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From: Phil Sharp
From: Stig Jonsson
What do you consider to have been the greatest, most annoying or hilarious clichés about DM (espcially from the press)?
We're all gay.
We're all from Basildon.
We're big in Germany.
We used to be big in the eighties.
Our music is depressing.
From: Niels Kolling
When DM's 'contract' with Mute was still a verbal agreement, did you share both the income and the expenses equally? And how much of a CD sale goes directly to the artists? If I buy an album at £12.99, how much actually goes back to the artists?
The essence of the deal with Mute is based around a 50% shared costs and profits arrangement. The basis for this arrangement has remained unchanged since day one although there is a lot of detail in the small print. I couldn't honestly tell you exactly what percentage of a CD sale ends up in the artist's pocket. It depends on many things and I'd need to do quite a bit of research and maths to work it out.
From 1990 onwards it seems like you didn't do as much promotion as in the old days (like being on TOTP). Was that because you were getting too busy with other things or because you felt you were a big enough name and didn't need to promote yourselves so much on the telly?
I think it's perhaps more to do with the image of the band and the fact that Top Of The Pops is, on the whole, geared towards younger and newer bands, and the same kind of audience. For example, there came a particular time when DM wouldn't appear in Smash Hits magazine or Bravo (Germany) because the band had moved on and was trying to shake the teeny-bopper image.
After seeing DM last night, I was disappointed to read in the Telegraph today that DM are apparently "painfully limited", they hold a position in the "trashy eighties pop pantheon" (along with ABC and Wham!?) and that musicianship was irrelevant. Seeing as you were largely responsible for the music played, how do you feel about these remarks? It seemed incredibly unfair to me.
Maybe Mr. Journalist could do a stand-up show of his musings to over 10,000 people a night - or maybe not......
From: Benny Jørgensen
I've just watched a videotape from a Spanish televison broadcast in which DM perform' I Feel You' "live". How was your attitude doing these kind of "performances"? Boring but necessary marketing and how would the audience react to this "fraud / deception"?
I don't really think audiences felt deceived. Everyone's aware of playback TV. They don't normally even bother to plug in the instruments or the mics, do they?
From: Katherine Davison
Please tell me whose idea it was to do the MTV Music Awards in 1988. You all looked in so much pain. Did you meet any musicians back stage or did most musicians not like you guys?
We were encouraged by our Record Company and independent marketing man, Bruce Kirkland. It was good exposure for us. We were probably just trying to look cool, which can look pretty similar to pain, or needing to go to the toilet.....
I think we met Aerosmith and Guns 'n' Roses but I was drunk and don't remember all that much about it. I do remember upsetting Cindy Lauper. MTV gave each band a video camera but when I stuck it in Cindy's face, she threw a wobbler....oooooh..........
From: Javier Pecyner
Do you know exactly what happened with the 'In Your Room' video not being played by MTV? I heard it was censored because they said it contained "slavery images". The same occurred with Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up' for other unknown reasons. If all of this is true, what about the 'Master & Servant' video that was played on MTV a lot and where the lyrics and images make an ambiguous reference to sado-masochistic sex?
I couldn't begin to explain what goes on in the censor's minds. As I've said before on Q + A, it's perfectly acceptable to beat the shit out of people and blow their arms and legs off in TV cop shows but show someone chained to a chair and you're corrupting innocent youth. The irony of censorship is that in most cases it simply highlights the very thing it's attempting to suppress. Just look at the notoriety of films such as 'A Clockwork Orange' (banned in England since it's release) and 'The Exorcist' which are now considered tame by comparison to most current box office films.
From: Mark Stewart
Do you feel there could have been a bigger push from the publicity side of things, or was it just a case of radio stations sticking to the wanky M-people, Simply Red safe-audience kind of thing?
You can always spend more money on promotion etc. although radio play is largely out of our hands. We did o.k. though - not exactly unpopular.
From: John Setlik
What's your opinion of the U.S. compilation 'People Are People' ?
It was done out of necessity, without any real continuity. Other than that, I don't really have any thoughts on it.
I believe your opinion of Dave Thomson was that he was a twat. What about the other Dave (Thomas I think) who put together more of a picture book on the early years of DM? Any comments on that work?
Garbage. Neither of these 'writers' ever asked permission to go ahead with these projects and we, as artists, seem to have little or no rights over what a 'writer' decides to print. I've never understood the copyright laws. Likewise, if a photographer takes a photo of you, it's their property and it's very difficult to stop them selling it if they want to.
I work in marketing so I'd love to know your opinion on pop groups/artistes who endorse products and were DM ever approached to endorse anything? Would you do it now?
DM were always very hesitant about directly endorsing any product. It's tacky and tends to cheapen your image somehow. That doesn't mean that advertising never took place but it was usually second hand (promoters, local venues etc..) Would I do it now? depends on the cash;-)
How do you feel about the current interest in all things 80's. Are you happy that Depeche Mode are still revered as an 80's band despite having commercial success and media interest in the 90's?
Inevitable. Every decade is reviewed with hindsight and a fair bit of nostalgia before too long. DM was a big part of 80's pop music history. In fact they are often overlooked because they are still going.
From: Dan Hutton
Where did the name 'Bong' for your singles catalogue numbers come from?! (MUTE and STUMM speak for themselves, I guess...)
To be honest, I don't really know. The only 'Bong' I'm aware of is a term used for a hash smoking device, which is not something you would readily associate with DM.
Who on earth was responsible for the Japanese releases and their weird and wonderful cover art?!
I was the involved in the compiling and mastering of the music and Martyn Atkins was responsible for the artwork.
You've said earlier that for the Japanese releases, Martyn Atkins did the artwork. Is this the same Martyn Atkins from Pigface or is it just some other lad?
