5 years of preparation and writing, 23 years of collecting the memorabilia, 30 years of being the fan. Long time investment, that profit… to us. Plenty hours of engagement, effort, cash, knowledge, many times over family life time. When I saw info about this book for the first time, I said to myself – Yes! Finally, something what we’ve been waiting for over these years. Something what is brought to fans by fans… because the band doesn’t see the necessity. We see. That’s why the Monument is for – librum MONUMENTum – the memory book fans have built for the band they love. So, please take a while to read the interview with Dennis and Sacha – authors of the MONUMENT.
[MODE2Joy]: You are fan of depeche MODE. As many of us you’ve had your depeche’s moment. From other interviews I know, that your first song was Pipeline. Mine was Pimpf :-). When did you start to collect depeche MODE’s memorabilia? Did you start in parallel at the beginning of being the fan or later?
[Dennis Burmeister]: I´ve started collecting after the wall came down. Before this it was quite impossible to collect anything. We just had some cassettes in bad quality and some posters from BRAVO-magazine but it was not a lot…
[M2J]: What was your first memorabilia, which you can say that started your collection?
[DB]: If I remember correctly, I first bought the limited live – 12″s, the L12Bong2, L12Bong3 and L12Bong4 and it was very exciting, because the quality was superb. Later I bought the same records on CD and it sounded like science fiction.
[M2J]: I understand you very good. For me it was one of the first concert recordings of depeche MODE I’ve ever met in the 90’s, just after 101. Sad that they didn’t release this concert on video as they planned in the beginning.
[M2J]: When did you realize that the collection of posters, CDs, newspapers, it’s more than just filling the gaps in the discography, and it’s not average, random awareness about the band?
[DB]: Is it more than that? I´m just a collector like other fans too. And I don´t think that I have a very unique collection. I still collect stuff like in the beginning. I love to collect nice things, rare records and all that stuff. It´s a question of quality, not quantity. The music is still most important for me. That is, what brings us together and made us fans to a community.
[M2J]: Is there something you don’t have, or you would call it „holy grail” for you? What are you dreaming about (from depeche MODE stuff)?
[DB]: I would say that the first demo-tape of the band is really a kind of ‚holy grail‚. I was and I´m still very proud, to have this little part of music history in my collection.
[M2J]: Many fans write private biographies of depeche MODE for their own needs. Did you have something similar? What was the impulse for the creation of the ‚Monument’?
[DB]: It was very simple: the publisher asked me and I liked the idea to make an illustrated biography. There never was an illustrated history of the band and I liked the idea very much, make a book full of facts and photographs. I mean there are a lot of books about the band, but most of them are very superficial, boring and filled up with all that stupid rumors.
[M2J]: How long the ‚Monument’ was built?
[DB]: We needed about five years for everything. I, for myself, needed a year for photographing, digitizing, Editing and all that stuff. It was very hard sometimes, because I have a job and a small family. It was very difficult, to find all the time. But it worked 🙂
[M2J]: Were there any risk at the beginning when you start the project? What do you think?
[DB]: There was no risk at all. Many persons were privy to it but no one thought or talked about any risks. MUTE supported us from the beginning, so we had a very good feeling.
[M2J]: On the other hand, it’s hard not to resist the impression that if not fans like you and Sascha, some projects never could happen. How is that, if not fans, it would not have been cataloged and still published TV archives of depeche MODE. Today, even the webmaster of depeche MODE uses these resources. If not the fans, full discography on depmod.com couldn’t have happen, If not fans … etc. I could give more examples. WTF? Why fans are more creative and digging deeper, instead of moaning and yelling again and again from the band.
[DB]: Hmmm… Hard to say, but I think the band are still pure musicians. I´m sure they never would write a biography about their lives. But I still hope that Alan will do it one day. He should have lot of memories and tons of pictures in his archive. Here we go, Alan…just ask me, I´m waiting…I´m willing to help 😀
[M2J]: Soon the national editions of ‚Monument’ will come. November 9th in Poland, in parallel in England too. Will there be any differences in relation to the German version?
[DB]: There are only small differences. For the English version of ‚Monument‚ made a very large interview with Daniel Miller. I think it is the biggest and longest Interview about the band, Daniel made in decades.
[M2J]: What will be the difference between collector’s edition and standard edition of ‚Monument’ in Poland? Except hardcover finish.
[DB]: Seriously, I don´t have a clue. I asked several times but it was a big secret. But I hope to get a limited edition for my collection 😀
[M2J]: German version is out for some time. During this time did you get any additional documents, recordings or other materials which are must have or should be in the ‚Monument’. In other words do you plan to re-issue or extend or revisit the book in the future?
