1983-12-09 Unknown, Munich, Germany
This is an interview from the bootleg interview disc "Depeche Mode 83-85 Interviews" released by Wax Records several times since 1989. Wax Records also released it separately under the catalogue serial MODE7CD. No information on any of the interviews was provided on the discs, but by listening to the interview it can be deduced that the interview took place in Munich, on the 9th December 1983, containing a German reporter who seems to have three axes to grind - Vince Clarke, "Fools" and limited edition releases. Consequently there's plenty of discussion on these three areas as well as some chat about the kind of audiences to which Depeche Mode are playing. The transcript below was copied from the now-defunct site Sacreddm.net.
- Duration: 14:34 minutes
Interviewer: It’s the third time in Germany with Depeche Mode, isn’t it?
Dave: That’s right, yeah.
Interviewer: Alright, and did you enjoy it?
Dave: Yeah, it’s fabulous, we’ve only done one show so far here which was Berlin last night, and that was very very good. Before that we were in Scandinavia, Belgium and Holland... All the shows have been sold out, and have been going very well.
Interviewer: What do you think about the people who came to the concert?
Dave: They were great, actually. In Sweden we were spoilt really, the audiences were so very, very warm and for the first gigs that were in Sweden, as we hadn’t played for a while and when you’re a little bit nervous at the first couple of gigs, they were very good and they helped. And Berlin yesterday was very very good: usually Berlin’s very cold and people just stand, but everyone was joining in and it was good fun.
Interviewer: I’m seeing one of your members is speaking German, is it Martin?
Dave: Yeah yeah yeah. He speaks... he has in England an “A Level”, which enables him really to speak quite fluent German.
Interviewer: I see. And what about your concerts? How many times did your roadies need to build the stage?
Dave: “How many times did...” - ?
Interviewer: How many hours did they need to build –
Dave: Oh I see. Well the crew bus is here already, they travelled last night from Berlin. They travel overnight every night, and they sleep on the bus, and they arrive in the morning at about nine, and they set up, and then we come and soundcheck at four, so it takes to… put the lights up, put the set up… quite a long while, to get it all right, the sound right. And then when we come, we do a soundcheck for about an hour. And then we’ll go and eat, the support band’ll soundcheck, and then we go back to the hotel to have a shower.
Interviewer: Andrew Fletcher. Andrew, it’s third time in Germany. Do you like it?
Andy: Oh yeah, we always like Germany. We’ve just come back from Italy and, well anything’s better than that. We was in Italy about two or three weeks ago, and it was just hell.
Interviewer: Right, errm... [a few words of the interviewer and Andy are muffled here]
Andy: ...TV was just hell, so –
Interviewer: Yeah. Have you done a TV series here, and what’s the TV like, to illustrate or something like that?
Andy: We haven’t done any televisions in Germany for quite a while, about four or five months ago was the last TV we did.
Interviewer: Are you going to go to get one before Hamburg, before the concerts at Hamburg? 
Andy: We’ve got one, but I don’t know what it’s called. That’s in... er... oh, I can’t remember. But I think it might be only a small local TV.
Interviewer: Ah, yeah. What do you think that Construction Time Again is really popular in Germany and it better sells than in England? Do you think that Intercord is a good label for doing all that things on it, from Mute?
Andy: It seems to be a good label. We get on well with everyone there, I mean it’s done about the same really in England by comparison. Like for instance it’s gone gold in England, so the only thing is, the German album market’s much different, much bigger than the English album market, so that’s why, although we’ve sold more records in Germany, in actual comparison it’s probably about the same.
Interviewer: You were saying some things that Alan Wilder wrote some things on the album and he wrote that brilliant B-side of Love In Itself, it’s called Fools, you like it?
Andy: Yeah, the only thing is, when we was compiling the album that was one of the songs considered, but we didn’t really think it fitted in lyrically with the running of the album, so that’s why we didn’t put it on the album.
Interviewer: Was this just the only reason?
Andy: Really, yeah. Because it’s basically a love song, isn’t it. And we felt we wanted to have an album with certain running concepts, so we didn’t think it fitted in lyrically.