No. This is 'northern, motorbike lad' Martyn Atkins who has worked on many DM record sleeves (as well as Recoil) from the very early days.
From: Stephane Devillers
Why were X1 & X2 only released in Japan?
The Japanese originally requested them, as their particular market seems to desire this kind of compilation with extensive artwork etc. - something which traditionally doesn't do so well in Europe and the U.S. They were expensive to produce necessitating a high retail price - again something not suitable for other markets.
From: Aaron Henderson
Unlike many electronic acts, DM and Recoil have never really gone along with the current "in thing" in electronic music. Is this a conscious effort to remain different or something that you haven't really thought about?
The interesting thing is that over the years, we just carried on producing music in our usual way and the band has moved in and out of fashion, depending on what's trendy at the time. It's always preferable to remain true to your ideals and maintain one's integrity rather than jump on the latest bandwagon.
Why wasn't 'Little 15' directed by Anton Corbjin and why it was originally only released in Germany?
It was released only in France and seemed like a good opportunity to try a different director.
From: Neil Kay
Who's idea was the slightly controversial "Telephone this number for your own Personal jesus" advert/taster for that particular song?
I can't remember. Not ours. Must have been some wag in the marketing department.
Were you surprised 'Enjoy The Silence' won the Brit award for Single Of The Year, voted by Radio 1 listeners and did you ever consider attending the ceremony to accept it?
Yes a little. We were all pretty like-minded about avoiding Industry-based award ceremonies. Best left to Sting and Elton.
Did it ever annoy you or the others that because of DM's 'bubblegum pop' beginnings, the serious UK press couldn't judge you on the records you were making at the time? I noticed that they always cited New Order as one of the '80s most important acts, whereas now, DM are getting the recognition they deserved for their body of work. Do you see any parallels between DM and New Order?
The comparison to New Order really only relates to us both being on independent labels, both coming across as slightly miserable and perhaps remaining fairly aloof. Musically, I don't think there was much similarity. As for the press, the attitude you speak of has only ever, and still does to an certain extent, seem to exist in the U.K. Perhaps this is due to the group's very early history being centred in the U.K., and lets face it, we were very naive in the early days.
Would you have played Live Aid if you were asked and were you surprised that you weren't invited?
I doubt very much that we would have accepted the invitation, had we been asked. My personal view is that giving to 'chariddy' should be a totally private gesture, out of which no personal gain should be made. Inevitably, nearly all the artists who took part in Live Aid achieved a considerable rise in record sales and being the cynic I am, I wonder just how much of the profit gained from those sales actually ended up going to Ethiopia.
Was there one DM single that you were particularly surprised / disappointed didn't do as well as you'd hoped?
I hoped that 'Walking' would do a bit better than it did.
From: Konstantin Pintchouk
In a recent interview, Martin said that he always felt, and still feels that Depeche Mode was not a commercial project but you evaluated Depeche Mode (in a couple of Q + A answers) as such. Was the commercial status of Depeche ever a controversial issue for you especially considering Martin's attitude?
I'm not saying in any way that 'commercial' is a dirty word but Depeche Mode has always obviously been a commercial venture amongst other things. Having hit records was, certainly when I was a member, important to the group. Martin's songs clearly work within the confines of a 'pop' format - verse / bridge / chorus / middle 8 etc.
From: Jason Seals
In the latest issue of 'Q', they list the 100 richest people in rock from the U. K. Why are you not listed when Dave is supposedly worth 5 million pounds, Fletch 10 million, and Martin 15 million? Roughly how much would you say you are worth?
There are thousands of other people they could (and should) have mentioned in their article which, as with every survey I've ever seen on rock stars and their wealth, was WILDLY off the mark. Some of the figures mentioned are laughable. They are based on massive assumptions and almost pure conjecture. I used to quite like 'Q' as a magazine but it's gone rapidly downhill over the last few years. As for my personal wealth - that's a private matter which I don't wish to disclose.
Few days ago i find in a news group tirrible message: "Martin die in a car crash last night on M25 Kent, UK" Then I find that it's not true. How often do you see messages about DM like this in news , radio, tv during DM days and now? I think it's silly and foolish make the rumours like this, however, they help in next tour make more money, isn't it?
I think the golden rule is not to believe anything you read on the internet, in the press or hear on the television unless it comes from an official source or directly from the artist themselves.
From: Neil Lindsay
I find it really annoying when I tell people that I'm into DM and
they reply " They were from the 80's". Why do you think the
British music press have not given credit for the success the group
From: Dominic Sotter
Do you remember doing 'Everything Counts' at Alton Towers whilst going up and down on moving platforms or did I dream this?
The only thing I remember doing at Alton Towers was 'Leave In Silence' - it was possibly the most embarrassing TV show ever.
From: Chris Watkins
Has the media always had trouble telling you apart from Fletch? In a recent article about DM, it stated that drummer Alan Fletcher left the band following a nervous breakdown, and Fletch is referred to as Ian Wilder.
I think it's a mixture of innocent mistakes from some publications and deliberate tactics from tabloid journalists - read my answer to Neil above to see what I mean. I'm not the sort of person that pushes myself forward and as the media tends to focus on the songwriter and / or vocalist in a band, it's not surprising that they don't know who I am. There's no excuse however. It just shows how little research some of these so-called journalists do.
Speaking of media inaccuracies, from listening to your point of view now, it seems that they blew your split with DM completely out of proportion. Given their penchant for sensationalising, do you believe all of Martin's or Fletch's printed descriptions of the break-up?
I recognise how easy it is to 'go with the flow' in an interview and say things you perhaps don't really mean. I also understand how journalists can either misunderstand or deliberately twist peoples words, so no, I don't take too much notice of everything that was said.
view part 2
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