Depeche Mode Press File


Photo of the group by unknown photographer. Reproduced without permission



by Karen Swayne
Sounds, 4th September 1982

Are Depeche Mode the Pink Floyd of chirpy technopop? Karen Swayne investigates.

"THERE WAS a time when we were really desperate, nobody was interested in us except for this Rastafarian who wanted to turn us into an electronic reggae group. Seriously! It was really weird – he had this plan to take us to Nigeria… the only thing was he wanted us to wear Dr Who gear, dress like Daleks or Cybermen – reckoned they’d love it in Africa!"

We all snigger at the thought of Depeche Mode going wild in the jungle. With other bands the idea might not be quite so ludicrous, but the Mode sound is so essentially urban, the clean bright pop consciousness of the new town, Basildon to be precise.

Seated around the modest semi where Dave still lives with his parents, the Depeche boys are happily reminiscing about times gone by while dispensing tea and charm to the visiting hacks. This is about their ninth (and last) interview of the day, more strangers who want to know what they’re all about (maaan), so I suppose you can’t blame them for occasionally wandering off the point.

"All the good times came from the early days you know, when things weren’t so organised," says redhead Andrew Fletcher rather despondently. "That’s when you meet all the people and have a laugh. These days when we go on tour we just get shunted from place to place, there’s no good times any more."

Ah, such worldliness in one so young – it’s hard to believe that Depeche Mode have been around for about two years, regularly playing to about 20 people at the last bastion of futurism, the Bridge House, for the first 12 months of their career.

"I think that really helped us, it gave us a lot of experience in playing live," adds fresh-faced singer Dave. "A lot of bands today are successful right away and go straight into playing somewhere like Hammersmith Odeon. I remember those early gigs so vividly, now I can’t remember what half the places we played on the last tour even looked like."

It was Daniel Miller of Mute who gave them the chance to take their snappy synth style out of the pub circuit, but for a while it had seemed that nobody wanted to know.

Andrew: "When we first took our tape round we didn’t get anything from any of the record companies. Stiff sent us this real sarcastic letter – something like ‘Hi, budding superstars…’"

Dave: "Yeah, me and Vince went everywhere, visited about 12 companies in one day. Rough Trade were our last hope, we thought at least we’ve got them, surely they’ll like it, after all they’ve got some pretty bad bands, but even they turned us down! They were all tapping their feet and that and we thought – this is the one! – then they went, hey, that’s pretty good, it’s just not Rough Trade.

"Then they said, how about this man, pointing at Daniel who’d just walked into the room. He took one look at us, went ‘Yeech!’, walked out and slammed the door!"

NOT THE best of starts, but it turned out he was in a bad mood at the time, and a subsequent meeting led them to signing to him. By then the tables had been turned, this time it was the majors who were chasing the band.

"They’d come to the gigs, buy us meals and generally fatten us up. They offered us loads of money, it was quite tempting really, but we trusted Daniel, didn’t want to let him down."

Do you ever regret going with an independent label though?

Andrew: "I think we lose out a bit because there’s things we can’t do as we haven’t got hundreds of thousands of pounds behind us. We’ve got a partnership deal, so anything we do we pay for ourselves."

Dave: "I don’t regret going with Mute though, because I think we’ve got a much better deal than most bands, we’re far more in control of things. We manage ourselves too, so we have to budget carefully all of the time, but we can release anything we like. I think a lot of companies would’ve been a bit dubious about releasing the new single – we’ve got other songs which are more obvious hits, but whether they would have been the right thing to bring out is another matter."

‘Leave In Silence’, the current single, does mark a change in style for Dep Mode. It shows the way their sound is maturing, the rather harsh, brittle edge of their early 45s is gradually being smoothed out and there’s more obvious emotion and feeling evident. It’s an important time for the band – they’ve just completed their second album, ‘The Broken Frame’ [sic], and they’re determined to prove that they can do just as well without Vince Clarke, if not better.

As he was the writer responsible for all their early hits, there must have been a problem when he left?

Dave: "Not really, because we were so rushed we had to cope.

"I think Vince was maybe a bit surprised at how we reacted, but we were fairly prepared – the general atmosphere had been getting really bad, it was like us three and Vince on his own. He just felt that we were becoming public property, he didn’t like what was happening to Depeche Mode, didn’t like being famous, didn’t like touring.

"Now he’s had a couple of hit singles with Yazoo, they’ve got an album out and they go on tour in September – it’s a bit hypocritical really."

On the new LP Martin Gore wrote all the songs. He’s been the quietest, gazing out from under his blond curls and looking like he’d rather be somewhere else. I try the direct approach. Did you find it easy to suddenly have to write an LP’s worth of tracks?

