Erasure Are Back in Scotland with extra dates added
ERASURE (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) celebrate the release of their eighteenth studio album,THE NEON, with the announcement of the first leg of their eagerly anticipated live dates. We chat with Andy Bell in an exclusive interview:
RedHanded: Thanks for taking the interview, we love the new album. It brings back memories of our childhood, especially mine, driving to Meadowhall Shopping Centre with my best mate David Commons with Erasure blasting out on tape with the Wild album.
Andy Bell: Wow, that was a long time ago.
RedHanded: It certainly feels like it. What was it like in the early years?
Andy Bell: In the early years, when I was at home, I used to tell my family that I kinda wanted to be in show business and stuff, but I really didn't know what for, you know? I was one of those people that would be singing all the time. I did get on their nerves, I would sing in bed, every night. I think that really helps as you can feel the vibrations and its a good exercise. Mum and dad would say "Go to sleep!"
I then went to sixth form, at school, doing my A-levels but I got a bit tired doing that and I left before the end because I knew there was no way in hell I would have passed any of them. So my plan was too move down to London, which I did, in order to be in a band with a group of trainee social workers from Peterborough. So I was kinda like the house boy with all these trainee social workers. They were going off and doing their courses and things, and they'd come back and load off all of their problems on me. But it was really good fun and one of the girls I was with, her brother happened to be gay, so I would always go around to her house, in Peterborough, and would tell me all these stories about all these clubs in London. One called Cha Cha Cha, one called Heaven and things like that, so I would always have this fantasy of what it would be like and she was like 'you should join a band'. There was a card in this local shop in Ealing, so I joined that band and that was a four piece called The Void and that was for about 3 months or so. I then persuaded the base player to leave and form a duo, which we did and that was called Dinger which we pressed 2,000 singles. We only did two gigs, one which was in the park, in Ealing, in the lunchtime, and the builders would come along and just throw eggs at us.
I then saw an advert in the newspaper which was for Vince. I had thought about writing him a letter before as I was a big fan of his. When I found out it was Vince, I was like 'oh my god this is too good to be true'. )After the interview,) they called me the next day and asked me if I would like the job and I said 'yes of course' and they put me on a £150 retainer because Vince was still doing the Assembly. They said 'please keep yourself available' which I did, and I had my first holiday to Ibiza and then Vince and I went into the studio. So it took me kind of six months in the studio, which I know is a long time now, but it was because I was such a fan of Vince, I think he thought I was a bit strange because I was kind of just staring at him all the time in disbelief. I was speechless really. I reverted back to being like a choir boy in school, and that's why the Wonderland album was so naive and innocent. I was an Alison Moyet fan as well, so I thought there was no way in hell that I was going to take her place. So I had to find my our identity and now Vince and I are really, really close and it's a 50/50 partnership. Vince even gave me a 50% writing credit for coming up with the words 'Oh L'Amour' for the song, but he was the writer and I was just the singer. Things then developed on the second album The Circus and went from there really. Because he was Mute's (Records) wonder boy, I kind of kind of earn my stripes, like being in a job anywhere, I had to show I was serious.
RedHanded: What was the most exciting moment of your career?
Andy Bell: There's a few things. I get quite star struck, and was quite taken aback playing in places like San Fransisco for the first few times, and being taken under the wings of people who lived there and I felt like I belonged in quite a few places, and going to the gay, underground and new-wave clubs in North America which were often off the beaten track and hearing our 12 inch remixes along with the other bands that were around then. It was so cool and we had the keys to the city in San Fransisco in 1989 which was amazing. The same time Sylvester passed away and there was so many things going on and being part of the movement here in the UK with Jim Somerville (The Communards) and Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood). It just felt there was so much going on culturally, even though loads of people weren't employed in London, there was still a lot of stuff you could do, like in between things, we were doing marches and didn't at the time think of ourselves as pop stars. When things quietened down, and life goes back to normal, which is how it is like now, which I much prefer. When we had the Abba-esque, the Ep thing, it was too much, the lid came off, and I wished it just would just go away, and it did go away. It took us a while, because Erasure crashed, just soon after the Spice Girls, the Erasure Album in 1995, so we started from scratch again almost. So the highlight must be travelling around the world to places like Hong Kong, when it was fine. It makes you worry about those though place as well.
RedHanded: Looking back, in 2003, you were due to play Hogmanay here in Edinburgh but was cancelled due to bad weather, but you've been back here a few times since, 2014 and 2018. Do you get much time to explore the country when you visit?
Andy Bell: No, not so much, no. I love that drive between England and Scotland, very amazing. Scotland seems more carefree and relaxed than down here though but it's one thing I haven't yet explored.
RedHanded: Electro-pop seems to be very much alive at the moment, especially in movies and television, do you have a favourite film or programme that reflects the genre?
Andy Bell: I don't really keep up to date on TV and movies. Quite a few people have mentioned Stranger Things to me, and I always think of 'Where the Strange Things Are'. I do like a programme that has 'strange' in the title is a Swedish or Finnish movie about a little vampire girl who was only seven or eight years old and makes best friends with a boy, or maybe the other way round, but at the end they have this really amazing song. (laughs) You probably don't have a clue about what I am talking about (laughs). It makes you fall in love with the vampire, because they can't get their blood, so they drink the blood pouches at the hospital. I don't notice the electronic music that much, as I'm more absorbed into the narrative.
RedHanded: The world has changed dramatically in the last 30 years, especially in respect to views on sexuality, but what do you feel still needs to happen in respect to LQBT+ rights here in the UK?
