Memento Mori

Memento Mori

With over 50 hit singles and more than 100 million records sold, English synth-pop masters Depeche Mode could still play sold-out stadiums if they had stopped releasing music in the mid-’90s. “We could easily, if we wanted to, just go out and play the hits,” vocalist Dave Gahan tells Apple Music. “But that’s not what we’re about.” Depeche Mode’s 15th studio album is their first without co-founder and keyboardist Andy Fletcher, who passed away in 2022. This sad and hugely significant event in the band’s history is reflected in the album’s title. “Memento Mori—‘remember that you must die,’” Gahan says, translating the Latin phrase. “The music really will outlive all of us.” Main songwriter Martin Gore started working on the record early in the pandemic—well before Fletcher’s death—but recalls the moment when he played his demos for Gahan. “It’s always a tough moment when you have to present your songs for the first time to Dave,” he tells Apple Music. “I would’ve been presenting them to Andy as well, obviously. He passed away just days before I was about to send him the songs. And that’s one of the very sad parts about it, because he used to love getting the songs.” Memento Mori is notable for another big reason: It marks the first time Gore has worked with a songwriter outside of Depeche Mode. He teamed up with Psychedelic Furs vocalist Richard Butler on several tracks, including “Don’t Say You Love Me,” “Caroline’s Monkey,” and the pulsing lead single “Ghosts Again.” Surprisingly, the band tracked more than just the 12 songs that appear on the album. “We actually recorded 16 songs for this album, and it was very difficult to choose the 12 that made it,” Gore says. “That’s very unlike us, but we have four in the vault. It’s a very, very small vault. It’s like a thumb drive.” Despite the melancholy inherent in some of the songs, Memento Mori is ultimately life-affirming—and a testament to Depeche Mode’s commitment to the creative process. “It’s music, and it’s art, and it’s something that is incredibly informing,” Gahan says. “Without it, I don’t know where I would be.” Below, he and Gore comment on a few of the key tracks. “My Cosmos Is Mine” Dave Gahan: “It’s actually one of my favourites on the album. When Martin first sent me the demo, it didn't strike me. But quite often those are the ones that creep up on me later—that I most identify with for some reason—and that song was one of those. I remember going to Martin's house and singing it, and I knew we were capturing something. I feel like I found a meaning in the song that I identified with, and I don't often. When I found my place with that song, I knew it was going to be a great introduction to Memento Mori.” “Ghosts Again” Gahan: “When I first heard that song, I was like, ‘Okay. I'm in.’ The demo made me feel instant joy. I remember dancing around my living room, and my daughter came in and she was looking at me weird, like, ‘What's going on?’ I was like, ‘Don't you love this?’ She kind of started bopping along with me and she was like, ‘I get it. It's a really good song.’” “Don’t Say You Love Me” Gahan: “It’s very Scott Walker. To me, it’s this beautiful torch, but I love those kinds of songs. I mean, it’s like a movie or something. Martin wrote that one with Richard Butler.” Martin Gore: “Which is something I’ve never done before, worked with somebody outside the band. He reached out to me around April 2020. The pandemic had hit, and he just texted and said, ‘We should write some songs together.’ And he actually said that once before, like 10 years ago or something, but nothing ever came of it. But because it was the pandemic, I thought, ‘If I’m going to do something different, now is a good time to experiment.’ So we did, and we ended up writing six songs that I really like.” “Speak to Me” Gahan: “Well, it's sort of metaphors. The loneliness, the emptiness, the void, the wanting to be with people and life—and at the same time, not wanting to be. The initial idea came to me, but the song was incredibly elevated by Martin and our producers, James [Ford] and Marta [Salogni], into a different place, another world. And that's exactly where I wanted the song to go as well. But it’s beyond what I could have put together myself. It’s a very simple song, but honest and real. For me, it was the key that opened the door for me to make another Depeche Mode record with Martin. It was an answer to that question for me.”

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Audio Extras

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific

Europe

Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada