David Gahan (born David Callcott; 9 May 1962, Epping, Epping Forest, Essex, Essex, United Kingdom) is an English singer-songwriter, best known as the baritone lead singer of the electronic band Depeche Mode since their debut in 1980. He is also an accomplished solo artist, releasing albums in 2003 (Paper Monsters) and 2007 (Hourglass). Though his bandmate Martin Gore continues to be the main Depeche Mode songwriter, Gahan has also contributed a number of songs to the band's most recent albums; Playing the Angel (2005), Sounds of the Universe (2009), Delta Machine (2013), and Spirit (2017). Three of these songs were released as singles, including "Suffer Well" in 2005, "Hole to Feed" in 2009, and "Should Be Higher" in 2013. In 2012 and 2015, he also contributed lyrics and sang lead vocals on the Soulsavers albums The Light the Dead See and Angels and Ghosts. Q magazine ranked Gahan no. 73 on the list of the "100 Greatest Singers" and no. 27 on "The 100 Greatest Frontmen".
Childhood and early years
Gahan was born as David Callcott into a working-class family, to parents Len Callcott (a bus driver) of Malaysian descent and his wife Sylvia (a conductress or "clippy" on London buses), Dave was only six months old when his father left the family. Sylvia and Len divorced two years later and his mother moved Dave and sister Sue (born 1960) to Basildon, Essex, after Sylvia met and married her second husband Jack Gahan (an administrator with Shell Oil). The Gahan family continued to grow with the birth of two more half-brothers Peter (born 1966) and Phil (born 1968). Dave and Sue were raised under the impression that their mother's second husband, Jack, was their natural father.
In 1972, when Gahan was 10 years old, his stepfather died. Gahan recalled how he "came home one day and found this bloke [his biological father] at home". Of the incident, he has said: "I'll never forget that day. When I came home from school, there was this stranger in my mum's house. My mother introduced him to me as my real dad. I remember I said, that was impossible because my father was dead. How was I supposed to know who that man was? From that day on, Len often visited the house, until one year later he disappeared again. Forever this time. Since then he had no contact with us. By growing older, I thought about him more and more. The only thing my mother would say, was that he moved out to Jersey to open a hotel." "Mum had kept it back from me 'til there was a need to tell me about my birth father, it's a different generation and you can understand I guess she thought she was doing the right thing."
While attending Barstable School on Timberlog Close in Basildon, Gahan started bunking off school, got into trouble with the police, was suspended from school and ended up in juvenile court three times for offences ranging from joyriding and graffiti to criminal damage and theft. He enjoyed the thrill of stealing cars, driving them around, and setting them alight. Gahan tells of the time: "I was pretty wild. I loved the excitement of nicking a motor, screeching off and being chased by the police. Hiding behind the wall with your heart beating gives you a real kick – 'will they get you?'". In his final year at school, he applied for a job as an apprentice fitter with North Thames Gas. He was told by his probation officer to be honest with the interviewer, and as a result, he admitted his criminal record but claimed he was a "reformed character." As a result, he did not get the job which, he claimed, led to him trashing his probation officer's office. His punishment was weekend custody at a sub-Borstal attendance centre in Romford for one year. Gahan recalls: "You had to work. I remember doing boxing, stuff like that. You had to have your hair cut. It was every weekend, so you were deprived of your weekend and it seemed like forever. I was told very clearly that my next thing was detention centre. To be honest, music saved me."
Within six months of leaving Barstable School in July 1978, Gahan found and lost something on the order of twenty jobs, from selling soft drinks, working in a greengrocers in Basildon Bus Station, working as a cashier in Sainsbury's petrol station in Savacentre, to working on a construction site. Eventually, he earned a place at Southend Technical College, which he enjoyed immensely. After two years, he gained the British Display Society Award, which allowed him to get jobs doing displays in shop windows and shopping centres.
Career in Depeche Mode (1980)
In March 1980, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher and Vince Clarke formed the band Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals and guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. Clarke and Fletcher soon switched to synthesizers. The same year, Gahan joined the band after Clarke heard him perform David Bowie's "Heroes." The band was soon renamed Depeche Mode, a name suggested by Gahan after he had come across a fashion magazine called Dépêche-mode.
A new wave/synthpop pioneer of the early 1980s, Depeche Mode have explored new musical directions for over 30 years, and their sound has remained diverse since their inception. They have released 14 studio albums, 4 greatest hits compilations and 2 remix albums. The band has achieved global sales in excess of 100 million.
In a 2003 interview, Gahan shared that "During the making of Exciter, sometimes I felt a bit frustrated that there was a lack of experimentation." This led him, in 2004, to tell his bandmates that he wanted to write half of the songs on their next album, and there was "no way" he could be involved in the band without contributing. Eventually there was a compromise, and three of Gahan's songs appeared on 2005's Playing the Angel: "Suffer Well" (nominated for a Grammy award), "I Want It All" and "Nothing's Impossible." "Suffer Well" was released as a single in 2006, reaching No. 12 in the UK.
Three more Gahan-penned songs, co-written with Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpott, appeared on the band's twelfth album, Sounds of the Universe, released on 20 April 2009. The songs are "Hole to Feed", "Come Back" and "Miles Away / The Truth Is". Gahan also wrote the lyrics to the B-side "Oh Well" although the music was done by Martin Gore. It is their first writing collaboration. "Hole to Feed" was released along with Gore's "Fragile Tension" as a double A-side single in late 2009.
In 2013, with the release of Depeche Mode's thirteenth album Delta Machine, Gahan is credited with writing the songs "Broken", "Secret to the End", the single "Should Be Higher" and two B-sides, "Happens All the Time" and "All That's Mine"; the co-writer for these is Kurt Uenala. Gahan also wrote a song with Martin Gore, called "Long Time Lie".
Solo albums (2003)
In 1997, Gahan contributed to the tribute album Dream Home Heartaches: Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music with the song "A Song For Europe". In 2003, he released his first solo album, Paper Monsters (which he co-wrote with guitarist and friend Knox Chandler), followed by the Paper Monsters Tour (including a performance at 2003's Glastonbury Festival), singing both his new solo tracks and Depeche Mode fan favourites. His touring band included Knox Chandler on guitar, Martyn LeNoble (Porno for Pyros, Jane's Addiction, The Cult) on bass, Vincent Jones (Sarah McLachlan, The Grapes of Wrath) on keyboards, and Victor Indrizzo (Beck, Macy Gray) on drums.
The album was a moderate success. The first single "Dirty Sticky Floors" hit the Top 20 in the UK Singles Chart. The album became a Top 10 hit on the European album chart and a Top 40 hit in the UK Albums Chart. This success was backed by a world tour and a live DVD titled Live Monsters which was released in 2004. A year later, he also appeared as model and spokesperson of the Swedish mid-range fashion retailer J. Lindeberg and its S/S 2006 menswear line. The ads featured both him and seemingly random quotes like "What would happen if we all told the truth", "You can tell he's lying because his lips are moving", etc. These ads appeared prominently in international fashion press. He did a collaboration in 2003 with Junkie XL and handled the vocals for a song called "Reload" for this Dutch DJ's album Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin.
In 2007, Gahan announced he was working on a new album via a video greeting for Depeche Mode's official website recorded at the 2007 MusiCares Charity event on 11 May. The album, titled Hourglass, was accompanied working by Andrew Phillpott and Christian Eigner. According to Gahan, they were to be producing it together. The material was recorded at Gahan's 11th Floor Studios in New York City. The material was mixed in July by Tony Hoffer, best known for his work with Beck, The Kooks and Air. According to Gahan, Hourglass is more electronic-sounding than Paper Monsters. The album made the UK Top 50, the French Top 20 and narrowly missed going to No. 1 in Germany.
The first single to be pulled from Dave Gahan's second solo record Hourglass was "Kingdom". The single came in the following versions: a download-Single, a CD single, a Maxi-CD single and 12" vinyl besides a 7" picture vinyl. According to the second press release for the second album, the release day for the single "Kingdom" was 8 October, but a download was available way before on 27 August. Side-Line Magazine also reported that a first preview for the song had been leaked online. The second studio clip on Dave Gahan Dot Com had "Kingdom" playing throughout. The single also spent a week at No. 1 on the US Dance Chart. On 17 December 2007, iTunes released the iTunes exclusive live EP Live from SoHo holding the seven tracks played during an instore set at New York's Soho Apple store on 23 October.
The second single from the Hourglass album was the double A side "Saw Something/Deeper and deeper", released on 14 January 2008. The accompanying video was artistically shot in the Chelsea Hotel, New York, notorious for the death of Sid Vicious' partner, Nancy Spungen. In July 2007, Side-Line magazine revealed that Gahan had been working with Thomas Anselmi on a project called Mirror, which was produced by Vincent Jones. Along with Jones, who played with Gahan's touring band and mixed the live DVD Live Monsters, Mirror featured another Gahan collaborator, Knox Chandler (Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Psychedelic Furs), as well as piano by Bowie favourite Mike Garson, and a monologue by Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro. Gahan sang vocals on the track "Nostalgia". The song was released in October 2008, and the album released via download at the start of 2009. He also appeared in the accompanying video for the song.
Gahan also contributed vocals to a track called "Visitors", after walking in while producer and ex-Clor guitarist Luke Smith was working on the song in his New York studio. The song was released under the artist name of frYars.
Gahan is the lead singer and lyricist on Soulsavers' fourth studio album The Light the Dead See. The album was released on 21 May 2012.
Gahan sings and plays harmonica on "Low Guns", the first single from the 2014 album The Morning After by English band SixToes. The single was released on 18 November 2013. The SixToes remix of "Jezebel" was released on the special edition of Sounds of the Universe in 2009. Members of SixToes also collaborated with Soulsavers, on the album The Light the Dead See.
Gahan is once again the lead singer and lyricist on Soulsavers' fifth studio album Angels and Ghosts which was released in 2015.
Gahan has lived in New York City since 1997. He lives with his third wife, Jennifer Sklias, their daughter, and Jennifer's son from a previous relationship, whom Gahan officially adopted in 2010. Gahan is a convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Gahan also has one biological son named Jack from his first marriage to Joanne Fox. Gahan's marriage to his second wife, Teresa Conroy, a former Depeche Mode publicist, lasted four years.
Gahan is a recovering heroin addict. He has survived four brushes with death, living up to the nickname, "The Cat", that paramedics gave him during his roughest years in Los Angeles.
In October 1993, Gahan suffered a minor drug-induced heart attack during a performance in New Orleans, leaving his bandmates to improvise an encore without him.
The second brush came when he attempted suicide by slashing his wrists in August 1995: "It was definitely a suicide attempt," said Gahan, "but it was also a cry for help. I made sure there were people who might find me".
On 28 May 1996, Gahan overdosed on a speedball at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles, which resulted in his heart stopping for two minutes until he was revived by paramedics. He said of the experience, "All I saw and all I felt at first was complete darkness. I've never been in a space that was blacker, and I remember feeling that whatever it was I was doing, it was really wrong."
On 12 May 2009, shortly before the band were due onstage in Athens, Greece, for a concert on Depeche Mode's Tour of the Universe, Gahan fell ill in his dressing room. He was rushed to hospital where it was initially suspected he was suffering from a bout of gastroenteritis. An ultrasound revealed a malignant tumor in his bladder, which was removed with surgery. This resulted in several postponed shows, and Gahan underwent cancer treatments during the remaining three months of the tour.
Gahan later suffered a torn calf muscle while performing in Bilbao, Spain, on 9 July 2009, resulting in two further cancellations. After two-week's break, he and Depeche Mode returned to the tour for their North American leg. While performing in Seattle on 10 August 2009, Gahan again suffered injury, this time straining his vocal cords. Doctors ordered Gahan on complete vocal rest, resulting in two more cancelled shows.
