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Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan Talks Difficulties of Recording New ‘Spirit’ LP

Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images
Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images

Bands don’t hang around as long as Depeche Mode has without having some intense disagreements — and learning how to move on after the fighting’s done. According to lead singer Dave Gahan, the sessions for the group’s new Spirit LP were no different, and the music’s all the better for it.

Speaking with NPR, Gahan was questioned about stories that he and multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore “really had it out” during the Spirit sessions. While arguing that those incidents had “gotten exaggerated” in the retelling, Gahan offered some mature perspective on how musical partners successfully co-exist even when they’re not, as he put it, “bosom buddies” with one another.

“It gets like that sometimes in the studio. A certain amount of tension, I actually believe, is very important when you’re working on music,” said Gahan. “Of course, in the end we hugged it out and told each other how much we loved each other.”

As Gahan sees it, the easiest albums to make aren’t necessarily the strongest creatively. Calling Spirit “quite a special album,” he argued for conflict as a sort of crucible for forging the songs — which then take on a new life as the band brings them to fans.

“The good ones, they take a bit of work and they take a bit of diplomacy. And at the end of the day, you walk away and it’s like, ‘OK, what happened there?’ I don’t really start to really understand what happened on the record until we start performing,” mused Gahan. “When we start performing certain songs that we recorded together in the studio, they start making a lot more sense to me. They take on a different life when the fans are there and the audience is there and they’re participating in what is a concert and is kind of a spiritual event.”

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