Philippe Grélard (AFP)
Paris, France ●
Sun 12 December 2021
Dave Gahan, the revered singer of electronics pioneers Depeche Mode, says he found new vigor as he immersed himself in an unlikely set of covers for his other band’s new album “Imposter.”
Singing with the band Soulsavers, he tackles a varied set, mixing classics from Nat King Cole and Elvis with more eclectic choices such as Frank Ocean or Cat Power.
He even takes on one of the most outrageously talented singers, Jeff Buckley.
“You have to take risks if you want to change,” he said AFP visiting Paris.
“What this record has done for me, the process of recording it, is to realize how amazing it is where I am – the opportunities that I have around me if I just take the risk of them. explore, ”he said.
“These songs once again gave me new vigor to step into a character that seemed familiar to me.”
But even someone as successful as Gahan experiences impostor syndrome.
He may have starred in Depeche Mode, but the songs, until recent years, were all the work of instrumentalist Martin Gore.
“We all feel like impostors from time to time,” Gahan said.
“Even before I made music, when I was a teenager, I was looking for something to be part of, to disappear, to be accepted. It’s part of life for all of us.”
Gahan has found a second home with Soulsavers, a rotating group of musicians passionate about rock blues and gospel.
Now on their third album together, the band’s sound matches Gahan and his rock history well.
At 60 the next year, he experienced a severe addiction and survived multiple overdoses, a heart attack on stage and even a suicide attempt.
“There are behaviors that you think are solutions to how you’re feeling, but that’s not real – drugs, alcohol, love, whatever,” Gahan said.
“But music is the one constant thing in my life that has reminded me that it’s something that really matters to me.
“Soulsavers, over the last 20 years, has developed a sound, an atmosphere that I’m very aware of and fit in very well with that atmosphere. I can do my best performances there,” Gahan said.
Led by Rich Machin, Soulsavers recorded their new album before the pandemic in Malibu at the Shangri-La studio of Mixer Wizard Rick Rubin.
But they weren’t just here for the sun: Rubin produced Johnny Cash’s beloved cover album “American Recordings,” which features the Depeche Mode classic “Personal Jesus.”
“A lost art”
Machin and Gahan speak with childish joy about the live recording experience.
“It’s kind of a lost art – performance,” Gahan said.
“I try to hang on to it because the most important part of what you do is capture a performance.
“With my experience, with 40 years of music, I knew we had captured something special.”
The fear was that the events of the past 18 months had destroyed the magic captured in the studio.
“We weren’t in a room together for two years,” Machin said.
“The chemistry can change, and it’s been a pretty weird time, so you come back to it with deep anxiety, but within 24 hours of getting back together you realize it’s still awesome.
“These two years – it’s like it never happened.”