singer!
[both laugh]
Martin: Are you looking for a backup job?
[both laugh some more]
Rob: Oh, dear Lord, no. Ugh. But if I was...
Martin: I'm sure you could fit it into your schedule somehow.
Rob: You know, I saw Green Day, and before they came out, a friend of theirs came out in a bunny outfit, drunk, and just danced around on the stage, drinking, and it absolutely... the crowd, it broke. By the time the band took the stage, the band was already like, "Let's go!" So, maybe drunk bunny? I don't know!
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: But beyond that: no.
Martin: But yeah, back to your question: yeah of course I got some songs finished and demoed, Dave has had some songs demoed, so we're in a good place, ready to get started.
Rob: So the official word is: some men are gonna have a meeting.
Martin: [laughs]
Rob: Well, I'm so glad that we could have this conversation, I find it so fascinating. And I love hearing... It's always oddly inspiring to me when people [say], "We took this turn, it went okay, this turn didn't, this was hard. We almost gave up on America, we almost..." The struggle, to me, is as inspiring and sacred as the rocketship-taking-off part.
Martin: Yep.
Rob: And I know I speak for so many people: what you have sung about, it's almost like finding the divine in the daily. Some people will go looking in a cathedral, but some people will go looking in the sweat and the blood and the skin and the soil and the everyday stuff. And that's just very-
Martin: Thank you, that was very nicely put.
Rob: It's really inspiring and really beautiful, so, I'm looking forward to the next thing.
Martin: Thank you.
Rob: Alright. Grace and peace, everyone! We are checking out from Martin Gore's studio.
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2016-03-21 - Tape Op Magazine #112 (US) - Interview with Ben Hillier

[The full interview is available for subscribers only, and has been copied below.]

Ben Hillier: Depeche Mode, Blur, Elbow

Producer/engineer/songwriter Ben Hillier's work ranges from indie guitar bands to synth-driven music. He's produced the last three Depeche Mode records, singer/songwriter Nadine Shah, Blur's Think Tank, Elbow's Cast of Thousands, Graham Coxon, Doves, and The Futureheads.

Elbow's second album, Cast of Thousands, contains "Grace Under Pressure," a song with a stadium choir at the end. How do you get a crowd to pull this off?
After their first album [Asleep in the Back], they got booked to play Glastonbury. At the concert, Guy Garvey, their lead singer, decided out of nowhere to say, "Glastonbury, do you wanna be on our next album?" Off the top of his head, he made up a phrase for them to sing and got the drummer to do a click track. They all sang it, and so they had a recording of that and we sampled it. The band ended up writing a song around that sample.

Did you have problems with pitch and timing?
With a crowd that big, the pitch is so vague, so it isn't much of an issue. We did have to pitch it a bit, but they had been working with the sample when they wrote the song. I think Guy had played the chord before, so he had sung the line to the crowd in a key. And they were pretty close! It was more of an issue with the timing, which was pretty vague. When we made the album, the first thing to do was to get this section down. One of the concepts of the album was that everybody who had anything to do with the record, and anybody who came to visit them, had to sing on that section. So it was the Glastonbury crowd, plus 50 or 60 other people on top. We had that track record to go all the time.

What strikes me about the Elbow records are the guitar sounds, with their slight lo-fi edge.
The way they lay out their frequencies is quite good. The drummer is fantastic, and his tone is great, so you can get quite a big sound on the drums. The bass tends to play very low; there's not a lot of top-end. The guitarist's melodies are quite good at standing out on their own. You can make the guitar sound quite small and hard. And I got it to poke out quite a lot, because I wasn't relying on the electric guitar to set up the warmth of the track. It is usually the bass and the keyboards that are doing that. Listening to it on its own, it is quite aggressive; all the other frequencies are covered by the rest of the band on the track. Guy's vocal is also quite low-pitched and warm sounding as well. There's quite a lot of space in the guitar register, around 1.5 to 2 kHz, you can poke out really well. Craig Potter, the keyboard player, was very good at choosing his sounds. Quite often, keyboards are tricky in rock bands. They're difficult to blend in...

Since they can cover a broad range, from top to bottom?
Exactly. Normally the keyboards are trying to do everything. Craig is quite good at being minimal and keeping a sense of space in sound. As soon as you get those types of players and sounds, the rest is quite easy to sort out. A lot of the guitar sounds were recorded with a ribbon microphone 15-meters away from the amp! We worked in a large studio [Parr Street] in Liverpool, and the room was dry enough not to color the sound too much. But when you put that in the mix, it sits in there really nicely. I nearly always record a guitar amp with an [Shure] SM 57 on it, but that would be purely as a spot mic; it will be the focus of the sound. The "character" sound will be something presumably a long way away from it. I'm recording guitars with a lot of space on them. If the room's right, I can do 10- to 15-meters away. The close mic will give it the definition, but the sound will be the room mics. My studio, at the moment [The Pool in London], is in a great big open warehouse space. We have a couple of room mics at the ceiling, which is about 10 meters high. It's not very "wet" though!

