Depeche Mode - 1993-xx-xx Songs Of Faith And Devotion EPK |

Depeche Mode 1993-xx-xx Songs Of Faith And Devotion EPK


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1993-xx-xx Songs Of Faith And Devotion EPK

Official releases:
The Videos 86-98+, MF042 ---- ?

Unofficial bootlegs:

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Staff member
[Interview CD, EPK: taken from The Videos 86-98+, MF042. Interview CD: VERBONG1.]

Paul Gambaccini interviews the band members separately, asking detailed and thought-provoking questions about the development of the band, the making of Songs Of Faith And Devotion, their attitude to contemporary music and media, and Depeche Mode's internal chemistry. The material was also released on a promotional CD, minus a few short segments and Gambaccini's questions. A highly intelligent interview, indispensable for anyone interested in this era.
" You mentioned the religion and the sex thing; I think they’ve always been very tied in for me. And like, the album title is Songs Of Faith And Devotion, which has a very strong religious leaning to it. We wanted to portray that in the title, but it’s also fairly ambiguous in that, faith in what and devotion to what? "

Please note: This transcript is given below in the order in which the questions are asked on the EPK. On the CD, parts are missed out and the answers are also given in a totally different order. To read the piece in the order of the CD, follow the bookmarks at the end of each paragraph. The numbers given in square brackets, e.g. [1], mark the beginning of a track on the CD.

[23] Do you find sometimes with the British critics that because they knew you when you were a young and poppy band they don’t take you seriously?

Martin: I think we’ve always suffered from that slightly in England, but as years go by it’s probably less and less of a problem. I think we’re thirteen years on now, so most of the people and most of the journalists are too young to remember.

[17] As you look back over the history of the group, which is now about thirteen years I guess… you said you never enjoyed actually doing them, but are there any that you’re proud of having done?

Andy: All of them, I think. Actually, all of the recent ones… I wouldn’t say I’m proud of the early videos. I think we was used as an experiment for some dodgy ideas in some of those. But that was really at the start of videos anyway, in 1981, that’s when videos really started to be made, really. And there was these “storyboard” videos, and that type videos, and we had to do a lot of acting and we just wasn’t any good at that, and we realised we wasn’t going to be the new Beatles.

[19] If we were to look back at key records in the history of the group, Just Can’t Get Enough would be one of them.

Andy: Obviously, that is the one – especially in Britain – which a lot of people still remember us for. Which is a shame really, because we’ve come on quite a way since then.

[20] I don’t want to believe everything that I read, but I did read once that you thought that People Are People, which was your breakout record in the States, was perhaps a bit too simplistic for your subsequent tastes. Do you believe that it was perhaps a bit too preachy?

Martin: I just think it’s not very subtle and just probably my least favourite song out of all the ones we’ve ever done.

What would be your favourite?

Martin: There are so many songs… I really like Shake The Disease, I still like Stripped for certain atmospheres, and with this record I think you can’t really tell until at least a couple of years later. You’re just too close to it. I never know, until it’s actually out, even with Violator last time, I wasn’t eve sure if I actually liked it until a year or so after it was out.

[11] One advantage that you’ve had is that you’ve never been too associated with any particular musical trends, so therefore you don’t go out of fashion when the fad does. Do you find yourself listening to much music now that you live in America?

Dave: Yeah, all the time. I listen to as much music as possible all the time. Everything, lots of things, classical stuff, and I think it’s really important to get out and see bands and go to gigs and listen to music and totally be involved in it all the time. Because otherwise it’s just too fake.

Alan: As far as pop music goes I don’t tend to follow it, I buy a lot of CDs and I listen to a lot of music in the car, for example, and I watch things that I tape off TV, specific things that I want to see, but I don’t really just switch on the radio and have it in the background or follow the charts really, I don’t really have much interest in it.

Martin: At the moment I think everybody expects us to come out with a techno album, like a hard dance album, but I think there’s so much of that music around at the moment and the song’s really getting lost, so I don’t think I consciously sat down and tried to react against that. But I think it’s just something that you do because you listen to the radio, you go to clubs, and you’re just like immersed in this same sort of music everywhere you go, that you go home, and for me I think that when I sit down and write a song it just comes out differently because I want to hear something different.

[5] It is fascinating really that you’ve each evolved into a different kind of role – one is the songwriter, one is the singer, one is the technician, and you’re the businessperson. It’s an amazing mixture.

