Interview with Vince Clarke (Erasure)(May 2017) Print E-mail
Written by alex davie   
Friday, 12 May 2017 12:34

Erasure 2017

Alex: First of all, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to talk with you, dear Vince. And my first question is: how do you feel at the moment, less than a month till release of new Erasure album, «World Be Gone»?

Vince: Well, I'm very excited, I'm really pleased for the way the record turned out. And I think it's a bit of a departure from the much recent records, nothing will surprise people and hopefully they like it, so yes, and also we've got this massive talk coming up and so let something alter to be excited about. There's lots going on right now...

Alex: So, your last studio album was out 3 years ago (2014, «The Violet Flame»). And have to say - Erasure stuff continue to stay on these roots, where it was started 30 years ago - dance synthpop. No big changes with new one?

Vince: I think the new one is a lot more reflective than the previous record, I mean, I think there were lots of strange things are happening in the world right now and we wanted to reflex some of that in the lyrics of this new record. And also we wanted this record deep kind of more vocal heavy, so, Andy did the amazing job in the vocal and the backing vocals in the account of melodies and the harmonies. And I try to keep the music on this record kind of quite simple and the arrangement's quite simple, minimal, so in that way it kind of shows off Andy's vocals more.

Alex: Most of time Erasure albums were produced by Flood and Gareth Jones, but your recent releases done together with various people like Frankmusik, Richard X, and upcoming «World Be Gone» - with Matty Green. It's your way to make little upgrades to your recognizable sound?

Vince: When you're writing songs and making an album, I think, for us it's been important to have someone from the outside, someone with the different perspective. So in this instance Andy and I produced the record but then we've got Matty Green to mix it at the end. Just because when you're working on something so intencely you're perhaps too close to it to work out what's good and what's bad. So having someone like Matty, you know, with the fresh ears, I think is the best way to work for us.

Alex: Your artistic partnership with Andy Bell lasts so long... is there any special secret behind of it?

Vince: I don't know, you know, we like each other, we're good friends, I think we've got similar kind of views about the world and I think we've got the mutual respect. There are no egos in this band at all. If I come up with a new idea Andy doesn't like we just move on and drop it, we don't fight for our corner and vice versa. I think that's the real key to our long longevity.

Erasure 2017

Alex: Ok. Your band have another very respectful alliance - work with Mute Records for all of your releases. Seems you are on the same wave with Daniel Miller all these times.

Vince: Yes, I'm the obvious person on Mute, you know [laugh] I think he just keeps me on because I'm an old codger, if you feel sorry for me there's always the outguide "you better release his record" [laugh]

Alex: «World Be Gone» will be released in various formats, and even on cassette. Which format you prefer to listen music nowdays?

Vince: Definetely not cassette [laugh] I like vinyl, you know, I've got quite big vinyl collection already. And I just think it sounds better.

Alex: You moved from Britain to the USA.. I guess.. in 2004. How it changed your musical creativity?

Vince: Well, it's coming in interesting recently because I actually have got a studio in my house which is fine and I like it but at the same time it can be lonely down here on my own. So moving to a place like Brooklyn or to New York, there's a big musical community obviously and it's given me the opportunity to actually meet other musicians and other people who are interested in electronic music. It's been quite good for me actually, you know, this is a great environment to reach out to other people who are doing similar things. I think London can be perhaps a little bit more difficult to do that because people aren't as open as they are here.

Alex: Yeah. Your upcoming tour will be as support band to Robbie Williams World Tour. Moscow show will be on the big stadium in September. Which venues you prefer to play - stadiums or clubs?

Vince: [laugh] I don't know, they both sound different, I mean, there is nothing like playing in a small club, especially when your fans are there and you see them, you know, singing all the lyrics and dancing and reacting to the music. When you play a stadium it's just a different experience, you can't come down and see anybody, I mean, really, you can't make out faces or anything, so. I'm happy you've said that. We've had this opportunity to play with Robby and it's a chance to play in front of a million and a half people. That's an opportunity we couldn't turn down.

Alex: And I can't miss my opportunity to ask your opinion about your impression from recent Depeche Mode album, «Spirit».

Vince: I like it actually, I think Martin's songwriting definetely gone through some big changes. And I think, I don't know, there seems to be a lot more kind of soulful than prehaps previous records, that's what I like about it, and Martin always comes up with amazing sounds, he's a real master of the synthesizer.

Alex: By the way, I guess, it was you, who infected Martin with love to analogue instruments - during your collaboration VCMG. Recent Depeche Mode albums contain a lot of such stuff. Is it true?

