SPEAK & SPELL’s place in the DEPECHE MODE fan community has been to authentically keep within the concert consciousness, many of the songs that the real DEPECHE MODE either no longer play in their live set, or now ruin with the unnecessary rockisms of drumhead Christian Eigner!
The Electricity Club recently interviewed to Alan Wilder for the 25th Anniversary of the DEPECHE MODE live album ‘101’. So at the TEC003 event where the band will play the ‘Speak & Spell’ album in full, as a bonus to ticket holders in celebration of that release, there will be a free aftershow party featuring an additional set from SPEAK & SPELL. This will feature songs played at the original Pasadena Rose Bowl concert, with plans for the occasion to be bolstered by special guest vocalists for a truly unique occasion.
Having already chatted to singer Paul Wood about Being Dave Gahan and the rest of the band, Keith Trigwell, Joe Beamont and Simon Forsyth about the ‘Speak & Spell’ album, The Electricity Club spoke again to SPEAK & SPELL about the ‘101’ aftershow celebration with the challenge of doing two live sets in one evening without some acknowledged DM standards…
Keith: It’s going to be highlights because of time constraints, and we’re keeping the tempo up. We are looking at tracks at the moment and working out what we can do. We have literally every sound from this era, it’s actually just a question of how much time we have… see what I nearly did there? 😉
Simon: Sorry about the pun it should be better on the night…
Joe: … it should be better with you, Simon.
It’s going to be quite interesting to do a SPEAK & SPELL set without ‘Enjoy The Silence’ or ‘Personal Jesus’?
Keith: It is. These are standards for us so we are going to have to pull a miracle or two out of the bag to make up for it. We’ve got to do something special and never done before but we have a few ideas about that.
Simon: Oh yes, this will be a VERY memorable show for everybody
What would you say to people who think that as a DEPECHE MODE tribute band, you should be using the same equipment as them?
Keith: In an ideal world we would use the exact live gear. We own a lot of it already and can program it. But we would also have to carry replacements to use it live, move it all around Europe and maintain it. The commercial realities just won’t allow it. Heavy, bulky, older gear introduces logistics costs and delays in transport plus a higher risk of failure. Promoters don’t want those higher costs, or a higher than necessary risk of failure and we can’t ask for enough to insure the risk of a cancelled gig.
Also we cover decades of DEPECHE MODE’s career and their gear changed a lot in that time. So to use the same gear would mean having 7 or 8 keyboards each on stage with some costing £3,000 each. DM used to double up on Emulator IIs at £10,000 each. Given a choice even at the time, DM wouldn’t have done it the way despite their budget and they don’t do it that way now. They use Macs like us.There are better ways to get close to the original experience.
Simon: Quite. We love and indeed collect a lot of the instruments Mode have used over the years, but to take them out on the road is just too impractical and very risky. At the end of the day, the show must go on and it has a much greater chance of happening with Mainstage than with a 30 year old Emulator II.
Joe: If someone wants to stump up the multiple tens of thousands of pounds for the original gear, the spares, the logistics I’m sure we’d give it a go. Then switch back to Mainstage when it all inevitably fell apart. There’s a reason Mode don’t use original synths on stage today. I’m sure a lot of TEC’s readers will have seen the recent YouTube video of JEAN MICHEL JARRE’s Memorymoog completely letting go on stage.
Keith: Yes. They are strictly 1986/87 but DM used replacement drum triggers for the ‘Music For The Masses’ tour, but we aren’t a copycat act anyway. It’s the sentiment we’re interested in. We may bring some other stage toys as well.
Joe: We try to have talismans, little audio or visual cues to remind people of various parts of DM’s long and venerable live and studio legacy. The spook-as are a part of that and I’d imagine you’ll see them at TEC003. Plus they’re bloody good fun to play.
What has been your highlight playing with Speak & Spell?
Keith: ‘Halo’ with MICHAL MATEJCIK; a talented musician of phenomenal ability and the last minute was the pair of us… it was just a joy.
Simon: Ditto. It was a real treat to work with such a modest but professional musician.
Joe: Same here. Who wouldn’t love playing with a real harpist? Especially one so lovely 🙂
SPEAK & SPELL discuss their instrumentation further at:
SPEAK & SPELL perform the ‘Speak & Spell’ album live in full on SATURDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2014 at TEC003. There will also be a special aftershow featuring highlights from the ‘101’ live album. The event which additionally features VILE ELECTRODES and special guest DJ SARAH BLACKWOOD takes place at Hertford Corn Exchange, 39 Fore Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1AL
Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
B/W Live Photos by Chris Fraude, other photos by The Electricity Club
2nd July 2014