Are you responsible for any of the fantastic photography in the sleeves of your records?
No, the photography for the last album ‘Unsound Methods’ was done by Merton Gauster. Check out the Media – designsection for info. on ‘Liquid’.
I have a very interesting promotional item in my Recoil collection – it’s a LP proof sleeve for ‘Bloodline’ with a plaster attached to the bloody scratches. Was it rejected for production reasons (too complicated, too expensive, etc.) or did you think that the cover didn’t look serious enough?
Didn’t know anything about it until you told me Thomas.
Alan, just wondering what the sun, dagger and hat means on the ‘Faith Healer’ cover – I got it tattooed on my ankle when the song first came out.
You’ll have to ask Martin Atkins – he designed the artwork. I’m not really sure what it all means 😉
Where is 3+4? You have the special additional 1+2 with ‘Hydrology’ and the beautiful 5+6 in ‘Bloodline’, so where is that 3+4?
‘1+2’ is 1+2, ‘Hydrology’ is 3+4. They were packaged together for the CD although ‘1+2’ was initially only released on vinyl. Make any sense?
What effect (if any) would you wish that Recoil had on its listeners?
To stun them.
How would you describe Recoil and your music to a total stranger on the street?
Dark, filmic, post-modern, pretentious twaddle.
How would you describe your music, compared to DM?
Darker, less song based, no rhyming couplets.
Who is in the photograph on the cover of ‘Bloodline’?
While you’re working on your new album, are you thinking about the new sleeve and new images? When are you normally doing such things?
This usually doesn’t start coming together until the LP’s virtually complete.
Were you told about the misspelling of Coppola on the ‘Unsound Methods’ booklet (written Copolla)? Any feelings about that mistake?
Yes. It was pointed out to me after it was too late to change it. Things like that bug me.
Looking at the current simplicity of commercial pop-music, wouldn’t it be just great fun and subversive for a person with your possibilities and connections to just take some underdressed girls, take some thrown-aside happy tune from one of your old hard-disks, hire a good video-director and see how the product climbs the charts world-wide?
Not for me it wouldn’t.
Your artwork / imagery for your CD sleeves is brilliant. Do you choose the images or does someone else?
I choose graphic designers who I think will compliment the project. ‘Intro’ designed the artwork for ‘Unsound Methods’ and ‘Liquid’ after initial discussions with myself. I like to stay involved in the process through to completion but they must take most of the credit. Martyn Atkins designed the earlier sleeves. Go to media-design for more information.
Would you work with Anton Corbijn again?
I think Anton’s very talented and played an important part in the development of Depeche Mode’s image. It would, however, be a mistake to involve him in Recoil because I want the Recoil imagery to be very different from DM.
Have you ever wanted to do your own artwork for your albums?
I think it’s important to work in conjunction with other people on matters such as artwork and/or photography etc. since I don’t profess to be an expert but I do know what I like and dislike.
Was there any particular reason for the medical theme on ‘UM’ and the singles, or was it not chosen by you?
The medical theme came from Intro and fitted in perfectly with my own interpretion of the album – By coincidence, I also have an interesting collection of old medical equipment at home.
Were the surgical instruments in the ‘Unsound Methods’ booklet in any way inspired by the rather sinister David Cronenberg film ‘Dead Ringers’?
Not really, although we were aware of that film. Cronenberg’s medical images are macabre and I wanted the ‘UM’ imagery to be less obvious – to be merely evocative of something sinister – the idea perhaps that somebody has infiltrated an environment who has no business being there.
What do the words written on the label edges of the ‘UM’ vinyl’s refer to?
There are some things you just won’t get out of me, work it out for yourself 😉
The label’s on the ‘Hydrology’ vinyl don’t indicate rpm’s – an oversight or an incitement?
What do the sleeve photos of ‘Hydrology plus 1+2’ (especially a dead man)mean?
The artwork was conceived by Martyn Atkins and the choice of images was down to his interpretation of the music. I thought they fitted well.
As you are interested in art / design, do you know the work of Dave McKean? It would be great to see him involved in a Recoil project (or maybe even H. R. Giger!)
I don’t know anything about Dave McKean. Did Giger design the alien in the film of the same name?
How do you deal with the record company using the whole ex-DM angle to sell your records?
It is ludicrous to adopt (as some have done) a revisionist outlook and attempt to ignore or deny my involvement with Depeche Mode – I was a member of the band for 14 years. As a result, there seem to be many fans who are interested in Recoil because of the elements I brought to DM’s music (judging from the comments I receive) and one would expect there are more who perhaps would not come to know about Recoil except through my association with the band. For this reason alone it is perfectly acceptable to market Recoil with some kind of DM connection. What does annoy me is when it is suggested that I should be creating music just like DM or comparisons are made which are totally irrelevant – “It needs Dave Gahan’s vocals….” or “the songs aren’t as accessible as DM.” If I’d wanted to produce music like Depeche Mode, I wouldn’t have left the band……
How important is it that the mood of the songs ‘match’ to give the album a sort “unity”? Have you ever dropped a possible good song because it didn’t have the right mood or feeling?
Luckily all my songs seem to have a similar mood so this is rarely a problem. However, we did record one song for ‘Unsound Methods’ that was pretty good in it’s own right but just didn’t feel like Recoil – so it didn’t make it.