“The reason I’ve done this job for so long is because it’s still magic” — Erasure’s Vince Clarke on 30 years at the top, their new tour and their 18th studio album
There aren’t many artists still going strong that existed before the M25 and the DLR, but super twosome Erasure can boast a career that’s kept on track for a gargantuan three decades.
And now the veterans of synth-pop return to home turf this month with two sell-out gigs at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith on February 23 and 24.
Fans will rejoice that the World be Gone tour is back on schedule after opening Dublin dates had to be cancelled when singer Andy Bell was struck down with a throat infection.
Keyboardist, songwriter, and other half of the indomitable duo, Vince Clarke, said: “Andy gives 200% when he performs and he was already having trouble in rehearsals.
“We didn’t want to start the tour then suddenly fall flat half way through.”
Thanks to a clean bill of health, London fans can look forward to a characteristically high-energy performance, with a satisfying dollop of Erasure pop classics as well as sprinkling of recent hits.
On their plans for the tour, Vince said: ‘We have a bit of a set this time. It’s a mixture between the film Tron and the Red Light District in Amsterdam.’
As for costumes, Vince is keeping it simple. He joked: “I have a very nice suit. I’m a bit older so I look more like a smart person.
“Andy has the usual, outrageous stuff going on.”
Vince, who grew up in Basildon, Essex but now lives in New York, is excited yet endearingly bashful about performing back in London.
“It’s a bit scary really.” he admitted.
“It’s kind of your home crowd. Having said that our fan base is amazing.
“We probably have the best fan base in the world.”
And their loyal followers really do keep coming back for more.
“There are people that we see every time that we tour.” Vince explained.
“I’ve been seeing those faces for the last 30 years. They come up to you, you know them, so that’s really nice.”
It’s thanks to the enthusiasm and energy of their audiences that the duo are still happy to play the old classics.
“I really really like performing ‘A Little Respect’ — just because it’s a bit of a crowd number, everybody knows the lyrics. Were we a stadium band, that would be our stadium song.”
It was just last year that Erasure did in fact get to perform the hit in a stadium, supporting Robbie Williams on his six-month tour.
Vince described the hit-maker as ‘incredibly polite’ and said they had a great time touring — but there wasn’t much in the way of crazy after-show antics.
“The best thing about (the tour) was that we did a 45-minute set and I was in bed by 9:00pm every night,” he said.
The duo’s fan base isn’t exclusively Generation Xers hankering for eighties nostalgia – but also millennials seeking something different.
Vince said: “What we found recently — well the last few years – is that younger people are discovering our music via YouTube.
“Your music is put in a commercial in Brazil and suddenly you’ve got a load of young people in Brazil that obviously weren’t even alive when you made those records. That’s pretty cool.”
And despite breaking into the music industry before anyone knew what the world wide web even was, Vince feels that the internet has been good for music.
He said: “The great thing about YouTube and the whole social media thing is the fact you can play your music to so many people.
“I think the way its happening now is very healthy.”
While the technology used to produce – and promote – their music has moved with the times, Vince and Andy are very much old school when it comes to their song writing process.
Vince said: “We’ll go in a room with nothing. Andy will sing something, I’ll play something on the guitar or keyboard and the melodies seem to come from the air almost.
“That’s why I love doing it. The reason I’ve done this job for so long is because it’s still magic.”
March will see the release of Erasure’s 18th album ‘World Beyond,’ which is a classical take on their 2017 album offering, ‘World Be Gone’.
Their recent releases have a more reflective tone than their typical euphoric pop, and has been described by critics as ‘beautiful protest music’ in reference to tracks about the LGBT movement and a challenging political climate.
Vince explained this change in direction: “To be honest we’ve never really been that political. Not because we don’t have views – most of our views are shared with our mates down the pub.
“But this time round we thought, you know what, we’ve been doing this for 30 years now and maybe our ideas or opinions are valid and may be of interest to people.
“We’d never try to be a preachy band or anything. But there are so many shocking things happening. How could you not include that in some of the lyrics of the songs?”
Suddenly conscious of his serious tone, he laughed: “I mean at the same time I’m sure there are people out there listening to our lyrics thinking ‘pair of old codgers’ – who cares what they think?”