Martin Lee Gore (born 23 July 1961, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom) is an English singer-songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, producer, remixer, and DJ. He is a founding member of Depeche Mode and has written the majority of their songs. His work now spans over four decades. Gore's best-known compositions include hits such as "Personal Jesus", "Enjoy the Silence", "Stripped", "It's No Good", "In Your Room", "Strangelove", "I Feel You", "People Are People", "Precious", "A Question of Time", "Policy of Truth", "Everything Counts", "Behind the Wheel", "Shake the Disease", "Never Let Me Down Again" and many more.
In addition to composing music and writing lyrics for the majority of Depeche Mode's songs, Gore has also been the lead singer on some of them (examples include "Somebody", "A Question of Lust" and "Home"). He has been a backing singer on many others.
In 1999, Gore received the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for "International Achievement".
Martin Lee Gore was born in Dagenham, Essex in England. Gore's biological father was an African-American G.I. stationed in Britain. Gore was raised by his stepfather and biological mother. He believed his stepfather was his biological father until age 13. When he was 13, he learned that his biological father was an African-American serviceman and, as an adult, later met him in the American South. Gore responds to the source's information and is quoted in Miller's book saying, "It brings up family traumas" and "It's one of those things I'd rather not talk about".
He left Nicholas Comprehensive, Basildon in 1977 and took a job as a bank cashier. During evenings, weekends and any other spare time, he was involved with the local band Norman and the Worms with school friend Phil Burdett who later went on to become a singer/songwriter himself.
Gore has two younger half-sisters, Karen, born in 1967, and Jacqueline, born in 1968.
In 1980, Gore met Andy "Fletch" Fletcher at the Van Gogh club. Fletcher recruited Gore into his band Composition of Sound along with Vince Clarke. Soon the band drafted Dave Gahan to be the lead singer after hearing him sing "Heroes" by David Bowie. Gahan is credited with the name "Depeche Mode" after seeing the phrase as a title of a French fashion magazine, which later considered taking them to court, but thought it would be good publicity for the magazine to let the band have the name.
Clarke left Depeche Mode in late 1981, shortly after the release of their debut album Speak and Spell. Clarke wrote most of the album, with Gore contributing two tracks, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the instrumental "Big Muff". "Any Second Now (voices)" features Gore's first lead vocals for the band. Gore sings lead vocals on several of the band's songs, notably ballads, his tenor voice providing a contrast to Gahan's dramatic baritone. When Clarke announced his departure from Depeche Mode in 1981, citing the pressures of fame and creative differences, Gore took over songwriting. Gore had been writing material since the age of 12.
Songs Gore wrote for Depeche Mode's second album, A Broken Frame (1982) differed musically and lyrically from Clarke's. Gore's writing became gradually darker and more political on subsequent Depeche Mode albums.
Gore sometimes plays guitars, typically his Gretsch White Falcon or Gretsch Double Anniversary on Depeche Mode songs. The first time guitar was used as the main instrument was on "Personal Jesus", although he used small guitar parts on previous songs, such as "Behind the Wheel" and "Love, in Itself". Gore's guitar playing developed even more on Songs of Faith and Devotion. However, in live performances, he switches his keyboards for his guitar on some older Depeche Mode songs, such as "Never Let Me Down Again" and "A Question of Time". In mid 1990 Gore stated – NME – July 1990
On 27 May 1999, Gore was presented with an award by Daniel Miller for "International Achievement", by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, at the 44th Ivor Novello Awards, at The Grosvenor House Hotel.
Gore remains the main songwriter for Depeche Mode.
Gore lives in Santa Barbara, California. He started dating lingerie designer and model Suzanne Boisvert after meeting in Paris in 1989. They married in August 1994. He has three children with Boisvert: daughter Viva Lee Gore (born 1991), son Emil Jackson (born 1990), and son Calo Leon Gore (born 2002). Gore and Boisvert divorced in 2006.
Gore married Kerrilee Kaski in June 2014. In October 2015 Kerrilee Gore updated her Facebook profile photo showing her to be pregnant. On 19 February 2016, Kerrilee gave birth to a baby girl named Johnnie Lee, his fourth child. On 13th March 2017, Martin Gore became a father for the fifth time to a baby girl named Mazzy Lee.
Gore became a vegetarian for health and moral reasons in 1983.
Former Depeche Mode colleague Vince Clarke collaborated with Gore for the first time since 1981 as techno duo VCMG on an instrumental minimalist electronic dance album called Ssss, released on 12 March 2012. The first EP entitled Spock was first released worldwide exclusively on Beatport on 30 November 2011. The second EP Single Blip was once again first released exclusively on Beatport on 20 February 2012. Their third EP Aftermaths was released on 20 August 2012.
In late February 2015, several teaser images were displayed on Martin Gore's official Facebook page, citing a hashtag "MGxMG" which was later revealed to be a promotional tool for his new solo studio album, titled MG (named after his previous collaborative album, VCMG, with Vince Clarke from 2012). In a news post on his official website and various social media on 2 March, this confirmation of his new studio album announced its release would be on 27 or 28 April and previewed a track, Europa Hymn, from the new album.
Gore played keyboard on two tracks by Annette and Inga Humpe (Humpe and Humpe), called "Happiness Is Hard to Take" and "Don't Know Where I Belong" from their 1985 album Humpe Humpe.
He played guitar on the Gwen Stefani song "Wonderful Life" on her 2006 album The Sweet Escape.
Gore collaborated on the band Onetwo's track "Cloud Nine" by playing the guitar and as songwriter of the song, which can be found on their 2007 album called Instead.
In 2010, Tim Simenon's Bomb the Bass album Back to Light was published, which contains the instrumental "Milakia", co-written by Martin Gore during the Ultra sessions. Gore also played synthesiser on the track.
Compact Space's album Nameless (2011) includes the track "The Unstoppable Collision" with Gore on guitar. Compact Space is formed by Depeche Mode's collaborators Christian Eigner, Daryl Bamonte and singer Florian Kraemmer.
Also in 2011, Gore created the sound "Siren-synth – Mutesound" on the track "Uni Rec" on the album Univrs by German glitch and minimalist techno artist Alva Noto.
1994 Spirit Feel – "Rejoice" (Mystic Span Mix)
1995 Garbage – "Queer" (The Most Beautiful Woman in Town Mix)
1999 ON – "Soluble Words" (Sublingual Remix)
2003 Señor Coconut And His Orchestra – "Smooth Operator" (In-Disguise Remix)
2013 Diamond Version - "Get Yours" (Martin L. Gore Remix)
For other people named Andrew or Andy Fletcher, see Andrew Fletcher (disambiguation) Andrew John Leonard Fletcher (born 8 July 1961, Nottingham, United Kingdom), popularly known as "Fletch", is an English keyboard player and founding member of the electronic band Depeche Mode.
In the late 1970s, Fletcher and schoolmate Vince Clarke formed the short-lived band No Romance in China, in which Fletcher played bass guitar. In 1980, Fletcher met Martin Gore at the Van Gogh Pub on Paycocke Road in Basildon. With Clarke, the trio, now all on synthesizer, formed another group called Composition of Sound. Clarke served as chief songwriter and also provided lead vocals until singer Dave Gahan was recruited into the band later that year, after which they adopted the name Depeche Mode at Gahan's suggestion. Clarke left the group in late 1981, shortly after the release of their debut album Speak and Spell.
Their 1982 follow-up, A Broken Frame, was recorded as a trio, with Gore taking over primary songwriting duties. Musician and producer Alan Wilder joined the band in late 1982 and the group continued as a quartet until Wilder's departure in 1995. Since then, the core trio of Gahan, Gore and Fletcher have remained active, most recently with the announcement of their upcoming 2017 album Spirit and ensuing world tour.
Fletcher's role within Depeche Mode has often been a topic of speculation. In early incarnations of the band, he played (electric and later synth) bass. As the band evolved after Vince Clarke's departure in 1981, Fletcher's role changed as each of the band members took to the areas that suited them and benefitted the band collectively. In a key scene in D.A. Pennebaker's 1989 documentary film about the band, Fletcher clarifies these roles: "Martin's the songwriter, Alan's the good musician, Dave's the vocalist, and I bum around." Rolling Stone writer Gavin Edwards later (after Wilder's departure) riffed upon this statement with the line: "Depeche Mode's unique division of labor has been long established, with each of the three remaining members having a distinct role: Martin Gore writes the songs, Dave Gahan sings them and Andy Fletcher shows up for photo shoots and cashes the checks." He is the only member of the band (past and present) who has not received a songwriting credit.
Fletcher, however, always has and continues to play a critical role within the band.
With the band having not always employed a full-time manager, Fletcher has handled many of the band's business, legal, and other non-musical interests over the years. In the EPK for Songs of Faith and Devotion, he discussed being genuinely interested in many of the business aspects of the music industry that other performing musicians shy away from, and as such, he took over a lot of the business management aspects of the band. In recent years, this has included acting as the band's "spokesperson", with Fletcher often being the one to announce Depeche Mode news (such as record album and tour details).
He is also said to be the member who is "the tiebreaker" and the one that "brings the band together". According to interviews, Fletcher built the compromise between Gahan and Gore that settled their serious dispute following 2001's Exciter album and tour over future songwriting duties within Depeche Mode.
In the studio and during live shows, Fletcher does contribute a variety of supporting synthesizer parts, including bass parts, pads, strings and drone sounds, and various samples.
However, he is notably the only member of Depeche Mode who does not sing. Although he can be seen singing in videos of Depeche's past live performances, usually Fletcher's vocals were either mixed very low or heard only through his own stage monitors. On the band's 2013/14 Delta Machine Tour, vocal mics were no longer present on his keyboard station.
On studio recordings, however, Fletcher's supporting vocals can be heard in some form or another on the majority of all Depeche Mode albums released since 1981.
Toast Hawaii ("Solo Project")
According to anecdotes from various members of Depeche Mode (later quoted in a band biography), an Andy Fletcher "solo album" entitled Toast Hawaii (named after Fletcher's favourite dish in Hansa Studio's cafeteria) was recorded in Berlin during the Some Great Reward sessions in 1984. According to these anecdotes, all the songs on the "album" are cover songs on which Fletcher sings lead vocals. The "album" allegedly features Alan Wilder and/or Martin Gore on piano, with an album cover photo by Wilder. The story then goes that Gore and Wilder presented the album to Mute Records' Daniel Miller and pleaded for him to release it. In reality, this "solo album" is almost certainly an in-joke, although it is not entirely unlikely that during studio "downtime" from serious work, a diversion could have been making humorous recordings.
Toast Hawaii (Record Label)
In 2002, Fletcher launched his own record label, a Mute Records imprint called Toast Hawaii (again named for the dish) and signed the band CLIEИT. He coordinated the recording of their eponymous 2003 debut and 2004's City and also produced "extended remixes" for their subsequent singles "Price of Love," "Rock and Roll Machine," "Here and Now," "In It for the Money," "Radio" and "Pornography" (featuring Carl Barât of The Libertines).
CLIEИT left the label in 2006 and no further activity with the Toast Hawaii label has occurred or been announced to date.
Initially to support CLIEИT's live shows, Fletcher began touring as a DJ. Currently, when he is on hiatus from Depeche Mode, Fletcher plays occasional festivals and club gigs in Europe, Asia, South America and "places where Depeche Mode haven't visited or been able to visit" and is known to include various exclusive Depeche remixes in his sets. A notable DJ set of Fletcher's from 2011 in Warsaw has been widely bootlegged.
In late 2015, Fletcher embarked on a small tour of European clubs.
Fletcher is the eldest of four siblings born to Joy and (the late) John Fletcher. The family moved to Basildon from Nottingham when Fletcher was two years old. He was active in the local Boys' Brigade from an early age, primarily to play football. It was in this Christian youth organisation that he met future Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke, and the two have both recollected in interviews the local missionary work they attempted on behalf of the organisation to convert non-believers.
Fletcher married his longtime girlfriend Gráinne Mullan on 16 January 1991 and the couple have two children, Meghan and Joe.
While Depeche Mode were touring with the band Blancmange in the early 1980s, Fletcher was renowned for his skill at chess. Neil Arthur of Blancmange has mentioned in interviews "never winning a game of chess with Andy Fletcher!"
