Andy Bell Is Discussing About His Stunning New Erasure Album.
Frontman also talks classic hits, ’90s excess, LGBT rights and “not having sex for months” during lockdown.
Legendary synth-pop duo Erasure are back with their superb new offering The Neon – their 18th album, no less. The words of Trent Reznor when inducting The Cure into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year are equally appropriate for Andy Bell and Vince Clarke: “They have been in and out of fashion so many times, they’ve transcended fashion itself.”
After the halcyon days of the ’80s and early ’90s, when they produced a string of sublime pop classics such as ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Love To Hate You’, Erasure endured the sort of rocky period all long-lasting acts eventually encounter.
The fact is, though, quality will always out, and thus throughout the noughties and into the next decade, Erasure’s brilliance as a live act – fuelled by their treasure trove of era-defining hits – saw them become a huge touring draw. There were also other notable cultural moments, such as the prominent use of their music on the Rules Of Attraction soundtrack, and Adult Swim’s utilising of the wonderful ‘Always’ to score one of their video games.
Along the way, of course, Bell and Clarke have also kept the quality control on their recorded output remarkably high. So how does Bell feel about the fact that they’ve now been together a remarkable 35 years?
“I know!” chuckles the softly-spoken singer, speaking down the line from London. “It’s like having our own little corner shop. It’s funny, you look back at particular moments and think ‘That was a real high’ or ‘That really connected with people and was exciting.’ But when you’ve been around for so long, and you get into a certain sort of rhythm, part of you is also going, ‘Well, if I somehow went away or disappeared, things would just carry on regardless.’ You get that sense of perspective as time goes on.”
In the early days of lockdown, Erasure performed as part of Short Circuit, an all-star live stream from their long-time label, Mute Records, which also featured contributions from the likes of New Order’s Stephen Morris and Liars’ Angus Andrew.
The imprint has been Erasure’s home from day one, and a fitting one, with Mute issuing plenty of other groundbreaking electronic music throughout its existence, from founder Daniel Miller’s JG Ballard-inspired new wave classic ‘Warm Leatherette’ (performed as The Normal), to the thrilling dark electro-pop of Frank Tovey, aka Fad Gadget – a somewhat overlooked genius of British music.
“Fad Gadget was fantastic,” enthuses Andy. “It’s funny, thinking back on it, I don’t think I ever actually met him. But yeah, he was a wonderful artist, and Mute continues to produce a lot of great new acts, as you saw on that stream.”
Does Andy keep up with new trends in electronic music – has he ever been to Berghain, for example?
“Berghain, I’m not sure I know it… Oh wait, that’s the club in Berlin, isn’t it?”
Indeed it is.
“Oh yeah, Daniel Miller DJs there. Apparently some great stuff gets played alright… I think on the weekends as well, they also have the S&M club in the basement, if you really want to party!”