During lockdown I’ve been really proud of making a little music – you know, updating my old plugins, buying the odd piece of hardware now and again. TRYING TO MAKE AN EFFORT.
I also bought a nice little sea shell to go with it all. Look.
And then someone posted this to the internet this week…
And then this…..
And even this…
It turns out, this is Martin Gore’s home studio. Let me repeat that – HOME STUDIO. Just when you think you’re getting somewhere…
I once met Martin at a Nitzer Ebb gig back in the ’90s. I asked him for an autograph, which he really wasn’t happy about, and then we watched someone being booted offstage by the lead singer. This was at the time when it was very much the done thing for fans to get up onstage to then dive headfirst into the mosh pit – but apparently this wasn’t the done thing to do on this particular EBM night. I think about that moment quite often.
A recent email from my hosting provider prompted me to consider taking this blog offline completely. After all, I’ve not written anything for a while so maybe I should chuck the whole thing in. Then I began to think about this last year with Covid, about how insanely busy it’s been both at work and at home trying to return to some sense of normality, about the book I stopped writing because I told myself it was all too self-indulgent in a time of crisis, about the ultramarathon I did because running seemed to be a whole lot easier than writing, then about the synth I bought because I needed an excuse to wear headphones in a house full of screaming kids – so I thought ‘you know, there might just be a few things I could write about here after all.’
So watch this space. Hopefully, it won’t be for another year.
Back in the day I used to be the ultimate Depeche Mode fan. I spent most of my teenage years hunting down numerous rare vinyl remixes, paying extortionate amounts of money for obscure bootleg recordings and generally annoying mates by playing tracks that didn’t fit in with our previously established repertoire of Guns and Roses and Ozzy Osbourne. I was basically THAT kid in the corner listening to the same track on repeat and not talking to anyone. And it was great.
Then it all went a bit pear-shaped.
One day, I met one of the band members at a Nitzer Ebb gig and they got a bit peeved when asked for an autograph. No big deal, we all need our space. But shortly after, I had another ‘Never Meet Your Heroes’ moment at one of their album launch listening parties and, let’s just say, it was a complete disaster as one of them was completely wasted. Again, no big deal, but after that I sort of walked away and never listened to them again.
Well, almost. After a brief spat and after listening to their new album ‘Spirit’ I’m glad say we’re BFFs again. Their new political focus suites them with my top tracks being ‘Scum’ and ‘So Much Love’. A timely release.
To celebrate I thought I’d dig up some of my favourite Mode moments. Enjoy the self-indulgence.
Observe the dance moves:
Observe the hair:
Observe one of the best acid basslines in alt-pop history:
Observe one of the best producers of all-time talking about one of the best acid basslines in alt-pop history:
Observe this photo:
Observe this collection of vinyl. Observe their smooth, plastic sleeves. OBSERVE!
Observe the use of light and smoke in this video whilst also observing one of the best synth melodies in synth melody history: