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[Interview]: Dennis Burmeister, co-author of “Monument” … May 2017 (English)

May 22, 2017
 

Interview

Dennis Burmeister

 

Introduction:
4 years ago we had an interview with co-author Dennis Burmeister () on the occasion of the publishing of the book “Monument” ein kleines Interview (read here). Now there is an updated limited edition of the book (released Mid May) – so it’s time to have another chat with Dennis (Interview is also available in German).

 

Interview:

Dennis, it’s been 4 years since our last interview. Exactly the time that Depeche Mode needed to produce “Spirit” after “Delta Machine”. How did you like the Delta Machine tour and what were your highlights?
4 years? That’s crazy. Time’s running. It seems to me like Depeche Mode never took a break at all.

The album works well with me, although it took a while to get used to it. I liked the tour as well, I still listen to the Soundboard recording of the “City Limits Festival” in Austin/Texas now and again. One of the highlights was Martin’s interpretation of “But Not Tonight” and “Shake The Disease”, though I would have preferred this one by Dave. It’s one of those songs that always brings back nice memories.

 

(Live Video of Depeche Mode’s “Should Be Higher”, recorded during the Delta Machine Tour)
 
Their latest album “Spirit” has been out for some weeks now. How do you like it?
It needs to grow on me. ‘Cover Me’ is still my favourite. But with ‘Fail’ Martin Gore delivers one of those songs with parallels to the old Depeche Mode albums. Godlike, because it’s a typical Gore song. I think it’d work well live …
 
Is the new album the only reason for an update of the book “Monument”? Which new content is in the new limited edited?
If I remember rightly, it was mostly about releasing the Daniel Miller interview in Germany. German fans have been asking for it for a while now. Daniel is like a father figure to Depeche Mode fans, he’s very popular. He’s my hero too. And if I had a tattoo, then it’d be one of him or at least the MUTE logo on my bum cheek …

The release of Spirit and the tour dates fitted in nicely with our own plans for a re-release. Of course we were debating if and when there’d be a new Depeche Mode album or tour. But I think a limited edition would’ve been released anyway. When the publishers decide that there’ll be a limited edition, then that’s a great compliment to us as authors. And no, I don’t think there’ll be more limited editions. That’d be absurd.

 

(Video of “Where’s The Revolution” by Depeche Mode, “Spirit”, Columbia 2017)
 
The reprint isn’t the only edition that has been released since our last interview – there are many international editions out now (including an English one – view here). How did that come about after the initial German edition? Which ones are available? Do they all have the same content? Are there any special stories behind any of them?
Our publisher has a department that deals with international licenses. Our dear colleague Inka, who works for the publisher AUFBAU, usually informs us about enquiries from abroad. We’re always looking forward to getting a phone call from her. It’s then up to the publishers from abroad how they use our content – if they decide not to publish certain chapters, maybe because Götz Alsmann isn’t as popular in Poland as he is in Germany, or simply to keep the cost of the production low. We get to know those changes very late in the process. Sascha and I are rather relaxed there though.
 
Is the limited edition going to be available in different languages as well?
Good question. I’ve no idea. Sascha? Hello?
 
Your publishing house Aufbau/Blumenbar is going to release a book about the legendary music label MUTE, which was co-written by founder Daniel Miller. Miller discovered Depeche Mode and MUTE has been their label for a long time. Have you contributed in any way to this book, with your extensive collection for example? It’ll be out in November. What do you expect from it?
To be honest, this book has been long overdue. Right? I mean, look at the artists that have grown with MUTE. Neubauten, Fad Gadget, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Erasure, D.A.F., NON, Throbbing Gristle, Holger Hiller, Moby, Goldfrapp … and now even New Order and Lee Ranaldo from SONIC YOUTH. I mean … Hello? And to top it off, the incredibly nice Daniel Miller, who’s remained ever so grounded, even though he’s written pop history.

When I first found out that there’ll be a book release by our publishing house, I about wet myself.

There’s been an enquiry about some material that I’ve got in my collection, but I haven’t heard anything since. I haven’t contributed in any way, no.

 

(Video of “Memphis Tennessee” by Silicon Teens, “Music For Parties”, Mute 1980)
 
Have you got any plans for the near future? Any new books planned? Are you still working as a graphic designer?
Yes, Sascha and I are working on a second book, which will be published by VENTIL. The VENTIL publishing house mainly focuses on pop theory, pop history, society critics and analysis and cultural studies. The working title is “Behind the Wall – Depeche Mode fan culture in the GDR”. It’s a great thing, we’ve been collecting lots of visual and text material. It just HAS to be put into book form.
 
I’ve heard you’re into communal politics now. How did that come about?
I was asked if I wanted to be part of a voters association that had been founded just before the last communal elections in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I started out by running the election campaign and was responsible for the PR of our association. We won the election with the first ballot, with an absolute majority in the local councils. We have replaced the local CDU after 25 years. That’s how it came about.
 
In terms of Depeche Mode, what do you hope for in the future? Do you think they’ll keep on releasing albums and touring every 4 years?
Well, I don’t think they can just stop doing what they’re doing. Artists that have been traveling to the metropolises of the world for decades can’t just sit at home and do nothing. The timeframe between albums may vary, tours might not be as long, but they’ll most probably keep on releasing albums.

Let’s be honest, apart from all artistic aspects, Depeche Mode is a huge money printing machine. And I don’t mean that in a nasty way.

 
Wishes for the future?
Loving life. Good health.

Thank you for your questions.

 

Websites:
Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode @ Facebook
Mute
Mute @ Facebook
Aufbau/Blumenbar

 
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