|Martin Gore Interview from Wallofsound.com
After taking some time off to let everyone get healthy, Depeche Mode is making music for the masses again. The band is hitting the road for the first time in four years, promoting its new retrospective, The Singles 86>98, as well as a home video collection entitled The Videos 86>98. The British trio was also the subject of a tribute album, For the Masses, released earlier this year. Given all that, Mode keyboardist - songwriter Martin Gore and his bandmates (singer Dave Gahan and aide-de-camp Andy Fletcher) are feeling the love as Gore sounds off about the group's latest non-black celebration.
How did you feel looking over all the singles the band has put out during the past 12 years?
I think it's always surprising to look back and see how many songs we've actually put out. It is great to see, especially the singles from '86 to '98 together on one compilation, because I really think our golden period started in '86. That's when we were fully in control of what we wanted to do. I think there's some sort of dark edge that runs through our music, and maybe we weren't fully depressives before that. Maybe we became truly miserable in 1986. [laughs]
Do you think Depeche Mode's gloomy reputation is well earned?
I never see it as gloom. I always see it as some sort of optimism in our music. I've heard people say we're on par with Leonard Cohen, which I don't think is entirely fair. Then again, I never found Leonard Cohen depressive, so I might not be one to judge, really. I've always found him quite humorous and uplifting.
For "Only When I Lose Myself," the new single, was it easier or harder to write a one-off song specifically for this kind of collection than it is to write songs for an all original album?
I found it more difficult, in some ways. I think that subconsciously, I had this notion in me that whatever I'm going to write is going to be a single, which was...intimidating. Usually you're writing a collection of songs, and you don't think too much about singles and things like that. I had to keep reminding myself, 'Just write and don't think too much about it being a single.' I think in the end it worked.
How's the health of the band members these days? Are you concerned about going on tour again after the rough ride you had on the last tour?
I think the band is in a very happy state at the moment. Dave's a lot happier than he was; he's now been clean for about two years now. He's the healthiest person I know, though people find that hard to believe. All of us have had problems, in various ways and in varying degrees. I feel like at the moment we're quite happy and dealing with life OK. People call that denial, I think. [Laughs]
The Cure is one of your greatest contemporaries and pseudo-rivals, but they also contributed a track on For the Masses. What's your own perspective on the Cure?
We've known the Cure for quite a few years now. Robert [Smith] actually told me, it must have been over a year ago now, that he was interested in doing [the tribute]. He said he wanted to do it not only because he liked the band but he liked us as individuals, which I thought was a really nice thing to say.