Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan says solo projects stopped band’s split: “I didn’t want to make any more records”

"I remember thinking this is f***ing done!"

By Nick Reilly

Dave Gahan poses for a photo shoot
Dave Gahan (Picture: Spencer Ostrander)

Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan has said he originally embarked on a solo career to conquer creative boredom that could have resulted in the band’s split.

Announced last week, the rock icon is preparing to release ‘Imposter’, a new album with longtime collaborators and production duo Soulsavers which features unique takes on songs by the likes of PJ Harvey, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole and many more.

While it marks Gahan’s fifth effort away from the electro-pop pioneers, he explained that rough recording sessions on the band’s 2001 album ‘Exciter’ directly prompted him to begin work on ‘Paper Monsters’, his 2003 solo debut.

Without that first side project, Gahan explained, there is a fair chance that Depeche Mode would have called it a day.

“By doing these things, especially with the three Soulsavers records we’ve done, I keep motivated, interested and wanting more,” Gahan told Rolling Stone UK.

“Honestly, if I hadn’t done that, quite possibly after we finished recording Depeche Mode’s ‘Exciter’, if I hadn’t made ‘Paper Monsters’ after that, I don’t think I wanted to make any records with Depeche Mode at that point.”

Opening up on the disillusionment he felt during the album sessions, Gahan explained: “Recording that for me was one of the most miserable records. There was something about the sessions for me that were repetitive, dull and, unlike the title, not very exciting!

“That’s not to say we didn’t end up making what I think was actually a really great record, but I remember being in the control room singing and watching the room. Mark Bell [their late producer], was in the other room on the couch. Fletch [Andy Fletcher, keyboardist], was hunched over his laptop working on sounds pulled off the internet. Martin [Gore], was in the corner working on a keyboard part.

“I was just in the other room looking through the glass and I remember practicing a song I was gonna sing and thinking this is fucking done!

“How wrong was I! I think we’ve made some of our best records since then!”

Gahan’s latest album, meanwhile, saw him joining forces with Soulsavers’ Rich Machin and Iain Glover to record at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios at the end of 2019.

“These were the artists that had carried me throughout my life,” he said of the musicians he has reinterpreted on the record.

“Music is what I always come back to, listening to records is always what I come back to and find the most information about what’s going on around me and usually by the end of the day, about myself.

“We recorded it at the tail-end of 2019 out at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La which was fucking amazing! Ten musicians in a room together, we set up a live band and that’s how we recorded these songs.”

He added: “But I never felt in the recording that it was a collection of covers, I felt like we were all trying to perform these songs to the best we could and capture this atmosphere that sounded like it came from the same place.”

Dave Gahan & Soulsavers will release ‘Imposter’ on November 12 via Columbia.