BERLIN (AFP) – British electronic music pioneers Depeche Mode announced a comeback on Tuesday with an upcoming new album and their first tour in more than five years, following the death of founding member Andrew Fletcher.

Lead singer Dave Gahan said the new record “Memento Mori”, due out in March, was inspired both by the pandemic and the loss of Fletcher, who died in May from a tear in his heart artery.

Gahan, 60, told reporters in the German capital that the band, after a long absence, was ready to embrace its fans again with a series of big stadium shows also beginning in March, in Sacramento.

“We get to make music and we get to play music for you and hopefully bring a sense of joy and togetherness, you know, in our own small way, in a world that seems to be constantly in some kind of turmoil,” he said of their 19th tour.

During the course of his long career, Gahan has been through severe addiction and survived multiple overdoses, an on-stage heart attack and even attempted suicide. He noted “Memento Mori” meant “Remember you must die”, a motto he said kept him “humble”.

– ‘Live to the max’ –
He said the group’s voluminous back catalogue had evolved in meaning with the absence of their longtime bandmate known as Fletch.

“Songs that I’ve been singing for years — they always take on different forms depending on what’s going on in your personal life or what’s going on in the world,” he said.

“When we were in the studio together, many times we would joke and things would come up and of course we’d miss Fletch. Those are the things you miss about someone when they’re not there, the things you kind of take for granted when they are there.”

Fletch will be with them on tour “in spirit, judging us,” he joked.

Instrumentalist Martin Gore, the band’s main songwriter, said the tracks were still being mixed on “Memento Mori”.  

“It sounds very morbid but you can look at it very positively as well, in that, you know, ‘live each day to the max’,” said Gore, 61, of the title. “I think that’s how we like to interpret it too.”

– ‘Songs you all love’ –
After a limited series of North American dates, the band will head to Europe, hitting venues including the Stade de France in Paris, Berlin’s Olympic Stadium and Twickenham in London.

Gahan said the sets would include new material from “Memento Mori” “integrated with songs that you all love.”

Depeche Mode, one of Britain’s most successful and long-running acts, had tantalised fans last week with a cryptic teaser on Instagram showing only grainy footage of a music mixing console and the words “Berlin 4.10.22”.

Credited with bringing electronic music into the mainstream, the band last released a studio album, “Spirit”, in 2017. “Memento Mori” will be their 15th studio record.

Depeche Mode triumphed with a string of hits in the 1980s and early 1990s, at first becoming synonymous with danceable synthpop but then gradually adopting a darker sound with heavy bass, synthesisers and saturated guitars.

The group has sold more than 100 million albums since it began in 1980, winning over a global audience with earworms such as “Personal Jesus”, “People Are People” and “Enjoy the Silence”.

It has nevertheless maintained an underground appeal and a growing fan base among younger generations, even as it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

Source: Manila Bulletin (