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 Всё о Depeche Mode

28 Aug 2018, 08:34 
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Country:  Israel (il)
k.eroyants wrote:
depe wrote:
Ранняя версия видео клипа Антона не ставшая основной и которая была заблокирована в ряде стран. ... ilence.php

Про это мне известно. Предполагаю, что в хорошем качестве видео не достать...

Насколько я помню был DVD c разными дублями ETS около часа, почти свободно гулял в фанатских кругах


Depeche Mode

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28 Aug 2018, 17:40 
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Country:  Russia (ru)
Depe, на мой вопрос так и не было ответа. Что в этом клипе не того? Где мораль попрана? Лицом Дэйва что ли?
Про Модерн Токинг мне не интересно. А в СССР я прожил 18 лет. ))


Depeche Mode

 Всё о Depeche Mode

28 Aug 2018, 19:17 
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Country:  Russia (ru)
Во пурги-то нагнали! :big: Этот клип был смонтирован неким фанатом по имени Дантес в 2010 году из имевшихся на бутлегах дублей и рабочих съёмок. Поэтому в лучшем качестве не существует.

По поводу морально-этических норм: фирма "Мелодия" по таким "соображениям" постоянно коверкала западные альбомы и выбрасывала оттуда одну-две песни и добавляла из другого просто так. По каким причинам из альбома "Спейс" "Волшебный полёт" песня "Carry On, Turn me On" была заменена на инструментальную "Just Blue"? Зато "Вежливое похищение", а по сути "Бархатное изнасилование" (Velvet Rape) оставили. Западло такое. То же самое делали и с альбомам наших подпольных рок-групп "Алиса", "Кино", "Аквариум", когда они только начали выпускаться. Обязательно надо было что-нибудь выкинуть, заменить или подрезать. Монополисты, своя рука - владыка. Ну, а коллекционеры всегда падки на подобного рода нестандарты.


Depeche Mode

 Всё о Depeche Mode

28 Aug 2018, 19:28 
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Country:  Russia (ru)
Спасибо за ответ по сути. Я так и предположил, что это из рабочих кадров.
Никаких "морально-этических" и в помине.

А остальная лабуда про Модерн Токинг и Алисы шмалисы к теме не относилось.


Depeche Mode

 Всё о Depeche Mode

28 Aug 2018, 19:54 
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Country:  Russia (ru)
bongster wrote:
Спасибо за ответ по сути. Я так и предположил, что это из рабочих кадров.
Никаких "морально-этических" и в помине.

А остальная лабуда про Модерн Токинг и Алисы шмалисы к теме не относилось.


vevo -
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Depeche Mode

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28 Aug 2018, 19:56 
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Country:  Russia (ru)
Voyager wrote:
Этот клип был смонтирован неким фанатом по имени Дантес в 2010 году из имевшихся на бутлегах дублей и рабочих съёмок. Поэтому в лучшем качестве не существует.

:revolution: Дантеса в студию!


Depeche Mode

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28 Aug 2018, 20:08 
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Country:  Russia (ru)
А там написано в каком году оно заболокировано?. Цыфры ниочем


Depeche Mode

 Всё о Depeche Mode

06 Sep 2018, 18:59 
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Country:  Russia (ru)

by Jon Wilde
Melody Maker, 10th March, 1990


Over the last nine years, Depeche have moved from risible electro-twiddlers to well-respected pop icons who've been a seminal influence on the present-day dance explosion. Jon Wilde discovers where it all went right and talks to singer Dave Gahan about the boys from Basildon's enormous popularity, Martin Gore's dress-sense, fame's fatal distractions, their new album "Violator" and why they're "the weirdest f***ing band" in pop.

"AS FAR AS PEOPLE IN ENGLAND ARE CONCERNED," SAYS A GRINNING GAHAN, "we've always been a part of the furniture. We've been out there, niggling away, refusing to go away. But that's all changing now. Even people who don't like much of what we do have some respect for us. Attitudes towards us in this country have turned around. Mainly because we've paid our dues, if you like. It takes a long time for that to sink in. But there's no longer a stigma attached to Depeche Mode."

After nine years as a music comic laughing-stock, Depeche Mode are enjoying a sudden reappraisal. Pop writers are currently queuing up to help with this drastic resuscitation. Depeche Mode are on the verge of hip.

"I'm not bitter about the way we've been treated in Britain," Gahan shrugs. "No way. I've got to accept the fact that we made a lot of mistakes in terms of the way we put ourselves across and put ourselves about. We were prepared to do anything. Not necessarily to sell ourselves. We were just completely naive. We thought it would be good to be in Smash Hits answering questions about our socks, appearing on Saturday morning television, making prats of ourselves.

"We didn't realise at the time that we were degrading ourselves. Then it reached a point where we realised it wasn't helping us anymore. In fact, it was becoming very negative. So we made a conscious decision to say no. From that point, we've been able to pick and choose. We decided not to make prats of ourselves anymore."

FIVE years ago, the offer of an hour or two with Depeche would prompt any self respecting pop critic to punch his way out of the nearest wall. Depeche were synth wimps turned toytown socialists. The four prancing ninnies from Basildon who arrived at a time when pop and rock was still reeling from the punk blast. When groups like The Birthday Party, The Associates, Human League and Soft Cell were throwing out new, exotic shapes.

Depeche arrived on the coattails of the New Romantic splurge, hitching a ride with OMD, Duran and Spandau, tossing their pretty little flop fringes and denting the chart with their quaint electronic bubblegum. Their record collections were loaded with "Kraftwerk I" and "Kraftwerk II", Bowie's "Low", Iggy's "The Idiot" and early DAF, but they appeared to have absorbed little. Early singles, "Dreaming Of Me" and "New Life" offered the world a Chicory Tip for the Eighties.

It was enough to irrigate the knickers of hordes of teenage girls who demanded something chirpier than Duran or Ant. With "Just Can't Get Enough", they broke through to the Top 10 and found themselves as reluctant teeny heroes. It was all too much for founder member and chief songwriter, Vince Clarke who fled the nest before the release of the debut album, "Speak And Spell".

At the start of 1982, Depeche looked like going the way of all other pop transients of the time - Blue Zoo, Marilyn, Haysi Fantayzee, Blue Rondo, Lotus Eaters. But Depeche just shrugged and carried on, Martin Gore taking on the role of song-writer, ex-Hitmen keyboardist Alan Wilder replacing the departed Clarke.

The hits kept coming - "See You", "The Meaning Of Love", "Leave In Silence" - but Depeche were clearly facing a difficult transition. Their 1982 album, "A Broken Frame" was an appallingly dour affair. "Every inch as empty as "Speak and Spell," wrote our own Steve Sutherland, "just more miserable that's all."

WITH their third LP, "Construction Time Again", they toughened up, discovered sampling and industrial chic. With a firm nod to the likes of Test Department and SPK, they made a half-hearted stab into the belly of the new metal dance. With the notable exception of Everything Counts, their first great pop song, the album was way off target. It's only distinction was that it offered the most puerile collection of lyrics this side of Jonathan King. "Taking from the greedy, giving to the needy", indeed.

