Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode: “Regret is a strange word. I don’t look at my life like that ‘| Music

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Did you accomplish everything you planned [forthcoming album] Impostor? Mr. Beelzebub

I was really exhausted after the last Depeche Mode tour, then Rich [Machin, long-time musical partner in Soulsavers] and I started talking about songs and artists that had influenced us. Before we knew it, we were doing a Soulsavers record with me as a frontman that paid homage to those songs, but was almost a new piece of work. I realized that the Choices were songs that put me where I am, suggested where I was and where I could be. These are songs [such as Dan Penn/James Carr’s Dark End of the Street or Bob Dylan’s Not Dark Yet] that reflect the lives lived. I wouldn’t have known how to sing these songs when I was 18.

Did you avoid the songs of David Bowie or Roxy Music because you have already covered them? RobRohm

As a teenager, I didn’t know Bowie’s Pin-Ups and Bryan Ferry’s These Foolish Things were covers. They sounded like their albums! Bowie was on Imposter’s long original list, but I wanted to mix Elvis [Always On My Mind], Neil Young [A Man Needs a Maid] and so on with more contemporary artists. Strange Religion by Mark Lanegan appeared immediately. We did Cat Power’s Metal Heart, and PJ Harvey’s generally intimate The Desperate Kingdom Of Love with a 10-piece band. Rowland S Howard [Shut Me Down] was a one-off guitarist in the birthday party, but his writing, melody, and lyrical content was overlooked and I wanted to pay homage to the post-punk and DIY that was so important to us when we first started. Punk taught us that if we had an idea, there were ways to make it happen.

Watch a video of an Imposter track, Cat Power’s Metal Heart.

I sang Martin [Gore]the songs of [in Depeche Mode] for 40 years, so I already did my homework [laughs]. Over the years – not from the start – it has become a thing where I hear the song, I hear Martin’s lyrics, his melodies and then I will work with the song before coming back the next day with a change in key. suggested or tempo or arrangement or other. That’s what we do when we’re in the studio together. It’s the same thing: how can I make it my own? Martin and I have had this kind of relationship for years where there’s a synergy between us, so we’re able to step back and work on what’s best for the song.

Like everyone else, you have had your ups and downs. Is there something you regret? NightSister

Regret is a strange word. I don’t look at my life like this anymore, or I use excuses for the choices I made [Gahan was technically dead for two minutes following a heroin overdose in 1996]. Good or bad they have consequences, but I lead a pretty blessed life here [in New York]. I just love what I do as much as I can.

Which performers inspired your performing art? Phrippy450

From an early age, Mick Jagger. When I was a kid I danced a lot and imitated the people on Top of the Pops. Bowie was a big influence, but when I was 14 I was infatuated with Dave Vanian from The Damned, his entire stage character. As a teenager, I saw all the glam stuff on Top of the Pops, then picked up people like James Brown, Prince, and Elvis. When I first started playing, I was paralyzed with terror. I clung to the microphone and my knuckles were still tight afterwards. Then I found out that if I moved, I didn’t feel so nervous. I kept moving and little by little, among all the things I nibbled on, I found something that was mine.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read? Jimbo Spain

I really liked Philip Norman’s Beatles biographies [Shout!] and especially the Stones [The Stones]. I’m currently reading Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and laughing a lot more, because I know this stuff. [laughs]. When you think you’re on a mission and it’s crazy. That first line – “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs started to take hold” – sets it up.

Depeche Mode on Top of the Pops, 1981, from left to right: Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Vince Clarke. Photograph: Michael Putland / Getty Images

What are your favorite albums of the moment that inspire you to make music? Mstapachuau

I played Stones’ Exile on Main Street a lot, that chaotic but beautiful thing. I played the game – badly, probably – but I like the feeling of [laughs] “I’m in the rocks! »I just received the new album from Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth from Savages. It’s a step out of the ordinary for them, which attracted me to it.

When was the last time you were at Basildon? Do you know that weird roundabout that really doesn’t go anywhere on the A127? Comfortably_Dumb

[Laughs] I know a little about who it is, but I don’t really remember. Today, because I live in the United States, when I go back to England I sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road, especially at roundabouts! On the last tour, I took my son and daughter on my old road, Bonnygate, and pointed my finger at the small town council where I grew up. I had to explain that they were two houses, side by side. It was good for them to see where I was from.

Who has been the best teacher for you in life: pain or love? Jaciara

They are both very, very close to me. I’m not going to say more because I would be in trouble [laughs].

If you could record a song with anyone, living or dead – singer, musician or producer – who would it be? Plastic303

I think Daniel Lanois’ ethereal sound could add something really interesting to Martin’s hardcore electronics. [Brian] Eno’s name came up once, but then he started working with Coldplay so we couldn’t do that even if it was a possibility. We always try to take a risk. We made some great records with Flood. I would like to work with him again.

How much have the events of the last two years affected you and will we hear it in the next songs? Terry_S

It touched us all. If I am not working I spend a lot of time in isolation, but I have become more comfortable with it and now see him as a friend. I had a breath of inspiration. So … we’ll see.

On tour with Depeche Mode in Canada, 2009.
On tour with Depeche Mode in Canada, 2009. Photograph: Ron Bull / Toronto Star / Getty Images

I think it was Bobby Gillespie who once said in an interview that you would berate your band members for putting the cutlery in the dishwasher the wrong way around. Is this true and do you have any other domestic bits of wisdom? PaddyPilgrim

[Laughs] I have a pet hate people putting stuff in the dishwasher, and I’ll change that if someone loaded it wrong. With our current machine, you arrange the cutlery in a row on a rack, which makes it even more obsessive. My advice is never to use a self-cleaning oven setup more than twice as no more than that and it will overheat and destroy the oven, as I recently discovered.

What was the best concert you have attended with any other band? GavinThe Legend

Sigur Rós, Beacon Theater, New York, circa 2002. The sound, the beauty and the power of the music was incredible. I was so overwhelmed by the feelings that it made me cry.

If you hadn’t been a musician what would you do like having spent your life doing? wenders14

I could have been some kind of thief. When I was 16, things were not going well. I was easy to drive, but I also liked the paint. When I was 17, I went to the same art school as Alison Moyet and a few guys from Talk Talk. From this scene was born the chance to participate in the music, which gave me a purpose. I felt like weirdos were my type of person. I always hang out with weirdos!

Dave Gahan & Soulsavers’ Imposter releases November 12, on Columbia Records


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