2013

As the first single of Delta Machine, Heaven / All That's Mine was released. It was the 50th single of the band. It was released digitally in most territories on 31 January, and physically the following day. In the UK it was released digitally on 17 March and physically the following day.
The video for Heaven was directed by Timothy Saccenti and filmed at The Marigny Opera House, a former Catholic church in New Orleans in November 2012.
The chart performance was low in the average, but it was No. 1 of the US Hot Dance Club Songs and in Hungary and No. 2 in Germany.
Heaven was a courageous choice because it is a quite slow and moody song, nothing you could call a hit-single.
Fletch: "It flopped a bit because of the sound. We're old timers. We thought radio might play a slower track. Turns out, they won't."[1]
Martin: "Funnily enough, Heaven, the lead single, is not very representative for the rest of the sound. So for a lot of" the songs on the album "I would start off with like, you know, like a bass line and then create some drums and some effects with the modulars and start from there, really, and then just start singing along. That's what I do. I'm sorry. And when I sing along, I don't sing along like, you know, little pretend words. When I sing, then sort of words just come out. It starts with words. A lot of people do that, you know, like, singing, you know, strange languages or whatever. But I always just start singing."[2]
Dave: "To be honest, we were all gung-ho on the track Angel, which is a little more aggressive and a little more typical of what you'd expect from a first record." But he thinks that, "Heaven is one of the best songs Martin's written in many, many years, for many reasons. It's just one of those songs that makes me want to continue making music, long story short. As soon as I heard it, I was excited to sing it.[3] Martin and I felt Heaven represented the record in lots of ways, which is why we wanted to put it out first. It's not like we felt it was going to be a big hit or something, but that doesn't really drive us to make music. We all like to have hits, it's nice to have hits, of course, but after making 13 records together, it's not what drives you. What drives you is to make a great record. That's what still drives me. Certain songs propel that. Heaven is one of those songs. When Martin played the demo for me, I was in. It's gospel-y bluesy, it's right up my street. Songs like that speak to me."[4]


trennlinie


On 22 March the album Delta Machine was released. It was labelled to Columbia Records and Mute Records in the U.S. and to Sony Music in the rest of the world.
The album debuted at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 28,450 copies in its first week. In the U.S. the album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 6 with 52,000 copies sold in its opening week. And it debuted at No. 1 on the German Albums Chart with first-week sales of 142,000 units.
"Delta" stands for the blues elements and "Machine" stands for the electronic elements of the album. The title immediately caused some irritations in the message-boards because some people started to use the short cut "DM" for "Delta Machine". Unfortunately, this has been the short cut for "Depeche Mode" for 30 years.
Dave: "We had a few permutations of the title, like 'something' Machine and Delta 'something' before Martin said, 'Delta Machine?' But I wouldn't dare say this is a blues record as Fletch has said a couple of times. That's insulting, to blues musicians, on so many levels. Well, OK, we have influences coming from the blues. And Depeche Mode is fundamentally us whining, searching for something, moaning our way through life." (laughs)[5]

As usually they didn't tell much about the single songs of the album.
Dave: "Broken is uptempo, but lyrically it's dark.[6] The lyrics of Broken are probably based on a friend who's been struggling for a while with his own demons. I see myself in him, and you can't make somebody change.[7] All I can say is that Delta Machine is a truthful record. This is who we are, and this is what Martin and I can conjure up together. If I had my way, and it might not be the right way, we'd probably do things a lot looser. Martin is a great guitar player, but he likes to work with electronics, and I have to support that."[8]
Martin (about My Little Universe: "Funnily enough, I think that out of all of my songs on the album, that's the one that changed dramatically. You know, for ages we were thinking that it wasn't going to go on the album because it somehow didn't quite fit. It was too fiddly. There were, you know, chord changes in it that it didn't need. So, you know, we stripped it right back. And I think our programmer, Christoffer Berg, should take a lot of credit for that. You know, he was the one who kind of started stripping it back and started it on that path."[9]
About Should be Higher Dave explains that, "it's reflecting on my interest quite often initially in something that is not necessarily real." (laughs.) "And can quite often get me in trouble. But I'm still quite often attracted to this, the other side of things I think influence the optimistic side of my head. But sometimes I do find that the line is basically, saying initially how you might, something seems more exciting that could be quite dangerous for you. But the truth takes longer to achieve. But it ultimately is more rewarding. Cause the line that follows that line is: you should be higher. I'll take you higher. And I'm referring to something that I feel quite often in life, which is life itself - which is just a beautiful thing. But you have to work a little harder to be part of it. And I also follow those lines with the line: Love is all I want."[10]

