Interview - 2000 - Erasure Info Service

© Erasure Information Service 2000 - 2003

This interview was conducted on October 2nd, barely an hour after Vince and Andy had appeared on GMTV. They were due to fly to Sweden later that morning, but kindly agreed to be interviewed exclusively for the Erasure Information Service web page in their spare time.

Vince, Andy. How do you feel about getting back into the promotional routine?

It's fine. It's all been alright, so far.

Vince: We've only had a week of it so far, though. And some of the interviews and stuff we had to do for the regional radio stations was pretty naff.

Do you still feel excited when you appear on the radio and TV?

Andy: I think that people have given up asking to enthuse now. We were told we weren't going to be on... 'Staying Alive', is it? What's it called?

Vince: I don't know.

Andy: Whatever it's called, that Saturday morning children's television show. We were told we couldn't go on it because we were too boring.

Vince: What, this time round?

Andy: No, before, with the last album. But this time it just feels really good, it feels like we're calling the shots now. We don't have to do anything we don't want to, really.

So you can choose which TV and radio shows you appear on?

Well, not really, because it depends on which shows are prepared to have us on. But when we go abroad, for instance, we can say now, 'This is where we want to go' and 'This is what we're prepared to do'. And that's nice. They don't argue about it any more either. Maybe it's because I'm the oldest person in the office, apart from Daniel.

Andy: You're not the oldest person on the label, though, are you?

Vince: No.

So you don't feel too old to appear on TV? You don't get embarrassed by it?

No. We're not too old.

Vince: I don't know. If you catch a glimpse of yourself on a monitor you get a bit embarrassed.

Andy: Yes, but that's just normal. You can't help it.

Vince: It's just age.

Andy: I think the most shocking thing is when you see a photograph of us in 1985 or 1986, or even in 1992. It's like, 'Oh my god!' It just seems like -

Vince: The years have taken their toll!

Andy: We look like we're about sixteen years old! But I think that whenever you look at photographs it's always a bit like that. When you look in a photo album, it's the same.

So where would you say you were in today's music scene?

Well, you know we did GMTV today, so we're GMTV-stylee, I suppose. Along with Lionel Richie.

Andy: We're in a sort of middle-aged bracket now, I suppose.

Now you're making me feel old.

We're doing a radio thing in Nottingham with Chris Rea.

Andy: Chris Rea, Neneh Cherry and Eagle Eye Cherry.

Vince: All the oldies! But we couldn't really go on alongside a boy band, could we?

Andy: I don't think they'd have us on the Smash Hits roadshow anymore! [Laughs]

If I ask you about your new album, how well would you say you know your songs?

I think the new album takes quite a lot of listening to. It takes a while to get to know it, but I really like it now. One of my favourite ones was 'Chorus' and I was listening to it last night alongside 'Loveboat' and thought, yeah, this is equally as good.

Vince: I do listen to the old stuff sometimes. I remember I was going to listen to 'Cowboy' last week but I found that didn't have a copy.

Andy: 'Cowboy' sounds really good in the car, I think.

Vince: I think I'll try and nick one off Mute today.

Would you remember recording b-sides and songs from the 1980's?

No, good heavens, no.

Vince: I can't really remember recording this album! I really can't.

Andy: Last time I was in Spain I was making a tape of our stuff. I got together all those box sets we did and I was trawling through all the singles trying to find an interesting mix. And it was quite hard, because I already knew most of them so well, so it was the ones that I didn't like at the time that now made me think, 'Oh, I quite like that one now.' The mixes that don't sound dated tend to be the Paul Kendall mixes.

You began recording 'Loveboat' in 1998...

Was it then? It was a good few years ago.

Andy: I started doing vocals just before Christmas 1998.

Vince: No, it was 1999!

Andy: No, in 1999 we didn't do very much recording. We started in 1998, went over to 1999, and then we started off all over again when we were recording in Spain last year.

Vince: Oh! I remember!

Andy: And then we were Dublin in May or June, and then we did most of the rest of it in 2000.

Vince: You can tell we're getting old. Memory problems! Hair loss!

That's a bit longer than you've usually taken to record an album.

Yeah, but only because of reasons unrelated to the recording, though. Once we actually got started recording proper it was actually pretty quick.

