Depeche Mode is today a legendary group which 40 years after its beginnings remains cult.
I had the opportunity to shoot the group on several occasions during memorable concerts. Let's go back to the story of one of his greatest hits: Enjoy the silence.
Who is Depeche mode
Depeche Mode are a British new wave band from Basildon in Essex, England. Founded in 1979, Depeche Mode emerged on the synthpop trend and quickly became influential and popular on the international stage.
The group was first noticed by a Soft Cell agent and then led by Daniel Miller, who signed it to Mute Records in 1981, and its name comes from the French magazine Dépêche Mode.
Depeche Mode achieves its first success in Europe since September of the same year with Just Can 'Get Get Enough and in the United States in 1984-1985 with the single People Are People.
The success of their synthpop in a very industrial style lasts until 1990 thanks to the album Violator, including the titles Personal Jesus, Policy of Truth, and especially Enjoy the Silence.
Almost all of the band's songs were composed by Martin L. Gore, with the exception of those on the debut album (Speak and Spell), which are mainly the work of Vince Clarke, who quickly left to found Yazoo and then Erasure.
Since 2005, singer Dave Gahan has participated in the writing of a few songs. Martin L. Gore works hard so that Depeche Mode is not seen only as a “synth” group, notably by using guitars.
Depeche Mode has reached the UK top single fifty times, and several albums have taken No. 1 in the UK, US and other European countries.
According to Mute Records, in 2008 Depeche Mode sold 75 million albums worldwide and over 100 million albums, including singles. In 2020, Depeche Mode will join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Depeche Mode from its beginnings to success.
The beginnings of Depeche Mode (1977–1980)
It was at Basildon in 1977 (In Essex) that Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher, then teenagers, decided to form a group and concentrate their creativity on a new instrument, the synthesizer, rarely used at a time when Great Britain resonated. to the sound of punk rock.
A high school friend Martin L. Gore joined them in 1978 and founded Composition of Sound. Depeche Mode finds Dave Gahan, noticed during the audition, while neither Gore nor Clarke perceive themselves as the lead singer sought by the trio.
The latter is also at the origin of the new name of the group inspired by the French magazine: Dépêche Mode.
The English, wanting to understand the meaning, have fun translating the name as Fast Fashion, and even Hurry up fashion, thus making a mistake of meaning, because they confuse the term "shipping" (a word in English, a word elsewhere from the old). Despeche French) with the verb “pressé” (pressed in English).
Their first compositions are refused by labels who do not appreciate the overload of synthesizers used.
First successes for Depeche Mode (1981–1983)
Stevo Pearce, director of the Soft Cell group and founder of Some Bizzare Records, notices them and publishes the title Photo on the compilation Some Bizzare Album (1981), where they clash with other future groups from the 1980s, such as The The and Soft Cell.
Then during a concert at the London club, Daniel Miller noticed Depeche Mode and decided to sign him under a new label: Mute Records.
In 1981, Depeche Mode released their first single Dreaming of Me, which belonged to the English Top 75 list, and soon after the title New Life, which became the group's first real success in England; at the end of the year a third single was released which became a hit in the UK and around the world: Just Can't Get Enough.
The first tracks come from the Speak and Spell album, whose compositions come mainly from Vince Clarke (Martin L. Gore is the author of only two songs).
Synthesizers occupy an important place in the context of drum machines.
But as soon as success is achieved, Clarke leaves Depeche Mode and goes to form the successful Yazoo duo of Alison Moyet (friend of Basildon High School), then a short-lived Assembly.
Vince Clarke finally stabilized in 1985, forming his group Erasure, which regularly released albums, some of which would achieve great international success (generating several platinum and number one albums in the UK), but did not generate interest in France.
Depeche Mode becomes a trio without words and their future seems at stake. However, three acolytes decide to continue the adventure: Martin L. Gore is now the songwriter / composer of the group which finally recruited Alan Wilder in 1982.
Based on an ad posted in Melody Maker. It requires a man under 21 and a real musician. Wilder, who reveals his age, is an experienced pianist.
He was mainly employed to ensure life, so he was not involved in the development of A Broken Frame, the band's second album, released in late 1982 and tagged with the single See You.
This title, released earlier this year, became DM's biggest hit in the home country, taking 6th place in the Top 40.
In early 1983, the single Get the Balance Right! (not present on any studio album), this one offers a more mature sound than Gore's previous compositions, heralding a change of musical direction for Depeche Mode.