A little surprise was the song Slow.
Fletch: "That, believe it or not, was a song that was written for Songs of Faith and Devotion and for some bizarre reason never got recorded. Martin was going through his demos and came across it and said, 'Actually, this is quite good', so he did a new demo and it's a great song."[11]
Dave: "As soon as I heard it, I said to Martin, 'That's an old song'. And he said, 'Yeah, I needed to reinterpret it.' He'd kind of reworked it. When Martin was demoing before, I seem to remember sitting in a meeting when we listened to the demos, and Alan kind of not getting it, just kind of ... well, out of songs that we were going to record it just wasn't chosen at that particular time. So I guess Martin put it away, and it fits really well with everything we're doing now."[12]
Slow caused a little discussion among the fans. One group thought it would have suited SOFAD well, the other group thought that there must have been a good reason why it wasn't chosen at that time. "Alan kind of not getting it" is probably a diplomatic way to say that he didn't like it, that he saw it as too "lightweight" (one of his favourite descriptions to say that he doesn't like something), as too simple. And well, if you look at the lyrics of most SOFAD-songs and at the lyrics of Slow, which are quite simply about having sex in a slow, intensive way, you might get an idea why it was turned down. Lines like I don't need a race in my bed when speed's in my heart and speed's in my head instead or Slow, slow, slow as you can go that's how I like it (from Slow) cannot really compete with ambivalent lines like oh girl, lead me into your darkness when this world is trying its hardest to leave me unimpressed (from One Caress) or thoughtful lines like Is simplicity best or simply the easiest? The narrowest path is always the holiest (from Judas).
Nevertheless, a song like this can fit into a different context, which the band thought they had found with Delta Machine.

During the promotion for Delta Machine Martin said in an interview - being asked for his opinion about the general music business - that "somebody should shoot Simon Cowell", (an English A & R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and American Idol), something that caused some trouble, at least when Cowell Twittered, "A ton of people have got shot this year, and people like weirdo Gore encourage this."
"That was great," Martin laughed. He didn't think that "a little flippant comment" would get such a response. "I think the majority of the world agreed with me." He grinned.[13]
To be honest it was almost the only funny bit that I was able to find. The band members hadn't lost their sense of humour, but most interviews showed them as being serious and more mature. Also, almost all journalists brought up the same old stories again - at least Dave's overdose in 1996 was mentioned in almost every article. It's 17 years ago now, they should be over it. But you still find this angle - Dave almost died in 1996, then he suffered from cancer during TOTU and now he has written a song like Broken, so the lyrics MUST have a connection to all these experiences. When you are being asked about the bad things in your life all over again, it's definitely difficult to be anything but serious. I personally think you could have a funny chat with Dave (and nevertheless get something serious about the new album) if you just leave out the subjects of drugs and cancer.


trennlinie


The second single release was Soothe My Soul. It was physically released as CD single and CD maxi single in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on 10 May, worldwide on 13 May, in the U.S. on 14 May, and as 12" single worldwide on 10 June, in the U.S. on 11 June. CD single, CD maxi single and 12" single were labelled to Columbia Records. Only in Hungary it was a No. 1 hit.
The music video directed by Warren Fu was premiered on 28 March.

Of course, they planned to tour the album.
Dave: "This tour, we've got some ambitious plans. We're starting out pretty large in Europe, going to some big stadiums for a bunch of shows, and then we come back to the States and go into more reasonable sized venues, lots of arenas, and that brings us close to Christmas. We're already now planning another European leg and then definitely South America and possibly Asia. Then I think we're planning to come back to America, and some more festivals in Europe in the summer of 2014."[14]
As usual they had their difficulties to find a setlist (and as usual it turned out not being that different to the previous tours, except that they played some more songs from the new album this time).
Fletch: "Our last album, Sounds of the Universe, I don't think many of the songs really translated live that well, but this album seems to be completely the opposite, it's quite a minimal but powerful album and a lot of the tracks are sounding very good like Soft Touch/Raw Nerve. Angel is sounding really, really powerful, and Should Be Higher. We can't play, unfortunately, too many songs from the new album because we have fans that go back such a long way, it'd be a bit selfish, I think, just playing a lot of songs off the new album and disregarding tracks from our career."[15]
Dave (about how to find a setlist): "Well, it starts out with putting together a list of songs that we want to play - particularly from other albums like Black Celebration, Music for the Masses, and Ultra - all of which ultimately should fit with Delta Machine. Also, we're thinking about reviving songs that we never really played that much, like Barrel of a Gun. Naturally you have to throw things in the fans want to hear. With us it's a constant debate: 'Should we do Just Can't Get Enough?' - 'I don't know, should we?' You've got to look at it as a song that means a lot to a lot of hardcore fans, but when you do something from thirty years ago, it can be like putting on a pair of pants from thirty years ago: they don't quite fit anymore, you know? You might really, really like them, but they might not, uh, work."[16]
The hardcore fans probably don't need songs like Just Can't Get Enough, Enjoy the Silence and Personal Jesus anymore because they have heard them too often but of course, fans who don't go to many gigs will enjoy it.