Were all of the songs written back in 1998?

They must have been written in 1998. I can't remember.

Andy: Yes, in 1998 they were written. The tunes, not the lyrics. No matter how long they say that I've got to write the lyrics, I never do it. I'm terrible. I always leave it until the final day. It's like revising for exams.

Vince: It was quite good in the end, though, because when Flood was brought in, he had deadlines to stick to - so we had to finish it there and then, there was no question about it.

Andy: Flood was a good taskmaster, yes.

Originally you were planning to produce this album yourselves, weren't you?

I thought we had produced it ourselves, but then I looked at the sleeve and thought, 'Why the hell has Flood got a credit?!' [Laughs] I thought he was just mixing it! Canny little lad, isn't he?

Andy: But he was there for the recording as well, wasn't he?

Vince: Some of the recording.

Andy: For the vocals he was helping out. It was good just to have his affirmation, and to have him say whether he thought a particular take was alright or not.

Vince: I did a lot of the recording of the music with Ebby [Acquah], and Andy did a lot of stuff with Ebby as well, just on their own. Flood didn't really come in and get involved until we were mixing the album, and then we just added stuff in there, in the mix.

Would you say this album changed a lot during the mixing process?

That's definitely very true.

Andy: But listening to it, can you tell?

I think with 'Freedom' you get a sense of the sections of the song being chopped up and then stuck back together again.

Oh yes. That is one song where I'm only just beginning to realise that it actually a proper song, because when we recorded it it was very bit-y. The parts are only just beginning to join up for me now.

Vince: But all of the editing decisions we agreed with anyway. We were involved with it, and what Flood did was just to muck around with the sounds a bit more.

And then Rob [Kirwan] was really going for it, hell-for-leather, during the mixing. Mostly Rob's trick is putting things through a desk so that it all distorts. So a lot of the sounds were changed at that point, yes. The way we'd work was that we had all of the songs recorded, and then I'd leave Flood and Rob in the studio for a day and they would muck around with it, adding effects and changing things around. And then I'd come back and say whether what they'd done sounded any good or not.

Andy: It is a very different album from the version that we had in Spain. When me and Ebby had finished recording the vocals, it sounded very different to the finished version. It was much more acoustic.

When you were recording the vocals, were you aware that it would all be distorted and changed during the mixing?

I didn't really think about the mixing during recording.

Vince: You don't think much at all, do you? [Laughs]

No. I assumed that it would have various effects and stuff put on it, but you don't really think about how it's all going to fit together.

Vince: We went to town on the vocals a lot, me and Flood. We decided that we wanted to use a few vocoders just to get a few different textures out of the voice. That was a deliberate decision.

Listening to Loveboat, it is much more diverse than your previous albums.

I think that's good though, actually. I think 'Freedom' is the most old-style track on the album.

Andy: The idea is that all of the future singles will sound like they've come from different albums.

Vince: But there's a general sort of mood that holds the album together, I think.

Andy: It is quite rock and roll, really, in a strange kind of way. 'Where In The World' is a real Phil Spector sort of song.

Mentioning Phil Spector, are there any other bands or artists who have influenced this album?

Not really, apart from 'Deserters Songs' by Mercury Rev. That was out, what, four years ago, was it? I wanted the album to sound like that. I played the album to Daniel and Flood so they would know what I meant.

Do you think you succeeded? Does 'Loveboat' sound like 'Deserter's Songs'?

I think they are similar, in a way. I mean, that's a moody old album as well.

Andy, would you say the mood of the music and the melody suggests the lyrical content?

Andy: Sometimes, on the better ones it does. 'Where In The World' and on the last song, 'Surreal'. A few times I get a bit lost and then I give Vince a ring, to get a bit of realness into it.

Vince: Drop a few clichés into the lyrics.

Andy: 'Knocking on the door', 'Open the lock', 'Turn the key'.

Vince: 'Singing in the rain', 'Dancing in the rain', 'Crying in the rain'.

So if I ask specific questions about songs from the album, will you be able to remember which songs I'm talking about?

I won't, but Andy will.

'Love Is The Rage' is quite conspicuously different from your previous work, with a predominantly acoustic sound...