Alan Wilder's artistic contribution is notable in the album Construction Time Again (1983), where he signs two full titles (The Landscape is Changing and Two Minutes Warning). In this third work, the first samples of German industrial music appear, and the sounds are refined, which confirms the musical evolution of the English formation.
As for the lyrics, they change more politically: the first fragment of this album and the lamp Everything Counts concerns, for example, ironically, the drift of capitalism, in particular through the main directions of the album.
Construction Time Again is a real success in Great Britain (certified gold end of 1983) and ranks in several European countries, confirming the growing influence of Depeche Mode at the international level; especially in Germany, where their albums were produced at the Hansa Studio.
Some Great Reward and the international explosion (1984-1985)
Love, religion, sexuality, boredom have become the favorite themes of Martin L. Gore's compositions, in a musical context which confirms his preference for German industrial music (especially Kraftwerk), which therefore nourishes the samples. of the group: heavy sounds, metallic and cold strikes.
And in this context, the single released in the spring of 1984 definitively gives Depeche Mode its international reach: People Are People.
This title allows Depeche Mode to experience great success around the world (especially in the United States where it appeared a few months later in the top 20) and announces the next album, Some Great Reward, which will finally be released in the fall. the same year.
The single is also the first track from Basildon, ranked number one (in Germany). Additionally, based on the success of People Are People in North America, the self-titled album, including this song and other singles, was released exclusively in the United States and Canada in the summer of 1984 for better publish the musical genesis of the group to the North American public who then discovers it.
As for the album Some Great Reward, it was very successful thanks to singles with a certain international influence; this is why after People Are People it is the title of Master and Servant, published at the end of summer 84, which in turn knows the honors of the charts.
Depeche Mode then embarked on a tour lasting several months, from fall 84 to summer 85, which took Depeche Mode to Japan.
This success is supported by a worldwide publication in late 1985 of the first official compilation of singles released since the debut of Depeche Mode. In particular, it contains the Shake the Disease lamp, released earlier this year and placed in the top 20 in many countries.
In Europe, from Scandinavia to Italy, Depeche Mode is gaining popularity - just like in France and Germany - becoming one of the most popular English language groups of the new wave including Tears for Fears, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Simple Minds, Talk Talk and The Guéder.
During this period, Depeche Mode, due to their success, was invited to participate in Live Aid, but in July 1985 they refused to perform there.
In particular, Martin Gore believes that artists who participate in such concerts are trying to promote themselves rather than invest in charity, and this is why Depeche Mode ultimately does not have a place for such an event.
In addition, the same summer 1985, Depeche Mode participated in Rock in Athens, a unique festival organized in particular on the initiative of the Greek and French ministries of culture and composed of a series of concerts focused mainly on new wave formations in the fashion. (despite the name of the festival) famous at the time.
This is why we will find Depeche Mode, but also Talk Talk, The Cure, The Stranglers, Culture Club, as well as the French group Téléphone.
Also during this period, the Basildon formation, which today faces a real international madness, paradoxically sees its success slightly weakened in its country of origin, where there will be no more world of its duels and for several years. .
Black Celebration and new visual identity (1986)
In the spring of 1986, a new album, Black Celebration, was released, the first fragment of which, Stripped, confirmed the group's orientation towards darker music composed from different samples.
This album bolstered the English band's reputation in Britain (although none of the singles released reached number one) and gave them cult status in North America, where DM is considered an underground band. ; although he is sometimes considered more commercial in Europe (his singles are released in many remixes, which can increase their sales).
However, the electronic and experimental approach of the group allows to develop many varieties of its titles. Depeche Mode works with many arrangers / producers and jockeys on record and offers their fans plenty of thoughts.
Depeche Mode releases one album a year, and its popularity is increasing dramatically. However, there is a desire to get rid of the image of boy hairdressers with synthesizers, which some critics attribute to their members. For this reason, they ask the Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn to change their image.
Since 1986, Corbian's intervention in music videos and photos has become decisive for the visual imagination of the English group. Corbijn plays cards with the aesthetics of ice cream like Wim Wenders or Werner Herzog.
The Dutchman's clips, systematically shot in black and white, send the image probably still a little frozen, but without advertising.
Music for the Masses and confirmation of success (1987–1988)
1987 is the next step in Depeche Mode's career. Depeche Mode released the single Strangelove this spring, which was a real international success and announced the release of a new album.
Recorded in France at the Guillaume Tell studio in Suresnes under the direction of David Bascombe, this sixth album was finally released in the fall of 87.
