Depeche Mode ‘the most opposite’ of an alt-right band, frontman Dave Gahan says ahead of new album’s release
British synth-rock veterans emphatically reject American white-nationalist Richard Spencer’s recent ‘really weird’ statement, with lead singer saying band have always felt they are just ‘a bunch of weirdos and proud of it’
Depeche Mode are back with their timeliest work yet. Take protest song Where’s the Revolution, the lead single off the synth-rock trio’s new album Spirit (released on March 17). “You’ve been lied to, you’ve been fed truths. Who’s making your decisions?” frontman Dave Gahan hisses over blistering synths, urging listeners to question their religion and government.
It’s a searing statement from the British icons (including Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher), who recently denounced American white-nationalist Richard Spencer for calling them the “official band of the alt-right”.
Gahan, 54, discusses their latest album.
You’ve said that this isn’t necessarily a political album, but was more or less inspired by what’s going on globally.
A lot of these songs were written a good year and a half ago. ... [Last year], it seemed like you couldn’t get away from this bizarre parade of oddballs all trying to claim their place to be the next president of the United States which, across the board, seemed so funny. That definitely rubs off on you. But it’s other places in the world as well: the craziness in Syria and all the refugees. It’s just like, “Wow, this is the world that we live in and we still can’t figure out how to get on together?” All of that stuff found its way on to this record, this disillusionment.
What specifically inspired Where’s the Revolution?
That’s one of Martin’s songs, but we were both coming from the same place. Someone said to me recently, “I’m sure it’s easy for you to say. You’re successful, you’ve done well, I’m sure you live really well.” And I said, “But that doesn’t mean you stop caring about what’s going on around you and the world your children are growing up in.” I think Martin was really cleverly pointing the finger outside and saying, “Where is the revolution? Maybe that revolution needs to come from each individual; it comes from inside.”
You’ve got to be able to change your thought patterns and ignore this constant fear that seems to be promoted by everybody in power: that you need to be afraid of these people or things. There’s good and bad people all over the place, of all different races and religions. You can’t single out a religion and say, “They’re all bad people.” It’s ridiculous.
What did you make of Richard Spencer’s “alt-right” remark?
It seemed to come out of such a left-field place that at first, we thought it must be some kind of joke. But then when we realised that this guy had made this really weird statement, we had to respond. Let’s face it, he’s a (expletive). And he’s the worst kind, because he’s educated. It’s not like one of these crazy people, like Milo [Yiannopolous]. This guy is actually dangerous because he’s so educated and we don’t want to be considered [as having] anything to do with something like that at all. I mean, has he ever listened to Strangelove or People Are People?
If anything, we’re the most opposite a band to pick. We’ve always felt that our music is a little odd and we’re a bunch of weirdos and proud of it. The music is listened to by people that have felt that maybe they were misunderstood or pushed aside or not the cool kids. We saw that very early on, where we were those kids that were chased down the street by people that thought we were a little odd as teenagers. So the music really doesn’t fit with any of his views.