Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Breathing in Fumes is THE Depeche Mode podcast. Now onto its' 9th episode the podcast continues to gather momentum getting Depeche Mode fans around the world reappraising old mixes, listening to rare live recordings and thrilling at excerpts from long forgotten or sometimes previously unheard interviews with the band from 1981 to the current date. I am a huge fan of Depeche and the podcast and so I thought I'd ask Glen Hammarstrom, the man behind the podcast, a few questions to try and delve into BIF a little more. Be warned, Glen and I are both very much in the Depeche Mode uberfan camp. This interview therefore contains quite a bit of vinyl discussions.


For well over 20 years, Glen Hammarstrom from Modesto, California has been a Depeche Mode fan and collector and has been an Administrator at the fantastic Home website since 2004 keeping people like me in check on a daily basis. Glen is also a DJ and and has hosted the web radio show Disappear for the last 5 years playing choice deep house cuts for the masses. The newest edition of his Breathing in Fumes podcast is out today (22 October) so I thought it would be an apt time to ask him a few questions

1. The Breathing In Fumes podcast is a fantastic thing bringing Depeche Mode, if you'll pardon the the, to the podcast masses. What inspired you to start the podcast?

I have kind of messed around with music podcasts for the past few years, mostly posting up my DJ Mixes etc. As the internet progressed and sites like Podamatic and Soundcloud came about, well, it made doing them a lot easier. I would upload random ones to the HOME ftp but now I don't have to do that anymore. My buddy Mike and I got a little more serious about doing an organised podcast that focussed on classic alternative vinyl that we called Panic. We loved doing it, but sadly Mike moved back to Los Angeles and Panic is kind of on hold for the moment. Once day I started messing around making a new Depeche Mode DJ Mix and the first episode just came together spontaneously. I didn't set out to do a ode podcast, I just threw one up to see what people thought. I made a little mix, threw together an intro and put it out there. The reaction blew me away, so I have just kept going. Simple as that really

2. How long does it take you to plan the podcast? And how long does it take to mix?

Each one has been different really. Some have taken longer than others, but I tend to put one out once a month and that gives me plenty of time to work on them. I don't want to rush as I put a lot of thought into them so I want the podcast to be something people will enjoy. I make the podcasts in parts normally. I'll mix a few songs that I think work together and stop. That tends to get me thinking of other songs or give me ideas on interview buts etc. It keeps my perspective fresh on the episode if I take breaks and come back to it. Once I have all the parts done I do one last final mix and blend it all together as an episode. So each one has taken its' own time to put together. Love the ideas people send me and those suggestions are always appreciated!

3. Are there any Depeche Mode songs you wouldn't consider using?

Not really, no. There are songs in their catalogue that I don't like but not many really. There are songs that I want to use that are challenging to mix with. Most standard album tracks are really hard to mix if they don't have an intro, break or outro like a remix tends to have. That has seen a few songs not make it in yet. DM fans tend to have a pretty wide variety of tastes so I try not to let my taste get too in the way if possible.

4. Would it ever be possible to use The Great Outdoors in the podcast? There's a challenge for you....

Challenge accepted! That's one of the songs I haven't used yet because I was simply saving it for a future podcast. I like saving some songs to have material for later podcasts. If I am going to keep the podcast going I have to space out songs in order that they don't sound the same.

5. BIF8 focussed on the 80's era and you talked about People Are People being the Depeche song that hooked you in. Where and when did you first hear it?

It really did, yeah. I remember hearing it on the top 40 radio station my brother listened to back then. At the time breakdancing was the trendy thing my friends and I were into. While I had fun goofing around thinking we were the New York City Breakers, I found I was more interested in music than anything. I discovered electronic music and Kraftwerk from those early breakdance compilation records and they kind of set the foundation of my music taste on some level. I was also just getting into skateboarding and punk rock then too. Looking back as an adult I realise that I always loved music but around the age of 12 I vividly remember feeling like I was looking for something of my own. One day I heard People Are People and it was an instant love. It was the perfect blend of everything I was looking for in music. It was pop but it also had all this electronics going on. I wish I could describe the feeling, but it was a game changer and I have been a hardcore fan ever since. I had heard Just Can't Get Enough and Everything Counts but I didn't know it was the same band let alone Depeche when I was that age. I have a funny memory of reading the lyric sheet from Some Great Reward and thinking Dave was Martin as I assumed the singer wrote all the songs. It was a little later that I sorted out who everyone was - yes I was a dopey kid! People Are People and Clear from Cybrotron literally changed my life and my love affair with music and skateboarding continues today. I had a very similar reaction to The Smiths too.

Breathing in Fumes 009 - photo by Heather McAlister

6. Like me you tend to collect the odd bit of Depeche vinyl (slight understatement). What's your favourite Depeche Mode vinyl and what's the rarest you won?