Entitled Music for the Masses, it reflects the new musical approach of the English group and opens Never Let Me Down Again, synthetic rock turning into a black dream, which over time becomes the anthem of Depeche Mode concerts around the world. .
This sets the tone for a hit album that first entered the U.S. Top 40 in the band's history, earning a gold certification plaque in a matter of months (for over 500,000 copies sold) and ultimately recording on platinum a few years later.
The Horn Depeche mode has definitely acquired iconic status. This album and its singles, still represented by Corbijn (Strangelove, Never Let Me Down Again and Behind the Wheel), thus achieve significant sales results all over the world, making DM one of the most famous English-speaking groups of the moment. (with U2, The Cure or INXS).
However, reception in the UK is even more diverse. In June 1987, Depeche Mode took part in a “buddy concert” organized by the SOS Racisme association at the Esplanade of the Château de Vincennes in Paris, performing two songs.
This international success allows you a great concert tour that takes place especially in the United States and that the American screenwriter DA Pennebaker immortalizes in the document 101 shot on June 18, 1988. At the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena in front of 70,000 spectators.
Depeche Mode became the first electronic pop group to fill the stage. Title 101 (suggested by Alan Wilder) refers to 101 concerts during this tour. Pennebaker's documentary traces eight fans transported for ten days across the United States by a production bus, as well as a group on the same trips, interviews and concerts.
The live album (the first for DM) reflecting this tour, also titled 101, appeared in March 1989 and went on to become a gold record in France in 24 hours […] [and] gave the band the best ever. sales result in England for three years.
Violator and worldwide consecration (1989–1992)
Depeche Mode is now enjoying great commercial success, while convincing a press hitherto rather restrained. Immediately after their 101st tour, Martin L. Gore presents his new compositions from the most famous album to date.
In 1989, four musicians returned to the Milan studio to work on highly sophisticated models by Martin L. Gore. David Bascombe was not available, then Depeche Mode called on producer Flood to record a new album containing the titles Personal Jesus, Policy of Truth, World in My Eyes, Halo, Waiting For The Night and above all a single that remains there. one of the most famous in the repertoire. DM, and his biggest hit: Enjoy the Silence.
The first fragment of the Personal Jesus album appeared on the air in August 1989 and exploded.
With a rock song built around a blues guitar riff (John Lee Hooker style) Depeche Mode is what we weren't expecting. This unexpected mix with a heavy rhythm, a simple melody marked with a slogan - more than a chorus - Reach and touch the faith that sets the tone.
Recalling the realm of electronic experiences, Personal Jesus ends with an instrumental phrase in which the programs seem to be left on their own, hit by a heavy beat.
This title is the idea of Gore, who, reading Elvis' biography, learned that Priscilla Presley called her husband "my personal Jesus".
Also, the verses reminiscent of a phone call pick up the phone, make you become a believer, in fact, it is like the existence of a telephone line in the United States from which you might meet a priest to confess.
Mute did not expect such madness for Personal Jesus, which is a big international success (especially in Europe and the United States), relying more on the release of Enjoy the Silence, strategically planned album release, debut. 1990; Violator, which finally appeared in March of this year and carried by record sales of singles (notably Enjoy the Silence, the first DM title to be ranked in the American top 10 and the single after the group's return to the English top 10), became the most famous The Depeche Mode album, sold over 10 million copies, including nearly 4 million in the United States alone.
A special event illustrates this immense popularity, especially on American soil. On March 20, 1990, on a promotional day in Beverly Hills, 20,000 fans threw themselves into an autograph, but it quickly became a public incident.
Quickly, the windows of the music store in which Depeche Mode is located - which will be immediately evacuated - gave way under the pressure of the crowd in the grip of collective hysteria, and the authorities, fearing riots (avoided by the small ones), " send several helicopters [and] four police divisions ”to disperse the crowd; several people were injured in this unprecedented incident, widely reported by local and national media.
To promote the album, Depeche Mode embarked on the World Violation Tour for several months, which once again shows the great reputation acquired by English Depeche Mode. For example, he plays in several stadiums in the United States: for example, 42,000 tickets were sold in a few hours for a concert at Giants Stadium (in New Jersey), and 48,000 tickets were sold in just half an hour. for a show at Dodger Stadium (in Los Angeles).
In 1991, Depeche Mode, titled The Death's Door, contributed to the soundtrack of Wim Wenders' film "To the World's End". At this point in their career, Depeche Mode was at the height of its fame, as public opinion and critics recognize; the following years turned out to be more chaotic ...