"No, but it was a question of trying to write them in the little time that we had. I was trying to fit in doing them between all the other things, and in the end half of them were written in the studio."

Isn’t that a bad thing, having to write to order?

"Well, I’d obviously rather not do it but I think they’ve turned out alright."

Were you writing before?

"Yeah, I wrote ‘See You’ when I was 17."

"And that was our biggest selling single," adds Dave conclusively. "I think this album’s a lot better than ‘Speak And Spell’, it’s more varied anyway."

Andrew: "It’s a lot weightier, not so lightweight and poppy. A lot of people who liked us before might not like it because it isn’t bouncy – a lot of the songs are very moody."

"You’ve gotta change though," Dave states, "you can’t carry on the same level all the time, you just progress as you go along. Before it was more aimed at electropop disco, but everything is dance-orientated these days."

THAT THE Depeche sound is maturing is good to hear. I’ll admit to being one of the early sceptics, I found their songs too simple, too repetitive, but even then there was something infuriatingly catchy and appealing, a directness that was hard to dislike and even harder to ignore.

They’ll admit to being lucky – they’ve had time to grow away from the pressures of major label concerns – and surprisingly (to me anyway) bemoan the state of the current charts.

"They’re in such a mess at the moment, full of cover versions, which I don’t think is very healthy. Anyone can make an old hit record a hit again, especially in the summer. You get people like Soft Cell doing a cover, but the kids who buy it don’t realise it is because they’ve never heard it before, so although they might not mean to, they’re taking credit for something they didn’t originally make."

Dave’s right, it is the easy option and it’s sad to see so many bands taking such a safe way out.

"Thing is, over here you have to worry about every record, one minute you’re on top of the world, next minute you’re a flop and nobody wants to know you. It’s really hard to establish yourself."

Andrew: "Reckon it takes about five albums."

"And a few more ulcers," mutters Martin.

Still, I don’t think they’ve got too much to worry about, from where I stand they’re in a better position than most.

Dave: "I think it’s good that we haven’t really got an image. Some bands seem to get stuck in one, but although everyone’s always trying to put us in a pigeon hole we’ve just dressed the way we wanted to at the time."

Andrew: "The band with the best image of all is Pink Floyd, they’re a really faceless group. I mean I don’t really like their music, but although they’re one of the world’s biggest bands if you saw Brian Waters…"

"Roger Waters you idiot," bursts in Dave.

"Oh yeah, well that’s what I mean, they’re really anonymous.

"We don’t have any pictures of us on our record covers, because they date so quickly. Like the Duran Duran cover, they were all dressed up, had all the gear on."

Andrew: "Bet they’re really embarrassed about that now!"

Martin: "They should’ve been at the time!"

Dave: "And that’s there for life – it’s much better to have some kind of design. The new LP sleeve is really good, much better than the last one, that was awful! The guy who did it, Brian Griffin (he also does the Echo and the Bunnymen sleeves), when he was explaining it he was going – I imagine a swan floating in the air – and we’re going, yeah, right, then he’s talking about it floating on this sea of glass and it sounded really great. It turned out to be a stuffed swan in a plastic bag! It was meant to be all nice and romantic, but it was just comical!"

This is said with so much innocent despair that any doubts I had about Depeche being techno-poseurs are banished forever. They honestly are the archetypal boys-next-door, open and straight-forward and often bemused by all the fuss. They tell me that a lot of people expect them to be out clubbing all the time, but that they find it too tiring.

"I dunno how people do it and work at the same time," says Andrew. "I’d rather go home and watch a video or something."

Dave: "There was this time when I did a personal appearance at the Camden Palace and I was practically pulled apart. It was really scary, when I got inside I was trapped and there were people clawing at me, ripping my clothes, pulling my hair – I was so frightened I ran and hid myself in the loo, I just didn’t want to come out. I think that was one of my worst experiences, those kids could kill you."

It seems odd that such a normal bloke (and that’s a compliment) could arouse that kind of hysteria – such is showbiz, I suppose. He’s a fairly reluctant teen hero, buying girls Mars bars when he goes to the shops!

Andrew: "Sometimes when it gets really bad you stop and think what am I doing here? All I wanted to do was be in a band, I was quite happy playing the Bridge House!"

Dave: "Yeah, you sell about ten records and you’re really happy, next thing you know you’re playing Hammersmith Odeon and selling thousands – it doesn’t mean as much as you think it will."

Andrew: "Up until the band formed, I’d never flown before. When I was younger it was always a dream of mine, but in the last six months I’ve flown so much I don’t even think about it now. Like we used to get really excited about taking off, fight for the window seat, now half the time you don’t even notice when you do take off – it’s bad when it starts getting like that."