During the 1990s, Fletcher owned a restaurant called Gascogne located on Blenheim Terrace in St. John's Wood, London.
Fletcher made a series of bad investments in the mid-1990s that led to a number of financial settlements involving Lloyd's of London and Daniel Miller.
Alan Charles Wilder, 01 June 1959, Depeche Mode October 1982 - 01 June 1995 | one-off show in 17 February 2010)
ALAN WILDER BIOGRAPHY
Alan Charles Wilder (born 1 June 1959, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Greater London, London, United Kingdom) is an English musician, composer, arranger and record producer, known as a former member of the electronic band Depeche Mode from 1982 to 1995. Since his departure from the band, the musical project called Recoil became his primary musical enterprise, which initially started as a side project to Depeche Mode in 1986. Wilder has also provided production and remixing services to the bands Nitzer Ebb and Curve. He is a classically trained musician and renowned contemporary music producer.
Alan Charles Wilder was born into a middle class family and was raised in Acton, west London. He began piano at the age of eight, through the encouragement of his parents. Later on, he learned the flute at St Clement Danes Grammar school and became a leading musician in his school bands. After school, Alan worked as a studio assistant at DJM Studios. This led to him ending up working for bands such as The Dragons, Dafne and the Tenderspots (as Alan Normal), Real to Real (featuring Adrian Chilvers on Bass, Pete Fresh on guitar, Wolfgang Marlander on Drums and Paul St. James Vocals), The Hitmen, and The Korgis, appearing on the UK No. 13 single "If I Had You" (1979).
1982–1995: The Depeche Mode years
Following the departure of Vince Clarke, Depeche Mode placed an advertisement in the music magazine Melody Maker: "Keyboard player needed for established band – no timewasters." Even though the ad was looking for someone under 21 (Wilder was 22) he lied about his age to get the job, and got away with it. He joined Depeche Mode in January 1982, initially as a tour keyboardist, and soon thereafter as a full member of the recording band.
Wilder wrote a handful of songs for Depeche Mode, including "Two Minute Warning" and "The Landscape Is Changing" (and a B-Side, "Fools") from the album Construction Time Again, and "If You Want" (and a B-Side, "In Your Memory") from the album Some Great Reward. However, Wilder's more notable contributions to Depeche Mode were as a musician, arranger, and producer.
In addition to playing synthesizer throughout his time with Depeche Mode, Wilder also played piano on the band's signature ballad "Somebody," and oboe on the band's hit anthem, "Everything Counts." In the documentary film 101, Wilder demonstrates how different synthesizer parts of a song are split and arranged across a sampling keyboard for playing them live during the concert, just one small example of Wilder's ongoing contributions to Depeche Mode during his time as a member of the group. For the recording of the album Songs of Faith and Devotion and its corresponding Devotional Tour Wilder also played live drums.
For "Enjoy the Silence" from the album Violator, Wilder is credited with taking Martin Gore's melancholy ballad-esque demo and re-envisioning the song as a percolating, melodic dance track. The resulting single went on to become one of the most commercially successful songs in Depeche Mode's history.
On 26 June 1995, Wilder announced his departure from Depeche Mode:
"Due to increasing dissatisfaction with the internal relations and working practices of the group, it is with some sadness that I have decided to part company from Depeche Mode. My decision to leave the group was not an easy one particularly as our last few albums were an indication of the full potential that Depeche Mode was realizing.
Since joining in 1982, I have continually striven to give total energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the furthering of the group's success and in spite of a consistent imbalance in the distribution of the workload, willingly offered this. Unfortunately, within the group, this level of input never received the respect and acknowledgement that it warrants.
Whilst I believe that the calibre of our musical output has improved, the quality of our association has deteriorated to the point where I no longer feel that the end justifies the means. I have no wish to cast aspersions on any individual; suffice to say that relations have become seriously strained, increasingly frustrating and, ultimately, in certain situations, intolerable.
Given these circumstances, I have no option but to leave the group. It seems preferable therefore, to leave on a relative high, and as I still retain a great enthusiasm and passion for music, I am excited by the prospect of pursuing new projects. The remaining band members have my support and best wishes for anything they may pursue in the future, be it collectively or individually."
After his split from Depeche Mode, Wilder was approached by Robert Smith with an offer to join The Cure. Wilder respectfully declined. According to Wilder himself, the possibility was offered on behalf of The Cure by Daryl Bamonte (tour manager for both Depeche Mode and The Cure, and brother of The Cure member Perry Bamonte), and he declined as joining another band was the last thing on his mind.
He briefly reunited with Depeche Mode during the Teenage Cancer Trust concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 17 February 2010, and enjoyed a rapturous reception. During the encore, Wilder accompanied Martin Gore on piano for "Somebody". Gore returned the favour and played a DJ set on one of Recoil's Selected Events.
In 2011, Wilder provided two mixes for the Depeche Mode track "In Chains".
1986–present: The Recoil years
Recoil began in 1986 as a two-track experimental EP. Simply entitled 1 + 2, this collection of primitive demos caught the attention of Mute Records label boss Daniel Miller and was inconspicuously released as a mini-album on 12" vinyl. An album, Hydrology, soon followed in 1988 and both were eventually re-issued by Mute on CD as Hydrology plus 1 + 2. Wilder described the project at the time as "an antidote to Depeche Mode; a way to alleviate the frustrations of always working within a pop format".
Almost immediately, Wilder found himself back in the studio to record what would become the most successful Depeche Mode album to date, Violator. It wasn't until the band finally allowed themselves an extended break after the World Violation Tour that Alan could return to Recoil—not, however, before agreeing to produce Ebbhead, another album for label-mates Nitzer Ebb.
It was during this time that he cemented a working relationship with lead singer Douglas McCarthy who would return the favour by singing on Recoil's next album, Bloodline. For the Bloodline LP, released in 1991, Wilder recruited guest vocalists for the first time, with further contributions from Toni Halliday and Moby. 'Bloodline' also marked the first Recoil single, a cover of Alex Harvey's song 'Faith Healer' as well as 'Electro Blues For Bukka White', featuring the posthumously sampled voice of Blues-man White set into a post-modern context.
Between 1992–93 Wilder resumed his Depeche Mode duties as the band recorded the album Songs of Faith and Devotion. Depeche Mode embarked on their most adventurous tour to date, enduring a grueling fifteen months on the road. Although the group had reached the pinnacle of success, aspects of the lifestyle had taken their toll on everyone and things eventually came to a head. In June 1995, having spent fourteen years as an integral part of one of the most popular and influential bands the UK has ever produced, Alan Wilder made the decision to leave Depeche Mode.
Free from his group commitments, Wilder could now focus solely on Recoil. In September 1996, he began work in his own studio, The Thin Line, gradually piecing together what would become Recoil's next album Unsound Methods. Guest vocalists this time played a more up-front role than ever and featured Maggie Estep, Siobhan Lynch, the reappearance of Douglas McCarthy, and Hildia Campbell.
In the spring of 2000, Recoil released Liquid which this time featured fellow Mute artist Diamanda Galás, 1940s gospel crooners the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, along with New York spoken-word performers Nicole Blackman and Samantha Coerbell.
Following a five-year break from recording, Alan Wilder returned in 2007 with Recoil's fifth studio album, entitled SubHuman.
2010 saw the release of 'Selected', a selection of Recoil tracks chosen by Alan who explains: "The collection is made up of my personal favourites, remastered and edited together into what I consider a cohesive and total listening experience.”
A tour entitled ‘A Strange Hour’ was presented during 2010 and 2011 in 52 cities across the world, as part of the ‘Selected Events’, which celebrated 25 years of the Recoil project. It signified the first time Recoil had ever taken to the road. The events were not so much ‘live’ band but more art or video installation. Wilder gathered together filmmakers from as far as Russia, via the Czech Republic and Hungary, all the way to Argentina for this purpose, working very fast, and in the modern way, by creating a central server where everybody could upload their work for others to see, react to and feedback on. Says Wilder: “This for me typifies the whole essence of what Recoil is all about – a collective but with a focused direction – and a very thrilling process it was too, watching and hearing ’A Strange Hour’ come together from our base in the UK.”
Recoil returned in 2012 to release the concert film 'A Strange Hour In Budapest' on Blu-ray, with 5.1 surround sound, directed by Attila Herkó.
Also in 2012, we saw Alan Wilder turn up again as Executive Producer and contributor for a new tribute album to Mark Hollis and Talk Talk. Recoil offered two cover versions for the album featuring the vocals of Linton Kwesi Johnson, Shara Worden and Paul Marshall. Wilder also mixed a track for Richard Reed Parry from Arcade Fire. ‘Spirit of Talk Talk’ was released in September 2012 on Fierce Panda Records.
Wilder resides near Horsham, West Sussex, England. He has two children with his ex-wife Hepzibah Sessa named Stanley Duke Wilder and Paris Wilder. He also has one other child named Clara Lake from a present relationship with Britt Rinde Hval, a Norwegian journalist.
The Dragons – "Misbehavin'" (1977)
Dafne and The Tenderspots – "Disco Hell" (1979)
The Korgis – "If I Had You" (1979) UK No. 13 (The track also appears on The Korgis, as well as all of the band's compilation albums.)
Real to Real – "White Man Reggae" (March 1980)
Real to Real – "The Blue" (1980)
Real to Real – Tightrope Walkers (November 1980)
Real to Real – "Mr. and Mrs." (March 1981)
The Flatbackers – "Serenade of Love" (1981)
The Hitmen – "Ouija" (1981)
With Depeche Mode
Wilder appeared on all of Depeche Mode's releases from "Get the Balance Right" (31 January 1983) up to "In Your Room" (10 January 1994), later taking part in reissues and compilations containing material from his time in the band.
Alan organized with Omega an auction selling a lot of DM collectable items on 3 September 2011 in Manchester. A DVD called "Collected +" was released as promotion for these events.
Covers and collaborations
1991 – Mixed the Nitzer Ebb song "Come Alive" from their As Is EP.
1991 – Along with Flood, produced the Nitzer Ebb full album Ebbhead.
2001 – Provided strings and ambient sounds for the song "Polaroid" from the Curve album "Gift".
2003 – Provided strings and sounds for "The Digital Intervention" track called "Coma Idyllique" from their album "Capture". PK, a longtime Recoil collaborator is one of its members along with Olivia Louvel.
2012 – Covered 2 tracks: "Inheritance" – Recoil (ft. Linton Kwesi Johnson and Paul Marshall) and "Dum Dum Girl" – Recoil (ft. Shara Worden) for a Talk Talk tribute album (double) cd/book set called "Spirit of Talk Talk". He also became executive music producer for the album.
1989 Toni Halliday – "Time Turns Around" (Euro-Tech Version)
1991 Nitzer Ebb – "I Give to You" (Wilder Mix Full Version)
2010 Nitzer Ebb – "I Am Undone" (Alan Wilder Remix)
2011 Depeche Mode – "In Chains" (Alan Wilder Remix)
Vincent John Martin, 03 July 1960, Depeche Mode 1980 - 03 December 1981
VINCE CLARKE BIOGRAPHY
Vince Clarke (born Vincent John Martin; 3 July 1960, Basildon, Basildon, Essex, Essex, United Kingdom) is an English synthpop musician and songwriter. Clarke has been the main composer and musician of the band Erasure since 1985, and was previously the main songwriter of several groups, including Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and The Assembly.
Vincent John Martin was born in South Woodford, Essex and then he moved to Basildon, Essex. He initially studied the violin and then the piano, but he was inspired to make electronic music upon hearing Wirral synth band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). Along with OMD, other early influences included The Human League, Daniel Miller, and Fad Gadget.
Early bands and Depeche Mode
In the late-1970s, Clarke and schoolmate Andy Fletcher formed a short-lived band called No Romance in China. In 1980, he teamed up with Robert Marlow and Martin Gore to form French Look. Another band, named Composition of Sound, followed in 1980 with another addition of Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher. Clarke provided vocals until singer Dave Gahan joined the band, which was renamed Depeche Mode. At that time, he adopted the stage-name Vince Clarke, by which he is currently known. The band initially adopted a slick synthesized electropop sound, which produced the album Speak and Spell and the Clarke-penned singles "Dreaming of Me", "New Life", and "Just Can't Get Enough" in 1981.
