Depeche Mode: The Y! Music Interview
Posted Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:31pm PDT by Lyndsey Parker in Maximum Performance
Few bands from the '80s or the '90s have managed to remain as relevant and influential as Depeche Mode. It's almost impossible to believe that the seminal synth band has been making music for almost 30 years, not just considering all the odds stacked against them--the departures of Vince Clarke and later Alan Wilder; the early detractors who at first refused to take a guitar-less band seriously; the much-publicized addiction struggles of frontman Dave Gahan--but also considering how fresh and exciting their 12th studio album, Sounds Of The Universe, truly is.
Recorded 28 long years after Depeche's legendary debut Speak & Spell, the new album is an ambient, atmospheric opus, the stunning work of a band still very much in its prime. That's no easy feat--few of Depeche's new wave peers have survived or aged so well. But Depeche Mode remain vital because they never remain the same. They switch it up from album to album, always progressing, always reaching and expanding, and that is why they've amassed so many fans who've followed them with such faith and devotion. After 30 years, Depecheheads still just can't get enough, and Depeche continue to gain new fans with each album.
Among those fans are various A-list artists--of all genres, from metal to emo to pure pop--who have namechecked or covered the Mode over the years. Depeche's songs have been remade by everyone from Smashing Pumpkins to Tori Amos to Johnny Cash to Marilyn Manson to their '80s contemporaries the Cure; Hilary Duff even sampled their hit "Personal Jesus" in her recent single "Reach Out." (Hilary caught a lot of flak for that, but the band's Andy Fletcher and Martin Gore are quick to defend her in the interview below. DM's music is for the masses, after all.)
We here at Yahoo! Music are big Depeche fans as well, so it was thrilling day indeed when we got to sit down with founding members Fletcher, Gore, and Gahan at New York's Greenwich Hotel to discuss Sounds Of The Universe; the many diverse artists they've influenced (including, yes, Hilary); and how the band has managed to survive and evolve over the last three decades.
Watch below for a rare intimate chat with these techno-pop pioneers:
And for a peek at the electronic auteurs at work, check out these behind-the-scenes performances, taped live and semi-acoustic at NYC's Chung King Studios during the Sounds Of The Universe sessions. The songs here are stripped down to the bone, so to speak, and they still hold up--quite a testament to Depeche Mode's songwriting skills and Dave Gahan's raw charisma:
And finally, if you feel like catching up with Depeche Mode even further, check out Yahoo! Music's archival footage of the band discussing their amazing discography in this three-part retrospective (1981-1984, 1985-1989, and 1990-2001):