Depeche Mode Television Archives Forum

Author Topic: 2013: Other News  (Read 9298 times)

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
2013: Other News
« on: 13 January 2013 - 05:03:15 »
This thread concerns DM-related news items which are not about Depeche Mode's current album and tour.

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #1 on: 13 January 2013 - 05:05:58 »
2013-01-11 - Documentary Evidence (UK) - Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode / The Posters Came From The Walls

Jeremy Deller & Nicholas Abrahams

Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode / The Posters Came From The Walls

film // Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode / The Posters Came From The Walls

mute film | film (directors: Jeremy Deller & Nicholas Abrahams) | 2007

'I love Martin's hair.' - a tweet posted during the live stream of Depeche Mode's tour announcement, Paris 23 October 2012

With a new Depeche Mode album and mega-tour just around the corner, and with fans evidently getting excited on social media sites like Twitter, it feels like an appropriate moment to write about Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller and director Nicholas Abrahams' film, Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode. The film, also known as The Posters Came From The Walls, was commissioned by Mute MD Daniel Miller and focusses its lens on the fans of the band, rather than acting as a strict biography of the group.

When I first saw clips of Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode on the BBC documentary about Deller in 2012, I was prepared to think of the film as ridiculing devoted fans of the band; people I've spoken to over the past year or so, generally hard-core followers of the band, have all told me that the film is universally disliked by most fans as it casually mocks what for many people is a huge obsession. Whilst there are a couple of segments that feel a little too devoted, such as German couple Claudia and Ronny dressing their young son in home-made costumes from Depeche Mode videos like 'Enjoy The Silence' or Muscovites Ruslan, Marta, Margo and Elena delivering awful versions of DM songs complete with home-made videos, Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode is in reality a very sympathetic and sensitive portrait that shows just how much a band can influence, help and shape peoples' lives.

Throughout interviews with fans in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Bucharest, California, New York, Berlin, Iran and Canada, Depeche Mode emerge as a band that appealed to people who just didn't fit in. Alex, a fan from Bucharest, explains that in the early Nineties the long-haired guys were into metal, the ugly guys were into folk, and the sensitive, clean-shaven, good-looking guys who wanted to know about the best clothes and fragrances were all into Depeche Mode; Orlando, a young fan from California dancing in the car park of the Pasadena Rose Bowl where the band played the 101 concert before he was even born, explains how Depeche Mode's music helped him through the darkest days of his teenage years, saying 'Martin Gore's lyrics speak for me'; a Russian pirate TV performance sees a fan grabbing the microphone and stating that 'it's music for the lonely'; celebrity fan and self-confessed outsider nerd Trent Reznor says that for him Depeche Mode played 'music for someone who felt like they didn't fit in'; Andy, an Iranian fan now living in Canada explains that if you were caught listening to, or dressing like, Depeche Mode in Iran you would be beaten by authorities, and that for many in Iran Depeche Mode represented an outlet from an oppressive society. Even Marta, with her dreadful but heartfelt singing over Depeche Mode's own songs, nails the message home when she says that the band's music helped her to find her friends.

If seeing obsessed Russian fans dressing like members of the band on 'Dave Day' - 9th May, Russia's Military Day and Dave Gahan's birthday - seems a bit too much, English fans will probably never appreciate how important Depeche Mode's music was to people whose democratic rights were managed entirely by the state. Albert, a hairy-backed melancholy chap with a huge tattoo of Gahan from his shoulders to his waist, explains that for many Russians, 'this new music coincided with the fall of the Soviet Union so I see it as having been the music of freedom.' For Alex, the well-groomed fan from Bucharest, Depeche Mode's music was synonymous with freedom, with Violator arriving just three months after the bloody fall of Ceaucescu and becoming the music of a generation of young people whose cultural exposures had been dictated to them before. A trio of East Berliners speak about the seismic impact Depeche had in the East when they played the Free German Youth Concert in 1988. In contrast, Peter Burton from Basildon explains that even now Depeche Mode aren't well known in the town they came from whilst offering a pretty colourless picture of the Essex new town back in the late Seventies.

Taking the 'back home they just don't get it' notion frequently attached to Depeche Mode one major step forward, the emphatic Francisca explains that Martin Gore's lyrics have a natural sense of tragedy and despair, something that she feels is central to Russian fans' adoption of the band. She then goes on to brusquely tell the translator that English fans couldn't understand or appreciate the lyrics in the same way as a Russian could. I perhaps don't fully appreciate what she describes as the 'transcendent nature' of the Russian psyche, but I've read enough translations of Chekhov, Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn in my time to see more or less where she's coming from.

One of the most powerful stories comes from Mark, filmed at Hammersmith Bridge, under which he would sleep as a homeless resident of London. Mark's story perhaps punctures a large hole in Francisca's logic about English fans - here is an individual who spent most of his homeless years listening to 101, scraping together enough cash to buy a ticket to see one of the band's watershed concert at Crystal Palace on the Songs Of Faith And Devotion tour and drawing so much inspiration from the powerful feeling of togetherness that he experienced at the show to get himself off the streets.

Two things aren't featured in the film - first and foremost, the band themselves. They're clearly a current that runs through the documentary, their music runs through the film throughout and their images are plain as day on posters, t-shirts, sketches and all manner of personal tributes in the bedrooms of the profiled fans, but there's no interview footage here. Their absence makes the enthusiasm of the fans all the more powerful in many senses. The other thing that's missing are the fans who collect each and every format of every record the band have released, from every country they're released in. By focussing on the impact of Depeche's live shows, it highlights the powerful way that concerts - or even fans dancing to concert footage in nightclubs - can bring people together, reminding me of something I once heard about fans being more interested in going to Depeche concerts to sing along rather than hear the band play.

Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode has never been officially released, though it is screened occasionally. The precise reason why Mute have never issued it remains something of a mystery to Deller and Abrahams, though I have heard a rumour that despite the band liking it, there was some pressure behind the scenes to prevent it from being released. The pair even compiled a whole series of extra interviews with artists who were influenced by Depeche Mode, including techno pioneers Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, the idea being that these would appear as bonus features on a DVD release. It remains a real shame, almost a tragedy of Russian proportions, that such a vivid and affectionate overview of what this band means to many people won't get seen or appreciated by more fans, many of whom will find reflections of their own reasons for being attracted to the band mirrored in the stories here.

Thanks to Jeremy and Nick for the DVD copy of the film for this review.

(c) 2013 MJA Smith / Documentary Evidence

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #2 on: 30 January 2013 - 22:48:09 »
2013-01-30 - Telegraph (UK) - Kraftwerk: the most influential group in pop history?

Kraftwerk: the most influential group in pop history?
Neil McCormick looks at the legacy of the electro-pop pioneers Kraftwerk ahead of their series of gigs at Tate Modern next week.


“For anyone of our generation involved in electronic music, Kraftwerk were the godfathers,” says Martin Gore of Depeche Mode. “Radio-Activity in 1975, Trans-Europe Express in 1977, The Man-Machine in 1978: they still sound modern today. The electronic scene blew up after those pivotal albums. There were a lot of punks who kind of moved into a futurist scene, looking for ways to take music beyond the confines of the rock genre.” The list of artists who cite Kraftwerk as an influence is a veritable who’s who of 1980s synth pop: the Human League, Ultravox, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys.


Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #3 on: 04 March 2013 - 01:06:03 »
2013-03-04 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Thomas Fehlmann recalls his Depeche Moment

Thomas Fehlmann recalls his Depeche Moment
Monday, March 04, 2013 in Recommendations by Thomas Fehlmann about Depeche Mode

I first met Depeche Mode in 1981, when they’d just released the first or second single. Daniel Miller [founder of Mute Records] had invited the band I was in at the time, Palais Schaumburg, over to England to play the Mute Night, Silent Night at the Lyceum. The headliner was Fad Gadget; we played first, then Boyd Rice did a contribution over the phone from America—which I think went over the heads of the audience because it was just some static noise and some noise noise—then Depeche Mode, then Frank [Tovey, Fad Gadget]. It was the same day that Computer World by Kraftwerk was released and we all had the record under our arms, keen to get it on the turntable. Obviously, meeting Depeche Mode at this point in their career felt like a normal thing, there was nothing spectacular to be thought of it; you couldn’t predict the kind of obverse curve they would take with their music, their career—not in the slightest.

This was the first time that I heard their music too, and I wasn’t even super hot on it; these were the first singles which were super electro-pop. But because of Daniel, we certainly had an open mind—we felt that he had something to contribute to the world of music. And we were very pleased that he asked us to go over, it was our first gig in England, and therefore a happy meeting—but as I said it wasn’t really something dramatic. Later we got to know each other, introduced ourselves. They invited us to come to the studio when they were recording their first album, and vice versa. I remember once Martin [Gore] and Alan [Wilder] came to my recording session, they were already at a whole different level at that time. the friendly contact has remained intact to this day.

It’s beyond imagination in a way how big they became. I remember when they first came to Hamburg and played at the Markthalle and it was alright: not empty or anything, but it wasn’t like they were the new hot shit either. It was really something we saw develop. What I’m really impressed by is that they have this continuity and still this urge to do something, for whatever reason, they certainly haven’t blanded out. Whether the new work has the same quality as earlier albums is not for me to decide; what is important is that they have this urge, the aim to be better than the rest. I feel that’s what good artists are about, always feeling the energy and the need to carry on, express yourself anew.

When I go to a Depeche Mode show these days, it’s far more emotional for me to see the audience than the band. The audience is so in awe, it’s totally like they are in love with them. This is something that I’ve rarely seen with other bands, especially over a long period of time. Now the fans bring their kids along and they’re into it, too. It has a strange way of touching people and everyone thinks it’s their own personal discovery—but they don’t mind if they see another 50,000 people there enjoying it. They still think, “It’s mine.”~

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #4 on: 08 March 2013 - 23:05:48 »
2013-03-06 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - The Ten Best Depeche Mode Remixes

The Ten Best Depeche Mode Remixes
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 in Recommendations by Louise Brailey about Depeche Mode

From their earliest days, Depeche Mode have understood the transcendent power of a good remix. At the beginning of their career, the form presented an opportunity to open up their sound to DJs, converting their chart-friendly synth pop into dancefloor tender. Throughout the years however, these interpretations became more creative and experimental, with remixes commissioned from a disparate range of underground artists as much as established names, reaching the point where they effectively function as a barometer of current tastes within electronic music. Need proof? “Heaven” features reinterpretations by Matthew Dear, Thomas Fehlmann, and Blawan. Oh, and they’ve spawned two dedicated remix albums.

We rifled through the swathes of Depeche Mode remixes out there (trust us, there’s a lot) to pick our ten favorites, so you don’t have to. It’s deconstruction time again.

“Suffer Well” (M83 Remix)
2005′s Playing the Angel threw up a number of reworkings by well-regarded underground acts at the time, including the Robag Wruhme (see below) and M83, who were flush with accolades from their Before the Dawn Heals Us LP. The original track is taken in a new direction with washes of sci-fi synthesizer and Anthony Gonzalez’s otherworldly falsetto.

“Useless” (The Kruder & Dorfmeister Session)
The Austrian downtempo pioneers smooth the edges off this Ultra cut, turning it into piece of medicated, heavy-lidded pop ideal for soundtracking the bumpiest of comedowns. Spoiler: features predominant wah-wah pedal.

“Lillian” (Robag Wruhme Slomoschen Kikker)
Germany’s meister of glitch and erstwhile Wighnomy Brother decompresses the midrange chug of the original with his characteristic insectoid percussion, gentle guitar picking, and pastoral synth.