Sounds a bit like Abbey Road’s Studio 2, which is a big room, but it doesn’t have a large reverb tail either…
Exactly! And it’s great when you record in such rooms, because you can get the distance from the mics, but you get a much less “bent” and colored sound as you would in a really wet-sounding room. Right up close to the speaker sounds a bit choked to me. It always sounds to me like the sound doesn’t have space to move in the air. Guitar amps aren’t designed to be listened to at a really close distance. They are designed to be listened to from a distance, so I record them like that.

If you record them right off the speaker, you’re always trying to make up for the sound. You’re trying to mimic what you hear in the room…
Exactly. And if you can get that result without having to resort to compression and reverb, it will be a much more natural sound. Adding reverb will add mud and messiness, which you don’t get acoustically in the room. It’s very difficult in the modern age, since most people record in very small spaces and not in studios.

Early reflections can be troublesome. Someone recently claimed that you actually get the best “small room” sounds in dry-sounding big rooms.
Yes! The great thing about big rooms is that the walls are quite far away! If you want to have a sound that is less colored, you just keep the microphones away from the walls. The sound is really clear and direct, even though the microphones are quite far away.

I heard you have a collection of old synthesizers that you use a lot on your productions.
My three main ones, at that time, were the Korg MS-20, ARP 2600, and an EMS VCS 3. When I started out as an engineer I had to justify the purchase, so I used them an awful lot for treating sounds, especially for controlling the frequency range by using the filters of the MS-20. You can take sounds that would take too much space in a mix, tune them into essential parts, and give them a lot more character. The thing I like about it is that there are no presets. You don’t step through and ask yourself, “Is that one good, or this one?” Going through presets is the most boring thing you could possibly do in the studio. Instead, you can go in there, build the sound, and patch things through the way you want them to be. I find that much more creative. That’s a problem with software synths to me: It will only let you change the sound so far, but won’t actually let you get in there and mess around with it. And just by their nature, you’re removing what makes the original analogue version great – the unpredictability and the constant variation. Digital can’t do that. Digital is a victim of its own success. It has become so easy, and what companies want is to sell plug-ins to people who can’t afford going to studios. That’s where they’re gonna make the most money. People who are developing and experimenting in studios, that’s not their target group. If you can afford going to a real studios, you’re going to use a real [Urie] 1176 compressor.

The last Blur album, Think Tank, took 18 months. You built a studio in Marrakesh, Morocco, and hauled a big console along. From a producer’s point of view, it must have been a difficult record since guitar player Graham Coxon had quit?
Yeah, [it was] difficult, in some ways, because we didn’t have Graham. He’s an amazing musician. I’ve done four solo records with him. He has a very strong musical DNA. Obviously that was a real drawback: you’ve got this band and you’re missing one of the main parts. The gap Graham had left almost served as an inspiration to the rest of the band, especially to singer Damon Albarn. Making a record without Graham was like starting again. It was their seventh album, and at that point as a band, there’s not much you haven’t done before.

Who came up with the idea to record in Marrakesh?
Damon had been to a festival over there, and he loved the fact that there’s so much live music everywhere. You’d walk into a carpet shop and they had a band playing, rather than the radio on. There are live musicians everywhere. It was less than a year after 9/11, and going to a Muslim country everybody told us to be careful, but everyone was really lovely and we were never threatened or anything. We were never worried, at all.

How did you get the gear to build a studio? We rented the equipment from Tickle Music Hire in London. They built the studio. It had Genelec monitoring and a Rupert Neve Amek console – a good sounding desk. Lots of outboard, mic preamps, API gear, and Urei compressors. I think it was the first time I did a record entirely on Pro Tools reliably. We mixed to 1/2-inch tape, but recorded to Pro Tools. That gave us a lot more freedom to move around, since we didn’t have to work on a multitrack tape machine with heat and weather issues. We brought the whole studio back to England to finish it off. So we’d been in Marrakesh at 40 degrees [centigrade], next to the desert, and we came back to Britain and we went to Devon. It’s possibly the wettest place in Britain, in autumn. Windy and wet!

Why did you mix in Marrakesh? Did you want to finish the project right away?
Yes, that was my aim. Damon is a really fast creator. He’s interested in the spark of creativity, and making something new is what excites him in music. If you put Damon in a studio, he’ll write or start a song. But to finish a song is hard work, because that’s boring. Finishing a song, you have to knuckle down – getting the vocals and the lyrics right. With the early version of the song, everything is almost there, but it’s just not finished.

At that part of the process, you’re becoming more of a craftsman instead of an artist.
Exactly. You’re crafting it in the end, which is a real discipline. The reason we went to Marrakesh was that there were a lot of distracting things in London. They were very famous at the time, and it would’ve been easy for somebody to come in and take them off partying somewhere else. They were pretty disciplined when we were in the studio; but it was increasingly hard to focus everyone, so we went somewhere else. They didn’t have anything else to do; there were no distractions. And it was a question of forcing Damon to finish off things. So in Marrakesh, Damon and I really knuckled down the songs.

