1982-xx-xx BAKTABAK Interview Picture Disc
BAKTABAK is a sublabel from the London label Tabak Marketing Ltd., specialised in releasing unofficial interview discs. This particular item was released several times in several formats over the years (as listed here), although it is unknown in what year it was first released. It has also been auto-generated on Depeche Mode's YouTube channel in 2020, where it states that the release date was 1990-07-23. It contains one short interview with Martin Gore in a hollow room and one long interview with the whole band on a driving bus. A 16-minute excerpt of the long interview also appeared on an interview disc called 'The Conversation Disc Series' that was issued by Wax Records in 1988. Judging by the subject matter, the interviews seem to have been conducted in 1982, by the same interviewer and thus possibly on the same day. Given the environments in which these interviews took place, it is difficult to hear what is being said at times and thus there may be some errors in the transcripts. The lineage of the files below are unknown.
- 00:00 - 08:38 [Interview with Martin in hollow room]
- 08:38 - 43:38 [Interview with band in driving bus]
- Total time: 43:38 minutes
Transcript interview Martin Gore
Interviewer: Hello Martin.
I: Yeah, well, let's start with telling me how the tour is going for you at the moment.
M: Eh, it's going very well. Most of the concerts have been sold out and there's been a very good audience reaction. Especially some places: Glasgow is very good, for instance, it's about the best one, I think.
I: What sort of reaction is there from the crowds towards the new line up in the band and the new material and albums and stuff like that?
M: It's very good. We haven't had one hostile crowd. Now, obviously there's like one or two people on some nights who just come along to heckle you. They go down the pub and have had a bit too much to drink and they just come along and shout things out. But on the whole, though, most people are just enjoying it. Especially Alan, the new member, he gets more people shouting out for him than we do. (laughs)
I: Yeah. You've got a new album out. It's called A Broken Frame, right?
I: What does that specify, A Broken Frame, what do you mean exactly by A Broken Frame? Are things being now more serious?
M: No, it's just a represent of breaking away from our limitations from before. We felt sort of enclosed, and that's just sort of breaking out of what we were doing before.
I: Do you think now that finally, Depeche Mode with this album and material and this current tour, that you have shaken off the myth that was attached to the previous member of the band Vince Clarke, with all that "Vince is leaving", "Vince has left"... Do you think people have mostly forgotten about all of that?
M: I think a lot of people have, but I think we're not going to get away from that for a long time. People had forgotten it at one time. Just after Vince had left, we had "See You" [and it] was successful, and Vince hadn't released a single, people didn't sort of remember it then. Now, Yazoo is successful, people are obviously gonna remember it, and keep asking us about it in interviews, especially foreign interviews, I think, where we get it more. Because, I think Yazoo have done well in most countries abroad. A lot better than us, even. So obviously people are going to ask us about that. I think in a lot of places we're the Heaven 17 of that country, the same sort of situation.
I: Yes, because, at one time, they found themselves as being very much the antidotes, but I think that in this case you have proved that you can continue even though Vince was the main songwriter, because now you are the main songwriter and you're doing everything and you're capable of writing songs, at least. Do you find it difficult to write songs? I mean, have you always written songs on your own?
M: Yeah, I've always written songs, but not prolifically. I used to write one or two a year, perhaps. And never seriously, they were just... I've been in a band since I was 13 or so, but it was never serious, it was just a play to a few friends or youth clubs and things like that so I've always written songs but just not seriously before. Now I've got to write more seriously.
I: The responsibility of the material lies in your hands, really, at you the most. Do you get any help from the others at all?
M: Not in actually writing the songs, like the words and the chords and things like that. But I only write the basic structure of the songs before we get to the studio, and then we sort of work on it as a team in the studio. We'll try different things out to see what works, and we decide together what works best.
I: How would you say that a song, how much does it alter from the basic construction when you wrote it to actually getting on record?
M: It differs from song to song. But most of the time the result is a lot different from from how I expected it to be.
I: The arrangements that there are on the songs, who's responsible for them? Are you all responsible as something that's, let's say... well, ehm, Daniel is involved, for instance...
M: Daniel is involved. We're all responsible. Daniel might suggest something, or we might suggest something, and we'll just try it to see if it works or not. And if it works, we keep it.