Did you enjoy your last tour?

"When you look back you think you did, but I remember in the middle of the tour going, ‘Oh no, I can’t go on!’"

Dave: "Yeah, it does get a bit much, you all get on top of each other crowded in a little van – we’re doing another one in October though!"

Andrew: "I think we just do it out of habit! Also we developed quite a good live following so we don’t want to let them down."

"We don’t really do it for enjoyment ‘cos we don’t like playing live, I always feel such a berk. Like I hate seeing myself on telly ‘cos it’s never how you imagine yourself to be."

Dave: "That’s the good thing about doing videos – you get a chance to do other things. In our new one we’re all painted different colours, I’m blue, Martin’s red, Andy’s yellow and Al’s green."

(The latter is Alan Wilder who’ll be working with them live.)

"We’re not really known as a video band, which could be something to do with the first one we made – it wasn’t that bad, just general cheapo! I enjoyed doing this one though, it was good being painted ‘cos it’s like you’re hidden behind a mask and you can do anything you want."

THIS LEADS into a discussion of the Duran videos which reportedly cost around £80,000 – one example of the advantages of being on a major, although I can think of better ways to spend that kind of money.

Then Dave chips in gleefully: "We still get letters from our American fans and they wrote to us that they’d seen Duran stamping on a poster of Spandau Ballet in the street! Apparently they were going – they’re nothing but a bunch of poseurs!"

Megalomania has apparently hit the boys from Brum in a big way, but there’s no chance of the Basildon wonders falling into the same trap – they don’t see themselves as stars.

Andrew: "People expect us to live in some kind of penthouse flat, but living at home suits my needs. I can’t really afford to buy somewhere anyway, I used to think, one hit single and you get your Rolls-Royce but I think it takes about ten albums to be comfortably off, so you don’t have to work."

Depeche Mode’s utter lack of pretension is what gives them their undoubted appeal. They treat the whole thing as a natural process, and have no time for the theorising which restricts so many others – they get on and do it rather than agonise about their place in the scheme of things.

They’ll never be overwhelmed by it all, in fact they remain remarkably unaffected by their star status. These local boys have made good, and promise to make even better in the future.

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.


A BROKEN FRAME (LP) - released September 27, 1982

"And how have the lads fared since the departure of Vince? Well not bad actually. 'Broken Frame' is a very commercial album including the three most recent singles 'Silence', 'See You' and 'The Meaning Of Love', it all falls together well and shows we can expect a lot more from the clean cut quartet. At times the tunes flow mercillesly into catchy nursery-rhyme couplets which can be whistled at almost any time of the day, a frightening effect. At times it reaches high points far exceeding their first album. Definitely one up for Mute, today Basildon, tomorrow Ilford." ****1/2

Noise!, 14th-27th October, 1982

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.

"It is possible to accept this calculated kind of blandness when it is just a three minute stab at the charts."

Unknown reviewer
Sounds, September 1982

"What a difference a year makes. The Depeche Mode of '81's 'Speak And Spell' seduced their way into our hearts and into the charts with unblemished innocence; the synthesized soul brothers of cartoon punks, the Ramones.

The role and execution were essentialy simple: perfect pop with no pretentions. Such (ac)cute timing could scarcely be dismissed as contrived, such sublime straightforwardness blossomed beyond all critical sniping.

But, though in many ways ambitious and bold, 'A Broken Frame' - as its name suggests - marks the end of a beautiful dream. Now Vince Clarke's (selfishly?) split the market, 'A Broken Frame' sounds sadly naked, rudely deprived of the formula's novelty.

Whereas past pilferings were overlooked as springboards towards an emerging identity, the larcenies of 'A Broken Frame' sound like puerile infatuations papering over anonymity. What it also illustrates is that growing up in public is much the same as it was in the '60s - that once established as a commercial viability, pressure, pride or self-opinionation invariably pushes a band beyond compounding their capabilities and fuels daft aspirations to art.

To be fair, the one factor in favour of Depeche Mode's commercial decline, the sole grace that saves 'A Broken Frame' from embarrassment, is that their increasing complexity sounds less the result of exterior persuasion than an understandable, natural development.

It may lack Vince's gossamer sleight of hand, the ponderous 'Monument' may sound positively ugly compared to the wry 'Boys Say Go' but 'A Broken Frame' is closer to 'Speak And Spell' than its tricky veneer might suggest.

The lyrics have matured from wide-eyed fun to wild-eyed frustration, but the weary words of 'Leave In Silence', just like the glib ones of 'Just Can't Get Enough', are words and nothing more. In attempting the balance Yazoo get away with, the new Depeche Mode overstep the mark. Vince is adept at conjuring musical moods and Alf's voice is earthy and human enough to con us there's emotion behind their candyfloss, but the Mode remain essentially vacuous.