Speaking of fans, the band was asked again why they thought they were so popular and had such a strong, faithful following.
Martin: "I think people do see us as their little secret. Even though it's not that much of a secret - if you go into Europe about every third person has got one of our records somewhere."
Fletch: "A lot of people know the name Depeche Mode but can't point to the individuals in the band."[17]
Martin: "There are certain places where people seem have more of an affiliation with us; generally Europe as a whole - even Holland's starting to get on board a little bit more than it used to. But the UK is the one place where we probably do least well. In Europe and especially when you get to places like Germany and anywhere eastwards, it seems to be more than just about the music, it's like a lifestyle for them. They follow us, they wear uniforms of black - we call them the black swarm - we seem to be really really important to them."
Dave: "I think it's also because we come from a real place emotionally. I mean there's an image which has developed over the years and we're quite comfortable with that as well: we'd much rather be with the misfits than be with the norm. That's always been the case, we were ridiculed for it in the beginning and now we're praised for it."[18]

It seems that they have learned a lot about their followers over the course of time. So they were very critical of the film The Posters Came from the Walls by Jeremy Deller which tries to depict the fan culture. It was released in 2008 originally, but went online in 2013, that's why Dave was asked about it.
Dave: "First of all, no disrespect to Jeremy Deller. He made an extremely good documentary film about this band that's pretty accurate in terms of how important we are to some of our fans: in their growth, in their lives, in their beings. When people come up to me on the street, it's not usually like, 'Whoa! It's the guy!' Rather, most people look me straight in the eye and say: 'Thank you so much for the music. It's truly helped me.' That's an amazing thing. But what I felt about the film was, and I can't speak for Martin and Fletch, the whole thing was just too sycophantic, almost to a point of being comedic. And not in a good way. It didn't show the diversity of our fans and focused in one area. The whole drum corps and the Russian girl with the drawings of us, and of course the German family ... it wasn't objective enough for me. Even if it was well done. And the timing was weird, much too focused on what was and not what is today."[19]
Well, the fan culture was born in the 1980s, so it might be no surprise that the film focused on the past. Of course, the film shows mainly real fanatics, not the "normal" fans, but the "normal" fans mostly came a long way with the band too. The average DM fan is between 30 and 50 years old, and got to know the band and its music in the 1980s, or at least in the early 1990s. There are some younger fans as well, but they are definitely in the minority. (And sometimes these younger fans came to the band through their parents.) The survey of depechemodebiographie.de shows a ratio of 70% to 30%. 70% of respondents became fans before Ultra (1997). So the fan culture is almost as old as the band itself, and maybe this is one of the reasons why the fans are so faithful, and sometimes weird.
On the tour the band members were confronted with them again, but obviously they weren't bothered.

The tour has started on 7 May in Tel Aviv with the European leg. Before that there had been some short promotion gigs, and a warm up concert in Nice on 4 May.

Well, we will see what future brings. See you next time and then ...



See you next time

(Thank you very much! See you next time! - with friendly permission of © Ingo B.)






References:
[1] Andy Fletcher interview, News, 3 April 2013. Words: Uncredited.
[2] The Complete SXSW 2013 Interview, NPR, 25 March 2013. Words: Jason Bentley.
[3] Depeche Mode Q & A: Dave Gahan Talks 'Delta Machine,' Massive Tour Plans, Billboard.com, New York, 8 March 2013. Words: Jason Lipshutz.
[4] Delta Force: A Q & A with Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, Time Entertainment, 4 April 2013. Words: Melissa Locker.
[5] Interview with Dave Gahan, Mojo, 22 March 2013. Words: Martin Aston.
[6] Interview with Dave Gahan, Mojo, 22 March 2013. Words: Martin Aston.
[7] Brits wouldn't show our set so we said 'f*** them', The Sun, 22 March 2013. Words: Uncredited.
[8] Interview with Dave Gahan, Mojo, 22 March 2013. Words: Martin Aston.
[9] The Complete SXSW 2013 Interview, NPR, 25 March 2013. Words: Jason Bentley.
[10] Dave Gahan Talks About Depeche Mode's Delta Machine, staticmultimedia, 12 April 2013. Words: Uncredited.
[11] Revealing the Depeche Mode Plan, Exclaim, 26 March 2013. Words: Vincent Pollard.
[12] Dave Gahan Talks About Depeche Mode's Delta Machine, staticmultimedia, 12 April 2013. Words: Uncredited.
[13] Depeche Mode on synths, drugs and Basildon, The Times (UK), 21 March 2013. Words: Ed Potton.
[14] Depeche Mode Q & A: Dave Gahan Talks 'Delta Machine,' Massive Tour Plans, Billboard.com, New York, 8 March 2013. Words: Jason Lipshutz.
[15] Interview with Andy Fletcher, Canadian Press, 24 March 2013. Words: Michael Oliveira.
[16] Through That Darkness You'll Find the Light: A.J. Samuels interviews Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, Electronic Beats Magazine, 12 March 2013. Words: A.J. Samuels.
[17] Depeche Mode on synths, drugs and Basildon, The Times (UK), 21 March 2013. Words: Ed Potton.
[18] Depeche Mode: 'We were ridiculed and now we're praised', Musicweek, 19 November 2012. Words: Rhian Jones.
[19] Through That Darkness You'll Find the Light": A.J. Samuels interviews Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, Electronic Beats Magazine, 12 March 2013. Words: A.J. Samuels.



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