Q&A: Dave Gahan, Depeche Mode and Soulsavers

Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan. Picture: PADepeche Mode's Dave Gahan. Picture: PA
Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan. Picture: PA
Dave Gahan, 53, is best known for being the frontman of Depeche Mode since they formed in 1980. He’s also released a handful of solo albums, as well as collaborations with Soulsavers, the most-recent of which is, Angels & Ghosts, released on Friday, October 23

You’ve lived in New York for a long time now. How’s that?

Yes, almost 20 years. Sometimes I don’t know why I stay here, it’s a really mad city to live in, but there’s something about it I love. I spend a lot of time away, but it’s home now. But after a couple of months in the summer, when it’s 90-odd degrees and 75 per cent humidity, I’m itching to get away again. It’s an inspiring place to be though, never a dull day.

You said 20 years is a long time. You’ve been in Depeche Mode for 35...

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Yes, that is an eternity. Someone will send me a photograph of me in the 80s, invariably wearing some stupid stage costume, and I don’t even remember it. I don’t know who that person is any more.

What’s it like having your whole adult life documented?

It’s odd being constantly reminded of your past, but sometimes that’s all there is, memories. That’s all we have. And a lot of the time I’d rather not have those memories emailed to me. A lot of these years, due to my own drug use [Gahan is a recovering heroin addict], I don’t remember. I can look at a picture and think ‘Where? France?’, but I have the perfect excuse for not remembering.

You have a new album with Soulsavers out on Friday. Had you always planned for a second record?

We never really stopped writing after the first (The Light The Dead See was released in 2012). Ideas were still flying around at the end of that, and we had a lot of other ideas that we were knocking around. Around that time I had just finished Delta Machine with Depeche Mode, so Soulsavers was put on hold a bit, and Rich Machin was aware of my other commitments. We’d been very upfront about tour expectations and things. But here we are again, and we’ve got a 10-piece band and we’re doing shows.

What are the practicalities fo being in a super successful band like Depeche Mode and then a smaller outfit like Soulsavers?

Well it’s great because I have made money, and we don’t need to go to a record label before making an album. I can get money out of the bank and say, ‘We’re using this’ and we’ll pay for it that way then go to a record label when we’ve finished, so there’s no interfering. It’s great.

Can we hope for a new Depeche Mode record?

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I saw Martin [Gore] recently and we talked about it, and we’ll likely get together at the end of the year and start planning, and making another record. But he put out a solo record this summer, and we’re able to go off and do our own thing. Depeche Mode albums are a long process, so when we begin to talk about it, you know it’s going to go on for a long time. That’ll be the next four years of our lives. For now, I am excited about Soulsavers and the brilliant record we’ve made. It’s just as important to me as anything I’ve done with Depeche Mode.

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