Q&A: Depeche Mode's Martin Gore on band's 13th album, working with Frank Ocean, musical family

NEW YORK, N.Y. - British electro-pop group Depeche Mode kind of sounds like The Beatles — at least on one track from their new album.

"It's a bad thing to say this because everyone is going to say, 'What are you talking about?' But it reminds me of The Beatles or something," chief songwriter and founding member Martin Gore said with a laugh, referring to the bluesy song "Goodbye."

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He added: "That's a dangerous thing to say."

But Gore doesn't want fans to confuse the message of Depeche Mode's new album. Their signature electronic grooves are all over "Delta Machine," the trio's 13th release, out this week.

"We had a clear-cut vision in our heads on what the album should be," Gore said.

Depeche Mode has released albums since 1981. Their hits include "People Are People," ''Enjoy the Silence" and "Policy of Truth."

The band, which also includes singer David Gahan and multi-instrumentalist Andy Fletcher, will launch a world tour on April 5 in Nice, France.

In a recent phone interview with The Associated Press, Gore, 51, talked about his family, the new album, the state of electronic music and collaborating with Frank Ocean.


AP: Does making music ever get old?

Gore: I love being in the studio. If I'm at home, I will go to the studio pretty much every day anyway. It's just something that I like to do. If you took music out of my life, I don't know what I'd do. It's the one thing that I have a real passion for.

AP: Do you ever feel pressure to match the success of your previous releases?

Gore: I don't think I ever worry too much about what our target audience is, what we should be releasing. I just write naturally and organically and try to write from the heart. When you first sit down to write the first song, until you've maybe got three or four under your belt, it's always, to me, like a mountain to climb. You look at that one blank piece of paper and you think, 'God, how many songs do I have to write here?' It always feels like pressure.

AP: What are your thoughts on the dance and electronic sound blowing up in the U.S. in recent years?

Gore: (Laughs.) It's definitely phenomenal. I find it a little bit strange that someone like Deadmau5 plays huge shows and huge audiences. I went to see him play a fairly small show compared to some of the others that he's been doing. I find it odd seeing a DJ playing to huge audiences. I know that people have been doing it for a while, but the fact that it's been embraced so much in America now and it's become like this new, big thing, I find it slightly odd.

AP: You collaborated with Frank Ocean recently. How did that come about?

Gore: The last day I think it was that we had in the studio in New York, we were just recording some live sessions, a bonus thing for our deluxe CD, and Frank asked our engineer if he could come in and have a listen. So, he came in and started talking to us and said he had a track that he would like us to work on. He came up later and brought his track up, and the following day we stayed an extra day in the studio and just did a few bits and pieces, and I have no idea what's happening to that track. It's a great track.

AP: What was he like?

Gore: He seems like a nice and funny guy. He came in, he was very at home coming into our environment, playing us his track. He went off and then we worked on it.

AP: What advice would you give to young bands?

Gore: I don't want to be pessimistic, but times have changed so much. I'm not saying it was easy when we first started out, but at least there was a healthy record industry and record companies were looking to sign bands and there was money flying around. It's really difficult now. I even have nephews who make music, my daughter makes music. I don't know what advice to give them these days. It's really a tough industry to break into.

AP: How old is your daughter?

Gore: My middle child, she's 17 now.

AP: What kind of music is she performing?

Gore: She plays guitar and she sings and it's more kind of folky really than anything else. ... All of my kids are into music. My older daughter plays guitar, piano, sings. My young son, he sings.

AP: Do you listen to music together?

Gore: We all have slightly different tastes, but sometimes we listen to music together.

AP: That's good. You can drive in the car together and there isn't anyone complaining.

Gore: Oh, there will probably be someone complaining.





Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin

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