Depeche Mode – Music Triumphs Again


Dave’s contributions to Sounds Of The Universe were written with his regular composing partners, Andrew Philpott and Christian Eigner, Depeche Mode‘s live drummer. One of their stand-out collaborations is ‘Come Back”, the dirtiest and rowdiest rocker on the album. ‘I wanted to take it away from being a straight ballad,” says Dave, ‘with a feel beneath it that was kind of ‘My Bloody Valentine’ or ‘Jesus and Mary Chain.’ A big lush sound with this droning wall of noise underneath. Martin did some fantastic backing vocals for that.’ Another of the singer’s dirty confessionals, ‘Hole To Feed’ marries modern electronics to a floor-shaking, bone-rattling Bo Diddley beat. The lyric, a blend of rock-star swagger and tender yearning, is vintage Dave Gahan. ‘Lyrically, I’m just being my usual cynical self,’ Dave laughs. ‘I’m the man who has everything but I’m still just poking around in that little hole that feels empty, wondering what I can fill it with.’ The band set off on a mammoth global jaunt that opened on May 10 with 28 stadium concerts across the Middle East and Europe. Further legs of the tour will include the US and throughout South America. ‘We played Mexico on the last tour and it was amazingly successful,” Martin recalls. ‘We did two nights in Mexico City to 50,000 people each night. Knowing how popular we are out there, we’re expecting a similar reaction this time - we all felt we neglected South America on the last tour, so we decided to put that right.’

For a band with such a long and successful history, selecting the set list for the tour is a major task. Around 230 possible Depeche Mode classics need to be honed into a 20-song concert. ‘Every time we tour now the set list becomes a real nightmare,” says Andy. ‘Because we’re a democracy, it’s like the Eurovision Song Contest, voting individually for each song. But it’s not such a bad problem to have.’

Public response to the Tour of the Universe has been phenomenal, with European stadium shows selling out immediately. ‘The touring thing is where it all makes sense for me,” nods Dave. ’Once the fans are there, there’s always that feeling underneath Depeche Mode’s music of wanting to be part of something, and there are a lot of people out there who feel the same.’

‘We’ve been blessed over the years by our audience,’ says Martin. ‘We have the craziest, most loyal fans of any band I know. People who think Depeche Mode are doomy should just come and see one of our concerts and see how the audience react. The shows are just an amazing high, everybody’s there to have a good time.’

Depeche Mode - Sounds Of The Universe (Mute/Capitol/Virgin)