You were basically trying to capture the moment of creation?
Exactly. With some artists it’s the hardest thing getting to finish records. To finish a song, without losing what excited you about it. In all my productions, I will keep tracking as open as I can, for as long as I can. I never understood the overdubbing productions, where the band writes songs, then you bring the drummer in, and afterwards you do all the bass tracks. To me, there’s no excitement and no spark. It’s not even craftsmanship; it’s just drudgery and going through the motions. The thing that excites me is when everyone starts playing and something comes out that excites everyone at that moment. You have to make sure not to lose that, and also to remember very clearly what their inspiration was, as well as what excited you about it. Then you have to be very delicate to make sure you can bring that out and don’t swamp or drown it. That happens very easily! The temptation with computers is to record something, and then put it in time afterwards or tune it. That’s not what excites me. It’s very much production by numbers, putting things in time and tune. That’s a last resort to me. I have to be forced to do that.

Sometimes, the actual sound of an instrument sparks an idea. When you get to it later on, with a different sound, the spark is gone.
Yeah, that’s very true. Strangely, once you’ve completed the song and you’ve managed to maintain the thing that was great about it, it’s much more robust. Then you can learn what it is about it that is great. But until it’s a complete thing, it’s a very delicate flame, and you have to be really careful to look after it. It’s easy to undermine. Because of that, I tend to work very fast. As soon as we’re excited about something we record, build it up, and focus what we love about it. We don’t worry about technical details, because that can all be sorted out later. We have a level of technical attainment we can rely on, which means anything we record will be useable and feasible. Unless something breaks, or a connection is faulty, just keep going!

You’re a songwriter, as well – how important is that perspective for producing records?
I think it’s important to be musical, and to understand how to put a song together. Writing a song is quite a different job that has nothing to do with producing. I’m not in production mode when I write a song. Trying to produce a song while you’re writing it can be very destructive. You can easily spend a lot of time overthinking subtleties that shouldn’t be subtleties yet. You have to reject that part, see what happens, and then cut things. The Nadine Shah album [Love Your Dum and Mad], I co-wrote with her and it took a lot of time to write. Then we had to go away from it and work out what the project was – what worked and what didn’t work. If I’d been in production mode, I would’ve made those decisions earlier, but I would have probably gotten them wrong at that stage!

When you got the call from Depeche Mode to produce Playing the Angel, were you surprised they chose you?
I was surprised. I hadn’t done any synth-heavy records. I knew [Mute label boss] Daniel Miller [Tape Op #110]. I had worked with him before, and he knew I was into synths. I’d done much rockier stuff before. I think the key element was that, as a producer, I’d basically always done live drum kits. Obviously Depeche Mode have very little live drums on their albums. But, as an engineer, I’d done an awful lot of program music, doing dance music for years, and Daniel Miller knew this.

What did they expect from you?
Basically they said, “We have these songs. Do you think we could make a good album out of them?” And there were some very good songs, so it was easy. There were certain challenges involved with working with them for the first time, and them being such an established band. But they were very easy to get on with. And Dave [Gahan] was beginning to write – he’d written an awful lot of songs, and he didn’t necessarily know which ones were suitable for the record. He gave me 15 to 16 songs and said, “You and Martin [Gore] choose which ones fit the album. Pick what you like.” That was very brave of him! It really helped Martin and I form a good relationship. Some of Martin’s songs were finished already, like “Precious.” As far as I was concerned, the demo was great. The drums weren’t, so we spent quite a lot of work on the drums, and we knuckled the vocals down. But sonically, the demo was really good. There were a lot of elements I wouldn’t have used – [such as the] quite modern Nord Lead synth, and an [Access] Virus virtual synth. He tweaked the sounds and programmed them. I said, “We don’t need to change that; it’s not broken. We need to get the grooves right, and we need to get the vocals right to fit in the right spaces.” A track like “Precious” is quite hard to sing, because it isn’t full on. It has to have a subtlety to it to make the lyrics work. We worked with Dave to get that right, and Dave is great at that.

The song deals with divorce and feeling guilty for a child – it has a fragile element to it.
Absolutely. That was very important. That was the key to the song. Making sure it didn’t become too strident – to stay quite personal instead. It needed to have a gentleness. With a song like “Precious” that was the aim; making it a band song rather than just a Martin song. The songs that Dave had written, that we really liked, were quite a long way, stylistically. So it was a question of reworking those songs and trying to improve them. Make the bits of them that we really liked be the bits that really shone out.

How did you establish trust for working on their songs?
Martin is quite precious about his songs, or at least he was at that stage with me, because we didn’t know each other yet. He used to be quite defensive about his songs, whereas Dave’s songs he hadn’t written. Dave was precious about his songs, too, so we had to make sure he was happy with our results. That was a really good exercise. It meant that later down the line, there was trust established to work in writing together. Martin had a tendency to never give you songs that weren’t finished. As a producer, this is a strange position to be in because there’s not that much room for maneuver. You don’t want to fully dismantle the songs because, as we talked about earlier, you might lose what’s great about it. On the other hand, being in on the creation of the song can be much more exciting – so you get a really special version of the song recorded.

