TORONTO - Depeche Mode has released a new album every four years since the early 1990s, so fans weren't surprised by the English band's announcement in late January that its 13th record was coming soon. The blues-tinged "Delta Machine" is out March 26 and the electronic band has September gigs scheduled at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto and Bell Centre in Montreal.
Band member Andy Fletcher talked to The Canadian Press about what influenced the new songs, playing 30-year-old hits, and the lead single "Heaven."
CP: How did the blues inspire the new album?
AF: We have dabbled in this before, one of our most famous tracks, 'Personal Jesus,' is very linked to blues music. All three of the band members, we have varied tastes in music going back to blues to early rock 'n' roll. I think the interesting thing is the mixing between blues and electronics and I think it really goes well. Obviously some songs such as 'Slow' are more heavily blues influenced but even the tracks that are mainly electronics you can still hear the blues influence.
CP: What's on the set list for the new tour?
AF: It's difficult getting a set together because there are so many songs now over the years, so many classics, and somehow we have to get a set together that sort of represents our whole career and at the same time, make sure the new album gets its songs as well. It's a bit of a process but I think we're getting there.
CP: Which of the new songs are likely to be played?
AF: Our last album, 'Sounds of the Universe,' I don't think many of the songs really translated live that well but this album seems to be completely the opposite, it's quite a minimal but powerful album and a lot of the tracks are sounding very good like "Soft Touch/Raw Nerve." "Angel" is sounding really, really powerful, and "Should Be Higher." We can't play, unfortunately, too many songs from the new album because we have fans that go back such a long way, it'd be a bit selfish, I think, just playing a lot of songs off the new album and disregarding tracks from our career.
CP: Have you considered giving a modern make-over to older tracks like "Just Can't Get Enough" that fans want to hear live but no longer reflect your current musical style?
DM: You can't modernize 'Just Can't Get Enough,' it's a classic pop song, it has a classic sound, you just have to play it. It's one of the most famous tracks of the '80s, if you tried to modernize it it'd be horrible. I think it stands up as a classic track and obviously you have to position it in the set list where it'll sound the most comfortable but I think we'd be doing the song — such a part of our history — a disservice to try to modernize it.
CP: Why "Heaven" as the lead single? Was it the band's choice or the label's preference?
"I don't think the label would've chosen that song, we just felt it was the right sound to introduce the album: great song. Commercially it doesn't really stand up, it's too slow, but for us it's the perfect taste for the album itself.... It is important to us still to have success but not at all costs."