The first single off their next album, "Some Great Reward" offered little hope of improvement. "People are people, so why should it be, you and I should get along so awfully..." Depeche Mode were becoming a huge irritant. Yet, with "Blasphemous Rumours" and "Master And Servant", they hinted that they could develop into a consistent singles group. The first consistent album still looked as elusive as ever.

They marked the Eighties halfway mark with a single compilation that only served to show how patchy they had been up to that point. With Gore dividing his time between Basildon and Berlin, and with the rest of the group clearly uncomfortable about his choice of leather skirts, rumours of a Depeche break up were rife. The truth was that they had barely begun.

DAVE Gahan has spent a day in a room at the Kensington Hilton International, diplomatically fending off a long line of European journalists armed with inane questions. The last interviewer, a sullen Frenchman, lasted just 15 minutes. Gahan eyes me suspiciously, fearing yet another stitch-up. After two minutes of caution, trust won, he relaxes his guard and talks relentlessly for the next hour and a half.

"Over the years, I don't think we've interviewed particularly well," he admits with a shrug. "We've never felt that it is our job to explain. That's why we don't do a lot of press these days. I look at someone like John Lydon and he obviously loves sitting there, winding up journalists. It just becomes so boring though. People like Morrissey interview really well. Certain people are entertaining at it. But, to be honest with you, we don't like playing games. We've never gone in for that.

"We've always been fairly self-sufficient. Never had to depend on the press. In Britain particularly, we've always been asked to justify ourselves. We've always found that insulting. It's just not interesting. It just turns out to be a fight between the band and the journalist. You see it all the time. There was a recent article in Melody Maker on The Stone Roses. Did you read that? I forget who the journalist was. It was obvious that the band had been forced into the situation. They could see that the guy hated them. It was all so negative. What's the f***ing point?"

Terrible Dave. Absolutely shocking. Shouldn't be allowed.

"What was the name of that journalist? Do you remember?"

It's just on the tip of my tongue. Jon Somebody. A proper bastard, Dave. Watch out for him.

GAHAN is a surprisingly loquacious interviewee. Hardly the thankless task of legend. The difficulty is keeping him to the point, nudging a word in edgeways as he rattles on. He is remarkably undefensive as I voice my misgivings about early Depeche.

"I think we all feel that "A Broken Frame" is, in retrospect, our weakest album. Definitely. It's very, very patchy. Very badly produced. That's when we got labelled as being a very doomy band. We were learning at that point. It was very naive. It was Martin's first album as a songwriter. He was thrown in at the deep end to be honest.

"I think of "Construction Time Again" as one of our purer albums. Musically, though, some of it was very forced. It was a massive changing-point for us, both musically and lyrically. Maybe we were trying too hard to do too much. Sampling too much and trying to give a message without thinking so much of the structure and the point of the song. We'd go out everywhere and spend days sampling on building-sites. That became the most important thing and the actual songs became a secondary consideration.

"At the same time, we faced the problem that other people wouldn't allow us to grow up and develop. We came out in 1981 wearing these stupid clothes and found ourselves grouped with bands like Duran and Spandau. We just classed ourselves as a pop band. Martin said recently that we may have got more respect if we'd called ourselves a rock band from day one. We just happen to prefer what we'd call pop.

"Most pop or rock basically hasn't changed a lot in 30 or 40 years. Most of it is still blues or R&B based. Depeche Mode doesn't really fit into that tradition. It's more open for us to take any direction that pleases us. If your average rock group started using electronics, they'd be treated with suspicion or derision.

"Depeche Mode have never contrived to be anything. We've never talked about our sense of mission or anything like that. We've just gone out and played, put out's as boring as that, basically. Gradually, we've built up our audience. We haven't set ourselves five-year plans. It's impossible to look at it like that, though groups do try. That would destroy Depeche Mode. If we started thinking like that, we'd be finished."

"IT'S when Depeche are being unconsciously throwaway that they attain the sublime," wrote Steve Sutherland in his review of 1986's "Black Celebration". Though far from being a great LP, it showed that Depeche Mode could craft music of throbbing metallic power when they forgot themselves. "Black Celebration" was their most focussed album to date. For the first time, they sounded self-assured enough to take risks and succeed.

Not until 1987 though would they manage to sustain that charge. "Music For The Masses" was a sound-minded sister to New Order's "Brotherhood". It was the sound of a group who had fully come to terms with their own idiosyncrasies. Sumptuously produced, it showed Depeche working within their limits, no longer straining for effect. Their songs were now full of big flashes, tantalising refrains, voluptuous flushes. They had discovered a beauty in the balance of their parts. Even Gore's lyrics had taken a turn for the better.

Depeche Mode had discovered their own potential at last.

"We had become aware of highs and lows," Gahan recalls. "We were more conscious of building up atmospheres, heightening the songs to an absolutely massive feeling and then bringing them down again. We had discovered dynamics. It was our first truly arranged album.

"At the same time, we had reached a point where we couldn't go any further in that direction. We knew we had to change our way of working. We had to go away and rethink everything."

FOR three years, Depeche have been quiet on the recording front. Last year saw the release of "101", a double live set containing material drawn from their six studio albums. It suffered the fate of most live recordings. It sounded perfunctory at best.

It was while they were undertaking a massive stadium tour of America that the group began to comprehend just how seriously they were taken outside Britain. As John McCready reported in The Face, they received a heroes' welcome in Detroit's premier techno clubs. Much to their surprise, Depeche learned that they were regarded as a seminal influence on the development of the house sound; spoken about in the same reverential tones as New Order and Kraftwerk; highly respected on the black club scene in New York and Chicago.

The Depeche Mode reappraisal was just beginning.

Next came "Personal Jesus", their most physical pop record to date, a tensile Bolanesque pulse that rode roughshod over any lingering doubts about their potency.

Then there's "Enjoy The Silence", currently threatening to dethrone Sinead at the top of the heap, an irresistible wash of colour which boasts the most breathless chorus since New Order's "Touched By The Hand Of God".

Where did it all go right?

"Like anything with Depeche it has to be an accident," Gahan explains. "We've always been unconscious of the changes taking place. Even though we knew something had to change after "Music For The Masses", we couldn't force anything to happen. We just had the time, for once, to sort ourselves out.

"Like with all the compliments that were paid to us by the people in Detroit. We were never conscious of our influence on Eighties dance music. That's the charm of it really. We've just gone about things in our own way, unaware of how much influence we're having on other groups.

"We've always been unique in what we've done. I don't really want to blow our own trumpets, but we've always been out on our own. We're just coming to terms with that ourselves. Recently we were in the studio and Martin (Gore) was listening to a lot of our old albums. He suddenly turned round and said, "Y'know, we're so f***ing weird!" It was as if he's suddenly rediscovered Depeche Mode.

"We tend to get away with an awful lot, lyrically and musically. Yet we still manage to get played on Radio 1. It's like there's this curtain over us that protects us all the way. We seem to be able to go on doing things. I don't know why that is. But there's something exciting about that.

