Growing up in the post-war East End of England town of Basildon, which was known for its high crime rate and the local disco Crocs, which was home to a real crocodile in the early 1990s. Almost as infamous as the Croc was a group that performed at Crocs; Depeche Mode with original lineup Dave Gahan, Andrew Fletcher, Martin Gore and Vince Clarke. They rode the New Romantic wave that was just emerging, which made acts like Gary Numan, O.M.D. oder The Human League big. The synthesizer boom that accompanied it gave them a hard time. According to earlier lore, they carried their heavy synthesizers on subways and trains to concerts before they could afford tour buses and roadies. After the quartet had unsuccessfully sent demos to record companies, Daniel Miller, founder of the British indie label Mute Records, became aware of them at a Fad Gadget concert. There they played in the fall of 1980 in the London club Bridgehouse as an opening act.
With the hit I Just Can’t Get Enough and New Life they made the teen hearts beat faster and climbed to the British Top Ten. After the release of Speak & Spell, Clarke left the band to pursue other solo projects such as Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure. The light disco sound now became more melancholy electro pop, but the 1982 LP A Broken Frame still held its own in the British charts. It continued with the follow-up album Some Great Reward, which was recorded at Berlin’s Hansa Studios. The vibrant Berlin of the 90s proved to be the perfect place to fuel new creativity for the synth pop stars’ third studio album. The sample-based machine sound of the 1984 album brings with it the hits People are People and Master and Servant. Two singles that reached high chart positions worldwide for the first time. On the single compilation The Singles 81-85, the early work was summarized in October 1985. A must-have in every fan collection is also the album Black Celebration 1986, which drills directly into the heart of every electro fan with dark sounds and a touch of black romanticism. The roller coaster ride went on and on for the four Brits; after the album Music For The Masses released in 1987, in which the band used significantly more real instruments and integrated influences from minimal music, they made the commercial breakthrough in the U.S. and advanced as the first synth band to become a stadium act.
They went down in history as one of the few bands that were allowed to play a concert in the GDR in 1988. The band received 5000 DM for the concert at that time. Also crucial for the success of the group was the Dutch artist Anton Corbijn. He accompanied them since the video Shoot for_A Question of Time_ as an art director and created numerous covers, lettering and media-influenced stage designs for the band and still influences the visual image of Depeche Mode today. However, Depeche Mode’s vinyl is still in high demand in the 21st century. Albums like Playing The Angel (2005), Sounds Of The Universe (2009) and Delta Machine (2013) show that the band can convince even in an electro-heavy age. The band cited The Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Neil Young, Roxy Music, Sparks und Siouxsie and the Banshees as influences; Martin Gore also cited Elvis Presley as a personal influence. From countless bands inspired by their music and quite a few teenage days sweetened, the band electrified the masses with their synth-pop and has continued to do so ever since. 2023 is set for another tour.