“Master and Servant” (An ON-U Sound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic)
Adrian Sherwood flexes his well-defined industrial dub muscle for this distorted take on the band’s eleventh UK single “Master and Servent” from 1984. Sherwood would later refine—if that’s the right word—this abrasive, metal-on-metal style with work for Ministry, KMFDM, and Nine Inch Nails.

“World in My Eyes” (Daniel Miller Mix)
This was the final release from the king-making Violator, and adding some spit and polish to the band’s crown is Daniel Miller. The Mute boss and regular DM co-producer adds a different synth sound and some subtle alterations—it’s more a case of careful tailoring than obvious repurposing.

“Dream On” (Dave Clarke Acoustic Version)
The first Exciter is given an acoustic makeover from idiosyncratic techno bod Dave Clarke, earning a place on our list for the sheer unexpectedness.

“Painkiller” (Kill The Pain Depeche Mode vs DJ Shadow)
Guitar scree, boom bap, and snatches of blues samples contribute to DJ Shadow‘s impressionist take on “Barrel of a Gun” B-side “Painkiller”. The anomalous original is an instrumental featuring kettle drums and cruddy electronics. DJ Shadow takes those foundations and stretches them until breaking point.

“Something To Do” (Black Strobe Remix)
Construction Time Again is, arguably, one of the greatest early Depeche Mode albums. The record takes Einstürzende Neubauten‘s heavy duty industrialism and renders it chart-friendly, thus pulling off an audacious act of pop nous. Here noughties French producers Black Strobe preserve the urgency of “Something to Do”‘s refrain and whack a boisterous electrohouse beat under it. What did you expect?

“Halo” (Goldfrapp Remix)
Forget “Enjoy the Silence”—opener ”Halo” is the real star of Violator. Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp strip the bombast out of the song revealing the vulnerability at its core. Dave Gahan’s resonant baritone feels naked against a backdrop of harp, Alison Goldfrapp’s fragile, breathy version of the chorus, and the closing drifts of her soprano voice.

“Behind the Wheel” (Vince Clarke Remix)
In a pleasing, if circuitous, act, original Depeche Mode member Vince Clark finally got round to remixing one of their tracks in 2011. The Music for the Masses single “Behind the Wheel”. This reworking showcases his affinity with driving, muscular techno (which was actualized conclusively in his VCMG project with, yup, Martin Gore).

2013-03-06 - The Guardian (UK) - DM Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus interview


MD: Do you have a favourite among your films?
Hegedus: At the moment, Penny's is our Depeche Mode film [which follows a group of fans who have won a competition to meet the band at the Rose Bowl in LA].
Pennebaker: It depends on your mood, but there's something about Depeche Mode. You know the thing that Picasso's always talking about: he wished he could be 12 again, and draw the way he used to without trying to have it be anything? The Depeche Mode film is kind of like that. I look on it as the film that made itself, somehow. It's very simple, it's not saying anything – it's just being.
And they were free souls, which you don't run into too often. I'd decided I wanted to make a film that was like The Wizard of Oz, a big Hollywood type film, so we lavished all this care on it. I don't know – why did we want it that way, Chris?
Hegedus: I didn't necessarily want it that way at all!

MD: Did you approach the band or did they approach you?
Hegedus: They approached us. They weren't really familiar to me, and to be honest every song sounded the same at the beginning. Now, they all sound so unique I can't believe I even thought that. But what was interesting was that they were a band who wanted to go their own path. They didn't want to idolise the music of the 1960s or their parents' music, they wanted to find something really new – and I think they did.
Then there was the type of fans they had. When I was younger, in the 1960s, everybody was very individual and wanting to be in their own space. But the whole thing with Depeche Mode was you had this costume.
Pennebaker: I loved the way the fans mooned Elvis Presley's house. When the whole idea of going there came up, the girls all said: 'Boring!' I thought: Ah, this is new land we've struck here.


Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #5 on: 09 March 2013 - 02:47:22 »
2013-03-08 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Gudrun Gut recalls her Depeche Moment

Gudrun Gut recalls her Depeche Moment
Friday, March 08, 2013 in Recommendations by Gudrun Gut about Depeche Mode

We were connected to Mute somehow—maybe because of Beate Bartel and with Malaria!, as well—we played with The Birthday Party and because of Neubauten; they were all signed to Mute. We weren’t, but we were still hanging out with Daniel [Miller], and Depeche Mode recorded their album here. West Berlin was pretty much an underground family situation between musicians. They were going to the bars and you saw them around.

For me, in those days, Depeche Mode were much too poppy for my appreciation—we were underground and they were pop—but they were part of the Mute family. In the 80s, the underground attitude was pretty arrogant. We were doing the good stuff, the ‘real’ stuff, and they were just doing pop music, you know it was a bit like that. I think the first time I actually listened to a Depeche Mode album was Violator, when I was on holiday with Beate in Ibiza and I forgot to bring my tapes. It was a CD, I think, and that was the only CD we had there. I listened to it over and over and I thought, “Wow, this is pretty cool, this is really good pop music,” and I liked the lyrics, too. I started really appreciating it. And then we just always went to the concerts and met them.

More like the end of the ’80s, I became friends with Martin [Gore]. After the gigs, we always were hanging out and he was always really interested in underground music, what was happening in Berlin. So, I showed him the clubs and record shops etc; he was great fun to hang around with. We had the best aftershow parties; my friends, his friends—it’s a kind of Depeche Mode gang. We were singing songs together and talking about music and things. And I did support DJ for his second solo album tour in Germany; I thought that was nice. We just got on—nothing else.

One story: There was this strange place, it was called the Kurfürstlicher Reitstall at Kurfuerstendamm. It was kind of for hookers, but not a brothel, but some were working there as ‘test girls’. When DM were in town, we occupied the place for our party because nobody came there anyhow. It was mostly empty. There was a big gang of people; we bought some liquor and just had our little Depeche Mode party there with the band and their friends. Martin, in those days, he liked to be undressed, so he sat there at the bar with just a hat on! [laughs] It was so cool! And he wanted us to undress, but nobody did. Or maybe Gareth Jones? No, I cant remember. Anyway, Martin did it and it was so natural! Everybody just partied; Marketa did a little Madonna playback show, everybody did something crazy. It was really fun. Its seems really far away now.

What I really like about them is that they are always open to what’s going on in the world, and I don’t mean the news. They care. I know Martin does; I gave him some Monika records and he really appreciates it, and he always wants to know what’s going on. He likes living culture, the underground, whatever’s happening. He doesn’t like all the same stuff as I do, but he wants to know. And I think you can see in the whole development of this band, they were always true to themselves, so they question everything. They are a pop act, they know that they are pop, but they try to be real in that. And they have the biggest hardcore fans; they grow with them. When you see a concert from Depeche Mode in Berlin, it’s really fun. Everybody sings the songs. They really mean something for the people. It’s touching and very special, I think.~

Gudrun Gut runs the Monika Enterprise label; is a founding member of Malaria!, Mania D, and Matador, as well as a solo artist; an original member of Einstürzende Neubauten and has been a lynchpin of experimental music in Berlin for more than 30 years. Title image by Mara von Kummer.

2013-03-11 - Nick Cave - New Nick Cave Spotify App

Nick Cave has launched a groundbreaking Spotify artist app, navigating his four decade career

With 20 albums and numerous soundtracks to his name and a career spanning four decades, Nick Cave is a true artist and a prolific songwriter. In the brand new Nick Cave artist app, Nick himself has painstakingly categorised each and every one of his songs personally. The app draws from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Grinderman, The Birthday Party catalogues and more, and also encompasses his soundtrack works.  Rather than browsing by standard methods, the app allows a Spotify listener to explore the songs through their dominating moods as defined by Nick: Sex, Comic, Heart Break, Blasphemy, Confessional, Murder and Mayhem, Classic, Love, Spiritual and Super Dark. If your just discovering Nick Cave for the first time you have a guided tour of Nick’s musical career, whilst avid fans can get a brand new insight into the music.
The app also features a selection of playlists hand-picked by artists or famous fans that have worked with, or been inspired by the music of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, The Birthday Party and more. These playlists show what Nick Cave means to them as an artist, and there is also a place for fans to contribute their own personal ‘Nick Cave Inspired’ playlist. Artists and famous fan playlists include Lou Reed, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Devendra Banhardt, Flea, Shane MacGowan, Jarvis Cocker, Keaton Henson, Cate Blanchett, Mary Anne Hobbs and more, including many more playlists to be added in the coming months.
Leading with Push The Sky Away, the app takes you right back to the early albums of The Birthday Party, with the discography section presenting an exhaustive collection of the albums and soundtracks Nick Cave has produced throughout his career across many collaborators.
Check out the Nick Cave app:

Dave Gahan's Nick Cave
Dave's playlist: Spiritual and Murder & Mayhem
Dave's Push The Night Away track would be: Push The Sky Away

Hiding All Away
There She Goes, My Beautiful World
Babe, You Turn Me On
Babe, I'm on Fire
The Mercy Seat
The Rider Song
Get It On
When My Love Comes Down

Martin Gore's Nick Cave
Martin's Playlist: Spiritual and Classic
Martin's Push The Night Away track would be: Jubilee Street

Black Crow King
Mutiny in Heaven
Red Right Hand
From Her to Eternity
The Mercy Seat
Jubilee Street
Lay Me Low
The Weeping Song

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #6 on: 14 March 2013 - 03:59:17 »
2013-03-14 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Justus Köhncke recalls his Depeche Moment

Justus Köhncke recalls his Depeche Moment
Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Recommendations by Justus Koehncke about Depeche Mode

Justus Köhncke is a DJ and techno producer based in Cologne. Heavily influenced by disco, he releases music—including several albums—through the Cologne label Kompakt. Köhncke was also featured in the recent Winter issue of Electronic Beats Magazine in conversation with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor.

When Depeche Mode started out in 1981 with their debut Speak and Spell, I was just 15 years old. Me and my friends certainly liked the record and it remains a strong pop record to this day, but still we always made the joke, “Des is e deppisch’ Mood” which means something like “this is a stupid fashion” in German Mittelhessen slang. To explain: when Depeche Mode showed up it seemed like Daniel Miller had found some puppets in order to give the sound of the Silicon Teens a boy group face. However, history has proved us so wrong and I’ve been following them ever since—the band’s early material and the work of Vince Clarke has very much influenced my own work. Nowadays they are an entity for and of themselves, they made it to an eternal, ethereal state the moment they stopped reflecting what’s going on around them; it’s kind of hermetic in a way. They’re more a phenomenon than a band because they are so enduring—a bit like The Rolling Stones. Of course, the new single is called “Heaven”—they were always so wesentlich.

Switch from ‘81 to 2009, and I had the unexpected honor of being asked to do a remix for a new Depeche Mode single, which was Martin Gore’s idea. Martin’s very much into music—he once showed up at the Kompakt record store in Cologne. I was thrilled to be asked to do this and was given the tracks to work on. It was funny because this entailed the strictest non-disclosure agreement ever, the sort where you go to jail if the thing leaks. Also, everything went under a codename so the words “Depeche Mode” never showed up in the email exchanges. The codename was “Moulinex”—which I loved! What I really noticed in my role of remixer was their immense power of songwriting; I was given this single “Peace”—wesentlich, again—and while I liked it I really couldn’t relate to it, I was like, “What am I going to do with this?” It was dark and ultra fast, almost drum’n’bass or dubstep BPMs, so around the 150 mark. My working temperature is more disco house with 125 bpm being my maximum. This meant I had to take the vocals and slow them radically down to 124 BPM and, if I’m being honest, I didn’t expect it to work. However, somehow the song still functioned, I hadn’t demolished it, and best of all it didn’t sound artificial at all. For me that in itself speaks for the strength of the songwriting, and perhaps this is down to the fact that Martin Gore writes the songs on the guitar first before translating them to electronic equipment. In many ways, when Johnny Cash covered “Personal Jesus” it was a return to its original form.