Clarke left Depeche Mode shortly thereafter. There were many rumoured reasons pertaining to his departure. He commented on Depeche Mode's later material as being a little dark for his taste, but good nonetheless. Clarke also stated that he did not enjoy the public aspects of success, such as touring and interviews, and found himself frequently at odds with his bandmates, particularly on the tour bus. He also stated: "I think everybody in the band, especially myself, imagined that the reason we were doing so well was because of themselves ... We were pretty young and very lucky, and things had happened very quickly for us, and I don't think we were really mature to handle the situation." Clarke was replaced by musician Alan Wilder, and Depeche Mode went on to achieve international stardom.
Clarke then teamed up with singer Alison Moyet (at the time known by the nickname of Alf) to form the popular synthpop band Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.), which produced two albums and a string of hits including "Only You", "Don't Go", "Situation", "The Other Side of Love", "Nobody's Diary", and "Walk Away from Love".
Yazoo disbanded in 1983, and Moyet went on to have a successful solo career. Yazoo reformed in 2008 for a series of live dates to celebrate 25 years since the duo's split.
In 1983, Clarke teamed up with Eric Radcliffe, and it was their idea to collaborate as one-off associations with different artists on each new single, under the name The Assembly; notably with singer Feargal Sharkey they scored the Top 5 hit "Never Never". Meanwhile, he founded the label Reset Records with Eric Radcliffe. During 1983 and further on in 1984, he produced four singles "The Face of Dorian Gray", "I Just Want to Dance", "Claudette", and "Calling All Destroyers" for his friend Robert Marlow, which were released on this label. They also produced an album, which was shelved but was released much later in 1999 under the name The Peter Pan Effect. In 1985, another collaboration took place with Paul Quinn of Bourgie Bourgie, the result was the single "One Day" by Vince Clarke and Paul Quinn. However, the project never took off, and Clarke moved on to other projects.
In early 1985, Clarke put an ad in Melody Maker for a singer, and one applicant was Andy Bell, who was a fan of his earlier projects. He teamed with Bell to form the group Erasure, and the duo became one of the major selling acts in British music with international hits like "Oh L'amour", "Sometimes", "Chains of Love", "A Little Respect", "Drama!", "Blue Savannah", "Chorus", "Love to Hate You", "Take a Chance on Me", and "Always".
The band has released 16 albums to date and has enjoyed a long string of hit singles spanning their three decades together, most recently topped-off by the 2005 top five hit "Breathe" taken from their Nightbird album. In 2006, Erasure produced a country-western style acoustic album consisting of mostly non-single cuts from their previous albums. This album, Union Street was preceded by the single "Boy" originally included on their 1997 Cowboy album.
On 26 January 2007, in a video message on the official Erasure website, the band announced the release of their sixteenth (thirteenth studio) album, entitled Light at the End of the World. Released in the UK on 21 May 2007, with a US release the following day, it was preceded by the single "I Could Fall in Love with You", released on 2 April 2007. The second single, "Sunday Girl" was subsequently released.
The album was produced by Gareth Jones and was a more "dance oriented" effort than some of their more recent work with Clarke making reference to the new material sounding potentially a bit more like Andy Bell's 2005 solo effort Electric Blue.
Erasure went on to tour with Cyndi Lauper, Deborah Harry, Margaret Cho, and other artists, for the 2007 True Colors Tour of the United States, a tour which benefited gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender freedoms and rights. Erasure then went out on their own, headlining the "Light at the End of the World" tour in Europe and North America.
The band released a new EP, Storm Chaser, in September 2007. The EP contains nine tracks, one of them the winner of an online fan remix contest, for the track "When a Lover Leaves You", from the Light at the End of the World album.
The Erasure album, Tomorrow's World, was released on 3 October 2011, featuring production by Frankmusik. The album was done in two locations, Vince in his Cabin Studio in Maine composing the music and vocal arrangement, and production done by Andy in Los Angeles. The album featured three singles- When I Start To Break It All Down, Be With You, and Fill Us With Fire. A very limited edition of Tomorrow's World box sets were issued through the EIS and gathered a bunch of remixes, demos, and videos of this project.
The Erasure Christmas album Snow Globe was released on 11 November 2013. A new collection of material was released on 22 September 2014 named The Violet Flame, featuring production by Richard X.
In July 1984, Clarke teamed up with Stephen Luscombe of Blancmange, Pandit Dinesh, and Asha Bhosle. The group, West India Company, released a four track, self-titled EP.
Clarke worked with synthpop producer Martyn Ware (of Heaven 17 and The Human League) in 1999 as "The Clarke and Ware Experiment" and released the album Pretentious. The duo collaborated again in 2001 for the album Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle, which was created with "3D music technology" specifically designed for listening in headphones. 2001 also saw the release of the Clarke-produced album Erasure's Vince Clarke which featured The Peter Pan Effect, an album that he and Eric Radcliffe produced for his long-time friend, Robert Marlow. Clarke wrote "Let's Get Together" for the pop girl group Girl Authority for their second album, Road Trip. The song was originally meant to be for Depeche Mode, but was never recorded by them. Clarke also co-wrote "What Do I Want From You?" with Freeform Five, for their album Strangest Things (2005).
Also in 2001, Clarke founded Illustrious Co. Ltd. with Martyn Ware, to create new forms of spatialised sound composition using their unique 3D AudioScape system, collaborating with fine artists, educational establishments, the performing arts, live events, corporate clients, and educational settings round the world.
In 2004, Clarke provided additional music for an episode of Johnny Bravo entitled "The Time of My Life". This was a collaboration with Richard Butler.
Clarke was an essential component of a 2000 project called Family Fantastic. They produced the album Nice!. In 2008 Family Fantastic released a second album, entitled Wonderful.
On 21 May 2009, Clarke was awarded by an "Outstanding Song Collection" prize, during the Ivor Novello Awards ceremony of the same day, in recognition of 30 years in the music industry.
Clarke was featured in the BBC Four documentary Synth Britannia.
Clarke collaborated with his former Depeche Mode colleague Martin Gore for the first time since 1981 as techno duo VCMG on an instrumental minimalist electronic dance album called Ssss, released on 12 March 2012. The first EP entitled Spock was released worldwide exclusively on Beatport on 30 November 2011. The second EP Single Blip was once again first released exclusively on Beatport on 20 February 2012. Their third EP Aftermaths was released on 20 August 2012.
In 2012, Vince collaborated with the band The Good Natured on a track called "Ghost Train", available as a free download on their website, in exchange for a Tweet.
Also in 2012, Vince produced a cover of the Depeche Mode song "Fly on the Windscreen" featuring Ane Brun.
In 2013, Vince worked with Andy Bell on a new Erasure Christmas LP which was released in November 2013. There is also a rumor that a collection of original materials will also be ready by mid year 2014. Vince Clarke is currently doing DJ sets in various locations in North America and Europe and has also continued his production work of remixing songs for Dido and Chad Valley. Clarke is holding a competition online for synth guring, which is composed of making synth-like noises with your mouth, registration ends at the end of August 2013, judging shortly there after.
In October 2013, Vince announced on his Twitter page that he is collaborating with musicians BT and Christian Burns on their "All Hail the Silence" project.
On 14 July 2015 Vince announced a collaboration with Jean Michel Jarre called Automatic, which was released as a part of the full album Electronica 1: The Time Machine on 16 October 2015.
In December 2013, Clarke listed his "13 LPs that mean the most to him" for The Quietus:
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Kraftwerk – Computer World
The Human League – Travelogue
Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends
T. Rex – Electric Warrior
David Bowie – "Heroes"
The Eagles – Hotel California
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Philip Glass – Glassworks
Genesis – A Trick of the Tail
Michael Jackson – Dangerous
The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
Production and recording methods
When Clarke started using synthesisers, they were predominantly analogue (digital synthesisers were rare, and would remain that way until the launch of the Yamaha DX7 in 1983). In order to connect analogue synthesisers, analogue drum machines, and analogue sequencers together, multiple CV/Gate cables were required between each device. This system was not standardised, so interoperability between instruments from different manufacturers was not always straightforward. In addition, some manufacturers used their own proprietary interfaces. When an industry-wide standard called MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was introduced in 1983, Clarke, like most other electronic musicians, gradually migrated to the new technology. However, he continued to prefer his older analogue instruments:
"... CV and Gate is tighter. I can hear and feel that it's tighter than MIDI – we can even prove it using 'scopes. Because everything is clocked simply, it arrives bang on the beat. The whole production starts to 'tick over'. Just look at Kraftwerk's stuff. I think that 'feel' has been lost with MIDI sequencers. No matter what you do with MIDI, the music will never sound as good as it did in the good old Futurist days. That's why our tracks sound the way they do."
For the Chorus album in 1991, he gathered together his collection of analogue synthesisers from various recording studio locations in London and set up a small studio in Amsterdam. This led Clarke to assemble an intricate patch system to more easily enable the control of his analogue instruments:
"... the secret is having a good patch system – not as in patching to the mixing desk, but in patching CV and Gate. Because we don't use MIDI at all, you have to run three or four cables between each synth module – CV, Gate, Filter, Amplitude or whatever – and you've got to have a really unique system to do that."
In 1993 Clarke described his approach to songwriting:
"Andy [Bell] and I get together with a guitar and a tape recorder, I'll strum some chords, he'll sing a melody, and we work in little sections, four or eight bars long. Then we'll try stringing the sections together. It's like a jigsaw puzzle. I find it very hard to relate songwriting to synthesisers, actually – we write songs in a very traditional way. The electronic side of things is just to create the atmosphere. It's mostly just messing about..!
"Once we've worked out a song, I start programming up the arrangement on the BBC UMI sequencer, which lets me run 16 synths simultaneously. That way you get a better idea if parts are working together or not. Then we start refining the individual sounds. And finally the whole lot is transferred to my Roland MC4, piece by piece, so it's being run in CV and Gate. Once we've got that, it's a case of Andy sketching out vocal ideas – in the studio we use two 48 track digital tape machines, which gives Dinger 24 tracks just for his voice!"
Clarke continued to expand his collection of analogue synthesisers and in 1994 set up "37B", a recording studio built adjacent to his custom-made home, "Ammonite", in Chertsey, Surrey. From 1994 to 2003, all Erasure albums were either wholly or in part recorded at "37B".
In 2004 Clarke moved to Maine, USA. While waiting for his studio equipment to be shipped from the UK, he began using an Apple Mac laptop with Logic Pro, Max/MSP, and various software synthesisers (many of which were analogue emulations). Since then, he has continued to use Logic Pro, along with both software and analogue synthesisers:
"Nowadays, you can take the best bits from digital and analogue. On certain projects – say, if I'm doing library music – where you need to have instant recall all the time, then it's obviously much more convenient to use the computer. When it comes to writing a new song, though, I still like to have the old analogue gear there, too. But, a lot of soft synths have a character of their own, too; the Moog Modular V is just crazy!
"I think that analogue has an inherent sound to it – it's like the old argument over vinyl versus CD. It seems that you hear more frequencies coming from an analogue synth than you do from a software synth, but the great thing about the latter is that you can do far more complex modulation, both within the synth itself and on the keyboard. To emulate any of those really complex modulations on an analogue ... well, you'd need a mile of cable."
As of 2009, Clarke has installed his analogue synthesisers alongside his Logic Pro-based workstation in a custom-built commercial studio called "The Cabin" in Maine.
