Summer 1980 Demo Tape

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The Summer 1980 Demo Tape.

Notes

These three demo tracks were recorded when Depeche Mode were known as "Composition Of Sound". An unreleased track, Radio News, is included on this demo tape. Lyrically, the other two songs are identical, though Dave sings "the ice machine, ice machine" twice during the end of Ice Machine, as he similarly does during early live shows until the end of the song. Andrew Fletcher surprisingly plays bass guitar during these tracks.

At least two early Composition Of Sound / Depeche Mode demo tapes existed in 1980:

The second demo tape was recorded at Lower Whopping Conker Company on Victoria Road in Romford, Essex during the summer of 1980 (Jonathan Miller erroneously states that the studio was called "Lower Wapping Conker Company" and that it was located in Barking). However, Dave Gahan says in this interview that he remembers it being recorded at Rockstar studios, owned by John Springate of The Glitter Band, which was on Tottenham Court Road in London. Vince Clarke and his friend Gary Smith were interviewed by Jonathan Miller in 2002:

Clarke: "I was the experienced one, because I'd been in a studio once before. From what I remember, we did four songs in the demo studio. But none of us knew what reverb was, so we couldn't work out why it didn't sound as good as the demo I'd done before, which did have reverb on, making everything sound great."

Smith: "They paid £50 for one tape at the studio and I was the only person with a tape-to-tape recording machine at home, so I made a copy for each of the band members, so there were originally five tapes in total. Talking to Fletch, he thinks they've all gone and seems to think mine is the last one. He hasn't heard it for years. Anyway, if you hear the demo, it's very... raw."

Martin Gore admitted in Sounds magazine, November 7th, 1981 issue, that he had his synth for a month and didn’t know he could change the sounds. “You know that sound that goes – WAUGH? I was stuck on that for ages. And when we made our first demo all the tracks have the same sounds on it.”

Dave will make his live debut with the band on June 14 at Nicholas School in Basildon, the fourth gig of Composition Of Sound.

Two copies of the second demo tape were sold in early 2011 for a few thousand GBP.

The first copy sold for somewhere above 2000 Euros and was bought by an international team of collectors from depmod.com.

Scan thanks to Depeche Mode Classic Photos and Videos (requires group membership)

The second copy was sold a few days afterwards by Terence Murphy, the original landlord of the Bridge House, which was the club that booked Depeche Mode in their early years. Terence proposed the band as the support act for Fad Gadget, the major act of Daniel Miller's record label Mute Records. The rest is history. The band performed their first concert at the Bridge House on September 24, 1980; therefore, Terence probably received the demo tape a few days prior. Terence's tape is an older copy, and was originally labeled "Composition Of Sound", with "Depeche Mode" later written on the label. In fact, it is likely by this date that the band was called "Depeche Mode", and they were mistakenly advertised as "Depache Mode" (see right photo), perhaps because this was the first time anybody had heard the name.

The band will play their second concert at the Bridge House on October 16, 1980.

The first three photographs in the "Photos" folder are of the tape purchased by Svenner and his friends and is the source of this torrent's audio. The fourth picture is the tape sold by Terence Murphy, and has "Depeche Mode" written in ink on the tape's label and inlay. The fifth photo is a scan of an early live set list provided by Daryl Bamonte, which lists "Radio News". That song was played live at least 4 times between June and October 1980.

In the second photo, the real name of Vince Clarke, "Vince John Martin", is listed with a phone number. Vince was out of work and receiving unemployment benefits in 1980 and adopted this pseudonym in fear that with the first newspaper articles about Depeche Mode, he would lose those benefits. A friend of Dave Gahan, Paul Valentine, proposed to Vince the pseudonym of Dick Clarke (from the 1950-1960 US TV host Dick Clark). Vince decided to keep the last name only.

Thanks to Fabien (Stumm101) for providing much of this info.

Furthermore, the winner of the second demo tape anonymously contributed his story to Home:

A poor scan of the "Composition Of Sound" labelled tape, with "Depeche Mode" written below. This was the tape sold by Terence Murphy.

Meeting with Terry Murphy

London, May 13, 2011

Meeting Terry Murphy was an once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Since it was such an extraordinary event Pete suggested that we all meet up with Terry as I arrive in London for Short Circuit Festival. “So you get to meet Terry and hear all about Bridgehouse and early Depeche Mode”. It was a Sunday evening when Pete spoke to me to tell me exactly what i had won and my heart started pounding like never before. I was nervous.

The following 5 days went by with my mind full of thoughts. Who is Terry Murphy? What sort of person is he? With the help of Pete’s description as well as “Insight”, an interview piece Pete did with Terry in 2006 for the Home website I got to know that he is an ex-boxer who started his career at the age of 13 in Repton Boxing Club. He won two London titles, making the first ever appearance on the Independent Television in the UK. Also he is a man who brought Composition of Sound, a Depeche Mode embryo, into the public light, eventually leading Daniel Miller to meet the boys for a single deal. An ex-boxer and original discoverer of Depeche Mode; it was a unique combination I had never heard of before.

So came the day, Friday the 13th (of May). The meeting would take place at 13:00 at Petes Hotel in Kings Cross. I arrived in London Heathrow airport at 09:35. Thinking that I would make it to the hotel well on time I took underground to central London.

Terry was bringing one of his sons, Glen Murphy. He is also an ex-boxer, a nation-famous actor, and the owner of an M. B. E. award for his charity work. “It would be such an honour to receive an autograph of him”, I thought. So I went to HMV in Oxford Street to buy a copy of “Fathers of Girls”, a film featuring Glen Murphy and Ray Winstone. Now time was passing quickly. By the time I was finished with shopping it was already past 12:10. “God, what if I would come late for the meet-up and everyone else is waiting? The deal might well be off right there!” So I ran to Oxford Street station to take another train and hurried to my hotel. Fortunately Travelodge was only 10 minutes walk from mine.

