While Depeche Mode rests in the freezer (the last signal, ‘Spirit’, dates from 2017), its ‘frontman’, Dave Gahan, moves piece with the new product of his entente with Soulsavers, the production team created at the beginning of this century by Rich Machin and Ian Glover. If in their two previous collaborations, new songs came out of the alliance, this time the fruit, ‘Imposter’, contains adaptations of past themes of other authors, signs of rock, soul, blues, country and gospel with which the singer feels “deep connections.”
He tells it in an interview with this newspaper limited to the new album (the journalist is asked to avoid questions about Depeche Mode), in which he refers to Soulsavers as something more than an artifact with which he is understood as a guest. “It is a band in which there is an internal chemistry and that, as it happens with Depeche Mode, presents diverse versions of itself”, Explain. His role looks more determined in ‘Imposter’ than in ‘The light the dead see’ (2012) and in ‘Angels & ghosts’ (2015). “Because this is an album produced by Dave Gahan and Rich Machin, and because I have financed the project,” he slides. From there, and from the recording in Malibu, a work comes out that “is very Dave Gahan and very Soulsavers, cohesive and sequenced like an album, even with its two sides,” he says. “Because that’s how I still listen to discs“.
‘Imposter’ plays from its title with the idea of the simulator Gahan or medium who has spent his life, as a singer of Depeche Mode, interpreting and staging mostly the songs composed by his colleague Martin L. Gore. There, he sees in this new material a way of being himself endowed with an unprecedented intensity. “You can say that in ‘Imposter’ I am, literally, imposing, but it is me through the songs of others, because I find in the pieces of Nina Simone, Bob Dylan or Cat Power information that helps me to have a feeling of belonging and a sense of redemption, forgiveness, irony and sarcasm ”, he explains with a parsimonious verb, interspersing silences and meditating every word.
Opens the album ‘The dark end of the street’, a harrowing 1967 soul number by Dan Penn and Chips Moman first recorded by the ill-fated James Carr (later to be signed by Percy Sledge, Dolly Parton, Lee Hazlewood and many others), and They are followed by rescues such as the murky ‘Lillac wine’ (by James Shelton, which Jeff Buckley adapted in the 90s) or ‘A man needs a maid’, by Neil Young. Reflections of forbidden relationships, lacerating memories and romantic sublimations, all around that ‘desperate kingdom of love’ (desperate kingdom of love) to which PJ Harvey wrote. Material in which Gahan has found “incredible identification”, he emphasizes. “For me, the interesting thing about interpreting those songs, being who I am now, is that they all fit together well, and that they don’t sound like a meeting of songs by different authors.”
Between his two families
Dave Gahan notes that the album has given him “freedom” to express oneself “in a way other than usual, beyond the confines of Depeche Mode.” He describes Soulsavers as “an extension of my family”, and alternating projects with both formations allows him to “regain vigor, joy and gratitude in each episode, like when you spend time away from home and your loved ones, and then you realize how much you missed them. ”
Here he has found the stimulus by using guitars, organ, heavenly choruses and reverb, and leaving aside the electronic grammar that Depeche Mode caters to. “The instrumentation is not as important to me as the interaction with whoever makes the music “, warns. “Working with other musicians should make you feel your own strength and make you create your own spaces, and it is then, with that backdrop, when something magical happens. And it can happen whether you make music with machines, or playing instruments,” he concludes, before proving himself full with his interpretive register. “I spent long months studying these songs and right now I feel great confidence in my voice.”