1997-04-27 Spin Session: Depeche Mode, Spin Magazine, Westwood One Entertainment
Depeche Mode were interviewed by Anton Corbijn for a collaboration by Spin Magazine and Westwood One Entertainment, called 'Spin Session'. It was broadcast by the syndicated Westwood One Radio Network on April 27th 1997, but judging by the fact that Anton states that they were going to record a music video the next day (most likely for 'It's No Good'), it must have been recorded on February 23rd, probably in NYC. Interview snippets are interspersed between studio tracks, which have been faded in and out from the audio. This interview was made available on a promo CD. The FM radio station Live 105 in California broadcast this audio also, which fan Dina Marie Robinson had taped on cassette, but that broadcast date is not known.
The tape itself plays quite a bit fast, so the cassette deck's pitch control was used to correct the speed. There isn't a lot of dynamic range, but typical modern radio broadcasts don't tend to have much to begin with. Some small bits of the interview segments are missing due to the recording being paused during commercials. A transcript was made by a fan named Geneva Yee on this archived fan-site in 1997, which we pasted below, with some grammar and punctuation corrections made by Angelinda.
- Duration: 19 minutes, 46 seconds
Announcer: Westwood One Entertainment and Spin Magazine present a Spin Session with Depeche Mode, hosted by world famous video director and photographer and longtime Depeche Mode collaborator, Anton Corbijn.
[Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix) plays]
Dave: Can we call you Ant?
Anton: This is Anton Corbijn and I'm trying to interview Depeche Mode here, the new album out called Ultra, and we try to shine some light on a couple of things that have been worrying me the past ten years or so. With us are Andy Fletcher, and Dave Gahan-
Andy: This is Andy.
Dave: Hi, this is David.
Anton: And Martin Gore.
Martin: Hello, this is Martin.
Andy: And you're supposed to mention the programme?
Anton: And we're doing a Spin Session, apparently. A Spin Session.
Andy: Do you want us to interview you?
Anton: No, no.
Andy: You look a bit nervous.
[Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix) plays]
Anton: The whole thing is of course, I'm a visual man so I feel like a bit of a visual on the dry here, but maybe we should start with you describing what you are wearing so people get a bit of an idea what we all look like here.
Dave: How the hell are you, Anton?
Andy: What are you wearing first then?
Anton: Well funny enough, and I didn't do it on purpose, but I'm wearing a T-shirt from Details magazine, with a black jacket and Levi's jeans. And Andy, what are you wearing?
Andy: I'm wearing a grey sort of a wind-breaker jacket with a bluey grey trousers with a nice pair of black boots and a silvery shirt and glasses.
Anton: Okay, and David...
Dave: I'm wearing whatever my personal statement is today. That would be a black jacket and pinstripe trousers and very bright socks and a green shirt, yeah kinda almost matches the socks...
Anton: Yeah, very chic. Now Martin...
Martin: Black jacket, black T-shirt, black jumper, and Black Watch tartan trousers.
Andy: And what about on your head?
Martin: I only wore those because it had the word 'black' on it.
Andy: What about on your head, though?
Martin: and a black...
Andy: I think the reason he's wearing a hat is because he's had a very dodgy haircut, our listeners can't see us.
Dave: Not dodgier than normal!
Andy: Apparently this one is.
Dave: Yeah, really?
Dave: It's a bit of a loaf of bread if I'm honest-
Anton: And we'll be doing a video tomorrow.
Martin: This haircut was done by the local concierge at the hotel and it's the worst haircut I've had since I was about 9.
[I Feel You comes on]
Anton: You've once said that you've probably the song writer who uses the word knees more than anybody else, but also the word black I guess a lot. What holds it for you, that color?
Martin: I don't know if I've used the word black as many times as people would imagine, but I suppose it has been used quite a lot. But I actually notice once, I thought it was quite funny that I've used the word knees in so many of the songs. I was always down on my knees, and down on my knees again.
Andy: I've never noticed that.
Anton: Because of both a religious and a sexual thing, and that's a combination you find attractive.
Martin: Exactly. It's always ambiguous when I'm actually talking about religion or sex or love or all three of them intertwined, it's always very vague.
Dave: He's a naughty, naughty boy.
[Shake the Disease comes on]
Anton: So we're still in the Spin Session here, this is Anton Corbijn with Depeche Mode. And what I am also very interested in is the fact that Dave went through this really difficult period and I know you don't write the lyrics but I was amazed that Martin's lyrics were so fitting or seem so fitting for Dave's state of mind, I guess. And I was wondering, did you do that on purpose or was it just in the air or...
Martin: I get asked all the time in interviews whether I'm writing a soundtrack for Dave's life, and obviously I'm not doing that. I can never try and understand what is going on in Dave's head and then try and make that into a song. It's an impossibility for me.
Dave: If you think and try to analyze too much you know that you'll find... It's just is what it is, and for whatever reason I think it's much bigger than ourselves.
