Dave Gahan has been the recognizable voice of Depeche Mode for more than four decades, delivering their hits with gusto and style.
While he’s not the songwriter for the band, he’s a knowledgeable insider in the music industry, having gained deep insights into the world of music and its players over his long career.
His accumulated understanding inspired him to produce ‘Imposter’ in 2021. This album is a collection of 12 reinterpretations, each one a song that left an indelible mark on Gahan’s life and influenced him profoundly.
While talking about ‘Imposter’ in an interview with The Guardian, Gahan elaborated on Depeche Mode’s creative process, where Martin Gore pens all the tracks.
Gahan’s role in the band, he explained, shaped his approach to his solo career with The Soulsavers, where he had more control over the musical direction.
Dave Gahan humorously noted, “I’ve been singing Martin’s songs in Depeche Mode for 40 years, so I’ve done my homework.”
He continued to explain that his working method includes a thorough study of Martin’s compositions, focusing on the lyrics and melodies, then suggesting changes to key, tempo, or arrangement that he feels will enhance the song.
The album ‘Imposter’ features an array of artists whose musical styles range from soul and rock to jazz, folk, and a touch of indie rock.
An intriguing selection in the album is a rendition of “Smile,” a song co-written by Charlie Chaplin for his movie ‘Modern Times.’ Nat King Cole later added lyrics to the melody.
Gahan idolizes Chaplin and, in an interview with RNZ, a New Zealand publication, he shared, “For me, Charlie Chaplin was the ultimate impostor… he was like the ultimate performer, and he didn’t use any words”.
Another noteworthy track on the album is “Not Dark Yet”, a lesser-known gem from Bob Dylan’s discography, found on Dylan’s 1997 album ‘Time Out Of Mind’.
Gahan admitted in an interview with Forbes that choosing a Dylan track needed careful thought, not least because it was difficult to escape the way Dylan himself had phrased and interpreted the song.
The album also includes Gahan’s interpretations of PJ Harvey’s “The Desperate Kingdom Of Love” and Neil Young’s “A Man Needs A Maid”.
Both of these covers earned him commendations from the original artists themselves. Gahan shared that he received positive feedback and that the response was, ‘Yeah. Wow, great version. Great interpretation’.
The album ‘Imposter’ also includes two of Gahan’s all-time favorite songs – “Always On My Mind”, a song that was made famous by Elvis Presley, and Mark Lanegan’s “Strange Religion”.
This collection of covers and reinterpretations is a testament to Gahan’s love for music and his ability to add his unique touch to these classic songs.