I think it works really well though.

Vince: We're not trying to get away from something deliberately. I don't know what Erasure sound like, you know, I really don't know. There are certain people in interviews who say there is an 'Erasure sound' and I think to myself, 'I don't know what that is'. It's only because Andy's singing it and there's some synthesisers. That must be the 'Erasure sound', which is a bit silly and limiting really. Do you think Duran Duran had a sound?

With all due respect, I think if you took Andy's voice and put it over any synthesisers people would still say it sounded like Erasure.

Yeah, exactly. So do you think Duran Duran has a sound?

I think their early stuff does, but then they changed producers and band members and tried to make their sound more modern.

Vince: I mean but Andy's voice is the same, and so we're not really going to get away from that.

'Mad As We Are' sounds like a ballad from an old Hollywood musical.

I love that song. It was quite a confusing song to write, because I was trying to make it about computers but I didn't know anything about them, so instead I was trying to imagine what it was like to be in a room with a blue light from the screen. And to just be sending out messages anywhere to anybody hoping that one person is going to answer you back.

Vince: This is before he discovered gay chat lines.

Andy: Oh, I love that song.

It starts out quite quiet, and gradually gets louder. It's like having a gramophone record half-way through the album.

Vince: That was Flood's idea.

Andy: Like a sort of time travel sound, back to yesteryear.

Vince: So it gets bigger and bigger as it goes along. Quite effective, though.

'Catch 22' is a very traditional-sounding Erasure song.

I played the album to some girls who were Erasure fans and that was their favourite. That track is always the one the fans pick up on straight away.

Vince: How does that go?

Andy: [Sings] ' loving you...'

'Here In My Heart' is another quite straightforward track.

'Here In My Heart'? Well that one went all round the houses when we were recording it. It was going to be 'Spanish', that one

Vince: How does that go?

Andy: [Sings] ' in my heart, I do know you love me...'

With 'Crying In The Rain' it sounds like you're trying to go all contemporary and hip-hop...


Andy: That's my hardest track, the hardest to get my head around. I don't know that song at all.

Were you trying to make it deliberately contemporary?

No, it was a song that was written, and then we just recorded it as usual.

Andy: It was going to be a b-side, wasn't it?

Vince: No, because 'Spanish' ['Here In My Heart'] was going to be the b-side.

Andy: I know, but I was always treating it as a b-side.

Vince: I know you were.

I remember talking to you when you mentioned Daniel Miller was going to do the rhythm parts for the album.

No, he didn't in the end. I mean, we asked him, we asked him to do all the rhythms and all the percussion stuff, because he's got this plug -in on his computer.

Andy: He did 'Moon & The Sky', didn't he?

Vince: Yes, he did 'Moon & The Sky' but other than that he didn't really get that involved. At first he just told me to buy this computer plug-in because it was really good. And I said, 'Well, why don't you just do it for us, then?'

'Moon And The Sky' is the heaviest thing you've ever recorded.

That was a ballad in the first place. It was like the Righteous Brothers, and it was very beautiful.

Vince: How does that go?

Andy: [Sings] '...see how the moon she cries, cool how the tears fill up the sky...'

Vince: Oh, that was the one that was speeded up. That's the fast one. That was a ballad that was done on a Spanish guitar, and then Daniel came in and sped it up on his computer.

Did it feel strange, having the song altered so fundamentally?

It was hard re-singing it as an uptempo song after it had started out as a ballad. Because you can't make it into a soul song all of sudden.

Vince: And it didn't have a chorus, that was the problem with it. That's why it was only going to be a b-side, it didn't have a chorus, it was just a piece of music. And that's why, when it goes da-da-da-dada-

Andy: [Sings] '...gotta touch the sky!'

Vince: I think it's like Public Image Limited.

Andy: I think that's the most Blondie-ish that we've ever sounded, that track.

It sounds like you've taken a light, romantic song and then given it a full-on dance remix.

That's what it is, exactly.

Do you think we might ever hear the original ballad version?

I think so. It's all there, on tape.

Vince: We'll do an exclusive for the web page so that people can download it.

Speaking of which, how net-savvy would you say you were?