'Shouldn't Have Done That', the album's most ambitious departure, proves beyond doubt that Depeche attempting to twist pin-up appeal into nursery neurosis is like asking the Banshees to play 'Little Deuce Coupe'. The boys' pluck should be applauded and we should be grateful that they refuse to tread water.

But the plain fact is, they're drowning."

Steve Sutherland
Melody Maker, 25th September, 1982

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"When Vince left Depeche Mode to invent Yazoo he took with him a good portion of their cutting edge, leaving them with a style of electronic delicacy bordering on the fey. While this showed up as a lack of purpose in their early Vince-less singles, "A Broken Frame" makes a virtue of their tinkly-bonk whimsy. Like their last single, "Leave In Silence", it's almost pastoral and so wet you could wash the dishes in it. And I think it's wonderful." (8 out of 10)

Peter Silverton
Smash Hits, 30th September, 1982

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.


 Listen With Mother

The Dome, Brighton - October 12, 1982
Broken Frame Tour - UK leg

"Unforeseen transportation difficulties (OK, we broke down) and the geriatric Hitler on the door ensured that a large part of Depeche Mode’s set was lost to these ears. By the time we rushed in, the band, the girls and the screaming were all well under way.

Singer David was at the front of the stage playing up to the squealing hordes, the remaining three – Vince has been replaced by Alan Wilder for live dates – poised confidently behind their synths; were these really the reluctant teen heroes of a year ago?

The past year has seen a few changes but some of the old songs are still there fitting in neatly with the less dinky, moodier numbers that make up the band’s second album, ‘A Broken Frame’. Martin Gore’s songwriting talents are evident on slow atmospheric tracks like ‘A Photograph Of You’ and ‘Sun And Rainfall’ [sic] while the chirpiness has been replaced by a haunting maturity, the music’s still dance-orientated if less simplistic.

The nervousness David used to reflect has gone. Now, he jerks and boogies almost puppet-like, each movement provoking swoons and screams although, for all the clutching hands and stage invasions, it’s a healthy adulation and far better than the adolescent lust Duran Duran seem to inspire.

Dep Mode’s youth and directness make them hard to resist. There’s no pretentions, no dry ice or rock star posturing; the murky boards which make up the backdrop are less flashy high-tech, more school prop cupboard rejects!

And so the effect is more homely than stark, for the group are the approachable and almost attainable face of synthesiser sound, far removed from the grim, mechanical Numanoids of this world.

The music is fun and unselfconscious, bright and bouncy but less disposable than you might think. ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ and the atmospheric ‘Photographic’ both sounded weightier and more powerful than on vinyl, disposing with any lingering doubts about wimps on synths.

The group’s appeal is such that they could do no wrong, but they never fell into the trap of merely going through the motions. Their previous reticence is a thing of the past.

They closed with ‘Dreaming Of Me’, displaying more verve and style than would ever have seemed possible, while the 14-year-olds grabbed each other ecstatically and nearly fell off their chairs.

Then the lights went on and they went home, no doubt to clutch their teddies and dream of Depeche Mode, hand-holders rather than seducers and pop’s answer to a mother’s prayer."

Karen Swayne
Sounds, 23rd October, 1982

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.

Odeon Theatre, Birmingham - October 16-17, 1982

"Some people reckon that Gary Numan has a lot to answer for. Some even feel it might be worth remobilising the Task Force to prevent his re-entry to this country. Almost single-handedly he made computer printouts designed as pop songs fashionable.

The problem is, no-one told him that the style went out a long time ago. No-one told Depeche Mode either.

Their saving grace used to be the occasional sublime catchy pop tune such as "New Life" and "Just Can't Get Enough". These were just about enough to keep people hoping that, somewhere, Depeche Mode have something worthwhile to contribute. Those days are long gone, and Depeche Mode are busy hammering the final nails in the coffin of android pop, by taking it on the road.

If you use a Revox as a rhythm section, immediately the format is restricted in terms of timing, starting and stopping, and simple dynamics. These problems can be overcome by very strong material, good vocals, and clever visuals. Depeche Mode have dispensed with all of these, and that only hastens their demise as a credible live act.

There must be a concept somewhere, it's the only explanation for the half-completed, or even half dismantled repertory theatre stage set that framed the motionless figures and their banks of keyboards. The light show was equally uninteresting, an attempt at severity and sombre mood was conveyed by three different colours in six scintilating permutations.

As for the actual music, the people on stage whose job it was to improvise over the taped backing simply plinked and plonked away using one of three basic tones, each one reminiscent of the light and shade you can achieve with some old piano strings and a ping pong ball. Giving synthesizers to Depeche Mode and expecting them to realise their potential is rather like leaving a home computer on the table at a chimps tea party.

