You can prove anything with statistics. Take Depeche Mode: 25 years, 11 albums, 37 top UK
hits, millions of live shows, trillions of fans, inventors of at least 97 genres of music
(plus, quite possibly, the wheel). All of which would make even the boldest statistician
blush. But its not about statistics; its about quality. And, after 25 years,
11 albums, blah, blah, blah, Depeche Mode still exude quality like Jordan exudes cleavage,
or a Parisian pavement exudes dogs***.
Okay, nasty analogy, but you get the point. Heres the interview
So, we hear some chap was arrested in Poland for leaking your new material online. Will
you visit him in prison if he goes down?
Fletch: He wont go to prison. He wont
Dave: Yeah, he will
F: Nah, hell just get a fine. A 50 Euro fine.
D: It's not about the downloading, though. Its about the fact that someone is
stealing from you before youve finished. If someone put their hand in your pocket
and took a ten pound note out of it, youd be pretty p***ed off.
You hold the record for scoring the most ever hit singles without ever getting a Number
One. Will Precious change all that?
D: Ah, but that may be the key! As soon as we get a Number One, it might be all over!
Martin: You can only go downhill from there.
D: Weve still got plenty of room, though. We actually do our best to stay nice and
low in the charts, but its very difficult - our fans are pretty crazy
F: We keep the records in short supply at the shops.
There are 12 songs on the new album. Its taken over four years. Thats less
than three songs per year. Now, either youve been lounging around something rotten,
or youve got a lot of songs left over
F: Well, we do have a few in the can now. We actually have some B-sides this time!
D: We had about 20 songs ready when we went in to start the album which is
completely unknown for us. I think we usually start out with, like, three or four
Dave, youve written some songs for the album this time around. Is that down to
Chelsea-fan Fletch coming over all Jose Mourinho, and getting you and Martin to compete
with each other for a place in the starting songwriting line-up?
F: Thats quite a good analogy, actually!!
D: Game of two halves, isnt it?
F: But I think it was a natural thing for Dave to do after his solo record. It has made a
big difference to the final album.
Youve all written in your time, havent you?
D: Fletch had a solo album long before anything me or Martin did.
The mysterious covers album
D: Yes, you know about that?
I do, but Im yet to hear it
D: Oh, Martin will help you out, there. He seems to help everyone out when it comes to
hearing that for the first time!
Is it ever going to be released?
M: How do you know? Youre just the artist.
Apparently, the albums harder and faster than before. Is that a fair description?
M: Yes, thats a good description. The last two albums were up there with our best,
were relatively sombre for us. We wanted to try something different this time, keep
D: You know, you make the best records you can in the moment - and weve been
fortunate enough to do that for a lot of years together now. You cant analyse it more than
that. We had a good team working with us this time, especially being produced by Ben
Hillier. That definitely injected us with the enthusiasm we needed in the studio
You turn 25 this year. How are you going to celebrate?
F: Well, the problem is theres various 25th anniversary dates. Theres the one
where we started as a band weve passed that now, but we didnt celebrate
much. We just said: We did it! 25 years! when we were in the studio. Then
theres the first single anniversary
And the first gig.
F: That hasnt happened yet. But the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame anniversary is for 25
years since your first record was released.
D: Specifically, your first album.
F: Its interesting, because I dont know who else from 1981 would be up for it.
D: One rule about it is that youve got to still be making records - and Im not
sure theyd qualify for that! They do tend to bend the rules when it comes to still
having original members though: I remember seeing The Four Tops, and Im sure there
wasnt one single member of the original line-up there! Little bit sad
I wouldnt be here today if it werent for you simply because you were
the first band to turn me on to proper music. Do you think you can still have
the same effect on a new generation of listeners?
F: Well, when we release a record, its always nice to get new fans listening to our
music. I think we make good music! So we do like picking up new fans - and we have done
over the past few years.
Will you ever have another career-defining moment like Pasadena [where Depeche Mode filmed
their legendary 101 live movie]?
D: I think you have them when you have them. Whenever you try and plan them, it just
doesnt seem to work out. But, over the 25 years that weve been together, there
have been quite a few key moments like that moments which kind of happened against
all odds and became big markers. To be honest, the sheer fact that we made another record
together and really enjoyed doing it is, after all these years, good.
M: Because the Pasadena show was so well documented, its become this really big
thing. But, in actual fact, we played to more people at two German shows on the last tour
than we ever played to there. 80,000 people! We just didnt film it.
should have thought about that!
Precious is released by Mute Records on October 3rd. The album, Playing The
Angel, follows on October 17th.