1985-11-xx Trax, Sky Channel, UK
The following audio file appeared on the unofficial "The Interview Sessions" by Chrome Dreams as well as "The Conversation Disc Series" by Wax Records. The file is most likely the audio of Dave Gahan and Andy "Fletch" Fletcher on SKY's TV show Sky Trax, in November 1985. Unfortunately this interview is not hosted in video form online anywhere, and the now-defunct DMTVArchives.com only had it in poor, black & white quality. The interview has been transcribed below.
- Duration: 14:10 minutes
[The video to Just Can't Get Enough is being played]
Interviewer: Just Can't Get Enough, it's like being at the backside of a movie, watching a comedy film with these two here. You're obviously enjoying seeing the old days again, 1981, when that was released. And that's never been seen in Britain. Why was that, then? What was the story?
Fletch: Well, we released the record in Britain and then videos were just starting to be made in those days, and it was a hit in Britain, and then we decided to make a video just for Europe, to be shown in Europe.
Interviewer: How much in those days, you reckon?
Dave: Well, we were sort of forced into doing it, as well. We wasn't too sure about it. Everyone was saying "You've got to do it, you got to do it". I think it was about 7000 pounds, something like that. And we thought that was outrageous to spend on this sort of little film, that goes with your single. "It's a waste of money, a waste of money!", you know. You wouldn't even [be able to] talk to a director now, for that.
Interviewer: That's true, what does it cost now, for doing a video?
Dave: Well, the last one that we've done was, i think...
Fletch: - 25.000.
Dave: - 30. 30.000 pounds. That's still cheap, but we've tried to keep it as low, but... Quite low, because you can do interesting things. It's not always the money that's involved, you can splash a 100.000 pounds -
Fletch: - and some people, on the label Mute, they've got a couple of artists, like Nick Cave and that, and they just make videos for about a 1000 pounds, which are still really good.
Dave: Which are good! They're just as good. It's just, because it's a lower budget, does not mean that the video isn't so good as a 100.000 pound video. It's just easier to stretch your imagination a bit more.
Interviewer: Shock horror, we saw you wearing black leather in those days, and then you've got out of that. But there's a very definite image the band had, wasn't there?
Dave: Yeah, I think it was a shame we stopped wearing it all, because we started wearing leather all again now, so I don't know why we drifted out it. At that time I was hanging out with a lot of people from Southend who were all into the leather look.
Interviewer: The Southeast part of England, I shall add.
Dave: Yeah, sorry, yeah. And, it was just a crowd we used to go out with and they were all into the sort of bondage look, just after punk had finished. And we just sort of wore the same clothes.
Interviewer: So is this you two at home then? Is this sort of your easy comfort clothes?
Fletch: Yeah, it's our casual gear, now.
Dave: This is our studio gear.
[The video to Leave Is Silence is being played.]
Interviewer: Leave In Silence. Hysterical laughter. That is the first one you did on video as such. Very good, very clever, I liked all the superimposes, very ahead of its time in many ways, wasn't it?
Dave: Yeah, there's a lot of clever ideas going on in there, I don't think we really achieved it to it's full, really, of what we was trying to do there. I mean, at that time, the director we was working with sort of was experimenting a lot as well, I think.
Fletch: We was his guinea pigs.
Dave: We used to let him get on with it, basically, rather than get very involved.
Interviewer: Guinea pigs are those furry animals.
Dave: Yeah, sorry!
Interviewer: That was 1982, wasn't it?
Dave: Yeah, that was the first video with... Our first video we've done without, wasn't it?
Interviewer: So how was the sort of mood and temper of the band in 1982, then?
Dave: Come on, Fletch.
Fletch: It was quite... It was good, it's always been good. But we were just in a bit of a down period, because we felt Leave In Silence especially was one of our best singles, and I remember Radio 1, Daytime especially, they sort of thought it was a bit of a gloomy record, and it didn't get much play.