You might create something bigger than the writer might have achieved alone?
Exactly. And that was the difficulty with Martin. The only song that he really let me do that with was “John the Revelator,” because he wrote it in the studio. He worked at the guitar part and had the idea in his head for the song. He played it to me. I went, “Great. Let’s do that now” and off we went. I kind of took him by surprise. [laughs] He was expecting me to say, “Go do the demo, and then we’ll do it!”

He couldn’t protect the idea any longer…
Exactly! [laughs] He let it out! That worked out really well. On the next album, Sounds of the Universe, we did a few songs like that. The song “Wrong” was very different from the demo. It was great having that growing relationship with him. We reached a point on the last album [Delta Machine], where there was full trust. [laughs] It is a very intimate thing to work on a song with somebody. When you write songs with people, it is very hit or miss as to whether or not the relationship will work. Friends of mine are great songwriters, and we say we’d love to write together, but it doesn’t work, even though we get on very well.

When Depeche Mode keyboardist and sound designer Alan Wilder quit in the mid ‘90s, they lost the guy who’d built their sonic landscapes. So now, basically every producer becomes a member of the band for this period. Did you create a sonic vision for Playing the Angel?
It was a bit of a reaction to the record they had done before. Exciter was very much in the programmed world, and very electronic. Everything was very specific, whereas I wanted to be getting something that wasn’t so digitally nipped and tucked – something that had a bit more of a rocky, bluesy element to it. I wanted the excitement of a performance. Very often, we’d record live performances of synths instead of programming them. Or we’d use lots of different sequencers and older drum machines, because I didn’t want it to sound like the software sequencer that we’d used. Say I was programming in Logic, for instance. Pretty much everything I’d program in Logic has the same feel, because the functioning in Logic pushes me in a direction. I wanted the opposite – music programmed on an Akai MPC drum machine, an ARP Sequencer, or something like that. I wanted to do it as I would with a band, where I’d have a drummer with a certain feel, and a bass player [that I] would work in a certain way with him. We’ve done that with all three records, but we changed ways of doing it. I wanted it to be a messier, bigger-sounding, more open record.

Their Sounds of the Universe DVD shows some studio performances. I noticed what great performers Dave Gahan and Martin Gore actually are.
They are fantastic performers! Dave as a singer, and Martin is an amazing musician. He’s got great feel. You could spend ages programming the sound, and it wouldn’t be right. Martin would play it, and it would be right straightaway! [laughs] At the time, we were doing Playing the Angel, I think they were at quite a low point. Dave was clean and Martin wasn’t. It really felt like they weren’t sure whether or not they were going to do any more records after that. Martin was kind of giving it his last go. A lot of the record involved getting through that. On the following tour, Martin gave up drinking, and he was a much happier chap. Now Martin and Dave are great friends again; probably better friends than they’ve ever been. Being a very successful rock musician creates a very strange setup of pressure. I think they’re comfortable now, and they were very graceful in the way they handle it. I think that it takes a while to learn that. Any band who, from a young age, has been told by lots of people that they are great is a recipe for disaster! [laughs] If you’re growing up and everyone out there says you’re brilliant, it does funny things to your head. There were points on that record where I really didn’t know if they were all going to stay in the same room. But they did! They chose to be professional about it when they needed to be, which is exactly the right thing to do. My approach to these things is to make it clear, “Look, we’re here to do a job. We want to do a job, and so should you.” All the other crap is exactly that – crap. It’s got nothing to do with making records. I tend to be very compartmentalized, in that way. “We are working on this record, and we’re making this record. Other things are of no consequence.”

Maybe they needed someone pointing this out?
Exactly, rather than to get involved in any band politics, which, through experience, I know is a stupid thing to do. They’ve known each other since they were kids; they went to school together. It’s like getting involved in family politics when you’re not in the family. You don’t know the depth of the feelings and how things run.

On Playing the Angel some vocal tracks were distorted.
For some tracks we wanted a real drive. As he’s getting older, Dave’s voice is getting a deeper growl to it, which wasn’t there on the earlier albums. That responded really well to distortion. Dave’s got a great rhythm in his delivery, and we were emphasizing that; making the songs heavier and the sounds darker. It was a question of making his voice step up to that. A bit of drive and distortion really did that, as we did with the drum and bass sounds.

Distortion on vocals is a double-edged sword. It gets more aggressive, but it also thins the sound out so the vocal delivery loses impact and depth.
Yes, you have to be very sensitive as to how you do it. I never use just the purely distorted vocal. I’ll always have the dry track blended in as well, which usually gives me the definition, the clarity, and the size of it.

