There’s one band I’ve played more than any other in my DJ sets. That’s Depeche Mode. The British synthpop pioneers have been a part of my gigs, often regardless of the vibe of the party, since I started DJing. I doubt this will ever change.
I’ve been a Depeche Mode fan since I was a kid, but there are a lot of bands that I’ve loved for most of my life and don’t play nearly as often. It does help that L.A. has a lot of Depeche Mode fans. Outside of the clubs, the band frequently appears on request lists for weddings and birthday parties. But, that’s also not really the reason for so much Depeche Mode play.
In 2022, a 32-year-old song from The Human League started creeping into my sets. I’ve been a fan of the band since childhood and play them often when I DJ. Yet, I never played “Heart Like a Wheel,” let alone the extended mix of the song, before this year. I began playing “Heart Like a Wheel” because I heard it on a MARS FM broadcast nearly as old as the song itself.
MARS FM 103.1 was a short-lived radio station in Los Angeles during the early 1990s with a truly alternative format. While MARS was known as the “rave” radio station, they played everything from Morrissey to Arrested Development to Messiah. (Check out these old playlists.) It was wild. Years after the station’s demise, my friends and I recalled it in many conversations. A lot of us were, in some way, influenced by the sound of MARS.
One of the songs I played most in 2022 didn’t come out this year. In fact, “Drop the Numb” is an indie dance mashup that dates back to the mid-’00s. I retrieved it from my Little Twin Stars CD booklet filled with music from the heyday of Soulseek and music blogs.
I still don’t know the name of the remixer who fused together Mylo’s club hit “Drop the Pressure” with Scissor Sisters’ cover of “Comfortably Numb.” I wish I did, just so I could say thank you for this banger.