2015-03-26 BBC Radio 1, UK
DJ Heidi Vanden Amstel is joined by Martin Gore over the phone on her radio show. As well as doing a short and lighthearted interview about his upcoming solo album "MG" and other trivia, Martin also submits a guest mix, and one of the tracks off the new album, "Islet", is being premiered.
- Duration: 09:25
You can listen to the interview below.
Heidi: Hi Martin, how are you?
Martin: Hi, I'm good, thank you.
Heidi: First of all, I'd like to say a big thank you for agreeing to come on to my lil' old show on the BBC and talk about your new album.
Martin: Oh, yeah, you're welcome.
Heidi: No, it's really... I absolutely love it.
Martin: Yeah, this is not my first solo album. I have put out a couple of things in the past: the Counterfeit EP back in 1989, and then a long a break-
Heidi: -OK, so there was a bit of a space.
Martin: Yeah, and then there was a long break after that, Counterfeit 2 came out in 2003, I think.
Heidi: What about Counterfeit 3?
Martin: Everybody keeps asking, "When is that coming [out]?" I need to give it another five years, maybe.
Heidi: Just prolong it, just keep it going as long as you can. Keep them guessing.
Martin: [laughs] Yeah. I had a few instrumentals left over from the writing process of the last Depeche Mode album. I didn't have a home for them, so I thought about finishing a full instrumental album. And the more I thought about that, the more it kind of appealed to me.
Heidi: I know that you said that it consumes you, it's your life, and you record every day. How much music are you sitting on, possibly? Probably a very, very long catalogue. How did you pick the songs to go on this album? You must have such a huge amount of music.
Martin: I think that people always get a misconception about that, because, although I do go into the studio every day, pretty much, I'm not a really prolific songwriter, and I believe in editing a lot. So sometimes I'll work on something for two or three weeks, before I have a "eureka" moment where I realise that it's not very good what I am doing, and I'll just-
Heidi: -Well, I think you're a prolific songwriter. I beg to differ on that one. Just sayin'.
Martin: Well, these days, as a band, we only put out an album every four years. That's hardly speedy.
Heidi: True. Very true. As opposed to these days, people just put out music all the time, and it's just not quality, I think.
Martin: Yeah, I think that if you've been together for 35 years, I think you need time to actually be creative and inventive, and keep making stuff that's interesting. If we were still putting an album out every year, I don't think the quality would be up there.
Heidi: Yeah. I wanted to ask you, how do you relate to the younger generation of electronic music lovers? You're such an established producer from a different generation. Obviously this show is targeted to a really young audience: What is your way to connect to the 'youngins', so to speak?
Martin: I'm still really into electronic music, and I still scour the internet, looking for stuff. I don't DJ very often, but I do DJ occasionally, and I'm always on Beatport, looking for techno, mainly. When I DJ, I play techno.
Heidi: I ran a record store called Phonica Records.
Martin: Oh, I know Phonica!
Heidi: Yeah, you have actually been in there a few times, and I actually served you. This was years ago, when I worked there. Obviously I remember you coming in, because I was very impressed. You bought a bunch of James Holden [of] Border Community stuff. I remember it very well, and it's nice to see people who still go out and search and dig for music, as opposed to just going with the flow.
Martin: Yeah, I know, I am always searching for music. You'll probably see from my playlist that I gave you that it's quite eclectic.
Heidi: Oh, I know, it's great!
Martin: Yeah, thank you. Even though I have been making an instrumental album over the last year, it doesn't mean that's all I've been listening to. I don't just listen to techno, because, I am a music lover, always have been, from about the age of ten.
Heidi: Me and you both. There must be some people that you really like feeling at the moment.
Martin: I think that the first track that I've put on the playlist by Andy Stott is really amazing and I know for a fact I love that whole album, that Faith in Strangers album.
Heidi: I know you're completely addicted to instruments and software and synths and all kinds of new gadgets. You're always on the hunt for learning new stuff. If your studio was on fire, what would you grab first? [What] is the one you just take and run?
Martin: [laughs] That was a too tough question. On this instrumental album, the majority of the sounds are created with my Eurorack modular system, which started off as a small box of modules and then have pretty much taken over half the studio. So in the event of a fire I'd love to grab that before [it catches fire], but-
Heidi: -We might need a few people.
Martin: It would probably have been burned down before I got it out before [it catches fire].
Heidi: I wanna ask you about other creative outlets that you like to indulge in: food, wine, are you a good dancer, can you knit a sweater, anything like that? To veer off the musical path for a second...
Martin: Documentary films. I watch documentary films pretty much every night.
Heidi: Really? I have been getting into them a lot recently, as well. Which one is your favourite at the moment?
Martin: One called "Alive Inside". It's about people with Alzheimer's and dementia and people in old people's homes. It's about a guy who goes around with an iPod and music and he is trying to get it into all the old people's homes, because there are all these people who can't remember anything. The moment he puts these headphones on them and he plays the music that they used to know, they suddenly remember. They remember their childhood, and they're singing along, they know all the words. Somehow music gets into the brain in a different way and it animates them.
Heidi: That's wonderful. OK, I'm gonna have to watch that one. I wanted to ask you some other questions that aren't super musical: If you could have a special power for one day, what would you want?
Martin: I would like the power of ultimate justice. I would reap ultimate justice on the world.
Heidi: Oh, that is good. Fierce. I like that. That was good. And: If you could go back to another era, which one would you want to go to? Even forward, it's up to you, forwards [or] backwards.
Martin: I quite like Ray Kurzweil's theory that by 2029 we will have got to the point where we can cure every illness, we can live forever, and we can back ourselves up to computers. So I would go into the future, when we can live forever.
Heidi: OK. I really, honestly thought that you would say "future" for sure. That's good. I like this question: If you could describe your music as an animal, which animal would you pick?
Martin: I'm gonna go with a wolf. Wolves, I find, are lone animals. I mean, they travel in packs, but they seem kind of brooding animals.
Heidi: Nice. I like that. Are you touring with this album? Are you gonna take it on the road?
Martin: No, I can't imagine that it is the sort of thing that lends itself to touring. I'm just quite happy to have it finished and just to get it out. I finished recording it last November. So I have just been itching to get it out since then.
Heidi: I really, really like it. It's beautiful. I'm actually going to be playing Islet after your mix, which is my favourite track of the album. I love it, it's beautiful. So yeah, you brought me this 30-minute mix, and I'd like you to set it up for me and tell everybody a sort of mindset [of] why you chose those tracks, and what you're bringing to the listeners of Radio 1.
Martin: So, I put together a playlist of just things that I've been listening to over the course of the last year, and even up until recently. I didn't really want it to be just all electronic, I didn't want it all instrumental, I wanted it to be kind of all over the place, because that's what I listen to.
Heidi: You wanted it to be your vibe?
Heidi: Thank you so much for doing this. It is really quite special. I really have been a fan for such a long time. Actually, I have to tell you: when I was younger, my very first slowdance with a boy at my schooldance was to 'Somebody', and it's one of those songs, that, every time I hear it, it just brings me back, and it's also one of those songs that I've memorised every word to. So that's the song that, maybe when I'm old and senile, somebody will put that on my ears and I'll remember!
Martin: [Laughs] Did you marry the boy?
Heidi: No, but I will always remember that time in my life. So, thank you for that!
Martin: Thank you, Heidi.
Martin: Hello, this is Martin Gore, and you're listening to my mix on Radio 1's Residency.
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