Release Music Magazine has an interview out with the programmer behind Depeche Mode’s latest album:
Swedish musician, producer, mixer and programmer Christoffer Berg, 31, had already made a name for himself on the electronic music scene because of his involvement with The Knife and Fever Ray. The rumour about his skills finally reached the Depeche Mode management and, all of a sudden, Daniel Miller was on the phone… Peter Marchione talked to Mr Berg in Gothenburg – his and Release’s hometown – and Fredrik “Schlatta” Svensson took some photos in Svenska Grammofonstudion.
Coast to coast
During the past year Christoffer Berg was hired full time to manage the programming on the latest Depeche Mode full length release “Delta Machine”. A massive production that took place in two different cities, one on each coast in the US where Martin Gore and David Gahan reside these days: Santa Barbara and New York.
When searching for information regarding Berg’s background you may find him rather anonymous. Apart from his own projects, Hird, and the Dreijer connection there is not a lot to find. So, how did this all start; did he just pop up out of nowhere?
– My parents were both professional musicians. My mother was a member of a female musical collective and my father was a producer with his own label, releasing children´s music among other things. He also recorded radio children’s programs for Swedish national radio.
So, music was a part of your life from the very beginning?
– It sure was. When I grew up I got to hang around with lots of different musicians and I myself started playing the drums at the age of 6. I then played in different big bands and later on, during high school, I had a lot of own bands. During this period I also worked semi-professionally as an assistant for other engineers and producers. What I learned most from was assisting at mobile recording sessions of classical music. I used to set up microphones at large events around the Gothenburg area.
This is pretty far from electronic music. How did synths, sequencers etc. become your thing?
– I was into electronic music already during my high school days. My father bought me one of the first Macs that were able to record multitrack audio and we also had a PC with a soundcard that allowed onboard RAM sampling. I could then use the computer pretty much like a sampler and started programming songs. Later on I got a Kurzweil K2500 sampler. Back in those days the standard kit was an Atari computer, a sync box, a couple of hardware synths and a mixer… and some rack effect unit, if you were lucky. However, soon after I got the Kurzweil sampler, Swedish software developers Propellerhead released their first version of their Reason software. I then understood that things were going to change and that software synths were the future.
New interview with Martin Gore, check it out
Depeche Mode have managed to stay in a single time zone this past week, playing a sweaty, raucous two-hour show to the black swarm on the Rhine in Düsseldorf this past Wednesday, and prepping to do it all again tonight. We sat down with Martin Gore to find out about revisiting the sounds of melancholy past and how technology has changed not only Depeche Mode’s music but also their live show.
Ben Adams and Jez Webb took the time walking us through the Instrument Setups at the Hamburg Stadium before the Depeche Mode Gig on June 17th, 2013. Ben explained the use of the Virus Polar by Andy Fletcher and the Virus TI by Peter Gordeno. Jez showed us Martin Gore’s guitar Setup.
We had a guest writer watching DM’s huge Delta Machine tour as the band made a stop at Parken in Copenhagen, DK.
P. Lindstrom, with a long track record as as synth connoisseur, gives us his personal thoughts, and the set list, of last week’s main event in the Danish capital, enjoy:
I had low expectations on the Depeche Mode concert in Copenhagen somewhat due to the renown horrible acoustics of the arena Parken. But how wrong I was, Depeche Mode showed once again that they somehow can overcome even a major obstacle like Parken. Even after 33 years they are still one of the greatest band on the earth. The bland concrete arena and the terrible acoustics could not hold back the energetic Dave Gahan, who showed us once again how professional and totally committed they are.
A characteristic slow start with Angel and Walking in my shoes started of the concert and already in the beginning of the show did David take off his jacket hinting of what’s to come.
The concert was a perfect mix of new material, well blended with a lot of old classics. An audience of 42.000 totally agreed, with carefully picked songs and a complete roar was heard when Black celebration as song number 5 started, and that set the standard for the night.
The audience was totally consumed of the band’s performance and joined David Gahan singing in most of the songs making the evening unforgettable. Even the minimalistic stage show enhanced the performance, letting the band show that they still perform best just as they are. You only have to look at David Gahan and feel his energy to be spellbound.
Depeche Mode performed a kicking hard core version of Personal Jesus as well as a best ever version of Enjoy the silence – I hope we can look forward to a live album as well as a dvd of this tour.
The encore songs really made the evening complete, here they brought in the heavy machinery and made slowdown version of Halo just before they rip of a long sought after Just can’t get enough. To round of the 134 minutes of marvel they play a raw extended version of Never let me down again, and what could be better to finish of a perfect evening with the greatest band on earth.
1. Welcome to My World
3. Walking In My Shoes
5. Black Celebration
6. Policy of Truth
7. Should Be Higher
8. Barrel of a Gun
9. Higher Love
12. Soothe My Soul
13. A Pain That I’m Used To
14. A Question of Time
15. Secret to the End
16. Enjoy the Silence
17. Personal Jesus
21. Just Can’t Get Enough
22. I Feel You
23. Never Let Me Down Again
As being a hardcore MiniBrute myself, it is really nice to see one of the legends using it
Check out our exclusive interview with synth legend Vince Clarke at his studio in New-York, talking about MiniBrute, his relation to synths and his up-coming projects.
There is lots of nice gear for all of us electro fans in this in-studio performance of Broken by Depeche Mode.
Check out the Teenage Engineering OP-1, Roland Jupiter 8 synthesizer, Oberheim OB8, Korg MS20 and Korg MonoPoly synthesizers. Not to mention, the tasty Eurorack modules that have been seen in pictures of the Delta Machine studio sessions.
Jimmy Kimmel Live – Depeche Mode Performs “Soothe My Soul” on the Sony Outdoor Stage
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DEPECHE MODE have unveiled the video for ‘Soothe My Soul’, the second single to be taken from ‘Delta Machine. One of the standout tracks from the album, ‘Soothe My Soul’ is in stark contrast to the sedate lead single ‘Heaven’. The song bears the hallmarks of vintage DM, featuring a strong vocal performance from Messrs Gahan and Gore, set to a catchy blues riff not dissimilar to that of world conquering 1989 hit ‘Personal Jesus’. Indeed, the similarity between the tracks has already led to a spate of mash-ups appearing online.
Lyrically the song deals with one of Martin Gore’s favourite subjects; “there’s only one way to soothe my soul” he asserts, and the video should leave little doubt as to what he is referring to! Be warned if you are viewing at work, there is some risqué content featuring a naked model and a snake. Directed by Warren Fu, whose previous video credits include THE KILLERS and DAFT PUNK, it is an undeniably stylish affair, shot entirely in monochrome with a distinctive square frame.
Music video by Depeche Mode performing Soothe My Soul. (c) 2013 Venusnote Ltd., under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment
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
Depeche Mode’s new album, Delta Machine (artwork above), is now streaming in full on iTunes, one week ahead of its release next week – listen here.