I love that you're a fellow vinyl junkie! Depeche vinyl always comes first for me, but I do collect all their physical releases. I started on vinyl, so that might be why I suppose. I realized the other day that the first Depeche Mode CD I ever purchased was Violator since I didn't get a CD player up until around '89 or '90. So I am just from that generation and as a DJ vinyl will always be apart of the culture.... even in the digital age. I don't really have a favorite since I have so many memories tied up with the collection as lame as that sounds. Having rare, hard to find promos are great, but I find I have more love for the ones I have the most memories with. I look at the certain ones and remember who I was with when I bought it, what store it was at, what the song meant at the time etc. For me, there is nothing more satisfying as a music collector then finding a record when you're out digging in a record shop. I don't buy online from Ebay or Discogs, though I have grabbed a few from those sites as record shops are sadly disappearing more and more. Not sure which one is my rarest really, I need to look into that. I have some early promos that I know are pretty hard to come by. 

7. Give me your top 5 DM songs - straight off your head!

You're killing me here! To be fair, my Top 20 are almost all tied for the number one slot, but here are five off the top of my head in no particular order: "Lie To Me", "World In My Eyes", "Here Is The House", "Strangelove", & "Dangerous". 

8. We're approaching the tenth Breathing In Fumes . Any big plans for that?

No plans really, except to maybe go back and try some experiments that I never finished and see if I can get them to work. The Should Be Higher remixes are officially out now so I could see one of those show up in the tenth one for sure. The only one I have thought about as far as a future podcast goes is the the twelfth one as it marks the one year mark for Breathing In Fumes. I have a few people in mind for possible guest mixes (APA - I am always available!)  - who knows? We'll see. I have a lot if ideas but I'm not sure I want it to drift too far off as it's working fine the way it is.

9. What does the future hold for Breathing In Fumes? I think we all hope there are plenty more to come?

Not sure, just going to keep doing what I do I suppose! I have a lot of fun on Facebook and Twitter with little contests and song battles etc so I can see more of that if people enjoy it (APA - We do!). While I know people are interested in Depeche Mode its nice to have people enjoy the way I am presenting the music. It's not about me it's about the band. I'm just trying to do something that we fans might find interesting. That being said, and if I'm being honest, it's a tad scary to put so much of their music out there like this. While I know some would see it as promotion others might see it as giving away the music too. I'm trying to find a balance so that's why I am only putting them up one episode at a time. In today's climate it might seem weird to worry about putting something like this out but this is their art form and how they make their living so I don't want to be seen as taking advantage of that. I just do this for fun and sometimes the stress, even if I am only putting it on myself, makes me want to quit. (APA - DON'T!)

10. Have the band heard the podcast? Are they fans?

No idea but I doubt it. I couldn't imagine they would be interested to hear a podcast of their own music. They might like the idea of someone putting something out there about how much they love the band's music but I doubt they would listen to it. That said I would love to know their reaction to Peter Hook claiming that Enjoy The Silence was a rip off of New Order's Touched By The Hand Of God from that KRQO air check I put out on episode 5. I should just take the audio and send it in - they might get a kick out of it. Band members have mentioned to me that they check out HOME especially around the time of when they are touring so it might be on someone's radar in the band...but I highly doubt it. (APA - If you're reading this Martin, hello from me and please play But Not Tonight in Glasgow ;) )

11. Finally, anyone you want to thank? 

Thank you to everyone who supports the podcast and have donated prizes, listens or shared it with their friends. Big thanks to my fellow HOME crew members, Heather McAlister for her artwork, all your support here on Almost Predictable and my poor wife Elaine who has to put up with my lame music obsession! For info on the podcast head over to and HOME

Thanks very much to Glen for sparing me the time to answer my questions. Breathing In Fumes 9 is out today and can be grabbed on ITunes or on it's podomatic page here . The tracklisting for BIF9 is:

1. Intro
2. Dave, Martin & Andy (1997)
3. It's No Good (Andrea Parker Mix)
4. Freelove (Flood Mix)
5. The band discuss But Not Tonight
6. But Not Tonight (Live Austin, Texas 10/11/13)
7. Music Plus Id (1993)
8. I Feel You (Babylon Mix)
9. Precious (Michael Mayer Balearic Mix)
10. Sister of Night (Ida Engberg Remix)
11. In Sympathy (Live 5/10/09)
12. Live 105 Interview with Martin L Gore 9/26/13
13. The Sun And The Rainfall (Black Light Odyssey's Further Excerpts)
14. Peace (Justin Kohncke Extended Disco Club Vocal Remix)
15. Outro

Follow Breathing In Fumes on Twitter and Facebook
The podcast is available from the Podomatic page mentioned above and on ITunes.

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