Exclusive Interview: Dave Clayton

Here is another HOME exclusive interview, this time with keyboardist and programmer Dave Clayton! Dave talks about working on Ultra, playing with Depeche, and much more!

There is nothing I love to hear more then when someone I contact for an interview tells me they are up for talking about “their favorite band”! Have you been a fan a long time?

Yes, since Music For The Masses.

Let’s get a little background, what can you tell us about how you got into music and what drew you to playing keyboards and electronic music in general?

I started in local club bands playing covers as a teenager then I got offered the ABC gig and moved into a pro life. I formed a band called Person to Person with Dave Palmer (drummer) and we got our album produced by “The SYSTEM” a US electro funk outfit. Dave Franks, the keyboardist/programmer with the band, got me into computers and synths in a big way and after that I was totally hooked!! I thank Dave so much for getting me ELECTRIC!

You were recruited by ABC to tour with them and later made records with them as well, how did that come about?

Dave Palmer introduced me to them, another Dave to thank!!

You also would go on to work with such legendary artists as Depeche, Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, Bowie, and even Paul McCartney to name a few. Does working with other artist give you as much fulfillment as working on your own music?

Generally yes!! Especially the synth lovers!!

U2 might arguably be the biggest band in the world at this point. Not only did you record with them, you were a tour programmer as well. Which tour was it that you programmed for them and was it an enjoyable experience?

Another Mind blowing decision!! it was Zooropa and POP, they certainly are special!!

How did you hook up with Tim Simenon and Bomb The Bass?

I did a session for a joint production with Chris Porter and he asked if I would get on board!

You went on the leave Bomb The Bass right after working on the Ultra sessions with Depeche, was there a reason you moved on?

Tim decided to take time out and go and live in Amsterdam, so Kerry Q and I decided to carry on and we called ourselves TOY.

What were you thinking when Tim got the Producer gig for Depeche and that you were going to be part of the team?

Am I Worthy??!!

Both you and Kerry Hopwood worked as programmers, did you guys work together on tracks or did you both have individual roles in the studio?

Individual and combined for the final product obviously, I am more a keyboards/programmer/ player.

You even got to play keyboards on the record, what tracks did you record keyboards on?

All of them and lots of it!!!

Was there a feeling that there was a “hole” in the studio left by Alan Wilder or did the band and producing team start from a whole new perspective?

Start with a new perspective. A Bomb The Bass /Mode collective!

Did you guys ever see or feel pressure knowing Depeche fans could be judgmental on a record with Alan missing?

Not one bit!

Depeche was at a pretty fragile point in their career and were able to deliver one of their strongest records, do you remember it as a tough time and did it affect you personally?

Was tough, but very inspiring. That drove me on, plus the team was very solid, so no real problems really!

You didn’t work with Tim and DM during the recording of the “Only When I Lose Myself” EP, were any of those songs demos during the Ultra sessions? Where there any demos that never ended up on the record that you can remember?

A couple…cant remember them.

How was playing with the band during the Ultra promo shows?

Unbelievable, but a tough call!

You also played with them on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was that pretty exciting as well?


Any favorite tracks from Ultra? Maybe one you are most proud of for working on or maybe one you helped steer in the direction it ended up on the record?

Barrel, Love Thieves, Home, No Good, Sister…hey I cant stop! I loved ‘em all and I was always allowed to create and then be judged. It was a very creative time of my musical life.

Now you and Marc Perry are working together again as Pressure Zone, why did you guys get back together after such a long break?

Destiny perhaps…… and friendship.

Marc worked at Konk Studios and even engineered for DM as well if I’m not mistaken?

Yep, tis true.

Pressure Zone had even released a 12” on the legendary Creation Records, with a Danny Rampling remix no less, why did it end back then?

Many reasons..personal and musical.

How did you and Marc hook up originally for Pressure Zone?

Good question! I will ask him when he returns from India, he’s on a well earned vacation at present..

Aside from Pressure Zone, what else can we look forward to from Dave Clayton?

I am on a small film at present, its very good!! But it’s not quite BLADERUNNER, which is an ambition I want to achieve, to do an electronic soundtrack.

For more information on Dave Clayton, please visit:

The Pressure Zone website

Interview by Glen. (C) HOME. Do not steal this article without giving full credit and a link! Photos appear courtesy of Dave Clayton.