"We do break down a lot of barriers in our own way, and open up a lot of possibilities musically. The type of instrumentation we've used which has now extended into House and Acid music. That's all very flattering. When we get namechecked by people in Detroit and Chicago, that's great."

IT seems as though Depeche are just beginning to break away from their own predictability.

"I think so, definitely. As far as Martin's song-writing goes...well, he writes about certain kind of subjects, often the same subject over and over again. His cynicism towards love and religion. His interest in the taboo side of things. The darker side has always fascinated him a lot more than the, er, chickety-boom type of thing."

Say again?

"Chickety-boom. Chickety-boom. That goes for all the band. If we're working in the studio, we'll always go for something out of the norm. Musically, we'll take things the hard way round. We won't do the easy thing. If there's a certain part that lends itself to a guitar, we won't necessarily use a guitar for the sake of it. We'll try to find something else and we'll possibly come back to the guitar anyway. Picking up the guitar and playing it is the easy way out for us a lot of the time.

"Martin played more guitar on this new album than any album before. But he always uses it in a different way. On "Violator", there's a lot more rootsy type stuff. We've managed to marry a bluesy type feeling to hard electronics, hard technology. We've also managed to do it in what I see as a soulful way. Coming up with something that sounds new without being aware of it.

"It was only when I played this album at home that I realised how right Martin was. It's pretty weird. Not off-the-wall necessarily. It's just that our approach is weird for a band that's considered commercial. When we're writing and recording, we don't consider ourselves to be weird. To us, that's just the way we do it. That's normal for us. I suppose it's other people who consider what we do to be odd. Some people just can't handle us. That's good. That's really healthy. I think it's good to rub people up the wrong way at the same time that we're appealing to a wider audience."

BACK in the days when Depeche were something of a music paper in-joke, they were constantly reprimanded for not being extreme enough. Gore would shrug and say, "Real life is not extreme, so we're not, and nor is our music." When he started wearing frocks it was as though he was attempting to subvert his own and the group's ultra-normal image.

"Oh I think Martin does think life is extreme," says Gahan. "It's the darker side of those extremities that appeals to him. That's a lot more interesting. It involves a lot more. That side of things expands your mind more than the so called normal things in life. We all do those normal things though. I'm not saying that we're one of those weird bands that are into black magic and stuff like that."

We're all of us perverts under the skin.

"Yeah exactly," he laughs. "We've all got our perversities. What's normal at the end of the day? Who's to say? You have to be able to laugh at yourself. We've always done that. Martin has laughed at himself publically a lot of times. There's been periods that he thought were really funny. Of course, we tried to stop him going through those periods."

We're talking about the frocks here?

"Mmmmmm, that's right. If it had been T. Rex or Gary Glitter in the Seventies, it would have been considered the norm to be like that. Or Bowie and The New York Dolls for that matter. It was cool to be like that then. Lou Reed, Iggy Pop...everyone was at it. They all got away with it. When Martin comes along in the mid-Eighties and does it in a straight-faced way, he gets all this flak."

"It was Martin's problem. He thought it was funny. Away from the cameras, he would be having a good old laugh about it. We'd all have a good laugh. Then we realised that it was doing none of us any good. So we kept saying to him, 'Look, you can't go out dressed like that!' Sure we did. Martin, of course, carried on doing it. These ludicrous f***ing dresses! Now he looks back and says, 'What the hell was I doing?' The funny thing was that we just about got away with it.

"See, pop music isn't something which should be taken too seriously. We're very serious about our music. At the same time, we have to laugh at ourselves and laugh at the whole music business. It gets so nauseating when you get these bands going on and on about charity records. They're all great causes, sure, but we've always avoided that sort of thing. If we want to do something for charity, then we'll do it in private, as quietly as possible. We don't ever want to be seen to be using any kind of charity to help boost our career. No matter what the intentions of these bands are, that's how it comes across to me. It's become very trendy. We'll always avoid things like that like the bloody plague.

"So you have to balance the serious side and the humourous side. I think the reason Martin wore dresses was just for fun. Nothing deeper than that. People read other things into it, like he was some sort of transvestite or something. I certainly got a lot of stick in Basildon, that's for sure. Thank God it's over."

Can we expect a Dave Gahan weird-out phase at some point?

"You must be f***ing joking mate! You won't catch me in a f***ing dress. No sodding way! I'm the yob next door. Never worn a dress in me life. Never f***ing will!"

GAHAN is very much the lad next door. The car-thief made good. The Sham 69 fan who started out singing carols with the Salvation Army. At 27, the youngest member of Depeche Mode, he's still young enough to remember why he started all this in the first place, croaking along to "Mouldy Old Dough" in a Basildon garage with the nascent Mode.

"I don't really think I've changed that much since then," he decides. "I'm still regarded as the cheeky one. The joker in the pack. At the same time, I know exactly what I want from the band. I know my limits as a vocalist. I know what my role is in Depeche Mode.

"What I've learned is that success can be a dangerous thing. You only know whether you like it or not when you've been through it. Then you can stand back and judge it all. You then realise what you like and what you don't like and what you want and what you don't want. Times do change, things you used to think were part of a good time become very boring. As you get older, different things interest you. You go through these extremities - playing the field, excesses of alcohol and stuff - and you come out of it a lot wiser.

"I'm a family man now. I like to go back home and be with my wife and little boy. Going about everyday things like everyone else. That may seem pretty boring, but a lot of people have this idea that pop stars lead this life of Riley where they're out on the razz every night. That just ain't the f***ing case y'know. It might have been the case in the Seventies with your Gary Glitters, your Keith Moons, your Mick Jaggers. Now, I think pop and rock is a lot more normal and controlled.

"That's sad, I agree. I think the music business itself is partly to blame for that because of the way bands are manipulated. The way management sells bands. Yeah, it's sad that the rebellion has gone out of pop. That's what interested me in the first place in bands like Sham 69, The Clash, The Damned and The Banshees. That's what made me want to be in a band, y'know.

"For me, that was the most exciting period of my life. At the time, nothing else mattered. I did the classic thing - dropped out of school, not bothering with exams. Now I look back and wish I'd done it. I wish I'd got a better education. Learned some languages. When I got to France, Italy or Germany, I realised how thick I am. Just another stupid Englishman who hasn't learned another language. An ignorant bastard basically."

HAVE Depeche Mode made things more difficult for themselves than they might have been?

"Well, we've never played the game have we? We've never placed too much importance on image. Well, maybe we did in the early days...and it backfired on us. We were just young kids then, teenagers y'know. Like the kids on the street now are wearing flares, right? I suppose if we were starting out now, we'd be wearing flares."

Saints preserve us!

In fact, Fletch (Andrew Fletcher) is trying to get us to wear flares. He thinks it'll give a good boost to our career. We just told him to f*** off, basically! If he climbs into a pair of bloody flares, he's straight out of the band. No questions asked. If you wore 'em in the Seventies, there's no way you'd go back to them. That was the worst period for fashion, ever. Horrendous when you look back on it.