[DB]: We’ve still got a lot of offers from different photographers, but it would not be fair to the fans, creating a „new” book. We don’t want rip-off any fans. But we get very nice photographs directly from C.C.Catch. She was a very big star since mid of the 80’s and still is, and she sent us material from her archive. One of the pictures can be found in the German re-release and also in the English version.
[M2J]: Do you plan to issue other language editions of the Monument apart Polish and English?
[DB]: But it needs to have the Publishers in respective countries as licensees. Currently unfortunately there is nothing official yet. All in all we are more than pleased that the Anaconda Publishing accessed for Poland now.
[M2J]: Earlier you mentioned about interview with Daniel Miller. For these of the fans who won’t be able to buy English version. Could you tell something about this interview with Daniel? What is about?
[Sascha Lange]: We were interested of Daniel Miller primarily the history of Mute Records and his former understanding of punk and DIY, his interest Krauk Rock, his work with depeche MODE and how he looks back today after more than 30 years on everything. Fortunately, he had taken a lot of time to answer our questions and we were able to learn some funny stories about him.
[M2J]: So you plan to re-release the German version. Will it be extended of European leg of The Delta Machine Tour, or time frame will stay the same?
[DB]: Yes, there will be some minor updates, but it has not become a major overhaul.
[M2J]: Don’t you afraid that every time when depeche MODE will release new album you will be asked to reissue the updated version of your book?
[DB]: Since it always takes about 4 years for depeche MODE to release a new album, we could also imagine releasing updated editions. Or if the band make albums still long enough, just a second part of Monument.
[M2J]: In the letter to Polish depeche MODE fans you wrote, that you collected albums posters and articles released in Poland. I know that at that time it was really hard to travel between the countries in the communist camp. Did you travel in person, or did you trade / swap with Polish fans?
[DB]: Neither Sasha nor I had in the 80’s the opportunity to travel to Poland. During this time, unfortunately, there was little contact between depeche MODE fans in the Eastern Block. The main reason was the lack of contact opportunities and the language barriers between countries. Hardly Eastern fans could then lead rational conversations in English. Polish newspaper article about depeche MODE and Polish editions of license plates were thus often incidental findings, from people who were there on vacation.
[M2J]: To be honest we didn’t treat printed in Poland memorabilia as something special. For us higher value had West German editions of Bravo, Popcorn, or other western magazines where at that time you could find more and with better quality pictures… (plus Bong, photo albums etc).
[DB]: Of course, the West German youth magazines were also in East Germany the most popular collector’s items – in addition to records. But as crazy fan, you just collected everything you got from depeche MODE and including quite a Polish newspaper articles.
[M2J]: What surprised me in the letter, that you were jealous about first depeche MODE gig in Warsaw in 1985. Why?
[SL]: At that time it was surprising as young people in the GDR, why is in Poland and Hungary in 1985 was already possible to organize concerts with depeche MODE, but not in the GDR. We wanted also to see the band live. But the GDR officials did not dare then to give a concert. We should once again say more firmly, that the GDR was really uncool.
[M2J]: Sascha you spent some time to bring to public memory the history of East Berlin concert in 1988. In Poland the concert in Warsaw 1985 is some kind of foundations of depeche MODE’s subculture. Fans existed before and collected the music, but during this concert Polish fans saw how many of them were in Poland at that time. And how many couldn’t come to see the band. This concert spun the fan movement in my country. Did concert from 1988 in East Berlin was something similar to East German fans or you had to wait another 2 years until the Wall collapsed?
[SL]: Exactly. The East Berlin concert has reinforced the general depeche MODE hysteria in the GDR by a multiple. Numerous fan clubs were founded afterwards. Everyone hoped that the band would come back to the GDR during next tour. Fortunately, the Wall fell in late 1989 and a few months later, all flocked to the concerts of the World Violation Tour. We talk about those times in the chapter „Behind the Wall„.
[M2J]: Ok last question. How do you find The Delta Machine Tour? Are you the fan of studio or live aspect of depeche MODE activity?
[DB]: To be honest, I still have my problems with depeche MODE in these days. I saw them in Berlin…and I make no secret out of it, but I still miss Alan Wilder. depeche MODE are not the same without him. Sure… I like ‚Delta Machine‚; I like ‚Sounds Of The Universe‚ and the other albums. But it´s not the same. Something has gone with Alan. And every time I see or hear depeche MODE, I still think about that. It still hurts…. isn´t it?