What was the vocal chain on Delta Machine?
On Dave we mainly used a [Shure] SM7 with a LaChapell 992 mic pre, with either a Retro 176 or a [Urei] LA-3 compressor. He usually held the mic so he could perform in front of the speakers. He’d quite often use open back headphones, as well as speakers. That way I could keep the speaker level lower – less spill in the microphone! He’s such a master of live performance with a handheld mic that it seemed like the logical way to proceed. With Martin, we changed the setup for each track, for example: an AKG C12 or a Korby KAT47. For the track “The Child Inside” we recorded him in a tiled room. I blended a large diaphragm mic – the Korby, if I recall correctly – with a contact mic that was wrapped around his neck. The contact mic has this muffled, inside-your-head sound, and the room mic is really live and splashy. The idea was to make a disconcerting vocal sound!

Delta Machine was the third album you did with Depeche Mode. It seems they really like your way of working.
Yeah, I hope so! Well, I know what they don’t like – which is sitting in a room, looking at the back of somebody’s head who’s looking at a computer screen. That is really boring. I don’t like the creation process being a clinical thing, where we mess around with computers. My experience is that if you have good musicians, every minute you spend editing or quantizing is a waste of time, because you could get them to do it better. We did a lot of that on the last record, where we’d get to a certain stage of a song and I’d say, “You know what? We should start it again. It’s going well and it’s sounding interesting, but it hasn’t got the same spark in it that’s really exciting me. What we’ll do is we’ll do exactly the same song again from scratch, now that we know what it is.” It’s the same way with a guitar band; when we’ve got it finished but it’s not quite right, we’ll play it again. The result is better because you’ve learned so much about the song, and it’s a much more exciting experience. As soon as we felt like it was laboring, we’d stop and start again from scratch. We’d do it in the same key, at the same speed, so everything is interchangeable, and we’re not losing anything.

So, with the first try, you basically lay down the arrangement, and then you replay it with all the experiences you’ve had?
Either that, or we just say, “This is the thing that we really like about this song. Now we’re going to completely rework it and just keep that one thing.” That was the case with “My Little Universe,” from the last album. The demo was really infuriating, because it sounded like an unfinished song that had loads of potential, but we couldn’t get it to sound finished. We ended up in Santa Barbara on the last day of the session; the clock was ticking and we had 6 hours. I said, “We’ll do ‘…Universe.’ We’ll keep the vocal and the click track.” [laughs] Dave had done this brilliant vocal. “You have the next 45 minutes to pick a synth.” Martin had one, I turned up a drum machine, Christoffer [Berg], our programmer, and Ferg [Peterkin], our engineer, were doing other sequencer parts. They basically had a jam for about 45 minutes on this groove. I just sat back and let them try everything. Dave and I were listening to it, and I was taking notes. I took everything that they’d done, 1800 bars in Pro Tools. There were a couple of noises that they played just right, and there was a 2-bar section that I really loved. [laughs] I collected the bits I really liked, and edited the 2-bar-section around to get rid of anything I didn’t like. I built it all from that, with these noises they put in.

But that was some laboring then, instead of the “redo” idea…
I heard what was great and what was bad about it, and it sparked off things in my head. It was one of the things we talked about earlier, about following your inspirations and doing it quick. I was like, “Now that I’ve listened to it so closely, I know exactly what I want. These two bars are everything I need.” I was realizing what I was hearing in my head from what they’d done. Having done that, the result inspired Martin to do some extra parts and flesh out the structure of it.

Does it help to lay down a rule, so the constraints spark something?
You have to do that. Especially in a studio, where you have every option at your fingertips, it’s all about limiting the options. Otherwise you’ll get hopelessly lost.

Looking back, what was your most difficult project to date as a producer?
I did a record with a band called Clinic called Walking with Thee. It’s actually one of the records I’m the proudest of, in a lot of ways. They asked me to do the project, and it was very early in my career. When I walked into the studio, they gave me a booklet they had printed out, which had all the songs listed, as well as the exact arrangements of the songs, to the last bar, with the exact tempo and length. They had a list of all the instruments for each song.

Sounds like they already did the production themselves.
Well, they had a description of how all the instruments should sound. I was like, “Well, what do you want me to do?” They said, “You’re just gonna stop us from arguing!” [laughs] It was funny, because – as we were talking earlier about limitations – there were so many limitations on that project. Back then, I was thinking that this wasn’t going to be a creative experience for anybody, that it was just going to be recording things and saying, “Yes” or, “No.” Actually, it became a really creative experience, because I had such a limit to what I could do within the project. I could find ways to manifest myself. There were certain areas they weren’t that interested in, like drum sounds. The more outlandish the drums turned out, the more they liked it. The drum sounds on the record are fantastic! [laughs] I could do what I wanted there. Guitar sounds were very heavily policed. They had a really clear view of what they wanted of the guitar sounds. I was meant for the groove, and the drums, and the bass sounds. I was kind of allowed free reign, which meant I could really impart my vision for the songs. It was very much in the groove area, which was great! I really enjoyed doing that.

