Depeche Mode are an electronic music group formed in 1980, in Basildon, Essex, England. The group's original lineup was Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, vocals, chief songwriter after 1981), Andrew Fletcher (keyboards) and Vince Clarke (keyboards, chief songwriter 1980–81). Vince Clarke left the band after the release of their 1981 debut album, and was replaced by Alan Wilder (production, lead keyboards) who was a band member from 1982 to 1995. Following Wilder's departure, Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher continued as a trio.
Depeche Mode are one of the longest-lived, most successful and influential bands to have emerged from the New Romantic and New Wave era. They have had forty-four songs in the UK Singles Chart (giving them more charting singles without a #1 hit than any other artist), as well as one US and two UK #1 albums. It is estimated that they have sold over 91 million records (56 million albums, 35 million singles) worldwide as of 2006
Depeche Mode's origins can be traced back to 1977, when Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher formed a band called No Romance in China, with Clarke on vocals/guitar and Fletcher on bass. In 1979, Clarke played guitar in an "Ultravox rip-off band", The Plan, with school friends Robert Marlow (vocals), Paul Langwith (drums) and Clarke on guitar/keyboards. In 1978–79, Gore played in an acoustic duo, Norman and the Worms, with school friend Philip Burdett (who now sings on the folk circuit) on vocals and Gore on guitar. In 1979, Marlow, Gore, Clarke and friend Paul Redmond formed a band called The French Look, Marlow on vocals/keyboards, Gore on guitar, Clarke and Redmond on keyboards. In March 1980, Clarke, Gore and Fletcher formed a band called Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals/guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. The French Look and Composition of Sound once played live together in June 1980 at St. Nicholas School Youth Club in Southend-on-sea, Essex.
Soon after the formation of Composition of Sound, Clarke and Fletcher switched to synthesizers, working odd jobs, including carpentry, to buy them, or borrowing them from friends. Gahan joined the band in 1980 after Clarke heard him perform at a local scout-hut jam session, crooning to a rendition of David Bowie's "Heroes", and Depeche Mode were born. When explaining the choice for the new name (taken from a French fashion magazine, Dépêche mode) Martin Gore has said, "It means hurried fashion or fashion dispatch. I like the sound of that."
Depeche Mode in the 2000s
In 2001, Depeche Mode released Exciter, which was produced by Mark Bell (formerly of the pioneering techno group LFO). Bell introduced a minimalist, digital sound to much of the album, influenced by IDM and glitch. The album failed to achieve the same levels of sales as the band's previous three releases, and was the first studio album by Depeche Mode to chart higher in the US than the UK, although it reached the Top 10 in both countries. The critical response to the album was mixed. Whilst it received reasonably positive reviews from some magazines (NME, Rolling Stone and L.A. Weekly), others (including Q, PopMatters, and Pitchfork Media) derided it as sounding underproduced, dull and lacklustre.
2003 saw the release of Gahan's solo album, Paper Monsters, followed by a worldwide tour and an accompanying DVD, titled Live Monsters; Martin Gore continued his solo career with the release of Counterfeit² (a follow-up to his 1989 release Counterfeit); and Fletcher launched his own label, Toast Hawaii, which has no bands signed to it (the only outcome so far was the synth-pop group, Client, who have now left the label).
In August that year, Mute released the DVD version of Devotional, filmed during their 1993 world tour, as well as a new remix compilation album Remixes 81 - 04 that compiled new and unreleased promo mixes of the band's singles from 1981 to 2004, including a reinterpreted version of "Enjoy the Silence" by Mike Shinoda entitled "Enjoy the Silence 04", which was released as a single, and reached #7 on the UK charts.
2005–present: Playing the Angel and current events
On October 17, 2005, the band released their 11th studio album Playing the Angel. Produced by Ben Hillier, this Top 10 hit (peaking at #1 in 17 countries) featured the hit single "Precious", peaking at #4 in the UK charts. The album was backed by the band's first in-store signing since 1990, on the day of release in New York City. This is the first Depeche Mode album to feature lyrics written by Gahan and, consequently, the first album since 1984's Some Great Reward featuring songs not written by Gore.
With a prototypical version having been leaked onto the Internet some months earlier, the official video for "Precious" was released on September 12 on the Depeche Mode website, www.depechemode.com. The second single from the album, "A Pain That I'm Used To," was released on December 12, and the third single from the album was "Suffer Well," the first ever post-Clarke Depeche Mode single not to be written by Gore (lyrics by Gahan, music by Philpott/Eigner). On March 2, 2006, they released a video version of single "Suffer Well" sung in Simlish as it is featured on The Sims 2: Open for Business PC game soundtrack along with accompanying video (the group featured as Sims). They join 1980s pop bands, Kajagoogoo and Howard Jones in the PC game as musical contributors with their performances in Simlish.