[Barrel Of A Gun plays]
Announcer: Up next, the guys chat about the destiny of Depeche, and the evolution of the Mode. So stay tuned to this Spin Session with Depeche Mode.
Anton: I'm Anton Corbijn, and you're not. I've always wanted to say that.
[Master And Servant plays]
Anton: I always think there are three phases in Depeche Mode: one was I guess the first phase with Vince and Vince left, then the period where Alan Wilder came in. I wasn't sure what the thrid phase is. Is the third phase now or is the third phase when the guitar came more dominant?
Andy: I think it's got to phase three now I think, it definitely seems like a new phase now. Dave: Whether it's the third or the fourth stage, you could argue that we've had four stages.
Dave: I think the longest phase of course is with, when there was the four of us with Alan. It's very much a different band, I mean when it began in the beginning with Vince, who was writing all the songs, it was a completely different thing. I mean, more so than a lot of other bands who survived as long as we have. We've been together for 17 years, it's clearly two different bands and probably three different bands now.
Martin: Having three people in the band just makes it easier to make decisions. Just having that one extra person complicates matters so much more than the extra 25% of massive band-
Anton: It was 50%, probably.
Martin: Well, all decisions went 2/2 for instance, and that was totally confusing, because we could never actually make a decision and stick to it. It would always be, "Well, we can't make a decision, so we'll come back to that one tomorrow."
Dave: We've freed ourselves somehow, over the last couple of years, from those kind of rules. Because we had to. We were forced into a place of having to re-look at everything that we were doing, and how we were going to present what we were gonna do. And I think what we lost the plot of, over the years, was the strength of Depeche Mode, which is Martin's songs and my voice.
[Personal Jesus (Acoustic) plays]
Dave: I like to think that what's happened is pretty natural.
Anton: Yeah, there is a sort of evolution...
Dave: If Alan had decided not to leave, and we just all stayed together and gone into this project altogether, I really don't think - I honestly don't think that we would have achieved what we have with this in the making of Ultra, in that kind of atmosphere. The atmosphere really does dictate whether you can just be yourself and realize that strength and just do the best you can in your part.
Anton: And obviously being the three of you it puts different disciplines on each of you-
Dave: We were forced to actually have to reach out and ask other people for help. Other musicians, a producer, Tim coming along with a team. That was something we were forced into and I think pretty nerve rackingly at the beginning. But what's come out of it is something that I think sounds a lot more creative.
[The Love Thieves plays]
Dave: I think too much is read into individual elements of what Depeche Mode or any other band is all about. It is a combination of different kind of like artistic statements that all come together and create an atmosphere.
Anton: It has to do with the medium as well, I think it is music on radio or whatever, it becomes bigger than if you just write it in a book.
Dave: I think it comes from Martin and myself and Fletch actually too, there is a lot of spiritual stuff that you know - I'm not talking about directly kind of like particular types of religion or anything like that - but we've all experienced through families and losses and all that kind of stuff and the kind of life being a form of destiny that somebody's already set out for you and the challenges, the challenge being trying to actually just go with it.
Announcer: In case you're wondering what's going on here, it's a Spin Session with Depeche Mode and phase four, the three man band. And next up we'll have some CD talk.
Andy: Dave's out of the room, he just gone to the toilet so we should talk about him, shouldn't we? Anything unkind do you want to say about him, Anton?
Anton: No, I think Dave, in my eyes is a great pop star and rock star and I think I don't have many bad words to say about him at all. He usually gets up on time these days too.
Announcer: The man with nothing bad to say about Dave Gahan is Anton Corbijn, the man who is usually behind the camera for our favorite Depeche Mode videos, but this time we put him behind a microphone to direct the Depeche mode Spin Session.
[It's No Good plays]
Dave: I think you get carried away with the whole technology side of things which is very easy nowadays. You really lose sight of what it is you were trying to do in the first place. I think that, you know, call me old or whatever, but I really remember getting with your pocket money and going out and buying that album, like a Bowie album. I particularly remember Diamond Dogs, the whole package, the whole sleeve, and sitting and playing the album and really looking at. I don't often now take out a CD and then pull out the package and start looking at it. I really don't know why that is.
Andy: Because you're blind, you can't read it.
Andy: It's really hard to see.
Martin: I know why you were looking at Diamond Dogs, you were looking for his knob.
Dave: Yeah, where was his penis?
Anton: In the first version Bowie had a knob. But they pulled it out and had to make another one.
Andy: It's not a work of art anymore.
Dave: It's not so personal somehow. . Anton: It's nothing that special anymore.
Dave: I know, it's not that personal, maybe because I've been doing it as well, but I remember feeling like I was the only person in the world that knew anything about David Bowie.
[World In My Eyes plays]
Anton: I always think because I'm foreign I don't really listen to the lyrics initially, but I get a feel of the music or of the sound of a voice that we just talked about rather than what you sing about. So that of course could be a hit or miss with my visuals of the song, but I think it's a safe way to go because you just enhance the feel of the song rather than the words.