For the record Love Your Dum and Mad, by singer/songwriter Nadine Shah, piano and vocals were done in a big warehouse?
Yeah, we recorded all the piano parts in a big curtain superstore in Newcastle, which Nadine’s father owned. They’d just moved into a new warehouse, so it was empty when we got there, which was great. I put together a six-piece-band, and we recorded that in my studio in London. We had a PA set up in the room, and we bounced the sound within the room, and then we recorded the room. All the reverb on the album is natural – vocals and everything. I had microphones that were 100 meters away from the piano! When I started recording, my first experience was with classical music. They work on location all the time, so I’d turn up with a van full of equipment and set up a studio. I love doing that! I’ve got a portable 8-channel Neve desk. That’s got direct outs to [feed the computer]. It only works if you have musicians who can deal with it, specifically singers. I don’t know many other vocalists that could have cut that. Nadine’s vocal performance is of such a quality. When you’re dealing with that level of performance, it’s very easy – you can use the acoustics.

How did you come up with the idea of creating that landscape?
It was a desire to record it in a way that was using big acoustics. We really wanted it to not be a church; we wanted a colder, harder edge, like a warehouse. All the extra noises – the rattling, traffic noises – give it richness and texture. I amplified those in mixing, where I wanted them. In the song “Winter Reigns” there’s a massive rumbling. That is actually me taking off the low-end filter of the room mics and turning the bass up. That’s just the ambience! If you record in a clean way, you don’t have those things to play with. I find those sorts of things much more creative.
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #5 on: 10 September 2016 - 21:30:49 »
2016-07-29 - Sonic Seducer (Germany) - Legenden hinter Mauern

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30 Years Of Black Celebration: a compilation of exclusive Depeche Mode cover versions

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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #6 on: 18 October 2016 - 18:52:30 »
2016-10-18 - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - nominees for 2017

[Many websites reported on R&RHOF's nominees for next year, e.g. this site:]

The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees signal a major shift in the music industry
Paul Schrodt

Just as everything old is new again, in music, every trend eventually becomes uncool.

So it is with the announcement Tuesday morning of the nominees for the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (see below).
Name aside, the Rock Hall of Fame has long been a popularity contest with only a vague tie to genre (NWA was the fifth rap act to be inducted when it joined this year). And the nominees for 2017 suggest a decisive step forward for the Hall of Fame: It’s finally embracing electronic music.
Depeche Mode is nominated for the first time, though it’s not the first year the pioneering British synthpop band has been eligible. Kraftwerk is nominated again, but given the state of pop now, it feels as if the German electronic act – which essentially invented popular electronic music – may finally be due.
A full-fledged electronic act has never been inducted into the Hall of Fame, despite the presence of disco and hip-hop and artists like Prince and Madonna who owe a heavy debt to it. In some ways, that’s just timing. The Hall of Fame limits eligible acts to those that have been around for at least 25 years. But the lack of electronic artists also has to do with a certain wariness among industry professionals who vote. Kraftwerk dates back to the 1970s, while Nirvana was very young when it got inducted in 2014.
It’s very easy to connect the dots from Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode to trip-hop, dubstep, and the electronic music that suffuses nearly everything we listen to now. Depeche Mode was particularly pivotal in blurring the line between what we know as “synth” music and rock – processing guitars through giant, modular synths so it was hard to tell the difference between what was human-made and what was a computer, and perhaps more important, bringing the blues-based, brooding, masculine energy of ’60s and ’70s rock into the mix.
Depeche Mode was for a time the height of cool. But while I can attest singer Dave Gahan still shakes his butt onstage like a 20-something, he is now 54. And, critically from the point of view of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the band’s biggest singles like “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus” haven’t ever really faded from view. Against all odds, they’ve become classics.
When I saw Depeche Mode live in 2013, I noticed a dad in the arena who had brought his toddler, dressed in an official Depeche Mode T-shirt. The band that helped redefine rock in the ’80s and ’90s has literally become dad music.
Which is just another sign of how music is evolving. EDM as a popular trend has subsided from its early-2000s peak, and while electronic will never go away, the pop charts have drifted toward more traditional, less garish genres in the past few years.
There will be no clearer sign that electronic music is uncool than when it’s inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And it’s only a matter of time.

Here’s the full list of nominees for induction in the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
Bad Brains
The Cars
Chaka Khan
Depeche Mode
Electric Light Orchestra
J. Geils Band
Jane’s Addiction
Janet Jackson
Joan Baez
Joe Tex
Pearl Jam
Tupac Shakur
The Zombies
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #7 on: 21 October 2016 - 22:47:49 »
2016-10-21 - Les Inrocktupibles n°81 Hors-Série (France) - Fighting Spirit

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #8 on: 23 October 2016 - 22:26:05 »
2016-10-23 - Formel Eins TV (Germany) - Musik für die Massen

Depeche Mode: “101 Live” LP – Musik für die Massen
Text: Chris Hauke
Am 18. Juni 1988 spielen Depeche Mode im Rose Bowl in Pasadena den bis dahin größten und wichtigsten Gig ihrer Karriere. Mehr als 60.000 Zuschauer hieven die Karriere der Band an diesem Abend in Kalifornien auf das nächste Level. “101” ist das außergewöhnliche Dokument einer magischen Nacht unter freiem Himmel, das nun endlich auch wieder auf Vinyl erhältlich ist!
Nicht jeder hat den augenzwinkernden Humor von Depeche-Mastermind Martin Gore in der Vergangenheit richtig als solchen interpretiert. Den Titel für “Music For The Masses” aus dem Jahr 1987 entsinnt Gore in dem festen Glauben, dass der gefeierte Kult-Act aus Basildon mit seiner Musik niemals den Mainstream erobern wird. Ein Jahr später hat er sich als selbst erfüllende Prophezeiung erwiesen. Was ist geschehen? Auf “Music For The Masses” haben Depeche Mode ihrer dunklen Seite eine Prise Zugänglichkeit verpasst, die alte Fans nicht verprellt, aber auch für eine neue Hörerschaft attraktiv ist.