Dave Gahan and Martin Gore are the match that make Depeche Mode, obviously because they’re very different characters. I went to a concert they played in Cologne when “Personal Jesus” was the big hit and was lucky enough to end up at the afterparty—plus it was Martin Gore’s birthday so it was very much a memorable night. Dave Gahan lived up to his legend that night, he was jumping on a taxi, demolishing it, throwing TV out the hotel window cliche kind of thing. The vocal tracks I got from “Moulinex” also offered proof of this dynamic from a technical standpoint. The lead singer of course was Dave and while he’s a very good and intense vocalist the track was technically very rough and dirty, with lots of leakage from headphones.The backing vocals by Martin Gore, on the other hand were pristine; you could listen to them all by themselves—pure symphony! I think that’s how the pair are, behind the scenes.

The rare occasions I get remix material from artists I really adore I always get the goosebumps, the only other occasion where I got the big goosebumps was when I got hold of the 24 tracks of Human League’s “The Things the Dreams Are Made Of”. Yes, from a technological point of view Depeche Mode have a complete sound world, but it all comes back to great songwriting. What makes great songwriting? You never can tell, but the fact that you could do so much to the parameters of a song and the essence remain the same, that’s shows you’re doing something right. I recently met Green Gartside and while Scritti Politti were known for their pastiche and sound design, Green wouldn’t even go to the studio unless he was convinced a song is perfect on a guitar and I sense Martin Gore is the same. This is what I envy because I can’t do that… I can’t even play guitar.~

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #7 on: 21 March 2013 - 20:38:48 »
2013-03-21 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Carsten Nicolai recalls his Depeche Moment

Carsten Nicolai recalls his Depeche Moment
Thursday, March 21, 2013 in Recommendations by Carsten Nicolai about Depeche Mode

Carsten Nicolai is a musician, designer and artist based in Berlin who is perhaps best known for his work produced under the alva noto guise. In the ’90s he founded the experimental label Raster-Noton alongside Olaf Bender (Byetone) and Frank Bretschneider. You can watch an interview with Nicolai taken from Slices issue 4-09 at the bottom of the page.


I bought my very first Depeche Mode record in Budapest, I believe it was A Broken Frame. From what I know, Depeche Mode had a very strong following in East Germany—and in Hungary as well. Still, buying a record in Hungary at that time was very expensive, by comparison, in today’s money it would have been around 150 euros. I remember I had enough money at the time to either spend another week there or buy the record, so I made my choice.

I’ve thought about what it was that made people react so strongly to Depeche Mode, what gave them such a loyal following. Of course, there were many other bands at the time making good music too; even when I bought that record in Hungary, I was thinking that I might purchase a Public Image Ltd record instead. I think what made Depeche Mode stand out was this element of the post-punk sound, but also a pop appeal—electronic and very clean. The music felt well designed and possessed a sense of control, from the covers to the outfits. Yes, they were a little bit artificial, not as much as Kraftwerk perhaps but there was a definite boy band aspect. What’s more they were very young, their following was very young, and I think this was one of the keys to their success: that they defined a generation dedicated to their youth, and to the experiencing of this youth.

When the band became popular there was this feeling that something new was arriving. Socialism started fading, and everyone was very hungry for fresh ideas from outside the system. In a strange way, Depeche Mode represented Western culture for us Eastern Germans. We were very interested in existential bands, because we had a lot of existential pressure in our society—there was always very heavy life topics being discussed. From a West German’s point of view you would say that we were quite ‘underground oriented’, Einstürzende Neubauten for example were very popular, but Depeche Mode was not underground for us. They were something new, a band with very stylish punk outfits, kind of existentialist with their black clothes. Their music was pop mixed with electronic with industrial elements, flirting with punk without actually being punk. I think this kind of pop was somewhat an expression of a new society. Admittedly I dropped out of listening to Depeche quite early, I think around the time “People Are People” was released. They’d just become so big in the East that I stopped and I sold all my records—I’m that kind of listener, I never want to feel like I’m following a trend. But when Exciter came out, I started listening again simply because it was produced by Mark Bell, and I realized that I still loved the way they write and perform songs.

The first time I came across Depeche Mode in a close way was when Daniel Miller of Mute and Raster-Noton were curating London’s Short Circuit festival in 2011. I met him at Heathrow Airport, and he wanted to build a bridge together, to make something symbolic. We proposed to collect many different samples from my label Raster-Noton and from Mute and create an ambient, super-long set, which we’d play in between the sets throughout the night—like a sound-halo, something that fills the space even if its early and nobody has shown up yet. A lot of Mute artists delivered, and Martin Gore was one who sent over stuff as well which surprised me—that he still feels so close to the history of the label. He was at the event as well, he and Vince Clarke, and I met them for the first time. When you meet someone in that circumstance you just see them as a person, you don’t have this star posturing or attitude. Of course, I know who Martin is and he has this history, but the moment you talk to someone you forget about all that. You’re just standing backstage, having a drink and chatting, enjoying this moment of destiny.~

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #8 on: 25 March 2013 - 03:49:54 »
2013-03-25 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Daniel Miller’s Depeche Moment

Daniel Miller’s Depeche Moment
Monday, March 25, 2013 in Recommendations by Daniel Miller about Depeche Mode

Daniel Miller is the founder and chairman of Mute Records, who released all of Depeche Mode‘s albums with the exception of the new one, Delta Machine. Mute started with Miller’s own project The Normal, famous for their 1978 song “Warm Leatherette”, and also released his concept synth-pop project Silicon Teens. Miller released Depeche Mode’s first single in 1981, co-produced their first five albums, and continues to act as a sounding board for their albums to this day, making his relationship with the band their most enduring. Photo of Daniel Miller by Luci Lux.


I first saw Depeche Mode play live when they were supporting another band on Mute, Fad Gadget, at a pub in the East End of London called The Bridge House in Canning Town, roughly October 1980. I thought they were amazing. It was one of those moments when you can’t quite believe what you’re hearing or seeing. It was just three kids, really—two of them were 18, Dave was 17, and Vince was 19. They had these kind of New Romantic clothes and dodgy haircuts. And they had three simple, monophonic synthesizers teetering on the edge of beer crates. Dave had a little uplight thing to make him look gothic or spooky or something. They had a little drum machine to do the rhythms, and Dave just stood completely still throughout the whole concert. I can’t remember which song they played first; I thought, “This is amazing, but they probably just played their best song first and the rest is going to be not very good,” but it just got better and better. They were great pop songs. They were really well structured and really well arranged, based on just a drum machine and three monophonic synthesizers. The melodies, the counter-melodies to the vocals were great. It was kind of perfect, almost. Perfect in my head for what I wanted.

So, afterwards, I went backstage and said, “When are you playing again, I’d love to see you again.” They were playing The Bridge House following week supporting somebody else, so I went back to see them. I said, “It’d be great to do something together, I’d love to put out a single.” They basically said, “Okay.” I just said, “We’ll do a one-off single and see how it goes.”

Soon after we agreed to put one single out, their profile just grew very quickly. They were from Basildon, which is outside of London. They’d done a couple of small gigs. Canning Town is in London, but it’s not anywhere that journalists go, particularly. They played one show upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s, which is the West End. But very quickly after we spoke and agreed to do the single, the press started to catch on. So, there were a couple of supporters at Sounds and NME and places like that. Then they played more shows in London, and very quickly it was apparent that they were getting a big following, and then the majors started to show a lot of interest. But the band said, “Well, we’re going to do this one single with Daniel, and see how it goes.”

I went to have meetings with them and these major labels, to a certain extent because I thought they might be able to offer something that I couldn’t. I didn’t have any money, really, and I didn’t have a great international structure. But what I did have was a real understanding of what they were doing. I wasn’t just jumping on some bandwagon; I think they recognized that. And they knew the history of the label, which was quite short at that time, but still had a history. They could see that we saw eye to eye, they knew that I understood what they were trying to do; rather than, “Oh, this band looks hot, let’s try to sign them.” They were heavily pursued by other labels for a short time. You know what it’s like—at a certain point everybody’s interested. I think the band just said, “Woah, hang on. Let’s just see how it goes with Mute.” And we did the first single, which was “Dreaming Of Me” and it did quite well, went into the lower end of the chart. So we said, “We’ll do another one,” so we did “New Life” and that went to number 12 in the UK charts, sold about 500,000 copies, and was on all over the radio. It gave me the power to help set up a structure outside of the UK, and we were off and running.

I can’t remember if they asked me to go to the meetings? I don’t really know. We became close quite quickly because we went into the studio almost immediately. I took over their live sound in the beginning. I was their driver. There was one other Mute employee at the time, and she also drove them around a lot to the gigs. So, between us, we were essentially managing them, I suppose, up to a point. Stevo [Pearce], who ran Some Bizarre, put together the Some Bizarre Album, and he asked if we could put a track on there. So we recorded the original version of “Photographic” to put on that album. Even though Fletch and Martin were working and they all lived outside London, we started to work together quite a lot.

They knew about the single I made ["Warm Leatherette"], and my Silicon Teens project as well. I think that was one of the things they really liked about Mute—that it was electronic, but there was a poppy element to it. And I helped them in the studio, I kind of co-produced. I wasn’t a producer, really. I’d hardly spent any time in the studio, but I knew a bit more than them. I knew a bit more about synthesizers than them, so I was able to help them get the sounds they wanted and stuff like that.

They became successful quickly—within the first year, they’d already become quite a successful band. They got more people around them; they didn’t have a manager, but they had an accountant, a lawyer, an agent, and I was the head of the record company. I worked on the first album with them, I was their sound guy pretty much for the first album, as far as I remember. I co-produced the next four albums with them and later on with Gareth Jones. I stopped doing their live sound, obviously because I couldn’t carry on touring all the time, and I had my limits as a live sound engineer, but I was better than the ones they’d had before.

When I look back on it, I can’t quite believe it. We did five albums in five years, from 1981 through to ’86. I was in the studio with them for pretty much that entire time. And when I wasn’t in the studio, I was putting the records out. The last album which we did together, Black Celebration, was quite hard for all of us. After that, we all thought, “Let’s get somebody else.” I’d run out of steam in the studio with them, and it was time to get somebody else for them to work with.

Right up until this album—obviously the last couple of albums were Mute/EMI, but essentially on Mute—I’ve had a sort of A&R role. What that means is that I don’t spend all the time in the studio, but I’m there in the beginning when we listen to the songs, when we decide on the direction, the kind of thing we’re looking for, the producer. Then they get on with it, I go in from time to time and have a listen and make comments and so forth. And between sessions, I sit with the producer and go through tracks. So, I’m involved with the record, but I’m not producing it, certainly. I suppose my job is to try and keep it on track.

With Delta Machine, very specifically, we had a really clear idea of how it should sound right from the demos. I think part of my job was to keep that concept on track. People get lost in the studio sometimes. I don’t know what you call it, just putting my oar in. They can take or leave my comments, but that’s it, really.

