Tag Archives: enjoy the silence

Where’s The (French) Revolution – Carla Bruni covers Enjoy The Silence

Not content with a glittering career as a model-turned-singer and being married to a former president of France, Carla Bruni has turned her attention to singing Depeche Mode songs.

The 49-year-old, who has five albums to her name and was one of the most sought after faces in the fashion world in the 1990s, has a new long player of cover versions being released later this year.

And, yep, Enjoy The Silence gets the wispy Bruni vocal treatment and is the first song to be released.

Explaining her reasons for picking the Depeche classic in an interview with Billboard, Bruni says:

“What I like very much about the song is the lyrics. It’s such a perfect song that it really didn’t need a cover.

“The lyrics are quite dark, but they’re made stronger because, nowadays, noise is everywhere.

“We need silence. Silence is healing.”

Indeed it is, not least for the former-First Lady of France who has moved out of the limelight as such and returned to her singing career after spending four years in the Elysee Palace.

She married French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008 and became a French citizen (she was born in Italy) after an apparent whirlwind romance shortly after he took office.

Bruni’s version is by no means the best take of Enjoy The Silence but it’s probably not the worst either.

In fact, there are many, many versions kicking about these days, recreated with varying degrees of quality.

But it is certainly the first cover of a Depeche song recorded by a figure who has seemingly sped through a hugely successful, high-profile professional career and private life with few blemishes (she has even caught the eye of musical icons Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, before settling down with a politician and having a family).

I’m sure someone once said “Fast Fashion” is a great name for a band. No, they didn’t 😉

Ukrainian orchestra plays Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence and other Depeche classics

One of the most popular posts on this website was during the summer, featuring Eric Whitacre’s haunting, choral version of Enjoy The Silence.

And who can forget Michal Matejcik’s versions of Halo, Enjoy The Silence and Clean, performed on the harp?

That attracted a large amount of traffic to the site, too.

Fans seem to like orchestral versions of Depeche Mode songs (also remember the orchestral part of the Quad: Final Mix)…!

One clip that has been doing the rounds in recent weeks features a series of Depeche tracks performed by the Prime Orchestra, filmed during a concert in the Ukraine.

The string arrangements are terrific,  but I’d be curious to know if others feel the same about some of the pieces when the “traditional” rock instruments, saxophone and vocals kick in.

Still, enjoy it…

The track listing:

  • Just Can’t Get Enough
  • Stripped
  • Behind The Wheel
  • Personal Jesus
  • Enjoy The silence
  • Never Let Me Down Again

Here is the clip:

Enjoy The Silence fronts trailer for Scarlett Johansson sci-fi flick Ghost In The Shell

Enjoy The Silence is fast becoming (if not already) the most covered Depeche Mode song in the band’s history.

American rock-electronica fusion artist KI Theory covered it back in 2014, but his version is about to get a lot of attention.

It is being used in the trailer for Ghost In The Shell, an upcoming sci-fiction movie directed by Rupert Sanders (the Brit behind 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman).

The lead role is played by Scarlett Johansson, with support from Juliette Binoche, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Putt and Takeshi Kitano.

When you see the trailer you will immediately realise that Depeche Mode’s original version was clearly nowhere near RAWK enough to be used for what appears to be a full-on action-fest of a movie 🙂

The film is due to be released in March 2017.

Here is the clip:

And KI Theory’s version in full:

Irony factoid: Sanders once directed an award-winning television ad for the computer game series, Halo.

Spending an evening with… Francois Kevorkian

Before any big interview, writers and journalists often ask around to find out if anyone has any tips about what to expect from the interviewee.

This is usually done not in the hope of learning what they are likely to say ahead of the interview, but mostly to discover what they are like as a person.

Perhaps they are a bit prickly on certain subjects. Or they take some time to warm up. Maybe they are rather erratic with their answers and need keeping on track.

Such a tactic is as important as the research you may spend weeks doing beforehand.

I did this for most of the people featured in HALO – but with Francois Kevorkian, the legendary DJ/producer who mixed all but one of the tracks on Violator and created many of the famed remixes of the singles from that period, I was arguably more curious than any other interviewee.

In the official 30-minute Violator documentary from the mid-2000s, Kevorkian is praised (in particular, by Dave Gahan) for his creativity with the mixing yet labelled “pedantic” and “a stickler” by Martin Gore and Alan Wilder respectively.

When he does eventually appear in the same documentary, Kevorkian comes across as gentle, thoughtful and, of course, extremely focused.

After exchanging a few emails, Kevorkian and I spoke for nearly three hours about his time with Depeche, mixing Violator and the incredible work he did with his extended versions of Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence, Policy Of Truth and World In My Eyes.

The interview came in at a mammoth 25,000 words (thank you, my trusty transcriber, Nabaa!) and will eventually be included in HALO.

Kevorkian is articulate, measured, expansive and, interestingly, I found perhaps less interested in the technical aspects of what he did (and still does) and, instead, more comfortable to discuss the aesthetics of it all and what it all meant to him, the band and the fans.

The only disappointing aspect of the time I spent talking to Kevorkian was that the interview was carried out over the chat platform Skype – him at home in New York City, me in Bishops Stortford (an infinitely less exciting town than the Big Apple, located just north of London).

Yet we agreed that if he ever came over to London – or me to New York City – that we would say hi…

Fast forward to September this year and the wonderful Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy, the DJ behind the Classic Album Sundays project that I took part in last year, was conducting a Q&A with Kevorkian at an arty venue in the trendy Whitechapel area of London’s East End.

This was an ideal opportunity to fulfil our promise but, for me, to learn a lot more about Kevorkian’s career outside of the Depeche bubble of 1989 and 1990.