Current/recent studio equipment: Dave Smith Instruments Mopho, Roland System 700, Roland System-100M, Roland Jupiter-8, Roland Jupiter-4, Roland MKS-80, Roland SH-1, Roland VP-330, Roland JP-8000, Roland Juno-60, Roland Juno-106, Roland Super JX, Roland D-550, ARP 2500 Modular, ARP 2600, PPG Wave 2.2, Waldorf Microwave, Waldorf Pulse, Moog Modular, Minimoog, Moog Source, E-Mu Modular System, Buchla 100 series Modular, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, Sequential Circuits Pro-One, Oxford Synthesiser Company OSCar, Synton Syrinx, Korg MS-20, Korg MS-10, Korg 700, Korg M1, Korg DVP, Serge Modular, Polyfusion Modular, Oberheim Xpander, Oberheim SEM System, RSF Kobol, Electronic Music Studios VCS 3, Matten and Wiechers x2 48 track sequencers total 96 track., Sennheiser Vocoder VSM201, Apple iPad 2, Apple Power Mac G5, Apple MacBook Pro.
Clarke has been married to Tracy Hurley since 2004. They have a son named Oscar and live together in the United States, in Brooklyn, New York, and have another home in Maine. Tracy Hurley is co-founder of the Morbid Anatomy Museum (now closed) in Brooklyn. Her twin sister, the American author Tonya Hurley is married to Michael Pagnotta, the manager of Erasure. In 2012, Clarke and his family moved into a new house in Brooklyn, where he also relocated his Cabin studio and synthesizer collection.
with Depeche Mode
Speak and Spell (1981, album)
"Dreaming of Me" (1981, single)
"New Life" (1981, single)
"Just Can't Get Enough" (1981, single)
The Singles 81>85 (1985, compilation)
Upstairs at Eric's (1982, album)
"Only You" (1982, single)
"Don't Go" (1982, single)
"The Other Side of Love" (1982, single)
"Situation" (1982, single)
You and Me Both (1983, album)
"Nobody's Diary" (1983, single)
with The Assembly
"Never Never" (1983, single)
In duet with Paul Quinn
"One Day" (1985, single)
See Erasure discography
Lucky Bastard (1993, Sample CD)
In duet with Martyn Ware
Pretentious (1999, as The Clarke and Ware Experiment)
Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (2001, simply as Vincent Clarke and Martyn Ware)
The House of Illustrious (2012, as The Clarke and Ware Experiment)
with Family Fantastic
"Knock on Your Door" (2001, single)
Ssss (2012, album)
"Spock" (2011, EP)
"Single Blip" (2012, EP)
"Aftermaths" (2012, EP)
In Clarke Hartnoll
2Square (2016, album)
"Better Have a Drink to Think" (2016, single)
He has remixed the following songs for artists other than Erasure:
1988 Happy Mondays – "WFL (Wrote For Luck)"
1990 Betty Boo – "24 Hours" (Oratronic Mix)
1991 Fortran 5 – "Heart On the Line" (V.C. Mix)
1991 Habit – "Power"
1992 Nitzer Ebb – "Ascend" (Anonymous Mix)
1992 The Wolfgang Press – "Angel"
1992 Betty Boo – "I'm On My Way" (The Batman And Robin Mix)
1993 The Time Frequency – "Real Love '93" (Vince Clarke Remix)
1994 Sparks – "When Do I Get to Sing "My Way"" (Vince Clarke Remix and Vince Clarke Extended Remix)
1994 Alison Moyet – "Whispering Your Name" (A Remix)
2015 Simon Lowery - "I Am An Astronaut" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2016 Nitzer Ebb - "Once You Say" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2016 Andy Bell - "My Precious One" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2016 Reed and Caroline - "Electrons" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2017 Bright Light Bright Light - "Running Back To You" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2017 Miss Kittin, Dubfire - "Ride" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2017 The Overlords - "God’s Eye" (Vince Clarke Loony Remix)
2017 Alka - "Truncate" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2018 Ladytron - "The Animals" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2018 Robert Görl – "Part 1" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2018 Reed and Caroline - "Before" (Vince Clarke Remix)
2018 Soft Cell - "Bedsitter" (Erasure Remix)
2018 Space - "Magic Fly" (Vince Clarke Rework)
For Depeche Mode
Early in 1980, Fletch, Martin and Vince agree to form a typical guitar trio, with the added accompaniment of a drum machine. Vince writes and sings all their early material - the band is named Composition Of Sound.
The guys spot their new vocalist in a local scout-hut jam session with another band. With a strong cover of the David Bowie number "Heroes", Dave Gahan charms the members of Composition Of Sound and is immediately invited to join the Band.
Dave is recruited as lead singer, and suggests the Band be re-named Depeche Mode after a French fashion magazine, which he has been reading in college.
Depeche Mode perform their first ever gig at St. Nicholas School in Basildon on May 31st, followed by several shows in Essex and London.
Depeche Mode headline the Saturday night electronic showcase at Crocs Club in Rayleigh. At one of their shows, they are approached by Stevo, of Some Bizarre Records, who persuades them to record a track for his Some Bizarre compilation, due out in February the following year.
It is Daniel Miller who eventually produces "Photographic", which appears on this album.
Dave and Vince proudly hand-deliver the Band's demo tape to dozens of club owners and record companies, but Terry Murphy of Canning Town's Bridgehouse is the only other promoter to recognise their ingenuity with a booking.
In December, Daniel Miller of Mute Records witnesses a live performance of Depeche Mode at the Bridgehouse and approaches the Band. Depeche Mode agree to make a single and enter an agreement on the basis of a 50/50 profit-sharing arrangement with Daniel.
Shortly before Christmas, Depeche Mode go into the studio to begin work on their first single "Dreaming Of Me".
"The songs, the arrangements and the presentation of the songs are what inspired me to sign Depeche Mode. I felt they were the first pop group to really use synthesisers as their first instrument." Daniel Miller
"To us, the synth was a punk instrument. Because it was still fairly new, its potential seemed limitless. It really gave us a chance to explore." Martin Gore
"I've never really questioned the band's continued success and have definitely never analysed it. I believe, sub-consciously, I have always known they would get bigger and bigger, almost to the point of taking it for granted. " Daryl Bamonte
"We got turned down everywhere at first, and no-one was interested. Then all of a sudden, everyone was interested and the majors were queuing up to sign us. Suddenly that style of music came in, and they were all after us. We were associated with this movement and we had a tag. But we weren't really anything to do with the Futurist or New Romantic thing." Dave Gahan
Depeche Mode play several dates across the UK through most of the year, and some European shows in September.
The first single "Dreaming Of Me" is released on February 20th and although it only reaches number 57, it is a good start, and according to Miller, who produced the single, it begins a long-term crossover trend for Indie releases into mainstream radio.
Shortly after the release of Depeche Mode's debut album "Speak and Spell" on October 5th the Band leaves for their first official tour and play fourteen very successful nights throughout the UK.
The Some Bizarre album is eventually released in March, and although the anthology is considered "the watershed techno-pop album", Depeche Mode would later have mixed feelings about their involvement with the stylised Futurist scene.
With the press behind them, Depeche Mode's popularity grows, and another single is released. "New Life" comes out on June 13th and it is already in the Top 75.
Their third single "Just Can't Get Enough" (September 7th) becomes an international dance hit and climbs to No. 8 in the UK charts. The Band record their first video.
Vince Clarke announces he is to leave the Band in December and Martin is elected as chief songwriter. The Band also decide that a fourth member is necessary for touring. After several auditions, Alan Wilder, a classically trained musician, is chosen from ten finalists.
"Despite the narcissistic title, Dreaming Of Me is as sweetly unassuming a slice of electronic whimsy as anything by early OMD. Deadpan vocals, programmed rhythm rejoinders and a candyfloss melody makes for a pleasant three minutes. Live, they look great, make comfortable background noises, but don't really sustain attention for much longer than that." Chris Bogh, NME
"We've got nothing against guitars, and we have played them in the past. We may experiment with guitars again one day, but it's so much easier with a synthesiser. There is a lot of good guitar music around but you have to be pretty good to use the guitar." Andy Fletcher
"It was the way the whole thing was going. It lost its enthusiasm. It was turning into a production line and that was worrying me. The techniques were improving to an extent, the way we were playing, but even then I found there were things in the way. preventing us from experimenting. We were so busy, there was something going on every day and no time to play around." Vince Clarke
Of Depeche Mode
Alan first performs with Depeche Mode at Croes in Rayleigh in January and the Band continue touring in support of their debut album. They also play in front of a new audience in the US and Canada for the first time.
The single "See You", announcing the forthcoming album, is released on January 29th and peaks at No. 6 on the UK Chart. "The Meaning Of Love" comes out en April 26th, followed by "Leave In Silence" (August 16th), the first DM single bearing the catalogue name BONG.
Following a short break, the Band hit the road again in October, shortly after the release of their second album "A Broken Frame" (September 27th), visiting many European cities in a period of three months. It is during this tour that Fletch, Martin and Dave slowly integrate Alan into the permanent framework of the Band.
Told You So
It's not until the recording of "Get The Balance Right" (January 3 1 st) that Alan joins the Band as a full-time member. With this new track moving bodies on the dance floors the World over, the band commence on a Spring tour of North America and the Far East, the most extensive tour outside of Europe do date.
The Band work on new material in The Garden Studios in London and Hansa Studios in Berlin, which provides an ideal location for the album's final mixing. It is also where Depeche Mode shoot the video for "Everything Counts".
"Everything Counts", their new single from the upcoming album, makes its debut on July 11th, followed by "Love In Itself" on September 19th.
Depeche Mode's third studio album "Construction Time Again) is released on August 22nd and like its two predecessors hits the Top 10. The album has a more potent and refined sound and also introduces not only Alan's musical talents, but also an ability to contribute his own songs.
The Band hit the road again in September to introduce the songs of "Construction Time Again" to an audience across the UK and Europe, also reaching North America and the Far East.
"A Broken Frame might give the reason to everyone to find the use of synthesisers very pedant, boring, devoid of ideas etc. We might also think that they let their keyboards play without a control. We can if really necessary remember The Meaning Of Love, which contains a bit of energy and melody. Just enough to make a single, but not an album. Despite a beautiful sleeve featuring a kolkhoz woman cutting wheat under a stormy sky." Rock'n'roll, France
"The lyrics have matured from wide-eyed fun to wide-eyed frustration. A Broken Frame sounds sadly naked, rudely deprived of the formula's novelty." Steve Sutherland, Melody Maker
"I think we all like the idea (sampling). When we actually made the album we did go on a sound hunting expedition. We went down Brick Lane and just hit everything and then recorded it and took it back to the studio and put it into a keyboard. That's how we made the track Pipeline. We were smashing corrugated iron and old cars. The vocals were recorded in a railway arch in Shoreditch…" Andy Fletcher
The Band's next single "People Are People" is released on March 12th and its success is followed by a concert on June 2nd, where they share the bill with Elton John, to a crowd of 50,000 in Ludwigshafen.
"People Are People" barrels its way to No. 4 on the British charts and it also holds the No. 1 spot in Germany for three weeks. It eventually reaches number 13 in the US.
The singles "Master And Servant" released on August 20th, and "Blasphemous Rumours" released on October 29th, both receive a lot of media attention for their controversial ideas.
The Band find themselves genuinely satisfied with the end results of their new album "Some Great Reward" which hits stores on September 24th and clinches a No. 5 spot on the British charts.
They immediately set off on a four-month tour to promote the new album, filming a sold-out show in Hamburg for a future video.
Two new songs are recorded and released, which have no trouble finding their way into the charts. The first, "Shake The Disease" greets music stores on April 29th and the second single "It's Called A Heart" is delivered to the fans on September 16th.
A month later sees the release of the compilation LP "The Singles 8 1-85", appropriately titled "Catching Up With Depeche Mode" in the States, covering all the singles from "Dreaming Of Me" to "It's Called A Heart".
"Some Great Videos", a compilation of the greatest single videoclips, coincides with the release of the album, and "The World We Live In And Live In Hamburg", a live concert recording is also released.