I knew that they could reach beyond the subculture I was involved in because it was already different. They were pop. It was leftfield in the sense that they were electronic, but basically the songs and the presentation were quite pop. And you could feel the time was changing in the UK anyway about perceptions of what pop music was and what it could be. This was just after punk, really, and everything was changing. People were extremely open. ’78-’82 was an incredible time in the UK in music, because people were just like sponges for new ideas. And I think people like Depeche and Human League and New Order and Soft Cell, OMD—who were all part of a similar generation—these were leftfield, underground bands who all of the sudden found themselves in the charts. So Depeche Mode fitted in with that very much. I could see that potential.~

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #9 on: 27 March 2013 - 02:59:37 »
2013-03-27 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Daniel Miller contemplates the Depeche Mode catalogue

“It’s almost too personal”: Daniel Miller contemplates the Depeche Mode catalogue
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Recommendations by Daniel Miller about Depeche Mode

Daniel Miller is the founder and chairman of Mute Records, who released all of Depeche Mode’s albums with the exception of the new one, Delta Machine. Miller released Depeche Mode’s first single in 1981, co-produced their first five albums, and continues to act as a sounding board for their albums to this day, making his relationship with the band their most enduring—which is why he is often referred to as their invisible member. In his own words, he contemplates all 13 of their albums, offering key insights and anecdotes along the way. Photo of Daniel Miller by Erika Wall.

Speak & Spell (1981)

It was the first time we’d spent a lot of time in the studio together, and that’s when I really started to appreciate the depth of their talent—when I saw how they were putting the tracks together. At the time, Vince [Clarke] was leader of the band. Dave [Gahan] was the frontman, but Vince wrote the songs, Vince did the arrangements. Martin [Gore] did a lot of the melodies, but it was really Vince’s band in that he was the driving force behind it all. I think Fletch [Andrew Fletcher] and Martin enjoyed doing it, but I don’t think they really took it seriously as a full-time thing until a bit later. Dave was the new guy in the band because he was auditioned; the other three all knew each other beforehand, so watching them at work was amazing. We all learned a lot during the making of that record, we had a lot of fun and we did it really quickly. It was the only record that Vince did with them, so it’s got his signature on it as well.

A Broken Frame (1982)

Vince had just left, and momentum dictated that we were going to carry on. They knew that Martin could write songs because Martin had written songs for previous bands they’d been in. It was almost like a blank sheet of paper, the songs were recorded in a different way because Vince had a very specific idea of what the song was going to end up sounding like, and Martin didn’t really have that. It was more like, “Here’s the words, here’s the melody. Let’s figure it out.” It was a very different way of recording, because in those days when there was no MIDI and no polyphonic, you did every track separately, so you had to start somewhere. Also, I think some of the more experimental elements of the band came out in A Broken Frame, which I enjoyed. They were making pop records, but they, especially Martin, were into experimental music and that started to feed into tracks like “Monument”.

I remember Martin was reading some weird book during the making of the record, a book of prophecies or something and he looked up his birthdate and it said, “Nothing to fear.” So that actually ended up being a track title, and it made him very optimistic about the future. A Broken Frame was a transitional record and while it’s not their best record, it’s hugely important in terms of how it was made and how it and gave everybody confidence. It’s when people really started believing in the future of the band.

Construction Time Again (1983)

This record was a massive leap forward. We’d been working in the same studio up to that point, Blackwing Studios in Borough in southeast London, which was a great studio with a great couple of engineers. Still, we felt we wanted to make a change of studio, just to get into a different environment. We ended up working in John Foxx’s studio, which is called The Garden—it’s only just closed down recently, sadly. That studio was in Shoreditch, which is now one of the trendiest parts of London, but back then was a derelict area. We met Gareth Jones, who became a long-term collaborator, through John Foxx because he’d worked with him on Metamatic, his debut solo record. Once we had Gareth on board became the team for the next four albums.

It was during the making of that record that we discovered sampling, which was a huge part of the sound of the records going forward. We weren’t sampling records, we were sampling found sounds or toy instruments. Martin would turn up with some toy or some other weird instrument and we just started recording it, sampling it, doing shit with it. Just as importantly, it was the first time that we ended up finishing the record and mixing it in Hansa Studio, Berlin. This happened because Gareth had moved to Berlin and was working there, he invited us over and we thought, “Why not?” Construction Time Again represents a period where there were a lot of new things going on.

At some point, during the making, Martin met a German girl and he ended up moving to Berlin for a while to live with her. This brought us closer to Berlin and we became more part of the scene there, I suppose.

Some Great Reward (1984)

This record was very much a continuation in terms of process from Construction Time Again. It was more about developing many of the ideas that we had for that record, rather than starting on something new: a lot of the big changes that we’d made for Construction Time Again were amplified for Some Great Reward—we were using the technology similarly but experimenting more with it.

We did “People Are People” as an interim single in March ’84, before the release of Some Great Reward. We went over to Berlin to do that specifically as a single, as a one-off thing, and in America that became a breakthrough track for the band. They’d had lots of these sort of KROQ hits, like “Just Can’t Get Enough”, but “People Are People” was a breakthrough Top 40 track for them, so that was a very important moment.

Black Celebration (1986)

Even at the beginning of Black Celebration sessions, I was concerned that we were falling into repeating ourselves, not so much musically, but in our working methods. I was a bit frustrated because I couldn’t get the guys to think about working in different ways. As a producer, that was part of my role, and I didn’t manage to do it as much as I would have liked to. I kind of dictated to a certain extent—I’m a big fan of the German film director Werner Herzog and his working methods. I loosely knew about his working methods and applied those to making a record. I suppose what I was trying to do was live the album. We didn’t have any days off—this could have been a mistake. Every moment of our waking hours was making the record, there was nothing else going on. We might go and have a beer before we went to sleep, but that was it.

I wanted a kind of intensity, I suppose, which I felt we were losing. We had a lot of it on Speak and Spell because we made it really quickly, and Construction Time Again was intense because there were so many new things going on. Some Great Reward felt like things were getting a bit, not slack, but I didn’t feel it was as focused. Although the record ended up sounding great, the process didn’t feel quite as satisfying. By the end everybody was very, very tired and exhausted; the album ended up running over.

I’m really happy with the album, but it wasn’t a happy experience—but it wasn’t supposed to be a happy experience! It was the point that we all decided that they needed to find somebody else to work with in the studio because we’d run our course. There aren’t very many teams that work together on five albums, so I was glad to do it. Of course, Mute had been successful because we had Depeche Mode and Yazoo, Nick Cave and then Erasure, but I hadn’t really signed any new artists. I was feeling a little bit like I wanted to get on with the label, and the band needed a change so at that point the label took some big steps too. It was a good thing that we did that, but I still continued to work with them, and that’s continued until now.

Music For the Masses (1987)

We picked the producer, Dave Bascombe, together because we really liked the sound he got with Tears For Fears and other things he’d done. We picked the studio—we wanted to get away from Berlin, but we didn’t want to do London, so we found a really nice studio in Paris.

I went there for the first couple of days to make sure everybody was comfortable and it was all working okay; I remember the feeling of an incredible weight off my shoulders knowing I wasn’t going to be in the studio with them for the next six months! I remember walking out of the studio, it was a sunny day, I thought, “They’re going to make a record, I’m not going to be there, and it’s going a much better record for it and I’m going to feel much better for it, as well.”

The songs were great, and while Alan [Wilder] wasn’t involved with A Broken Frame, he was involved from Construction Time… onwards, up until he left the band. His input was very important, he was a technology head and was technically the best musician as well and it was Music For the Masses that he came into his own. Martin was very much the songwriter, but he didn’t really enjoy sitting in the studio for hours fine-tuning things. Dave was very much focused on vocals and Fletch always provided a good perspective on the material that none of the others had. They all had a very specific role. Dave Bascombe was very good at translating the ideas into reality, so they made a good team. Alan loved being in the studio, he liked the kind of things that I liked, fine-tuning sounds, messing around, experimenting, so he was very much present in those records

Violator (1990)

It’s produced by Flood and mixed by François Kevorkian, which was a brilliant combination, I’m still very proud of that. François had just mixed Kraftwerk’s Electric Cafe and I also knew him because he had done some remixes for us. Flood I’d worked with a lot before; he produced Erasure, Nick Cave, Fad Gadget, and he was a mate. I just thought it needed another perspective and Flood is technically very good, very musical, and very open. He’s not one of these, “This is the way it has to be.” It’s more like, “How can we do it differently?” He was in sync with the band’s mentality—and my own.

We did “Personal Jesus” first in Milan—that track had to get done early; we did it as a kind of experiment. It was a great song from the beginning. There was a bit of discussion amongst the band about whether it should be the first track. For me, that was definitely the track, there was no question about it. Firstly, because it was a bit controversial, secondly because it was really different from anything they’d done before, with that bluesy feel. I think some of the band were a bit nervous about the lyrics and how that might go down, but that was the choice.

“Enjoy the Silence” was originally a slow track, a ballad almost, as a demo but I think Alan and Flood really believed that there was something else to get out of that track as an uptempo number. Martin was definitely against the idea because it was his song and that’s how he’d heard it, but he said, “Okay, you do it and we’ll see.” I remember coming to visit them in the studio and Fletch and Martin being very excited, saying, “Dan, we’ve got to play you this track!” We went to one of the little rooms to the side of the studio, they played me “Enjoy the Silence”, which was half-finished and I just went, “This is going to be huge.” It was just a perfect pop song, absolutely great. This was the version, by the way, that Martin had written and Alan and Flood had worked on to make it what it was.

Then François mixed the record in London—he’s a great guy, I love him, and he’s one of the most intense people I know. He would work for 18 hours a day and I think he got through at least three different engineers because they couldn’t take it. He’s so obsessive and so brilliant, and made a great record in Violator.

The only thing about that was that, while the record was great, I wasn’t happy with “Enjoy the Silence” as it was. I had real demo-itis about it. I’d heard this rough version which they’d done, and in my head, that’s how it had to sound. So I said, “Look, I love the album, but I’m not feeling the way “Enjoy the Silence” is at the moment. Can I go off and mix it with somebody else just to try it?” So, I went off with a guy called Phil Legg, who was an engineer I’d worked with, and did it the way I’d always heard it. I think they were so burned out by the end—it took a long time making that record—that they said, “Okay, whatever you say,” and they used that version.

Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)

This is the tricky record. When you’ve gone from selling two or three million worldwide to ten million, whether you like it or not—it certainly didn’t come from me or any of the people around them—there’s this pressure. A lot of things happened to the individuals in the band during and after the Violator tour, before Songs of Faith and Devotion. They never changed as people, they were always very down to earth in a way, but they’d been elevated into superstars and that does have an effect on people. It has a different effect on different people and Dave had a lot of problems at the time. They came to Songs of Faith and Devotion with songs, but not necessarily a very clear idea of how it was going to be, plus all this pressure.

Following the theme of trying to record in different countries, we decided on Spain, but we couldn’t find a studio that we liked, so we rented a big house in a posh, gated community in Madrid and built the studio there. I remember I turned up after a couple of weeks, but the vibe was terrible. They were definitely not working together as a band. You had Martin and Fletch taking up their normal pose on the sofa reading the tabloids; Alan was in another room practicing drums; one of the engineers had his feet up on the desk asleep; Dave was up in his room, all the curtains drawn, painting. Flood was trying to get some kind of sound. It was a horrible, poisonous atmosphere; I really felt nothing much was happening. And nothing was happening—they didn’t really know what they were doing or where they were going.

Despite being a tricky record to make, it ultimately became a lot of people’s favorite Depeche Mode album. Still, that whole Spanish episode, I think we kept almost nothing from that. Afterwards they went to Hamburg and became more constructive and mixed in London, by Spike, Mark Stent, who was an up and coming mixer at the time. He’s a huge mixer now.