The only thing that kept me awake was the occasional light relief when one of the old hit singles was given a grinding run through. They may have lost all their original wit and sparkles, but it did remind me of how good this band used to be. The remainder of the set was large chunks of their new album, a directionless mishmash of old Ultravox riffs and gregorian chant vocals.

This was the first of two sold-out nights at Birmingham, so they must be doing something right, and I must be missing what it is. Whatever it is that makes people shell out hard-earned money to watch this band, in pursuit of enjoyment, is totally lost on me. By the way, which one's Vince Clarke?"

Simon Scott
Melody Maker, 23rd October, 1982

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.



by Jim Reid
Record Mirror, 23rd October 1982

JIM REID finds DEPECHE MODE in a forgiving frame of mind

Depeche Mode are hungry. Dave, Al and Andy are making snap decisions over the relative merits of a Mr. MacDonald or a Mr. Kentucky, reflective songwriter Martin Gore is deep in conversation with Mute supremo Daniel Miller, and your cub reporter is pensively awaiting a verbal battering.

Having made a less than favourable review of Dep Mode’s ‘Broken Frame’ LP, I’d been informed that the boys might not take too kindly to my presence. Preparing for a shoot out of ‘OK Corral’ proportions, I found myself confronted by four boys who merely want to state their case, smooth over a few misconceptions and generally put the world right about Depeche Mode.

Hold on a minute, please! It’s been three weeks since I reviewed that record, and after repeated plays it’s gradually dawned on me that Dep Mode have released a GROWER. What I’d first taken as their usual light, if pleasant pop, now reveals itself as a more layered, ambient and slightly harder Depeche Mode.

‘Broken Frame’ is an album of doubts, grey areas and grasping uncertainties. ‘Broken Frame’ is the Mode losing their innocence and confronting their world with a questioning, yet optimistic mind. Where once life and love was clear cut – black and white – there is now room for greater expression, deeper and more lasting emotion. Dep Mode are no longer a flirtation, they're built to last.

Compare their last two singles; the bright if shallow ‘Meaning Of Love’ – the eerie wistful desperation of ‘Leave In Silence’. Are you beginning to follow me?

I confront Mode on their tour bus to Brighton and naturally it’s the current LP that excites most debate. Andy is the first to have his say.

"I think the album’s more mature in both words and music. We took a lot of time and care over each song, whereas the first LP was recorded very quickly."

Dave Gahan takes up the theme: "You can’t do the same things over and over again. Martin doesn’t write like Vince, Vince writes very simply. Martin doesn’t. We chose Martin’s songwriting ‘cos we like it, everything we do boils down to that. We had to move on, we couldn’t be safe and make another LP like ‘Speak And Spell’."

OK, but this changing, more mature Mode; is it simply the result of you all getting older, growing up? Or is it a calculated attempt to throw off your teenybop image?

"Obviously we’re getting older," says Andy. "When we first went on TOTP Dave had only just turned 18. We were very young and didn’t really know what was going on.

"We’ve always wanted to be taken seriously. We didn’t sit down and plan our direction and say: ‘Oh right, we’re grown up now, we better do something grown up.’ It just happened.

"We read everywhere that we’re a short term, bubblegum group. But we’ve lasted. At the moment the LP is silver and on the way to going gold, we’ve had six hit singles."

The Mode don’t yearn to be taken seriously, they’re simply tied of being thought of as empty headed pretty boys. Mode may be nice, but they’re not soft. Surprisingly our conversation hits on the ethics and spirit of punk rock. Nobody pushes Depeche around.

"A lot of the values are going back to ’74," says Dave. "It’s just like punk never happened. Everything’s overproduced, everyone wants to be big stars. It’s all back to big hype and promotion."

Independent Mode manage themselves: "It’s very hard for us, we’ve achieved a lot on our own.

"Some record companies offered us really huge advances, but there are so many pitfalls with signing to majors. At the moment we haven’t even got a contract with Mute, it’s simply a verbal agreement."

The Mode boys relax in their comfy coach, the writer wipes his brow… he’s enjoying this. I enquire about the LP track ‘Monument’. Is it about the squashing of hope, the illusion of achievement?

"We don’t know, Martin won’t tell us," they say.

The unassuming Mr Gore is brought from the back of the coach and put in the firing line. "That’s a very direct question, I don’t think it’s up to me to say what songs are about," he offers.

Quiet Martin hides behind his glasses, smiles mischievously and lets the other Dep boys do his talking. ‘Broken Frame’ has revealed Martin Gore as a songwriter of sly angles and light humour. His songs lack the immediate punch of a Vince Clarke, but they contain a depth and warmth.