"But I really like seeing that. I like to see young people latching onto scenes if they can hang on to some individuality. You're always gonna have groups of people who want to latch on to something. Especially in England, where everyone has to be a member of some kind of club. You have to belong to something, otherwise you're treated like an outsider. You don't really see that anywhere else.

"When we play in America, there's all these people doing these weird dances, completely out of time. Nobody's copying anyone else. They just don't care. They're just having a good time. They're not worried about making prats of themselves. British people are so self-conscious like that. You have to dress a certain way and behave in a certain way. If you're not part of something, they'll make you part of something."

NOW that Depeche have hit the stadium circuit in America, is there a risk of being vulgarised?

"Not really. See, in a way, the Americans can see us for what we are. You were saying that we've never been an extreme kind of group. Well, that's fair enough. But the Americans do see us as a pretty extreme kind of group. To them, a group like Depeche Mode is very off-the-wall.

"The people who buy the records are totally convinced by us. But there's people in the record industry who don't think we should be there at all. There's still people who are scared to play Depeche Mode in case they lose their Bruce Springsteen listeners.

"Again, we're doing it at our own pace really. We've always moved at our own pace. We've never whored ourselves just to sell a few more records. We've stopped doing things we're uncomfortable with. We're fortunate enough in that we don't have to do those things anymore. Mute aren't going to say, 'Look, we need to crossover, you have to do "Saturday Superstore".' Who makes the f***ing rules anyway? People who are totally out of touch.

"We've proved that you don't need to do all that. If you stay in control of what you're doing and you're happy with the songs you're putting out. You know when you're putting out something that's substandard. I know we've done that ourselves, but at the time, it felt right. That's as far as we'd gone, that's as much as we knew. That's as much experience as we'd gained. So we learned from mistakes.

"Over in America, it's taken us a long time to get through to people, but it's been worth waiting for. On our latest tour over there, we played to over half a million people, playing the same circuit as bands like Fleetwood Mac and Bon Jovi. They're selling 20 times the number of records we are. But, by the time we'd finished touring, people in the industry were beginning to realise that something strange was going on, something wasn't right. So they sat up and took notice.

"I mean, "Personal Jesus" has just gone into the US Top 30 six months after it was released. It sold half a million records before it started being played on the big radio stations. It just built up in the clubs for five months and the radio ignored it. Most of them still aren't playing it. Too weird mate! Too f***ing weird! They just don't get it."

WITH "Violator", the forthcoming album, Depeche Mode have stripped themselves down and put themselves back together again. It sounds like a bold new start.

"It does feel like a new start. We wanted this album to be very direct, very minimal, as minimal as Depeche Mode can possibly be. We've tried to take things as far as possible away from what we would normally do. I know it's a real head up the arse word but, this is a very mature Depeche Mode record. We're getting more and more in every time.

"This is a very solid sounding Depeche Mode, very uplifting. I want people to hear this record. A lot of people who think they don't like the group will find themselves liking this. After this record, people will definitely want to reassess us as a group. It feels right. Who knows where it will go from here.

"Y'know, being in a band for 10 years, it's a f***ing strange way to grow up. Completely abnormal. It's like being a kid in a playpen in a lot of ways. In the last 10 years, we haven't really stopped. We've just carried on, one album to the next. In future, we will definitely tour less. We'll also make records less and less. That's bound to happen. It's happened already, actually. We're into three years between albums now. I think it will become more and more important to us in the future, to make a record when we're ready to make it. It's becoming less and less important to do it when the time is right."

How much life is left in Depeche Mode?

"Well, we used to really worry about things like that. We'd wonder if we'd still be around in another five years, wonder if we were going to be left there with nothing to show for it all. It comes down to whether we'll carry on being friends and how long we'll want to record together. Depeche Mode is a band, very much so. A group of four people, those four people make the sound of Depeche Mode. If one of those people left the group, it wouldn't be Depeche Mode anymore. If we split up, that would be it. None of your comeback tours in the year 2010."

Gahan pauses for thought, trying to put this weird thing called Depeche Mode in a neat nutshell. He shrugs and decides that it's explaining itself quite nicely.

"Y'know, it's really important to Depeche Mode that we are an identity. We're proud of that. People can knock it as much as they want, but the fact is that we've survived. Well, that's the wrong word. We've been constantly successful. Even in Britain, things are turning around for us. We've gone through a period where we've sold exactly the same number of records every time. Now it's opening up, people are finding us hard to ignore.

"Basically, you have to take Depeche Mode as they come. It's all pretty straightforward, really. If we want to be more extreme, we'll be more extreme, but we're not going to be more extreme because a journalist tells us to be. We'll do it for a reason. Very straightforward. But f***ing weird when you think about it."

Surprising as it seems, it might be good to have Depeche Mode around in the Nineties. Weird. F***ing weird. But very straightforward.

Depeche Mode ★


Depeche Mode

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06 Sep 2018, 19:01 
User avatar

Country:  Russia (ru)

by Jeff Giles
Rolling Stone, 12th - 26th July, 1990


Depeche Mode may sell millions of albums and play to capacity crowds in huge football stadiums, but these technopop idols still aren’t happy.

"I'VE been called a faggot about twenty times today," says Depeche Mode keyboardist Alan Wilder, who’s slumped down in a seat at the Civic Center in Pensacola, Florida, where the British synth-pop outfit is about to begin another rehearsal. "Mostly from guys leaning out of trucks. This is a sort of backward place, isn’t it?"

"It’s the haircut," says singer Dave Gahan, who’s wearing jeans and a sleeveless T-shirt that depicts a pair of women’s breasts. "In America, people think you’re homosexual just because you’ve got short hair." Gahan pauses. "Except for the marines," he says, referring, presumably, to the men stationed at Pensacola’s Naval Air Station. "The marines just give you this wink, as if to say, ‘Short hair. All right.’" Gahan sits down next to Wilder. "We’ll just have to hang out with the marines," he says.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and Depeche Mode has come to Pensacola to gear up for World Violation, the tour that accompanies the band’s recently released album, Violator. Although, historically, Depeche Mode’s strongest foothold has been Southern California – 75,000 fans flocked to the Rose Bowl for a 1988 concert – tickets to the group’s shows always go rather quickly everywhere. For the upcoming tour, 18,000-seat arenas in Dallas and Chicago sold out within a week. Stadiums in Orlando, Tampa and Miami have also sold out, despite the fact that the band has never played Florida before and gets virtually no radio airplay there. And 42,000 tickets to Depeche Mode’s New York-area show, at Giants Stadium, were sold in a single day.

What’s a little unusual about this particular road trip is that Depeche Mode’s albums are starting to sell as well. Violator is the group’s first record to sell a million copies in the States, and "Personal Jesus" – the band’s only hit here since 1985’s "People Are People" – was the first Depeche Mode single ever to go gold. "Enjoy The Silence", the album’s second single, will be gold shortly.

