1998-08-28 Punane RET Radio 2, Tallinn, Estonia
Less than a week before The Singles Tour had to be started in Tallinn, Estonian journalist Erik Morna went to London to meet the Depeche Mode members and record interviews with them (one of them being this video interview with Dave, and the other a print interview with Martin) for Estonian media. The following is an interview with Andy Fletcher for Radio 2. The audio file and its transcript have been circulating the web ever since.
- Duration: 02:05
Erik Morna: How do you feel about new tour begins next week?
Andrew Fletcher: I think this time we are very well prepared. Last time we finished the 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion' album and went straight on tour. It wasn't very happy tour, it was too long. This time we are taking things a bit gradually: we released 'Ultra', our last album, we didn't tour immediately after the album, so we now feel quiet, refreshed and ready to go. But I think we are also nervous, when you see us next week in Estonia and at other early gigs we will be very nervous. We will rely on the crowd, hope they will put us through. It takes normally 4-5 concerts to relax and calm down. We're doing a highly technical show and potentially a lot of things might go wrong. If something stops we have acoustic guitars :-)
EM: The first show - is it a good or bad show to see?
AF: There are some very nice things in seeing the very first show in Estonia - it's the best concert to go. It will be the first show when you will see real human face of the band, feel extra emotions coming out. You will definitely see technically better show in Helsinki, but in Tartu there will be more human elements involved.
EM: Last tour you had problems and even didn't finish it with the band. Why the troubles appear during touring?
AF: The problem with touring isn't the concerts, it's the rest of the stuff. Concert is the best thing, but it takes only 2 hours a day, so you have 22 hours to fill your day up - that's the problem. It's quite boring - troubles arrive.
EM: How do you plan to spend the time on upcoming tour?
AF: I think we've learnt a lot during our last tour. This time we will take tours on cities, we will try to keep fit, healthy, probably have a few parties. But it's not gonna be the same what was happening on the last tour.
EM: Upcoming tour is based on your new compilation 'The Singles 86>98'. Why did you decide to release it now?
AF: We had one before - 'Singles 81-85', we have tried to have another - stuff like 'Singles 86-91' or probably in year 1992 or 1993. The singles compilation could be released earlier, but after Live album '101' we didn't want it to be followed by greatest hits album - we thought it wouldn't be fair with respect to our fans. We were waiting and now it seems the first proper gap to release our best songs. We are very proud of these particular years of our career. I think it's our best work.
EM: I hope this won't mean the end of the band?
AF: Groups are having their Greatest hits released by different reasons. Such compilations usually come out when band already splited up. Our singles is a logical and I can say historical thing. I remember when the first ('Singles81-85') came out - I think it was historical as well. It's very unusual for groups to last for 17 years and still make a good music. We are surprised too, when we released 'Singles 81-85', we wouldn't believe we will have 'The Singles 86>98'. We never believed it.
EM: Do you have any plans for the next album already?
AF: The moment we take things very easily: we know this tour goes till Xmas. Probably we enjoy going to studio after tour is finished, enjoy making records. Sometimes I think we didn't have enough records released in the last 5-6 years. That's why we are in this business for - to create songs, record discs.
EM: Do you think that producer is a very important person in Depeche Mode?
AF: All our producers almost became a member of the band - Flood, Daniel Miller, Tim Simenon. We just like working with other people - it keeps your fresh, challenging, it makes things very competitive.
EM: What do you think about new tribute compilation 'For The Masses'?
AF: I like it. It's good because of lot of rock bands presented - it's quite unusual. It shows you that songs can sound good in that way. I think some of the versions are actually better that our own. I like Deftones 'To Have And To Hold', Gus Gus 'Monument - they've done definitely a better version, our version of 'Monument' was terrible - it was our second album and couldn't really get worth. I like The Smashing Pumpkins 'Never Let Me Down Again', Locust 'Master & Servant' - funny version.
EM: Anton Corbijn is working again with Depeche Mode?
AF: He designed the stage concept. He's done a lot of videos for the show - we will be showing them. Anton did videos for 7-8 songs. I think it's almost always a nice surprice when people come to the venue, when they see the stage for the first time. I don't want to reveal anything, I will only say that general idea is a cabaret review - it's less tech and more traditional. I think it will look different for Depeche Mode, but it's gonna be good and will be a surprice for fans.
EM: What do you expect from new countries you will be playing?
AF: I've been studying politics personally. I know a lot about Russia. We are very pleased to come to new places, seeing new cities - it's the best things about being in a band, travel around, when you can see a lot of lovely places. We look forward to get a warm receiption at early gigs, cause we will be nervous.
EM: How do you react when fans stop you at the streets?
AF: Depends on mood. Sometimes fans follow me, ask to sign things. Generally our fans are very polite: "Mister Fletcher, how are you?". I like that they are polite. But sometimes when I'm at my own, in the hotel for instance, - I don't like to be disturbed.
EM: What do you think about Internet and the band about information available there?
AF: Internet is sometimes very annoying. Pages owners say they know more, but people get so many different facts wrong. Fans do know a lot, if we had a Depeche Mode quiz, I'm absolutely sure they beat us in questions about records, mixes. I found Internet very frustrating, it takes hours, ages to get anywhere, most of the stuff you read isn't true. There are always some very ridiculous rumours - once I read in Internet that Martin had cancer and was dying. Martin even got worry about it and was thinking already about a visit to the doctor.
EM: Do you have any idols?
AF: Me and Martin - we never ran for autographs. We've never had too many idols - we had more in sports (football), than in music. When you're in music all the time, you meet many people, but you don't meet football players :-). It's just a way it goes.
EM: What kind of music you listen nowadays?
AF: These days I listen a lot to Depeche Mode. I'm sort of rehearsing. I've got CDs - a big set. It's good to listen to them when you're in shower (for instance), bath. It helps me to avoid mistakes on tour.
EM: Thank you for the interview.
AF: Thank you.