Dave Gahan Credits Joy Division’s Ian Curtis For Depeche Mode’s Success

Dave Gahan recently sat down with KROQ and disclosed how Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis inspired his musical approach, ultimately influencing Depeche Mode‘s success.

The rocker was discussing the value music held over his life, stating that different songs, acts, and albums carried him through life. He then recalled listening to a Joy Division record the other day, noting how the music took him for a nostalgic ride back to the late 70s, pouring his mind with the old memories of him going to see Curtis and his bandmates on stage in different venues through London.

Gahan then pointed out how witnessing Ian ‘doing his thing on stage helped him form his own musical path, allowing him to understand that he could be his own self while performing. After all, Curtis never pretended to be somebody else on stage to impress crowds and make a name for himself.

Depeche Mode frontman recalling music’s influence on his life and how Joy Division inspired him:

“Songs… they’ve carried me through my life, and they still do—certain singers, certain songs and albums, in particular. I was playing a Joy Division album the other day that just transported me back to that time [when] I’m coming up and going to see that band in the late 70s in like small clubs and small theaters, ballrooms in London…

…and remembering how just dumbfounded and stopped in my tracks seeing Joy Division perform and watching Ian do his thing on stage and perform these songs. Those are the kinds of things that inspired me to believe that maybe I could also do that.”

He then continued by mentioning ‘the weirdness’ Depeche Mode inherited from Joy Division while laughing and saying he used to hate being called ‘weird.’ However, that oddity in Dave’s tone came from his realistic approach to life, representing it without any filters. Gahan noted Curtis did that too, not caring whether his tracks were depressive since he wanted to reflect his true feelings.

Dave’s words on Depeche Mode being weird and their take on life:

“We’re weird; we really lean into the weirdness. We’re okay with that now; we weren’t with that probably, you know… when you’re younger, you feel different all the time. You don’t fit; it’s why I listen to music like Joy Division because I connected with that, and other people were like, ‘Whoa, it sounds really depressing.’

But I think I made a connection with that, and I think people loved that with our music over the years, we’ve stayed true to what life is; the songs represent life.”

It’s apparent that the way Ian never held back on stage and never hesitated to reflect his true feelings in his lyrics inspired Gahan’s musical approach and influenced Depeche Mode’s commercial success and creative tone.