Andy: I think it’s the way a modern band should be, really. And I think if more bands were like that, they could run their affairs more successfully, you know.


Staff member
[1] What’s the evolution in your mind from having been at one point the new boy to now the keeper of the instrumental sound, if you may call it that? When did you realise that this particular responsibility was coming your way?

Alan: Well I suppose with experience you want to take more control; the more you learn, the more you realise you can usually do something better yourself than putting it into other people’s hands. I’ve always had a strong interest in the production side of making music, and that’s just really evolved over the years. It seems that the way we’ve delegated roles within the group – a natural delegation, if you like, something that’s happened without, really, us sitting down and deciding – it’s left me with most of that responsibility, and I enjoy that.

Martin: I’d always written songs, from the age of 13 or so I started writing songs. Not a lot, but a few songs, a back catalogue anyway. I was just thrown into it, and fortunately we were young enough not to worry about things. I think if the same thing happened to us today, we’d have probably been going “Oh my God, what are we going to do now?” because I think as you get older you tend to be more practical about things. But we just went straight back into the studio and didn’t worry and fortunately things just turned out. I mean, I don’t think the second album was a masterpiece, I think we just about got away with it!

[7] You find yourself in a position like that of Roger Daltrey in The Who, who sang the songs written by Pete Townsend. This successful relationship with Martin has been going on for so many years now, has it ever given you chance to reflect on what kind of mental or spiritual relationship you have with this man?

Dave: Over the last couple of years I think I’ve felt a lot closer to Martin, I’ve got to know him a lot better, I’ve liked him a lot more. I’d like to think he felt the same about me. I feel – I don’t know – in some way really close to his songs. When I was wanting something else, he’d write that song. No, I really love singing Martin’s… Martin’s a brilliant songwriter, and I’d like to think that the rest of us – Alan and myself and Fletch – bring out the best of those songs.

[2] Who were your early favourite songwriters, or did you have even any, did it just come out of you?

Martin: There were people that I was really influenced by when I was growing up; I think I really used to like Gary Glitter, yeah I think that was my inspiration when I was twelve, thirteen, fourteen when you’re probably at your most influential. And when I got a little bit older, I got into people like, I really like Jonathan Richman, things like that. Probably a bit strange really, it’s not what people expect me to like.

[12] Do you think that as many people of the current generation want to make music as did of yours? And if not, what was it that was special in your mind that encouraged you to do this?

Alan: I’m sure there are just as many people now that are interested in making music as there were when I was growing up. The reason I got involved really was because it was in the family – I was encouraged by my family to learn the piano, which I did, as a young lad, and that just evolved into interest in popular music as opposed to classical music, which presumably they expected me to be interested in or to follow my brother through – my two brothers are both pianists, and I was sort of expected to follow suit. But for some reason I got interested in blues music and rock’n’roll.

[3] I can’t help but notice that it’s three years since Violator, does this mean that you’re writing less or recording less?

Martin: I think we have to get things right after – I can’t remember what it is now – ten albums or so. It just takes longer until everybody’s happy with the end result. Your standards go up, and also you’ve tried so many things that to be experimental and to do things that are different for us just takes longer.

Alan: There’s been big changes in each individual member of the group, which I couldn’t sum up in a few sentences. But particularly over the last few years I think, since we’ve got to our thirties, and you can see within everybody that certain aspects of their lives have become much more important to them. What with having had a significant break away from each other before we started making this record, when we came back together you could really see the changes within everybody.

Dave: Really during the making of that record and touring with it, a lot of things changed in my life. I found myself breaking down a lot of things that were no longer giving me anything at all apart from heartache and grief, to be quite honest. So I tried to change everything, and I fell in love, and flew away to another country and got married and everything, and started a new life, really.

[16] Of course, I’ve noticed that between us, and slightly behind us, there is a large drum kit, and I gather that you’ve been doing a bit of practicing.

Alan: Yeah, I’ve got quite a lot more practicing to do as well, if I’m to play them live, which is what I intend to do on the next tour, on certain songs or all the songs.

[8] Condemnation is a riveting-sounding track – I must admit when I first heard it I thought “Oh my God, have I got this on at the wrong speed?” because it starts very slowly. You must have had a lot of fun working on that one.

Martin: Yep, that is one of the tracks that we used other people on, backing singers, gospel singers; but it is actually sung in a very gospel quartet style, old gospel quartet style. And we basically worked out the parts and sang them, we didn’t sample vocals off, we just sang the parts like a quartet. So it was very interesting to do that, and I think Dave’s given his best vocal performance ever on that track.