Interviewer: The other albums, you’ve done that A Broken Frame one just with Dave and Martin, did you? - A Broken Frame, the album, you just done it with Dave and Martin, yeah?
Andy: Oh, sorry, yeah, it’s just... No, it’s alright, I thought you just said Dave and Martin did it. Yeah, it’s just the three of us that time. And looking back, we could have done with Alan really, because he is a very good musician and he’s a great help to us, because I think we’re really only average musicians, and having a really good musician sort of like brings your standards up.
Interviewer: Do you still like Vince Clarke which was one of the first members of Depeche Mode?
Andy: What do you mean, do I still like him? What, as a person, or the music?
Interviewer: As a person, and maybe his music too.
Andy: Oh yeah, I really like him as a person. I mean he was my best friend for years and years, so I can’t dislike someone, he’s never done any harm to me, I still get on well with him now. I’m not so sure about the music, don’t really like the Assembly single, it’s very commercial but – I just think it’s too MOR, really, for me.
Interviewer: What about – what do you think about The Assembly at all? What do you think about the idea of putting one guest singer on every new single?
Andy: It’s a really good idea. I think Vince realises he can’t really sing. He’s got quite a good voice, but he just hasn’t got a lead voice, so… I don’t think he wants to get in a position again, just having one singer, that’s where it gets too much like a band so that’s probably why he’s doing it. It’s quite a good idea in theory.
Interviewer: Could Vince try to get back to Depeche Mode too?
Andy: No, no. We wouldn’t have him, never.
Interviewer: And he never asked for...?
Andy: Well, I don’t think… There’s no chance, you know, because we wouldn’t have him back. Because Alan’s too… we’re so friendly with Alan, you know. Alan’s rooted now, and we don’t need Vince.
Interviewer: Alright. The person I’m speaking now to is Mr Martin Gore. Martin, my first question is: Have you done on the first album a few tracks too, have you written a few tracks with – what’s his name – Vince, yeah.
Martin: Not really. Even in those days we used to write individually, but I did used to collaborate with him on his ideas. Now he’d come to our rehearsals with the chords, and maybe sometimes a bass line and sometimes not, and me and Vince used to work together and work out the riffs and things like that off the early songs.
Interviewer: What do you think of that situation where one of the most important persons at that time is going out of the band and everybody said to you, “Come on Martin, now it’s your turn to write the songs”? Did you say, “OK, I am going to try to write the songs”?
Martin: No, we knew that Vince was going to leave a good six months before he actually did. So we’d already discussed the situation that was going to arise, and we’d prepared for it. You see, I already had about four or five songs written, and we didn’t really think about it too much. Because we’d had it planned for so long, we just went sort of ahead and straight into the studio, and like recorded a new single, and just carried on from there.
Interviewer: My most best songs are Shame and Shouldn’t Have Done That because the lyrics are really brilliant. Have you got any songs you like mostly off one of the albums?
Martin: I’ve got a few favourites, and I like Shame, and I like Everything Counts, and I like See You, I think. I think they’re my favourites.
Interviewer: And what about, nowadays you’ve written nearly all the songs from Construction Time Again. And one thing Dave told me was you went to… was it India? You went to India or another place in the world where poor people were living, and he said you were really saddened when you saw that, is that right?
Martin: Sort of, yeah. We went on a Far Eastern tour, and we visited places like Thailand and it was really... it was sort of sad in a way.
Interviewer: OK, Alan, my first question is, you are the member of Depeche Mode who came into the band last. Have you got the feeling that the band liked you from first moment and that you’re a whole member, because at first you were just doing a tour with them, I think?
Alan: Well, obviously at first when you join a band, it takes a little while to get to know everybody, but now I’ve been in the band two years, and we all get on very well now, and I feel as much a member as everybody else.
Interviewer: OK, another question is, when the singles with the limited editions began, with the 12”es of Get The Balance Right, at first they said they are limited at about ten thousand copies I think, or you can buy them at every record shop as often as you want to, what do you think about it?
Alan: Well, I don’t know exactly what happens over here, in Germany. This is down to Intercord, it’s not really what we would do. In England they are just a limited edition, and that was the end. But in Germany I think, the record company, they probably want to cash in and make as much money as possible, so it’s very difficult for us to keep control over what Intercord to here. But I think in England we will probably re-release all the special 12”es as a set again, maybe for Christmas, just so people can buy them again if they missed out first time.