"We've still got a long way to go before people will be proud to have Depeche Mode albums in their collection." Andy Fletcher
"Pop goes to your house! OK, so I already expected to like this album, despite the Test Dept image plagiarism, despite the teen paper glamour and even the pop fashionability, Depeche Mode have always won through with that most endearing of qualities - good tunes" Carole Linfield, Sounds, UK
"...as long as David Gahan s big mascared eyes and Martin Gore's cheeky rouged nipples continue to adorn album covers. they'll be dismissed as teenybop fodder. This complete collection of the boys singles including the latest, It's Called A Heart, provides convincing evidence that such a charge is nonsense." Frank Owen, Melody Maker
Of Depeche Mode
After three months of extensive recording at Westside Studios in West Kensington, London, then moving operations to Hansa Studio in Berlin, "Stripped" is released on February 10th, giving the listening audience only a taste of what is to come.
"Black Celebration" sees March 1 7th as its official introduction into a "black" society and offers a heavier, darker and harder sound than anything in the band's past.
A world tour in support of the new album "Black Celebration" begins in March and takes the Band across Europe, North America and Far East for nearly six months.
The next singles "A Question Of Lust" (April 14th) and "A Question Of Time" (August 1 1 th) mark a turning point for Depeche Mode as they sound self-assured enough to take risks and succeed.
The filming of the video for "A Question Of Time", in the American desert, sets the beginning of a long running collaboration between the Band and Anton Corbijn, whose unique visual presentation has become a Depeche Mode hallmark...
Depeche Mode return to the recording studio after a few months break following their Black Celebration Tour to begin work on their next album.
"The crew tend to play tricks on us a lot. At one of the last gigs they covered the riser (back bit of the stage that Dave has to climb up on) with all these porno pictures to try and put me off. They succeeded." Dave Gahan on Black Celebration Tour
"Here are some things to admire about Depeche Mode: 1) their self sufficiency; 2) their refusal to follow anything but their own fashion; 3) their refusal to be anything but themselves; 4) their unswerving ability to come up with great, fresh melodies." Betty Page, Record Mirror
"If we are to have bands filling the World's stadiums, then let them be like Depeche Mode." John Peel
For The Masses
Recording begins at Studio Guilliame Tell in Paris and finishes up at Konk, London. The new album is mixed at Puk Studios in Denmark.
The first single "Strangelove" is released on April 13th and becomes an immediate favourite. Several months later on, the second single "Never Let Me Down Again" (August 24th) greets music stores.
On September 28th, we see the highly anticipated release of "Music For The Masses", the band's sixth studio album, which immediately goes platinum Worldwide.
Shortly after release of the album, Depeche Mode prepare to launch a six month World tour which is the most extensive one to date, selling out stadiums and concert halls around the globe.
The next single "Behind The Wheel" in released on December 28th, while the tour is underway and is added to the list of Top 20 hits.
Are Behind The Wheel
The Music For The Masses Tour brings the foursome together on stage to deliver their passion and soul. Arriving in Los Angeles for their last stop at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Stadium on June 18th, Depeche Mode perform their historic 101 st show of the tour in front of 75,000 fans. The event is recorded and filmed for the later to be released documentary album and D. A. Pennebaker movie bearing the name "Depeche Mode 101".
Just a month before the tour ends, Depeche Mode release "Little 15" (May 16th), yet another track from the "Music For The Masses" album, but only in certain European countries.
"Strange", the first video compilation directed by Anton Corbijn is released. It contains five excellent videos, all in Corbijn's black and white imagery.
Alan and Martin are busy working on side projects of their own. Alan finishes a solo project under the name of Recoil and releases his "Hydrology and 1+2" tracks at the end of the year.
"After six albums and a few thousand singles, you might expect the Mode to be full of 'artistic exhaustion' and all those things that befall groups when they're a bit old. But not for these pop chirperers! Music For The Masses is the Mode's most consistently excellent record yet - as tuneful and thoughtful and moody (especially moody) as anything they've created before. " John Barty, Smash Hits, UK
"This is the band's most lifelike effort to date, and a compelling dance number." David Hiltbrand of Rolling Stone on Never Let Me Down Again
"We weren't able to enjoy the moment because we were just worrying about the logistics of the show too much. Nobody really enjoyed the gig and we didn't play particularly well that night. It's only really when you look back and it's being captured on film and the sound has been tarted up a bit, that you realise what a big, special moment it was for us as a group. We should have just taken the time to enjoy it a bit more." Alan Wilder on the Rose Bowl show
"I'd never been to any concert before with 70,000 people. It wasn't just 70,000 people watching the concert it was 70,000 people participating in the concert, really responding. Everybody there was a fan, it wasn't 'let's go and have a look at this, see what it's like There were 70,000 Depeche Mode fans there." Daniel Miller on the Rose Bowl show
Count It In Large Amounts
A live single of the encore favourite "Everything Counts" keeps fans happy even after the tour is over. It is released on February 13th, and contains some live tracks from the Pasadena Rose Bowl performance.
The double compilation album "101" is released on March 13th and showcases the group's entire performance at the Rose Bowl. The album goes gold in France within 24 hours of release!
"101", the D. A. Pennebaker film, a great road movie made up of live action. footage and all the band's hits from the "Music For The Masses Tour" is released internationally on home video.
Martin, continuing work on his solo from last year, releases e. p. titled "Counterfeit". He then begins concentrating on new material for the next Depeche Mode album.
The Band enlists the help of a new producer, Mark "Flood" Ellis and legendary mixer, Francois Kevorkian, and begin work at Logic Studios in Milan, Axis in New York, London's Church and Master Rock Studios and finish at Puk Studios in Denmark.
"Personal Jesus", the first single from the eagerly anticipated album, comes out on August 29th and becomes the biggest selling 12" in Warner Brothers history.
"It would seem that Mute Records have decided it's time to give Depeche Mode the Big Push that will elevate them into the league occupied by stadium rockers like U2. 101 should ensure there will be longer queues for tickets next time Depeche Mode come to town, but on the strength of this piece of vinyl, it II be well worth the wait." Music Technology, UK
"I think we were more nervous about the recording and filming of the show than the actual number of people at the Rose Bowl. Personally, I'm blind so I can only see the front row!" Andy Fletcher
In Depeche Mode Eyes
"Violator", the new album that covers a wide range of moods and styles is released on March 19th and climbs to No. 2 in Britain and No. 7 in the United States.
On March 20th, Depeche Mode appear for a promotional autograph signing of their album "Violator" at the music store The Wherehouse in West Los Angeles. Over 10,000 fans besiege the store to catch a glimpse of the Band and are simply too much for the security staff to handle. The event makes the national news with the headline: "English rock band Depeche Mode stopped the traffic at Beverly!"
Less than a week after its release, "Violator" goes gold in France, Germany, Britain, USA, Spain and Italy! The album later on receives ten platinum awards in UK, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, including double platinum in USA, Canada and France.
The second single from the new LP "Enjoy The Silence" is another million seller released on February 5th, followed by "Police Of Truth" (May 7th) and the final single from the album "World In My Eyes" (September 17th).
Depeche Mode's new tour in support of "Violator" starts in May and takes the Band on nearly a year long trip over five continents and reaches over 1,200,000 people.
A new Depeche Mode video compilation by Anton Corbijn titled "Strange Too - Another Violation" is released on October 22nd.
"The Depeche Mode set-up is a vastly complicated network of interlinked musical computers used to recreate their songs in a live situation, perfectly every time. It takes several months beforehand to program everything up and make the machines communicate correctly, and two full-time technicians to look after the equipment on the road. " Jonathan Roberts, World Violation Tour Technician
"Violator marked a move away from Depeche Mode's more adolescent infatuations, songwriter Martin Gore developing into a surprisingly subtle observer of emotional ruction without losing the gift for pop melodies which was largely responsible for their earlier success." Q. Magazine, UK
Enjoy The Silence
Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence", one of the Band's strongest tracks to date wins the Brit Award for Best Single of 1990 voted by the listeners of Radio One.
Martin is honoured by ASCAP (The American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers) for the songs "Policy Of Truth" and "Enjoy The Silence", both of which are among the most played songs in the US during 1990.
The soundtrack album of the Wim Wenders' film "Until The End Of The World" is released in December and features a beautiful ballad titled "Death's Door" by Depeche Mode.
Faith And Devotion In
Martin is busy songwriting and when he comes back, he has a wide assortment of new themes for an album.
Depeche Mode reunite in February and set up a studio in a privately rented villa in Madrid, Spain to work on new material for their eight studio album "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" with Flood in the producer's chair.
"This was the only time ever in the studio when we thought we had a hit single. When I finished the demo of Enjoy The Silence it was more of a ballad and sounded a bit like the harmonium version that came out on one of the formats. Alan had this idea to speed it up and make it a bit more disco which I was really averse to at first, because l thought 'the song is called Enjoy The Silence and it's supposed to be about serenity, and serenity doesn't go with the disco beat'. So I was sulking for about two days but after he sped it up, I got used to it and added the guitar part, which adds to the whole atmosphere. We could really hear that it had a crossover potential. I have to say that I was sulking for two days for no reason." Martin Gore
"A Depeche Mode fan is anyone who still gives us the time of day after having heard It's Called A Heart (Slow Mix)." Alan Wilder
"Right now there's a lot of dance techno music out there. I think everyone expected us to come up with a hard dance album, but there's so much of it out there right now that the songs are really getting lost. I think I subconsciously tried to rebel against that." Martin Gore on SOFAD
"Nobody thought they were going to make it through that album. Even l, for the first time, wasn't sure if they were going to make it. I felt there was a really good chance, but I started having my doubts because of what was going on. I think the fact that they did was a shock to everybody who was close to the band, and to the media, who were watching with interest." Daniel Miller
Depeche Mode Shoes
The first Depeche Mode single from the new album "I Feel You" arrives on February 15th and goes straight into the upper reaches of the music charts. The video for the song directed by Anton Corbijn is nominated by MTV's annual Music Awards for the Alternative Video Of The Year.
The newest studio LP "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" is released on March 22nd and goes straight to the top of the music industry, debuting at No. 1 on both the American and British charts, and goes on to dominate album charts the World over.
The sales of the "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" exceed everyone's expectations and the album receives eleven gold disc awards in Britain, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and two platinum awards in the USA and Canada.
To celebrate the release of the long-awaited album, Depeche Mode throw an exclusive "Global Release Party" on March 12th at the club Ministry Of Sound in London. The Band meet fans and take part in an interview that is broadcast World-wide by satellite.
Depeche Mode embark on the extensive Devotional Tour in May, which takes them across the globe twice, playing to devotees throughout Europe and North America by the end of the year.
The second single from the album, "Walking In My Shoes" is released on April 26th, followed by "Condemnation" (September 13th), featuring the haunting ballad "Death's Door".
A live video, directed by Anton Corbijn, is shot during shows in Lieven, Barcelona and Budapest. The video captures Depeche Mode at their finest and is released in December, accompanied with a live album titled "Songs Of Faith And Devotion Live".
"Songs Of Faith And Devotion is a work of untouchable excellence." What's On, UK
"My favourite song from this album has to be Walking In My Shoes' as I love the sounds on it enormously - also it is one of my own favorite videos tor Depeche Mode." Anton Corbijn
"I'd like to feel that this music will lift people and make them feel better in whatever they do. I'm just trying to push myself further." Dave Gahan on SOFAD
On The Road
With Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode are back on the road in February, performing in front of audiences in far off places like South Africa, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong. Philippines, Hawaii, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico.
Depeche Mode return to the United States in May for the final leg of the tour simply called USA 94 where they finish off after 14 months during which Depeche Mode have visited 122 cities in 27 different countries and played for over 2,000,000 people in 156 shows.
Anton Corbijn receives a Grammy nomination for the live video recording of the "Devotional".
"In Your Room", the fourth and final single out of "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" is released on January 10th.
Coming Back To
Martin Gore covers a Leonard Cohen song "Coming Back To You" for the Cohen tribute album "Tower Of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen".
At the end of May, Alan Wilder announces his departure from Depeche Mode. The remaining band members decide not to seek a replacement.
Depeche Mode are in the recording studio for six before Christmas working on some new material with Tim Simenon producing.
