Depeche Mode present their new album "Memento Mori" - but not in the way they were used to for 40 years. Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have been dating since the death of Andrew Fletcher last May. "Life is beautiful, but also kind of cruel at the same time," says Gahan. The interview with the German Press Agency in Munich on the occasion of the album release is about death, but also about hope and precious time.
You are now 60 years old. Some become wiser and more patient with age. Do you have more patience?
I guess so. But not much. There is a red line. I no longer have the patience to spend time with people I really don't want to be with. I lack the patience and tolerance for that. It's the same in my private life, with friends and other people I don't want to invest any more time in. But I think that's how people feel about me too.
Because time is precious?
The album keeps pointing out that life is very short and time flies. As you get older, you see many things more clearly, such as my patience and tolerance. I can better accept what I want and what I don't want. And sometimes people like it and sometimes they don't.
How many of these thoughts are in the new album?
Making music is very intimate and revealing. Sometimes you reveal a lot about yourself. Things you like or don't like. I try to put all of that into the way I use my voice, which is sort of my instrument. There is joy and doubt, fear and strength. And often all at once. When I perform, it all comes out. I love the freedom to express myself like this.
How does it feel to make music together and to feel how the audience goes with you?
That's always encouraged me because it's beyond anything we can do on our own. It gives me a sense of hope that all people are one and a sense of being together. This is stronger than anything else that happens in the world and we can do anything.
Have you ever thought about the end of your career?
I feel the time is coming. I love performing, really. And I'll find a way to keep doing it. But my body will no longer allow me to do everything I want to do in the future. I know that. But hopefully it will be a long time before then.
"Memento Mori" is about time that passes, goodbyes, dying and the hope of one day climbing the golden stairway to heaven, as Martin Gore wrote in "Soul With Me". Where did the idea come from, was it some kind of intuition?
Martin is way more hopeful than I am in his lyrics and I'm glad he's there so I can sing about that hope. I hear hope in these songs that other people might interpret differently. I need this. The hope is somewhere to climb those golden stairs. I always think to myself why assume there is anything better out there?
In the afterlife?
Yes, why should one think so? After we got this amazing earth, the world, the people. Should there really be something better after that? That's a bit greedy, isn't it? That's greedy, that's human. We always want more. There always has to be more. It has to keep getting better. This is our constant struggle.
How do you imagine the afterlife?
Not at all.
But did the songs at least help you come to terms with the death of Andrew Fletcher?
Yes. That will keep us busy for a long time. Being on stage without Fletch, conducting interviews, photo sessions, videos, traveling. We've always done it together, with Fletch and Martin it was 40 years. Everything is different now. But that's life. Life is beautiful, but also kind of cruel at the same time. Just when you think you have everything under control, something happens. You lose a friend or you realize that you don't have everything under control after all.
There are always moments of tenderness in the album. How much did Fletcher's death affect you while recording in California?
I don't want to dwell on the fact that Fletch died just as we were about to get back together. Martin and I had already started. All the songs were already written, we started recording, the title was already there. I obviously thought a lot about that as we continued recording in Santa Barbara. Fletch would often come to my mind when I was singing or when I was just at the hotel. We've always been in Santa Barbara, near Martin's house, for years. So it felt like he was there even though he wasn't physically there. It still feels surreal that he is no longer there and will be part of the whole thing.
The album could be a tribute to Fletcher, a gift.
When we record an album there is a lot that goes into it, including our performances and our tour. But you never know when it will be the last time. A friend always advises me: do it like it's the last time. Enjoy what you do, get the most out of it. Because nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.
Personal details: Dave Gahan is a co-founder of Depeche Mode. Since 1980, together with Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher, he has formed the core of the extremely successful British band, which has sold more than 100 million records. The pop singer comes from England, but now lives with his family in New York. In the meantime, Gahan made headlines with alcohol and drug excesses, but claims to have healed from them.