I: Depeche Mode has been one of the most, like one of the pioneer bands, as such, to come up with this so-called electropop band that have been by many described. How do you feel about it, now that there are other bands [which are] not necessarily playing the same format, but using very much the same skeleton as you have already used on your songs?
M: I don't mind that. I think that as long as they've got good ideas and write good songs, it's alright. I think the songs are the most important thing.
I: What do you call for when the song is written? I mean, obviously, now you've been playing since you're 13 years old, you said. Are you a bit of a perfectionist yourself?
M: No. (laughs) I'm far from a perfectionist, because I'm very lazy. A lot of the time I have to be pushed by the others and pushed by Daniel to do things. If we record a part, for instance, [and] it's not quite perfect, almost perfect but not quite, I'll tend to say "Well that's alright, we'll get away with that, no one will notice", and the others or Daniel might say "No, we better do it again", something like that.
I: As to most of the actual shaping up of the record. Is it in studio performed or is it doing rehearses in a format, let's say?
M: No, it's actually in a studio. Up until now, we haven't rehearsed before we had gone into the studio.
I: The use of live tapes that you've got of the times you're using them at a live show, how much does that leave you? Obviously there's one advantage to that, but you can't improvise. Do you ever find that a sort of choking experience?
M: No, we've always used tapes, either tapes or a drum machine, so we haven't really experienced anything else. But we never really felt choked or restricted, because we're not the sort of band who want to play five minute solos, things like that. I don't think we could get away with that sort of thing in our sort of music. So I think it fits our sort of music perfectly.
I: One day, I think, it probably gonna have to happen that you have to add different sounds of different dimensions to your music. Well you can keep on with what you're doing, but I think it doesn't seem right, in many ways you obviously have to be ready to progress into something different. Can you see a shape, something, of what's going to happen?
M: Not at the moment, no. We're happy with what we're doing at the moment. But think we will probably try out other instruments, perhaps an acoustic guitar or something like that, with our line up. Just to see how it works.
I: How much do you apply that image, the young teenager image, the pop image, really? Do you like that?
M: I don't know. I don't think it's actually a question of liking it, you have to just sort of accept it. We've really been thrust into this position, just because our singles were successful and because our albums have been fairly successful. We just have to accept it, really, that people are shouting out for us and things like that. I think, ideally, that wouldn't happen because people wouldn't treat you as stars, but we just have to accept it. It does get a bit much sometimes, when you leave the concerts and there's fifty or hundred people waiting outside and they all try to grab pieces off ya, get their hands full of your hair and things like that.
I: What did you experience in that, the first time that happened to you, what did you think about it? Did you think "Oh, I gotta go home", or what did you...
M: I don't know. The first time is a novelty.
Transcript interview band
Interviewer: You're the new guy, eh?
Alan: Yeah, I'm Alan.
I: How is it happening, is it good? Is it going good for you?
A: Yeah, it's ehm... So far, up until this album I'm finally being actually employed by the band. I'm not on any of the records, and I haven't played on the album or earlier singles this year. But now I've joined the band full-time, as a permanent member.
I: So you were doing session work but now you're full time.
A: Yeah, I don't like to call it session work, because it wasn't really sessions, but I mean, I was in the band, as such, but not recording-
I: -Oh, sorry-
A: That's alright. I did tours and TV, and some interviews and things like that, and photos, but just not recording. But as I said, it's now full-time and we're all like a proper band now.
I: I would expect that with this new album, A Broken Frame, I would expect it to be a frightening step for you, because you're out on your own as a songwriter now. How big a task was it for you, knowing you were probably the only one to do it really?
Martin: I think it wasn't really frightening, I enjoyed doing it. Before, when Vince was in the band, I was always sort of staying in the shadows, out my own choice, I never really pushed myself to write songs, because I knew Vince was gonna write them. Now, I have to, and I like doing it anyway. I enjoy it.
I: Was it difficult for you to write songs?
M: Quite difficult to write, because, I've always written songs but I've never really written that many. I write one every six months or something. Whereas now I've got to write 14 a year, I have to write 12 to 14 a year. All the B-sides, the singles, the album.
I: What about help from the rest of the band? Does that come along at all now?
M: Well, Andy and Dave don't write songs, but Alan, who's joined in - he has just explained the situation to ya - he's gonna be writing some songs as well now, we might be writing together.