Dave: Pete played it.
Fletch: Pete played it. But I think as a band we feel that is one of our best singles.
Dave: Yeah, I think it's a really atmospheric song, it's really good, and because it lacked a bit in the airplay, it didn't do as well. I think it could have done really well, if everyone had been behind it a bit more. But I think it has done us a lot of good as well. That was a stage we was going through where... it was a funny period, with the critics and everything. I think that record sort of shocked a lot of people in a way, it wasn't expected. They were expecting another sort of up-tempo, poppy number, and suddenly we hit into this sort of real doomy number. I think it has done us a lot of good, though, in the long run.
Interviewer: So a new addition to the family, though, at this stage, wasn't there?
Interviewer: Slick, is that what you call him? Slick Wilder?
Dave: Yeah, Slick Wilder. He got that name actually because he used to slick all his hair back when we was on tour.
Fletch: He was always a bit more sophisticated than us.
Interviewer: Difficult now to think of him as not being part of your band?
Fletch: He has fitted in very well.
Interviewer: Unbelievably well, I would say.
Fletch: I mean, for a year, we didn't pay him anything, I think.
Fletch: He always grumbles about that.
Dave: Yeah, he does that, yeah.
Interviewer: And Martin coping with the majority as well. Unfortunately he's not here with us-
Dave: -Well that was one of the most difficult times, I think, for Martin. Because that was the first time he had to sit down and actually had to write, like, 10 songs, all in one go, for an album. And he always just wrote a few songs now and again.
Interviewer: You're such a close band, wouldn't you give him much time to go away and do it?
Fletch: Well we always give him a couple of months a year, we try to, to write. It's the most important thing. If you keep your songs good, then you'll always sell records.
Interviewer: That's what it's about, isn't it?
Fletch: When your songs flip, that's when your sales flip, as well.
Interviewer: Is this the beginning of your love affair with Germany, for instance?
Fletch: Yeah, this is our first big hit in Germany. And also, we mixed the album, Construction Time Again, there. We had a really good time mixing that.
Dave: It was the first time we sort of ventured out of this studio that we had been in for, like, 2 years. And we went and recorded somewhere else, with a new engineer, working with new people. And the whole thing was really fresh and exciting for us. Martin was going through a real sort of change period all-around, personally and everything. He changed quite a lot through that period, probably the most he ever has.
Interviewer: He's quite a changable guy, isn't he?
Interviewer: When a new British fan anchors to foreign territories, whether it be Europe or America or Australia, is it very different from Britain, for a band's point of view. Is the press different, is the television different, is the radio different?
Fletch: I think it's more different for us. Because, like in Britain for instance, we always tend to do a lot more work, because there's a lot of pride at stake, really, I think. In Europe, when we go abroad and we do concerts and things, it's much freeer, you can really let yourself go.
Dave: You feel relaxed, you let your hair down, while staying there.
Fletch: But in Britain, if you do a concert, you always think, 'We've got a few friends watching', and things like that. But when you're in Europe, or America, you're just really relaxed, and you feel like you can really let yourself go.
Dave: But TVs are a bit different as well. With a lot of them, you just sort of, like this, you just do it, you go in and you do it, you don't hang around for 10 hours, all day long, waiting to do a little bit of TV. And a lot of the TVs across Europe are like this sort of thing.
Interviewer: What kind of questions do the foreign press ask?
Fletch: Well it depends in what country.
Interviewer: Are they more interested in your personal lives and not about your music?
Fletch: Well, France for instance, we've done this press conference in France, and basically they can only muster about 2 questions out of about 20 of them. And it was like, general-
Dave: -There was, like, all these people, like, sort of watching us...
Fletch: -Real trivial questions. And then you've got, like, Germany, which tends to have got two different types of things.-
Dave: -More serious.
Fletch: You've got the Bravo-
Dave: -Which is, yeah, a bit of a throwaway-
Fletch: -There are bit like the, you know...
