2015, 2016 & 2017

After the end of the Delta Machine Tour, both Dave and Martin worked solo. Martin released an instrumental record titled MG on 24 April 2015, Dave worked with the band Soulsavers together again and released the album Angels & Ghosts on 23 October 2015.

"When I was writing for the Delta Machine project I had about four or five instrumentals written which we didn't use," Martin said about MG. "I had all these instrumentals without a home and that gave me the idea to continue in that vein and complete a whole instrumental album. I just thought that was a good concept, and something new for me, something I've never done."[1]
"We never really stopped writing after the first Soulsavers album," Dave explained about Angels & Ghosts. "Even when I was on tour with Depeche, ideas would pop into my head. At the end of that Depeche tour I spent a bit of time staring at the walls, as you do, but this time it seemed more severe. I felt a tremendous sense of loss. "It's over." It hit me pretty hard. So I sat around moping for a bit, and when Rich from Soulsavers started sending me music over, I started to find working on it quite therapeutic. I started to write myself out of the hole I'd fallen into."[2]

The "transformation" from the solo project to the new DM record was an easy one. "When I finished my MG solo project in 2015, I just kept writing," Martin said. "When I felt as if I had enough songs like Going Backwards together, and Dave - who had finished his solo - had enough songs together, we met up. We talked about changing producers as we did the last three with the same man, found James Ford, and we were off."[3]

The production of Spirit was a fast one.
"We have a different producer this time, James Ford," Fletch explained, "and we worked at a much faster pace than we normally do. We actually finished early, which is unbelievable. It normally is four sessions, plus mixing. This was done in three sessions. Normally, we finish the album just before Christmas, then we go out, have a couple of weeks off before we go into promotion mode. But this time, we actually had some more time off."[4]


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"We called the album Spirit, because it's like, 'Where's the spirit gone?' or 'Where's the spirit in humanity?'" Dave explained. "We considered calling it Maelstrom - that was a bit too heavy metal."[5] Would have been an interesting title, though.
Spirit was a lot more political than any other album before.
"I really felt during the writing process for Spirit that the world was in a complete mess," Martin said. "Humanity had lost its way. By pointing that out, maybe you could somehow get some sort of values back. Now, I may just be imparting too much importance to music and what it can do - I don't know if it can change the world - but even if one person is affected, then maybe I've achieved something."[6]
Dave saw the line Where's the revolution? Come on people you're letting me down as "a linchpin on the album. We're really asking that question of ourselves and of the world. What's happening? What's happening? We're all feeling it and none of us seems to have the answer. I would say that this album definitely reflects what's going on outside more than what's going on inside. And the outside world is becoming too much."[7]

Where's The Revolution was not directly influenced by current events.
"Martin wrote the song a couple of years ago," Fletch said. "We didn't jump on the bandwagon because it was literally a couple of years ago."
But they have become experts on American elections because their first year of recording is almost always a year when the election takes place.
"Normally, we write songs about the world we live in and life in general," Fletch said, "you know about relationships and problems people have in their lives. Martin felt there were so many things going astray, that he felt that he should write about it."[8]
And Martin explained: "It's quite coincidental that the album has come out right now. I can't claim that the songs were all written for Trump. It just seems like such perfect timing, because the world is in such a mess. But the majority of these songs were written in 2015-2016, so the world was in a mess then too. It's just gotten a little worse."
He was shocked about how many people had elected "that idiot,"" but nevertheless, alt-right leader Richard Spencer called them "the official band of the Alt-Right."
"We were quite shocked, I have to say," Fletch said. "We're the opposite of that if anything."
"He says he's a big fan," Martin added, "but he obviously hasn't completely listened to our lyrics. I just think he's not all there. I think people always kind of know where we stand politically - everyone in the world except Richard Spencer."[9]

Dave thought that one could listen to the songs quite differently as well. "Some on the songs have a political content lyrically, but I don't listen to music like that. Music informs me. So it informs you to do something or to raise a question or to check your own position about how you feel about something, great. But at the same time, it's music and itís there to entertain you."[10]
But Martin also wrote a few personal songs. "There's dark, humorous lyrics in Eternal, which was written for my daughter. I had to slip in a vision of a black mushroom cloud rising and the radiation falling."[11] Well, I have to admit that the vision of radiation falling is kind of strange when you think about your baby girl ...