I'm not that keen on it, really. I mean, it's all really just for shopping at the end of the day, isn't it? It's just a giant yellow pages for buying things. When it gets to the point where you can ask it a question like, 'How long does a rhinoceros live for?, and an answer comes up, that would be really good. But it doesn't work like that, does it? Not until the search engines get a bit more clued up.

Andy: I do love the live cams though, because it makes me feel like I've been around their house.

Vince: You're a voyeur!

Andy: I know!

Were you into Big Brother, Andy?

Andy: I wasn't really into Big Brother because I suppose I was too busy on the internet...

Vince: [Rude laugh]

Would you be prepared to have a camera follow you around all day?

I would quite like to do that, I think, if I wasn't doing this job. I'd quite like to have a camera in the house. But I think it would be too dangerous to do it with this job, I think.

Vince: That would be a way of getting maximum publicity!

How do you feel about your songs being made available over the internet?

It's fine. I think it's really fine. I think most people who are prepared to download our tracks from the internet will go out and buy the CD anyway. And the bootlegs. And everything else. If you can be bothered to download a song off the internet, then you're probably going to go out and buy the CD as well.

Andy: It's like when we in Denmark. I've been in the record shops and they're brilliant - they've got all these Erasure bootlegs, with remixes on and everything! The thing is, I'm a fan, and so I end up buying them! I think that if it was a case that the record company wasn't promoting your stuff and some bootleggers are doing it instead, then more power to them. If they can get it out there and listened to, then fair enough

Would you be prepared to upload stuff onto Napster yourselves?

No, no. If it's done covertly by people nicking tapes and stuff, that's fine. We couldn't do it ourselves because Mute Records wouldn't be very happy with us! [Laughs]

Andy: We wouldn't want people to hear songs before they're finished and mixed, though.

Some people will assume that the record company are behind it regardless.

Cher's doing that, putting her album out on the internet.

But it does give bands who haven't got a record deal a chance to get their music heard.

That's why it's good, actually. It's just another forum for people to get interested in music. It's like someone making their own music in their bedroom can suddenly get an audience.

Andy: I think it is massive publicity doing that, as well.

How long do you think you'll be busy promoting 'Loveboat' for?

Well, probably until Christmas.

Andy: I think next year sometime.

Vince: It depends on how the first single does and what happens with the album. It might be all over by Christmas! Actually, it might be over sooner than that. It might all be over by November! [Laughs]

It might be over when they get the pre-sales in!

They usually get an idea of how things are going when you get the mid-week charts in on the Tuesday...

Yeah. This is the honeymoon period, you see

Andy: Yeah, that's it exactly.

Vince: This is the last week when people are still optimistic about the album's chances. Next week it'll be all gloom and doom.

Andy: And the hotel rooms are getting cheaper, aren't they?

So how do you feel about the album?

I am quite optimistic. On the last two albums I felt really awful, I think I was going through a bit of a crisis as well and I felt like we were banging our heads against the wall. I really felt like I was being forced to beg for any publicity and to get the record played. I felt really awful, I felt like a prostitute; not that there's anything wrong with prostitutes, though. But this time I just feel satisfied that we've made it. I'm happy that we've done the album and that it's a good album. Not that that means our job is done and over, but I just feel much better about it. We do feel quite confident, yes.

You feel more confident of the material, or of your position in the band?

In everything; with me and Vince, with the record company, with the way things are going generally.

You're still up for doing this solo album you've talked about?


This will be the first major thing you've done without Vince.

That's going to be in the new year. It won't be completely without Vince, though, because he's already advising me on who I should work with and that kind of stuff. He wants to write me a song, too. I also asked him whether he would like to put some overdubs on afterwards with guitar and synths, if I felt it needed it. I think the only reason I'm doing it on my own is because I don't think Vince would like the idea of doing an album of cover versions as an Erasure thing.

After spending so many years trying to get away from the Abba-esque thing, I'm surprised you've decided to do more cover versions.

Andy: But this will be completely off-the-wall, it will be completely separate from Erasure and everything that's gone before. It will be something else entirely.

Which songs will you be covering?