Interviewer: Yes, the teen pop comebacks.
Dave: Yes, the teen pop [ones].
Fletch: They go for any sort of thing.
Dave: -The trivial side of things.
Fletch: -But real heavy things as well.
Interviewer: So here's perhaps some not generally as interested in music as they are about the character, the make up, the...?
Dave: Oh, no. I mean, Britain is probably the most sort of fickle based area, for actually that side of things, for the actual... If a band looks good, they can become successful, whether their music is good or bad. In Europe and America, they tend to sort of analyse the music a lot more.
Interviewer: They do?
Dave: Yeah. I think so, yeah. Because, the way we've built our success in Europe has just been through playing live and stuff, it has not been by doing loads of TV and stuff, because we haven't really done that. We just always played live there, always just treated it as part of the world. When we sort of done our huge tour in Britain and then done a couple of gigs over in Europe, we treated every place, like, the same, which I think is-
Interviewer: Do you think this counts to your success over there?
Dave: I think so, yeah. The fans have been loyal to us, and we're tried to be loyal to them, going back all the time, there, doing tours and things.
[Cut to commercial.]
Interviewer: ... my two guests are to the band Dave Gahan and Andrew Fletcher, better known as 'Fletch'. Everyone's has got nicknames nowadays.
Fletch: And a few other names, as well.
Interviewer: And a few other names.
Dave: We won't repeat that here.
Interviewer: Actually, what's your nickname, I'm wondering, in the band?
Dave: Eh, I haven't actually got a nickname, have I? Gahany, I suppose.
Interviewer: On the new album... actually, it's almost too early for us to answer, we'll wait a little to the end, because this whole programme is all part of The Story So Far with Depeche Mode, which... actually, there's an album out, in Singles forum, it's '81 to '85. But obviously you'll be doing a new album in the new year. We talked about songs and Martin songwriting. Will this extend more, do you think? The rest of the band getting more involved?
Dave: Oh yeah, we definitely wanna do it as a band, we wanna get more involved in, like, the whole production and everything. We've always been involved in the production, and it's always been a co-production between us and Daniel Miller. But we want to get sort of more involved, have more say on what's going on, which I think is a good thing. Because, the more you get involved, I think, in the end, the better it will be, for the band. It's definitely a broader... The topics which Martin has written about are a lot broader than what they have been, I think, on any album, really.
Interviewer: And you've grown up an awful lot, haven't you?
Dave: Yeah, I think so, and Martin, as a songwriter, definitely.
Fletch: It's a very good position for us to be in. I mean, not many bands can go into a studio with, like, 10 - he's got 11 songs, which are really, like, quality.
Dave: Which we're working on at the moment.
Fletch: And it's such a good position to go into the studio and just work on the songs. A lot of bands have to write songs in the studio, and then work on the songs in the studio. It's just a real good position to be in.
Dave: And we've actually got them up front, which is great. And that's what we're doing now, we're just in a small studio at the moment, just programming and working on arrangements and stuff. Martin comes up with very rough demos. He'll have song that's very, very rough, which has got all the tunes and melodies and everything, and all the lyrics, and then we sort of look at those songs and look at them and see if we can change arrangements and stuff and make it more interesting maybe, or whatever. And that's how we work on it as a band, in the end, but Martin is always the one that actually sort of comes up with the ideas first.
[Cut to commercial]
Interviewer: Just to give you an indication as to how popular Depeche Mode are in Britain, another record has been released, they have some T-shirts done, which have "Master" across, and then there's another T-Shirt which has "Servant" across. And I just mentioned on a radio show that I've got one of these "Master" things, and I had about, eh I think, about 3 or 4 thousand writing and asking for that T-shirt. And then when I said, "I can't, I haven't got enough to give away, but I've got a "Servant" T-Shirt", I've got another 5 or 6 thousand all writing us. "Servant", "Master And Servant". Good track, that. Slightly more rocky, though, isn't it?