Depeche have no plans to record any new material until after Christmas simply because their time will be spent touring. Any problems so far?

"It was a bit hairy in Ireland, our coach driver got beaten up. We did three gigs, two of ‘em were great, but at one of them the crowd were a bit backward. I think they thought they were watching a punk band or something. I can’t stand it when people start spitting, it really spoils everything."

The band urge Dave to tell me of his stage heroics at the previous evening’s Leicester gig.

"Last night there were three blokes who’d obviously been down the pub, bought a ticket and come in just to aggravate me. I always get it first ‘cos I’m at the front. So, I just stopped the music and said to ‘em: ‘Why do you bother going to gigs – get out we don’t need you.’ They were really embarrassed, they couldn’t move. The rest of the crowd loved it. It was a victory for us."

Dave and the rest of the band also have to face the perils of over eager autograph hunters.

"We used to stay behind after a show and sign 200-300 autographs, but now it’s getting a bit out of hand.

"A lot of kids will just run in and jump all over you. Either that, or they’ve got 10 bits of paper they want you to sign. Dave was brought to the ground last night, the roadies had to pull him out."

Depeche, however, are encouraged by the changing mix of their audience: "The last two gigs have been really great, the audience has been very mixed; a lot of blokes, some older people. We’ve been labelled as strictly a young girls’ band. We’re not saying young people shouldn’t come to our gigs – it’s just healthier when you’ve got a mixed audience."

Depeche don’t get much free time. What do they do on their days off?

Andy: "I had a day off in Paris and slept all day."

Dave: "I’d really like to go fishing, but I haven’t been this season."

Depeche are away from Basildon for long periods, but their tour bus is a home from home: "Our girlfriends come on tour with us. Otherwise we’d never see them."

Who are Dep Mode’s current faves?

"Simple Minds. I think they’re really good, I’m really pleased they’ve been successful," says Dave.

What’s the significance of the peasant girl on the LP sleeve?

"It represents the change of seasons. On the single cover, the woman is sowing the fields. ‘Leave In Silence’ is like the sowing of the seeds – the LP is the finished thing."

Depeche Mode at Brighton Dome are a mixture of the instantly thrilling and the tentatively grasping. Dep Mode are growing, improving, searching for answers. I stand accused. The world of Depeche Mode is not as simple as it first seems. Watch them flower.

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only. Photo of the group by unknown photographer. Reproduced without permission.


St. Austell Coliseum - October 29, 1982
Broken Frame Tour - UK leg

"Depeche Mode have grown up. They perform their bright, slight pop with a newly-found sophisication with belies their old wimpish style. David Gahan still looks like a member of the Lower Sixth, but now, complete with sharp, babby-trousered suit, he's one of the cool types - the sort all the third years try to copy. As the only member of the group who is not synth-bound, his confident dancing is the main visual point on the stage. The slightly tame crowd (plenty of ra-ras much in evidence) are continually urged to dance and enjoy! And so they do!

Predictably, it's the snappy singles, which, by a million miles, get the best reception; highlights are "New Life", "Just Can't Get Enough", and "The Meaning Of Love". However, soft and seductive material from the new "Broken Frame"album, songs like "My Secret Garden" and "A Photograph of You", impress and show the more thoughtful, mature side of Depeche Mode. This, the last date in a sell-out tour illustrates there is far more to them than pretty tunes."

Josephine Hocking
Smash Hits, 25th November, 1982

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by John Kercher
Zig Zag, November 1982

Depeche Mode have trouble finding them, John Kercher thinks it's easy

People have always been confused about Depeche Mode. About how many guys were actually in the group for starters. Sometimes it would be David Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher that the fans would see posing in photographs, and then suddenly Alan Wilder would join them on stage for live appearances. Just to settle the record...there are now four permanent members, both on and off the record!

"There was a reason for it," says Martin. "After Vince left and went to form Yazoo, we were getting ready to record a new album. Alan started playing with us but we wanted to make certain that any change in direction in our music wasn't attributable to Alan joining. We needed to show we were capable of musical alteration by ourselves.

"So we recorded 'Broken Frame' with that in mind, although Alan will be playing on our tours when we perform songs from the album. Now we feel free for him to be a full time recording member of the group now that the change in pattern has been established!" Alan has been touring with the group anyway, so it makes little difference to relationships within the band.

The other confusion about Depeche Mode has been their name. And if it makes you any happier, the guys themselves haven't a clue what it means either. "We were just searching for a title and couldn't think of anything. It's always a tough job trying to get something that you like and appeals to other people too. We saw the name on a magazine cover and it clicked. We've never bothered to find out what it stands for!"