Well, they're all songs from the sixties, from around 63 or 64. It's tracks by the Righteous Brothers and the Ronettes, so they're all quite Phil Spector-y. So I'm trying to do that sort of thing. With the Righteous Brothers, there were two brothers, one singing all the low parts and one singing the high parts, but hopefully I'll be able to sing both parts all the way through. It's a chance to just show my voice off a bit. Vince said that I'll be one of the next crooners, so this is kind of laying the foundation for that.

Andy Bell - the housewife's favourite?

Yeah, yeah. I'll be the next Bing Crosby.

Is this where you see your career going, ultimately?

I hope so, yeah. Hopefully it will also put a fresh focus on Erasure as well. Because if I do something as a separate entity and then we bring out another Erasure record, it would give people a chance to see the difference. I remember they did the same thing with Queen, where Freddie Mercury would go off and do a couple of solo things every now and then. I thought that was really good, a really healthy thing to do.

Except that it meant that all the other members of Queen would also go off and do their solo projects as well!

Oh I know, yeah! [Laughs] But Vince is alright, though.

Vince is always knocking out something or other.

Andy: He said it would be good for my discipline as well, to be responsible for an album on my own.

When do you think you'll be recording it?

That will be recorded in about February time. And then it'll come out next year sometime, depending on the Mute roster. But then if we do our acoustic thing... We might also release a live EP next year in preparation for it, because you've got to just keep on putting things out, haven't you?

You're thinking of doing an acoustic EP?

Yeah. That was the idea in the first place, wasn't it? For the album to be available in an acoustic version and an electronic version.

Vince: That was the idea, yeah.

So you plan to re-record the whole album again with acoustic instruments?

Andy: Not the whole album, but some of it, yes.

Vince: It was done semi-acoustically anyway. It was all acoustic before Flood got his hands on it - before our producer turned it into a rough album.

Andy: A rough rock album!

Vince: Our rock producer made it sound rough.

Listening to the acoustic tracks you've recorded for radio, and to 'Alien' in particular, the melody comes through a lot stronger and clearer than it does on the album version.

That's because they were originally written in that style. That's the songs in their natural form as far as we're concerned.

Andy: And we haven't had a live recording out since 'The Circus', Vince!

You'd rather do this than, say, do a remix album?

Oh no! Don't do that!

Vince: I don't think that would be a very good idea, actually. I mean, you know we've got all these remixes of the new single, all these club mixes? I wonder how many people can really tell that it is Erasure at the end of the day. And I'm not sure it actually works, to try and put Erasure into a part of the market that we just don't really fit into.

Andy: People all say, 'Oh, I really love the Motiv 8 Mix' and that wasn't my favourite one.

Vince: What was my favourite remix if it wasn't that one? What was the Motiv 8 mix?

Andy: It was like the Jason Creasey mix but not as good.

It's a sort of cheesy early 90's gay disco version of the track.

That's the one that Daniel plays on as well, isn't it?

Andy: Yeah.

Vince: Oh, I quite like that one. That was alright. What was that other one that was good?

Andy: The Pichiotti one?

Vince: No. That's unlistenable.

Andy: The Unity one? I didn't like it. I just don't get it.

Vince: So you see, I start to wonder if any clubs are actually going to play these mixes, just because of Unity doing it. They're supposed to be famous, aren't they?

I have absolutely no idea.

Vince: We don't know either.

I'm not sure exactly how the clubbers are supposed to work out that it's Erasure they're listening to.

I know. It's silly.

Vince: But also, when you listen to the remixes it doesn't matter whether it sounds like Erasure or not, because they're not going to play it anyway because it has the word Erasure on the record label, you know. Unless they change the name or something.

Mute did try that once, actually.

They did try that?

Andy: Yeah, they don't tell them who it really is.

They put out a promo of 'Freedom' as being by 'V & A'.

Vince: [Laughs] That's so cheap! I'll have to have a word with that remix guy!

Andy: Yeah, he's next on the list.

Do you keep track of what remixes are put out?

With the remixes for 'Freedom' I was just getting remixes and just thinking, 'Oh god, this is hopeless' and I was getting really depressed. I said, 'Vince, please will you get your friend to do one, all of these are rubbish'. And then three came in all at once, including the Motiv 8 one and I just thought 'Thank god!'

You don't have much say in the remixes, then?

