More than just collecting Depeche Mode, I've always had a passion for finding the best pressing of every version / mix / edit of all the songs and videos that I came across. That passion came full circle in 2015, when my job for Depeche Mode moved a bit away from web, and more into their vault. I still maintain The Archives, and I have a hand in both the main site and the social media, but I'm much more excited about what being the band's 'Archivist and Advisor' will produce.
In late 2016, Depeche Mode released the "Video Singles Collection". I first learned of the project during Dave's "Soulsavers" rehearsals in October 2015. I had a meeting with management about what the band wanted to do, and then I went and fleshed out a plan. That plan included making a comprehensive list of all of the band's music videos, as well as bonus items. With the plan ironed out, I flew out to the vault in England where the band's master tapes are located, and set upon finding the master tapes of every music video. This was intensive, as there are multiple copies of many of the tapes in the vault, including masters and sub-masters that were formally in Mute Germany, Mute France, Mute Japan and Capitol Records' vaults. In the end, there were nearly 400 video tapes that were pulled from the vault. I sat in a tape facility in London with the video guy from Sony for days, watching all of the tapes to determine which tapes were the proper masters. This did yield surprises, such as the alternate video of Stripped. Overall, though, it was a great experience to take part in a project that finally gave fans something that had never existed before: A truly complete collection of every music video. It also started me on truly organizing the band's tape vault.
Jump to mid-2017. After going through the music videos for Depeche Mode, I started working with Sony, organizing all of the master tapes for all of the singles. As many of you who collect the mostly out-of-print singles know, there's a LOT of mixes to keep track of. In the vault, there are many duplicate tapes for a number of the singles, so I have been tasked with identifying every mix, and then determining which are the masters. On some singles, that has been easy, as some songs that we (as fans) know to fade out, don't fade out! So for each tape (captured at the highest sample rate), I'm going through and not only sorting out the masters, but where needed, I am actually the one preparing the files with things like fine edits and gain envelopes (fade outs). The end goal will be a digital version of the band's vault, which will contain both true hi-res digital clones of all of the analog tapes, but also hi-res copies of my "prepared" files.