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Alan Wilder: A Selected Interview

MSN Music Guest Blogger: Steven Wilson-Beales

This month the producer and ex-member of Depeche Mode, Alan Wilder releases his first  ‘Selected’ compilation – a summary of his best work as Recoil solo artist. I spoke to him to find out more about the release, making music and if he has plans to work with ‘The Mode’ again.

Hi Alan, you’re back with an album and tour. I have to ask: why now?
Well, Mute Records approached me with an idea for a compilation and it was initially just going to be a quick ‘best of’ selection. But we then started to discuss releasing it on multiple formats and performing it live so the project got bigger and bigger. I think for an artist that’s always appealing to show all your work off in the best possible light and it’s been great to plough through all those old tracks again.

Have you ever been tempted to stay 100% electronic and not use performers in your music?
Well, even the early Recoil music isn’t really electronic music. It’s just samples looped around and around and put together in a different way. And I’m still doing that now. I’m using all this technology but using it to reprocess human live performance. That’s what really interests me and why I often use gospel and blues performers. They often deliver the rawest, most emotional music you can get and when you combine that with the digital process you get something very special. If it was just electronic I think I’d get bored of it.

So you’ve been tempted to release a quick and dirty drum and bass track?

Do you think it’s easier to create good music now with today’s technology?
It’s easier to create records in your bedroom, sure, but even though technology might give you many more options, you’ve still got to have the ideas. Technology can almost be restrictive in that way. You have to try to leave out all the cr*p and get to the core of what is really important.

Do you think it’s easier for an artist to connect with their audience with the social tools that are available?
You would be stupid not to connect with your audience more if you have those tools available. I think you see a trend now where the artist is more in control of communication and then dictating to the label what they want to do. The record label should be there to offer advise and support for the marketing of your record, not dictating to you.

What can we expect from the UK gig on April 25th?
We might have Daniel Miller and Daniel Jones but that’s still very much TBC. I’d like to get him to do a version of ‘Warm Leatherette’ but we’ll see. But Atomiser will be there.

How did it feel to play with Depeche Mode after almost 16 years at the Teenage Cancer Trust gig?
It was unnervingly familiar in many respects, as if I had just played with them the night before. But at the same time it was really overwhelming, to remember what it was like to be in front of such a big audience again.

Is there scope for doing more in the future with Depeche Mode?
Well, we’ve not discussed anything like that so there aren’t any plans. But you never know…

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You can read the full version of this interview here


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