There’s an interesting tie-in to my favorite band, Depeche Mode. Back when Napster ruled the internet, fans of Depeche Mode mistakenly thought that one of Color Theory’s originals was a leaked Mode song. (Brian’s vocal style is reminiscent of Martin Gore of Depeche Mode.) And while Color Theory’s covers of Mode songs are impeccable, the originals more than hold their own, as evidenced by the recent win for Best Electronic Song in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Now Color Theory is up for another award. I sat down at my computer recently and emailed Brian some questions. He sat down at his in California and emailed me some answers. Enjoy!
Q: Firstly, I love that you cover the lesser known Depeche Mode songs, like “Here Is The House”. When did you first hear the music of the greatest band of all time?
It was back in 1983, before I really started getting into music. I had a grand total of one cassette: The Eagles “Hotel California.” My best friend played me Some Great Reward, and I was hooked. I typed out the lyrics to “Somebody” on his typewriter and hid them in my room like a love letter.
Ah, lyrics from “Somebody” are on the inside of my wedding ring. Favorite Mode album?
In my opinion, Violator is their all-around best, but Ultra, which doesn’t get a whole lot of love from DM fans, is the best produced. The one that had the most impact on me is arguably their worst: A Broken Frame. I’d listen to it over and over, and fall asleep to it every night. If I wasn’t completely out before “Shouldn’t Have Done That” came on, I’d have nightmares... that song still creeps me out!
Definitely their creepiest work. What was the inspiration behind your Lennon Contest-winner, “If It’s My Time To Go”?
The song started as a collaboration with my friend Caesar Filori of Wideband Network. I gave him a piano sketch, and he sent back a demo that was dense, rich, and very dark. The mood of that demo inspired the title, which I built the rest of the lyrics around. Though the subject matter is bleak, the tone is courageously optimistic.
The topic of death/loss is always a good one.
I can’t say that I’m personally that comfortable with death, but if I ever have to look it in the face, I hope I can be that clear-sighted about it. (The original mix of the song appears on Color Theory’s upcoming EP, Second Thoughts.)
I think the song is beautiful, and conveys the emotions of love and loss brilliantly. Best of luck in the next phase of voting, Brian. You’ve done your idols, Depeche Mode, very proud with Color Theory.
That’s very kind of you. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.