“Alle dachten, wir seien verückt”
Mit dem Album im Gepäck geht das Quartett auf die längste Tournee ihrer Geschichte. Zu den Highlights zählt dabei ein Auftritt in Ost-Berlin, doch den absoluten Höhepunkt hebt sich die Band für den Schluss auf – ihren ersten Gig in einem Stadion. Kalifornien ist eine Hochburg für Depeche Mode, doch dass eine Synthesizer-Band 60.000 Menschen in eine Football-Arena locken kann, glaubt nicht mal ihr eigenes Umfeld. Dave Gahan erinnert sich: “Alle dachten, wir seien verrückt – selbst die Leute, die für uns arbeiteten.” Doch die Band lässt sich nicht beirren, im Gegenteil, man plant groß. Der legendäre Dokumentarfilmer D. A. Pennebaker (u.a. Bob Dylan, David Bowie) wird engagiert, um den Abend für die Ewigkeit festzuhalten. Der mutige Schritt wird belohnt, der Kartenverkauf ist gigantisch.

Anfang einer neuen Ära
Doch irgendwann wird der Band klar, worauf sie sich eingelassen hat, und die Stimmung beginnt sich zu drehen. Vor dem Konzert gibt es massenhaft technische Schwierigkeiten mit Bühne und Verstärkeranlage, Dave droht seine Stimme zu verlieren und Martin wirkt beim Soundcheck merkwürdig abwesend. Die Nervosität steigt mit jeder Minute. Erst als der Opener “Pimpf” vom Band läuft, verwandelt sich die Anspannung in Euphorie.
Neben den schieren Dimensionen bleiben vor allem zwei Dinge bis heute in Erinnerung: Die lokalen Helfer können sich nicht daran erinnern, dass es im Juni je hier geregnet hat. Doch mitten im Refrain zu “Blasphemous Rumours”, in dem Dave von Gotts krankem Sinn für Humor fabuliert, öffnet sich der Himmel und ein Sturzregen prasselt auf Band und Publikum ein. Und dann ist da noch die Sache mit dem Weizenfeld: Im finalen Instrumentalpart von “Never Let Me Down Again” beginnt Dave – spontan, wie er bis heute betont – mit den Armen zu wedeln. Das gesamte Stadion macht es ihm nach. Gore & Co. stehen einigermaßen fassungslos auf der Bühne. Es ist der Beginn einer neuen Arä. Auch wenn Dave Gahan das anfangs ganz anders sieht: “Anschließend dachte ich, dass nun alles vorbei wäre. Es gab kein Ziel mehr. Was sollten wir als nächstes tun? Es war, als hätten wir unser Ziel erreicht.” Der Sänger irrt. 101 katapultiert Depeche Mode in eine neue Umlaufbahn. Ab diesem Moment spielt die Band tatsächlich Music For The Masses.

Das sensationelle Live-Erlebnis von 1989 jetzt wieder auf Vinyl:
1989 “101 – Live” / 2LP (180g)
(VÖ: 14.10.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Darauf haben Vinylfreunde unter den Depeche-Mode-Fans sehnsüchtig gewartet: “101 – Live” (180 g) ist nun endlich wieder auf Vinyl erhältlich. Das Ton-Dokument zum bis dato wichtigsten und größten Konzert der Bandgeschichte.

Weitere Vinyl-Rereleases von Depeche Mode:
Depeche Mode Speak And Spell Cover1981 “Speak & Spell” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 26.08.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Das poppige Debüt unter der Regie von Haupt-Songwriter Vince Clarke. Bis heute im Live-Programm: “Just Can’t Get Enough”, der erste Top-Ten-Hit der Band in England.

1982 “A Broken Frame” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 26.08.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Der schwere Zweitling. Nach Clarkes Ausstieg droht das Boot zu kentern. Martin Gore übernimmt den Job des Songlieferanten. Der Sound wird düsterer.

1983 “Construction Time Again” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 26.08.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Mit Neuzugang Alan Wilder machen Depeche Mode einen großen Schritt nach vorne. Gemischt wird das Album in Berlin. Der Beginn einer innigen Beziehung mit der Spree-Metropole.

1984 “Some Great Reward” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 26.08.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
“People Are People” avanciert zum bis dato größten Hit der Band. Die Nr. 1-Single krönt ein Album, das Depeche Mode als kraftvolle Innovatoren zeigt.

