An Interview with Indra Amarjargal of Depeche Mode's SPIRITS in the Forest (Part 2 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.)

Our lucky Bay Area Depeche Mode fans included:

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

Our second part features Indra Amarjargal from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Jason E: The film really celebrates three of the best things to come from dM - the music, the fans and the interaction/relationship between them. As you got to experience meeting the other Spirits from other parts of the world and attend the concert together in Berlin in the film, you were also able to enjoy the magic of these three things. In a similar way, the film gave us the opportunity for you to show us the world in your eyes and celebrate dM with you. Your story of growing up in Mongolia and discovering dM from your step-father in a part of the world that dM has never performed a concert was really fascinating. Thanks to the digital age you were able to watch the concert videos with your family and also become more connected with other fans around the world, but I imagine it must be tough to not have fans around you to share and appreciate together. After the experience you had in the film sharing your love with other fans, has it felt isolating returning home without other fans around you? Have you been able to discover/meet new fans across Mongolia because of the film or perhaps during your work as a tour guide in Ulaanbaatar? Do you find yourself wanting to move to a place where there are more dM fans and ways to be involved in sharing their music with others?

Indra Amarjargal: It was without a doubt the best experience of my life. I mean, if I had a time machine I would go back to that time over and over again.

It is true that I was very isolated at the beginning of my discovery of Depeche Mode. In high school, there was no one who could understand the music even when I tried to get them to listen. We all know that the questions “What is your favorite music?” or “Who is your favorite band” are popular between the youth. My first attempt at making my friends listen to Depeche Mode ended with disappointment so I started to only cherish them by myself. I never spoke about them again in public or with my friends. I enjoyed Depeche Mode’s music with my step-father until I discovered the devotees.

After my takeover on Facebook, around 40 devotees created a Facebook group called “Surprising Indra”. They started to send me vinyl, CDs, DVDs and even some of their Depeche Mode merchandise. Thanks to them, I now have 37 vinyl records, 40 CDs, a DVD and a turntable. In that moment, it felt like that was the closest I would ever get to the band. It always seemed impossible for me to attend their concerts due to the fact that I was only 21 and had just graduated from university. I can sincerely say that seeing the concert, and being a part of the documentary, was beyond my imagination. If there is any chance that I can be closer to their music, and to the fans again, I would definitely do it without any hesitation.

Vince F: Towards the end of the movie, you mentioned that “the melody, the notes, the voice, it touched the soul.” When it comes to the lyrics, is there a particular song that resonates with you the most?

Indra Amarjargal: I would say “Insight” is the song that connects with me the most. It almost represents the ups and downs of my life. I discovered that other fans connect with this song as well.

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

Indra Amarjargal: To be very honest, until 2016, I had never heard their full album. Once I got my own collection, thanks to the other devotees, I decided that my favorite album is “The Singles Box” since it has all of my favorite songs on it.

My favorite music video is certainly “Behind the Wheel” because it was the very first video of theirs that I found on YouTube.

It is kind of difficult for me to pick one song out of my favorite list, but the top three definitely are “Stripped”, “Only When I Lose Myself” and “A Question of Lust”. I cannot explain the reason why I am more attached to these three songs. I don’t think there should be a specific reason behind it. I mean, a person does not have to have a reason why he or she listens to certain music. I think it should purely depend on the feeling they get from the music.

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

Indra Amarjargal: I don’t really have a favorite member because Depeche Mode is team, and if there is any one missing it would no longer be Depeche Mode. But, I did have a childhood crush on Dave Gahan. I am sure I wasn’t the only one.

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?

Indra Amarjargal: The first thing I would wish for them is their wellbeing. I want them to live a healthy and long life.

My second wish is that I would want them to film their next music video in my home country. Perhaps it would include a small performance. That is all I can wish for since my wishes have already come true.

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

Indra Amarjargal: My favorite merchandise is the VIP pass that I was wearing in Berlin. It’s not really merchandise, but it reminds me of how lucky I am.

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

Indra Amarjargal: Here are my top 5 songs from Depeche Mode: “A Question of Lust”, “Stripped”, “Only When I Lose Myself”, “John the Revelator” and “Insight”.

As I said before, I don’t think there should be a specific explanation behind why someone likes a song. I think it should purely depend on the feeling they get from the music.

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 where 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?

Indra Amarjargal: It started with my take over on Facebook. Other than that, I am pretty sure that no one even knew I existed. I didn’t have any popularity since I am not that active on social media. I received an email in March of 2018; it was unbelievable. I didn’t believe it was real until the film team had arrived in Ulaanbaatar City. It almost felt like I was dreaming because after the team was gone my life was normal again. When I was in Berlin, it was another world, and then, when I came back again, it was totally normal.

Since the project, nothing has really happened in my life. Everything is still very normal. The other Spirits have told me that people recognize them in the streets, but even on the day of the premiere no one recognized me. I didn’t complain about it much because I was recognized in other parts of the world. I also received quite a few messages from other fans. My grandmother was ecstatic when she heard that people around the world watched her and adored her. I read her some of the messages that wished her a healthy life, and it was the one of the happiest moments in my life.

SFBAC: That's fantastic Indra and thanks for your time! And thank you for reading! Learn more about Indra 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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