For this year’s Record Store Day (18 April), Johnny Marr has covered Depeche Mode‘s I Feel You for his exclusive release. He talks to Q about channeling his inner David Gahan (well not quite…) and his favourite record shops.
What made you pick this song to cover?
I was sitting in a dressing room backstage and started playing the riff to myself. The band and I kicked it around in the soundcheck it sounded good. I’ve been doing some covers in the encores; Lust For Life, Tell Me About Your Drugs by Robyn Hitchcock, The Hop by Theatre Of Hate. We played I Feel You the first night we learnt it and it went down great. Someone posted it up on youtube and it became popular so we carried on doing it. Then I got invited to do something for Record Store Day and it seemed a good opportunity to do something unusual.
Are you a fan of Depeche Mode and how did you first hear I Feel You?
I like quite a bit of Depeche Mode, especially the late 80s and early 90s period when there were guitars in the mix.
You’ve tinkered with the track a little bit…
I think it’s important to bring your own thing to a cover. My version is maybe more stripped down and direct. The original has more loops and synth textures whereas ours is more of a live band sound I guess. I used guitar feedback to create atmosphere where Depeche Mode might have used synths.
As someone who knows a thing or two about very loyal fan bases any worries this might be seen as sacrilege by the hardcore?
You can’t bother yourself with that kind of thing. If a track is good then that’s all that matters. The other stuff is nonsense. It’s good to do something unpredictable anyway.
Why go to all the effort for Record Store Day?
Just throwing out some track for the sake of it is a wasted opportunity to do something interesting. I was involved in the first record store day with Modest Mouse in 2008 and then with The Cribs in 2009. It’s been nice to see how successful Record Store Day has become. You get lines of people queuing up on the street in some cities. It’s supposed to be a special thing and I hope it gets more popular.
How important are indie record shops to you?
Independent record shops are great places, full of treasures really. Standing amongst those objects with artwork carefully created by or with the artists is great. It beats queuing up in the Carphone Wharehouse, or any Apple Store for that matter.
So what’s your favourite record shop?
My favourite record shop is King Bee in Manchester. It’s not too big but and has a wide range of stuff and a fair amount of specialist old soul, new wave and punk, which is what I like. The owner really knows his stuff. It’s been there for years.
Paul Stokes @Stokesie