Composition Of Sound demo tape (partially found songs of "Depeche Mode"; 1980)
Composition Of Sound was a short lived band that operated from late 1979 till September 24th 1980, originally consisting of Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher and Martin Gore. Soon after recruiting Dave Gahan as the lead singer, they would change their name to Depeche Mode.
Composition of Sound Demo Tape
Around April or May 1980, the group recorded a demo tape in Lower Whopping Conker Company on Victoria Road in Romford, Essex, London before their first gig on May 30th, 1980. Four tracks were recorded on Composition Of Sound's first demo tape. Vince Clarke sings lead vocals, Martin Gore plays the synths and Andy Fletcher is on the bass guitar. The tape contains:
- 1. Photographic
Written by Vince Clarke, notably the first song the band recorded. The first official release was on the Some Bizarre compilation album in January 1981.
Though a popular track during the band's early live shows, Television Set was never recorded and released officially, most likely due to not being written by either Vince or Martin, but by a fellow Basildon musician, Jason Knott. Several audience recordings of this song are available in varying qualities.
Nothing is known of this track.
Nothing is known of this track, though some have speculated it to be a track called "Sunday Morning", a song reportedly performed during the very early show. This has not been confirmed since, and no other recordings of it exist.
On July 13th, 2006, a user from the depmod forum named tobo27 created a topic about the first demo tape, claiming that one of the engineers of the studio made a copy of the tape for them:
I'm currently reading a biography of Depeche mode and it talks about the 1st composition of the sound demo that was recorded at the lower wapping conker company in barking. It says that only a few tapes were made and none of the band members now have it. Has this recording ever got out? The reason I ask is - I've got it. I recorded at the same studio a little while later (after it had moved to Romford) and mentioned to the engineer, (a guy called Jerry Chapman I think) that I was into Depeche mode. He told me that he had done their first demo before they changed the name and did me a cassette copy (charged me a fiver for it!). Just wondered what the rarity value is. I know that photographic and television set are on it plus one or two other tracks. Any info would be appreciated.
One minute audio snippets of each track were posted after several posts of discussion, and tobo27 also said:
When the guy at the studio asked if I wanted a copy, I gave him a tape out of my car and he copied it on to that. I had to pick it up a couple of days later. Still charged me a fiver for it though!!
Interesting fact is that the lower wapping studio burnt down after it moved to Romford so the original master tape probably got destroyed then.
tobo27's final post in the thread was on October 2nd, 2006, and is quoted below. He has not visited the depmod.com forums since:
I have had loads of messages asking to buy copies of the demo but surely there must be an issue with copyright etc? I'm not happy about it hitting eBay and someone making a fortune out of it which is what would happen if I put the full versions of the tracks online somewhere. Seems the best option is to just give you guys a taster and leave it at that. Sorry.
As an aside, I have now passed it on to Andy Fletcher and as soon as I get comments I will let you all know - I know there are some of you who doubt its authenticity!!
Over ten years since their last post, the DM Live Wiki was able to contact tobo27 in late November 2018. They confirmed that they had provided Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher with digitized copies of the tape, who confirmed it's authenticity. tobo27 did not wish to share or sell the tape, but was able to provide the full transcribed lyrics to the unknown vocal song. They are notably much darker in tone to other Depeche Mode songs at the time, it is unknown who wrote it.
As of January 2019, the minute-long snippets and full lyrics to the unknown song have been released. No other copies are known to exist.
Summer 1980 Demo Tape
During the summer of 1980, another demo tape with Dave Gahan on vocals was recorded at the Rockstar Studios which was on Tottenham Court Road in London. the tape contains 3 tracks:
- 1. Ice Machine
Would later be released as the B-Side of their debut single, "Dreaming of Me", in February 1981. One notable change is near the end of the song, when Dave sings "The ice machine, the ice machine." The only other confirmed performance of the song with this lyric intact was during an October 30th, 1980 show at the Bridge House in London.
- 2. Radio News
Never officially released, but was performed a number of times during the 1980 Tour.
- 3. Photographic
Written by Vince Clarke, notably the first song the band recorded. The first official release was on the Some Bizarre compilation album.
In early 2011 some low-quality snippets from the tape were posted on Soundcloud by the user "depechedemotape", which were taken down months after. Later in the year, two copies of the tape were sold. The first copy was sold to an international team of collectors from depmod.com, the second to Terence Muprhy, the original landlord of the Bridge House, a venue in which Depeche Mode played during their early years.
The tape can be listened to in full on the Depechemode website.
- DM Live Wiki page on Composition of Sound. Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- DM Live Wiki page on the Composition of Sound. tape Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- DM Live Wiki page for the Summer 1980 demo tape. Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- DM Live Wiki page for Television Set. Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- DM Live Wiki page for Radio News. Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- Twilightillusion page on the demos. Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- A recording of the song Television Set. Retrieved 30 Jan '19
- The Depechemode Wiki article on the Summer 1980 Demo Tape. Retrieved 30 Jan '19