Dave: Yeah, I think it is. I think, I have to say, I think it's probably, our wildest single to date. It sounds a bit weird saying "wildest", but I think it is. I think it's quite on the edge. It's a very tense sounding single, it's almost not a pop single, at all.
Interviewer: Instrumentally, then, where does the band go? In other words, the actual sound of the band?
Fletch: Well, in the studio, like Dave said earlier, Martin presents us with very rough demos, and sometimes they are very rough. We then do preparation work, that's what we're doing at the moment, a month of preparation: we go over the song, in a very small, dingy old studio, and work out structures, and the best way to do the song. And then we'll go into a studio and we work quite a lot on the sound.
Dave: But definitely-
Fletch: -When we first started, we had real definite roles as band, like, for instance, I would be the bass, I'd play bass mainly, and Vince would...
Dave: -play the melodies behind it.
Fletch: -play a lot of rhythm, and Martin was sort of the lead synth. But now...
Interviewer: -This was where I was getting at, all synth...
Fletch: Well, we do use a lot of synthesizer, but generally, these days we use a lot of computers. I mean, there is a difference between synthesizers and computers.
Dave: Yeah. I mean, there's the fact that with a computer you can actually use real sound. When say 'real sound', I mean, like, you can take any-
Fletch: -It's very acoustic.
Dave: -You can take anything. It's very acoustic sounding, so that's why the last couple of albums haven't really sort of sound synthesized. Our first album was a synthesizer album, so it was totally synth pop-
Fletch: -Totally electronic.
Dave: -It was totally electronic. Whereas in fact, although there's was still sort of the name, we were still called an electronic band, in fact we're not really an electronic band, in the way that we don't really use those sort of synthesizers anymore.
Interviewer: Million dollar question: Are you likely to pick up a guitar, for instance?
Fletch: Well, that's-
Dave: -We do! I mean-
Fletch: -For us, that's a cop out.
Dave: -Yeah. To actually use, to actually just- Fletch: -So many of the early synthesizer bands, they just went back to the conventional line-up of a guitar, bass, and things. We always, what we try to do-
Dave: -It's not even that so much, it's just that we're more interested in looking at the interesting sounds, and sometimes we do use guitars, in the way that we might sample a guitar chord or something, and then play that into a computer, and then mess about with it, and try and make it sound more interesting. But when it comes down... We have, actually... Martin has played guitar, he plays guitar quite well, so he has played a couple of times on songs such as Love, In Itself and And Then, and on the Construction Time Again album he played guitar, but we don't used guitar that much. We use a lot of drums and a lot of different drums and stuff, there's are lot of it-
Fletch: -which are often-
Interviewer: -Surely, this technique is not that much different from a conventional band?
Fletch: Oh, it is.
Dave: Oh, it is, very different.
Fletch: We never use for instance... We use mainly the control room. If people don't understand: that's the thing where the desk is, the room where the desk is. We only use the other room-
Dave: -for vocals and stuff, really-
Fletch: -for vocals. When we pull out our instruments in the control room-
Dave: -We actually work in the control room, setting up in the other-
Fletch: -quite a lot of interesting sounds...-
Dave: -We don't... I mean, the way we don't work in a conventional way, as Andy said, there's no roles, no one is, like, the drummer, the bass player, the guitarist, we all muck in on everything. Because, when you use computers and stuff, you can all get in there and have a go, which makes it a lot more interesting. So there's a lot of interesting ideas being thrown around at one time. But the next album, the next studio album, is definitely going to be a lot harder, a lot darker sounding. And the songs are very good, so, who knows?
Interviewer: Shake The Disease was good as well.
Dave: Good single, yeah.
Fletch: I think that was one of the best songs Martin has...-
Dave: -Songwise, yeah, it's definitely one of the best songs that he has written.
The file was transferred from the CD into 192 kbps .mp3 format by User:Angelinda.