Q&A: Erasure Synthmaster Vince Clarke Talks Collaboration with Frankmusik On New Album
A video clip from Erasure's 1992 performance at the Apollo in Manchester, UK
Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been writing pop songs together as Erasure since 1985, and they remain, to this day, one of the most successful British pop acts of all time thanks to their highly positive and creative nature. Next month, the duo will release Tomorrow's World, the band's 14th LP. And, in promoting the record, they'll swing through town for sold-out live performance at House of Blues later this month on Sunday, September 25.
Synthmaster Vince Clarke knows plenty about making sure his live shows go over well; in addition to performing in Erasure is one of Depeche Mode's founding
members, also makes up half of the synth-pop duo Yazoo.
We had the opportunity to chat with him recently about the new album, Erasure's tour and the band's collaboration with British electro-pop artist Frankmusik. Read our take on the band's new direction here. Then check out our extended Q&A with Clarke after the jump.
How is the tour coming along?
Great! Yeah, really good. We've been on the road since the beginning of June and Andy has almost learned all the words now. It's all been really good. We haven't toured for four years and the reaction pretty much everywhere has been really positive, surprisingly. We went to South America and we haven't been there since 1997 I think, and the audiences, they were really great. It was really nice to see.
So, you have a new album set to drop next month. What's it all about?
It's coming out October the fourth. The title comes from a '60s TV program, called Tomorrow's World on the BBC and it was all about future technology. And they would feature things like cell phones, you know, phones without wires and microwave ovens, but you know when they were brand new. So, we just thought it was an apt title for a record. The record itself, it took about two years and we did writing in London and New York and in Maine and finally got together with a producer who's name is Frankmusik. He was working with us in London and in America and that's how it all happened.
How did you get together with Frankmusik?
Well, we were making a list of potential producers, people that we wanted to work with, and some of our fans suggested Frankmusik. Our tour manager also came up with his name, and then we kind of looked into what he was doing, the kind of records that he was making and decided that it would be an interesting match.
What kind of influences do you think that Frankmusik brought to the album?
Well his sound is quite different from ours. I mean, he's all electronic. His sound is much bigger than ours, we tend to producer very minimalist sounding records and his take is more like a wall of sound, so it was quite different for us making that kind of record. So, that's what he brought onto the record, I think. And also, having a producer there as someone to hopefully keep Andy and I in order, and who will make us work quite hard (chuckles).
So, is that the kind of vibe you were going for? Were you going for a bigger more electronic feel on this album?
Well, we had the songs written as the same, they were demoed with mostly acoustic instruments. We didn't have a vision or a concept of how the final record would sound, it was when we went into the studio with Frank that things started taking shape.
What are some of your personal favorite songs off the album?
Well, I like them all obviously. [Laughs.] This week, my favorite track is a song called "Save Me," which has got a massive gospel feel, it's really great to perform live, it sounds really good I think.
Who are your biggest influences at the moment?
I, myself, am listening to a lot of techno minimalist records. No artist in particular. Do you know the website Beatport? It's like an iTunes, only for dance music and I'm totally addicted to that site, I'm downloading stuff all the time. And in fact, last year, I collaborated with Martin Gore from Depeche Mode and we produced an album of techno music, so that's what I've really been listening to lately.
What can Dallas fans expect to see at your show?
Well we've got a set that looks like a dilapidated futuristic city, with some gargoyles. So it's kind of Gothic-ish. And in contrast to that we're wearing really spangly suits. [We're playing] stuff from all of our records. We've made 14 albums, I think, and at the moment we're performing 4 or 5 tracks from the new record.
Do you have anything you'd like to say to Dallas?
We are really looking forward to coming to Texas. We always have a brilliant welcome there. It's a brilliant reception, so I'm really looking forward to that.