Depeche Mode have begun teasing the imminent release of new music – likely the first single from their upcoming 15th album, ‘Memento Mori’ – with a cryptic countdown published on their website.
Plugged with a post on their official Instagram account (which, at the time of writing, is the only post they have live on the page), the ominous countdown – which you can view here – started at seven days, and is ticking down, second by second, until 10pm BST next Saturday (February 4).
So reads a caption shared with the Instagram post: “Time is fleeting, see what it brings.”
Clicking through to the band’s website, the actual countdown is accompanied by a form asking fans to fill out their name and residential address. If you do, you’ll be met a message thanking you for “signing up”, as well as links to pre-save music on streaming platforms. Depeche Mode themselves have not yet confirmed whether this will be a single, ‘Memento Mori’ itself, or something else entirely.
The aforementioned album is due out on March 17 via Columbia and Mute. It will be the band’s first album in six years, following up on 2017’s ‘Spirit’, as well as the first release to follow the death of founding member Andy Fletcher; the keyboardist died last May at the age of 60.
‘Memento Mori’ was announced last October alongside details of a sprawling world tour. Its title makes a direct reference to the loss of Fletcher – a “memento mori” is an object kept as a reminder of the inevitability of death (such as a skull) – however according to keyboardist/guitarist/songwriter Martin Gore, it was chosen before his late bandmate’s passing.
“It sounds very morbid, but I think you can look at it very positively as well,” Gore said in a statement, “in that [you should] live each day to the max. I think that’s how we like to interpret it too… After Fletch’s passing, we decided to continue as we’re sure this is what he would have wanted, and that has really given the project an extra level of meaning.”
Upon the album’s announcement, frontman Dave Gahan opened up about it in an interview with NME, revealing that he was initially hesitant about making a 15th Depeche Mode record: “It wasn’t something I dived into, I have got to say. At first I put up quite a bit of resistance. I would say, ‘I don’t know if I still want to do this’; all the usual kind of stuff, but there was a bit more of that than usual.”
Elsewhere in the chat, Gahan noted that although work on ‘Memento Mori’ started before Fletcher’s death, the latter did not record any material for it. He explained: “He never got to hear any of it, which is really sad to me because there are songs on this record where I know he’d be like, ‘This is the best thing we’ve had in years.’ I can hear his voice. I can also hear him saying, ‘Does every song have to be about death?!’”
Despite its morose themes, Gahan assured us that ‘Memento Mori’ is ultimately rooted in positivity, being an escape for him and Gore. “The one thing I can do is make music with Martin,” he said, “then we can go do our thing and hopefully that brings people together,” he said. “It’s just all too much [in the world and the news right now].
“You have to find a place for yourself somehow. This is what it is for us right now: making another record, and we’re going to go out and perform on these stages.