1982-03-01 BFBS Radio 1, Cologne, Germany

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The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) provides information and entertainment for British troops stationed abroad. BFBS used to have many barracks in Germany in the last century and so it was widely available throughout Germany. An unknown host interviews the whole band on March 1st, because they travelled to Germany for one day for an unknown TV performance for channel WDR. Alan Wilder sounds really professional, which is remarkable considering the fact that he was only the band since two months.

  • Duration: 11:17 minutes



Host: [...] nine and a half hours, and let out again. I'm talking about Depeche Mode. They came over to do a radio show in the morning, and then they did a TV spectacular for WDR telly, 'WDR'. Well, I managed to catch up with them. Lucky me, lucky you! Because we now have an exclusive with the band Depeche Mode, for you, on BFBS.

['Just Can't Get Enough' plays]

Host: Everyone messes the name up. Everyone said it differently. I've heard it say in all different ways. What is it?

Dave: We don't really mind now. It's been Depeche Mode, Depech-ay Mode, DepECHay Mode, it's... Whatever people wanna call it, they can call it.

Andy: Apache Mode.

Host: Apache Mode. [laughs] But you really don't mind?

Dave: No, not really.

Host: It's gonna be a bit of a rush today, isn't it, one TV show and off?

Martin: Yeah, straight away. We're off to Spain on Wednesday.

Andy: We've just done a radio show as well, so it's quite a tough day.

Host: You did that this morning?

Andy: Yeah.

Host: Oh, goodness.

Andy: We don't know if we can do it again.

Host: Right, we will get you something to eat in just a moment. I wanna go back to Dave, because you're the singer with the band.

Dave: Yeah, that's right.

Host: I mean, you found success pretty quickly, as bands go, really quickly. How did it come about so quickly?

Dave: I don't know, I think we were just in the right place at the right time. It was... the music was changing and we was there. We was picked up very quickly, and the singles were the right thing for the charts, so it went from there.

Host: I wanna talk to you about the sound, because the sound is very fresh. Everyone was saying, it's fresh, it's clean, it's new. But you all, I think most of you, played conventional instruments at the beginning.

Dave: Yeah, well, Andy played bass guitar, Martin played guitar, Vince played guitar, and there was a drum machine. But then Martin got a synthesiser, and gradually they followed and got synthesisers as well.

Host: And now you're all into synthesisers?

Dave: Yeah.

Host: Any chance of getting back to the old instruments, Andrew?

Andy: You never know. We started to experiment with some sounds, new sounds that sound a bit like guitars. You never know. If we get bored, we might get back to them.

['New Life' plays]

Martin: Things will get more technical now, I think. Like, there's new developments all the time, and so-

Andy: -Might [???] and everything, you know. [laughs]

Host: It must have taken you quite a while, if you're all playing original, sort of ordinary - I call them ordinary - instruments, you know what I mean, guitars and bass and drums, to get used to having a whole batch of synthesisers.

Dave: Well, it's just, like, a gradual thing, it just happened in about three months. Within three months, say, we all had synthesisers. And we just found it easier to play with synthesisers. It worked better than when it was working with guitars.

Host: Daniel Miller-

Andy: -The legend.

Host: The legend, Daniel Miller, helped you to produce the album, but it's co-credited, isn't it?

All: Hmm-mm, yeah.

Host: So how much did he influence you?

Martin: He sort of more suggests things, and we have the final say, really, I think. He will say, "Don't you think it's a good idea to do such and such", and we [say], "Oh yeah, sounds like a good idea, we might as well try it and see what it comes out like." He's usually right.

Andy: He's much more technical than us, see. He's older.

Host: A PhD and a bit of a boffy?

Andy: No, no. He just more interested in, sort of, computers and the way they work and that, and that's all a bit over our head. We know a bit, we know the basics and that, but certain things we find difficult. It's difficult to grasp.

Dave: We might buy a book on fishing or something, or swimming, and he will buy a book on computers.

Host: I got Alan Wilder with me, who is the most recent member of the band, because Vince Clarke left some time ago. What happened to Vince, Alan?

Alan: Well, as far as I know, he was unhappy, generally, with the way things were going with the band, i.e. that it was becoming public property, and I don't think he really enjoyed that too much. But I don't actually know the guy, I never... Well, I've briefly met him, so I wouldn't like to speak too much for Vince. But anyway, he went, so they advertised for a new keyboard player, and I answered the audition, and went along for an audition, and got the job.

Host: Now, how long ago was this, because you don't often see a band in the calibre of Depeche Mode with a success rate advertising in the back of the Evening Standard?

Alan: No, well, it was the Melody Maker, actually, but I was quite surprised when I actually found out who it was. They didn't actually tell me at first. But, how long ago? When was that? Beginning of the year, January, beginning of January.

Host: And what's your keyboard training?

Alan: Well, I've been playing for... since I was about eight. I had piano lessons and played in a few other bands and things, so...

Host: Right. Germany for one night. Well, just one day. You've established here just for one day. What's happening - I know you have sort of mammoth success in Britain, it's been phenomenal, the last year has been great - what about elsewhere, Martin?

Martin: We haven't really taken off anything like England anywhere else. So we just started taking over places like France, sort of on a small level. And we got deals in most countries around the world, but haven't really done that well yet. Things are just starting to happen around now, I think.

Host: So I suppose the TV show and the radio shows and everything in Germany are hopefully gonna open up things here?

Alan: Yeah. And also, we're planning to come back in a couple of weeks time, to do a few shows. Not that many, but we're going to Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Hanover...

Host: This will be live shows?

