Dave Gahan & Soulsavers

When Depeche Mode’s Global Spirit tour came to a close in 2018, Dave Gahan started revisiting music from his past, songs he never wrote that still remained bonded to him for years. Returning to work with Soulsavers’ Rich Machin, the duo began recording an album of covers, Imposter.

Recorded live with a 10-piece band in 2019 at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Recording Studio in Malibu, California, Imposter is a collection of songs that are as important to Gahan now as they were in the first moments he heard them.

“These voices have stayed with me for years, some longer than others,” says Gahan of Imposter, a follow-up to his Soulsavers debut Angels & Ghosts in 2015. But there’s something about their voices and this choice of songs in particular that have always made me feel a certain belonging, or something. Songs can do that. Music can do that.” 

Those lingering songs are the same as musicals or films, or books. “You pick them up again and again and you find something new in it,” says Gahan. “I was very familiar with all these songs, but I had to go through this process of removing the voices that I had been listening to and finding my own.”

For Machin, who worked on covers with the Soulsavers (Will Oldham’s “You Will Miss Me When I Burn”) but never a covers album, it was the perfect excuse to return to some songs that connected to him and Gahan.

“It was a good excuse to sit and dig through my record collection,” says Machin. “I had a reason to not leave the house for the next two weeks, and we had a nice few months of texting each other ideas and getting lost in that cathartic process, getting lost in lots of records that you’ve loved over the years. There’s no better way to kind of spend some time.”

Initially rehearsing the songs in New York during the summer of 2019, Gahan slowly found his place and the soul around each song like the elicit love song “Dark End of the Street,” written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman and later recorded by James Carr in 1967, or capturing the heartache of Jeff Buckley’s Grace cut “Lilac Wine,” Neil Young’s “Man Needs a Maid,” and the Charles Chaplin classic “Smile.” Introducing Imposter with a more subdued “Metal Heart” by German metal band Accept, it’s as if Gahan and the Soulsavers were the original authors of Imposter, from the folk-driven “Where My Love Lies Asleep” by the Byrds’ Gene Clark, and Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet,” and a more ignited version of PJ Harvey’s “Desperate Kingdom of Love.”

“Her version of that is very small and intimate,” says Gahan. “We went full Soulsavers on it and just let everything in there. For me, it’s that bursting energy of wanting to desperately belong and be with someone and be in love and in that place, then finding yourself in there and not knowing what to do with it.” 

“The Desperate Kingdom of Love” describes this place Gahan often finds himself. “It’s this amazing place to be, but it’s also this place where you feel entirely—and I do at times—suffocated and mostly from my own doing and my own choices and my own inability to really express how I feel,” shares Gahan. “To take that in, and what you get back, or what has been given to you and not being able to handle it. I’m just more these days aware of that’s just the way I am, and those around me, including my wife, who has to put up with that. It’s like Lanegan says in ‘Strange Religion,‘ ‘I’m no easy ride.’”

There’s a personal story in each song for Gahan. Around the time Gahan was working on his second solo album Hourglass, he had Mark Lanegan’s Bubblegum playing on repeat“The song ‘Strange Religion’ just stayed with me,” said Gahan of Lanegan, who also worked on two previous Soulsavers albums. “I believe these voices because I think they’re telling me a story that’s true to life. I felt incredibly connected to them.”

Read More – American Songwriter

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