Alan: We managed to find a good environment, we did that particular vocal in Madrid, and the house where we set the studio up had a very echoey tiled room down in the garage, and he sang down there, and he enjoyed singing in that space – just the way the room set off the sound of his voice, was pleasing to him and therefore he sang well.

In Condemnation you’re all singing along; do you enjoy taking part?

Andy: Most of the time that’s not me, Paul. My voice has been criticised – unfairly so, I think [laughs].

You don’t fight for roles, do you?

Andy: The roles are… basically Martin and Alan are so good, very red hot with their harmonies, and I get criticised a lot – my voice isn’t up to it, really. I think it’s better than they think it is [laughs].


Staff member
[9] Martin said that he thought Condemnation was your best vocal performance to date, do you feel good about that track?

Dave: To me that song is definitely the best vocal that I’ve ever… the best lyrics, I think, and melody that I’ve ever been given to sing, That’s the song that I wish I could have written. It was one of the first songs that we done out in Madrid, I just felt everything that I was saying was making sense, and it was kind of breaking down and crushing or opening up new things for me, breaking down old things, and it was kind of like getting to the end of it, and when I heard it back I just thought, you know, it sounds great! And Flood, and everybody in the studio was like… I could tell, there was a feeling when I walked back into the control room everybody was like, “That was really good.” And that’s the first song I would have liked everybody to hear first, because I just think we captured something really really special.

How do you improve your voice after having been on record for many albums now?

Dave: Wouldn’t you like to know, Paul?

I’ve always thought of the band as having a European influence and appealing to European –

[there is a knock at the door of Martin's hotel room]

Martin: Who is it? [he opens the door to a woman who appears to be a call girl]

Guest: It’s me, it’s me.

Martin: [manhandling her back out] We’re filming.

Guest: Well what’s going on? But time’s money – shall I come back later then, or what?

Martin: Just – go on.

Guest: Just come back later?

Martin: In a bit, in a bit. [he shuts the door on her]

Martin – what are you doing?

Martin: [laughs] Sorry?

[21] I always thought of the band as having a European influence, and appealing to Europeans. Would you agree with that?

Martin: No, I don’t think so at all, I think I used to think that, but I think that our success in America has really sort of shown that up to be false. We sell just as many records in America now as we do in Europe put together.

[4] Well, the four of you do work together, and it is noteworthy that after all this time there hasn’t been somebody saying, “I’m going off and doing my own thing,” or three of them saying, “You’re not carrying your own weight – leave.” This happens with so many groups – do you think it’s because you were fortunate enough to find your own tasks, or is it just some sort of special chemistry?

Alan: I think most successful groups have a unique blend, if you like, that chemistry thing. And I’m sure we do have that, but we also have had the type of problems that you talk about, it’s just that you don’t hear about it, I’m sure. You always have internal wrangles; you always have internal problems. There isn’t a group that exists that hasn’t had that, and we’re no different in that respect, but we tend to keep that kind of thing fairly private because it’s not for anyone else’s ears really. But generally speaking we’ve managed, as you say, to delegate it and allocate our roles in quite a new way, a way that works, and most of the time we’re happy like that.

[6] Do you find you get on just as well as ever?

Martin: I think… obviously we have our disagreements, and after thirteen years you know everybody’s personality so well, and when there are disagreements you can predict how they’re going to go. But I think we get on as well as we can after thirteen years, which is… That makes it sound bad, but we actually get on well.

Dave: To be honest I find it a little bit sad that I haven't become much closer to the other people that I work with, and have worked with for a lot of years. I'd like to have changed some of the things that we done, in that... you know, our relationship: to me it's really important, what we have, the whole atmosphere that Depeche Mode creates when they're in a room together, as much as, sometimes, I hate it, I love it so much as well. And each person I love, as well.


Staff member
[14] Were there ever moments where you’ve been on stage and you find yourself watching Dave?

Alan: Yeah, many moments. I mean, what he does on stage is very difficult, and I try to encourage him, or at least let him know that I value what he does on stage because he really does take the brunt of the attention. And it’s a very difficult thing to do – there are very few good frontmen around, and I think he does it well.

[15] As we contemplate your stage act, I’m reminded that many people now have genuine designers work on their stage sets. Will you be going in this direction?

