Depeche Mode, the influential British technopop band that flourished in the 1980s, kicks off a five-month tour in Canada this week with a new album and what one founding member said is a hard-earned feeling of serenity.
“It is the first time for a long, long time, in about 15 years probably, that all three members of Depeche Mode are happy and stable in their private and working lives,” keyboardist Andrew Fletcher, 39, told Reuters in an interview.
“It is enjoyable to be in Depeche Mode at the moment, and I would not have said that five years ago.”
Fletcher, who lives in London, said the band has managed to put behind it years of rock-and-roll excesses that culminated with singer David Gahan’s suicide attempt in 1995 and a near-death experience in 1996.
He said that Gahan’s life has turned around over the last five years since he sought help for drug and alcohol problems.
“He lives in New York now, very active socially, married and got a couple of kids. He is very involved in the Alcoholic Anonymous network,” Fletcher said.
Songwriter/keyboardist Martin Gore, the main inspiration of the group, lives in California these days. “He really listens to tons of music and has been disc jockeying recently,” Fletcher said.
Mainly influenced by German electro masters Kraftwerk and Britain’s punk music mentality in the 1970s, Depeche Mode has sold more than 50 million records since its formation in 1979 in Basildon, England.
NOT 21 ANYMORE
Fletcher said touring is more difficult now that band members have entered middle age.
“I must say it is getting tougher generally to get away from your family. In the 1980s, the only thing we had was Depeche Mode but now we are not 21 anymore,” said Fletcher as he smoked a cigarette at the Quebec City Coliseum, where the band is to give a rehearsal show on Monday night ahead of the opening concert in Montreal next Friday.
“Montreal is one of the best audiences in North America for us, which is obviously a nice feeling to kick off a 24-country tour,” he said.
Fletcher said that even after 20 years, being in a successful pop band still feels “like a dream” and that sometimes he thinks he will “wake up and be on the train going to work.”
“We surprised everyone with our success, including our accountants!” he said.
Depeche Mode’s new album, “Exciter,” was released last month and finds the band returning to its roots: pop music with romantic lyrics and electronic melodies.
“We tried to record it as naturally as possible and we tried not to conceptualize too much,” Fletcher said.
Depeche Mode, known for hits like “People are People”, “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Personal Jesus”, still stands out as a band with a unique sound, Fletcher said.
“Nowadays I think a lot of bands are interchangeable. We still believe, we are out there to prove that we are a proper band,” he said.