MG sees Depeche man Martin Gore in solo mode
Martin Gore is a founding member of Depeche Mode. With his new solo album, the all-instrumental MG, out now, he chats about working a lot, working alone and working towards a new sound
YOU'RE HAVING A DAY AT HOME TODAY?
Yes, I'm in Santa Barbara, and I will likely be going to the studio later.
OK, definitely. I go to my studio every day. Every single day.
EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE JUST FINISHED AN ALBUM?
Yes. Maybe there's a bit of a workaholic in me, though I'm not going in to really work as such, I'm more playing around. And while I'm playing around I might come up with something, an idea that I go on to use.
IS IT YOUR EQUIVALENT OF HAVING AN ALLOTMENT OR A SHED?
I suppose it is, really.
DO YOU HAVE ANY AIM AT ALL WHEN YOU GO INTO THE STUDIO?
I don't at the moment, but I'm starting to get to the point where I want to write some songs again. I haven't written anything in a while.
YOU MUST HAVE LOADS OF MUSIC RECORDED?
I don't, actually. I'm a very good editor and I bin most of what I make. I don't have vaults and vaults of music sitting there. I know what happens to people like Bob Marley when they die, and unfinished songs are released forever. If I'm working on something and I think it's no good, it gets destroyed very carefully.
WHEN DID YOU WRITE YOUR NEW ALBUM, MG?
I wrote a few instrumentals during the process of making the last Depeche Mode album. And we ended up not using them because we had way too many songs. These days Dave [Gahan] and I write songs for Depeche Mode, so we had a huge amount of material. I thought it would be a good idea to carry on writing instrumentals with the goal of writing a whole album. But then Depeche Mode went on tour, and we finished last March, so I got cracking again after that and carried on writing instrumentals.
DID YOU THINK YOU'D MAKE A SOLO ALBUM?
I made one before with Vince Clarke when we had a break in Depeche Mode albums, and I was keen to do something again. I like the idea of MG being an album in the truest sense, and I really wanted to get involved in the artwork and everything to do with it. I want to think of it as a piece of art, and I love the resurgence in vinyl, which lends itself to that idea too, that it's a piece of art.
WERE YOU INSPIRED BY ANY INSTRUMENTAL ALBUMS YOURSELF?
I don't normally do that, you know, get another album in my head that I want to sound like or be inspired by. I know people do that, but it's not the way I work. There are of course instrumental electronic albums that I love, the pinnacle being the two Selected Ambient Works albums by Aphex Twin – those for me were just so influential. Not that my new album is anything like those. I've been getting into sci-fi soundtracks, too, after showing my 12-year-old son Blade Runner for the first time and I think some of the album has a sci-fi feel to it. That's probably just in the instrumentation.
DO YOU ENJOY WORKING ON YOUR OWN?
It's something that I've done for a long time, even when I write for the band. It's only when we decide on when we're recording that I work with other people. And I probably enjoy that more, the recording with the band and a producer, but I've always seen songwriting as a solitary thing. I want to do it alone.
WILL YOU TOUR THIS ALBUM?
I just don't see how I could, really. I don't think I will. Maybe I could get some great film together to make a visual extravaganza but otherwise I don't see it working.
IS THAT GOOD, TOO? DOING SOMETHING SMALLER SCALE THAN DEPECHE MODE?
Yes, definitely. I don't have great expectations for this album. When you make an experimental electronic album, you know you're not going to sell millions of copies and set the charts alight. I like the album, and I am really looking forward to it being released. Maybe there'll be a small percentage of Depeche Mode fans who will appreciate it, and maybe there'll be a few people who aren't our fans who'll appreciate it too.