Depeche Mode Everything Counts (In Large Amounts) (Number One, 1985) | DMremix

Depeche Mode Everything Counts (In Large Amounts) (Number One, 1985)

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Everything Counts (In Large Amounts)
[Number One, 19th October 1985. Words: Paul Bursche. Pictures: John Stoddart.]
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The band take a single-by-single trawl through their career to date, putting the release of Singles 81-85 in perspective. Plenty of nuggets of information centred on the making of each track, although it times it does become a little grinding.
" I think we’ve always – not shocked – but surprised people. "
Depeche Mode are celebrating their coming of age with a singles collection. No.1 chronicles their career from leather through suits to leather, from futurism through sex to the future, with Dave Gahan, Andy Fletcher, Martin Gore and Alan Wilder.
Interview: Paul Bursche.
Group portrait: John Stoddart.

Dreaming Of Me

Dave: “We were all eighteen or nineteen at the time. And it wasn’t the most exciting event of our lives. Martin and Andy were still working and they’d get to the studio after work, still eating their Chinese takeaway or whatever. It wasn’t taken seriously at all, we weren’t thinking about going into the charts at all, we just wanted to make a record.”

Andy: “D’you remember Scamps?”

Dave: “Yeah, we took the record down to a club called Scamps in Southend and they played it and our friends liked it which was the best thing.”

New Life

Dave: “This time when we went into the studio we did wanna make a record that would get in the charts, we were playing with sequencers and stuff.”

Martin: “After the surprise success of ‘Dreaming Of Me’ we thought that this game wasn’t too difficult after all.”

Dave: “Yeah, we thought we’d make a few more singles quick.”

Martin: “We all earnt a hundred quid so we thought ‘Blimey, we’re laughing’.”

Dave: “We all got hundred quid advances from the publisher and we couldn’t believe it, ‘That silly prat’s given us a hundred quid for doing nothing’. I also remember that Vince and I used to go round all the publishers because there was quite a lot of people after us.”

No.1: So why didn’t you sign away from Mute records, which was just a small independent label?

Dave: “It was just a bit too confusing at the time, we couldn’t really take in all that was happening. We didn’t trust anyone. It wasn’t something we were sure we wanted to do the rest of our lives.”

Martin: “With Mute it was always step by step, as it still is. Originally it was just a one off single deal where everyone else was trying to get us to sign up to make nine albums. That seemed too much.”

Dave: “Yeah, to look that far ahead. I think Vince was the most against it, that was when he first started really thinking about whether he wanted to go on.”

No.1: Do you remember the first Top Of The Pops appearance?

Dave: “’Course. There was Gillan, The ‘Whicker Rap’ – I remember it really well, even more so than the one we did the other day.”

Martin: “We still get nervous even today, but looking back to that first one…”

Dave: “And we were so young…”

Just Can’t Get Enough

No.1: Were you New Romantics at this stage?

Dave: “We were futurists, we were always futurists, because we were involved with futurist people, people who wanted to be individual. The New Romantic thing meant people all looking the same, however flamboyantly. Futurists were an extension from punk. That was our following at the time.”

No.1: You were also the Boys from Basildon. Was it hard continuing to live in suburbia?

Andy: “We were harrassed.”

Martin: “It wasn’t adulation, more derogatory comments.”

Dave: “We get more abuse there than anyone else but that’s the sort of place it is, very young. I live there now and I can go out and do the shopping okay. You learn. You know that if you go to the wrong areas you can get beaten up, so you stay away from those areas. It’s a good place.”

See You

Martin: “Was the first single I’d written although it had been around a long time, I wrote it when I was 17. So when Vince left it seemed quite a good single to do, a nice commercial one.”

No.1: It’s sad, as are a lot of your love songs.

Dave: “That’s because it’s personal, that’s what makes them sad.”

No.1: People might have been expecting another dance record.

Martin: “I think we’ve always – not shocked – but surprised people.”

Dave: “Oh, I think we’ve shocked in our time.”

Martin: “But we’ve never continued in one steady patter, one direct line.”

Leave In Silence

No.1: Why have you never had your picture on a single’s sleeve?

Andy: “We like to be a bit of a faceless group, really. We want people to buy the music, not on our image. The first Duran album, for instance, they must regret what they look like. Perhaps they don’t…”

Dave: “I bet they do, they must do. It’s a really horrible sleeve.”

No.1: “Well why do you appear in videos then?”

Andy: “We only make videos to sell our records and there are certain rules to follow: You must appear.”

Dave: “We do try to make them a bit obscure, not your general run of the mill ones.”

No.1: ‘Leave In Silence’ was a real shock to people.

Martin: “After the ‘Meaning Of Love’, which isn’t on the LP, had bombed we felt we should be taking a few more chances as trying to make records that we thought were going to be hits wasn’t the way to go about things. We released something we were very happy with, that we hoped would appeal to people.”

Dave: “It’s very rare to capture an atmosphere on a single, but that’s one we did it on. The whole album ‘Broken Frame’ is very moody throughout but a little disjointed. ‘Leave In Silence’, though, had everything, melody, sound, mood, everything. One of my favourites.”

Get The Balance Right

No.1: Your first single as a member of the group, Alan. What difference did you make?

Alan: “Yeah, it was my first single but I don’t think I made a great deal of difference. I probably made it worse.”