Ultra (1997)

Ultra saw Dave’s issues continue, which is well documented. What we decided to do was take a tentative step into making another record. We said, “Let’s not make an album, let’s make it as an EP,” because to go in and make it as an album at that point was too much pressure for everybody. We decided to work with Tim Simenon, someone who had been an artist on a Mute label when he was Bomb the Bass, and who was also a friend of the band and a massive fan. He’s a very talented producer but quite a lot younger than the band.

Everybody was feeling fragile and nervous, but we wanted to move on. Somehow it became an album, I don’t know at what point. I think it was just a psychological thing, I think it was just an easier way of beginning the process, by calling it an EP. I think it had some great tracks on it but I don’t think it’s their best album. I think again, like A Broken Frame, it was a very transitional record. The band were certainly in transition in their personal lives, no question. Musically speaking, Alan had left and his influence up to and including Songs… was very big, so there was a bit of a vacuum. It meant that Martin had to be more focused on being in the studio. For so many different reasons, it was a transitional record.

Exciter (2001)

I think the band were very much more back together again as a unit. Things were a lot clearer. We worked with Mark Bell who’s a great techno producer [LFO]. The band had different influences, but Martin obviously is the musical driver of the band, so the things that influence him tend to come out on record a lot as well. Especially, at that point when he was writing all of the songs. Now, Dave writes some of the songs, so it’s slightly different. It was informed by a lot of the electronic music, kind of experimental, techno music that was going on at the time to a certain extent, which is why we wanted Mark Bell involved. I just felt like we were back on track again, as a band.

Playing the Angel (2005)

The thing I remember most about the recording of Playing the Angel was that 7/7 (July 7, 2005 bombings in London) happened. The band were recording in the West End, in the center of it all. I said, “Do you want to take a couple of days off?” They just said, “No, let’s get on with it.”

I think it was a really important record for the band—not necessarily because it had the big hits on it. Playing the Angel was the first record they worked on with Ben Hillier, who’s subsequently done the last three records with them, and that has proved a really productive experience—for Martin, and for me. With Martin, some of the best things he’s done come when he’s pushed—things like the guitar riff in “Enjoy the Silence” came at the last minute. I wanted someone in the studio to push him, to get the very best out of him, and I think Ben has done and has continued to do a great job with that. It’s very important, because if Martin is allowed to drift, he’ll disengage a little from the process. Not so much now, but at that time. He’ll do the bit that he enjoys doing, which is the song, but when it came to just getting that extra five per cent out of the track, he needs to be pushed. And that was my goal for that record, was to get somebody to do that.

Sounds of the Universe (2009)

I think of the last three albums, that’s probably the one that I’m least satisfied with. Sounds of the Universe is a really good record, but I don’t think it’s as good as Playing the Angel or Delta Machine.

Delta Machine (2013)

One of the key things that’s happened over the last couple of albums is this process of Alan leaving and Martin taking responsibility for the sound of the records. When I listened to the demos for Delta Machine I said, “Well, they already sound great.” Before that, his demos were kind of sketchy. They were good, but they were about the song, not necessarily the sound of the record. There might have been a couple of things that informed the sound, but with Delta Machine, his demos really defined the sound of the album, which I loved, and I was kind of keen that we really stick to that. It was pretty minimalistic, very analogue synth, kind of warm, and that blues feeling with it, too. The distillation of a lot of ideas that they’ve had in the past have come together on this record.

I find it quite hard to listen to the records from a purely objective point of view, because every song has a story. Particularly the first five albums—the ones I worked on. I remember everything about those records. When I hear them, I think, “Oh God, that was that sound, I remember…” I have a different relationship to the records and because of this I don’t know what my favorite record is. I love Delta Machine because it’s new and fresh, and we really achieved what we set out to achieve. I listen to A Broken Frame and I think there’s great moments—they all have great moments. It’s almost too personal.~

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #10 on: 29 March 2013 - 04:13:34 »
2013-03-28 - Gaffa (Denmark) - Depeche Mode History

 Uhellig treenighed fra Basildon

Depeche Mode har været gennem flere omvæltninger end de fleste, men har alligevel gennem tre årtier stået for nyskabende elektropop på højt niveau.
Af Torben Holleufer
Foto: Anton Corbijn

Det er mod alle odds, at Depeche Mode går på scenen i Parken til juni. Anført af en forsanger, der faktisk allerede flere gange havde taget sæde i båden på legendernes flod, Acheron. Havde taget billetten og indgået aftalen med færgemanden Charon om at blive sejlet det sidste stykke over til dødsriget, som endnu et smukt lig i et syndefald fra rockens tinder.

I samfulde to minutter var Dave Gahans hjerte holdt op med at slå. Års uvirkelig vandretur på the wild side i Englenes by syntes afsluttet forudsigeligt. Kort tid efter at han havde skåret sig i begge håndled i, hvad han siden betegnede som et drastisk råb om hjælp.

Hjemme i England havde han resterne af sit band, notoriske for at være knudemænd uden evnen til at udføre den simple bevægelse at række hånden ud og hjælpe, eller rose den, der roses bør. De havde lige mistet deres mestermusiker, som fik nok af at bære det meste af byrden først på en umulig indspilning, og siden på en udmarvende turné over hele verden, hvor publikum var overvældet, musikken fantastisk og musikerne tømte for lyst til at ses lige så snart tæppet var faldet. Alan Wilders bedste ven i det band var Dave Gahan, men sangeren gav den i rollen som Spielbergs ET, hvor den berømte opfordring "ET, phone home!" blev besvaret af en rungende tavshed, som fra en spacekadet hinsides Mælkevejen. For der var altså ingen hjemme ovre i den selvmedlidende intethed på solsiden i Los Angeles.

Og set i retrospekt var det en større katastrofe, da Alan Wilder fik nok af det surrealistiske show og forlod Depeche Mode efter turnéen. I årevis havde han været den bærende kraft i studiet, når Martin Gores hjemmestudieoptagelser skulle spilles i mål, for Andy Fletcher har alle dage været meget lidt bevendt som musiker med sin berygtede enfingerteknik på keyboardet – et levn fra de tidlige dages monofoniske synthesizere, hvor man kunne spille en tone ad gangen – som er på et niveau, så selv Prinsesse Toben ville være en uoverstigelig opgave. Hans evne lå simpelthen i, at han var utrolig god til at se, når de andre havde nået et udtryk, der holdt. Til at sige stop, når nørderne havde viklet sig for langt ind i mikserpulten. Samt at være den manager, ildsjæl og talsmand, som, netop fordi han var del af bandet, sørgede for, at musketer-eden fra ungdommen i Basildon gjaldt til evig tid.

I Californien udlevede Dave Gahan sin californiske rockstjernedrøm, hvor han som en anden Michael Hutchence havde den rette længde hår og skægget trimmet i fiskefjæsstil med det slørede blik stift rettet ud mod Joshua Tree-nationalparken som en efterligning af et U2-tema på eventyr i Anton Corbijns magiske verden i monochrome. Han ville hænge ud på den nye alternative scene, hvor især Jane's Addiction og det miljø, der blev til den omrejsende festival Lollapalooza, hvor hans daværende kone, Teresa, arbejdede, blev den nye inspiration, mens han gled stedse længere ind i sin rodløse afhængighed omgivet af ja-sigere og dealere. Ligesom Teresa, der selv var junkie, og som – da han havde skåret sine håndled til blods og endelig tog på sin første afvænning – beviste, at der ingen plads er for de romantiske i junkieland og nægtede at gå på afvænning. Og i det selskab var den yderligere deroute kun et spørgsmål om timer.

Han ændrede drastisk udseende i de år. Fra at have været enhver svigermors drøm tabte han sig markant. Onde tunger hævder, at han læste en bog om Keith Richards, og at det i det næste stykke tid var "Keef, man, han er the real thing!", og at vejen ned til tatovøren derefter lå lige for. Basildon-slængets reaktion, da de så ham vel tilbage i England på fransk visit, var typisk. De noterede sig, at deres forsanger var begyndt at bruge amerikanske ord i den sydengelske accent, mens Martin Gore siden har udtalt, at han nok skulle have lagt mærke til, hvor påvirket hans gamle kollega var i de år. Gahans job var at synge, og det gjorde han stadig til perfektion, ligesom han vigtigst af alt formåede at holde stilen til koncerterne, hvor det altid var ham, der trak det store læs – når altså Alan Wilder havde præpareret de to maskiner med playback, så de præindspillede bånd kunne aflevere den perfekte lyd ud over scenekanten.

Så da Alan Wilder trak stikket ud, noterede de andre sig det, og det var så det. Der var længe til næste plade og turné, og de havde så mange andre gøremål, ligesom det kun var "Fletch" og Gore, der var hjemme, og de ville per definition ikke sige noget. Mens Dave Gahan, som er en flink fyr og altid havde haft et fint samarbejde med Wilder, igen var forsvundet i Tinseltowns labyrinter og hverken svarede på telefonen, så fjernsyn eller så de faxer, som den nu tidligere kollega havde afsendt.

I interviews, som Andy Fletcher siden har givet, udtrykker han, at de hele tiden frygtede at få en langt mere definitiv besked, nemlig at de for altid ville stå uden deres forsanger, fordi denne endelig havde dummet sig afgørende og taget billetten, og derfor var Wilders afgang nærmest som en storm i et glas vand i sammenligning. Ligesom de jo huskede, hvordan de havde overlevet, dengang Vince Clarkes afgang efter alle solemærker at dømme var enden på det hele, eftersom han både leverede de første sange og var den dominerende musikalske kraft, hvilket Alan Wilder alle sine kvaliteter til trods ikke var.

Andy Fletchers frygt viste sig som bekendt at være mere end velbegrundet. Da David Gahan tog sin næsten-fatale "speedball" – en cocktail af amfetamin og heroin – og var klinisk død i flere minutter, var eneste redning, at han gudskelov havde fået smidt sin junkiekone ud med badevandet og fundet en ny i Jennifer, som han stadig er gift med.

Den oplevelse blev hans wake-up call, og bortset fra sidste år, hvor han kollapsede i sit hotelværelse under den igangværende turné og følgende fik konstateret en ondartet kræftknude i blæren – som blev fjernet efterfølgende – har han de sidste 15 år været rask og frisk.

Depeche Mode har været gennem flere omvæltninger end de fleste, men har alligevel gennem tre årtier stået for nyskabende elektropop på højt niveau.

GAFFA fortæller hen over påsken historien om Depeche Mode i anledning af deres nye album "Delta Machine" og koncerten i Parken 13. juni. Læs de tidligere kapitler her.


Umiddelbart siger navnet Basildon sikkert intet i hovederne på de fleste, der hører det. Og vi taler da også om, hvad der må betegnes som en af de satellitbyer, som skød op uden for London i efterkrigsårene. Følg nordsiden af Thames-floden i nordøstlig retning mod Colchester, og du finder den kraftigt voksende by med dens endeløse boligblokke. Her er de fleste tilflyttere, og sådan var det, da vennerne Vincent "Vince" Clarke, Andrew (Andy) "Fletch" Fletcher og Martin Gore voksede op i 1960'erne i et miljø, som var præget af rodløshed. Som Fletch siden har sagt det:

"Basildon var et kedeligt sted. Du havde to alternativer: Enten stjal du biler, eller også gik du i kirke!"