Andy Bell: I don't know really, for me, it's kind of exceeded my expectations and in some ways it's really amazing. Mother Nature is so amazing and is so far ahead of us, we have to keep up with her. I think it's same with sexuality, that's why I love young people, not a lot of them know who we are, but I love the way they care about society. For sexuality, for me, it seems to have surpassed labelling and everything. People no longer tie themselves to one thing but rather be a unique person, they look for an identity but at the same time, they don't want one and it's like we're transcending being human beings and we're all being lifted in some way.
Redhanded: In respect to the new album, what influencers did you have and what is your favourite track?
Andy Bell: For the first time in a long time, we were really excited, especially with the writing, we genuinely wanted to do it. This time it was really sincere and Vince worked really hard on the music, did some great things, and really captured the essence of when I was a teenager, the music that I loved like Japan, Blondie, Suzie and the Banshees, and especially Eurythmics, which I love, I'm a huge fan. Some of his synth sounds in there are really unique, but just have the essence of the originality of that time. It kind of like fed into me and gave me this huge boost of like how it feels like being a 15 or 16 year old, going out and buying your own singles, for the first time. It's that excitement. I think, being in the industry, you can lose that quite easily. You go through your music obsession, and then you wear it out. Like being in a group, you can really wear them out, like the whole Abba thing, it completely wore me out and wore out the group. The over-exposure, and I'm like 'oh my god, not again', and I was asked all the time to do these programmes and I was like 'no, no no'!
Favourite track, I think is Diamond Lies, I just love the verse.
Erasure has also launched brand new videos, evoking the spirit of Hallowe’en with a spooky short for ‘Fallen Angel’ ahead of this Friday's Paranormal Investigation at the world famous Real Mary King's Close:
Starring Heidi N Closet (star of season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag where she was crowned Miss Congeniality) and model Alexa Abraxas, the video was directed by Brad Hammer, responsible for the fabulous video for ‘Nerves of Steel’.
The new video and the remix (see below) appear ahead of the release of a brand new 12”, and a CD box set, due out on 4 December 2020. The 12” features a brand new remix of the single from Mercury Music Prize nominated Georgia, whilst the CD single boxset collects remixes from each of the album’s singles - ‘Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling)’, ‘Nerves of Steel’ and ‘Fallen Angel’ - including previously unreleased versions and forthcoming remixes from Confidence Man and Ben Rainey. The 12” vinyl is housed in a glamorous mirror board sleeve on orange neon vinyl while the CD set is similarly glammed up and comes in a mirrored box with three art cards and a booklet.
London-based producer and songwriter, Georgia describes the “privilege to remix one of the best and most iconic bands ever” and you can hear her remix right here:
ERASURE - THE NEON TOUR - 2021 DATES
1 Oct 21 - Glasgow, Armadillo - SOLD OUT
2 Oct 21 - Glasgow, Armadillo - SOLD OUT
4 Oct 21 - Dublin, 3Arena
6 Oct 21 - Edinburgh, Usher Hall
7 Oct 21 - Edinburgh, Usher Hall EXTRA DATE ADDED
9 Oct 21 - Manchester, O2 Apollo - SOLD OUT
10 Oct 21 - Manchester, O2 Apollo - SOLD OUT
12 Oct 21 - Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
14 Oct 21 - Bournemouth, International Centre
16 Oct 21 - Birmingham, Utilita Arena
17 Oct 21 - London, The O2
18 Oct 21 - Brighton, Centre
21 Oct 21 - Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle
22 Oct 21 - Berlin, Max-Schmeling-Halle
24 Oct 21 - Cologne, Palladium
26 Oct 21 - Copenhagen, Royal Arena
27 Oct 21 - Hamburg, Barclaycard Arena
28 Oct 21 - Leipzig, Immobilien Arena
Tickets for these unmissable dates are on sale now
Buy the album: https://mute.ffm.to/TheNeon
Pre-order The Neon Singles: https://mute.ffm.to/cdbx-fa
THE NEON SINGLES 12” TRACKLISTING
Fallen Angel - Georgia Remix
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Nimmo Remix Extended Dub
Nerves of Steel - Bright Light Bright Light Remix
Shot A Satellite - Initial Talk Extended Dub
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Daybreakers Dub
Nerves of Steel - Extended 12”
The Neon Album tracklisting
Hey Now (Think I Got a Feeling)
Nerves of Steel
No Point in Tripping
Shot A Satellite
Tower of Love
Careful What I Try to Do
Kid You’re Not Alone
THE NEON SINGLES 3 CD BOX SET - TRACKLISTING - 3 CD Set
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Daybreakers Remix
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Daybreakers Dub**
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Daybreakers Instrumental**
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Philip George Remix
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Philip George Dub Remix**
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Philip George Remix Instrumental**
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Nimmo Remix
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Nimmo Remix Extended Dub**
Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling) - Nimmo Remix Instrumental**
Shot A Satellite - Initial Talk Remix
Nerves of Steel - Extended Mix
Nerves of Steel - Bright Light Bright Light Remix
Nerves of Steel - Bright Light Bright Light Remix Dub**
Nerves of Steel - Bright Light Bright Light Remix Instrumental**
Nerves of Steel - 7th Heaven Radio Edit
Nerves of Steel - 7th Heaven Club Mix
Nerves of Steel - 7th Heaven Dub Mix**
Nerves of Steel - 7th Heaven Remix Instrumental**
Shot A Satellite - Initial Talk Extended Dub**
Fallen Angel - Georgia Remix
Fallen Angel - Georgia Dub**
Fallen Angel - Georgia Remix Instrumental**
Fallen Angel - Confidence Man Remix
Fallen Angel - Confidence Man Dub**
Fallen Angel - Confidence Man Remix Instrumental**
Fallen Angel - Ben Rainey Remix
Fallen Angel - Ben Rainey Dub**
Fallen Angel - Ben Rainey Remix Instrumental**
Shot A Satellite - Initial Talk Remix Instrumental**
** - previously unreleased