Martin: “Well that is actually our least favourite single. It was hell to record.”

Andy: “We had a lot of problems, it was a kind of interim period between equipment and it just didn’t happen.”

Alan: “I’d been involved for about a year, I wasn’t coming into it cold.”

Dave: “Yeah, we were paying you a good wage though, Alan!”

Alan: “They were paying me a pittance.”

Andy: “You did travel the world – and get free records!”
 

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Everything Counts

Martin: “It’s strange, but we went from one of our unhappiest singles on to one of our favourites.”

Andy: “As with the previous one we were experimenting with various new technology that was available. We now had Emulators and Synclaviers and we wanted to move into a new area of sound.”

No.1: It was also one of the first times you looked outside your own situation. You started writing about money and business.

Martin: “Again, the time just seemed right to have a change from what we’d been writing about before.”

Alan: “We wanted, also, to be able to capture our live sound, in the past we’d sounded a bit lightweight on record.”

Dave: “Once more, that single captured a brilliant atmosphere.”

Martin: “Anyway, a lot of people liked the single which was nice because we were attempting, again, to go off and do something a little bit different.”

Love In Itself

Dave: “This is the s-s-s-s’s track. It had a very soft vocal with lots of s’s, it sounded awful. I was a bit disappointed with this, it could have been brilliant.”

Andy: “We had a lot of problems with the equipment with this one, just trying to get that softness of sound we wanted without it all blurring was a real nightmare. It’s one that’s always good live, though.”

People Are People

Alan: “We all look upon that period of recording as one of the most exciting. We’d gone to Berlin and the feeling in the studio was very dynamic. We were aware that the single was quite close to being a disco single and we didn’t want it to be like all the millions of others that were out. We wanted it to have this hard metallic sound while keeping it fairly soulful.

“We had a great time in Berlin and we also had fun experimenting with all these Synclaviers and so on. It was an exciting period with a good end result. We weren’t sure about it at first, although we thought it was good.”

No.1: You were building up a very large following in Europe at the time, why was that?

Andy: “It had been building up I think. Every time we went over there the audiences were getting bigger and more responsive and that’s the single that really cracked it.”

Dave: “That was also our first ever hit in America, although it was released later over there. It was obviously a single that appealed to a lot of people.”

No.1: You were really getting into leather at this point.

Andy: “We were thinking more about our image than we ever had done really.”

Dave: “We went through a period where we’d worn suits to go with songs like ‘See You’ which I think was the worst period. But before, when we first started, we were wearing leather, basically the leather gay look. That was from most of our friends. It was our best look. Gradually we just came back into it. It’s a good strong image, a powerful one. It’s not really an image as such but it looks good and it’s the sort of stuff we’d wear anyway.”

Alan: “We’re not the sort of group that’s ever really thought about clothes a great deal…”

Andy: “But we just can’t help it if we look damned good, can we?”

Master & Servant

Dave: “We wanted to get across a very manic feeling and I think we did do that. A very powerful song.”

Andy: “It rubbed off a bit from ‘People Are People’.”

Dave: “Yeah, but lyrically it was very different.”

No.1: About those lyrics…

Martin: “No, I’ve explained this a million times… it’s about domination, all kinds of domination.”

Dave: “Yeah, but on the records it’s sexual, isn’t it?”

Alan: “No it’s not, it’s not just about sex. Martin?”

Dave: “On the record it is, I think that’s pretty obvious from the lyric.”

Martin: “Alright then.”

Blasphemous Rumours

Andy: “When we went to America we thought we’d get a lot of the same stick for this record that we’d got over here and in Europe but we didn’t. We got a lot of letters saying that they really liked what the record was saying but in Europe we got a lot of letters slagging it.”

Alan: “In Europe, the problem was they couldn’t say it.”

Martin: “Neither this nor ‘Master And Servant’ had any shock value, they weren’t intended to shock people. They both had a good meaning.”

Dave: “I think the problem arose because it had the word ‘Blasphemous’ in the title, so the record itself must be, whereas it’s just the thoughts of one man looking for some kind of reason in the goings on in the world. We did get response from Christian associations saying that they understood what we were trying to say.”

Andy: “There was also a feature in a Christian magazine, which I used to read, putting across our side.”

Shake The Disease

Dave: “Another one of those tracks which I think is a great song when we didn’t really give it enough in the studio. We were touring and trying to do a record at the same time. It was the first single where we had nothing to do with the mixing.”

Andy: “When we came back from America there were loads of things we didn’t like about it.”

Dave: “It was crying out for a great big chorus but it didn’t happen.”

Alan: “It is a great song. Should have been a very big hit. It did very well elsewhere.”

Alan [sic]: “It was the sort of song you needed to hear a few times.”

It’s Called A Heart

Dave: “Our latest. I do find it very hard to enjoy singles until a good while after they’ve been out. At the time there are just too many other things to do to sit back and think about the single.”

No.1: Why have the singles compilation?

Dave: “It’s the end of a period for us. We need to start afresh on the new LP and this will give us enthusiasm.”

We have a hundred copies of the singles compilation. If you want one just tell us which Depeche Mode single we haven’t mentioned here. Clue: It was a double A side with one of the above. Send a postcard to: Modey, No.1, Room 304, 1-19 New Oxford Street, London. See page 59 for rules.
 
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