Fletch var tidligt ven med Vince Clarke, og sammen kom de med i Boys Brigade, som er noget i stil med KFUM-spejdere. Her var religionen virkeligt i centrum, og selvom det også havde karakter af fritidsklub, blev de to drenge med tiden mere end begejstrede bibelsvingere, der var på gaderne og omvende andre unge, ligesom de hvert år, fra de var 11 til 18 år, ville tage på kristen sommerlejr. Men i takt med at de blev ældre, kunne de ikke undgå at blive påvirkede af musik, og i Vince Clarkes tilfælde var det et orkester med synthesizere og især rytmeboks i centrum og det mytiske navn Orchestral Maneuvres In The Dark, som blev den store musikalske åbenbaring. Mens den helt afgørende øjeåbner var Gary Numan, som helt, fuldt og ganske modigt sagde rockverdenen imod og satsede på synthesizeren som hovedinstrument. Ligesom de tidligt fik gang i det første orkester, hvor Fletch spillede bas. Efter sigende det eneste instrument, han nogensinde har bare kunnet spille bare nogenlunde på. Men det var synthesizeren, som var løsenet. Som Fletch siden har sagt det:

"Vi voksede op i 1970'erne, og i hele den bølge med folk som Rick Wakeman fra Yes var en synthesizer en meget dyr investering. Men pludselig kom der nogle helt andre monofoniske synthesizere på markedet, og de kostede bare 150 pund. Efter år med guitaren, hvor du skulle have forstærker til, var det ren punketik at købe en maskine, der havde de mest syrede lyde, og som du kunne tage med i toget, samt slutte direkte til PA-anlægget".

Martin Gore var knap så religiøs, selv om han ville komme i samme metodistkirke som de to andre, dog mest for at jamme. Han var en forfærdeligt genert knægt, som tidligt havde lært at spille på guitar, og for at kompensere for sine manglende evner for kommunikation, plejede han at drikke sig standerstiv. Det var sådan, de mødtes, da de så deres kommende sangskriver faldet sammen i en busk. Men hans smag var afgjort glamrock. Og mens de to andre med tiden udviklede en passion for især The Cure, var Gores tidlige idol Gary Glitter, samt siden David Bowie og efterfølgende hele bølgen af såkaldte New Romantics. Samt, måske vigtigst af alle, det tyske band Kraftwerk, som med Autobahn allerede i 1974 havde vist, at man kunne hitte med en musik, som ellers umiddelbart var totalt niche.

I det hele taget var det i Tyskland, at de store elektroniske landevindinger fandt sted, og 1970'ernes engelske progrock-publikum havde været særdeles lydhøre over for bands som især Edgar Froeses Tangerine Dream og i mindre grad eksempelvis Amon Düül II og Popol Vuh. De fik mange efterlignere, og især de engelske orkestre The Human League og aflæggeren Heaven 17 var endda meget vigtige forbilleder for de kommende Depeche Mode. Som Martin Gore har sagt det:

"Efter punken følte vi, at musikken ikke skulle vende tilbage til det klassiske rockformat.  Det skulle skubbes fremad, og elektronisk musik var for os vejen fremad".

Men der skulle lige en sidste detalje til, inden bandet for alvor kunne komme videre. Det skete i forbindelse med det første gig, da en anden Basildon-dreng tilfældigvis var til stede, for at lave lyd for et af de andre bands, der skulle spille den aften. Han gik nemlig med til at jamme, og sang for på en version af Bowies Heroes. Og han skulle ikke fremvise særligt meget af sin baryton, før Clarke, Gore og Fletch vidste, at i den kønne knægt med de brune øjne havde de fundet deres forsanger.

Håndslag med Mute

David Gahan – eller Dave, som han siden er blevet kaldt – var allerede længere fremme i udviklingen end de tre nørder fra den religiøse søndagsskole. Han så godt ud, havde en kæreste, der selv var frisk, og de ville valfarte ind til Londons spillesteder og se alle tidens store orkestre.

Når man er født i 1962, var progrocken passé, og de nye bands befandt sig et sted mellem prog og punk, nemlig i en bølge, der dyrkede poppet lyd, hvor rester af glam og tidlig punk var en del af udtrykket. Altså Sweet, Slade, Suzi Quatro, Adam & The Ants og så videre, samt i Gahans tilfælde siden The Clash og især The Damned. Man levede for Top Of The Pops på tv hver torsdag, ligesom de fleste knægte i Basildon læste Smash Hits, som sjovt nok blandt sine indflydelsesrige skribenter havde Neil Tennant, som siden skulle blive den ene halvdel af duoen Pet Shop Boys. Dave Gahan var fra den "fine" side af Basildon, men var også lidt af en rod, der havde sin gang som ung knægt i Malcolm McLarens butik Sex, det berømte mødested for punkere på King's Road, samt arbejdede som vinduesdekoratør. Faktisk jobbet, som sikrede det nye orkester et navn.

Franske Dépêche Mode var et modeblad, og det passede perfekt ind i en rolle, der havde en duft af noget glamourøst og samtidig noget, ingen i Basildon kunne referere til. De skulle også have et pladeselskab, og skæbnen ville, at Vince Clarke og Dave Gahan brugte en dag på at besøge 12 forskellige selskaber, hvoraf Rough Trade blev det sidste. Her blev svaret også et høfligt nej, men tilfældigvis befandt Daniel Miller sig i lokalet, og han havde lige startet sit eget label for skæv musik. Her ville han forsøge at lancere sin egen musik som et imaginært band, ligesom han arbejdede med en kunstner, som hed Fad Gadget. Og selv om han i første omgang sagde nej til Depeche Mode, så han dem alligevel snart efter live – til en koncert i oktober 1980 på The Bridge House i Londons Canning Town – og så tog han den store beslutning. Starten på et samarbejde, som er berømt ikke mindst for, at et simpelt håndslag beseglede aftalen, som først blev skrevet ned mange år senere, samt at musikerne ikke siden har følt behov for at tage andre steder hen. Mute Records var simpelthen en realitet, Daniel Miller var familie per definition, og selskabet har siden også været hjemsted for kunstnere som Nick Cave, blandt mange andre, inklusive Vince Clarkes forskellige projekter.

Med Vince Clarke som primus motor havde bandet allerede et sæt passable numre, og i første omgang udkom de på en compilation, der selvfølgelig i dag er total kult. Den hedder Some Bizarre Album og udkom på pladeselskabet Some Bizarre Records, drevet af ildsjælen Stevo. De var dog allerede ved at indspille debuten, som kom i 1981 og fik titlen Speak & Spell.

Depeche Mode hittede allerede med denne plade, hvor åbneren New Life røg højt op på den engelske hitliste efterfulgt af Just Can't Get Enough, som ramte 8. pladsen, og som stadig i dag er fast del af repertoiret til koncerter. Da også albummet gik ind på en 10. plads og holdt sig på listen i 32 uger, var drengene fra Basildon gået fra at være totalt ukendte og med job ved siden af, til at kunne koncentrere sig om at være musikere på fuld tid. Desuden fik Daniel Miller kontakt til Sire, et af de toneangivende amerikanske labels, der blandt andet havde Talking Heads i stalden. Deres præsident Seymour Stein kom over i egen høje person for at se det nye band, og han kunne lide, hvad han så. I en grad, at med Sire til at styre tingene i Guds eget land blev det stedet, hvor Depeche Mode siden skulle få det afgørende gennembrud, fordi de passede ind hos det amerikanske publikum, mens de i England efter det første album for evigt syntes parkeret som et synthpop-band i en tidslomme hos de vanetænkende anmeldere. Som Fletch sagde det i forbindelse med den første korte USA-turné:

"Det er virkelig underligt. I USA bliver vi set som trendy, og her kommer alle slags kunstnere backstage efter koncerterne, mens det hjemme i England er de unge piger".

Desværre ventede den første katastrofe lige om hjørnet. For umiddelbart efter udgivelsen fortalte Vince Clarke sine gamle venner, at nu var det slut. I forbindelse med udgivelsen var de konstant ude og promovere musikken, og Vince Clarke viste sig at være meget lidt interesseret i at være popstjerne. Den ferme sangskriver trak sig dog langtfra. Han havde udsigt til et nyt projekt med en spændende bluessangerinde Alison Moyet, som ligeledes stammede fra Basildon, og som havde gået i samme skole som Fletch. Det blev til de succesrige Yazoo, samt efterfølgende til Erasure, en duo med den særdeles ekstroverte Andy Bell.

Så drengene slikkede sårene, og de tillod sig oven i købet den luksus at takke nej til en sidste komposition fra Clarkes hånd – med hvilken han prompte scorede en 2. plads på den engelske hitliste med sit nye band, Yazoo. Tilbage i Depeche Mode måtte de tiloversblevne tre høre på alle forudsigelserne om, at det var synd, at det nu var slut.

De havde ikke taget højde for Martin Gore.

 Uhellig treenighed fra Basildon – del 3 af 5

Depeche Mode har været gennem flere omvæltninger end de fleste, men har alligevel gennem tre årtier stået for nyskabende elektropop på højt niveau.

Industriel revolution

Umiddelbart fandt bandet ikke en afløser for Vince Clarke, men besluttede sig i det mindste udadtil at køre videre med Gore, Fletch og Gahan. Men man hyrede en hjælp til koncerterne, nemlig den 22-årige Alan Wilder.

Wilder var en særdeles ferm keyboardspiller, der både var klassisk uddannet pianist og havde betydelig studieerfaring trods sine bare 22 år, men på den kommende plade, som fik titlen A Broken Frame, fik han besked om, at hans medvirken i studiet ikke var nødvendig. Og meget mod de umiddelbare forventninger fortsatte Depeche Mode deres opstigning med de første singler, som klarede sig bedre end de ting, som Vince Clarke havde skrevet. Musikken på hits som See You og Leave In Silence var måske med vor tids øjne en gang håbløst afdanket og fesen synthpop, hvor Gore havde opgraderet maskinparken og købt en tysk Wave-synth, som en anden pioner, Thomas Dolby, også brugte, mens det stadig var den mest minimalistiske rytmeboks, der markerede rytmen. Live ville de stille op med tre synthesizere, mens en firespors spolebåndoptager vil køre backingtracket, og så var det op til Dave Gahan og lysmanden at skabe det visuelle.

Selv om A Broken Frame ikke betød, at bandet faldt sammen for foden af det altid frygtede andet album, og de sågar kom til USA og lave en skrækkelig debut frisk inde med flyet fra Top Of The Pops i London, så var der helt andre ting i vente med det følgende album. For på Construction Time Again kom der for alvor gang i det, der skulle blive Depeche Modes varemærke i de næste år, nemlig deres højest personlige samplinger, udført på de nye brillante samplerkeyboards Emulator og Synclavier, som den nye troldmand på tangenterne introducerede. Her var der rigeligt med inspiration at hente fra bands som de tyske Einstürzende Neubauten, som snart ville udkomme på først Some Bizarre Records og siden på Mute. Så ligesom med de tyske pionerer var det ud med den transportable båndoptager på lossepladser, hvor drengene ville slå på alskens metalskrammel, som de kunne bruge til at give deres beats en lyd, som var helt forskellig fra de lyde, der lå inde i synthesizerne. Det blev simpelthen mottoet aldrig at bruge den samme lyd eller effekt to gange. Ligesom de efter endt indspilning ville tage ned til Berlins Hansa-studie "by The Wall", som det hed sig i England, efter David Bowie og Iggy Pop havde haft deres storhedstid i det velassorterede studie i midten af halvfjerdserne på plader som Bowies Heroes og Iggy Pops The Idiot.

Construction Time Again blev en landevinding med hits som Everything Counts, hvor en mere pågående lyd tilsat de metalliske effekter, samt en stedse mere sikker Gahan på vokaler, skabte et album, som var lysår bedre end den lidt usikre forgænger. Ligesom opholdet i byen, der på den tid var en underlig klaustrofobisk og kapitalistisk enklave midt i det kommunistiske DDR, betød, at Martin Gore forlod England og slog sig ned i byen et par år. Og effekten var slående, som man også kunne konstatere i takt med, at bandets nye faste komponist fik opgraderet niveauet, ligesom han begyndte at skeje ud med udseendet, hvor tøjet gik over i det androgyne med et seriøst strejf af s/m tilsat. Dertil var bandet i stor hast ved at få en stor og vedvarende fanbase i Tyskland, hvor der lige siden har været enorm interesse for Depeche Mode.

