In the late 1980s the members of Depeche Mode were recording their seventh studio album, Violator. One of its songs began life as a slow ballad with the only instrumental accompaniment being from an organ played by the song’s writer, band member Martin Gore.
The group’s then-keyboardist Alan Wilder suggested speeding up the track and adding a beat. He and the album’s producer, Flood, then suggested Gore add a guitar riff. DM lead singer Dave Gahan, in an interview with Q magazine, recalls Gore being upset with what was happening to his song, though Gore told Mojo magazine that once he came up with the guitar part, “I think that’s the only time in our history when we all looked at each other and said, ‘I think this might be a hit.'”
Their instincts were spot on. The song went on to become the band’s first (and to date, only) top ten pop single in the US. The Violator album became their first top ten album stateside and their highest-charting album up to that time in the UK, where it peaked at #2. Said Gahan about the track, “It really made the album cross over into another cosmos. It had been a constant climb over the previous 10 years, but I don’t think we were prepared for what was about to come. The album was a worldwide success and suddenly these huge royalty checks started coming in and you were able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted – the velvet rope was always open.”
If you’re working on something, keep tinkering with it. Approach it in varied ways. Experimentation may lead you to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.