Enjoy the silence: the birth of a hit
Originally composed as a ballad (a minimalist demo of Martin L. Gore composed on a harmonica), Flood and Alan Wilder immediately discovered enormous potential in it, especially if the rhythm could be accelerated: Gore was invited to compose a guitar choir. extra melodic (which will be available in different octaves and also played on keyboards), but he hesitates to speed up the tempo.
The song quickly regains its structure: synthetic choirs punctuate the rhythmic dance base on which the melody is as sophisticated as "catchy".
The result creates a rather dark ballad, and the final combination of celestial choirs brings a strong melancholy. The track is then mixed by Daniel Miller and Flood (and not by François Kevorkian, who mixed the rest of the album).
The title premiered on December 2, 1989. Live on the set of Peter Illmann's "Peter's Pop Show" on German channel ZDF, where he enjoyed wide public recognition.
The version presented this evening is different from the version released in February 1990, because the introduction is different. This introduction will be included in the music video released in January 1990.
A trace of this transmission can be found on the official German website of the Depeche Mode group. Enjoy the Silence came sixth in the UK charts and eighth in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (the first and only top ten in this chart).
In France, he is 9th in the top 50 and first in Denmark, and reached the top 5 in many countries around the world, becoming one of the biggest hits of 1990 and in the history of the group.
He was voted best British single of the year at the Brit Awards in 1991. It should also be noted that this title signifies Depeche Mode his return to the top ten in England, where none of his singles have been ranked since the Master and Servant in 1984.
Enjoy the Silence was released in 2004 as a single, remixed by Mike Shinod of the band Linkin Park. This version ranks 7th in the UK.
Enjoy the silence: the clip
Used to working with Depeche Mode, Anton Corbijn offers a clip design that worries both the label and Depeche Mode. Its design is on a line: the king crosses vast desert areas with a deckchair under his arm.
This applies to the Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. You can also think of the image of King Saint Louis doing justice under the oak tree, when we see Dave Gahan walk under such a tree in the clip.
Depeche Mode's trust in the director outweighs any doubts about the proposed project, which is why Corbijn is responsible for producing the clip.
Dave Gahan, disguised as a king, is filmed in different places in Europe (Scotland, Portugal, Swiss Alps ...), under the armpit a folding armchair, which unfolds from time to time to sit and contemplate, absolutely alone, the enormity of the landscape which I await.
Studio photos show members of the group, filmed in black and white against a black background, interspersed with almost subliminal images of the rose (a direct reference to the album's visual cover, also designed by Corbijn).
In Coldplay's alternate music video Viva la Vida, we can see the band's singer, Chris Martin, dressed the same as David Gahan in Enjoy The Silence: he's also dressed as a king, but he travels the world instead of “Under the armpit a chair under the image of Eugène Delacroix La Liberté, who leads the people.
This is a reference and a direct homage to Depeche Mode, as the members of the group Coldplay confessed on their website: This is an attempt to pay homage to our love for Depeche Mode and the genius of Anton. Corbijn. The clip was produced by a Dutch photographer himself.
Cover of Enjoy the silence
Depeche mode Enjoy the Silence has been taken over by different artists, including:
- Enjoy the Silence Failure on the Depeche Mode tribute album For The Masses (1998)
- Enjoy the Silence Matthew Good Band on the B-side of the single Lo-Fi (1998)
- Enjoy the Silence No Use For A Name, Warped Tour (2001)
- Enjoy the Silence Tori Amos, Strange Little Girls (2001)
- Enjoy the Silence Sylvain Chauveau, Down to the Bone - An Acoustic Tribute to Depeche Mode (2005)
- Enjoy the Silence Lacuna Coil, Karmacode (2006)
- Enjoy the Silence Kim Wilde, B-side of Baby obey me (2007)
- Enjoy the Silence Keane, (2007)
- Enjoy the Silence Anberlin, (2007)
- Enjoy the Silence Moriarty, (2007)
- Enjoy the Silence Sue Ellen, Sunday Hangover album (2009)
- Enjoy the Silence Nada Surf, (2010)
- Enjoy the Silence It Dies Today,
- Enjoy the Silence The Brains (in), (2010)
- Enjoy the Silence Susan Boyle, (2011)
- Enjoy the Silence Breaking Benjamin (2011)
- Enjoy the Silence Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (2017)
Eric CANTO Photographer: Concert photos, portraits, album covers.