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DB: Oh certainly, yeah… I mean that was the period as well where we were all really into the same sort of…. So, yeah, we definitely were on the same page as that and searching Route 66 (Casualty Mix) different ways of doing things, different sounds.
DB: Exactly, yeah. So, if we did do a chord it would be layered out of various monophonic parts. And one of the first things we did when we got to Paris was go around just making loads of samples. I thought you usually made samples as and when required but no we went round, the first few days just going round and bashing snare drums or bits of percussion and whatever we could find and sampling them for later use, so that was quite interesting.
DB: No, no, it was all just long cables. Anyway, we did swap a few things around like that. DB: That was before my time. I think probably the band — they loved going away. SDE: I was going to say that, because Hansa in Berlin sounded like a really cool place to record, did you ever work there?
However, we had a fantastic time in Paris, I mean we had a great time and worked bloody hard but went out clubbing every night.
We Route 66 (Casualty Mix) the same age, and it was fun. It was hard work but fun. So, yeah, we got on very well and it was a really enjoyable album to do. SDE: What was the studio routine? Would it be a late morning early afternoon start? It was like going into work out of the sunshine got really oppressive because it was pretty intense. Route 66 (Casualty Mix) mean we were doing seven days a week, long hours. SDE: I noticed on the credits you produced and engineered the record.
I mean that sounds like a reasonable amount to Route 66 (Casualty Mix) on. Why did you do that? DB: Well, I was co-producer. That was common, you know, I think it still is, Route 66 (Casualty Mix). The engineer will be a co-producer as well. If I had taken on the whole production role I might used another engineer. It was the crossover between production and engineering that they wanted. SDE: When you started the album, how finished were the songs?
Were there demos etc. Martin was never very involved in the production, I was thinking about this the other day, and I never knew exactly why. I think he probably found the process pretty intense and boring, and it certainly was boring a lot of the time, but I think he felt that it had been taken away from him a little bit, because that was the way it was done; the demos were this very rough outline and then they would be polished up… and Alan had a vision on that.
DB: Absolutely. He was used to being in that role. But I actually loved that track, still do. That was obviously because I think the demo vision got carried through a bit better. SDE: Was there much guitar used in the studio. SDE: Strangelove was a big-ish single. You must have been pleased with how that turned out? SDE: Say that again about the versions… so the single version was different to the album version, but which one do you think is the best one, the album version?
DB: No, no, the single was our original version. That was actually one song where I know Martin, quite early on, was unhappy with the way it was going and we ended up… I think on his original demo, it had a fast bass line and then Alan had made it half time and I remember Martin not being happy with that.
DB: Yeah. Well that particularly had loads of space in it and I was thinking about that the other day. That was the third single, of course. Well, the breathing, the two samples, originally were sampled from a porn film. They were really lo-fi. DB: Yeah, and then went to Denmark. I think there were a fair few gaps. We went from Paris and then we went to Konk [studios in North London], to do vocals, I think… and bits and pieces.
And then we went to Puk [studios in Denmark]. It gets quoted at me a lot. So, we finally managed to get Sacred right. But I do remember the tour and I saw them in Paris in some stadium and it is an incredible thing to open with. It was pretty scary actually, it was like a rally! You can imagine all sorts of dark things, you could use that for all sorts of various purposes but it was really powerful. I do love the kind of… more experimental stuff. SDE: They did seem to balance being experimental but it never pulling it too far away from the mainstream where people could still enjoy it.
DB: No, no, no [laughs]. Did you get involved much? DB: Yeah, we did do them. DB: Aggro mix, yeah, I play that occasionally. I know Alan added some stuff on the Aggro Mix, I think. DB: No. There is no filler in there at all. SDE: But the thing is, in the flow of a record it works quite nicely I think, you know, rather than picking out individual songs. I mean, very rarely listen to a whole album. I just listen to it on my phone speaker.
DB: Yeah, Fletch said they wanted me to do it, but I was off to do Tears for Fears [ The Seeds of Love album] so basically, I had two years out of my life, whether I would have actually got to do it… I know certainly Fletch asked me to do it and the Tour, I was supposed to be doing too, but I was otherwise engaged.
Fascinating interview. Loved this band right up to Songs of Faith and Devotion, but now I understand why post that album they became so crap…. Alan Wilder left! Not to mention other, later songs and albums, but Ultra is one of top 5 DM albums of all. Very much enjoyed the insightful interview. Love Depeche Mode. Apart from the slightly different intro they sound exactly the same. Has always bothered me why someone would do a remix without any significant changes to the original version.
Any ideas? Yet another superb interview Paul, you always manage to identify the most interesting persons to have as guests, pure class. Thank you so much. I am a fan of Dm of course but never got that deep into the history or story of the band, but reading this I guess I understand that the fans who believe Wilder was fundamental to their greatness are right… Of course for me just the fact he had the idea to transform a slow ballad into the dance romp that is Enjoy The Silence and I do not think MLG can say anything against the song that alone could guarantee a considerable retirement pension to him and the whole band… crowns hem as a genius, but it appears that he had a hand in everything even before that.
And the results were exceptional and memorable. For me, the only subsequent albums strong enough to be compared to the band with Wilder are Ultra and Playing the Angel. Anyway whatever the production may be, in the end what is important is the song see how good songs from the past sound today when sung with piano only during live concerts by Martineven if the song itself may indeed be radically transformed in millions of groovy or less groovy versions.
MFTM is the sixth release of the vinyl boxes so far, without special press releases or statements from band, management or other people wich were involved. The subsequent album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and the supporting Devotional Tour exacerbated tensions within the band to the point where Alan Wilder quit inleading to intense media and fan speculation that the band would split. Now a trio once again, the band released Ultra inrecorded at the height of Gahan's near-fatal drug abuse, Gore's alcoholism and seizures and Fletcher's depression.
The release of Exciter confirmed Depeche Mode's willingness to remain together, the subsequent, and very successful, Exciter Tour being their first tour in support of an original album in eight years since the Devotional Tour, although the band had toured in to support The Singles 86—98 compilation album. Depeche Mode have to this day sold over million records worldwide, making them one of the most commercially successful electronic bands and one of the world's best-selling music artists in the world.
Q magazine calls Depeche Mode "the most popular electronic band the world has ever known" and included the band in the list of the "50 Bands That Changed the World! Current lineup: Martin L.
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