I: When you write on your own, like on this first album, I should imagine that there's what by men bring you frightening - it's not really frightening, it's pressure on you, because, if something is not liked, or something is liked, or something is like great, you've got the credit up, something not liked, the finger points at you. I should imagine that's the thing what you felt you had to get out of the way, yeah?
M: Obviously you do feel that sort of pressure, but you have time to sort of do your best, really. And if you ehm -
A: -The thing is, it's very easy to get carried away into thinking "Oh God, I've got to write something that's gonna please these people."
M: Yeah. Do you want me to shut the window?
I: Oh, I don't mind, yeah.
?: Can you shut this?
M: You just gotta keep introducing new material. If you believe that what you're doing is good, then you don't really have to worry about other people, so...
I: From writing two songs a year, then suddenly writing 14, was it the producer, was it all Danny perhaps, telling you "They're all good", or, I mean, did you write a lot of songs, more than 14?
M: No, that was about it, really. There were some that I wrote at home, alone, and I decided before we had actually gone into the studio that I didn't like those. I just didn't think they were good enough.
I: How do you write songs, personally? Did you write them on the set?
M: It depends. Sometimes, I-
I: And are you a keyboard player as well? Piano player?
M: I'm not such a keyboard player. I just know basic chords, I play synth with one hand. Sometimes I write on the keyboard the chords first and write a melody over it over its own. Sometimes I write with a guitar, sometimes I write the words first, or just work on the melody, you know. It differs from song to song.
I: It's the first time that we will be hearing your compositions in full, except for the singles which already appear on the album, as you said. It is a different album, not because, in my opinion, you've tried to do something different, but because you are a different songwriter. Now, with regards to arrangements and stuff like this, which is probably the most important - it's not the songs because the songs may be easy to write - when it comes to arranging them and giving them the bit of polish here and there, and sending them down, who takes care of that?
M: That's partly us and partly Daniel. That's part of the producer's job. He gotta take care of it sounding right, make sure that bits and pieces fit together, so it's partly Daniel and partly us. We sort of share the production.
I: One thing that, when Depeche Mode started, at the beginning, you had the tag of being the equivalent of "a 3-chord band", do you know what I mean? the very simple note, "da da da dum", but I heard you saying on the radio, explaining about the sleeve, what it means, "A Broken Frame", you're broken from the tag. Was it in a way, okay you had Vince writing for you, but in a way, are you glad that things happened the way they happened, and that now you're able to express yourself as a songwriter?
M: Yeah. For me, it's a lot better, I enjoy writing, I enjoy writing songs, I enjoy having more freedom in the studio. Before it, a lot of it was left up to Vince. he'd come in with a song, virtually say "I wanna do this, I wanna do this", everything was just left up to him. If we disagreed with something, then we'd have to really argue, although there's three of us and we might disagree with him, it would still be a struggle, because he's such a - he has a very strong character. Now, we've all got more freedom, we're more like a democratic band. If someone doesn't like something, we consider that opinion. I: I guess that a lot of Depeche Mode fans, they got it well, because there was one Depeche Mode, and now there's two. When I say that, I don't mean they're both similar, but both splinters of the band. I mean, people who are happy with Yazoo, were obviously happy with what Vince used to write. And people who are happy with Depeche Mode, are obviously happy with what you are writing. So they're getting the best of both worlds for themselves.
A: There's really people that like both.
I: Yeah and probably you get the same punters at your gigs, right?
A: Oh, yeah.
I: The show and everything you do, is centered obviously around songs [mumbles something to someone else?], is it different from what used to happen, now...
M: Different now, that Vince has left?
M: Not really, no. Obviously the set is different. This set contains songs from the new album. But basically what we're doing is the same.
I: You don't play any of the old "Speak and Spell"?
M: We do.
I: Oh, you do.
M: Yeah, we play, about four or five-
A: -Singles, and covers all the tracks of Speak and Spell plus all of the new album. That, from a visual point of view, we're the same.
M: Except that we've got a new stage set, which is like, back of a stage-
A: -Back of a film set.
M: -film set.
I: Are the tapes still there?
A: Yeah, we still use the tapes.
I: Is that something that you, because, I mean, you've got the tag of having tapes, your personal beatboxes, I think was the word, but are you gonna try find something else now? "Okay, tape is necessary, maybe hide it behind the curtain or something", because I think you used to show up-
A: We still do. There's-
M: -It's just more honest.
A: -There's no reason to hide it. And if you hide it, you're immediately saying, "We feel guilty about this, we're not happy about this".
