UNIVERSAL CITY, California — As singer David Gahan discussed Depeche Mode's plans for the new year backstage at KROQ-FM's Almost Acoustic Christmas on Sunday, he casually mentioned the band would be co-headlining Coachella.
Guitarist Martin Gore suddenly interrupted: "Are we allowed to say that?"
"Yeah, well I just did," Gahan responded. "And, you know, we are the best."
So there you have it. Aside from being the best, Depeche Mode are the first act set for the latest installment of Coachella. A spokesperson for the festival confirmed the news and the dates, April 29 and 30, but had no other lineup details.
For Depeche Mode, the Palm Springs-area festival will mark the start of another Stateside trek for the British electro-rockers in support of their October release, Playing the Angel. The album has garnered the strongest reviews since the band's 1990 album, Violator.
"There was definitely some stuff clicking," Gahan said of the studio sessions. "And I think a lot of it was due to that fact that we chose to work with Ben Hillier (Blur, Clinic) as well, and he just brought in a real atmosphere of excitement and fun in the studio. I mean, really what we actually did wasn't that different than normal to be honest."
"Everyone came back from their individual projects I think a lot more confident and really ready to work in Depeche Mode, so I think it has worked very well," added keyboardist Andrew Fletcher, referring to Gore and Gahan's 2003 solo albums. "It's a good time to be in Depeche Mode."
Part of the album's success has been the single "Precious," one of L.A. station KROQ-FM's most requested tracks.
"I've just gotten divorced and it's dragging on for like a year and a half and it was just a song about children being in the middle of that," said Gore, the band's primary songwriter. "Funny enough, it was one of the easiest songs to write, it was just one of those ones that flowed, and sometimes songs just do that. I suppose it's a message [to my children], maybe it's healing in some way, I don't know."
For the follow-up, Depeche Mode have already released "A Pain That I'm Used To" in Europe but have yet to decide the next Stateside release. This week the band is shooting a video for "Suffer Well" with Anton Corbijn, the famed director who has helmed nearly 20 videos for Depeche Mode over the years.
"It's exciting to work with him again and he's really up for it," Gahan said. "Actually, this is gonna be the last video he's gonna make for a while, I believe, because he's going off to make a movie."
Depeche Mode have been touring with the Bravery and played Sunday with Hot Hot Heat, just two of the many new bands who have cited Depeche Mode as a major influence.
"I don't hear it that much," Gore said. "You hear about bands citing you, but to me none of them really sound like us."
"I hear a lot more of the Cure in those bands, like the Bravery," Gahan said. "I think it's more of just an inspiration thing, which we're really flattered by of course."