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Author Topic: 2017: Other News  (Read 81 times)

Offline Angelinda

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2017: Other News
« on: 01 March 2017 - 20:00:41 »
This thread contains news items about Depeche Mode from 2017 which have nothing to do with their album 'Spirit' or its tour.

Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2017: Other News
« Reply #1 on: 01 March 2017 - 20:02:14 »
2017-02-23 - Gothamist/Rolling Stone (US) - We Asked Depeche Mode About Being 'the Official Band of the Alt-Right'

[The Gothamist seems to have been the first to write this story, but then Rolling Stone interviewed Richard Spencer afterwards.]

http://gothamist.com/2017/02/23/depeche_mode_richard_spencer.php
http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/news/a53383/depeche-mode-alt-right-richard-spencer/
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/depeche-mode-reject-alt-right-leaders-band-praise-w468558

Depeche Mode Reject Alt-Right Leader's Band Praise
"Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the Alt-Right and does not support the Alt-Right movement," rep says

By Jason Newman
Additional reporting by Sarah Posner

Richard Spencer, the white nationalist and unofficial Alt-Right leader whose previous connection to music was getting punched in the head repeatedly to different songs, perhaps unwittingly picked a fight with Depeche Mode at the annual conservative gathering CPAC on Thursday.
When asked if he likes rock music, according to New York magazine's Olivia Nuzzi, Spencer joked, "Depeche Mode is the official band of the Alt-Right." Though the "lifelong Depeche Mode fan" later told Rolling Stone, "My tongue was firmly in cheek," the 38-year-old speaker-provocateur expounded on his love of the group, prompting a quick rebuttal from the left-leaning band.
"They aren't a typical rock band, in terms of lyrics and much else," he tells Rolling Stone. "Depeche Mode is a band of existential angst, pain, sadism, horror, darkness and much more. It's not bubblegum pop, with frontmen who sing about 'luuuuv' and sugarplum faries [sic]. There was a certain Communist aesthetic to an early album like [1982's] A Broken Frame as well as titles like Music for the Masses but then there's a bit of a fascist element, too. It's obviously ambiguous, and as with all art, everything is multi-layer, contradictory and ambivalent."
When reached for comment, a rep for the band told Rolling Stone, "Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the Alt-Right and does not support the Alt-Right movement."
Unlike Spencer, who was an outspoken Trump supporter during the campaign, Depeche Mode has explicitly denounced the new president and his policies. "The things that he's saying sound very similar to what someone was saying in 1935," singer Dave Gahan told Italian media last October. "That didn't work out very well. The things that he's saying are cruel and heartless and promoting fear."
Speaking to Rolling Stone earlier this month, Gahan expressed worry about the future of America, where he's lived for the past 25 years. "As I get older, the things going on in the world affect me more," he said. "I think about my kids and what they're growing up into. My daughter, Rosie, was deeply affected by the election last year. ... She just sobbed, and I was like, 'Wow.'"
Many of the group's songs on their upcoming album Spirit deal directly with the general malaise felt by some after both Brexit and the U.S. election. Gahan sings of bigots "turning back our history" on "Backwards" and calls for change in "Where's the Revolution?" ("Who's making your decisions," he sings, "you or your religion?")
"If we want things to change, a revolution, we need to talk about it and about caring about what goes on in the world," Gahan said.
"We can all talk about whatever is going on until we're blue in the face but you have to take real action, and sometimes we don't know what that looks like," he added of new song "Worst Crime." "Individually, I believe people are inherently good, but we're really distorted by the information we get and we act out on that information out of fear."
Despite the band's longtime progressive politics – "Everything Counts" blasts corporate greed and excess while "People Are People" notes, "So we're different colors/And we're different creeds/And different people have different needs/It's obvious you hate me/Though I've done nothing wrong" – Spencer sees an aesthetic similarity between the group and the Alt-Right.
"There's always been a certain nostalgic synth wave vibe to the Alt-Right in terms of aesthetics," he says. Asked to clarify "nostalgic synth wave vibe," he adds, "It might have something to do with generations. People my age are griping for our childhoods; younger kids are grasping for an imaginary childhood. There's some '1980s' about Trump, too. That's clearly the decade that defined him. It might have been the last moment that there was a recognizable White America (or in the case of Depeche Mode, White Britain)."

Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2017: Other News
« Reply #2 on: 01 March 2017 - 20:04:29 »
2017-03-01 - The Guardian (UK) - 10 of the best

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2017/mar/01/depeche-mode-10-of-the-best

Depeche Mode – 10 of the best
Last week, they were forced to deny being the official band of the alt-right. In fact, from synthpop to sleaze rock, Depeche Mode are a vital group
Jeremy Allen

1. Photographic (Some Bizzare version)
In 1980, Daniel Miller created a virtual electropop band called Silicon Teens, featuring four fictionalised teenagers whose sound derived entirely from synthesisers. The following year, the real thing arrived. Miller, who was running Mute Records, came across Depeche Mode, a quartet of teenagers – and one 20-year-old in the shape of songwriter Vince Clarke – from Basildon, Essex. “They were kids, and kids weren’t doing electronic music at the time,” said Miller. “It was people who’d been to art school mainly, but Depeche Mode weren’t processed by that aesthetic at all.” Stevo Pearce of the Some Bizzare label had also noticed the group (as had a few majors, who had to be repulsed), and Miller licensed Depeche Mode’s first track, Photographic, to Pearce for Some Bizzare’s Futurism compilation. Photographic was the standout track on the collection, and received much of the critical attention. The band rerecorded it for their debut album Speak & Spell, though the Some Bizzare version is more naively charming, bolshy and brutalistic. It tears along with clean synth lines bleeding into the red, marrying Numanoid keyboard monoliths with dispassionate Kraftwerkian sprechgesang, with an added touch of voyeuristic perviness about it. From the off, Depeche Mode were showing tremendous promise.

2. Everything Counts
It could have been curtains when Clarke left after the first album, but the remaining members (plus Alan Wilder, initially hired for live outings) had faith in the songwriting abilities of Martin Gore. The group also got their hands on a Fairlight synthesiser, which, although prohibitively expensive at the time, would enable them to turn their music into something more doomy and industrial. The third Depeche album, Construction Time Again, featured an assemblage of drubbed scrap metal noise, sampled and manipulated, with the track Pipeline made up entirely of field percussion from found sounds. More radio friendly was Everything Counts, a critique of greed, written as Margaret Thatcher’s first term shaded into her second. The “grabbing hands grab all they can” lyric captured the zeitgeist; the juxtaposition of the main hook ringing like a till with the more exotic Chinese oboe exemplifies a clash of civilisations and, perhaps, an exhortation to choose between the worldly and the spiritual. Gore’s lyrics are usually heartfelt, often leading to accusations of naivety, and while Everything Counts is largely coherent in its message, “The turning point of a career / In Korea / Being insincere” must rank as one of the worst lyrics ever written. Still, it’s a competitive world, and its catchy pop sloganeering took it to No 6 in the UK charts.

3. Shake the Disease
Arriving in 1985 as a supplementary track to promote their first singles compilation, Shake the Disease proved that electronic songs could be just as moody and dynamic as their rock counterparts. Depeche Mode’s 13th single, recorded in Berlin (at the Hansa studio where Bowie recorded Heroes) is a masterclass in emotional nuance. Shake the Disease was not only the band’s best track to date, it also featured Dave Gahan’s finest vocal to date, with his emotional rasp counterpointing Gore’s minor baroque flourishes in the chorus. Opening line “I’m not going down on my knees / Begging you to adore me” is ambiguous enough to tacitly invite questions about sexuality, reinforced by Gore’s imploring “understand me” (which becomes yet more effective when sung in leather fetish wear). And then of course there’s that title, which would have been topical in 1985 with fears about HIV on many listeners’ minds. Shake the Disease stalled just inside the Top 20, probably because of the titular implications.

4. But Not Tonight
The B-side to the 1986 single Stripped is an oddity in the canon post-Vince Clarke, in that it celebrates exhilaration rather than despondency, albeit in a very Depeche Mode kind of way (“Oh God, it’s raining, but I’m not complaining / It’s filling me up with new life”). It’s characteristically sombre for the opening 16 bars or so, but then But Not Tonight inexplicably speeds up and continues at the same pace to the end. Gahan makes reference to the “constant debauchery” that would become somewhat more troublesome in future years, and marvels at how he hasn’t “felt so alive in years”. Such gratuitous positivity was considered more suitable for American listeners, and so But Not Tonight and Stripped were flipped for the US market. It was also used as the soundtrack for the all-but-forgotten Virginia Madison vehicle Modern Girls, but despite the extra publicity, But Not Tonight failed to chart across the pond. Depeche Mode needn’t have been downhearted. Their music was soon to catch on in a very big way in the US.

5. Never Let Me Down Again
In 1987, Depeche Mode ramped things up again, with someone describing the band as suddenly “making self-destruction sound like falling through the clouds”. The basis for this track came from the unlikeliest of sources, with programmed beats built around the drum intro from Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks. On top of that groove were added polyphonic textures, a change from the strictly monophonic keyboard lines of yore, but the genius of Never Let Me Down Again lies in the urgent but monotone vocal from Gahan, always breaching the blue notes but never quite resolving, set against the sophisticated musical tapestry beneath. The song again hints at something intimate and sexual (“Promises me I’m safe as houses / As long as I remember who’s wearing the trousers”), while others have suggested that it’s a love letter to drugs. Interestingly, Never Let Me Down Again peaked outside the Top 20, and there were fears that Depeche Mode’s popularity was on the wane. In fact it was the anticlimactic start of a stealthy rise to world domination, the ripples from a pebble that would lead to a tsunami of popularity.