I: It's more, image-wise, people are saying "Oh no, not that tape again". Do you know what I mean, it's like-
A: -I think that sort of thing is well accepted now, in this country especially. In America we came in for some stick about that. Because there not really ready to accept something like that. But there's so many bands that do use tapes these days, and have done for quite a while now, going back to, like, 10CC who always used to use tapes on stage as well and it has become a very accepted thing and I don't think many people are bothered by it anymore. It's nice to play with times, I find it really nice, you know your drummer is not going to make a mistake, and you can get a very good, punchy sound, without any acoustics problems or anything like that, it's just-
M: -For us there's not a lot of alternatives, because in the studio you use a drum machine, which triggers various things, like, we use different bass drums, on different songs.
I: What's it called?
M: We use a TR808, Roland TR808, which triggers either Simmons,-
I: You've got the Simmons...?
M: It triggers it, we don't actually play the-
A: -Yeah, we don't play it.
I: Does it look like an oven?
M: No, it's not like those ones. It's a small unit, which you link up to the TR808, it just triggers the sounds-
A: -So one drum machine plays the other one. Rather than having the pads to play it, the drum machine plays it.
I: Do you use any pads though?
I: So, all the drum is being synthetic then?
M: Yeah. To do that live, it would take so long to set everything up, and also, it's so complicated to programme every song, because the TR808 can't take a lot of programmes. Perhaps you can programme four songs into it, then there's not enough to programme the whole set into it. Also, you'd have to get the right bass drum sound and every night, whereas if you use tapes, you just record that, and play it back every night. It's unreliable, very unreliable, to actually...
I: What did you start off with? What synthesisers did you use to start with?
M: I played a Yamaha CS5, Andy had a Moog Prodigy, and Vince used to have a Kawai.
I: And what was it, and now this Roland and stuff, no string stuff, electronic stuff?
M: Well I use a PPG, which is German, Alan uses a-
A: -Roland Jupiter-
M: -And Andy uses a Moog Source.
A: It's just for convenience, you know. We need to have good, programmable synths so that we can get the right sounds without too much fiddling around.
I: And we're talking about very expensive equipment?
A: Oh, yeah.
I: You weren't in the band, (...)
[Dave and and some girlfriends start talking in the the background, the interviewer is inaudible]
I: Do you own your own equipment?
A: It's the band's, not mine.
I: It's the band's. Am I right in saying that any member has to buy their own equipment every time?
M: A lot of it. Not all of it, so... Even so, like, the Moog cost us GBP3,500, the BGP cost GBP3,500, the TR cost about a 1,000 pounds.
I: So you probably got, what, 25,000, 30,000 pounds?
M: No, it's much less.
A: -Much less, about 10,000 or 12,000GBP.
M: -12,000 pounds.
I: That's not bad.
A: Because while they're expensive, we only have one keyboard each, and a tape machine. And that's it. Everything else, we hire for the tour, like PA, we hire. Lights, we hire, coach, it's all hired. So really, it's not that much.
I: I should imagine... I don't know, this is the first time I'm seeing your set-up, but it's obviously less expensive than a Rock 'n' Roll band, right?
A: Yeah, although, every time we tour, we tend to spend a little bit more every time, I don't know why exactly, but it happens. (laughs)
M: We usually manage to make money, though, in England, Britain.
I: You're just about one of the few bands who are actually making money, probably.
A: Yeah. It's not a great deal, but it's a profit, not a loss.
I: It's better than a loss.
A: Yeah, exactly. Martin, we tend to lose in Europe, don't we? What we make in England we'll lose in Europe. But, that's okay, break even.
I: You lose because of trying to get people-
Dave: Oh well no, it's just, you have just so much more costs to get over there, and take the crew over there...
A: ... and all that.
M: So our fees are bit less over there, we can't command huge fees over there, because-
A: -The thing is, the point in touring isn't really making money, is it? It's...
I: It's from albums, that money...?
D: If you break even, that's great. You can go on tour gladly, and the tour goes like this as well. It's not exactly, a little piggy bust.
I: You're one of the few bands that I know, as well, who, at the stage, and when I'm saying "at the stage" I mean, after you've had a few hits, you still manage yourselves. Do things run that smooth for you? Are you able to find time to manage yourselves?