Alan: Yeah, yeah. It's not too many, but... And we also got two or three TV shows to do, so all that will hopefully help. And we like to break this market, because it's a good market, obviously.

Host: The third in the world, isn't it? America, Japan, Germany. For records.

Alan: That's what they tell us, yeah. [laughs]

Host: So it's gotta be a good market to have a crack at. What about the new single? Because that's doing very well in the charts already. It's a little bit more complicated than it suggests, than the other... three? Yeah, other three. Is the new album gonna be like that, or is there one in the pipeline?

Martin: We'll probably have one released around September, sometime around September. Can't say if any of them is gonna be more complicated yet, we'll probably have a few different tracks on it, or varied tracks on it. But we only recorded about two tracks total, at the moment. We'll be recording, say, June or something, the main bulk of it.

Host: Will you be using the same producer?

Alan: Yeah, Daniel Miller, yeah.

['Any Second Now (Voices)' plays]

Host: What about taking the show on the road? Because, I know, with a lot of synthesisers, it's quite difficult, they can be temperamental, and in the studio, when you got plenty of time, you can get it set up bang on. Is it difficult live?

Alan: It's only difficult in respect of Martin's synthesiser, which has been giving us trouble, recently. But in fact, when things are working, when the keyboards are working as they should be going, the live shows are very easy to set up, because it's all directly injected, i.e., there's, like, taped drums, and there's no backline stuff on stage, so it means you can get a very good sound out of the PA.

Host: Almost a studio sound live?

Andy: That's right.

Alan: That's right, yeah.

Martin: It only takes us, like, fifteen minutes to soundcheck, whereas it would take a normal band, say, an hour or two-

Host: -That is quick, that's very quick. What's wrong with your synthesiser? It's temperamental.

Martin: Yeah, it's just not a very good traveller. It gets sort of shoved around a bit in the van, and it just tends to break very easily.

Alan: Yeah, it's a great machine-

Host: -What is it?

Alan: It's a PPG Wave 3, I think it's German-made.

Martin: -Wave 2.

Alan: Oh, Wave 2. I think it's German-made. And you can get some incredible sounds out of it, but it's just not a very good traveller, it's not very road-worthy.

Host: Why do you think it took so long for, what I call "synthesise pop", to break? Because it has been around for a long time. You have seen re-releases from Kraftwerk in the charts, The Human League have been doing it for a long time, well they're slightly more avant-garde, maybe. Why did it take so long?

Alan: It's difficult to say, it really is. As you say, Kraftwerk have been doing that kind of thing for eight years, and it's only this recent electronic boom which has enabled them to suddenly have a number one hit there. I don't know. I think the English market is certainly - and Germany - is certainly much more open-minded towards that kind of music, say, compared to the States. I think they're very closed about anything relatively new, in the States.

Host: Well, last I heard, they were just going into punk. Really.

Alan: Yeah. I mean, I think, certainly synthesisers and generally electronic kind of sounds are here to stay, definitely.

Host: Now, you're enormous in Britain, everything is going right. Are you gonna sort of leave Britain and become tax exiles when you're all millionaires?

Alan: I'd like to leave Britain, but not for those reasons, because I'd just like to live in a different country, I think.

Host: What's wrong with Britain for you?

Alan: I don't really enjoy living in London, certainly. And I really wouldn't like to live in the country in England, either, because it's too quiet. I'd like a compromise between the two. I don't like London, it's too hectic, too dirty, too noisy, for my liking. But, as far as tax exiles [are concerned], it's far too early to talk about it, I think.

Host: Really? Martin, do you wanna leave Britain?

Martin: No, I'm quite happy with where I live. The other three of us live in Basildon, which is about thirty miles outside London, so it's sort of out of the way of the sort of hustle of London, but it's not too quiet. It's just about right, really. But we don't get to go home too much now these days, though. We haven't been home for a few weeks.

Host: Well, you're here for a day. Where are you going to next?

Alan: Well, we got a day off tomorrow, which is the first day off for about a month, and then we're going to Spain on Wednesday-

Host: -He smiled when he said that, he meant it, you can tell.

Alan: [laughs] No, I don't mind too much. But, we're going to Spain on Wednesday for about a week, or five days-

Host: -Is that a holiday?

Alan: No, that's to do a couple of shows and a couple of TV's [shows]. And then we have a few days in the studio, back in England. And then we go to France, back to Germany, and a few other places, Sweden, Brussels, Luxembourg.

Host: Martin, I'm gonna be a bit cheeky: you're all young to have achieved the fame you've got, and I think probably a lot of people have said that - are you coping?

Martin: In some ways [yes], and in other ways not really. Like, a lot of things have been taken out of our control now. We just can't control things like touring and things like that, we need tour managers, we need... A lot of it is really organised for us. When you get to a certain level, you just need to be sort of really organised.

Host: So the days of the old Transit and batting around have gone completely?

Martin: Yeah.

Host: But it must have an enormous good sight to it as well?

Alan: Of course, of course, obviously. I mean, this recent tour has been, personally speaking, it's been very nice, because it's been well-organised, we've travelled in relative comfort, and we're stayed in nice hotels, and we played to really good audiences, and we got a good crew, good PA crew, good lighting crew. And therefore, it's been relatively easy to do, it hasn't been too much of a struggle.

['See You' plays]


  • low generation Maxell XLII 90 high position cassette, 1982 - 1984 Europe stock -> Technics RS-AZ7 cassette deck -> Yamaha RX-V1300RDS receiver -> Roland R-05 (24/48) -> WAV (16/44) -> encoded to MP3 for streaming
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