To promote Playing the Angel, the band launched the worldwide Touring the Angel in November 2005, taking them to North America and Europe. The tour continued through the first half of 2006. Depeche Mode also headlined both the 2006 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in California, and the O2 Wireless Festival, which took place on the last weekend of June 2006 in London's Hyde Park. Some of the gigs were their first ever shows in certain countries like Romania and Bulgaria. In March 2006, the website announced two dates in Mexico (a country they had not visited for twelve years). More than 55,000 tickets for a stadium in Mexico City were sold immediately, causing the band to schedule another date for the same venue. Recordings of 50 shows were officially released on CDs. These limited edition Depeche Mode live albums published under the scheme title Recording the Angel were much sought after by collectors.
On April 3, 2006, remastered editions of Speak & Spell, Music for the Masses, and Violator were released, featuring remastered audio in two-channel stereo and 5.1 multichannel on Super Audio CD and DVD, extra tracks and B-sides. In addition, each album comes with its own documentary charting the history of the band and the production of each album. The second installment of remastered albums were A Broken Frame, Some Great Reward and Songs of Faith and Devotion, all of which were released on October 2, 2006. Construction Time Again and Black Celebration were released on March 26, 2007. Both Ultra and Exciter were released on October 1, 2007. On September 25, 2006 Depeche Mode released their live DVD-CD set Touring the Angel: Live in Milan, directed by Blue Leach and recorded at Milan's Fila Forum on February 18, and February 19, 2006. The DVD has a full concert on disc 1, bonus live songs "A Question of Lust" and "Damaged People" along with a 20-minute documentary featuring Anton Corbijn, official tour announcement from Germany in the summer of 2005, and the Playing the Angel electronic press kit on disc 2, and disc 3 is a CD with live versions of tracks from Playing the Angel.
In addition, a "best-of" compilation was released in November of 2006, entitled The Best Of, Volume 1 featuring a new single "Martyr", an outtake from the Playing the Angel sessions.
On 2 November, Depeche Mode received the MTV Europe Music Award in the Best Group category. During that same period Fletcher confirmed that the band was on a long break after the massive "Touring the Angel" tour and that they soon would decide whether to go on hiatus or if they should start to write a new album.In December 2006, Depeche Mode were nominated for a Grammy Award, for Best Dance Recording, for "Suffer Well." This is their third Grammy Award nomination. The first being a Best Long Form Music Video award in 1995 for Devotional and the second being for Best Dance Recording for "I Feel Loved".
In mid-December 2006, iTunes released The Complete Depeche Mode as its fourth ever digital box-set (following The Complete U2 in 2004, The Complete Stevie Wonder in 2005, and Bob Dylan: The Collection earlier in 2006).
In August 2007, during promotion for Dave Gahan's second solo album, Hourglass, it was announced that Depeche Mode could be heading back in studio in early 2008 to work on their upcoming twelfth studio album. Depeche Mode were nominated for The MTV European Music Awards Interact Category in 2007.
Legacy and influence
Depeche Mode influenced many of today's popular recording artists, in part due to their recording techniques and innovative use of sampling. For example, Pet Shop Boys cited Violator (and "Enjoy the Silence" in particular) as one of the main sources of inspiration during recording of their critically acclaimed album Behaviour. Neil Tennant, “We were listening to Violator by Depeche Mode, which was a very good album and we were deeply jealous of it.” Chris Lowe agrees, “They had raised the stakes.”
Techno pioneers Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins regularly quoted Depeche Mode as an influence on the development of techno music during the Detroit Techno explosion in the mid 1980s. Appreciation of Depeche Mode within today's electronic music scene is shown by the numerous Depeche Mode remixes by contemporary DJs such as Ricardo Villalobos' remix of "The Sinner in Me" or Kruder & Dorfmeister's remix of "Useless".
According to Matt Smith, the former music director of the modern-rock radio station KROQ, "The Killers, The Bravery, Franz Ferdinand — that whole wave of music owes a tremendous amount to Depeche Mode."
Chester Bennington, vocalist of Linkin Park, was inspired by the band. Another Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda has said, "Depeche Mode is one of the most influential groups of our time. Their music is an inspiration to me..."
The band's influence is spread throughout different genres of music. Raymond Herrera, the drummer of the metal band Fear Factory, "A lot of different music influenced the way I play now. Like the band Depeche Mode. If I could sound like Depeche Mode, but be fast like Slayer, I think I might be onto something".According to Darren Smith, the guitarist of the post-hardcore band Funeral for a Friend, "dark, moodier stuff" in his band's music was "Depeche Mode-influenced.
Live supporting musicians
Peter Gordeno – keyboards, occasional electric bass and electric guitar (1998—Present)
Christian Eigner – occasional songwriting, drums (1997—Present)
Jordan Bailey – backing vocals (1998–2001)
Hildia Campbell – backing vocals (1993–1994)
Samantha Smith – backing vocals (1993–1994)
Daryl Bamonte – keyboards (1994)
Dave Clayton – keyboards (1997)
Janet Ramus – backing vocals (1998)
Georgia Lewis – backing vocals (2001)
Between 1998 and 2006, both Gordeno and Eigner were present on three consecutive tours; with Eigner on drums (and contributing to some of the songwriting on Playing the Angel with Gahan and Andrew Philpott) and Gordeno on keyboards
-Depeche Mode discography;
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