D: We do, really, don't we? I mean, the hardest bit about it is the accounts and stuff like that. That's quite difficult. We try to stay away from it as much as we can, really.
A: We have a lot of good people around us that are obviously helping out and fulfilling quite a lot of those roles. Like, our tour manager doubles up with doing the out-front sound, he also does work at Mute Records and basically does a lot more than your average tour manager. And of course Daniel helps out as well, and I think he fulfills more of a role than your average record company boss would, do you know what I mean? He does more on a personal level than most record company people would. So, in that respect, there's a lot of good people around us that make it a lot easier.
I: Probably something which you wouldn't have been able to do had you probably signed a big company?
A: Yeah. Well then a big company would have probably said "You gotta have a manager and stuff"-
D: -And they would probably give us a manager.
A: But, it doesn't seem too much of a problem, does it? Apart from, as you say, it's the accounts and tax basically that we have to be careful about, because we're all pretty naive on that level, I think. I don't understand anything about accounting or tax, or anything really.
I: Being faithful to the record company which obviously gave you a chance of breaking, is one thing, but facing reality, you might have to face facts in a few years time where you'd say, "It's no longer feasible to be on a small company because we need great distribution", or something like that. You're obviously prepared for things like that?
D: Oh yeah, obviously if it got that bad, then we'd have to start thinking about what we're gonna do more, but for the moment we just haven't got to do that.
I: As a band, I know money is nice, but do you wanna keep it low-key in the sense of making enough money...?
D: All you need is enough money to live on, really. I don't think any of us have got any ambitions of becoming a millionaire, or... What you basically need is enough money to live on, and then, I think I'd be happy. If you have a house, and a car, and for the rest of your life you've got enough to live on, you don't really want much more, that's enough.
I: Are these things coming your way, like a house and a car and stuff like that?
D: Not at the moment, they're not. (laughs)
I: But obviously, they could be?
D: They could be, yeah.
I: One thing that's, you've heard this... This is a cliché, but the music business is very fickle, right? I mean, one day is pro you, then it's against. You've already started facing the "against" from the media, as I've heard you saying to the gentlemen right there [Dave laughs], but, if, let's assume, you've got to make the best out of while it lasts. How are you going to confront that? I mean, what's your strategy, really?
D: -Kill 'em all. (laughs)
A: -Kill all the band critics. No, I mean, basically you might want [to], but personally speaking, I don't take that too seriously, because as we were saying, we've heard, we've seen that with everybody else, just about any band you can care to think of gets built up and then knocked down, you know, and you know, if you're prepared for that, then obviously you're expecting it and it's not too much of a blow. But of course, still, if somebody, like, slangs you off or gives you a hard time, it obviously gets to you. It'd be silly to pretend that you're not hurt by it, or...
I: It's how popular the music, will last, that it's more the difficult question I'm trying to get through here...
A: Well yeah, I think in the end, in fact all that kind of media thing, it doesn't really make that great, [or] little difference, if you're in a "in an out" kind of position whereby you've got past the stage of having to have that press. Even if you don't have that press, you've still got your fans, you've still got people that are gonna buy your records, so in that respect, it's not too important. But basically, it always comes back to good music, carrying you through. The thing is, it's very difficult for us to say "Well, we're gonna carry on for ten years, and in ten years time we'll still be touring and doing records, and see...", because we don't know what we'll be doing. You can only keep going, and try and keep progressing, you know, and getting better, and putting out good material, and as long as we're happy doing that, we will do it. But as to say, you know, "Oh, we're going to retire and make comebacks in ten years time, or by this time",-
M: -Breaks can be healthy, though.
A: -Breaks CAN be healthy, yeah.
I: People get sick of seeing [a] face all days?
M: Apart from that, if we went through a barren hatch, and we've been producing material that we were happy with, then it would be wrong, to, like, release something we weren't happy with. That's mainly why we take a break for a year, because we weren't happy with what we were producing, or something, just because it was not exactly that what we wanted to, and maybe that happens to a lot of bands. Someone like, Led Zeppelin, only producing an album every three years, something like that, whenever it is. Because, they're not happy with what they're producing. And they'll leave it until they can actually produce something, and maybe make a new release.
I: You obviously must be proud of the fact that you are of the, the band, one of forefronts of the so-called synthesiser-drop. I mean, The Human League made big success, you've all made... Yazoo've are making success, you are are making success. There's not that many, I mean, you are one of the pioneers. Are you proud of it? Or does it not suit you at all?
