Depeche Mode to hit the road next year

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Mi­lan

Ready­ing a new al­bum and sta­dium tour for next year, Depeche Mode feels free. The group, which helped bring elec­tronic mu­sic into the main­stream with a flurry of hits, fi­nally is set­ting its own pace.

Spirit, the first Depeche Mode stu­dio al­bum since 2013, will come out in the first half of 2017, and a 32-city, 21-coun­try tour across Europe starts in May.

The shows to­gether could pull in more than 1.5 mil­lion fans, even be­fore dates in North Amer­ica and Latin Amer­ica ex­pected later next year. But the group is re­laxed.

“I think there is more free­dom at the mo­ment,” key­boardist Andy Fletcher said as the group an­nounced its plans in Mi­lan, the site of one of Depeche Mode’s nu­mer­ous live al­bums.

Martin Gore, a fel­low key­boardist and the group’s main song­writer, says that Depeche Mode grew ac­cus­tomed to crank­ing out al­bums an­nu­ally in the early 1980s af­ter the band’s birth in Basil­don, just east of London.

“To put an al­bum out ev­ery year, that’s quite a lot of pres­sure, you need a lot of cre­ativ­ity, and maybe you can do that when you’re younger,” says Gore, 55.

“I think, when you get older, you need more time if you want to keep the stan­dards of the record.”

Amid rapid ad­vances in elec­tronic mu­sic, Gore says that Depeche Mode was at­ten­tive to stay­ing up-to­date on tech­nol­ogy — and was proud of re­ju­ve­nat­ing the group’s fan base.

“We are for­tu­nate that we keep ap­peal­ing to young peo­ple. It’s not just the peo­ple who grewup with us and were fans of us in the 1980s,” Gore says.

Depeche Mode has not yet fin­ished record­ing Spirit, its 14th stu­dio al­bum.

The group is work­ing out of stu­dios in Santa Bar­bara, Cal­i­for­nia, where Gore lives, and New York, the home of front­man Dave Ga­han.

Depeche Mode tri­umphed with a string of hits in the 1980s and early 1990s such as Just Can’t Get Enough at first be­com­ing syn­ony­mous with dance­able syn­th­pop but grad­u­ally adopt­ing a darker sound.

“We helped to make elec­tronic mu­sic ac­cept­able,” Gore says.

“When we started out it was a con­stant bat­tle. Peo­ple didn’t take elec­tronic mu­sic se­ri­ously. It was con­sid­ered like a nov­elty that wasn’t real mu­sic and that would go away very soon.

“Now it’s just so preva­lent. For good or for bad, we’ve helped to get it to this point,” he says with a laugh.

Depeche Mode sees one of its lega­cies as bring­ing over listeners of other gen­res, in­clud­ing rock fans who would have rarely stepped into a dance club.


Mem­bers of rock band Depeche Mode (from left) An­drew Fletcher, Dave Ga­han and Martin Gore pro­mote their up­com­ing al­bum Spirit in Mi­lan.

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