Vince Clarke has been a musical powerhouse for decades. You may know him as half of the synthpop duo, Erasure, but there is so much more to his story. He and Andy Bell formed Erasure in 1985 and are bringing the band to Seattle’s Moore Theatre on August 14th. Before Erasure, Clarke was part of Depeche Mode, Yazoo (later know as Yaz) and The Assembly.
Vince Clarke took some time from their break to talk to us about music and everything in between. They have all sorts of new music and an entirely new stage setup to wow and entertain us. Get tickets for Erasure’s upcoming concerts here.
Earle Dutton (ED): How did it feel when you left Depeche Mode to start Erasure?
Vince Clarke (VC): It was very exciting, really. Andy and I recorded our Wonderland. We had a hell of a lot of fun making that record. It didn’t really do anything though. It didn’t really get any radio air time. We decided we would get it heard by playing live. It was exciting because no one really knew our songs. We had a chance to really make a mark. Andy and I really bonded over it all.
ED: How did the band name Erasure come about?
VC: It was just a made-up word. We came up with some ideas and the record company came up with some as well. It really had no meaning at the time.
ED: What do you think of Alison Moyet’s resurgence right now?
VC: I think it is fantastic. She really deserves it. I don’t think it is really a resurgence. It is a continuation of her career. She is one of the greatest soul singers, as far as I am concerned.
ED: When you guys started out, did you really look ahead and imagine that you would be relevant and cool thirty years later?
VC: Well, I don’t think we are cool yet. We are still waiting to be cool (laughter). Obviously, we had no idea our careers would span this amount of time. We have an amazing fan base, and I think that is the real reason we have lasted so long. I think people have really stuck with us because we have played live shows for so long as well. I am incredibly grateful.
ED: Looking back on your first singles and videos, what did you think about doing drag for the “Who Needs Love Like That” video? It looked like you had a lot of fun.
VC: Well, I have done drag a few times. I think I am pretty good at it actually. I think I look pretty cute, you know. It was a lot of fun.
ED: Was that video your first time in drag?
VC: Well, that was the beginning. Now it is just on weekends (laughter).
ED: You have performed through the beginnings of MTV, tapes, CDs, internet piracy, streaming and all sorts of changes in the music business. What do you think about the business now?
VC: Well obviously, you are right. It has changed incredibly. Mostly, I think it is for the good. I really like that making music and just being creative is readily available to so many more people. Back in the day, it was so expensive. You had to go in to a very expensive studio to make a record. Nowadays, people have the ability to make a top-quality sounding record or song in their bedroom. That is just amazing to me. At the same time, you still have to have a good idea. It isn’t just about the whole technical aspect.
ED: What do you think of Erasure being considered an iconic gay band?
VC: It was never really preconceived to be that way. The fact is that Andy has just always been very honest about his sexuality. He is just really open and ready to talk about it. It has never been an issue with us. I don’t really think that we are a “gay band” really. One of the blokes in the band is gay. That is it really. We just both love music and writing songs. We are just happy that so many people get a kick out of it.
ED: What does it mean to you to be such a great ally to the LGBTQ community?
VC: I am very happy about that. I am very proud of Andy. He is just so strong. He has never been a bullshitter. I also like the fact that he doesn’t take things to seriously. I think originally, I took music and everything a little too seriously but now I don’t. That is due to working with Andy.
ED: What personally makes you feel creative?
VC: Probably just time. If I have the time, I will probably be doing something creative.
ED: You have worked with a lot of talented musicians. Is there anyone out there that you would just love to collaborate with?
VC: I think I would be really interested in working with someone like Phillip Glass. If Phillip Glass is out there listening or reading this interview please give him my address and phone number.
ED: I read that you were really influenced by OMD. What are your other musical influences?
VC: Well in the late 70’s and early 80’s it was definitely OMD and it was also the very early Human League. They had two albums out before they had girl singers and they were both very influential.
ED: Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect at your Seattle show?
VC: We will be playing some stuff from the new records but we have huge back catalog to choose from as well. The set is designed to be sort of a cross between Tron and the Red Light District.
(ED): Do you have any parts of touring?
(VC): Well, I really like the end (laughter).
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Don’t forget to get tickets to see Erasure live at Seattle’s Moore Theatre on August 14th! Click here.