"It's all faultlessly conceived and presented, and equally well filmed and edited. An absorbing experience, even for non-die hard fans. Devotional is a wonderful, creative example of achieving success without artistic compromise." Q. Magazine, UK
"I think that every video I had to do while they were on tour, was the hardest to make and in particular Condemnation because of Dave's mental condition at the time. The easiest was probably Strangelove, as it doesn't feature the band so much…" Anton Corbijn
"I think my decision to leave the band came during the making of that album. I can remember one or two occasions during the recording that stick vividly in my mind, particularly those first sessions where I thought this is just not enjoyable, this is last time I want to be in this situation." Alan Wilder
"Martin's an amazing songwriter, and I want people to take their hats off to him. Songs, songs, songs, that's what it's all about." Tim Simenon
It's All Good For
Dave accidentally overdoses on drugs in Los Angeles in May and is arrested. Upon his successful completion of the drug treatment and rehabilitation program, all charges against him are dismissed.
Depeche Mode are recording in New York at Electric Lady Studios. They also put in some extra time in London, including a one day return to Westside Studios (after ten years) to record some strings.
Following a short summer break, the Band are back in the studio in September, mixing the first single at Sarm Studios in London. They later on return to Eastcote and Rak Studios for more recording.
In December, Depeche Mode shoot the video for their first single "Barrel Of A Gun" in Morocco under the direction of Anton Corbijn.
"There's not really a concept or a theme, but quite a lot of the songs deal with destiny. Religion is probably touched on less on this album than it has been in the past, but it's still got a quite spiritual feel." Martin Gore on Ultra
"Ultra reveals a band who have weathered the storms to produce their finest work. Its minimalistic, moody grooves are influenced by recent trip-hop happenings, while Gore's lyrics are his finest yet. From boys to men, through good times and bad, Depeche Mode are still very much around. And they're getting the balance right." Gary Crossing, Big Issue, UK
The first single "Barrel Of A Gun" is released on February 3rd, also featuring an alternative track called "Painkiller". It goes straight into the UK charts at No. 4, equalling their highest ever chart position with "People Are People".
Depeche Mode visit seven European countries on a promotional tour in February, giving interviews to all the major press, TV and radio stations. The promotional trip continues towards the end of April.
The Band spend the last week of February in New York and in addition to loads of interviews, they are shooting the video for the second single "It's No Good" (March 31st) which becomes a smash hit and one of the most requested songs on radio stations everywhere straight after its release.
During March, London's Mute Records organises a chain of listening parties with a playback of the tracks from the new album. The evenings welcome nearly two thousand DM fans and Bong members from all over the UK.
A huge launch party is held by Mute Records on April 10th at London's Adrenaline Village featuring the first live performance by Depeche Mode in three years.
The release date of the long-awaited album "Ultra" is set for April 14th. It is Depeche Mode's 9th studio album, featuring eleven original tracks, all written by Martin Gore and produced by Tim Simenon.
Attacking the highest positions in most of the European countries, "Ultra" sells 3,000,000 in seven months and goes gold and platinum around the globe.
Depeche Mode launch their official web site on May 13th, initially focusing on "Ultra", but creating a centralised resource for Depeche Mode fans world-wide, including the extensive history of Depeche Mode.
"Home", an epic string-drenched ballad sees Martin taking over the vocal duty from Dave, is the third single from "Ultra" released on June 16th.
The gently funky song with the moaning guitar riffs "Useless" and the fourth single from "Ultra" is released on October 20th. The accompanying video is shot at an old lead mine in North Wales at the end of August, with Anton Corbijn directing.
Dave sings "Song For Europe" which is included on a Roxy Music tribute album "Dreamhome Heartaches…Remaking, Remodelling Roxy Music", proceeds of which go to a children's charity.
"Barrel Of A Gun is about understanding what you're about and realising that you don't necessarily fit into somebody else's scheme of things. You can have slight diversions from your path, but I think there is something that is written for us that is meant to be. I'm not being totally fatalistic, I think that we do have a say in things, but I don't think that say is very strong. " Martin Gore
"Trying times for the band, yet with the guidance of producer Tim Simenon, Depeche Mode have come back with an album which will - once the headlines are forgotten - be seen as one of the most outstanding and enganging in their 16-year career. " Music & Media "I'm pleased that we have consolidated our position as an influential and still popular group in the 1990s. The high points for me were playing live at the Ultra launch parties in London and Los Angeles." Andy Fletcher
Martin is busy writing songs for inclusion on the long awaited double CD package "The Singles 86>98", featuring all the Band's hits since 1986, along with a new song.
In February, the Band meet in London to discuss their plans and ideas. They decide to go into the studio in March to begin work on new material. Tim Simenon, is once again in charge of production.
Depeche Mode hold a press conference on April 20th in Cologne, Germany to announce their upcoming tour The Singles Tour 96-98, coinciding with the release of the retrospective double CD set "The Singles 86>98" (September 28th).
The Band are on location in New York City during July, to film the video for their new single "Only When I Lose Myself" directed by Brian Griffin, who collaborated with Depeche Mode on their first four album covers.
The production rehearsals for the upcoming tour take place during August at Three Mills Island Studios in East London.
The new single called "Only When I Lose Myself", featuring Dave on vocals is released on September 7th. The single also includes two more new titles, "Headstar" and "Surrender".
Depeche Mode embark on a world tour, starting in September, which takes them for the first time ever to Russia, Estonia and Latvia. Following the European leg, the Band tour North America in November and December. As soon as the dates are announced, tickets sell like hot cakes with some shows selling out within hours!
The stage-set design and video projection is provided once again by Anton Corbijn and Depeche Mode are accompanied on stage by Christian Eigner on drums. Peter Gordeno on keyboards and Jordan Bailey and Janet Cooke, the two backing vocalists.
During The Singles 86-98 Tour Depeche Mode visit 29 cities in 15 different countries around Europe, 27 cities in the North America and play 64 shows to almost 800,000 fans.
A new video compilation of the singles coincides with the release date of "The Singles 86>98" and features a special intro and an exclusive short film.
Sales figures of more than 1.5 million copies in a couple of months since its release secure "The Singles 86>98" several gold and platinum disc awards across the world.
Depeche Mode headline at KROO's Almost Acoustic Christmas show on December 12th in Los Angeles. Their one hour performance includes an acoustic version of "Sisters Of Night", and during "Never Let Me Down Again" Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins appeared on stage with the Band.
"With Only When I Lose Myself, I started with the opening motif and the words were suggested to me by what was happening in the music. I find that a very natural way to write." Martin Gore
"Essex electronica veterans don't get out of bed for less than an arena tour. Here (The Singles 86-98 Tour) they're promoting a hits package, a singular pop affair that traces dark-lines between Basildon and Berlin." Evening Standard, UK
The Band members get together during April to discuss their future plans. Meanwhile, Martin is getting down to some serious work in the song-writing department. The Band hope to be in the studio next year.
In the Music Week Creative and Design Awards 1999, "The Singles 86>98" wins "Best Album Design" and "The Singles 86>98" album campaign wins "Best Design of a Series of Sleeves".
In May, Martin is presented with an "Award for International Achievement", by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters, at the 44th Ivor Nowello Awards in London. Martin is presented with his award by Daniel Miller.
Depeche Mode celebrate their 20th anniversary since they formed in Basildon, named themselves Depeche Mode and conquered the World.
Martin is songwriting, and working at home in his studio with Gareth Jones and Paul Freegard. The Band announce plans to go in to the studio.
The International Bong Convention is held on April 15th in Depeche Mode's hometown Basildon. It is a celebration of 20 years of Depeche Mode and although the Band members are not present, a concert-like atmosphere is created by more than 250 fans from all over the World.
Several new songs are ready for the Band to work on. Martin is still busy writing more tracks for the new album and the Band start recording during June and July in studios in both London and New York with producer Mark Bell. The recording process continues in September and concludes just before Christmas in New York.
"I think we've always made weird pop. and I think Exciter is a great example of that. I don't think it fits into a defined musical category, but we never have, so that's not a particular worry. I just like being able to make music that's different. and if it's successful as well, then that's good. " Martin Gore
"I'm very proud of the work that i've contributed to this record, and I want people to hear it. I've really enjoyed singing on this album too, and I've enjoyed it more because I'm in a good place, I feel really content. Yes, I want it to sell millions of copies, I'd love to pick up a Grammy next year, and get an MTV award. I'd like to pick up a Brit award - l'd be lying if I said I didn't - but if it doesn't happen, c'est la vie…we've made a great record and we're going to go out and tour. I know our fans are really loyal and they'll be coming out to see us. There's not much else you can really ask for. I'm doing what I want to do in my life." Dave Gahan
Feel Loved By
The video for the first single "Dream On" is shot in Los Angeles in February. The man behind the camera this time is the world famous video director and fashion photographer Stephane Sednaoui.
The official web site celebrates a victory in the second annual MidemNet Awards, which are announced in Cannes in January, winning the award for Best Artist Web Site. The site hosts two exclusive MP3 extracts from "Exciter" per day marking the release of the Band's tenth studio album.
The Band finish mixing the album in London in January, and after a well-deserved break and some promotional activities, release their first single "Dream On" on April 23rd, with "Easy Tiger" on the B-side. It enters the German Top 100 Single Charts on pole possition and becomes the first number one single for the Band in Germany since "People Are People" (1984)!
Depeche Mode announce their world-wide tour at a press conference in Hamburg in March and start pre-production in April: The rehearsals begin in London in May and continue in June when the Exciter Tour starts rolling in Canada. The second leg of the tour brings Depeche Mode to Europe towards the end of August.
The excellent and highly anticipated new album "Exciter" is released on May 14th. There are a total of thirteen tracks, including two instrumentals. Anton Corbijn is once again asked to do the album artwork. The new album immediately hits the charts across the World and the sales reach award status gold or platinum in many countries around the globe.
The massive tour sees Depeche Mode performing to 1,2 million people in 24 countries over a five-month period and again features the innovative stage design and unique visual element of Anton Corbijn. Martin, Fletch and Dave welcome the return of the musicians Christian Eigner, Peter Gordeno and backing vocalist Jordan, with newcomer Georgia Lewis.
"I Feel Loved" is the second single from the album with the official release date of July 16th, featuring a cover of the legendary The Stooges song "Dirt" as a B-side. The radio friendly track makes it to heavy rotation on most radio stations across Europe.
The third single from "Exciter" is the beautiful ballad "Freelove" out on November 5th. The video is directed in July by the Australian director John Hillcoat, who is also responsible for the "I Feel Loved" video.
Depeche Mode win The Best International Artist A Music Channel VIVA "Comet" Award ceremony, beating Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and U2!
The Band performed the old time classic "Never Let Me Down Again" at the MTV Europe Music Awards held in Frankfurt in November. The official DM web site receives a nomination and although it doesn't win, it is selected by MTV Europe as one of only five web sites up for Best Band Web Site.
The filming of the video for the new single "Goodnight Lovers" takes place in November in Frankfurt and is once more directed by John Hillcoat.
"The word Exciter sounds like typical Martin word and has a sexual meaning in a way…and that sort of pictures on the album too, but at the same time it's quite a broad nature and it goes down the core of things. I think the music is a bit like that as well…it's quite relaxed…it has beautiful sounds and it's a very different Depeche again." Anton Corbijn
"I'm a lot more confident vocally. I really wanted to bring something beautiful to these songs. When you're singing a song, it's like you can just disappear into it. It's the only way I can describe it really. And I did that. It's really a luxurious place to be. I wanted to do that with every song. On Ultra I was not able to do that because I wasn't physically able to bring all of myself to it. Now I feel like I'm firing on all cylinders." Dave Gahan
"Blame it on the sunshine, or the settled wile-and-kinds lives of all three members, but Exciter is the most optimistic record the band have made in 20 years." Dorian Lynskey, Q Magazine, UK
"Gahan has stripped off his shirt, and proceeds to spin across the stage with comical, sweaty abandon, shouting 'Hello London!' as if he's never been here before. His sheer happiness in his work is hard to resist, as he leads crowd-clapping so synchronised it gives fresh life to the old comparison between stadium shows and Nuremberg rallies. He won't rest until we're singing the new single Freelove as if we've loved it all our lives." Nick Hasted, The Independent, UK
One Night With
Depeche Mode And...
"Goodnight Lovers", the fourth single from "Exciter", is released on February 11th, coinciding with the announcement of two nominations for Depeche Mode in this year's Grammy Awards in the categories of "Best Dance Recording" for "I Feel Loved" and the "Best Remixed Recording/Non-Classical" for Danny Tenaglia's remix of "I Feel Loved". The Band is also nominated for Echo Pop 2002 Awards in the category "Best International Rock/Pop Band".
The eagerly awaited live DVD of the "Exciter Tour" titled "One Night In Paris" hits the stores on May 27th and, apart from the live footage, contains some extras, such as rare personal interviews, stills gallery and many more. The exclusive two-hour event is directed by Anton Corbijn at the sold-out Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy in front of 16,000 wildly enthusiastic fans.
"The venue itself is probably one of the best in the world. We've played this venue many, many times, so for us it's almost like a second home in Paris. Depeche Mode fans will travel from all over the world to see a concert in Paris." Andy Fletcher on Paris's Bercy
"As far as performing goes, I enjoyed this tour more than any other before. I really felt it was the best we've ever played and that the musicians that were playing really brought new life to the older songs and the new songs from Exciter. I was just floating out there." Dave Gahan
"A great project to work on is always the design of an album cover, including photographs and title-lettering. I also enjoy video making and think the band are better when they have to work to a clear idea than standing in front of a stills camera for a photograph. I love doing the stage sets too so in a way I am a happy bunny in whatever discipline I work with Depeche Mode." Anton Corbijn
Songs Of Faith and Devotion
The new, and tenth, Depeche Mode album Songs Of Faith and Devotion, is one of the most eagerly expected awaited albums of 1993. Their last album, Violator, was their most successful to date and, after the tour finished playing to 1,200,000 people over eight months, group decided to take a year's sabbatical.
It took the young Essex group only three weeks to record their first album, Speak and Spell, in 1981. The new work, however, was made by David Gahan, Alan Wilder, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher over an eight-month period from April to December, 1992, with long breaks between recording sessions in Madrid, Hamburg and London. "Your standards go up," Martin explains. "It takes longer until everybody is happy. And we've tried so many things before, that to be experimental and different takes longer."
One of the secrets of the lasting appeal of Depeche Mode has been that way are indeed different from any group and any trend. Their music is always a welcome alternative to whoever and whatever happen to be in vogue. The voice of their lead vocalist Dave Gahan is one of the most distinctive and riveting in rock.
Writer Martin Gore deals with subject matter that doesn't even occur to most lyricists, let alone get expressed in song form. Musician Alan Wilder stays on top of the latests developments in recording technology, with added input on the last two albums from co-producer Flood. As Alan explains, "He had the rare ability to be able to step back and have a producer's perspective and also the technical know how to be completely hands on with all the equipment. He's now become a crucial member of our team, and hi contribution is vast."
The group Queen, who were born in the seventies and survived through the eighties, were long considered the classic example of how four very different individuals could maintain a professional partnership that was in all their interests, realizing that people don't have to be personal friends to work well together. With Depeche Mode, conceived in the eighties and destined to outlast the nineties, there has been the pleasant discovery over the years that the four members have naturally gravitated to different tasks, respect each other's performance in the seperate jobs and have no desire to compete. In simplistic terms, Dave is the singer, Martin is the songwriter, Alan the musician and Andrew the co-ordinator. "I think this is the way a modern band should be," says Andy, referred to as Fletch. "If more bands were like that, they could run their affairs more successfully."
Important financial matters that might bore many artists fascinate Fletch. "I liaise with our accountant, our office staff and our business staff, and I really enjoy it, to be honest. It's important to keep an eye on merchandising and royalties. Mute, our record company, didn't have a computerized accounts system until recently, so it's a good thing Daniel Miller (who founded the label) is one of the most honest people I've ever met. We've got one of the best record deals in the music industry."
"There has been a natural delegation of responsibility," Alan confirms. "I've always had a strong interest in the production side. Alot of the time it's myself and Flood who are left there in the early hours of the morning doing what we call 'screwdriver' work. It's sifting through bits of peromance and restructuring it, which bores Martin most of the time and Dave to an extent, but I actually quite enjoy it."
"I prefer the writing," Martin confirms. "Although you know you are creating when you're in the studio, you're starting totally afresh when you're writing. I've always found it a fascinating process. Sometimes I'll look at a song that I've just written and think that I know where it came from."
Some of the most startling Depeche hits have had religious themes, including the 1984 UK top twenty hit "Blasphemous Rumours" and, in 1989-90, "Personal Jesus." "I've always had a fascination with religion," Gore admits. "I don't really understand it, but I've always longed for some sort of belief. A few of the songs on the new album have a sort of gospel feel."
One of them, "Condemnation", is a particular favorite of Dave Gahan. "I think that's the best lyric and melody I've ever sung," he affirms. "I wish I could have written it." Other group members are full of praise for his performance of this and other songs on the album.
"With this record we've tried to make Dave sing in a different way," Alan explains. "In simple things, like raising the register of the song so he had to sing higher than he would normally, forcing him to approach songs differently and making him go over and over things, trying different environments in which he hasn't sung before, not using headphones like we normally do... anything to try and get a different performance. He's responded really well. Dave had a very good attitude. He's willing to try things because he understands that by repeatedly doing over things eventually something will click and a special moment will occur." With "Condemnation", the new environment turned out to be a marble-tiled garage in the Madrid villa.
Five key singles in Depeche's career can be identified. The first is "Just Can't Get Enough", their technopop sound with founding member Vince Clarke, "before the group was a democracy," as Fletch quips. Early Depeche Mode material continues to sell to new fans.
The second crucial Depeche single was "Everything Counts", a 1983 UK hit that brought criticism of the music business onto the airwaves and introduced an adult tone to the young band's music. As Fletch points out, the group had the freedom to make this statement because of it's close relationships with Daniel Miller's Mute Records in the UK and Seymour Stein's Sire in the U.S.
"People Are People" was a particularly important record. It achieved what is still the group's highest British chart position (4) and introduced them to the American top twenty in 1985. Despite these distinction, it is one of Martin Gore's least favorite compositions. "It's just not very subtle," he mourns. "I like the songs to be ambiguous enough for people to get their own meaning from them."
Martin broke new ground for top forty radio with the lyrics of "Personal Jesus," on of the best selling 12-inch discs in American history and their firt U.S. gold single. As happened with Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", many listener read their own meaning into the song. "We often get fans coming to concerts with meanings that are a million miles away from what I intended," Gore related, "but they still seem very passionate about what they feel. I like that."
A final key single was "Enjoy The Silence", the first Depeche US top ten single and another million seller. In Britain this was chosen as Best Single if 1990 by listeners of BBC Radio for the BPI awards.
Now a new group of songs stand ready to join this select list. First in line is "I Feel You", chosen as the single both because of its infectious appeal and because its hook line "this is the dawning of our love." Other tracks, including "Condemnation", are likely to follow. One piece noteworthy for it's distinctiveness is "One Caress", on which Martin sang live to the accompaniment of a twenty-eight-piece string orchestra.
With this album Depeche Mode continues to make musical progress. As Alan explains, "We've placed the emphasis on performance, using sequencers and other technology to rearrange it in a way we couldn't if we were simply playing through the entire song." Wilder himself will be playing more live drums on tour, and Gore will come forward more to play guitar. Gahan is as fervent as an artist can be about his new work and the opportunity to perform it live.
"I'd like to feel that this music will lift people and make them feel better about themselves and better in whatever they do. I'm just trying to push myself further."
Central to Depeche Mode's determination to excel as a group is its member awareness that each of the other individuals are performing at a peak standard. "I value what Dave does on stage," Alan says. "Without his performance as a front person we would be a very boring band to watch. There are very few good front men around, and I think he does it well."
Gahan returns the compliment to Wilder in a discussion about his studio technique. "Alan will sit there for twenty-four hours until it's right. It's very special to me when people care that much about everything and want it to be that good. That's what is unique about Depeche Mode."
It has been three years since Depeche Mode issued their last album, Violator, which achieved career high chart positions of two in Britain and seven in America. 1990 was spent on the World Violation Tour, which ended at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and 1992 was predominantly devoted to recording the new work. In between, band members have managed to get some personal time off from the virtually non-stop schedule that has given them nin top ten UK LP's in nine releases and D.A. Pennebaker's documentary film Depeche Mode 101, filmed in part at the Pasadena Rose Bowl concert in front of 75,000 fans.
The way Depeche Mode feels about returning to the road is best summed up by Dave. "We're getting to a stage now where the music's moving onto higher ground, at it really moves me. The most important thing in my life right now is to get out and bring this music to the fans; now it's the circus, now it begins."
Depeche Mode will play near you in 1993.
Playing The Angel
This October, Depeche Mode release their first album since 2001's two million-selling Exciter. "I really felt, before we started this album, that there was unfinished business," says Dave Gahan of their 11th studio album, Playing The Angel. And so it is that the world's foremost subversive electronic pop group have reconvened to, as the singer puts it, "make the best record we can." They just can't shake the disease.
Playing The Angel is an astonishingly fresh, exuberant release from the band who have, over 25 years, sold upwards of 50 million records worldwide and amassed a staggering 38 hit singles in the UK and no fewer than 13 Top 10 albums. And yet they sound like a new group, not one halfway through their third decade together. "Precious", the first single, is quintessential Mode, all cyber pulse and glorious chorus. "The Sinner In Me" perfectly balances the organic and synthetic, and climaxes, as do most of the tracks, with staccato blasts of noise and FX. On "Suffer Well" Dave's voice is more powerful than ever. "Macrovision", sung by Martin Gore, is hi-tech pop with an enormous hook. "John The Revelator" is one of many potential hit singles. "I Want It All" is one of the slower tracks with its minor-key menace, like trip hop from hell. "A Pain That I'm Used To" kicks off what would have been Side 2 in fine, furious style with its savage bursts of guitar.
The title for the album was taken, according to Fletch, from the lyric of a track called "The Darkest Star". The LP was recorded in Santa Barbara, New York and London. Recording began in January 2005 in California, with producer Ben Hillier at the helm providing a sense of challenge. "You have to work hard at reinventing yourself," admits Dave, "so you have to choose new people who push you." Playing The Angel is faster-paced than the last two Mode albums, heightening the sense of urgency and vibrancy. Ben's fondness for analogue synths over digital ones helped shape the sound.
It is also the first Depeche album to feature Dave Gahan credits - three of the tracks ("I Want It All", "Suffer Well" and "Nothing's Impossible") were written by the singer, who was encouraged by the reaction to his debut solo album Paper Monsters (2003). Martin was responsible for the remaining nine tracks. As usual, he was unflinching in his depiction of the dark side of the human condition. In fact, he jokes, the back cover of the LP sleeve may well feature the subtitle: Pain And Suffering In Various Tempos. "Dave said I've made a 25-year career out of one subject. I disagree: it's two!"
When asked what the broad, overarching themes of this record are, Martin smiles: "Anything that appeals to really dysfunctional people." It would be wrong, however, to dismiss Depeche Mode as harvesters of sorrow. "I never see our music as over-dark. There's always an element of hope. And I hope that comes over in the music."
A sense of optimism, of renewed vigour, of pleasure at what they've achieved, can be discerned from Playing The Angel. It's also obvious from the sheer delight Dave, Martin and Andy feel at being back with Depeche Mode, on the eve of the release of a brilliant album and a mammoth, sell-out world tour that confirms the enormity of their global audience.
Dave counts his blessings that he's still actually here to do this. "That we've achieved so much in 25 years, and survived so much... Of all the bands, this is the one I'd have put money on not still being around!" he laughs. "I see ourselves alongside U2 and R.E.M. more than any of the bands we came up with, although really we don't fit in and we never have, and I've come to embrace that - there's no one like Depeche Mode. I might have lost some of my drive in the mid-'90s, but now I've got it back. It's better being in Depeche Mode now than it has been for 15 years."