M: No I think we are proud of it, because we are proud of it... We can't really think about it too much. Sometimes I hear something that's like electronic music or stuff, that I like. That make-
A: -I find it very difficult to see us in perspective, you know, to see yourself in perspective with everyone else. It's very difficult to think, "We are this, and this is where we are", because, I don't know, you're so involved that in fact all you're doing is getting on with it and doing it. And it's when you start sitting back and thinking about what you're doing that you maybe start making mistakes, by trying to-
I: -you start analysing yourself-
A: -start too much self-analysis, yeah. And I think that's been a lot of the beauty of the success, really, in that it has not been analysed too much, it has just happened, and nearly everything that has happened has been a kind of natural progression, including this new album, which is different in a lot of ways but it's been a natural progression rather than something that's been contrived.
I: What do you think it was that has sparked off general interest in such music? What do you think made the kids say, "Yeah, this is what we want"?
M: I think punk music opened up a new way for a lot of new music, because it has broadened people's minds. Before, a lot of people, the general public weren't prepared to listen to anything that they thought was slightly different. But after that, sort of anything is acceptable, and then Gary Numan came along, he opened the way a lot as well for electronic music. He had a couple of, eh a few, quite a few hits, and people began to just accept the electronics more.
A: Yeah. I mean, I think that for the moment, it's healthy in some respect, seeing that there's room for every kind of music, I mean, you only got to look at the charts to see that. There's reggae, soul, there's funk, electronic, heavy metal, everything's in there. And in that respect, it's healthy, but, we are getting a little bit back to pre-punk days also, in that there's a lot of blandness creeping in as well, isn't it?
I: The thing of chucking away your guitars, is what I've heard that you've said that before, but literally chucked away your guitars for synthesisers. Is that temporary? Do you see yourself going back to guitars at all?
M: I don't think that's sort of ehm... Not like, mean beats, solos, and that sort of thing, but I think acoustic guitars... eh-
A: -actually, the sound of guitars by any means thrown out the window-
I: -Is that more like for folk music again, 'cos it used to be something for folk bands, right?
M: Somewhat folk yeah. But, I've always liked acoustic guitars. Andy's has got one with us now, he'll play them. I don't think you can say that we'd never use a guitar again.
A: The thing is, with a synthesiser, it is so easy to get such a wide range of completely different sounds, and you always discover new sounds, the actual sounds that are available on synthesisers these days seems to be infinite. And you can constantly discover new sounds, and from that point of view it's really exciting. Because, [with a] guitar, okay, you can stick through effects, and echo, and flanging, and God knows what, but basically, once you've tried all that out, there's not much else, sound-wise.
I: And if you're talking [about there being] a guitar-synthesiser, that's what people are telling, they are referring to guitars- synthesisers anyway, do you know what I mean?
A: Yeah, but then again, you're just using a synthesiser via guitar strings instead of keys, which is exactly the same thing. So... It's just really, it's just like, the sound of a guitar may suit a particular song in which case it may fit as it is, but apart from that I can't really see a complete reversion to drums, bass and guitar, you know, anything like that.
I: Do you follow at all any funky music, any soul music?
M: It must have been, like, I don't like any, really, eh...
I: You don't like electronic-funk stuff that's coming up now, like electro, eh, lots of synthesiser, funky stuff? I don't mean, Cool And The Gang, and people like that, I mean more like some of these new ones with really obscure names that I'm probably coming up with. They're a bit like a funkier version of The Human League, for instance, a very, very funky version. You think you don't follow...
A: I haven't heard much of that.
M: No, I haven't...
I: There's one called, one band called Shock, in USA. I think they got a song called "Electrophonic Funk", [Martin chuckles] but eh... It's all happening, and I think it's, I mean, obviously the States, you've played there? What do you think is happening? I mean, with regards to Depeche Mode in the States? Is it happening at all for you, or is it closed doors, what is it?
M: Well I don't think anything is happening, personally, I don't think... Yeah, but, ehm, quite a few people turn up to our concerts, places like Manhattan had about 2,000, [?], you know, all the major cities. And that's not really enough for America. We've sold about 30,000 albums, which is about, 10,000 in England.
I: Are you gonna keep trying, keep hammering at the States?