De nye signaler gled dog ikke lige let ned hjemme i England. Her blev Depeche Mode stadig set som et teen-orienteret band, og den spændende drejning hen mod alternativ musik, blev ikke altid anerkendt. Til gengæld kom der gang i udtrykkene på den kommende plade, som igen blev til i Berlin, og hvor sange som Master & Servant ikke var til at misforstå. Med en ny fræk stil tilsat en Alan Wilder, som kom ind i varmen som fuldgyldigt medlem og begyndte at sætte sit præg på indspilningerne, som hævedes massivt i kreativitet og lyd, var der ved at blive åbnet op for bandet på det store altafgørende amerikanske marked.

Vi var pludselig lysår væk fra Boys Brigade i Basildon.


Sort messe

Depeche Modes opstigning i midtfirserne gik hastigt. Hvert album var en ny landevinding, og Martin Gore udviklede sine evner som sangskriver, og i takt med at Dave Gahans stemme fik stedse mere fylde og pondus – samt at Alan Wilders indflydelse og flid i studiet gjorde, at arbejdet altid blev fulgt helt til dørs – voksede succesen.

Albummet Black Celebration er siden blevet set som et af bandets vigtigste, og Martin Gore har da også udtalt, at det oftest er det album, som den dedikerede fan nævner som den absolutte favorit. Albummet havde en række sange, som udforskede de mere mørke sider af sangskriverens komplicerede sind, og han sang selv på en række af dem. Alligevel var det en sang, som blev sunget uimodståeligt i mål af Dave Gahan, som er den, man husker, for på Stripped fik man for alvor kombinationen af en tekst, der sad der og en lydside med passion og vidunderlig tæft for den perfekte ørehænger, sat i gang af en samplet motorcykel kørt ned i hastighed til at være beatet og Gahans Porsche, der starter med en blød summen, hvorefter Gahans passionsfyldte og længselsfulde stemme tager fra. Pladen blev en mindre kommerciel succes end forgængeren, men var kunstnerisk et vigtigt skridt, ligesom den i videoen A Question Of Time markerede begyndelsen på samarbejdet med den hollandske fotograf og filmskaber, Anton Corbijn, som ellers indtil da var mest kendt fra sit samarbejde med Amsterdams stolthed, punkikonet Herman Brood. Og hvad angår kommerciel udbredelse, så var det bare begyndelsen til det helt afgørende gennembrud over hele verden, som kom med efterfølgeren med den ironiske titel Music For The Masses, der dels med sange som Strangelove og Never Let Me Down Again samt den mest omfangsrige turné kulminerede med den berømte koncert på Rose Bowl-arenaen i Los Angeles-bydelen Pasadena. Den turné og koncert, som skulle blive foreviget af den berømte dokumentarist D. A. Pennebaker, der på sit CV tidligere havde lavet blandt andet den berømte roadmovie fra Bob Dylans Englandsturné i 1965 med titlen Don't Look Back, samt havde filmet hippiefesten i Monterey under kærlighedssommeren, hvor Jimi Hendrix brændte sin guitar. Nu var han på turné med Depeche Mode, og han har siden udtalt, at han anser den film, der kom ud af det med titlen 101 – efter antallet af spillede koncerter på turneen – som sin bedste.

Her fatter man for alvor potentialet på ekstranummeret, den store pophymne med det markante samplede guitarriff med titlen Never Let Me Down Again og en tekst, som både kan fortolkes som en homoerotisk odysse og som en opfordring til at tage stoffer med åbningslinjen I'm taking a ride with my best friend. Her er det magiske øjeblik, da David Gahan står på catwalken midt i det enorme hav af omkring 60.000 hengivne fans, der unisont begynder at vinke til sangeren, som er med på bevægelsen, som bliver et tranceøjeblik, som han derefter står og bader sig i. Det er et unikt øjeblik, uafrysteligt, og han har da også siden udtalt, at han aldrig efterfølgende troede, at det øjeblik kunne overgås. Ligesom den vinkebevægelse siden har været et fast ritual til koncerter med Depeche Mode.

I øvrigt skal nævnes som et kuriosum, at Music For The Masses var blevet mikset i et studie med international lyd og forplejning på jetsetniveau, som såmænd ligger på en bondegård uden for Randers. Puk-studiet skulle på det efterfølgende mesterværk, som fik titlen Violator, blive stedet, hvor Depeche Mode toppede. Ligesom det siden har været et hyppigt anvendt sted, når et af den hjemlige scenes bands, som skylder drengene fra Basildon rigtigt meget, indspiller. Jeg taler selvfølgelig om Nephew, produceret af Carsten Heller.

 Uhellig treenighed fra Basildon – del 4 af 5

Depeche Mode har været gennem flere omvæltninger end de fleste, men har alligevel gennem tre årtier stået for nyskabende elektropop på højt niveau.

Personlig Jesus

Violator havde 20 års jubilæum i marts 2010, og på den tid har den solgt i omegnen af 11 millioner på verdensplan. Hermed er den klart Depeche Modes mest populære album, og blev også til på rekordtid. Med hits som især Personal Jesus og Enjoy The Silence var det en lys plade, men også et forvarsel om problemerne, der lurede lige om hjørnet.

Som producer hyrede bandet Mark Ellis, som i øvrigt konsekvent går under navnet Flood. Et navn, han efter sigende havde fået, da han var i lære som lydtekniker. Under en session med The Cure fik han tilnavnet af Robert Smith, fordi han forstod, at ved konstant at brygge te til produceren, blev han uundværlig. Den anden lærling, der var knap så kvik, fik også et tilnavn, nemlig Drought (tørke) og er ikke blevet hørt om siden.

På de foregående album havde Martin Gore lavet demoer i hjemmestudiet, hvor de fleste idéer allerede lå færdige og så ville blive bearbejdet først og fremmest af Wilder. Denne gang bad de ham om at komme med sangene i så skrabet form som muligt, fordi det ville give dem friere hænder til at arbejde kreativt i studiet.

Alan Wilder fortæller her om tilblivelsen af det store hit Enjoy The Silence:

"Egentlig lød det oprindeligt vældig "hamster-agtigt", eller som Pet Shop Boys, med linjen "all I ever wanted", og jeg følte, at hvad der egentlig var en ballade, skulle op i tempo, så det blev et dansetrack. De andre var ret skeptiske, men de sagde til sidst, at jeg skulle forsøge at lave det sammen med Flood, og så ville de komme tilbage og høre det færdige resultat. Sådan var det med adskillige numre på Violator".

Andrew Fletcher var lige så enig:

"Det er et af de mest magiske øjeblikke, jeg har haft med Depeche Mode. Vi var i Puk-studiet i Danmark, og vi havde denne her ballade og besluttede os for at sætte tempoet op. Så kom Martin ind med sin guitar og smed sit riff på, og i løbet af en time vidste vi, at vi havde lavet et massivt hit".

Sammen med en banebrydende video, hvor Anton Corbijn filmede en frysende Dave Gahan med kongekrone i en tronstol opstillet i snelandskaber rundt om i Europa, endte den med at blive den single, som fik de mavesure engelske kritikere op af stolen og det engelske publikum til at overgive sig på niveau med tyskerne og amerikanerne, det vil sige uden forbehold. Ligesom sangen vandt en Brit-award som årets single, uden at det dog fik Depeche Mode til at møde op til ceremonien. Som Wilder sagde det efterfølgende:

"Vi var ret enige om at overlade de ceremonier til Sting og Elton.."

 Uhellig treenighed fra Basildon – del 5 af 5

Depeche Mode har været gennem flere omvæltninger end de fleste, men har alligevel gennem tre årtier stået for nyskabende elektropop på højt niveau.

Åbenbaringer i ærmet

Udgivelsen af Violator blev fulgt op af den massive World Violation Tour, ligesom det kom til store tumulter, da pladen skulle udgives i Los Angeles. Så store var forventningerne efter Music For The Masses og 101, som var udkommet som livealbum.

På verdensplan nåede bandet ikke helt rekorden fra den foregående turné, men til gengæld blev billetterne flået væk til samfulde 88 koncerter på turen. Desværre var Dave Gahan allerede faldet i heroinfælden på et tidspunkt, hvor den øvrige verden var høje på Ecstacy. Ergo lå det ikke lige for at se, at en ven havde problemer. For det kørte jo på alle niveauer.

Til gengæld stødte bandet ind i hverdagen, da de skulle indspille opfølgeren, som fik den særdeles religiøse titel Songs Of Faith & Devotion. Efter referencerne til først nazismen (Music For The Masses) og heavy metal (Violator) var det tid til at vende tilbage til temaet fra dengang, treenigheden var hjemme i Basildon. Eller måske nærmere at gå i rette med det, i hvert fald set fra Martin Gores synspunkt. Med tekster, der mere stillede spørgsmål end omfavnede organiseret religion.

Efter turen til farmen uden for Randers ville de prøve andre himmelstrøg, og Flood havde lige indspillet Achtung Baby! med U2, som sammen med Brian Eno og Daniel Lanois havde slæbt alt udstyr til et fjernt hus og boet under samme tag under indspilningerne. Så de fandt et hus i en forstad til Madrid, hvor Gahan isolerede sig med sin sprøjte, Gore læste engelske tabloidaviser, Fletch var ligeglad, og Flood og Alan Wilder gjorde det, som interesserede dem, nemlig at være i studiet nat og dag. Da pladeselskabsboss Daniel Miller kom ned for at tjekke nogle uger senere, var stemningen på nulpunktet, og intet var blevet gjort. Så først da de havde forlagt residensen til Hamburg, kom der skred i tingene, men skaden var sket. Og på trods af at albummet faktisk blev fremragende og ramte 1. pladsen i 17 lande, og den efterfølgende turné fortsatte den kommercielle optur, så tog Alan Wilder sit gode tøj og forlod Depeche Mode. Som trods en række skiver, der har været ret gode, alligevel ikke siden har været helt det samme.

Men mindre har også kunnet gøre det. Efterfølgeren Ultra var bedre, end man kunne forvente, selv om situationen i Los Angeles, hvor Dave Gahan gennemlevede sit personlige helvede, gjorde, at bandet med Daniel Millers ord "ikke vidste, om de i virkeligheden var i færd med at lave et Martin Gore-soloalbum, fordi de simpelthen ikke vidste, om de stadigvæk havde en sanger".

Men som vi alle ved, så kom Gahan videre, og treenigheden genopfandt sig selv endnu engang, ligesom de i det sidste årti har lavet adskillige fremragende ting, ikke mindst 2005-udgivelsen Playing The Angel, ligesom de over de sidste år har fået endnu en sangskriver i Dave Gahan. Som bandet fremstår anno 2013, synes enden bestemt ikke nær.

Ligesom de hver især har gang i egne kreative tiltag. Alan Wilder har siden Depeche Mode-dagene haft et sideprojekt ved navn Recoil, som har kultsucces og bekender sig til de oprindelige dyder med en gang innovativ elektronisk musik. Ligesom både Martin Gore og Dave Gahan har lavet flere soloplader. Gore har brudt forbandelsen og er flyttet til Californien, hvor man altså kan bo uden at gå i hundene, mens Gahan har fundet ny inspiration i kvinden, der reddede ham i sin tid og bor fast med sin nye familie i New York. Og endelig er Fletch involveret i et band, der er opkaldt efter en Depeche Mode-sang, nemlig Clean, ligesom han er en efterspurgt dj.

