Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna) on Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration: Why I Love

Lindy-Fay Hella recently released her second collaborative album with Dei Farne. Hildring was released in November via By Norse.

We welcome Lindy-Fay Hella from the esteemed Norwegian act, Wardruna, to write for our Why I Love column. In our archive we have a range of artists talking of their love for other artists, but Lindy-Fay has does something a little different in professing her love for one of her favourite albums; Black Celebration by Depeche Mode.

Although over 30 years years ago, I can still remember the very moment I fell in love with Black Celebration.

Big words maybe, but there is no other way to describe it. The crush happened when sitting in a car between the Island where I’m from to a place called Knarvik, right before a dangerous crossroad where whoever drove the car had to be extra careful.

I had never heard anything like it and it came out of the speakers in the car. On a mixtape with various 70s, 80s music, “A Question Of Time” and “Stripped” were like precious stones. 

Full of energy, solid, fragile, moody but nice at the same time. I was super lucky to discover shortly after that a relative just happened to have the whole album on vinyl.

And the synths! A proof that electronic instruments can be as alive as any other instrument. There are layers of tiny melodies and sounds that lay within the rest, that suddenly show up after a while, or so it was for me.

Black Celebration (album) - Depeche Mode Live Wiki

Although I listened to this album daily for many years, I discovered something new all the time. Also, I used to sing along with the synths or the rhythms, either following or making harmonies to it.

I never joined Dave Gahan’s main melody, since I wanted to hear his beautiful voice uninterrupted and this has also been an influence in how I use my voice, either with my own work or as a guest musician for others. I think of my voice in a synth-kind of way. There are melodies, but it can also be for example sounds that can barely be heard, or things that can sound almost grotesque. I crucially learned that it does not necessarily have to be a melody. I sometimes have to remind myself to rehearse in the middle voice (just because that is healthy and should not be left out), simply because all those years going either bass or higher register of Depeche Mode’s synths has left certain habits.

I did try to copy Dave Gahan’s square haircut though, and used a blow dryer on all side of the head, with a lot of hairspray to keep it standing as tall and straight as possible. It earned me a new nickname at school “motvinden” (the headwind.) I looked more like a Lucky Troll then the polished, elegance of Dave Gahan, but at least I tried.

Check out the video and song The Lake, taken from Hildring; the second album from Lindy-Fay Hella and Dei Farne.

Linda-Fay Hella: Website / Facebook / Instagram

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