Speak and Spell Interview with Rob Kelly

After last January’s sell out gig at St Paul’s and a performance at Glastonbury festival in the summer, SPEAK AND SPELL, Europe’s leading Depeche Mode tribute band, bring their explosive show back to St Paul’s on Saturday the 27th of January.

Speak and Spell do much more than play by numbers and strive to recreate the passion, energy and emotion of a Depeche Mode gig, a feat that they more than achieve. There are very few tickets left, make sure not to miss out, it’s the closest thing to seeing Depeche Mode in the flesh.

I caught up with Keith, Paul and Tony this week to talk about their favourite DM songs, synths and what it was like to play at Glastonbury.

Speak and Spell are:-

Keith Trigwell (KT) – Keyboards and Backing Vox

Paul Boddy (PB) – Keyboards

Tony Clare (TC) – Keyboard/Guitar/backing vox

Paul Wood (PW) – vocals

 

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF LAST YEARS SELL OUT GIG AT ST.PAULS WORTHING?

KT: I remember a lot of bopping around at the front.

PB: Mainly that it was such a special venue, the converted church atmosphere really suited the vibe of many DM songs…..reach out and touch faith etc.

TC: Yes, great venue and seeing the crowd stretching right to the back looked amazing – they did a pretty good job singing along too.

 

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THIS TIME ROUND IN TERMS OF SET LIST?

KT: Quite a different set list (from last time). Mostly big 40 singles.

PB: This will be a different set from last year, the band have introduced several new singles into the set.

TC: We’ve added a few more hits to the set over the last year – changing the set keeps things fresh and us on our toes.

 

WHICH ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PERIODS FROM DEPECHE MODE’S CAREER IN TERMS OF ALBUMS/SONGS?

KT: Period would be, experimental after Alan joined. Song is Everything Counts and album would be Black Celebration.

PB: I have two, the Vince era and the period when Alan Wilder was in the band.

TC: That’s so hard to answer – DM has come a long way since 1980 and there are great tracks from every era.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DM SONG TO PLAY AND WHY?

PB: Enjoy the Silence, it’s always a high point of nearly every gig and the Devotional version we do always goes down a storm.

KT: Impossible to say, but maybe Personal Jesus.

TC: Personal Jesus – it’s just a fun song to sing and play and of course the crowd always join in.

 

THE BEST GIG SPEAK AND SPELL HAVE EVER PLAYED WAS?

KT: Some of the big ones in East Germany or Switzerland have been good. But Manchester and London more recently.

PB: Derby Flowerpot was superb and Glastonbury (obviously!).

TC: Last year’s gig at Worthing was great. Derby on the warmest day of the summer was crazy (and sweaty!) and of course Glastonbury was special

 

WHAT IS THE BEST GIG YOU HAVE EVER ATTENDED AS AN AUDIENCE MEMBER?

KT: Depeche Mode. 20th December 1993 in Wembley Arena. Front row, all night plonked in front of Alan.

PB: Devotional Tour, Wembley Arena, London 1993.

TC: DM headlining last year’s 6Music festival at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. There’s a connection between band and 1,500 hardcore fans in an intimate venue that isn’t quite the same in a stadium.

 

HOW DID IT FEEL TO PLAY GLASTONBURY?

KT: Brilliant experience. High pressure but you’re surrounded by pros offering instant support. Amazing audiences and electric atmosphere. It’s all so big you can’t really believe it’s happening. Backstage afterwards we were all smiling at each other in partial disbelief.

PB: It was an incredible experience, not just playing but also seeing other artists there such as Alison Moyet, Foo Fighters and Radiohead.

TC: The whole week was amazing, and time has never flown past as fast for me as our 45 minute set – it felt like seconds.

 

WHICH IS MORE ENJOYABLE TO PLAY PRE OR POST VINCE’S DEPARTURE?

KT: There are different eras of DM and they are all quite different. The songs from the pre Vince leaving era have stood the test of time particularly well and are a lot of fun to play live, but there’s a great deal afterwards that is equally good.

PB: I enjoy playing both, they are very different approaches (the Vince era is by its nature very “one finger” and the latter material is more textural and chord based).

TC: Vince-era material is fun to play but there’s a bigger sense of achievement in recreating the more complex later tracks.

 

HAS PLAYING DM’S MUSIC INFLUENCED YOUR OWN SONGWRITING AND PRODUCTION PROCESS?

KT: Probably, in terms of song structures and Wilder-esque production techniques like overlaying multiple synths and switch the notes in/out to them to make one phrase. But I specifically avoid anything that is musically similar, so when I do something similar, it does then tend to be deliberate because I want something that way. But I have a lot of electronic influences including Goldfrapp, Numan, Erasure, NIN, Kraftwerk and into some techno, then more traditional influences as well including from stuff I just like from acts like John Denver, Bread, Sad Cafe, Fleetwood Mac, Andy Gold, Fifth Dimension, Rainbow, Chicago, Bolan and the list goes on.

PB: Yes, I’ve produced for ex-Spice Girl Melanie C and gave one of her tracks a DM style sound.

TC: I don’t think any songwriter can help being influenced by the music they love.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BIT OF KIT?

KT: Depends what for. I adored a lot of 80s gear like the Emulator 2 and 3, but we simply don’t need them now. I’m in love with my Prophet 6 and Minimoog Model D (which has taken a lot to get but thanks to GAK I’ll have soon). But generally I’m using NI Maschine Studio which is proving to be a particularly creative tool.

PB: My Korg MS20 mini

TC: I love playing my green Gretsch Double Anniversary – it’s a thing of beauty.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR OWN… PERSONAL…. FAVOURITE DM SONGS?

KT: Never Let Me Down, Personal Jesus, Enjoy the Silence.

PB: Personally: Nothing, Things You Said & Enjoy the Silence.

TC: Get The Balance Right, Home and Nothing’s Impossible.

 

WHAT ARE THE BANDS MOST GAHANISH TATTOOS AND WHO HAS THEM?

KT: Paul Wood. He has very similar tattoos in the same places, but they are his own. When you see him with his top off, it’s quite remarkable.

PB: I’m a bit of a chicken and I don’t have any……

TC: Paul Wood looks after tattoo duties for the band!

 

I will be front and centre at St Pauls Worthing on the 27th and I am sure this will be the start of another great year for a band that are clearly more than just another tribute act.

Tickets available here.

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 Rob Kelly

Check out my blog at WoMu a Worthing music blog at worthingmusic.wordpress.com

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