Not really. Not unless you say who you want to do them.

And you asked for Jason Creasey to do one?

Vince: Only because they asked me for suggestions, and Jason offered.

For the next single, they're currently choosing between 'Alien' and 'Moon & The Sky', depending on which has the best remixes. Would you be happy about a remixed version being sent out for radio to play?

It probably depends. If it bears some resemblance to the song, then I think, 'Yeah, it's only another mix isn't it?'. That's fine. The radio get the choice already on this single, between our version and the Motiv 8 one.

Andy: I think that's one thing that you have to become less precious about, because if they're not going to play the original version you still want people to hear the song and go out and buy the album. And hopefully then they won't be disappointed when they hear the original version, you know.

So you wouldn't allow a remix like that Tori Amos one?

Oh no, that would be ridiculous. I don't think we would allow for that to happen.

Vince: What has she done?

Andy: You know, when she did that track that went to number one but it sounded nothing like her. It was just her going, 'It's gotta be big, it's gotta be big'. It was just an acid house sort of thing and it went to number one.

I don't think she sold many albums on the back of it, though.

No. [Laughs]

So Vince, what are your plans for next year?

I'm just in the process of buying a farm in Yorkshire, so I'll be involved with that. I'm not doing any building work, but I'll have to get some skills, like dry stone walling. And then I'm going to write my first romantic novel.

That's your plan for the year, is it?

Absolutely. Mills & Boon style

How are the Family Fantastic and Martyn Ware projects going?

Well, we got a release in America and we got an internet release in Sweden and another Swedish company are interested in releasing it properly, but that's as far as it's gone. As far as the Martyn Ware thing, I don't think it sold very many, but then again it was never intended to.

Andy: Would you ever do promotion for that kind of thing?

Vince: No. Because I'm down as producer.

Andy: You made a video though, didn't you?

Vince: Yeah, I made a video, but I was in disguise. I wore a moustache and a wig. [Laughs] So no-one would know it was me.

Andy: And now he's doing his Alfred Hitchcocks in our future videos. He's just going to appear walking through in the background or something. It's really funny though because when Dean [Dean Bright] asked whether Vince was going to be in our next video and I said, 'Well he's going to be in a telephone box wearing a white suit with an ultraviolet light', he goes, 'Why? Why's that?' and soon as I said 'Alfred Hitchcock', he went, 'Oh yeah, that's a really good idea!'.

It's always like that with American record companies, you always have to explain to them how something relates to something they already know and then they understand it.

Vince: As long as it's been done before, you mean.

Andy: Yeah. Otherwise they don't understand it.

What is the situation with your US record company at the moment?


Vince: Well I don't know what we can say, actually. We're still with Maverick.

Andy: It seems like they don't want to let us go, but they don't like this album, so it's a kind of catch 22 situation, really. Because it would be awful if they just stuck it out with no promotion and forgot about it.

Like Elektra did with the 'Erasure' album?

Yeah, if they just released it and let it go completely.

Vince: But we should know what's happening quite soon.

Andy: It looks like it won't be out until the new year whatever happens.

Would you be up for doing promotion in the USA?

Depends what they tell us to do, really.

Vince: Yeah, it depends what the promotion involves. We did quite a lot last time.

Andy: But no more riding on horses, though!

Vince: We've done all that, we've done all those radio stations before.

Andy: I'm not surprised by it but I'm quite disappointed, really, that they don't see that they could sell it. I think there's lots of stuff on there that would do really well, given a chance. But I think it's how they see us; they don't really know who we are, because we're not electronica (even though the music's electronic), we didn't get college radio play and we didn't get top 40 radio play - but we were getting quite a lot of play in clubs. They were probably thinking, 'Oh, why aren't there any hi-nrg dance songs on there?' so they didn't really know what to with it.

They're trying to fit you into a certain category to market the record.

I think that's always been the thing with America. We've never ever been in one category, have we?

Vince: No.

Andy: So they can say, it's r'n'b or britpop or whatever.

Vince: That's definitely how music is sold out there.

Andy: There's no chart for us.

Has it been one of your ambitions, to break America?

It's always been in the back of your mind that if it happened it would be lovely. But, well, it's just such a bizarre place - it is one of the most foreign places - and I don't think we're particularly suited to their system, you know.