Just where the group stands is something the band themselves find occasionally bewildering.

"It's really down to audiences in specific countries reacting different ways," says David. "For some reason we don't go down very well in France. There doesn't seem to be any reason for it, but we didn't feel at ease on our last tour there and on our next European tour soon we'll be giving France a bypass.

"The really embarrassing moments are in America because we seem to attract musical aficionados or the intellectual side of the business, which is really strange. In Britain we're very well known and have a huge following who are of the usual type...lots of young girls, naturally. But in the States we don't receive that kind of reaction at all. People who come backstage or to our gigs tend to be much more upmarket. It's quite weird and we don't know how to react to it! We're going to America soon and we'll have to see if things are different.

"What really upsets us more than anything in Britain is the kind of criticism we receive. We're never averse to constructive criticism...and can take flak from the music press. In fact, we prefer criticism because we often learn from that - we are totally angered by comments which are directed against us rather than the music. That seems quite irrelevant!"

Martin has now taken on the role of critic himself. He confesses he has no desire to want to go into the business of producing other groups' albums or singles, which seems to be the track record for many already established musicians. "I find that a bit boring, unless you really have the impetus to do that there isn't really a need, it's not fair on new bands either.

"What I have been doing is reviewing demos sent to our record company by prospective recording bands. It makes a nice change from sitting at home with my feet up. Some of the bands are very professional, although there's fair amount of rubbish too. But if bands don't send in demos, they'll never know. And I'm never discouraging. I like to offer advice where I can. I'll listen to the tapes and select groups I think are worth following up, and make constructive comments about the others. It's very enjoyable really, so long as I don't have to do too many of them!"

Touring has now become a more pleasant activity for the group, which is just as well as they're set to do Europe, America, Canada and Japan.

"I'll never forget those first tours," says Andy. "We were crammed into a van along with all the equipment and driving for what seemed like years along motorways. Now we've got a luxury coach and can do it in some style. There are video recorders and stereo on board and you can't beat a bit of comfort to put you in a good mood when you arrive in a foreign city and have to go straight to do sound checks before you can rest."

And as a bit of additional comfort, a couple of the guys take their girlfriends along. "For us, that really is a luxury. We don't feel they get in the way, although there are quite a lot of bands who feel girls on tour are an unnecessary burden. With us, it's like taking your best friend along.

"Although I reckon it's fair to say that when we first took the girls they took a while to adjust to the fan reaction. That was funny really, because our girls also run our fan information service so you'd figure on them knowing what to expect. But the reality of hundreds of girls trying to rush us and kiss us was a bit too much! It seems to be Alan the girls are attracted to. We don't mind him shouldering that responsibility!"

Even with creature comforts the guys admit they don't get much time alone with their girls. "There's just so much going on around us that there's little chance of a tour being for romantic interludes walking along a foreign street!" laughs Martin.

But occasionally the tours throw up an interesting proposition, as well as a major surprise. Like when the group were touring Europe and had a gig in Belgium to fulfil.

"We rarely bother to look at our schedules and so naturally thought we'd be playing Brussels. But instead we found ourselves pulling into a tiny place called Oberkorn. It was a curious kind of village with a population that would hardly fill the first few rows of any ordinary theatre so it was quite a fascination for us to find out what was going to happen.

"Instead of our gig being a handful of people, the place was packed as the audience came from all around and even from across the borders. But there was an interesting twist to this concert. When we got back to our hotel our record company told us that whilst the 'A' side of our single was all set, they need a title rapidly for the 'B' side. Like I said," Martin says, "we're never all that good on names and the first thing that sprang to mind was the name of this village. Oberkorn. So that's the title we used!"

Whilst touring is a necessary evil for some bands, Depeche confess that they enjoy it, and when it comes to doing an album they get as much of a high. "We don't make elaborate preparations with music and lyrics, before going into the studio," says Martin. "Usually we have a loose framework to build upon, although there might be a few songs we've completed, worked and rehearsed. With studio time being so expensive you can't be in there too long.

"What often happens is that whilst the guys are listening to the stuff we've taped, I'll nip into another room and work quickly on an idea and then present it to them. With a bit of juggling we usually come up with something we all like. It's getting the titles that really presents the problem!"

Relaxation, however, for Depeche Mode is a thing they do at home. "We're not the kind who enjoy partying it up every other night or travelling to clubs. Most of the time when we're not working we tend to stay at our parents' places in our home town, which is a fair way from London. We only travel into the capital when we need clothes or have to go to business meetings."

