Sarah Mills –
With lyrics like We’re going backwards and Blame misinformation, the British electronic band Depeche Mode hope to “make people think” about the state of the world with their new album and expect more musicians to do the same.
Singer Dave Gahan, guitarist and keyboardist Martin Gore and keyboardist Andrew Fletcher last month released Spirit, featuring politically and socially-charged songs like Where’s the Revolution, first inspired in 2015 by the Syrian conflict.
“When Martin… wrote the songs a couple of years ago, he was sort of feeling that things weren’t going in the right direction,” Fletcher said.
“We don’t feel music can change things, really, but just to make people think a bit, look around the world and see what’s going on.”
Breaking onto the British new wave scene in the 1980s, the band is known for its synthpop music rather than being “overtly political” and decided to “speak up a bit” in its latest work, Fletcher said.
“I feel there definitely is a move to the right all over Europe and Britain to a certain extent and definitely in America. Personally, I think it is something to worry about a little bit. We’re not communists… we’re just slightly left… I think there probably will be a reaction in music,” he said.
“Maybe we got a bit of a break where we happened to be a bit ahead of the curve and this just came out at the perfect time, but I’m sure there are people now that are probably writing stuff that reflects what’s going on,” Gore said.
At home, Brexit remains top of the agenda. Depeche Mode formed in Basildon, a town that voted to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum.
“I think it’s terrible… It could lead this country down completely the wrong path,” Fletcher said.
Gore said he was “completely depressed” the day after the vote: “I didn’t actually, really think it was going to happen… It doesn’t seem like it’s a very good idea to me at all… Let’s hope it’s going to somehow be OK for the UK.”
Asked if politically stanced songs were now on the agenda for the band, Gore said he did not want to be “pigeon-holed”.
“The thought of having to write political songs forever would be probably quite disheartening,” Gore said.
“Let’s hope that nobody needs to, let’s hope the world becomes a better place.”
In the late 80s and early 90s, the British synthpop band offered the world a number of notable hits. Their sound has inspired musicians of all styles ever since. Here are 10 direct tributes to the influential band — some more memorable than others.
The first single on Depeche Mode’s best known album, Violator, was Personal Jesus. The hit acquired new fame in the 2004 version covered by shock rocker Marilyn Manson. The cover sticks to the original tempo of the song, adding grungy guitar riffs and heavy drums.