Når de da ikke passer jobbet som superstjerner med et orkester, der fortsat her mere end 30 år efter de beskedne dage i Basildon fortsat evner at have et par åbenbaringer oppe i ærmet.

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #11 on: 14 April 2013 - 02:02:29 »
2013-04-12 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Pole recalls his Depeche Moment

Pole recalls his Depeche Moment
Friday, April 12, 2013 in Recommendations by Stefan Betke about Depeche Mode

In the next part of our series assessing the impact of Depeche Mode through personal narratives, German DJ and electronic music producer Stefan Betke—aka Pole—recalls the influence Depeche Mode had on him as a teenager in Dusseldorf, and beyond.

The very first time that I heard of Depeche Mode was through a music show on German television in 1981—I was 14 years old. I’m not part of the generation which saw the big musical developments between ‘75 and ’85, my active listening began in the late ‘70s and early 80s. However, I shared a room at my parents’ house with my older brother which meant I was exposed to a lot of music from that time. When I first saw Depeche Mode on TV I thought: ugly hairstyles, bad clothes and cheesy melodies. I was more interested in Richard Hell, Wire and the German punk band Hans-A-Plast, so seeing Depeche Mode on TV was alright and… That’s it.

Back then I already knew I wanted to be a musician. I was playing a Fender Rhodes in my school band, but for us it was unaffordable to buy a synthesiser or to even think about being a part of this new scene. I grew up in Dusseldorf and the bigger influence during that time was definitely Kraftwerk, who are obviously from Dusseldorf too. When I used to go out we’d see them in cafes. In our scene in Düsseldorf Depeche Mode were received as a purely pop phenomena; in conversations I had everyone said Depeche Mode were interesting, but, in the end, commercial. It took a while before it become apparent what their long term imprint on the music scene would be.

At this point in my life I was undergoing two angles of personal development, musically speaking. On the one hand I was into listening to punk; Hans-A-Plast, as I said, Chrome, as well as experimental jazz like John Lurie, John Zorn, Fred Frith etc. Yet at the same time, and as a musician, I was trying to learn what was possible in the musical language and how to use instruments, especially electronic instruments. This is where Depeche Mode’s worth came in, I saw the band as breaking through limits. They were the first people to introduce electronic music into a popular scene, before that it was really underground and only really focused on English scenes and Kraftwerk. Depeche Mode were using synthesisers to explore what everybody else said was a no-go area: not real guitar, not real drums, not this, not that. They tried to break the rules and go further, and they succeeded because it spread all over the world. This is what I appreciated about Depeche Mode from the early days onwards: the habit, the idea, the haltung. For me the haltung—the attitude—is a very important thing, it’s not a question of what you do but how you do it. In my opinion you’ve five percent talent and the rest is work. You have an idea but it’s the attitude that’s important, that you finish that work is important, and you have to go as far as possible. That is what I saw in Depeche Mode. They broke the rules, the purism of real instrumentalism, they went one step ahead.

Many years later I saw them at the Waldbühne in Berlin. I was totally focused on them, I was openminded enough to let them affect me. I was standing in the middle of the crowd listening to all these old tracks that I had on CD and vinyl, I thought by myself and in these surroundings, with this volume and this impact that they are producing, how Mr Gahan is acting with his body and how he is treating the microphone stand… I was like, that works. All the records before, they only worked for me on a production level. I remember I was listening to Construction Time Again, the album that was recorded at Hansa Studios, I was just sitting at home and thinking how can they have such a precise sound and such a huge stereo image? I was looking at it from a producer’s perspective rather than a musician’s. The thing is, when I first saw this concert I felt that there was something touching me.

Daniel Miller did come to me asking if I’d look to do a remix for them. I’d done some other remixes for artists on Mute before and the band wanted me to do one as well, so it was a mutual idea. Daniel was sitting at my home and said, “You can do whatever you want, but you can’t use the vocals.” The idea was an instrumental remix, which was fine with me  because I prefer instrumental anyway. So I worked on it, did it, sent it over but I got told that the band said we couldn’t use it. Why? There were no vocals! I still have it, somewhere in my archive.~

Photo: Luci Lux

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #12 on: 23 April 2013 - 00:36:09 »
2013-04-22 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Simon Reynolds recalls his Depeche Moment

Simon Reynolds recalls his Depeche Moment
Monday, April 22, 2013 in Recommendations by Simon Reynolds about Depeche Mode

In our series assessing the impact of Depeche Mode, the renowned British music writer and critic—the author of such books as Retromania, Rip It Up and Start Again, Energy Flash, and more—ponders Depeche Mode‘s development from innocuous pop to a group of substance. Photo by Michel Meeuwissen.


I think I became aware of Depeche Mode with their first hits like “New Life” and “Just Can’t Get Enough”. They seemed a fairly slight and innocuous outfit at that time. It was when there were a lot of synth-pop bands around: Human League had had their really big breakthrough, there was John Foxx, Soft Cell, Japan. Gary Numan had already been huge. Compared with any of these outfits, Depeche seemed lightweight at first. They were successful, they kept having hits, but they didn’t have respect. For a lot of people, they were considered part of the johnny-come-lately synth-pop wave. They didn’t seem like they were pioneers, they weren’t edgy, particularly. They were a bit pretty boy. They weren’t considered a group of substance. There was a live review of them Paul Morley did in the NME which was basically a defence on the grounds that they were just harmless teenybop fodder and there was nothing wrong with that. He was making a big point about the pleasures of disposable pop, a polemical argument, but using Depeche Mode as a signifier of inanity, really [laughs]. So, no one had any great expectations for Depeche Mode. You’d have no sense then that they’d go on to be such an interesting or long-lasting group.

You could say the catchy, somewhat vapid side of Depeche left with Vince Clarke, but at the time everyone assumed that he was the talent and the group would just fade away, in the same way that when Nick Heyward left Haircut 100 they tried to carry on without him, but just faded away. I don’t know if anyone thought about it much, they were just part of the chart action of the time. But then there was a single off of A Broken Frame—probably one of the first Martin Gore songs, maybe it was “See You”—which seemed to have a more subtle melody, minor keys, was more haunting, and you thought, “Well, actually these guys ARE quite talented.”

Still, they seemed like a group in the business of synth-pop love songs; you would have had no intimation that they would soon be doing songs about sadomasochism, anti-God songs, anti-Thatcher songs. Even though they were on Mute, a label that had so many interesting bands on it. They kind of really surprised people, I think. It was when they did “Everything Counts”—and NME put them on the front cover—that people started to say, “They’re growing up in an interesting way.”

That said, “Everything Counts” and “People Are People”, I actually found at the time to be quite clunky as political statements, a bit too literal. But I admire them much more now, especially because there weren’t that many pop songs that were dealing with those issues. Thatcher had just been re-elected, unemployment was getting worse and worse. It was quite bold of them. While I was writing Rip It Up and Start Again, through reading about them and re-listening to their records, I thought, “Wow, they really were quite brave, and quite an interesting group.” Especially when they started getting influenced by the metal-bashing groups like Test Dept and Einstürzende Neubauten, sampling the sounds of metal and stone and re-deploying that in a pop context. I thought it was really cool to bring those ideas into the pop arena.

I probably didn’t even notice at the time that “Master and Servant” is quite a funny song, lyrically, in a dark way. It throws out a political parable—is it talking about bondage or is it talking about the political situation and authoritarianism? Or take “Love, In Itself”: it’s almost like a Gang of Four song rendered as synth-pop. The idea is that the character had been obsessed with love and thought that love was the solution to all of his problems, and then realized that actually it’s not enough. It was basically a critique of the idea of romantic love as a form of utopia or solution. “Love’s not enough, in itself”—that’s a clever thing to get into a song that’s in the top 20, on the radio. That was one where I felt even back then, “Oh, these guys really are smart.”

It’s quite an achievement to come across as alternative and underground but be so popular. The achievement seems more precisely because they are so big. If they were a minor group operating in an indie context, the messages wouldn’t have had the power they did. For someone like me, “Blasphemous Rumours” wasn’t going to be a big revelation because I was brought up in an un-religious environment, but for someone growing up surrounded by intense Christianity, the sentiment of that song might be very liberating—this song entertaining the idea that God might be some kind of sadist or something, if he even exists. It’s quite a radical concept. And when I listened to that song again, it’s a really beautiful piece of electronic music.~

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #13 on: 30 April 2013 - 00:47:50 »
2013-04-30 - Electronic Beats (Germany) - Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J. McCarthy shares his Depeche Moment

Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J. McCarthy shares his Depeche Moment
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in Recommendations by Douglas McCarthy about Depeche Mode, Douglas J. McCarthy, Nitzer Ebb

In the latest installment of our series assessing the impact of Depeche Mode through personal narratives, EBM innovator Douglas J. McCarthy recounts why being forced to tour with them was one of the best things to ever happen to Nitzer Ebb.

When Nitzer Ebb first signed to Mute Records in 1987, one of the first things Daniel Miller wanted us to do was tour with Depeche Mode on their Music For the Masses European tour. Being the obstinate, snotty little upstarts that we were, we baulked at the idea of doing something so ‘mainstream’ and popular’. We actually had a genuine fear that it would ruin our nonexistent career. Daniel insisted and got his way. Once on the tour the penny finally dropped: “Oh, that’s what being in a band is all about…”

Not only were we blown away by DM’s stage performance and attention to detail, off stage they were extraordinarily kind and generous… and an awful lot of fun. Things went so well, in fact, that they decided the show must go on, and we were invited to tour the US, too. US immigration had other ideas, and our work visas were denied, citing that we “lacked musical merit”—in some ways, a point well made. Sad though it was, the bands remained fast friends and whilst we were recording our third album Showtime, at Swanyard Studios in London, DM were mixing the 101 soundtrack in the room next door. We introduced them to Flood and made every effort to get him to produce their next album. It ended up being the masterpiece Violator, and once again we were invited to tour with them. This time, visas in our sweaty palms, we were actually let in.

The “World Violation Tour” that took place in the US over the summer of 1990 was an incredible experience for everyone involved. There was a magical element to it, which sounds straight out of the Rock and Roll Bullshit Handbook (I always keep a copy handy in my back pocket), but it was just a very special time full of excess, tears, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

The tour established Nitzer Ebb as part of the history of American alternative music and sent us on a trajectory that only we could hamper. As it turned out, hamper we did. Then, after a near ten year hiatus, we reunited and in the blink of a bleary eye we were on the road and making a new album. Whilst touring Europe we happened to be in Berlin for the Olympiastadion Depeche Mode show, which of course we leapt at the chance to attend. Given pride of place on a platform in front of the house mixing desk, we watched in awe as the boys did what they do to a capacity crowd of nearly 70,000 people. Then, and this is where my rambling finally gets us, Dave Gahan dedicated “Never Let Me Down” to Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy. I am, admittedly, a sentimental fool, but I truly wept. With that one gesture, those few words, and that song, Dave summed up over two decades of love, happiness, heartbreak and sorrow. What a bastard.

Offline Angelinda

  • Assistant
  • Damaged People
  • ****
  • Posts: 12943
  • Gender: Female
Re: 2013: Other News
« Reply #14 on: 02 May 2013 - 23:25:05 »
2013-05-02 - Depeche Mode on Facebook:

Depeche Mode are taking a stand against extreme poverty all over the world by joining Global Citizen. Register today, make an impact, and earn points for a chance to win tickets to concerts in your town: