As Depeche Mode prepare to enter the studio in late-March to record their thirteenth album, we find that Martin Gore hasn't been the only one making waves in his free time. Frontman Dave Gahan – who has two solo efforts already behind him – recently completed his latest side project, a collaboration with the eclectic and ever-evolving production duo Soulsavers.
The Light The Dead See, which will be released by Cooperative Music on May 21st, features 12 acutely powerful tracks grounded in blues, soul, and flat-out arena rock. Last weekend Gahan and Rich Machin of Soulsavers told us about what went into the album, as well as the massively positive effect this relationship will have on Depeche Mode's future.
"It was definitely a very new experience for me," said Gahan. "I know some of the songs will come across as quite dark and moody, but it was the most uplifting experience I've ever had making a record." And as with Gore (whose full-length collaboration with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke, SSSS, will come out on March 12), it's clear that his outside work has rekindled a desire to write. "I don't think I'd be jumping back into the studio right now if it hadn't been for this experience," he said.
Machin and Soulsavers toured with Depeche Mode in 2009 following the release of the latter's Sounds of the Universe, and even though he and Gahan immediately took an artistic liking to one another, there were never actually any plans. "It was a very natural experience," Machin said. "We certainly didn't set out to make a record when we first started working together; we just thought it would be cool to try some things out and see what happened." The result of that effort has left both feeling a very rare sense of success. "I don't think I've written any better songs than these, or been part of any that have stretched me this far as a musician and as a vocalist," Gahan added.
The Light The Dead See, which was recorded at studios in London, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin and Sydney, features a grand scale of production and wide dynamic range akin to Soulsavers' past work – but the process was characterized by a sense of freedom that led both the music and its making to unexpected places. "I've got a 'seize the moment' kind of attitude towards stuff now." Machin said, looking back. "We even ended up recording parts of it in people's living rooms." And that freedom allowed Gahan, after what has thus far been a thirty-two year career, to explore his spirituality in new ways. "I like that talking about God makes people uncomfortable," he said. " It makes me uncomfortable when I try to accept that there's something greater than myself. And the music gave me goosebumps. It humbled me."
With Depeche Mode's forthcoming album in mind, Gahan also acknowledged that Martin Gore may have hit a creative high point of his own. "There's definitely a change in Martin, in that he's so excited about working right now," he said. "We've been through a lot together, you know, it's a family, you have your ups and downs, and it's nice to be excited about making a record together." He added that Gore is continuing to reconnect with his guitar a primary songwriting instrument. "He comes up with great ideas, he really does some great things. But I feel Martin enjoys playing live, he enjoys playing guitar, and he enjoys playing onstage. That element is now shifting into the studio a lot more."
This post is dedicated to demented_21 ♥