Last updated: 2nd March
Taken From Spin
Depeche Mode Talk New Album
By William Goodman 02.23.09 1:56 PM
During their set at Germany's Echo Awards this past weekend, Depeche Mode unveiled
"Wrong," the first single off their upcoming album Sounds of the Universe (out
April 21). With screeching synths, computer-generated beats, and a chanting chorus with
dark lyrics about personal mistakes, "Wrong" is classic Mode.
But despite the familiar sound, keyboardist Andy Fletcher tells SPIN.com that recording
the song was no easy task. "The middle eight in 'Wrong' we couldn't get right, that
took time and time and time," he says. "We were focusing on it because we knew
it was going to be a single... it was a lot of work."
The song is one of 13 on the band's 12th studio album, Sounds of the Universe, which --
nearly three decades after the band's 1981 birth -- ushered in a new creative atmosphere
for chief DM songwriter Martin Gore. "[Gore] gave up drinking during the 
Playing the Angel tour," Fletcher tells SPIN.com. "He was a bit worried, like a
lot of writers are, about writing sober. But he's really prolific on this album, more than
According to Fletcher, once Gore had written eleven songs, the band united in March to
write. And soon they entered the studio to record with producer Ben Hillier (Blur, Doves,
Elbow), the man behind the knobs on the Mode's 2005 album Playing the Angel.
"Ben was a tyrant," Fletcher says of the late '08 sessions. "He had a real
mission." And so did Gore, whose obsession with eBay and vintage synthesizers led to
new instruments turning up everyday in the mail, says Fletcher. "We'd open the box,
try it, and get inspired -- it's a lot of stuff we owned in late '70s and early
'80s," Fletcher recalls.
Sounds of the Universe also marks a larger songwriting role for frontman Dave Gahan, who,
prior to Playing the Angel, gave way to Gore, even for the words he'd sing. "Dave was
never 100 percent comfortable as a frontman who didn't write the lyrics," Fletcher
says of Gahan's songwriting contributions, which have increased since the release of his
last solo effort, 2007's Hourglass. "The songwriting on his solo album is one of the
reasons why Depeche are getting on so well now. He has so much more confidence in the
And for a band that's adored for its deft forays into doom and gloom, things seem sunnier
than ever. "As a band we're getting on better than ever," says Fletcher.
"We're still making music that's relevant... to be here three decades on is