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Depeche Mode Depeche Mode (Bop Eye, 1982)

demoderus

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Depeche Mode
[Bop Eye, Issue 3б Undated, 1982. Words: Jane-Nina Buchanan. Pictures: Tim Gudgeon.]

A not-very-taxing interview which unusually focuses on Andy, and which was in fact conducted in late 1981 as Vince is still present. Comment and criticism from the author is almost entirely absent, but left to speak for himself Fletch does go into some detail on their very early days and Christian background. There's also the obligatory 1981 band banter. It's no literary classic, but I've read worse.
" Vince, Martin and I all met up with some awful Christian electronic bands... We went to the ‘Greenbelt Christian / Arts Festival’ and saw them all there. We’ve even thought about playing there under another name – bottom of the bill. "
Summary: A not-very-taxing interview which unusually focuses on Andy, and which was in fact conducted in late 1981 as Vince is still present. Comment and criticism from the author is almost entirely absent, but left to speak for himself Fletch does go into some detail on their very early days and Christian background. There's also the obligatory 1981 band banter. It's no literary classic, but I've read worse. [1126 words]
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Depeche Mode

Depech-ay (sic) Mode – the boys from Basildon (Essex) are fresh, lively, humourous and chart-topping. But, still they haven’t reached the Julian Cope “Ego of the Year” syndrome.

I spoke to the band at their hotel before they left for Sheffield (the next date of the tour). The most helpful member of the band was Andrew (Andy) Fletcher. This spiked haired synth player told us all about Depeche as a band, “We’re not at all a serious band, although, I wouldn’t say we were witty. We haven’t a message to preach about anything like unemployment etc. What our aims are, is that people should have a good time at our concerts.”

Having seen D. M. live, I feel that they do give everyone a good time. However, like many other synth bands, there is a distance between the audience and performers could serve to enhance their stage presence (a valuable asset to any band) unless the split eventually becomes a chasm (a la Japan).

“It’s much easier to create a party atmosphere down South than up North, as down South they know all our songs. I get bored playing. Once, we used to play in small clubs or discos for only 30 minutes. Now that we’re a bigger established band we’re expected to play for much longer. And, when you’re stuck behind a synth for all that time you can’t even dance.”

What was it like when you had guitars, besides that fact that you could ‘bop’, was there any difference in the music?

“Even when we had guitars we played the same style stuff, ‘Photographic’ used to have a really good base-line, doo, doo, doo, doo…”

Andrew demonstrates the tune, then laughs nervously.

I hear you all have religious backgrounds.

“Vince was once in a gospel folk band” (Vince looks across the room and grins).

Do you think that you could soon start some new scenes off, e.g. – Futurist folk bands or New Romantic Religious? (!)

“I dan know. All of our families were Christians. Dave’s family are all in the ‘Sally Army’ and I was in a Methodist Church until I was about seventeen. We all went to Sunday School. Vince, Martin and I all met up with some awful Christian electronic bands.” ( - I didn’t know such bands existed!) “We went to the ‘Greenbelt Christian / Arts Festival’ and saw them all there. We’ve even thought about playing there under another name – bottom of the bill. It’s a really funny place ‘Greenbelt’, there were all these ‘hip’ Christians around the place all dressed up, as if they were off to a club when really everybody was living in tents on this campsite!” (Sounds like Steve Strange’s idea of Pontins).

I’ve noticed with all of Depeche’s old and new stuff you play, all of them have important harmonies. Is that something you will carry on doing or do you think D. M.’s style will change?

“I don’t know if the style will change, that’s something you can never say until it happens. But harmonics… live ones are getting bad lately. Martin has got an excellent voice though. In the studio Martin finds he can get harmonies even better. It really amazes me the way he does it. I suppose we’ll carry on doing them ’cause of this.”

From studio to LP to cover… “The cover from the album is really mad. This guy who did it, Brian Griffin, was a typical artist – he wore a big floppy hat. One day he came into the office and said, ‘I’ve had this vision (Andrew waves his arms in the air), a Swan flying in the air, flying… flying… What do you think? Do you want it?’ We just said, ‘Can’t you tell us a bit more? I mean, it’ll cost hundreds of pounds.’ I wasn’t too sure of the plastic bag bit but we were in too much of a rush to worry about it.”

Talking of Brian Griffin’s big hat, is it true that D.M. used to dress up really over the top?

“Oh God yes, we used to wear all this make-up and hideous clothes, it was all really funny. We’re still funny now I suppose, Martin was the make-up person, ha, ha, weren’t you Mart?”

Martin laughs and asks me if I saw them on Swap Shop and Something Else.

“It was funny that,” Andrew butts in, “We were all in this silly leather gear and Martin in this Commando stuff with black stubble painted on his face, ha!”

“You can’t talk!” Martin laughs, “You danced really stupid, you were going…” (he demonstrates Andrew’s dancing). There then follows a friendly slagging match between the band, “Dave looked like Graham Bonnet,” “No he didn’t,” etc, etc.

“The ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ video was a funny one. Made in London – it was a real cheapo as we had to pay for it. We are in this club (in the video) and there’s all these girl dancers and we’re drinking cocktails, we chat them up and Martin gets left without a bird – really funny.”

Depeche Mode are not too concerned with videos to go with their live acts, but now are more interested in lighting.

Considering they are only young (average age twenty) D.M. have enjoyed quite a bit of British success.

“I haven’t changed since I was sixteen, honest!” Andrew reflects, “Although, I have got bags under my eyes,” he remarks to the photographer who is busy snapping away. “We don’t really take care with photographs, we just let people go ‘snap, snap, snap’! We don’t even like the ones that are on sale.”

There was then a pause in our chat when Andrew had a witty bitch with Neil Arthur of ‘Blancmange’ about their chess tournament – Depeche Mode v Blancmange (somehow I feel I’m on Blancmange’s side it’s not really fair – four against two is it?).

What are your plans for the future, accepting the fact that you will stick together?

“We will try and release something in the U.S.A. and get a contract in Japan too, I don’t know anything else… (pause)… Although, there was one point in 1980 when we were all going to pack everything in. It was when we played in Sheffield and nobody turned up. The ‘Loved One’ turned up and played, they were freaking everybody out. We all thought they were going to commit suicide or something. When we played it was awful… awful atmosphere. Travelling home was bad too, it was so cold. We genuinely thought of packing it in then… it was so cold.”

Good job Depech-ay Mode did carry on, and let’s hope they can survive many winters to come too!

Wrap up warm lads and keep feeding us with good, wholesome ‘happy’ tunes. Thanks!
 

demoderus

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BOP EYE
Date: January 1982
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Description: Pas trouve le mois de sortie
Pays: Royaume-Uni
 

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