MARTIN GORE: It was a name that came up quite early on which is a bit fifty/fifty with us, sometimes we get album titles quite early on and we stick with them and it seems to keep everybody happy, and you know it works for the whole project, and sometimes its last day, mad, everybody trying to think of any title that come into their heads so we just felt that it summed up the eclectic nature of the songs and the sounds on the album.
DAVE GAHAN: I think the songs on this record are… they have more of a positive spin on them, more open, spiritual, for want of a better word, in its content and sort of looking outwards a lot more, and you know I think our music has always been – we try to make it anyway – atmospheric and visual and it’s a great….’Sounds of the Universe’ just sounds right, and I like the arrogance of it.
ANDREW FLETCHER: Also the word universe has come up a few times in the lyrics for the new songs and you know we think it’s quite pompous, which it is, and slightly witty, so we thought it was a good title.
MARTIN GORE: I think that there’s quite a broad variety really, there’s not really a theme to the record other than all the themes that I always write about I suppose. I keep joking about it, that I keep writing the same songs over and over again, but it’s sort of true up to a point.
DAVE GAHAN: I always find it difficult to pinpoint any themes that sort of that go along with the lyrical content and musical content but they develop, they seem to develop during the recording, I mean there are definitely themes there within the songs, and I would say that they’re loosely tied together.
ANDREW FLETCHER: I think in the end it will have taken about 5-6 months which is sort of usual time for us and we’ve recorded it, well most of it, in New York and some of it in Santa Barbara.
MARTIN GORE: I think that this record is different to all of our other records, and maybe they’re all slightly different, you know I think some maybe have a bit more of a kind of a twin feel or something but not really I think they all have an identity and I think that this one just fits in in the kind of history really, it seems to fit neatly in with the history of the rest of the stuff that we’ve done.
ANDREW FLETCHER: You can’t really tell that until the few years after, we’re so immersed in all this at the moment. All we know is the songs are really good and I think the sounds are really good so we’re hoping its going to stand up to the albums of the past.
MARTIN GORE: I think the atmosphere within the band has just been improving with time, we’re quite famous for not getting on at various points in our history and I think it really has become a thing of the past. We got on fairly well during the making of Playing The Angel and the tour, I think, was a joy to be on and everybody enjoyed it and was pleased when it ended but also left it with a little bit of regret, so I think we’ve just continued in that vein and I think everyone is a lot less precious about everything now, I think we can sit down and have a meeting and see other peoples points of view and concede certain things and you know I think we have a general respect for each other now that maybe wasn’t as prevalent before.
DAVE GAHAN: I think that the interaction for me personally with Martin has changed quite a bit, I feel more confident about my ideas and I also feel like those ideas are really heard, and you know, quite often I’ve witnessed them coming to life, and that always feels good. On this album what I’ve noticed, being quite different to others, is I felt like Martin and I have been joining a lot more and somehow without even talking about it really we seem to be going in the same direction with what we wanted to do with these songs.
ANDREW FLETCHER: There are differences between Martin’s song writing and Dave’s song writing and regarding all songs are really treated in the same way when it comes to the actual recording. Dave’s been really improving over the last…., especially from his last solo album he’s very confident now in the studio, really at the end of the day I think it would be quite hard to distinguish which was a Martin song and which was a Dave song.
MARTIN GORE: Yeah I don’t think you can really tell when the songs are back to back that a song’s mine or Dave’s because it does go through the whole Depeche process and Ben’s production, and once Dave’s sung the vocal and I’ve put backing vocals on it and played guitar on it, it ends up sounding like us.
DAVE GAHAN: The techniques that Martin and I use are quite different. Martin’s much more traditional in the way that he will sit down with a guitar and develop an idea, or sit at the piano and develop the idea, develop the notes where he wants to go with them and and he’s a way more accomplished musician I would say than I am. You know I write in a very different way to him, at the moment I continue to write with Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpott and that’s been working since after Playing The Angel tour. Wwhen I was demo-ing the songs that I contributed to this record I had in the back of my mind all the time don’t be too kind of meticulous about how I want things to be because I want the input, whoever the production team may be and Martin certainly in the studio to contribute ideas to those songs and Martin was very…. he contributed a lot to all of things that I have on this record.