Depeche Mode has made the Pensacola Civic Center its spring training ground for the same reason that Janet Jackson, among others, came here recently: The rent’s cheap. On the downside, unfortunately, there’s the fact that the only club the group has found in town has a mirrored ball and a DJ who struts around in a tux; the fact that the "security guard" at the Pensacola Hilton is a Depeche Mode fan who’s spent most of his time asking for free concert tickets and eight-by-tens of the band; and, of course, the fact that in an area of the Gulf Coast known as the Redneck Riviera, there are a lot of guys in trucks who think the members of Depeche Mode are "faggots".

AFTER the band's rehearsal, Dave Gahan, who's married and has a two-year-old son, comes down to the Hilton’s lobby to talk about, among other things, the fact that Depeche Mode has always had an image problem. He brings with him a bodyguard named Ingo. In a way, this seems an unnecessary measure. Apart from Depeche Mode’s devout followers – 15,000 of whom nearly caused a riot at a Wherehouse record store in L.A. a few months back – very few people actually recognize the band members. And if they do, they tend to get the names wrong.

These days, Depeche Mode – which, in addition to Gahan and Wilder, includes keyboardist Andy Fletcher and songwriter Martin Gore – gives relatively few interviews. The band has been known to turn away journalists who haven’t pledged allegiance, as well as to boycott radio stations that balk at the group’s all-synthesizer format and decline to play its records.

"There was this band that everybody loved to hate," Gahan says of Depeche Mode. "And yet they were incredibly successful. Why? Why do you think you’re so successful? Why do you think you’re on this planet, basically? It got to the point in interviews where we’d just say, ‘Fuck you,’ and walk out."

After this brief speech, which may or may not be a warning, Gahan begins talking freely about Depeche Mode’s ancient history. He even asks, then answers, what Martin Gore considers to be the most tired Depeche Mode-related questions: "Where’s your drummer Where are your guitars? Do you consider this real music?"

"We used to rehearse in a local church," Gahan says of the original band, which formed outside London, in working-class Basildon, in 1980, and which included Erasure’s Vince Clarke. "The vicar there used to just let us have the place. You had to be nice and polite, and you weren’t allowed to play too loud.

"I think without knowing it," he continues, "we started doing something completely different. We had taken these instruments because they were convenient. You could pick up a synthesizer, put it under your arm and go to a gig. You plugged directly into the PA. You didn’t need to go through an amp, so you didn’t need to have a van. We used to go to gigs on trains."

The band, which had been getting steady work at a couple of nearby pubs, eventually made a demo tape. Instead of mailing cassettes to the various labels, Clarke and Gahan delivered the original quarter-inch tape personally. "Vince and I used to go ’round to record companies and demand that they play it," Gahan says, laughing. "Most of them, of course, would tell us to fuck off. They’d say, ‘Leave the tape with us,’ and we’d say, ‘No, it’s our only one.’ Then we’d say goodbye and go off somewhere else."

Gahan pauses and asks Ingo if he’d mind getting him an orange juice. While the bodyguard’s gone, a fan who’s been walking nervously back and forth across the lobby takes the opportunity to approach the singer. "Martin," he says. "Can I have your autograph? Have you got a pen?"

"Sure," Gahan tells him, smiling. "But my name’s Dave."

A few moments later, Gahan, orange juice in hand, is trying to pinpoint what it was that first made Depeche Mode attractive to the record companies. "At the time," he says, "everybody was using electronics in a very morbid, gloomy way. Suddenly, here was this pop band that was using the stuff – these young kids who had everybody dancing, instead of standing around in gray raincoats about to commit suicide."

After considering offers from major labels like Phonogram – "money you could never have imagined and all sorts of crazy things, like clothes allowances" – Depeche Mode signed on with Daniel Miller at the independent label Mute. (The band, which is signed to Sire Records in the U.S., has never had a manager.) In 1981, the group released its debut album, Speak and Spell, which, with some help from the dance-floor hit "Just Can’t Get Enough", made the Top Ten in England. Shortly thereafter, Vince Clarke – then Depeche Mode’s driving force and chief songwriter – left the band to form Yazoo and, later, Erasure. Clarke claimed he was sick of touring.

"That’s what he said, but I think that’s a lot of bullshit, to be quite honest," Gahan says. "I think he’d just taken it as far as he could. We were very successful. We were in every pop magazine. We were on the TV shows. Everything was going right for Depeche Mode. Everybody wanted to know about Depeche Mode. I think Vince suddenly lost interest in it – and he started getting letters from fans asking what kind of socks he wore.

"Martin had written a couple of songs," Gahan continues, "and we went into the studio and recorded ‘See You’, which was our biggest hit so far. So that was it. ’Bye, Vince."

MARTIN Gore is sitting beside the hotel pool, reading a biography of Herman Hesse. He is shirtless, wearing long, black shorts and white knee socks. He looks much like he looks onstage these days: a blond, curly-haired answer to AC/DC’s Angus Young. "Looking back," he is saying, "I think we should have been slightly more worried than we were. When your chief songwriter leaves the band, you should worry a bit. I suppose that’s one of the good things about being young. If we had panicked, we probably wouldn’t be here today."

Like the other members of Depeche Mode, who are all in their late twenties, Gore is quite personable – funny, soft-spoken and without any real pretensions. Unlike the other members of the band, he plays some guitar during the live performances, has released a solo album of cover songs [Counterfeit E.P.] and, a few years back, used to go onstage in a skirt. "Martin said to me once, ‘I like to look into the mirror before I go out, and laugh and think, ‘Look what I’m getting away with tonight’," Gahan says. "He’d wear leather trousers and then wear a skirt over the top. And then he sort of extended to just wearing a skirt. We used to sit backstage saying, ‘Martin, you can’t fucking wear that, man! You’ve got to take that off!’"

"I just thought it was quite funny," Gore says dismissively. "I didn’t think it was going to cause such a fuss."

Under Gore’s direction, Depeche Mode’s music became – to quote the title of an album that many of the group’s fans hold dearest – a "black celebration". His songs, a few of which have made American radio programmers blush, have been both profane ("Blasphemous Rumours") and kinky ("Strangelove", "Master & Servant"). The band’s first Top Ten hit in the States, oddly enough, was the kind-spirited "People Are People", a single from Some Great Reward.

"It was around that time that things started changing for us in America", Gore says, at poolside. "On the tour for that album, we were totally shocked by the way fans were turning up in droves at the concerts. Suddenly, we were playing to 10,000 people. Although the concerts were selling really well, though, we still found it a struggle to actually sell records."

Bruce Kirkland, the group’s U.S. representative, says, "New Order, the Cure, Depeche Mode – I equate these bands with the metal bands of the Seventies. They almost never had hit singles, but they were selling out stadiums. The classic joke about Iron Maiden was that they sold more T-shirts than records."

It’s Memorial Day – the day of the Depeche Mode concert – and at the Civic Center’s merchandising stand a single fan has just spent $686. Back at the Hilton, which is across the street, Dave Gahan is talking about the band’s followers. "I’d get kids coming from all over the world," he says of the days when his home address was common knowledge. "Germany, France, America – they’d just hang out at the end of my drive. It got to the point where I’d be chasing them down the road with my dog because they’d be singing our songs outside my house at two in the morning."