I arrived at the Hotel at 12:50. About 20 meters to the hotel I stopped and took a big breath. “The moment of truth is finally here, don’t mess this up!” I told myself.

First came Pete from the hotel entrance and greeted me. Also present was Amanda, his girlfriend. We sat in a corner near the entrance and had a nice chat about Depeche Mode and early happenings with the band. He also explained that Glen was coming with Terry because Terry was cautious of being in London with a pocket full of cash, bad things happen in London so Pete told me, so he needed a bodyguard!! Having been told of the notorious environment of Repton Boxing Club, my picture of Terry was fixed: a body builder-like athlete full of muscles and scars!

After maybe 40-50 minutes of waiting a taxi stopped by outside the entrance and two men in suits got out. Pete rose from his chair instantly to go and greet them. I felt that my heart was beating faster and louder.

Some seconds later they entered the hotel lobby and met me. To be honest I do not remember whom I shook hands with first. But I clearly remember Glen reaching out his hand and said “hello” in my language (mind you English speaking folks, English is not my 1st language)which was a nice touch. Since that moment the nervousness that I had felt since last Sunday vanished. My picture of Terry being an ex-boxer from “notorious” Repton Boxing Club was gone for good, he was a gentleman, as was Glen. Terry and Glen looked extremely relaxed and friendly, treating me with such respect and affection. We walked past the lobby to find a quiet spot at the back of the floor. All of us sat by a table with Terry on my left and Glen in front and Pete and Amanda on my right. The much awaited meeting began.

It was nothing but brilliant and unforgettable. The feeling was fantastic throughout the whole time we sat together. Terry enthusiastically talked about different groups that they had booked at the Bridge in minute detail. Glen and Pete talked about TV programs they used to work in/watch. Amanda went off to the bar and brought us drinks. Amanda and Pete were both starstruck at meeting Glen as he is a famous actor and appeared in a long running show "Londons Burning" so they took as many pictures of Glen as i took of Terry.

Much of the conversation was based on a series of pictures that Terry had brought along. They were from the Bridgehouse period (= late 70’s and early 80’s), including an unseen picture of Depeche Mode with Terry from 1982. Interestingly enough it featured Dave, Martin, and Alan in the centre. Another one was Glen on stage impersonating Elvis Presley, brilliantly capturing the spirit of 70’s rock ‘n’ roll.

Here are the bits and pieces mentioned by Terry (big thanks to Pete for refreshing my memories & apologies if they are not serving 100% correctly):

  1. Stevo from Some Bizarre Records was given a DJ slot by Terry. He used the same studio that Terry was using, and Terry thinks Stevo used Terry’s name to get the studio booked. Stevo was unknown at that time. So he used (stole) Terry’s name to book the studio and eventually starting his early career as a label manager (Terry did not look so pleased when he told this).
  2. There are no soundboard recordings of Depeche Mode available from The Bridge as they all took place on the new stage. All the old gigs (pre 1980) happened on the old stage and were recorded off the desk. One of the recorded is a show by Iron Maiden from 1977. The tape was sold for £25,000.
  3. One of the shows that Depeche Mode did is a secret gig in February 1982. It was announced by the name of “Modepeche” to avoid too much publicity. The show was a total success, attracting more than 1,000 people in the end. Some of them could not even get into the venue. They had to open all the doors so that the fans outside could hear the music.

After maybe an hour long talk Terry made a gesture of getting down to business, indicating that it was time to hand over the tape to the new owner. He took the tape out from a pocket of his suit. It was as if he was opening the arc of covenant. A few seconds later the demo tape of Composition of Sound was lying on the table in front of me. The very piece of history that gave the Basildon boys not only their first ever gigs in London but also a meeting with Daniel Miller.

After the handing of the tape it was time for photo shoot. Pete took pictures of the demo tape, and all of us took pictures with Terry and Glen in turn. One of them is a funny one where I pretend that I’m trying to steal the tape from him. It gave a good laugh to all of us. By this time I was so relaxed with everybody’s presence and the atmosphere was nothing but friendly. I really hoped the meeting would last longer…

So came the time for ending. We hugged each other to wish us good luck. Even though it was brief the time I spent with Terry and Glen (not to mention Pete and Amanda) was precious and it will remain one of the highlights in my life. I intend to custom-order a frame to fit both the tape and a Certificate of Authenticity that Terry provided.

Once again my huge thanks to Terry and Glen for coming down to meet me in person. It was such a pleasure to meet sweet gentlemen like you both. Also a big thank-you goes to Pete for arranging this meet-up as well as giving me the opportunity of acquiring the tape. You have my word that the tape will be well preserved and well taken care of.

For those few friends who know me, I ask you again to respect my wish of being anonymous. I have no interest in going public on this event. My intention of writing this is purely to share my experience and the feeling of joy I felt with you fans.

Track list

An early set list and synth set-up sheet (unknown date), provided by Daryl Bamonte, which lists Radio News, among other early live-only songs.
  1. [3:42] Ice Machine
  2. [3:37] Radio News
  3. [3:21] Photographic
  • Total time: 10:39

Stream

Lineage

  • Tape Copying Service copy, marked as "Dépèche Mode" -> raw transfer done by Svenner (16-bit / 48 kHz), unknown equipment -> FLAC -> rework by Vince Dome (track fades, pops & clicks removed, tracks split) -> notch filter @ 15614hz (45 Q value) to remove ringing noise, normalized to -1.0dB and any DC offset removed, converted to mono using Audacity 2.0.2 -> resampled to 44.1kHz using foobar2000 v1.1.15 with Resampler (PPHS), Ultra mode -> FLAC level 8

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