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Martin L. Gore Uncovered

Author: Rob Cannon
Friday, 13 June 2003
Martin Gore, the wordsmith that gives Depeche Mode its dark, evocative lyrics released his second solo album last month. Counterfeit2, as the name suggests, is a bunch of covers.

"I like the idea of doing cover versions," says Gore.

"When I was younger, I used to really like the Bryan Ferry covers records. They gave me some insight into what inspired him. It also helped me to discover a lot of music that I wasn't aware of.

"And, I think it's always interesting when people from bands, or songwriters, cover songs, because it shows people some of their influences."

On Counterfeit2 Gore's influences are plain to see. A listen to the album is a trip inside his dark, dark inner universe, and that can't be half interesting, can it-

Tunes by the likes of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Nick Cave and David Essex get an electronic work over as this dark prince of the eighties invites you into his own music bubble.

Gore says that his selection of tracks gives you an idea of his eclectic taste. And eclectic Counterfeit2 is. Alongside covers of rock survivors Reed and Iggy Pop, are reworks of the Velvet Underground's "Candy Says" (which Gore describes as "more drugged out than the original"), a version of John Lennon's "Oh My Love" and a German language ballad "Das Lied Vom Einsamen Madchen" (The Song of The Lonely Girl).

Considering who he is, and who he has chosen to cover, a listen to Counterfeit2 was never going to be like sucking on candy-laced pop. But then would any member of Depeche Mode put out an album of uplifting anthems or one of disposable catchiness-

"A song has got to have an extra special quality before I consider doing a cover version of it," reveals Gore.

"I tend to like songs that are very emotional; they strike a cord emotionally with me somehow and I can't quite explain that. I think there's some sort of solitude and loneliness about the songs which I like to listen to.

"[Counterfeit2] is quite dark but somehow that's what I'm drawn to. I've always been like that. [Darker tracks] seem more in the key of the universe somehow. I've never been one that really likes really happy songs."

The first single off the album, "Stardust" (a rework of the David Essex original) is drenched in loneliness. Gore says he recorded it because "it is about the demise of a rock star and how he gets heavily involved in drugs, which has been pointed out to me as having some kind of parallels with Depeche Mode".

"It's a good emotional song and I think it does sum up, somehow, the loneliness of being a rock star at times," he adds. "You know, of course it's a great job, but it's a very strange job, it's very weird."

Gore decided to go into the studio and record his second individual offering (a follow up to his debut solo effort, Counterfeit) after Depeche Mode finished touring for the "Exciter" album back in 2001.

"I realised I'd have quite a lot of time to put into action what I had been talking about doing for 13 or 14 years," he says.

He made a conscious decision to make it all covers and not include any original material that he'd penned himself. This, he says, would not have been fair on the other members of Depeche Mode.

"I think that while I'm part of the band it's not right for me to use my own songs on solo projects, because I am the main songwriter for the band and I'm not particularly prolific," explains Gore. "It creates a conflict of interest, you know - what songs would I use for me, what would I use for the band. It doesn't seem right."

And so when will Gore be uniting with David Gahan and Andrew Fletcher to work on another Depeche Mode album-

"We've left it that we'll be talking at the end of the year," says Gore. "Once these projects are out of our systems, and we'll work on some kind of time plan on when to get back into the studio and when we'd like to have an album released."

Counterfeit2 is out now through Mute
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