2007

After having released Liquid Alan announced that he would release another album quite soon. But it took until 25 June 2007 before the single Prey was released, followed by the album SubHuman on 9 July, for which he won the IGN-Award (best electronic album).
The media was astonished by the long break, so almost every interview would start with the question as to why Alan had been away for such a long time. His answers varied from that he wanted to spend more time with his family to "I did make some feeble attempts to write music on a few occasions but didn't posses the will to battle through - which I took as a sign that I needed a longer break"[1] and ended with explanations that he had been a bit frustrated about having put so much work into Liquid, but people had difficulties finding the albums in the shops. "I know that times are changing, as well as the way to buy and sell music. Today I'm aware of it. Nevertheless I was frustrated by it seven years ago because we got good feedback, everything went fine - and then people weren't able to buy the record in the shops. For a musician this is really frustrating."[2]
There were also interviews in which he - between the lines or directly - admitted that he hadn't done much during that time, until his wife had had enough of all this hanging around, drinking, watching sports, doing nothing ..., and "encouraged" him to go back into the studio. He realised then that he was more pleasant when he was creative. After a technical update in his studio, he started to work on SubHuman.



Alan and Hepzibah

(with friendly permission of © Jan Kruml - fotokruml.cz)



Alan: "I had no real idea where the album was headed when I started. I simply started working.[3] It soon became clear that the basic of the album was blues, an interesting mix of electronic and swampblues. Therefore, I was looking for an intensive, authentic blues singer."[4]
He found Joe Richardson (a white blues singer from New Orleans) via the Internet and started to work with him. He sent him some music to which Joe worked out some lyrics and then finally, they met in Texas.
Alan: "I think one of the most exciting moments was going over to Texas to record with Joe. He's such a fantastic musician anyway. He was able to give me even more than I expected because he's also a great guitarist and harmonica player and has a wonderful voice. We recorded in a very very special sort of semi-commercial studio, it's really open to only friends, really, with a guy who had massive of old vintage equipment. There were moments then when I thought: 'This is what Recoil is all about.' The mixture of musicians from completely different areas coming together to make something modern and new in an interesting way, you know. It was great."[5]
After this recording session, Alan was looking for a second voice to bring in a balance to Joe's very distinctive voice. It took some time before he found Carla Tresvaskis.

Finally, the title was found - SubHuman, which led to some speculations whether it might be a "political" album.
Alan: "I do not have some great political message to bring to the world - the SubHuman concept is much more to do with human nature. The title is designed to be slightly provocative but not directed towards any specific group - it can also apply to racism and homophobia, class or politics and so on. It represents a repeating pattern of human behaviour where subordination occurs in a seemingly endless cycle, often with tragic consequences, and where people are rendered as worthless. The artwork design came from Jesse Holborn who came up with various ideas and I was attracted to the mannequins, shown in everyday situations to represent recyclable life-forms."[6]



While I never got any answer according to the question if I might stream excerpts of Depeche-Mode-songs on this website, Alan kindly granted me to do so with Recoil-songs.
So here is an excerpt of Intruders:

(with friendly permission of © Recoil / Alan Wilder)



In 2007 Alan also collaborated in the re-releases of old DM albums. "I don't think that any other band member would have had the time or the interest to get involved with this project. I'm interested in everything that has to do with records, recordings or production. But the main reason why I was asked was: I had all the rare sounds." (laughs) "But the aim wasn't to produce radical new mixes of the old songs. I was involved only sporadically, just listened to the songs, saying 'yes', 'no', 'yes' ..."[7]
He also provided some of his private film-material for the re-released documentary. While he didn't really like the commentaries (I can see why: they tend to brighten things up. They don't lie! They understate things in a way the band members wish they had happened) he enjoyed the short films nevertheless.
Dave: "It's something we started years and years ago, like twenty years ago. It's kind of interesting because you get to give your music that you've finished to somebody else to mess around with and put their own input into it. Yeah, it's something we've always done. It's become a part of what we do."[8]

Speaking of Dave - on 8 October he released his solo-single Kingdom / Tomorrow, followed by the album Hourglass on 22 October.
Again, he had worked together with Andrew Phillpott, who belongs to the DM-Team, and Christian Eigner, the live-drummer of the band.
The album was some kind of "accident" or "occupational therapy" because after the end of Touring the Angel Dave didn't know what to do with so much free time. "I went home and tried to get back in the swing of things. It's always quite difficult after a tour - you're kind of waiting for somebody to put a note under your door with what it is you've got to do that day." (laughs) "You create new obsessions, like how to load the dishwasher correctly and stuff like that.[9] All the big fights with my wife start with the dishwasher. It shows you how it's supposed to be loaded: knives and forks go pointed-end downwards. You get more in if you put everything where it's supposed to go. If Jen goes out of the room and I get the chance before it goes on, I will fiddle with it.[10] It's like you get locked into this type of personality that functions pretty well in the performance mode, but is not what you want to take home. It's like, 'I want it all, I want it now, I'm going to take it whenever I want it, and I don't really care what you think about it.'" He also admitted that he, "still can be the kind of person that's like, 'F*** it! You know what? This ain't working, it's over.' I jump straight to that rather than, 'Let's talk about this.' It's very childish. My wife often says to me, 'God, you're like Jimmy! You're acting like a teenager!' And I'll stomp around the room saying, 'So what?!' But it doesn't work."[11]
After he had annoyed his family for about a month, as he said, "it was suggested to me to do some work, so I called up Christian and Andrew and we planned to get together and do some writing."[12]



