2006-11-26 Airplay, Radio SAW, Magdeburg, Germany

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Radio SAW decided to celebrate the 25-year existence of Depeche Mode by airing a special. Parts of the EPK from the 1998 'The Singles 86-98' was used for this special (see: 1998-08-04 Singles 86-98 EPK, Mute Records). The parts that were selected from that, have been transcribed below. At the end of the special, there's also another fragment of Dave from another early interview in which Dave talks about how DM don't fit into any genre. The file was uploaded on SAW's archive (link now dead) for many years.

  • Duration: 13:19 minutes



Martin: I've always said that I think that we're very lucky. I think some sort of gut instinct made us choose Mute and go with Daniel, he just had a good aura about him, we trusted him. And the whole thing worked out so well, it was originally just a one-off single deal that worked very well, and we got to very like Daniel. The freedom that he gives us is just incredible, we never ever had any record company pressure to do anything.

Martin: I think we were very fortunate in that we were very young and naive, and we didn't think too much about the consequences of him leaving. So we just booked some studio time, went straight in and recorded a single. I don't think we even considered the prospect that it might be unsuccessful. It seemed like a real minor blip that Vince had left the band. I think that if he had left five years later, I think that we would have been in chaos, because we would have started thinking too much.

Andy: I don't think it was 'the big one', I think it was the start of it. I think there were bigger further along the line. But it was a start, it was a good start. We started to feel a lot better about ourselves, and a lot more confident. We went to Berlin for that, to mix that album. That was a whole new thing for us, seeing a city like that, and we got a great vibe off that. We started to realise that Europe is where we wanted to be. You didn't have to just be popular in Britain, there was another world out there. And that's where we spent the next twelve years doing that, making ourselves popular all over the place. And that gives you much more satisfaction, to be honest.

Martin: I think there were some instrumental developments around that time, like the sampler, that made it stand out from the first two albums, which were just purely synthesizer-based. So there was that, and I think we had also just grown a bit older and wiser, and I think that the things I was writing about were just more interesting, maybe a bit deeper. I mean, you couldn't get shallower than the first cover. [laughs]

Martin: When we first started sampling, it was just such a wonderful tool that we used to go around sampling absolutely everything, and it was always really good fun. Going down railway arches in Brick lane with a tape recorder and recording all these sounds and going back and getting them into the sampler and trying them out, because it was new, it was all such an exciting time.

Andy: America was for us a completely, a total shock and a surprise. We went there, we did two small tours there. The second tour was a complete disaster. Dave had his tattoo removed on his arm, and it was one of those dodgy ones that went wrong, so he had to do the whole tour in a sling. Our lead vocalist, in a sling, which did not go down well with the crowd. It was a complete disaster, there was synthesizers going wrong. We left America, and we said, "There's no way that America is ever going to accept our type of music", it was so rock based, you can't believe. And we didn't touch America for another four years. Then all of a sudden we announced a tour, a small tour, and it sold out instantly. And we got a massive hit and it had just been skyrocketing. It's been amazing ever since. I can't tell you why, because we certainly never aimed at the American audience.

Martin: I don't feel that we were treading water at all at that time. For me, one of the most drastic changes came with 'Black Celebration'. From then on, all of our albums sort of have a thread to them, for me. And I pretty much like everything that we have put out since then. If I start thinking about some of the stuff that we have put out pre-1986, then there's quite a few things I don't really like now. But from then on, I'm sort of quite proud of our output. So I was really lucky in a way that the first album came out [as] 'Singles 81>85', [and] got rid of all the dodgy ones, and then from '86 onwards, and then hopefully, or [so] I think anyway, all the singles are good.

Andy: I think that 'Black Celebration' has got a collection of songs on there that is absolutely fantastic. I mean, all the way through is classic, but none of them are really commercial, just lovely songs, great lyrics. And I think that a lot of traditional, big Depeche Mode fans would say that that was their favourite album, and that would really dig... Our image at that point was very powerful, I think. When we opened up that tour with the title track 'Black Celebration', it was a very powerful image.

Andy: We were always, as a band, very, very pessimistic. We estimated that the records were gonna do badly, it going to go low chart entries, it's not gonna be played on the radio, no one's gonna like it, etcetera, etcetera, so we were always very pessimistic. So we had a song, Martin wrote this song [called] 'Personal Jesus', and we loved it. We thought it was a great song, great sound. We recorded it, François Kevorkian remixed it in Milan with us, and this was way before the album was ready. Six months before the album was going to be out. And we thought, "This record is not going to get played at all." And of course it ended up being the top selling 12" in Warner Bros' history, and in America it was in the charts for six months, until Enjoy The Silence came out. But on the other hand, that was a really big risk we took, there.

Martin: I just can remembering being on a holiday and getting a fax, saying that we had gone to number one, and I can't remember, but it was something like thirteen countries, or something like that, in the first week of release, and that was just an amazing feeling. We had had quite a gap again and you're always unsure, you never know how well you're going to do. But we had had some problems during the recording of that, but I think that at that time, they were still sort of manageable problems, they weren't out of control. It didn't go that way until sort of on the tour, afterwards.

Andy: The sort of pressures that... It was the early... The whole recording of the album, all the early signs of the break up that was going to come, was starting to become apparent. Dave was then, in those days, in a pretty bad way, started to be in a bad way. I was becoming heavily depressed. We were out in Madrid in this sort of mansion, recording. It was very slow. And you could see the signs [that] were... Then we agreed to do this year and a half tour, and from the album straight on tour, and then we'd... It was probably the worst two years of our lives.

Alan: 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion', we definitely wanted to go for this more performance based approach. And for the first two recording periods on that album, which we each of five weeks, we got almost nothing done, because we spent the whole time trying to perform together, and finding it quite difficult to do, because it was alien to us, really.

Martin: It almost did. Dave was definitely off somewhere on his own, Alan was definitely off somewhere on his own. But me and Andy, we used to go to school together, we've known each other since we were eleven or something, something like that, so we always had one car, and we always probably had the same floor.

Martin: I think it was a bit depressing around that time, because, before that, wherever we went, there used to be the four of us together. We were a gang, we would always go out together, and we went to TV, we would always have a really good time, we'd always go out afterwards. And something happened around the time of 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion', where that just didn't happen so much anymore. Dave was probably off, doing his deed, going out wasn't something that particularly interested him at the time. But Alan definitely was showing signs of being a real loner, and it was just obvious, I felt, that he wasn't particularly getting on with us anymore.

Andy: Well, basically, we had some time off, and then we had a meeting with Alan, just me, Martin, and Alan, and Alan just says, "I'm deciding to knock it on the head, that's it." And it was fair enough, we sort of shook hands, it wasn't exactly a "hugs all around" sort of thing, and then we did not really know... You see, Dave was still an addict at this stage, so we didn't really know where he was at. I think Alan had thought that there was no way that there was going to be another album, that we were all too untogether and that we wouldn't get it together. But it turns out that the spirit within Depeche Mode is good. We have been making our best records, and we weren't finished. Martin wanted to get back and write songs, Dave wanted to get back into the studio and start singing, and it is the biggest [cliche], rock 'n' roll is a drug. That creative thing that you get, you need it again.

Dave: My interpretation of what he writes is probably very different. If Martin is writing about a relationship and about love, that's something that everybody can experience anyway and it everybody experiences it, but my experience of that may be different. So the way I sing it may be different to the way Martin does. But the words that he writes inspire me to think about what I'm doing, where I'm at, and the relationship that I'm in, or the relationship with people, with life, the way I feel about the world, the way I feel about I'm treating myself in the world. I take what he has [written] and it inspires me.