As usually, they claimed that the atmosphere and the communication had been great, just to find an example that showed that they still don't understand each other completely.
"It's about the beauty of communication, of wanting to be understood and loved," Dave said about Cover Me. "I've spent most of my life trying to get that. But sometimes when I get it, I don't know what to do with it. When I feel that side of me that is yearning for connection, I try to get it - and then it goes away again."
He showed the lines to Martin who didn't understand the metaphor, which drove Dave crazy. "What the f*** do you know? I never question your songs, Martin, I just sing them!"[12]


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Spirit was released on 17 March 2017 by Columbia Records and Mute Records. Before, on 3 February 2017, the single Where Is The Revolution was released, followed by Going Backwards on 23 June 2017 and Cover Me on 6 October 2017. As usual in the past years, there were several remixes and different digital and physical releases.
Dave contributed four songs to the album, You Move (co-written with Martin), No More (assisted by Kurt Uenala) Cover Me and Poison Heart (both assisted by Christian Eigner and Peter Gordeno.) He took care of the lead vocals, except of Eternal and Fail, which were sung by Martin. There were no instrumental tracks.

And of course, they were planning to tour the album, especially as Dave is still a restless guy. "I try desperately to do nothing - it seems like a good idea at the time. But I get into a weird place if I'm not doing things. My wife will indulge that for a while, then she'll tell me to go and do something."[13] That will probably be the main reason for going on tour. Not so much the money, as some people suspect.
"The stage is the only place where I donít feel my age," he explained. On the other hand: "It horrifies me to think that I might be on stage at 70 years old. It really horrifies me. I've got the idea of me walking on some remote beach somewhere, hopefully still with Jennifer, and a couple of dogs, and a beard that's down to here. I feel like I'm getting close to the point where I will actually have to stop doing this."[14]
Well, not for now. After some pre-tour performances in different cities between 1 March and 3 May, the Global Spirit Tour kicked off on 5 May in Stockholm and saw a European leg with 33 gigs until 23 July.
The second leg started on 23 August, took place in North America and saw 30 gigs until 27 October. The third leg was a European one again and started on 15 November.
There is a fourth leg planned in South America and an fifth leg in Europe again in summer 2018, which will probably end on 25 July in Berlin.

The tour saw a tribute to David Bowie by singing the song Heroes, which was the one - as every DM fan knows - that brought Dave to DM. "I had seen the news but it wasn't until my wife told me he had died that I just broke down in tears. My daughter came out and they were both hugging me. It really affected me. I felt a huge gap.[15] Bowie, since I was in my early teens, had an extraordinary effect on me. He represented something that was a little different and he didn't feel comfortable going along with what was considered to be the norm. That really appealed to me and somehow comforted me, certainly as a teenager. His music has been with me throughout anything I've ever done. And I've seen him time and time again over the years. My daughter and his daughter went to the same school for a couple years, so I'd see him at these school functions. One thing I regret - of course when he passed away - is never telling him how much his music had meant to me all these years. I always thought it was kind of weird to do that, especially when we were at school together, just two dads with their kids, but it was shocking to me when he passed away. He was too young."[16]



See you next time

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






References:
[1] Europa Hymn, Martin Gore interviewed, Clashmusic, 01 April 2015. Words: Mat Smith
[2] Dave Gahan: "People would throw bags of drugs on stage", The Guardian, 8 October 2015. Words: Peter Robins
[3] A conversation with Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, Magnet Magazine, 2017. Words: A.D. Amorosi.
[4] Depeche Mode Thinks We've Lost Our Spirit, Track Record, 03 March 2017. Words: Jessie Peterson.
[5] Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan on Urgent New Spirit LP, David Bowie influence, Rolling Stone, 02 February 2017. Words: Kory Grow.
[6] A conversation with Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, Magnet Magazine, 2017. Words: A.D. Amorosi.
[7] Depeche Mode, interview: Maybe it would be the death of us if we suddenly started being recognised, Standard, 14 October 2016. Words: David Smyth.
[8] Depeche Mode Thinks We've Lost Our Spirit, Track Record, 03 March 2017. Words: Jessie Peterson.
[9] "I Can't Claim That The Songs Were All Written for Trump", Yahoo Music, 17 March 2017. Words: Chuck Arnold.
[10] The Landscape Is Changing: Depeche Mode Singer Dave Gahan on the Band's World-Weary, Pissed-Off New Album 'Spirit', Billboard, 14 March 2017. Words: Andrew Unterberger.
[11] A conversation with Depeche Modeís Martin Gore, Magnet Magazine, 2017. Words: A.D. Amorosi.
[12] Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan: why I don't understand my own band, newstatesman, 01 June 2017. Words: Kate Mossman
[13] Dave Gahan: "People would throw bags of drugs on stage", The Guardian, 08 October 2015. Words: Peter Robins.
[14] Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan: why I don't undestand my own band, newstatesman, 01 June 2017. Words: Kate Mossman.
[15] Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan on Urgent New Spirit LP, David Bowie influence, Rolling Stone, 02 February 2017. Words: Kory Grow.
[16] 'We're the most opposite' of an alt-right band / on David Bowie's death: 'I broke down', USA Today, 13 March 2017. Words: Patrick Ryan.



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