"One of them – his name’s Sean – actually hired a private detective to follow me from the studio and discover where I lived," Gahan continues. "I lost my rag and really shouted at him. I told him, basically to fuck off. Later I sent the guy a letter saying, ‘I apologize, but you must respect my privacy. I want to have some time with my wife and son.’ He sent back a letter saying, ‘I’m sorry I bothered you, and I won’t ever do it again.’ Then, right at the end of the letter, he said, ‘By the way, would it be possible for me to come ’round next weekend?’ I just thought, ‘Well, that’s it. It’s time to move.’"

JUST before Depeche Mode’s show, some fans who have been puttering around the hotel lobby all day are asked if they would contribute to this article by writing down a few words about the band. Each agrees, takes a sheet of paper and writes quietly and without pause for close to thirty minutes. Among the subjects covered are Dave Gahan’s sideburns; Dave Gahan’s hips; the fact that "Depeche" puts on a "spectacular" live show; the fact that the band members aren’t pompous rock stars but "v. down to earth".

One teenage boy says he has "every B side, every weirdo import, everything". One girl says she has "loved Depeche Mode since they first came out" – unlikely, unless she was hooked on Speak and Spell at the age of seven – and returns a fairly representative essay, which reads in part: "Tonight I jumped out in front of Martin Gore and got a picture. I swear I almost fainted. He seems so complex. I would love to sit down and just discuss with Martin Gore what I interpret in his music… I feel that once I meet Martin Gore there is nothing I can’t accomplish. His touch will burn, throw me and feel me up with energy. (Razal, 16, Fort Walton Beach, Florida)"

FOR a band that is, as Andy Fletcher puts it, "supposed to be cold and robotic and love studios", Depeche Mode puts on a good, old-fashioned arena show. Gahan, who wears a black studded-leather jacket and matching pants, has a pretty complete repertoire of moves: the jumping jack, the spinning top, the bump-and-grind and a sort of standing duckwalk. Several songs are accompanied by photographer Anton Corbijn’s videos, including a hilarious segment in which Martin Gore dresses as a character Corbijn refers to as "the bondage angel". All the songs benefit from an over-the-top light show that looks a little like the last scene from Close Encounters.

The World Violation Tour includes a fairly straightforward selection of Depeche Mode songs: "Shake the Disease", "Never Let Me Down Again", "Stripped" and "Everything Counts", which was a U.K. hit in 1983 and was reissued last year to coincide with D.A. Pennebaker’s Depeche Mode film documentary, 101. Martin Gore, who is quite short and who is usually seen only as a shock of blond hair peeking up over a stack of keyboards, comes front and center at one point in the show to sing two solo acoustic-guitar numbers: "I Want You Now" and "World Full of Nothing". The band’s final encore is a guitar-driven cover of "Route 66".

Needless to say, the crowd at the Pensacola Civic Center is in a state of pandemonium for most of the two hours that "Depeche" is onstage. Many of the songs that go over best, however, are from Violator: "Clean", "Personal Jesus" and "Policy of Truth", the album’s third single, which begins with a vaguely funky "Heard It Through the Grapevine"-style sequence.

In general, Violator seems to have permanently opened doors for the band in America. "Martin once said, ‘Perhaps if we called ourselves a rock band from day 1, we would have had a lot more credibility from day 1,’" says Gahan after the show. "But we’ve stuck to calling ourselves a pop band, and we’ve earned that credibility by gaining success until people couldn’t ignore us anymore."

Bruce Kirkland calls the band’s recent boom "a classic U2 scenario", referring to the fact that, with The Joshua Tree, U2’s record sales finally reflected the group’s considerable live following. "It’s Depeche Mode’s time," Kirkland says, "and the industry is finally catching up." Most important, no doubt, is the fact that Depeche Mode songs have at last found a home on Top Forty radio.

"Here in the States, we’ve been working on it for years and years," Gore says. "I think in a way we’ve been at the forefront of new music, sort of chipping away at the standard rock-format radio stations. And I think with this record, we’ve finally managed to bulldoze our way through."

It’s been a pleasant turn of events for Depeche Mode, because there is still no place lonelier, or more vast, than the synth-pop graveyard. "It was the Human League, in particular, who went full circle," Gore says. "They had a note on their album that I thought was just ridiculous. You know, ‘No sequencers used on this record.’ A lot of people get swayed by the ‘real’ music thing. They think you can’t make soul music by using computers and synthesizers and samplers, which we think is totally wrong. We think the soul in the music comes from the song. The instrumentation doesn’t matter at all."

"The beauty of using electronics is that music can now be made in your bedroom", Andy Fletcher adds. "You don’t need to get four people together in some warehouse to practice. You don’t have to have four excellent musicians fighting amongst themselves. You can do it in your bedroom, and it’s all down to ideas." Fletcher pauses. "Obviously, it’s sad to see the demise of the traditional rock group," he says. "But there’s always going to be a place for it in cabaret."

IT'S one o’clock in the morning, and Razal – the young essayist who said she could accomplish anything if she could just meet Martin Gore – has been introduced to her idol. The pair have been talking quietly in the hotel bar for two hours.

Out in the lobby, a fan who’s been hanging around for days is crying. He offered the band a photograph – a picture of himself and his girlfriend, which had been taken at their high-school prom – and the band didn’t seem to want it. Dave Gahan goes out to talk to him, finds the situation hopeless and heads up to his room.

Before Gahan can get to the elevator, however, someone – obviously not a true Depeche fan – jumps in front of him and says, "Martin, can I have your autograph?"

Gahan rolls his eyes, momentarily fed up with living the strange life of an anonymous pop star. "To begin with, my name’s Dave," he says, "and I don’t have a pen."

Depeche Mode ★


Depeche Mode

 Всё о Depeche Mode

06 Sep 2018, 19:06 
User avatar

Country:  Russia (ru)

by Andrew Harrison
Select, December 1990


This month Depeche Mode play Britain for the first time in an extraordinary year. Their four million selling 'Violator' has turned them into the biggest new British band in the world - but international stardom has its price. Are Depeche Mode becoming a digitally-sampled Spinal Tap? Select caught the World Violation tour in Germany to find out. Story by Andrew Harrison. Photos by Ed Sirrs.

DAVID Gahan is waiting for the night to fall. His band Depeche Mode have been onstage at the Dortmund Westfalenhalle for some 20 minutes now, before 17,000 feverish people in a towering sports stadium that resembles the torture chamber at the end of Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil.

Yet far from being dwarfed by the vast size of the venue, Depeche Mode's spartan bedroom electronics and bass imperatives have stretched out to fill the place, to subdue it and make it theirs. With 'World In My Eyes' and 'Never Let Me Down Again' the damage has been done. Now it's time for a change of pace.

As photographer/video director Anton Corbijn's monochrome images of stars and planets appear on the screens behind them, 'Waiting For The Night', the sepulchral centrepiece from their current 'Violator' LP, floods into the Westfalenhalle on a rich, black tide. It's a song of faith in oblivion, a drumless and insidious wash which surrounds Gahan's voice like the gathering darkness itself. A sharp contrast to the upbeat singles that opened the show.

For many fans, this is the side of the band that they really want to hear, the one that takes a host of half-formed teenage nihilistic fixations and replays them with Depeche Mode's characteristic veneer of detached sophistication. Yet as Gahan sings "I'm waiting for the night to fall I know that it will save us all", something peculiar takes over the young German audience.

As if experiencing a simultaneous Pavlovian response to minor chords and sonority, they hold their cigarette lighters aloft in suspension - at least five thousand of them swaying in blackness, for all the world as if this were a Barry Manilow show. "When everything's dark, it keeps us from the stark reality," intones Gahan and the lighters sway away, illuminating the fans' home-made banners. One of them declares, Martin You Are My Personal Jesus.

It's touching. They do it again later when the band perform the incomparably darker 'Black Celebration's "Let's celebrate the fact That we've seen the back Of another black day". But it sure isn't Depeche Mode. There's no doubt about it - Gahan, Martin Gore, Alan Wilder and Andrew Fletcher have come an appallingly long way since the microprogrammer days of 'The Meaning Of Love' and 'Just Can't Get Enough', when the papers laughed and said they looked like a bunch of hairdressers from a Carry On film.

These days they're totems of teenage sexual neurosis in Ray-Bans, corrupters of international youth and the only people to sell the vaunted sonic metal disco sound of the mid-'80s and still retain their credibility. Some people believe they invented house music. They have arrived, but the question is, arrived where?

A GRUBBY town wreathed in the accumulated smog and gunge of its steel industry, Dortmund is to Germany what Widnes is to England. This weekend it heads the second and third dates on the European leg of Depeche Mode's World Violation, the tour that, with the astonishing 'Violator', finds them finally and undeniably admitted to the Premier Division of international acts.

'Violator' has already shifted four million copies worldwide, and trebled Depeche Mode's usual British album sales. World Violation's two months in the USA saw the band's previous cultish appeal translate into almost two million sales of the LP, and a million of its entrancing single 'Enjoy The Silence', which was still in the Billboard Hot 100 in mid-October, six months after its release.

So quickly did Depeche Mode's American underground go overground that it even took the band by surprise.

In April they did a low-key record store promotion in Los Angeles to coincide with the albums' release, expecting maybe a couple of thousand fans to turn up. Instead some 15,000 autograph-hungry Depechlets appeared, creating frightening prospects of a crush. The band were terrified to see that the sheer weight of their fans was enough to make the store's plate glass window bend inwards. Finally, local police (who estimated the crowd at an astonishing 30,000) cleared the area.

On the other side of the Atlantic, fans snapped up tickets for the 40 European dates of World Violation while the ink was still wet, and though Depeche Mode arrive in Britain on November 19, their six British dates likewise sold out instantly. In 1990, three Depeche Modes would not be enough to sate the demand, and the band are accordingly in high spirits.

As if to match their increasing stature, Depeche Mode on the road has become much more of a rock 'n' roll affair. The band's aptitude for hard partying is no secret, but to the apparent embarrassment of British friends and colleagues from Mute Records (the independent label which has been home to Depeche Mode since their first single, 'Dreaming Of Me', in 1981), they have of late increasingly found themselves surrounded by an unwanted coterie of hangers-on, plantpots and users from foreign record companies and promotion agencies. At least one such character inveigled himself into their company on the Dortmund weekend, in search of a little reflected glory, and, polite Basildon lads that they are, Depeche Mode weren't inclined to see him off.

More than ever, the fans too have grown fanatical, staking out every hotel in town and seemingly able to smell an Englander a mile off.

This slow and unwilling gravitation towards Spinal Tapism is a quaint irony given Depeche Mode's ancient connections with the supposedly 'anti-rockist' new pop of the early '80s, and their subsequent alignment with the equally guitar-free avant garde metal noise brigade. There is even a sizeable meathead contingent 'down the front' these days, much given to chanting "Dee-pesh!" in terrace style and giving the support band Electribe 101 a hellish time.

The band has acknowledged its new status as the portable Donington of the Casio generation by dressing its roadies in an official T-shirt which reads DEPECHE FUCKIN' MODE.

Yet membership of the top flight has its privileges. Chief among them is the ability to play fast and loose with the international press. You get what you're given with Depeche Mode, and for MTV Europe that means the opportunity to film 30 seconds - 30 seconds - of the second Dortmund show. Try editing that into broadcastable shape.

Reporters get a pretty fair 45 minutes with whichever band member feels like talking. Today it's Depeche songwriter Martin Gore, a relaxed but slightly evasive man with a bleach-blond Eraserhead haircut and a preternatural golden suntan, who opens his hotel room to the world.

"Who said this life isn't glamorous?" he smiles, gesturing at the sodden cityscape outside his window. It looks like bad news.

"Dortmund on a rainy Sunday. It's so much more enjoyable playing in America cos you've got generally nicer weather and usually somewhere interesting to look at, rather than this place in the middle of a motorway - there isn't even a hotel shop.

"But it's funny really," he muses. "I've noticed that the European audiences are much more responsive than the Americans this time..."

Responsive is hardly the word. Obsessive, more like.

"Yeah, it's obviously very flattering but it's worrying too," Gore replies. "People feel that they have a very special relationship with us, particularly in America where we have...not a small following, heh heh, but certainly a cult one. We've always got our airplay from the college stations and the alternative broadcasters.

"Americans more than anyone have suffered from ten years of Toto re-runs, and I suppose we came along at the right time with a new sound. Plus they didn't have the preconceptions of us that English people, who know us from 'A Broken Frame' when all our youthfulness was on show, have.

"I think it's down to the intimacy of the music. People feel that the songs are personal to them. And though there is an element of contradiction when you play a concert like last night's, with 17,000 people going mad, that intimacy is still there. People still feel moved by it, they feel that it's theirs.

"Me and Andy did a phone-in at a Top 40 station in New York this summer, and one of the callers asked, What are you doing on this station? They don't have the right to play your music, this is a tacky station!

"They still feel that Depeche Mode is their cult thing, that the music shouldn't ever go mainstream no matter what it sounds like and no matter what we do."

THREE years ago, before 'Violator', they might have been right. Gore confesses that the band's previous studio album, 1987's 'Music For The Masses', was the end of the line for one particular kind of Depeche Mode - the one that generated pre-House iron-foundry dance music in the vein of continental experimentalists like Einsturzende Neubauten and the British metal-bashers Test Department.

The sound had been caricatured as callow pop dilettantism, but it yielded at least three pearls of singles in 'Master And Servant', ' Everything Counts' and even 'People Are People'. Depeche Mode's lyrical purview had shifted as well, from the concerns of the Just 17 problem page to, well, Skin Two. Out went unrequited love, in came "You on top and me underneath."

"We had perfected a formula by then," Gore says, "and it came to fruition on 'Music For The Masses'. But our sales had become stagnant. We'd sold exactly the same number of albums each time since 'A Broken Frame' (their second, in 1982).