Alan: Well we always work in conjunction with other people when we’re putting stage shows together; Anton’s working on this particular stage set with us and we’ll be looking to him for some very strong ideas. Plus we’re trying to put as much thought to it as we can, and try and do it in a very different way than we have before, which is generally how we approach most things.

Martin, before I say anything else, I’ve got to tell you I’m knocked out by this guitar; is it one you’ve had for a while?

Martin: Yeah, I’ve had it now for about five years or so, it’s actually my favourite guitar. I’ve got quite a collection now, and we try them all for every guitar part in the studio, and I always go back to this one.

What’s special about it?

Martin: It’s just a very full sound, it’s quite old, I think it’s early sixties or something.

[10] I remember the excitement in concert when you came forward to play a guitar piece. Will you be using the guitar more in the show, do you think?

Martin: With every album I think we incorporate more guitar parts just because it seems more natural, so I have to perform live then. I actually enjoy it as well. I think we’ve managed to get a good balance between rock and electronics, I don’t think the show’s over-rocky, which was always our worry, I think it just adds a new dimension to the show. We’ve actually come forward, instead of the three of us being stuck behind keyboards. I think we’re going to try and do more of that sort of thing on the next tour with drums and stuff.

[24] You say you’ve been dissuaded from singing. Have you ever wanted to write?

Andy: I’ve tried writing… Again, I’ve been in a band with two of the best modern-day songwriters really, and it doesn’t really do much for your confidence. You present a song and it’s not really up to scratch, so I basically gave up and sort of concentrated on what I thought I was good at.

Dave, I have to say this, as you’ve been animated in our conversation your tattoos have seemed to come to life, and I suppose this is –

Dave: Oh! Don’t say that, for God’s sake!

[25] - This is probably the best chance we’ll ever have to have a guided tour of these tattoos, if you don’t mind. Could you explain which are new?

Dave: They all tell a story, really, to me. They all mark some kind of personal change or something that went on in my life, right from the first one that I had, I had very young. I have another one here that I had removed just because I didn’t like it. At that time I thought about getting both of them removed. But there’s been some other things done, they all kind of mark events really, but it’s personal. And they’re kind of like my war-paint really. I’ve got to have some more done yet before we go on tour. [end of CD interview]

[13] You certainly seem to have trusted Flood, with whom you’ve been working, as a producer. Now, for four guys who are relatively so protective, how did he come to win your trust?

Alan: Well, Flood’s become a very important part of our team over the last two records. We really needed a change from the production team we had been working with before that and it was suggested to us that we try and work with Flood who had a good knowledge of electronics and synthesizers but also had a good perspective as a producer and was probably someone we could get on with, and so we just entered into an album with him and it sort of clicked from there. And as I say, he’s now become a crucial member of our team and his contribution is vast.

[18] Now that the novelty of making videos has worn off, do you find this a genuine outlet for your artistic expression or is it just a chore?

Martin: Well, to be honest, there was never any novelty in making videos. We hated making them from the very first one, and it wasn’t until we started working with Anton we actually started liking to make them. And I think we felt we could just never trust the directors and… I mean you’re totally in the director’s hands, you’ve got no idea how it’s looking when you’re filming it, you basically don’t ever see it until it’s finished, and by that time it’s too late to change anything, basically it’s got to go out. So for our first fifteen videos or so we pretty much hated them, and now we’ve got into this routine of working with Anton and he explains things to us. And also because we have this trust in what he’s doing, we know the end result is going to be quite good, which makes it a lot more enjoyable to actually film. [on to track 19]

[22] Martin: You mentioned the religion and the sex thing; I think they’ve always been very tied in for me. And like, the album title is Songs Of Faith And Devotion, which has a very strong religious leaning to it. We wanted to portray that in the title, but it’s also fairly ambiguous in that, faith in what and devotion to what?

You’ve now agreed on I Feel You as the first single – was this a pretty general consensus?

Andy: No – nothing is these days [laughs]. The trouble with this album, we seem to have so many different options, we just felt that I Feel You made the right sort of statement.

Dave: It’s full ahead, it’s right in your face – that’s what it’s supposed to be, and it’s pretty sexual and it’s got a really heavy feel about it. It’s not actually my choice for what should be the first single or what we present to people as our first recording, if you like. But I understand why people think it should be.

Have you got any ideas yet for what you’ll be doing for I Feel You?

Martin: No, he’s too slow [laughs]. We gave him the tape a few weeks ago, he hasn’t come up with anything yet.