Martin says that books are his favourite pastime. "I collect them from all over the place. Anything. I just enjoy reading, it occupies a lot of my travelling time. None of us are real film freaks, so we rarely get out to the cinema or anything like that. Our film going is usually done in our coach on the video. Alan occasionally nips down the pub for a drink but that's about the limit of our raving it up!

"We all feel that it's essential to have this firm home base, because otherwise you tend to find yourselves leading a very insular existence, only mixing with people in the music business, and that isn't really good for your mind or your lifestyle, you need outside stimuli, even if other people think it's trivial.

"I can't see us changing. We've no desire to move up to the bright lights of London and become another set of lights or whatever one becomes there. It's nice to visit occasionally, though!"

Depeche Mode are now anxious to show to their audiences that their musical ability is not confined to a specific style; that they are capable of a wide range of interpretation. The World tour is a start!

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.


This live review was originally published in the January 8th, 1983 issue of New Musical Express.

Depeche Mode & Fad Gadget
Ace Cinema, Brixton

"Some of the many moods of Mute were on show tonight. Label mates Depeche Mode and Fad Gadget would appear to be polar opposites, but each revealed aspects which defy the glib brackets of "boppy" or "doomy".

Fad Gadget could be on the verge of breaking out of cultishness and into the wider arena. Their recent LP 'Under The Flag' presents a surprisingly entertaining vision of dingy apocalypse, a 1982 equivalent of Bowie's 1970 'Man Who Sold The World'. Just as surprising is how well Fad's sardonic laments translate to the stage.

Clad in post-industrial black, tecnocrats David Simmonds and Nicholas Cash lurk in the wings, while centre-stage three girls sing background harmonies. These provide depths and textures which contrast with, hence emphasise, the Gothic engine-room of keyboards and percussion, and Frank Tovey's vocal histrionics. Mastermind Frank runs the gamut of frontman styles from Bowie to Iggy to Lux Interior. Whether he's lashing himself to a mike stand with his lead or greedily attempting to devour a keyboard during 'Coitus Interruptus', this puny, wild-eyed creature is never less than amusing and commandingly watchable. A natural.

Fad Gadget were a revelation. And likewise Depeche Mode.

Basildon is not known for its surf and endless summers, but I can think of no one else at the moment who so evoke the spirit of the Beach Boys. Despite Vince Clarke's departure to form Yazoo, the group are still riding the crest of a wave. Martin Gore has dug his feet firmly in the song writing sandbox. His songs on 'A Broken Frame' compare well with those on the more celebrated 'Upstairs At Eric's' [Yazoo's debut LP - BB].

Before now I had foolishly categorised Depeche Mode as happy-pappy pop, which is how they can still come over on TV. But live they dramatically fill out into three dimensions. Depeche Mode are not unrelieved fun fun fun. Songs such as 'Satellite', 'Monument' or 'Shouldn't Have Done That' are quirky and troubled, whilst 'Leave In Silence' is as poignant and pointed an epitaph to an affair as I've ever heard.

But the tempo was dictated by the hits. 'New Life', 'I Just Can't Get Enough' [sic] and 'See You' were barnstormers. Towards the end Depeche Mode were loving it even more than we were. Their set could do with a bit of pruning, but they finished in fine style and so we reeled into the freezing night, glowing warmly with good vibrations."

Mat Snow

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.

Note: The date of this concert is unknown

See the original review here


This short commentary originally appeared in the 1982 Smash Hits Yearbook.

Hurried Fashion, or as you know them better... DEPECHE MODE

Depeche Mode arrived on the crest of the wave of synthesizer pop of 1981, the original group made up by Andy Fletcher, Martin Gore and Vince Clarke, singer Dave Gahan joining later.

They scored a minor hit with their first single on Mute, Dreaming of Me, then New Life got to number 11, but Just Can't Get Enough was the first top 10 biggie.

They'd found success easy to come by, and maintained their hurried rise to fame with the album Speak and Spell, an immediate hit on release.

Soon after, Vince Clarke, who wasn't keen on the trappings of pop stardom, left the group, and many pundits prophesised that his departure would see the demise of Depeche Mode. But that wasn't to be, for Martin Gore took on the role of songwriter and his first offering, See You, got to number 6 in the charts.

The three became four with the arrival of former Hitmen member Alan Wilder, and 1982 was taken up with touring in Britain, Europe, America and Canada and two more hit singles, The Meaning Of Love, and Leave in Silence, plus the album A Broken Frame.

The Modes mean cheerful, catchy, happy pop, but they would like to be seen in a slightly more serious light. They have established their own strong identity, and in recent releases have shown a more sophisicated, mature approach; a more thoughtful performance. Hurried Fashion aren't in such a hurry anymore...

Smash Hits Yearbook

Reprinted WITHOUT PERMISSION for non-profit use only.

On to 1983