DAVE GAHAN: I do have my favourite tracks on the album at the moment but they change all the time! I think my favourite is actually ‘Come Back’ which is a song that I wrote with Andrew and Christian which has really come a long way from the demo. ‘In Chains’ is another one which I really like which I think is a classic soul song, its got that kind of feel about it, that it could have been something that Marvin Gaye performed, that kind of soul-y song, its got beautiful lyrics and it was great to sing.
MARTIN GORE: With this album we’ve got so many tracks that its really difficult for me to actually choose a favourite. We just finished mixing ‘Corrupt’ which I think sounds really powerful and I’m quite enjoying that one at the moment, which wasn’t necessarily one of my favourites before, but because we’ve just finished mixing it I think it is sounding quite special. There are some of the other ones that are quite different for us, more sort of easy listening – in a good way – very sort of spacey, and maybe futuristic easy listening!
ANDREW FLETCHER: I suppose every musician would always say they like their new album, if you start to say you don’t like so many songs its pretty weird, but there’s a lot of good songs on this album and quite a few of my favourites: ‘Perfect’ I like, ‘In Sympathy’, ‘Wrong’, ‘Fragile Tension’, I mean there’s a lot of … it’s quite good at the moment I don’t tend to be that bored, imagine I’ve heard these things about a thousand times you know, so that’s a good sign!
DAVE GAHAN: You know our fans show up for us and the rest of it is… you can’t really…. you never know what’s going to happen. I think we’ve made a record that is the best record that we’ve made in a long time – of course everybody says that and it sounds totally sort of cliched to say it – I’ve enjoyed making this record with the guys and you know I think we’ve had fun doing it, you can’t really ask for more at this stage we’ve had a hugely successful career up until this point, there’s not really much more you can ask for. I think that people will be pleasantly surprised.
MARTIN GORE: I don’t know what we’re expecting really because its really hard to gauge what that means in this market place, even if the record sold half what the last one did maybe that’s good, who knows?
MARTIN GORE: We unanimously – without even really talking about it I think – chose ‘Wrong’ as the first single just because we felt it was more of a statement, it was very different for us. there are other tracks like ‘In Sympathy’ which is maybe more classic Depeche Mode, and I’m sure at some point that may come out as single, whatever a single is these days whatever a single means these days, as maybe a promotion tool for the record at some point. We always like to do something different as a first single, just to announce that we’re back.
DAVE GAHAN: It’s sort of an unconventional pop song if you like. It’s almost more of a rap or rant or something and its groove is a little different too in that way. And I think we chose it because, we didn’t choose it because we felt it was the best song, we chose it because we felt that it was striking and that it was a good song to choose for the next chapter of what it is we’re doing.
ANDREW FLETCHER: We’ve got to decide on what songs we’re going to play, its very very difficult we’ve got over 200…I don’t know exactly, 250 songs, something like that… so its very difficult whittling that down to a proper set and we’re going to have a few heated discussions I’m sure, trying to work out the exact set!
MARTIN GORE: There are obviously key territories for us where we do extremely well, and there are lots of places that we enjoy playing as well. We do really well in Germany, we do really well in the old eastern bloc countries in particular, you know we generally do well in Europe.
DAVE GAHAN: Europe’s been really great to us for many years, France and Germany, a lot of Scandinavia, a huge part of eastern Europe most of which is not eastern Europe anymore but…. Russia, Spain, Italy’s always fantastic. You know we’re going to all those places and many more, and also North America and Canada and down to South America where you know we went to again we hadn’t been down there for a long time but we went there on the last tour and it was hugely successful and we’re going back there this next year.
ANDREW FLETCHER: I think we enjoy playing everywhere really, we’re very lucky that our crowd is quite universal and tends to be pretty much the same all over.
ANDREW FLETCHER: To be in Depeche Mode right now is really good because the vibes between the band is really good, we feel we’re making a good record and it’s a good time.
DAVE GAHAN: It’s my job and it’s a really good one, you know it sounds really cliched to say but you know, this…. who knew like almost 30 years down the line that there’s still have the opportunity to make the kind of music that you want to make!
MARTIN GORE: I’m very happy being in Depeche. I’ve said a lot that we’re getting on very well, the atmosphere is always good these days, there aren’t many days when we’ve got a meeting and you come in dreading it or there’s real contentious issues going on between band members, it’s a joy to be part of the whole thing and I think that we’re making a great album and I think that already ticket sales seem to be doing amazingly well, so you know everything’s looking positive for us.
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