Interviewer: I see, but you know how the limited edition was that of three maxi-editions, how limited they were?
Alan: I don’t know exactly.
Interviewer: Alan, you have written the B-side of Love In Itself which is called Fools, I think that that song is one of the best ones; why didn’t you bring it on the album?
Alan: Well the words of Fools, they don’t really fit in with all the other tracks on the album. And whilst the music was quite lively, it didn’t really fit the whole theme of the album. So that’s why it didn’t go on the album.
Interviewer: I’m surprised that you don’t play it live, I think that it will be one of the best things between the old things with a Vince-like voice, so he goes out… and things like that which are a bit hard, on the front, and then your track, and maybe a few tracks from Construction Time Again, so people can see maybe a little history, and things between you.
Alan: Well we feel that when we’ve recorded an album, we want to promote that album, most of all. And so we play all of the album. And then after that, we play whatever else we can fit in, like old hit singles and, you know, dance tracks. And obviously when you’re picking songs for a live set there will always be songs you have to leave out, because there’s too many to play everything. So it’s very difficult to pick a live set, but the most important thing is to promote our latest album, really. Because we’ve been in Germany last year and we played all the songs, and before that, so… you know. Maybe when we go to other countries that we’ve never been to, then we’d incorporate some more old stuff.
Interviewer: I see. What about other copies of that limited edition CD, did you think... Martin told me the next thing is coming out about February or March. Do you think that there will be a new limited edition with the new songs?
Alan: I don’t think so. Possibly. We have recorded new live songs from the English tour, but we didn’t know whether we will release any more limited editions like the other ones.
Interviewer: The last tour, you mean in London, that one what is going on now, yeah?
Alan: That is the same as what we’re playing here, yeah. The same songs, from the new album. Because all the other live tracks on the other special editions were from the tour before, in ’82. But I don’t know, maybe we will do something different this time, because I think everyone is used to that limited edition now, and so it’s time to change, maybe. But we don’t know what we will do.
Interviewer: What do you think, is there a difference between the people who have seen your show in ’82 and that people who have seen it in ’83?
Alan: Not a big difference. Obviously those people who came, hopefully, are still coming now, although they have grown up a little, and also we have some new fans. I noticed in Germany the fans are a lot more varied: there’s young and there’s more older people as well, and there’s lots of different types of people in Germany. That’s a slightly more varied audience here whereas in England it’s still quite a young audience. It hasn’t really changed that much, no.
- The two dates in Hamburg, on 21st and 22nd December 1983, were the final dates of the tour.
- It's alarming to see so much interest in Vince, especially putting forward the thought of his return to the band, two years after he left. More than twenty years on, it's easy to say that the band had made leaps in their development by the end of 1983. But when the media are still seeing the band in Vince's shadow, it gives us some idea of the loss of critical acclaim they must have suffered in the eyes of the media with Vince's departure. Nor is this a one-off, as here is another article from the same year on the same tack.
- I think what the interviewer is trying to ask is, "As you wrote a couple of tracks on the first album, did you also co-write any of the tracks with Vince?"
- I think the interviewer's point is to begin a show with some 1981 material with Vince's characteristic sound: the harder electronic tracks such as New Life, Ice Machine, Photographic for example, and then go on to Fools, which has the same moody edge to it, using this as a bridge to the other Construction Time Again tracks. In this way the tracks would progress chronologically, and the audience would be able to hear the change in tone with Alan's arrival.
- Now this is interesting, since 1983 is one of very few years for which no live material has been released officially. The other exceptions are 1981, which is understandable, and 1990 - for which Mute claimed not to have any suitable recordings for years until a video recording surfaced in 2004 and appeared on the Depeche Mode web site. It would seem from comments Alan makes further on that these live recordings weren't released because live tracks had been used on all the 1983 limited editions, and a change was needed. As it is, the 1983 recordings, even if they still exist, will probably never see the light of day - their age makes them of interest only to diehard fans.
- This serves to show how appreciation of the band was at any rate a little further forward in Germany than it was in England, where they were still being seen as a 'teeny' band.