Dave: Sometimes it's the best way to express yourself. Martin expresses himself best, I think, with the songs that he writes and the atmospheres he creates around those songs. I find it really difficult to, like, people ask Martin questions like what his songs are about, it's kind of... I don't think you can directly answer that question, it's a feeling, it's an emotion, and I think Mart wears that emotion or feeling on his sleeve.
Announcer: Catching Up with the Depeche Mode Spin Session in progress, we find the guys trying to figure out what nickname we've given them.
Anton: That's one thing I've always wondered, you know like when Dave said the Pumpkins, the Smashing Pumpkins were always known as the Pumpkins...
Dave: Billy Pumpkin.
Anton: So what are we, are we Depeche or the Mode?
Dave: Dave Mode.
Anton: I know, are we known universally? As DM?
Martin: There's two camps of thought.
Andy: Or three, DM, Dave, Depeche?
Dave: Mart Mode.
Andy: Marty Mode.
[Walking In My Shoes plays]
Anton: Depeche Mode is really a French name, and we have this programme in Europe called Euro-trash where there is a French presenter trying to speak very French/English it was quite funny actually, and I think Depeche Mode as a word is quite ahead of its time. Because I think in the late '70s there was not much feeling for France, but how was it ever chosen? Was it just a word or were you aware of it? Did anybody speak French?
Dave: It was really just the word. I liked the way it looked and the way it sounded, and the band at the time was named Composition of Sound... I mean, hello.
Anton: That is an improvement.
Andy: Funny thing happened the other day, a guy I know is in this band and they are doing quite well, and I said to him, "What's the name of the band?" And he just went, "Pregnant". And then I thought about it at first, you just can't call yourself "Pregnant", but when you actually start thinking about it, it starts to grow on you a bit...
Anton: That's funny, Fletch.
Dave: Get it, "grow on you"..."pregnant", yeah? So ridiculous...
Andy: What I'm trying to say is, at the end of the day, when we chose, when Dave picked up on that word-
Martin: It's two words by the way, you're talking about it as "a word".
[World In My Eyes (Mode To Joy) plays]
Anton: What's funny, this affected all three of you, this lifestyle: Fletch had a breakdown, you had your drug problems, Mart always thinks he could have a heart attack at any moment.
Andy: Yeah, here's a tip for anyone listening, going into the rock and roll business: it does have an effect on your brain.
Dave: It made me feel healthy, being around you.
Martin: It's hard, I mean we've been doing this for 17 years.
Andy: Yeah and people used to think of us just being a synth-pop band but I think we're as rock and roll as they come.
Martin: We've been out on this promotional trip and it's the first time we've been away together for a while and it's been a very sober experience generally. I mean it's not like it being was when we were on the last tour which lasted 14 months, this time we've all been drinking like 14 bottles of mineral water at dinner and things like that. We've had to step back a gear I think, turn down a gear.
Dave: It's interesting you know, because what I think our idea of what being sober is is very different. There's being clean and sober, I guess the part is not picking up drugs and alcohol, that is a good start. But it doesn't end there, it's an ongoing process. You have to work at. Because I would sit and Mart is drinking a beer or a glass of wine or something, and maybe to other people, they wouldn't even notice it maybe, but to me it's like an obsession.
[Behind The Wheel / Route 66 (Mega-Single Mix) plays]
Andy: The last 17 years in the group has been uphill all the way, it's been absolutely... I mean actually that sounds bad... It's been downhill! Downhill all the way!
Dave: You know, it's been 17 years, but it moved so fast that what was nearly destroying us is what we've created, because there wasn't a chance to sit back and look at what it was and appreciate it.
Anton: That happens very often.
Dave: I think it happens to a lot of people. You just kind of like engulf yourself with all this stuff and you have to have time in the day to actually sit and appreciate it, so what I think we're doing now is really healthy for us as people.
Andy: And I think as well, if you look at the moment, we seem to be getting a lot of accolades from various sources and I think we have made our place in the history of rock 'n' roll music and I think it's a real achievement.
Announcer: I think we have to agree with Fletch on that one, and that sadly brings this Spin Session with Depeche Mode to an end. [Announcer lists credits of this Spin Session]
- Lineage: Live 105 FM radio broadcast in California of Depeche Mode: Spin Session (Westwood One Entertainment) -> unknown recording equipment -> master TDK D60 type I cassette tape -> Nakamichi MR-1 professional discrete head cassette deck (playback pitch and azimuth adjusted) -> Mogami 2534 XLR to TRS cables -> Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen USB audio interface -> WAV (32/88.2) -> Audacity 3.0.0 (WASAPI audio capture at 32-bit / 88.2kHz, normalization to -0.1dB and any DC offset removed) -> WAV (32/88.2) -> downsampled to FLAC level 8 (16/44) using foobar2000 v1.6.4, FLAC 1.3.3 64-bit, and foobar2000's Resampler (SoX) component v0.8.3 (best quality), dithering enabled
- Taper: Dina Marie Robinson
- Generation: master
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