A: We're not prepared to go over the States to over six months of the year, and flog ourselves to death. I mean, we couldn't do that, and I don't think we can do that. And, as to getting radioplay in the States it's very difficult. So, I don't know, we just got to hope, really.
M: If we have a new hit single out, there, or something like that, then it will just be an added bonus, you sort of think of it as an added bonus.
A: Obviously we will play there, we liked playing there, but, you know-
I: -The challenge is there for you-
A: -how much of a dent will that actually make? That's basically what I mean.
I: Not unless you go for, as you already say, six months a year, which is boring stuff, but eh, I gather you, I mean, it's fun being on the road, but you're not very much into touring?
M: Not really.
I: You'd rather be in the studio, creating music?
A: Yeah, I think you can say that, yeah. I mean, usually, the beginning of a tour is quite nice, but after you've been on the road for a few weeks, it's getting pretty boring. You don't know where you are, you know?
I: Tell me something about the songs that you written. I keep hearing everywhere you don't like talking about your songs. But... where do they come from? Is it just a from your own jobs? Are we talking about a collection of years? Lyrics influenced by somebody else? Tell me more. I mean, how do they happen? Generally speaking?
M: Ehm... Well I usually just write independently. But, I write about anything, really. Some things may be impressions on, something that I've been looking forward to write about. Quite a lot of the songs on the album are sad, but there's a lot of humour as well. I think people miss the humour a lot of the time, whereas me, when I hear something, it'll make me laugh. I've always liked humourous records. I don't particularly like jokes, as such, like a joke on, like, albums by Benny Hill, things like that, but, there are records that are quite meaningful but still retain their humour. I think they're my favourite type of music.
I: Do you write from personal experiences as well?
M: Sometimes, yes. Not always. Sometimes, a lot of the times, I exaggerate a personal experience. I'll blow it out of proportion.
I: Can you give me an example of that?
M: "See You" has, sort of, basically, basically, sort of happened, so it's a story, but you know, I have added bits here and there, to make it a bit more interesting, because it would be a bit boring, listening to, [laughs], to eh, what exactly happened.
I: "The Meaning Of Love" is a song which could have very well been written by ABC, because it appears there to be professors in the subject, but it's a subject which has proved itself to be very strong for hundred years, two hundred years maybe, or even three hundred years, ever since folk songs and stuff like that. Is it a subject that you'll likely refer into, whether you like it or not, is it an easy way of writing songs?
M: Not really, no. I think on its own... Not having an album at hand, there's only about three or four songs on the album that sort of are about love, I think. But I haven't got the album with me, so I'm just going for it if you don't mind quickly... Ehm... I don't think it's any easier to write about [love], I think it's just more a sort of part of people's lives, it concerns people more in real life, on that subject, and that's why people tend to write about love alone... It was "The Meaning Of Love", though, wasn't it?
M: I don't consider that a love song, really. It's more, that's more of-
A: Humourous. That's more of what Martin's been talking about.
I: Like, UB40's "Love Is All Is Alright"? It's actually an empty love song, but people thought it was a love song. Still, the subject matter, is something which... probably, the lyrics you found more difficult than music, right? So I should imagine most of the time, in your case, silly question, but most of the time in your case you had loads of music and lyrics to fit afterwards...
M: Not really, no.
M: I never really work on the music until I'm getting somewhere with the lyrics. I never, sort of, write music totally first.
I: But for your third album now, when you, you're obviously are gonna do another album, right? So, how are you gonna try and tackle it then, sort of?
A: The thing is to see how it comes out, really. And that doesn't mean that you're being lazy, it means you don't try and direct it before you know what your directions could be, you know?
I: Have you... That's what I meant, that's what probably my question should have been. Are you still now seeking the right direction, after sort of like, shaking things off the band?
A: The thing is, if you try to predetermine your direction, you're immediately trying to contrive something rather than letting it come. And I think that's what I was trying to say earlier on, we try to not do that too much, just to actually just write the songs at the time, depending on how you're feeling at the time, and do them in a way you see fit at the time. And if that happens to be a different direction or happens to be the same direction, or, whatever, then that's just the way it is. And, rather than just sort of saying, "Okay, well the second album was a bit more accessible to maybe an older audience, so let's make the third one a bit more poppy, you know, to get back to some of that", you know, it's... I think that's what I mean by, sort of, too much self-analysis will see us making mistakes, rather than letting it flow, basically.