6. Behind the Wheel
The follow-up single to Never Let Me Down again was just as good, and like its predecessor, it was another crepuscular journey with plenty of ambiguity about what was actually going on. The Music for the Masses album saw Gore take control, leaving producer Dave Bascombe a little frustrated that he had to follow the polished demos as closely as possible. He told biographer Steve Malins: “I wasn’t allowed to have a hi-hat on that song, which made it very hard to get a groove going.” Bascombe did concede, however, that the “claustrophobic, unique sound [was a success] because of the limitations”. The band were becoming more interesting visually, too, with video collaborations with Anton Corbijn giving them an air of aloof, monochrome mystery, while 101, a movie directed by DA Pennebaker of Don’t Look Back and Ziggy Stardust fame, brought them to the masses through the medium of cinema.

7. Personal Jesus
Depeche Mode’s creative purple patch continued unabated with Personal Jesus, a glam-stomping, heavy breathing, techno romp that made a show of its absorption of the guitar. Gore had often written on a six-string in his hotel bedroom and then transposed the work to keyboards later, but here he was unashamedly plucking away (and looping) an addictive, note-bending hook that was more beholden to the blues than Neu! Personal Jesus sold more than 1m copies in the US, but not before the censors at MTV removed problematic frames from the Corbijn-directed video. “The shot of the horse’s arse comes when there’s all this heavy breathing on the track,” an incredulous Gore told Stephen Dalton of Uncut. “I don’t know if Anton was consciously trying to be perverted, I think it was more coincidental that it happened at that point. These video people see things very strangely.”

8. Enjoy the Silence
It’s perhaps ironic that Depeche Mode’s most loved and immediately recognisable song begins by sounding more like New Order. Dele Fadele, writing for NME in 1993, said it “crystallises melancholy New Order”, though when Gahan starts to sing, you are pulled back into familiar territory. Enjoy the Silence is vintage Depeche Mode, containing all the elements that make their records great. A Teutonic groove? Check. Emotional, minor-key soundscapes? Check. Gahan’s dulcet tones allowing the synthesisers to do the heavy lifting? Check. A plaintive, simplistic yet brutally effective Gore lyric? In fact the words, which convey a single moment of physical tenderness where any utterance would ruin it, are as moving on the page as they are on the single itself.

9. Condemnation
Gahan, who’d taken to hard living in Los Angeles by the early 90s, was all ready to leave Depeche Mode until he heard the demo for Condemnation. “It was a total relief!” he said, “I couldn’t believe it.” Purist Modies who’d followed the band from the outset would probably have balked at the utilisation of gospel choirs, blues piano and overdriven guitars at the beginning, and yet in the grunge era, Depeche Mode proved they were as relevant as ever. The song had actually been earmarked by Gore for his customary album track ballad, but Gahan hijacked the session, and his insistence that he sing it proved canny. From somewhere the singer produced his finest vocal performance, a visceral, desperate and despairing musical jeremiad summoning the spiritual oasis he’d found within himself. Gahan had bought into the rock’n’roll myth hook, line and sinker, and those closest to him feared things would not end well.

10. Freelove
In May 1996, Gahan overdosed on a speedball in downtown LA. Though his heart stopped for two minutes, he pulled through. By 2001, he’d come a long way from the blacked-out Los Angeles heroin den he nicknamed the Purple Palace (so called, Gahan said, “because so many people turned blue there”), and while Depeche Mode were well beyond their imperial phase, they still had the capacity to write a song as gorgeous as Freelove now and again. Though written by Gore, the “No hidden catch / No strings attached / Just freelove” lyric tapped into Gahan’s unconditional love for a newborn. “I’ve realised now that you’ve got to get really quiet and stop and get slow to really feel what’s going on with yourself,” he told Malins. “And it’s hard to do that out there in the world where it’s all white noise static … but you can do if you get quiet and slow. And I know it sounds hokey, but I felt that when my baby daughter was born and I picked her up. I felt life. And I felt love.”

Offline Angelinda

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Re: 2017: Other News
« Reply #3 on: Today at 01:56:19 »
2017-03-22 - HOME - Interview with Kurt Uenala

http://www.depeche-mode.com/2017/03/22/interview-kurt-uenala/

(...)

Peter: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask about your history with DM – this is for a Mode fan site after all… how did you end up working with them?
Kurt: Yeah, so I was working with Brian Sperber, a producer who does mainly rock stuff. We did a Moby album together at the time I think. I was doing light programming and mainly editing drums. He was friends with the manager of a studio in NYC called Electric Lady which was Jimi Hendrix’ studio back in the day. So the manager is friends with Dave and she asked the producer that hired me if he would want to help Dave record demos for what would become “Playing The Angel”. My producer friend declined as he doesn’t do demos. But he knew I was a synth maniac and could do the job. So that was it. We got along so well and remained close since then.

(...)