(Kevorkian’s work with Depeche Mode came up briefly towards the end of the discussion when he recalled how he was mixing Personal Jesus in Milan at the same time as the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, China, in June 1989.)

Here are my rough notes from Kevorkian’s chat with Murphy:

  • He was a big fan of Jimi Hendrix and was amazed at what the legendary guitarist could do with sound.
  • If he had not carved out his own role in music as a DJ in the mid-1970s, Kevorkian was destined to be a bio-chemist or engineer.
  • The club scene in New York City, where he moved to from France in his early-20s, “felt like science fiction”, such was its “revolutionary” impact on the alternative and dance music scene at the time.
  • It wasn’t particularly glamorous at times, with him struggling to make enough money to pay his NYC rent.
  • The craft of the modern-day DJ was born in the clubs of NYC in the mid to late-1970s, with turntable “battles” often a highlight of a club night.
  • Up-and-coming producers would often deliver acetate records to the DJs so that they could hear how their work sounds in a club.
  • Working at the legendary Loft nightclub, opened in 1970 by David Mancuso, was an important moment in Kevorkian’s career as it exposed him to other well-known DJs and made him appreciate the mechanics behind sound and atmosphere (from an acoustics perspective, “there was really nowhere else like it”).

  • Kevorkian is a firm believer in the concept of the studio “console desk being an instrument”, where a track can be taken in a different direction purely from how it is manipulated and massaged during the mixing phase in the control room.
  • He is NOT a fan of one of Daniel Miller’s favourite bands, the pioneering “krautrock” ensemble, Can (“crap rock!”).
  • The best nightclubs are those that consider the audio as an “acoustics system, not a sound system”. Designers should consider every aspect of a room, even where walls and pillars are placed as these are disruptive to the “laws of nature” around the movement of sound.
  • One of his favourite nightclubs in the UK is the Ministry of Sound in London – the closest he has known from a sonic perspective to the famous Loft club (and, later, Paradise) in NYC.
  • CDs sounds “awful” in clubs as the sound is often heavily compressed, meaning the frequency ranges are not as wide as on vinyl.
  • On the controversial and vast subject of modern music distribution on streaming sites (an area that admittedly requires an entire discussion in its own right), Kevorkian says at the most basic level, services such as Spotify et al are great for consumers of music but not so for those making it.
  • One of the “exciting” new forms of dance/electronic music for Kevorkian has been the emergence of the dubstep genre.

Thanks to Murphy for organising and moderating the event – a fascinating dive into the world of one of the key figures in the creation of the Violator sound.

There’s a lot more from Kevorkian to come…

francois kevorkian halo

Eric Whitacre creates beautiful choral version of Enjoy The Silence

Fans will remember how in 1990 one part of the Quad: Final Mix tried to reimagine Enjoy The Silence in a classical style.

It was pretty good.

But then American composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre, one of those rare, modern classical composers who can reinterpret contemporary songs and seemingly create something new, also decided to have a go.

A recorded version of the song was first released in 2014, performed by the Eric Whitacre Singers in London.

In this clip, Whitacre conducts a performance of the song with the Rezonans, a Turkish choral group, at a concert in Istanbul in November 2014.

And here is Whitacre talking about why he picked ETS and the process he went through to create the record (yes, vinyl, ladies and gents).

Enjoy The Silence – Latin American techno in the house

It’s been a while since a big tune dance mix of Enjoy The Silence has hit the airwaves.

But Acapulco-based DJ/producer Luis Vazquez has recently released his take on the 1990 classic from Violator.

The Enoy Mix includes the occasional nod to early-2000s-style, 1,000-bees-in-a-jam-jar, and one can easily imagine a few dancefloors around the globe going a bit crazy when it “drops” at 3am.

Here you go:

Imagine coming across this troupe of street entertainers…

Okay, so about 80% (not an accurate statistical sample) of cover versions of Enjoy The Silence are at the bad end of the acceptability spectrum.

But there is something rather endearing about this lot, a French group of musicians by the name of Gratkipoils who were captured playing the song at a street festival in the coastal city of Montpellier.

They even have the obligatory dude smoking, trying his best to look like it’s just another day at the office, as he plays the drums.

Not completely in tune, a few dud notes here and there – but one can only imagine the amusement (perhaps even some joy) it would bring to random devotees who just happened to be passing by.

Here you go, enjoy…

When Dave Gahan goes solo with Violator songs

With the Dave Gahan and Soulsavers tour in full swing (well, almost half way through six dates), a little reminder of when the frontman performed tracks from Violator in the early 2000s.

His first solo album, called Paper Monsters, had an accompanying tour which was later captured on DVD in July 2003 in Paris.

First up, skiffle/acoustic versions of Policy Of Truth and Enjoy The Silence:

And a rawk-out Personal Jesus:

When Groove Armada covered Enjoy The Silence live on Australian radio

Back in 2010, on the eve of Groove Armada’s final set of gigs, the band appeared on the Triple J radio station.

One particular slot on the Australian broadcaster had was called Like A Version, where – ta-da – well-known bands would perform an acoustic version of a favourite song.

You guessed it, here’s the band’s take on Enjoy The Silence, with British singer Saint Saviour performing the vocal.

Here’s the short clip (from around 1m20s):

Enjoy The Silence stars in new Volkswagen TV ad

Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence is no stranger to being used in ads or trailers for movies or TV shows.

And German car manufacturer Volkswagen is clearly a fan of the band.

VW featured the band in 2012 when frontman Dave Gahan appeared as himself in an ad, with People Are People blasting out in the background in different musical styles.

Now the brand has got a school choir to perform Enjoy The Silence, in an ad to promote its prowess in the field of electric (silent, get it?) cars and other advances in motoring technology.

It’s better than the Susan Boyle version of Enjoy The Silencelet’s say that much.

Here is ad: