Strangelove on recreating D’Mode
Unlike many tribute bands, Strangelove is, in part, a recording project as well. Much as Depeche Mode unapologetically employs the use of backing tracks, so do we, in kind. Rest assured, we’re busy live playing PLENTY! The truth is it would take an army of synth wielding musicians to accurately reproduce the album arrangements of Depeche Mode’s music without any sort of backing tracks.
It takes on the order of 60-100 hours (excluding countless hours of eBay vintage gear hunting) to do the programming and backing track recording of each song before the band even begins to contemplate live rehearsals. We’re trying to faithfully recreate what Depeche Mode crafted in the studio for months, sometimes years at a stretch, with astral budgets for a cadre of programmers, producers, engineers, etc. Fortunately, advancements in technology have evened the playing field in our favor. Nonetheless the challenge is formidable.
For the technically inclined among you, here’s some of the equipment employed in the recreation of this fantastically produced music….
Hardware Synths/Samplers/Sound Modules/Controllers
EMU Emulator II+ (all the original grainy, gritty samples they used in mid-late 80s period)
Moog Voyager (update of MiniMoog, the classic synth synonymous with early Mode)
Simmons SD-8 drum module
M-Audio Axiom 61 Controller
Korg MS-20 Controller
Korg O1Wfd Workstation
Custom built (101-era reversed engineered) percussion pads.
Ron Papen Albino 3 (I’ve spoken with Martin Gore about this and it’s one of his favorites, too!)
Native Instruments Massive (used extensively on PTA, Hourglass and SOTU)
Arturia Mini Moog
Arturia Moog Modular
Arturia Jupiter 8V
Arturia Arp 2600V
Native Instruments Akoustik Piano
Native Instruments Battery 3
Native Instruments FM8
Native Instruments Pro-53
Native Instruments Kontakt
Rob Papen Blue
Tascam Gigastudio 3
Gretsch Double Anniversary 6118 LTV (THE Gore Guitar, signed by MLG, no less….)
1965 Vox AC-50 (Good enough for Sir Paul…)
Vox Tonelab SE
Fender Blues Deluxe
Fender Blues Jr.
E-bow (for Walking In My Shoes)
Bock/Soundeluxe 251 (Telefunken clone) tube mic
JoeMeek VC-1 Mic Pre
Focusrite Liquid Mic Pre
Pro Tools HD 2
Sonar Producer 7 live tracks/video playback, soft synth platform
Tascam DM-3200 Digital Mixer (we seldom do a show without “Taz”)
In addition to painstakingly recreating the music, we’ve gone to great lengths to integrate video projection content for most of the performance, as well. Much of this content is original and offers an alternate take on the themes in DM’s music often not explored in their earlier, more spartan videos. We’ve worked extensively with filmmaker/editor RavenK on most of what is shown. This greatly enhances the performance to an arena concert feel, with an elevated production aesthetic.