"We realised that if we were going to advance, if we were going to make another record at all, then we would have to change. We needed a new approach, otherwise we wouldn't have been challenging anything."

So not only did the band leave behind its increasingly dated marriage of abrasive sampling and upfront pervery, but they also junked a whole method of working.

"In the past I'd always demo-ed the songs at home and presented them to the band in quite finished form," Gore explains. "By that stage your ideas are pretty fixed, so we had tended simply to copy the demos, to make them better.

"But this time the band asked me to keep the songs as basic as I could. Sometimes it would just be guitar and vocal, or organ and vocal. We had no preconceptions and we didn't spend any time on pre-production, whereas we'd usually spent, say, six weeks in a programming suite working things out.

"This time we took these very basic songs into the studio and tried to do it very spontaneously. For instance, 'Enjoy The Silence' began as just an organ and my voice, and Alan had this idea of giving it...well, not a House groove but a dance groove..."

('Dance' being the favourite euphemism of people who want to make House records and not get stick for it, viz everyone from Happy Mondays to the dear old Style Council. Martin is oblivious to this.)

"...And I was very wary of this at first. I thought the very nature of the song was, you know, enjoy the silence, so it ought to have a very serene atmosphere. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but as we took it further that way with the guitar riff, it really pulled together.

"There were times when it didn't work, of course. 'Policy Of Truth' we recorded several times in different directions and it just didn't work. A lot of the songs were like that. So by supposedly being more spontaneous we ended up spending more time in the studio."

'VIOLATOR' proved to be the album on which Depeche Mode began to flex muscles they didn't know they had. Compared to the spent electronic clatterings of 'Music For The Masses' it's a lush experience, a seductive alternative route to the heart of darkness that Depeche had spent the '80s seeking. Gahan's voice, often smothered by overblown percussive mayhem on previous albums, fills out songs like 'Halo' and 'Clean', which appeared on Select's first Red Tape cassette.

And perhaps for the first time, Depeche Mode sound like they're not just toying with the solipsistic alienation groove that sustained them for the past ten years, when it seemed they were merely pushing themes of sado-masochism ('Master And Servant', 'Strangelove'), infection ('Shake The Disease') and religious weirdness ('Blasphemous Rumours') to see how much chart programmers would take.

When Gahan sang "I give in to sin/Because I like to practice what I preach" on 'Strangelove', you could never quite believe him. But 'Violator' presents the real stuff, shorn of adolescent trappings at last.

'Personal Jesus' is a horrifying song of private desperation meeting messianic egotism, with Gahan as "Your own personal Jesus Someone to hear your prayer" over a mutilated Glitter Band beat. Unlike Depeche Mode's prior ingenious forays into such territory, 'World In My Eyes' and 'Enjoy The Silence' draw deceptively radio-friendly portraits of love's undercurrents of dominance and submission. And the clammy voyeurism of 'Blue Dress' owes more than a little in texture and subject matter to David Lynch's Blue Velvet.

But despite all this, despite its queasy undertones of disgust for the flesh, and despite a title that reeks of sexual threat, 'Violator' is a downright sexy artefact - all the more so for its refusal to shy away from the dark side of human sexuality.

It's vignettes of love on the edge and minds in the gutter make it strong stuff for the pop context. But Martin Gore founders when asked to pinpoint why these disturbing themes have found such a wide audience.

"I just write about things that affect me...I always have done," he protests, with some exasperation.

"I find it very unappealing to write songs that are safe, that go nowhere, that do nothing. When I sit down to write a song I don't know exactly what my intentions are. I just set out to try and capture an emotion in a song. I know that 'Clean' has a lot of holy imagery, and that intertwines with the sex theme, which are two ideas I find interesting to mix together. But I don't try to analyse things."

Yet these are songs with a very definite and sometimes very perverse, downbeat identity of their own.

"Well, I think a lot of people are taken in by the myth that our music is totally bleak and desolate. Steve Wright, whenever he plays our records, says, I hate that band, aren't they the most depressing thing that's ever happened to music? Comments like that, people get taken in by. So I try not to let the pressure get to me, and I don't think about the consequences of a song."

Come off it. You must have expected some flak for 'Personal Jesus'?

"I thought it would get more than it did, really," he replies. "It was played all over Europe, America and England with no great trouble. The only problem was with the newspaper personal column adverts, which said 'Your own personal Jesus' and gave a telephone number.

"Imagine someone about to top themselves and they see it in the paper - my last saviour, my last chance. And it's Depeche Mode. Especially if they're a Steve Wright listener."

MARTIN'S dance euphemisms aside, 'Violator' is also the album where Depeche Mode finally find out what the hi-hat button is for. For the first time, there's a strong and undisguisable House pulsebeat in evidence throughout the LP.

Yet for a couple of years pundits have been keen to stress Depeche Mode's early input into House and techno. This culminated in a fascinating piece in The Face last year, which followed the band through Detroit clubland as they met techno innovators including Rhythim Is Rhythim supremo Derrick May. May revealed that Depeche Mode's approach to sampling, and their increasing prominence in European electronic music, had given him and his contemporaries on the cutting edge of dance music plenty of ideas.

The Face, however, trailed the story on its cover with the headline, Did Depeche Mode Detonate House? They didn't, of course, and no one was claiming they did. But the implication that they were claiming credit for creating the decade's most important musical form has dogged Depeche Mode ever since.

Martin Gore is sanguine about it all.

"We've been cited a lot in recent years as being this big influence on House music," he grins. "But I really think it was in our approach rather than the sound itself. In some ways we do push boundaries in music. We've always tried to be on the so-called forefront of technology, and I suppose the way we work has been quite influential. I even think it's helped, particularly in America, to change the whole format of music.

"But I don't agree that there are a lot of House references on 'Violator' - though you might say 'World In My Eyes' has a slight techno feel. And in some ways you can't help but be influenced by House - after all, it's played everywhere you go these days."

Like at Depeche Mode concerts, for instance.

For World Violation, the band has undertaken a rolling programme of renovation on some of their back catalogue. 'Behind The Wheel', the paranoid road song from 'Music For The Masses' which they perform as an encore, now boasts a mighty House breakdown as it segues into their idiosyncratic cover of 'Route 66'. And 'Everything Counts' has been restructured techno-style to devastating effect, demonstrating Depeche Mode's growing ease with more subtle dance forms.

But, believe it or not, World Violation is first and foremost a rock 'n' roll show on a panoramic scale. Perhaps it's just the volume, or the shock of finding such solitary music in a context of size and excess, but in 1990 Depeche Mode win by simple power. It's not simply stunning - at times it's frightening.

'Personal Jesus' is a case in point. On record it snarls and spits, the perfect antithesis to the redundant pretty-boy image of Depeche Mode that still lingers in British minds.

Onstage the song becomes monstrous. For 17,000 German kids, David Gahan becomes their personal Jesus. And anyone who can stand amid that, see their arms spread wide, hear them chanting "Reach out and touch faith" in unison, and say they're not worried, is lying.


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