Depeche Mode tribute band Speak and Spell play St Paul’s, Worthing on Saturday, January 28 – massive fans of the originals, one and all.
“We got into it as fans,” says band member Keith Trigwell. “It is such a niche thing in this country. They are major influences, but in this country they have always been seen as an acquired taste with their electronic music at a time when everyone else was using guitars. Punk was just tailing off, and they were at the front of the futurist movement. They influenced a lot of people, and they had the commercial success, but I don’t think in the UK they ever got the recognition that they deserved as a band.
“I fell in love with Depeche Mode probably about 1982. They were a complete departure, creating instruments from like found sounds.
“For me, that opened up new doors. They went from that to a complete proliferation of using the new technologies, and the way they did it was just great. I was totally hooked. Everyone in the band is a massive Depeche Mode fan. I first saw them in 83 and I must have seen probably 50 or 60 gigs.
“Our band has been going now for almost ten years, something like that. I think the first gig was in 2007, a long time ago.
“It’s very distant now and it was a very different affair. I was not in the band at that time. They had been going for just over a year by the time I joined, but by all accounts, that gig was just a gig in a corner of a pub.
“The idea was a few friends wanted to get together and try to do the Violator album.
“And then they did a second gig and then they did a third gig. The band pottered on really as a fairly amateur affair, and then it got a few extra gigs and came up with the idea of being a Depeche Mode tribute band.
“I was asked to join a couple of times and didn’t really want to. They wanted me to play some gigs in Turkey and down in Europe, and I wasn’t sure. I thought I didn’t want to learn all the music just for a handful of gigs. There didn’t seem a lot of point. But later they wanted someone to come in permanently and asked if I would be interested. After a short time I ended taking over the production which just fell in my lap. The band was a four-piece and two guys left. The guy that got me in left shortly after I joined.
“We were a three-piece for a while. A couple of people drifted in and out and our Martin Gore guy left about a year and a half ago. We got two new guys in about a year ago, and we are back to a four-piece now which is the best-looking line-up, I think. It has been easier to run as a four-piece, logistically.
“We know that Depeche Mode are aware of what we do from conversations we have had with people that know them. We know they know who we are and they are comfortable with what we do.
“We do a lot of stuff that they don’t do. When they tour, they are promoting a new album. We stay away from that, as much out of respect as anything. We are really a tribute band to a different era of Depeche Mode, an earlier era. The reason people like what we do is because we take them back, people in their 40s, to when they were in their 20s. We don’t try to be Depeche Mode now.
“They are a very different band now. They have moved on. We are a very respectful homage to that earlier time.”
Tickets £9 from the venue or seetickets.com. Saturday, January 28. Doors open 7.30pm; starts 8pm.
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