1986 “Black Celebration” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 14.10.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Statt sich dem Pop-Mainstream anzubiedern, gehen Depeche Mode in die entgegengesetzte Richtung und liefern das Gegenstück zum Reißbrett-Pop dieser Zeit.

1990 “Violator” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 14.10.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Das Meisterwerk. Bis heute das meistverkaufte Album der Band. Mit “Enjoy The Silence” und “Personal Jesus” enthält es zwei der populärsten Songs der Bandgeschichte.

1993 “Songs Of Faith And Devotion” / LP (180g)
(VÖ: 14.10.2016 remastered / Label: Legacy)
Der Alternative Rocker im Depeche-Mode-Kanon. Die Tour dazu bringt die Band an den Rand der Auflösung. Alan Wilder schmeißt danach das Handtuch.

2013 “Delta Machine” / 2LP (180g)
(VÖ: 22.03.2013 / Label: Sony)
Das 13. Album, das 2012 im kalifornischen Santa Barbara und in New York aufgenommen wurde, entstand unter der Regie von Produzent Ben Hillier und wurde von Flood gemischt. Das Album ist auch in einer Deluxe CD-Edition mit vier zusätzlichen Songs und einem 28-seitigen Hardcover-Buch mit Fotos ihres langjährigen künstlerischen Partners Anton Corbijn erhältlich.

Weitere remastered Vinyl-Editionen erwarten uns im Januar 2017. Zudem freuen wir uns schon auf die “Video Single Collection”, die am 18. November 2016 erscheint!
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #9 on: 11 December 2016 - 23:38:17 »
2016-12-08 - Aftonbladet (Sweden) - Depeche Mode about Kent

[Photo of the article posted by Magnus Dunberg in Facebook group Depeche Mode Sweden.]

Depeche Mode lyssnar på Kent! Nu sker det! Markus Larsson ser till att bandet som kanske har satt mer prägel på Kent än något annat äntligen får höra dem, och berätta vad de tycker.
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #10 on: 22 December 2016 - 01:51:53 »
2016-12-21 - Society Of Rock (US) - 5 Artists Who Were Utterly Snubbed From This Year’s Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame Class!

5 Artists Who Were Utterly Snubbed From This Year’s Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame Class!
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda…

Another year has passed, and the ballots are in for the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017. This year’s inductees include Yes, Journey, Pearl Jam, ELO and Tupac Shakur. Although each of the five nominees for this year’s class rightfully deserve the nomination, there are a few bands that were eligible that we just can’t seem to fathom why they were left out! So, here is our list of the five bands that were snubbed from induction this year!


4. Depeche Mode

Although they technically aren’t your traditional “classic rock” band, Depeche Mode were widely responsible for ushering in the new-wave alternative sound of the 1980’s. Their legacy has inspired modern day artists from numerous genres including electronic artists, pop artists, rock artists and even metal artists of today’s day in age! Some bands they have influenced have include Muse, The Gorillaz, Coldplay, The Killers, Arcade Fire, and Nine Inch Nails.

This was Depeche Mode’s first year of eligibility, so there is still so much time for them to make it in. We thought they would get the nomination the first year of eligibility, but the year was crowded with so many artists that waited too long, and were too good to leave out! There’s no doubt in our minds that Depeche Mode will be there one day, but just based on their influences and impact on a wide variety of genres, they could have definitely been inducted this year!
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Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2016: Other News
« Reply #11 on: 04 January 2017 - 19:53:27 »
2016-12-28 - Computer Music #239 (UK) - What's On Your Hard Drive?

[Taken from a website that uploads magazine PDF files illegally.]

What’s on your hard drive?
Depeche Mode’s main songwriter loves working with Logic, but he prefers using the real deal

“I’ll admit that I’m a creature of habit, and the main reason that I’m still using Logic is laziness. I’ve been using it for ages and any change would be too much of an upheaval. Is it better than all the others out there? That, I can’t answer; all I can say is that, having lived through the reel-to-reel years, the arrival of DAWs changed everything!”

“I’m a huge fan of the new Eurorack modular synths, and that’s where most of my ‘synth’ noises come from. There are a lot of them in the studio, and I need something that’s going to keep everything in time. This is the one piece of software I really couldn’t live without.”

“Obviously, when I first started making music, reverbs were all hardware, and over the years, I got used to that quality, hardware reverb sound. Recently though, software has started to catch up, and the 2C plugins are some of the best out there. These two work very well together and you end up with a ton of creative effects as well as seriously impressive reverbs.”

“The advantage of using modular – and vintage modular – synths is that you don’t need to mess around with the sound as much as soft synths. So, when I do add a plugin to my setup, it has to bring something to the table. The Q 2 is quick, but it’s also truthful… it does what it says it’s doing on the screen.”

“This might seem like a silly plugin to pick as one of my favourites, but there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to pull up something and being told it won’t run on your current system. That never happened with MIDI/CV. Mind you, it did take you three days to record one sequenced synth line!”
“Mind you, it did take you three days to record one sequenced synth line!”
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