Video: Null + Void – “Where I Wait” ft. Dave Gahan
Depeche Mode co-founder Martin Gore (songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/vocals) bursts into laughter, amused by the international flavor: a British band with a French name who live in the U.S. (frontman Dave Gahan lives in New York City and Gore lives in Santa Barbara) doing press from Germany about their upcoming Latin-titled record. “We’re multicultural!” Gore exclaims, throwing his hands in the air playfully.
Gore is speaking to SPIN over Zoom from his hotel room in Berlin where Depeche Mode held a live-streamed press conference on Tuesday to announce their forthcoming album, Memento Mori, due in spring 2023, and an accompanying world tour.
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The synth-rockers, whose last record, Spirit, was released in 2017, initially set the internet abuzz in August when they posted a photo to Instagram showing Gore and Gahan inside a recording studio along with the caption “Finding stability in what we know and love, and focusing on what gives life meaning and purpose.”
Though Memori Mento means “Remember you must die,” Gore says it isn’t meant ominously. “I don’t think it’s a morbid title.” he says. “I like to look at it positively like, ‘Make the most of your life. Life’s short.’”
“I felt it was a good representation of the songs we had written for the album,” he continues. “I always think that there’s an element of spirituality to our music and an element of joy and the music’s kind of uplifting.”
Despite that the record’s title was conceived of before Depeche Mode co-founder Andy “Fletch” Fletcher (bass/synthesizer) died suddenly from an aortic dissection in May, it acquired an additional, poignant layer of meaning in the aftermath of the immense loss with which Gore is still grappling, calling it “a complete shock” with constant reminders everywhere.
“I’ve been in this hotel so many times with Andy and he was always in the hotel bar and I could just see a vision of him sitting there with a pint. That brought it back,” he says. “I realized there are going to be so many hotels and places we visit over the next few years where I’m going to be seeing visions of him. It’s inevitable.”
“Grief is a funny thing, isn’t it?” Gore adds. “Little things can bring back so much.”
(Credit: Sven Darmer)
Memento Mori‘s recording process made Fletcher’s absence feel a little less real to Gore because Depeche Mode worked at studios in which they had never previously recorded, recording the bulk of the new record at Gore’s home studio, Electric Ladyboy, with a few days spent at famed producer Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La studio.
Written over the course of almost two and a half years, starting at the end of 2019, Gore and Gahan finally began recording Memento Mori in July after whittling down 16 songs to 12. “The pandemic…it’s terrible but it has its blessings,” Gore says. “We had so much time on our hands to write, which is always a good thing, so we ended up with a lot of songs to choose from.”
While the finished tracks have yet to be mixed, before the press conference began, a sample of “Ghosts Again” (the song’s working title) was played over a montage of the band making the new album, revealing Depeche Mode’s trademark synth-infused rock to be as vital as ever, with the album’s mortality-oriented theme readily apparent in the lyrics as Gahan sings, “We know we’ll be ghosts again.”
Though Gore says it hasn’t been decided yet, “Ghosts Again” seems to be the strongest candidate for lead single thus far. “That is the favorite at the moment,” he says. “It’s got such an upbeat feel to it and we’ve listened to it thousands of times and we keep saying we don’t ever get bored with it so that’s got to be a good thing.”
Eager to hit the road after “a lot of sitting around over the last two years” due to the pandemic, Depeche Mode’s most recent outing, their 2017-2018 world tour, was one of the highest grossing tours that year. “It’s amazing,” the 61-year-old Gore says with awe. “It’s sometimes hard to grasp how we manage to keep attracting fans. Our audiences are not just our age. They go down to teens which is just amazing to me.”
(Credit: Anton Corbijn)
And while there’s clearly no shortage of songs when putting together a Depeche Mode setlist, there’s equally no shortage of enthusiasm about performing them, with a slew of decades-old hits including “Everything Counts” “People are People” and “Enjoy the Silence” that have stood the test of time. “It’s fun to play live and our audiences are amazing,” says Gore. “Every time we play, it’s like an amazing celebration and the audiences are singing along to every song.
Now a duo, with Gahan and Gore as the sole remaining original band members, Depeche Mode will tour next year with their long-standing touring musicians, drummer Christian Eigner and multi-instrumentalist Peter Gordeno.
Memento Mori, produced by James Ford and Marta Salogni, will be released in late March with Depeche Mode’s 41-city world tour starting in Sacramento on March 23.
See the full list of Depeche Mode tour dates below.
March 23 – Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center
March 25 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center
March 28 – Los Angeles, CA – Kia Forum
March 30 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
April 2 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
April 5 – Chicago, IL – United Center
April 7 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
April 9 – Quebec City, QC – Videotron Centre
April 12 – Montreal, QC – Centre Bell
April 14 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
May 16 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome
May 20 – Antwerp, BE – Sportpaleis Antwerpen
May 23 – Stockholm, SE – Friends Arena
May 26 – Leipzig, DE – Leipziger Festwiese
May 28 – Bratislava, SK – Národný Futbalový Štadión
May 31 – Bordeaux, FR – Matmut Atlantique
June 2 – Barcelona, ES – Primavera Sound Festival
June 4 – Dusseldorf, DE – Merkur Spiel-Arena
June 6 – Dusseldorf, DE – Merkur Spiel-Arena
June 9 – Madrid, ES – Primavera Sound Festival
June 11 – Bern, CH – Stadion Wankdorf
June 14 – Dublin, IE – Malahide Castle
June 17 – London, UK – Twickenham Stadium
June 20 – Munich, DE – Olympiastadion
June 22 – Lille, FR – Stade Pierre Mauroy
June 24 – Paris, FR – Stade de France
June 27 – Copenhagen, DK – Parken
June 29 – Frankfurt, DE – Deutsche Bank Park
July 4 – Lyon, FR – Groupama Stadium
July 7 – Berlin, DE – Olympiastadion
July 12 – Rome, IT – Stadio Olympico
July 14 – Milan, IT – San Siro
July 16 – Bologna, IT – Stadio Renato Dall’Ara
July 21 – Klagenfurt, AT – Wörthersee Stadion
July 23 – Zagreb, HR – Arena Zagreb
July 26 – Bucharest, RO – Arena Națională
July 28 – Budapest, HU – Puskás Aréna
July 30 – Prague, CZ – Letňany Airport
August 2 – Warsaw, PL – PGE Narodowy
August 6 – Tallinn, EE – Tallinna Lauluväljak
August 8 – Helsinki, FI – Kaisaniemen Puisto
August 11 – Oslo, NO – Telenor Arena
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