Programming for Depeche Mode – Interview with Christoffer Berg
Teenage Engineering: How did you get involved in the album process?
Christoffer Berg: I got involved at the end of January 2012. I was asked if I would be interested. In February I went to London to meet Ben Hillier and Daniel Miller to listen to some demos and just meet them. In March I went to the first recording session in Santa Barbara.
TE: How come they first approached you?
CB: I think the way it happened was that Ferg Peterkin, who was the engineer on the record, was in the studio where I have a production room, Svenska Grammofon Studion in Gothenburg. He was recording an album with a band called Foals, and him and Luke Smith, who was the programmer on the previous record, had brought their modulars along.
I asked if I could have a go at the equipment and do some experiments with it. They invited me to come in whenever I wanted to, so I recorded some stuff on a mobile setup that I brought to their room. After this I was kind of invited to send a resume and submit some demos.
There was quite a substantial list of experience required to even submit a demo. You had to have expertise in several modern day sequencers and also be able to synchronize these with old analog stuff. But at the time when I started making electronic music music, I had to use sync boxes and a four track portastudio. So when I looked through the list I thought to my self “I can do this”, and “if I get this job I’m gonna kill it”.
TE: What was the actual position offered?
CB: It was as the programmer. My technical responsibility would be to keep different systems synchronized, and also to program beats, make sounds, basslines or whatever.
TE: So, during a days work, what equipment would you use?
CB: Oh, my god… Wow, we had a huge Eurorack modular with somewhere around 700 – 800 modules. During the recording process Martin (Gore) also got a dotcom modular, which I really fell in love with. We had ARP 2600’s. Martin has a rack which has three 2600’s in one rack, with custom MIDI interface for them. That was insane! One favorite of mine came to be the ‘Gleeman Pentaphonic’, a kind of rare early digital analog hybrid synth, which looks really cool and has a very special sound. It’s almost impossible to list every thing and almost easier to list the stuff we didn’t have.
Read the whole interview here