Dave

(with friendly permission of © Adrianna -
Here Dave signs the picture you can see in the chapter 1990)



The first song they worked on was Saw Something.
Dave: "The lyrics are about sitting, waiting for something to come - protection of some kind, or some kind of answer. What I've come to learn is that you've got to go find it, take some action. I prefer to sit and wait, but it just doesn't work. It sounds kind weird, but I do believe in that sort of divine intervention, if you allow it. If you allow life to happen, not try to push it in the direction you think it's supposed to go in - which is what I spend a lot of time doing - then really amazing things happen, things that you didn't expect. But you've got to take some action."[13]
Otherwise there wasn't any concept at first. "When we started, we had a few musical ideas, but nothing song-like in any way. We really wrote as we went along. After two weeks, we looked around and realized we weren't just demoing, so we thought, 'Why don't we just make a record?'[14] We decided to produce it ourselves, which was a lot more work than we thought. But it turned out to be a great learning experience."[15] Nevertheless, they finished the recording process in a speedy eight weeks.
And not Saw Something became the first single but Kingdom.
Dave: "It's this idea that there's a better place, and it's not up there in the clouds, it's right here. And it's about becoming more accepting of life and the way it is. I would be lying if I said the world didn't affect me. I have children and I want to protect them; and sometimes I don't really have the ability to do that."[16]

After Paper Monsters had been a very personal album one could suspect that Hourglass also contains autobiographical elements.
Dave: "I'm becoming more accepting of the fact that I'm getting a little older. It always seems to be a theme in my life that I'm racing against time. I'm a 25-year-old in a 45-year-old man's body. I wrote about those themes more, like, this is who I am and these are my frustrations.[17] My inspiration comes from the life that I have around me - you know, being part of a family and desperately trying to do better at that" (laughs) "and falling flat on my face most of the time. And New York is a great place to feel inspired all the time. I quite often spend time walking around being among people here.[18] My little studio is on one of the busiest streets in the city so you get the flavour of New York all day and all night long: On the track called Endless, you can hear the street in the background. At one point you'll hear the 'woop' of a cop car. But we just left it."[19]
So maybe he used it as some kind of therapy?
Dave: "Well, I'm not in therapy - I actually now have a run-of-the-mill psychiatrist. I've moved away from the 'be gentle with yourself' kind to, like, getting down to the nitty-gritty. I actually find it a lot more ordered. With a psychiatrist, it's more like, 'So, what do you think that means, David?' That kind of stuff. 'I don't know, I'm paying you to tell me what it f***ing means!'"[20]
On 14 January 2008 the single Saw Something / Deeper And Deeper / Love Will Leave was released. Dave decided not to tour because on 5 May, DM started to record SOTU.






References:
[1] Article on Shout!, 7 July 2007. Words: Alex Davie
[2] "Youtube ist einfach klasse", laut.de, 2007. Words: Michael Schuh
[3] "Youtube ist einfach klasse", laut.de, 2007. Words: Michael Schuh
[4] Article on Hurricanebar, 23 May 2007. Words: Christina Mohr
[5] "Recoil in Bucharest - Interview with Alan Wilder", depechemode.ro, 2010. Words: Otiliei Haraga
[6] Article on Shout!, 7 July 2007. Words: Alex Davie
[7] "Youtube ist einfach klasse", laut.de, 2007. Words: Michael Schuh
[8] Depeche Mode conclude reissue series with Ultra and Exciter, ArtisanNewsService, 30 July 2007. Words: Uncredited.
[9] Article in Prefix, 25 March 2008, Words: Jen Zipf
[10] "This much I know", Guardian, 28 October 2007. Words: Johnny Davis
[11] I don't want to lose what I have, Scotsman, 29 September 2007. Words: Paul Lester.
[12] Article in Prefix, 25 March 2008, Words: Jen Zipf
[13] Article on Shout!, 28 January 2008. Words: Alex Davie
[14] "Gahan Digs 'Deeper' On Second Solo Album", Billboard.com, 2007. Words: uncredited
[15] Article on NME.com, 6 September 2006. Words: uncredited
[16] Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan Returns With 'Hourglass,' Starpulse, 11 October 2007. Words: Uncredited.
[17] "Gahan Digs 'Deeper' On Second Solo Album", Billboard.com, 2007. Words: uncredited
[18] Article in Prefix, 25 March 2008, Words: Jen Zipf
[19] Article on NME.com, 6 September 2006. Words: uncredited
[20] I don't want to lose what I have, Scotsman, 29 September 2007. Words: Paul Lester.



Biography: 2008

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