An Interview with Carine Briot of Depeche Mode's SPIRITS in the Forest (Part 1 of 5)

Kevin Keating
Depeche Mode's David Gahan @ SAP Center - Oct. 17th, 2017 (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan @ SAP Center - Oct. 17th, 2017 (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Depeche Mode's last appearance here in the Bay Area was back on the 2017/2018 Global Spirit Tour during which they played both the Oakland Arena and SAP Center in San Jose in October 2017. During that tour, Depeche Mode set out to create a new type of concert film to document not the live concert experience, but instead, a selection of fans and their relationship to the music of Depeche Mode. Through the deeply emotional stories of six special Depeche Mode fans, the film shows not only how and why the band’s popularity and relevance has continued to grow over the course of their career, but provides a unique look into music’s incredible power to build communities, enable people to overcome adversity, and create connections across the boundaries of language, location, gender, age, and circumstance. Artfully shot and expertly directed by Anton Corbijn, Depeche Mode: SPIRITS in the Forest weaves together exhilarating musical performances, filmed at the final shows of the Global Spirit Tour in Berlin’s famed Waldbühne (“Forest Stage”), with intimate documentary footage filmed in the fans’ hometowns across the globe.

To celebrate the release of Depeche Mode: SPIRITS in the Forest and the band's recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, SF Bay Area Concerts teamed with Columbia Records to offer four of the Bay Area's top Depeche Mode fans the chance to interview 5 of the SPIRITS featured in the film in this 5-part series. We'll post a new part of the series every two weeks leading up to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, May 2nd periodically leading up to the Blu-Ray release on June 26th! (Ed. note: We had every intention to release these every two weeks until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The R&R HoF induction has been postponed to later this year.)

Part 1 (below) | Part 2  | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Our lucky Bay Area Depeche Mode fans included:

Anne C. (Petaluma)
Jason E. (Fremont)
Nolan E. (Sacramento)
Vince F. (Cupertino)

Our first part features Carine Brio from Perpignan, France.

Jason E: Your personal story of being involved in a car crash and losing your memory was quite a surprise for me in watching the film. I can't even imagine what it was like to emerge from a tragic incident like this and not be sure of your own identity. As I was listening to your story being told, I started thinking about the dM song "Only When I Lose Myself" from an obvious thematic standpoint - even the music video features remnants of car crashes! Perhaps a very uncanny coincidence, but also one of many examples of how dM's music and lyrics can apply to so many life experiences and connect to people in different ways. And while the mind, body and soul also work in mysterious ways, the fact that dM's music remained a connection to your past after the accident is equally fascinating. As your story is just as unique as the other Spirits in the film, it would be very interesting to hear how dM continues to open doorways 'in your memory'. Since the crash, do certain songs and the original experiences you had in your past around those songs help you further remember other things to your past?

Carine Brio: Well, this is a very interesting question. Depeche Mode is the unique link to my former life. Actually, it is the only part of my former life that I can remember. The accident occurred 20 years ago and my memory has never come back. I have accepted the fact that it will never return, which was not easy to do.

I have tried many different methods of recovery, such as hypnosis, acupuncture, and phycologists, but I did not have any success. The only thing that has helped me is Depeche Mode’s music. As I say in the movie, I can’t tell you why, but I know this music is in me. It is a part of my life.

Listening to their music while being almost dead helped me. I knew I existed before I even woke up. This gave me the strength to keep on living and fight to stay alive. Listening to their music still helps things come back to me, like forgotten souvenirs. I know the memories are in my brain, soul, and mind but they are hidden so deeply that I can’t find them. The songs that helped me the most back then were “Insight” and “Home”. There are so many songs that help me at the moment, I cannot even name them. I’m playing Depeche Mode's songs every day, from both old and new albums, and they still give me pleasure!

Nolan E: I’m a bit “top 5 list” guy. What are your top 5 Depeche Mode songs and why?

Carine Brio: “Enjoy the Silence” – This song is a masterpiece and a real treasure in so many ways. I want to have it played at my funeral because this song is what it is: evidence!

“Barrel of a Gun” – This song reminds me that there are so many questions I can’t answer. Life is so uncertain.

“Wrong” – This is a strong song that speaks to me in so many ways when I am down. Sometimes I feel like I am not myself.

“Insight” – I just close my eyes and the melody allows me to let go. The song is so strong. It gives me a real sense of introspection and has the same effect on me as “Home”.

“A Pain That I’m Used To” – This song is so …wow…the best introduction ever on stage and the best rhythm too…You can’t not move on this one!

Nolan E: How did Depeche Mode “find” each of you for the film? Being in a tribute band that has viral videos, I understand, but were there other media events for the rest of you that caused similar popularity? What was your reaction when getting asked to be in the film? And how has it affected you since wrapping up the project?

Carine Brio:  Depeche Mode asked for fans to take over of their Facebook page two years ago. It was called the “TAKEOVER”. To be a part of it, you had to answer one question: what is your connection to the band? I just replied with my personal story through an e-mail. Every day for 365 days a different fan took over their account, and on day 292 I was in the spotlight. I will always remember that day! I was working, and not really available, but I still did the job.

The idea to let the fans express themselves was so cool. I’ve discovered so many different and interesting people. It was a surprise to read those special stories, and I couldn’t believe I was selected. 365 lucky guys had the chance to do it too!

Then a few months later I received an e-mail telling me Depeche Mode was working on a new, secret project and asked if I would be interested in being a part of it. Nothing more. Details of the project came later, and as you can guess, I just said YES!

Then, it all happened so quickly, and here I am participating in “Spirits in The Forest”.

Vince F: What is your favorite dM album, song and video and why?

Carine Brio: My favorite album would be either “Exciter” or “Songs of Faith and Devotion”. I really love both albums. My favorite song is “Only When I Lose Myself”. It is a beautiful love song that I can find myself in. My favorite video clip is “It’s No Good”. It is funny and has a great aesthetic. I also love the black and white clips Anton Corbijn created.

Vince F: Who is your favorite member of dM (from current or previous lineups) and why?

Carine Brio: I have no preference. I mean, this is a band, and it works the way it is: all together. I love Martin for his sensibility, Dave for his special voice and presence, and Fletcher because he is Fletcher!

Vince F: 2020 is the 40th anniversary of dM, what might be your top three wishes for them in light of this major milestone and why?

Carine Brio: It is fabulous that they are still here in 2020. Hitting 40 years must be very important for their career. I would just like them to enjoy creating and playing, and record some more music for us. Of course, I wish they would play live again and again! Maybe a very special show will come for this special celebration? Maybe they will have the reward of their life in May? They really deserve it!

Vince F: Do you have a most beloved dM piece of merchandise? If so, what is it and why?

Carine Brio: I have a nice t-shirt collection, but my favorite piece is a poster my sister found and gave to me few years ago. She said I had it in my bedroom when I was a teenager. It became another link with my past, so I keep it like a treasure.

SFBAC: Thanks for your time Carine and thanks for reading! Learn more about Carine and her love of Depeche Mode in SPIRITS in the Forest -- now available on streaming services! And be sure to follow us across our social feeds for more pictures, concert announcements and news here: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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