Vince: That's true, I mean, we both enjoy messing about. Both he and I have really amazing toyshops, surrounded by toys. So what we do and what we both like doing is just playing with our toys [laugh]

Alex: As I heard you started your long road in world of synthpop after you visited OMD concert... there is no if, but... if you never heard them that time, which career we could expect from you?

Vince: Well, I don't know, I probably would have carried on playing acoustic guitar and I would probably be in a folk band. I really love the sound of a acoustic guitar. When I've heard OMD's record, when I've heard early The Human League record and Heaven 17 and people like that I always completely swept away. These were sound that never been heard before so I knew I had to get involved in that kind of music.

Erasure 2017

Alex: Did you listen any other music during your recording period? Or you tried to close your ears and to be concentrated only at your own sound creation?

Vince: I was listening to a few people actually. I was listening to The Orb, who had a new record coming up quite recently, I was listening to Martin Gore's solo record, which is an instrumental record. And also to.. who else.. I think that was it, really.. I was really interested to see what sounds people were using, and both were urban. And I wanted the record to be atmospheric. I think both of the artists, their record sound kind of mysterious and atmospheric. I wanted some of that to be in our record.

Alex: Erasure have a strong fan base in Russia. Do you have any funny memories relating to our country?

Vince: The last time we were in St. Petersburg it was spring, and I've never been to St. Petersburg, I've only seen pictures of it and I couldn not've believe what a beautiful city it was. There were couples walking the streets, and restaurants, and bars, it was like a scene from Paris or something, you know. I had no idea. I mean, you can see the history and the amazing buildings. I was completely blown away by it. I didn't expect that at all. So we had a really really nice time there. And as you say we've got some really great fans in Russia. People were following us for years. It's always great to see those people and meet those people.

Alex: Do you sometimes feel yourself as that shy Basildon boy like almost 40 years ago?

Vince: I'm still shy! [laugh] It's hard to reflect, I mean, when you've been doing something for so long it's hard to reflect on, I don't know, looking back on... some amazing memories obviously. We had that anniversary record out last year which were 30 years of Erasure. On it it were lots of demos, b-sides and extra tracts that I hadn't heard in years. And I'm listening to some of this stuff. "We did that? I don't remember that!" [laugh] So that for me was obviously to reflect on the last 40 years I guess, you know, go down that memory length track. But I don't do it too often. [laugh]

Alex: [laugh] Well, my friends-musiciants would like to hear your answer for this question - do you still prefer analogue instruments or already started to use some digital equipment?

Vince: I still kind of prefer a little analog synthisizers, you know, especially now they have a new system Eurorack, where people are bringing out all kinds of different devices every single week, really exciting and interesting synthesizers. Having said that, it depends on what kind of job is it really. If you're writing, and I need to do it quickly, then I'll probably use digital, and I tend to replace all the digital with analog, that's the way that I work.

Alex: As I see, at the moment you are running your very own VeryRecords, it looks like your solo work.. am I right?

Vince: We did a record collaborating with Paul Hartnoll from a band Orbital for the first release, and then the second release is by Reed Hays and Caroline, and that was released on CD and that came out about 6 months ago I think. Now I'm working with another artist called ALKA, and hopefully that will be released in July, so I'm kind of, you know, slowly-slowly spreading around a bit. Meeting new people, which is fantastic. I mean it's a tiny tiny label [laugh], you know. This is a challenge, it's interesting for me because I'm learning new stuff all the time: I'm learning about press, I'm learning about distribution. So I like that challenge.

Alex: OK. We are returning to your big band Erasure [laugh]. We are waiting you here, in September, we are waiting release of your new album on May 19th. I guess my final words for today's interview are - dear Vince, wish something or tell something special for SHOUT.RU readers

Vince: "Hello, it's Mr. Vincent Clarke, and to all the readers of Shout! I would like to give some shout out! [laugh] And greetings from Erasure!"

Alex: Thank you very much for your time and answers, see you!

Vince: It's very much appreciated! See you!

Erasure 2017

New Erasure album «World Be Gone» will out May 19th, 2017 via Mute. More details - here.

Erasure - «World Be Gone»

You can buy your ticket to Robbie Williams - The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour (with Erasure as support band) on Robbie Williams official web site.

Interview with Vince Clarke (Erasure) was taken by alex davie on April 27th, 2017 via phone. We wanna thanks Soyuz Music and Maxim Bylkin for interview support, Anna Vnukova and Darja Sokratova for their invaluable help. All Erasure 2017 photos by Doron Gild.

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 May 2017 01:39

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