Martin Gore & Vince Clarke: Ssss

Thirty years after Clarke departed Depeche Mode, the two synth legends return with ten tracks of minimal techno

Music Incoming
Image

After more than thirty years since his departure from Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke has now started recording with Martin Gore again. Both musical ledgends, the pair are very much considered the fathers of British electronic music; Clark succeeded in his reincarnations with Yazoo and Erasure, while Gore started writing hits for Dave Gahan and managed to lead the band to the top. But this new release, out this week on Mute Records, has nothing to do with the classic sounds of 'Just can´t get enough'. Now, with new 10 track album 'Ssss', they are flirting with the dark side of minimal techno. Composed virtually via hundreds of emails, we talk to the duo about the new release...

We were sending files backwards and forwards to each other via email wich seemed to fit in a certain way for a techno album. We didn't have a single conversation during the process

Dazed Digital: Why did you decide to work with Martin Gore on a techno album?
Vince Clarke:
Since 2010 I suddenly became interested in that kind of music. I was never exposed to it before, I was never interested in it but my curiosity was aroused. I was so impressed by the sounds and how the people were using technology that I was kind of sucked in. But I wasn't thinking about conquering a new music field or proving anything to the new generations.

Initially I started to making a record on my own. I was working on two or three tracks in my studio and then I just thought it would be interesting to collaborate with someone. I knew that Martin was interested in electronic as much as I was so it just made sense to me to approach him and find out if he would like to work with me. People are going to be really surprised with this album. Maybe it's not what they expect from us. There's no lyrics on it, it's just our exploration of minimal music.

DD: Martin, why did you decide to work in a 'virtual' way with Vince Clarke?
Martin Gore:
I recieved an email from Vince completely out of the blue, just saying 'I'm thinking about making a minimal techno album are you interested in collaborating'? It was as simple as that. I thought well, why not? I liked the idea of a project with no preassure and no deadline and it was a good time for me because I had just finished touring with Depeche Mode and I was having a break from the band - otherwise it wouldn't have been possible.

We were sending files backwards and forwards to each other via email wich seemed to fit in a certain way for a techno album. We didn't have a single conversation during the process. In fact, our first telephone conversation was when the album was already finished. It was a conference call with Daniel Miller from Mute Records and our managers in order to decide how the album was going to be called.

DD: You are considered pioneers of electronic music. What do you think about this genre nowadays?
Vince Clarke:
I think electronic music has evolved enormously in the last 15 years. The reason is that technology is now much more available and much cheaper. There are more people making music, more people using computers and experimenting. The real challenge in electronic music is the fact that it's getting a lot cheaper. Right now there's fantastic musicians out there but it always happens: when there's a lot of people doing something, some of it is crap amd some of it is ridiculous! That's the huge challenge right now in the genre.

DD: For some people this comeback album also marks a reconciliation after 30 years...
Martin Gore:
I don't think that we have had a bad relationship. We just weren't coming into contact with each other very much. Vince spent only a couple of years in Depeche Mode and I haven't met him so much since he left the band in 1981. And even now I don't know him very well. We only met twice since we decided to make this album. We had a dinner in London and we were together again last year before a Erasure show in L.A. I don't think there's any animosity between us. 

Ssss is out now

Text by Héctor Llanos Martínez

More Music