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Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan on 'Delta Machine,' inspiring Frank Ocean, and what his band has in common with Led Zeppelin

Depeche Mode just released their 13th album Delta Machine, their strongest outing of the 21st century. Though they’ve been at it for over three decades, they show few signs of slowing and remain as relevant as ever: They’re constantly being covered (“Just Can’t Get Enough,” the band’s first single, showed up this season on Glee), and as frontman Dave Gahan points out, also regularly providing inspiration for a new generation of boundary-pushing artists.

EW: Your new album Delta Machine was made both in New York, where you live, and in California where Martin Gore has his studio. How does Depeche Mode work being a bi-coastal operation?
Dave Gahan: Depeche Mode is a bit of a revolving door when it comes to other people that work on our record since Alan Wilder left the band 20 years ago. We’ve had to adapt to different ways of working on things. This time we worked with Chris Berg who is a Swedish musician, and he’s worked with bands like Fever Ray and the Knife. He does sort of hardcore electronic stuff. He fit right in, he knew exactly what he was doing, he was very bold, he had great ideas. Martin and I both need a different angle, and that’s what makes it interesting. But to answer your question, yes, Martin’s out there in California, I’m here in New York, so basically we just the recording in half. He has a nice studio in his house, too. This record was really kind of a pleasure to make with Martin. He’s in great shape, he’s writing great songs. He’s as positive as we get as musicians. We’ve come a long way together, we see our strengths and we’ve come to this place where we have a very strong musical bond. I think that just happens with time. Being in a band, you spend the first 10 years chasing something. You spend the next 10 years trying to hold onto it. We’ve spent the last 10 years just kind of doing our own thing. I think there’s a great strength in having the courage and also having the support to do what you want to do when you’re an artist in any way shape or form. And we’ve been lucky to have some great people working with us.

You say you and Martin are positive, but Delta Machine is still pretty dark. Where does that come from?
That’s just in us. READ FULL STORY

Depeche Mode's 'Delta Machine' now streaming on iTunes -- read EW's review here

Depeche-Mode

Depeche Mode
Delta Machine
ROCK (Columbia)
How is it that Depeche Mode are one of the few stadium-filling bands from the ‘80s still standing?

It isn’t just that Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher remain upright, though that is impressive considering Gahan’s well-documented struggles with substance abuse. The real feat is that the Depeche Mode sound—obsessively constructed monoliths of synth-based, salvation-obsessed twitchiness—still feels fresh 13 albums into their career.

From another angle, it’s obvious: Most of the time they’ve been so far ahead of the curve that even their most pedestrian output sounds inventive, and you need only look at their followers—from Nine Inch Nails to Frank Ocean—to see that game recognizes game.

Delta Machine is the strongest album the group has put out this century, brushing up against the locked-in grooves of the group’s late-‘80s crest that began with 1984’s Some Great Reward and ran through the revolutionary classic Violator in 1990.  Much of that credit should probably go to collaborator Christoffer Berg, who has previously worked with Swedish electro-terrorists the Knife; he lends a long-lost toughness that runs through much of Delta, especially the end-of-days bass loop that underscores “Secret to the End” and the insistent pounding of “Soft Touch / Raw Nerve.”

In the wrong hands, those instincts would be pushed to the point of abrasiveness, but like any goth greats, Gahan and Gore recognize the need for equal parts candy and razor blades, so the songcraft and melodic flourishes on Delta Machine are as strong as the sonic boundary-pushing. And Gahan still has one of the most darkly sweet baritones in rock, despite the cracks that have snuck into his upper register; some of the gauzier tracks, like the brooding “Alone,” start out drab until Gahan brings the honey, at which point they suddenly shift into deeply compelling technicolor.

Like David Bowie, DM inexplicably chose one of the more bloodless tracks from their big comeback album as the first single, and though Gahan is a fine balladeer, the two songs that find the BPM knob turned way down (the deep-but-plodding “Heaven” and the drippy “The Child Inside”) are digital quicksand. Experience has taught them to finish strong, which is why the stomping, anthemic “Soothe My Soul” and the bluesy, explosive “Goodbye” end Delta Machine on a hallucinatory high note.

The former is especially brilliant at expressing everything that Depeche Mode does well: Sharp rhythmic undercurrent, snarling guitars, paranoid-sounding keyboard hiccups, and Gahan bellowing “I’m coming for you.” Depeche Mode are the definitive synth-rock sharks: They’re survivors, and they can’t stop charging forward. A-
Best Tracks “Soothe My Soul” / “My Little Universe”

Delta Machine is now streaming here.

More on EW.com:
Vampire Weekend premiere new songs ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Step’: Hear them here
Report: Singer Michelle Shocked goes on anti-gay rant at San Francisco show
Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. dies at 39

Frank Ocean has '10 or 11' songs done, which may include Depeche Mode collaboration - EXCLUSIVE

In the weeks leading up to the Grammys, few were certain what Frank Ocean’s next move would be. Would he take a break from music  to focus on writing a novel, as he suggested to The Guardian last year? Or would he reinvent himself into something else entirely?

In an interview with BBC Radio radio yesterday, Ocean claimed that he is “10, 11 songs” into the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed Channel Orange: “It’s another cohesive thing, bordering on a concept record again.”

Ocean also said that Channel Orange collaborator Pharrell Williams has been with him in the studio, and that he hopes to work with Danger Mouse soon. Those are likely suspects, though another collaborator does seem a little more left field.

During a conversation about Depeche Mode’s upcoming album Delta Machine yesterday, singer Dave Gahan told EW that Ocean ended up in his legendary band’s orbit recently: READ FULL STORY

Depeche Mode premiere new single 'Heaven'

Depeche-Mode_510x317.jpg

There’s nothing like a little synth-infused gloom to jump start a Wednesday.

After a few years away, Depeche Mode have returned with a new album called Delta Machine (out March 26), and today they dropped the first single in “Heaven.” It’s an exquisite dirge in the DM tradition, full of foreboding industrial noise, subliminal melodies, and, as always, frontman Dave Gahan’s beautifully dark bellow. Give it a spin hereREAD FULL STORY

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