Where do you think you have the most support?

Nordic. The Nords. And the South Americans.

Vince: And England. And the good old Erasure Information Service people everywhere.

Your promotion tends to concentrate on the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.

Well the promotion is done by demand. In other words, if they think they can sell your records then you're invited out to go and do some promotion. So if you don't sell anything in Italy or France you're not going to be doing promotion there and that's it.

Andy: It's like on the last tour we were doing Japan, and we said we'd rather like to do New Zealand as well and New Zealand just said no!

Vince: Well they said weren't prepared to give us any tour support, you know. It was weird. It was real battle in SE Asia, getting the money, because it was such a tiny place there was no way that we could make it break even. So we asked for contributions from the record company, but it was like getting blood out of a stone. Where else did we go? It's like we were asked over to Japan, and we said, 'Yeah, that'll cost you ten pounds fifty' and then they were suddenly like, 'Ooh no, we can't afford that!'.

Vince, you've just done the video for 'Freedom'. Are you going to be doing 'Alien' and 'Moon & The Sky' as well?

Well, 'Alien' definitely. 'Moon & The Sky'? Yeah, if we can we'll do it.

What sort of thing can we expect to see?

'Alien' is going to involve puppets. but that's about all I can say so far.

Andy: It's going to be very dreamy.

Vince: And if we do one for the other track, it will be very punky, very full-on rock.

What is the track 'Alien' about?

Andy: I was just imagining a couple of times where we went out in SE Asia and stuff and we went out to some clubs together - we're always looking after each other - and I was just imagining this really androgynous person I'd seen. Actually who I had in my mind was Vince's ex-girlfriend, she looks quite oriental. In the beginning I had the word 'oriental' in there but Vince was like, 'No, don't have that in there, it might be a bit racist or something?' I don't know whether it was or not. But 'alien' was always in the chorus, it's just one of those things that's stuck from when we first demo-ed it.

Vince: I thought 'oriental' was a reference to an oriental prostitute.

Andy: Originally it was like [Sings] 'One look at you, oriental subdued'. So it didn't really mean very much, and we just made it more intimate, I suppose.

Regarding your relationship, would you say you were still happy working together?

Andy: Yeah!

Vince: Yeah, it's alright isn't it?

Andy: [Apropos of nothing] Did you see - I knew they were going to do it - I saw it, it's at or something - they're going to make him, you know from the Turin Shroud, they're going to recreate his DNA.

Vince: No way!

Andy: Yeah! They would!

How long do you think Erasure will keep on going for?

How long will it be going for?

Andy: Until we retire.

Vince: We were talking about doing some gigs in old people's homes.

In a recent book, Paul McCartney goes through all the old Beatles songs attributing percentages to himself and John Lennon, saying who wrote what. Do you think there'll come a day when you do that?


Andy: No.

Vince: It's not like that

Andy: I don't think we'd need to. It's like staking your claim, saying, 'This is mine'.

A lot of other bands end up in court arguing about who really wrote their songs.

Yeah, but they've fallen out. We don't fall out at all. And because it's the sum of the two of us that makes the song.

It doesn't matter at the end of the day if I only contribute one word or Andy only contributes one chord, that word or chord is what makes the song, that's the song, and it will always be like that.

Your most recent composition was the b-side, 'Better'...

How does that go?

Andy: That was song that was about three different songs all in one.

Vince: Was it the one I did the mix of with Ebby?

Andy: Yeah, that one.

Vince: It was just so many different ideas. We tried to put them together and then Andy had to go away to America and so we didn't really finish it. So I thought we'd make it into a b-side.

Andy: And also because 'Human Zoo' ['Crying In The Rain'] turned out so well, I didn't think it was so bad that we couldn't use it. Because I could have thought, 'Oh god, it's not good enough, it's not finished'.

So you're saying that because 'Crying In The Rain' ended up on the album, you decided to make 'Better' into the b-side instead?

I did say to Vince, 'Would it be alright to work on 'Better' and just use what vocals we'd already got?' Because there was so much stuff on there.

Vince: There were about three choruses at that time, weren't there?

So you had to try to make a song out of the vocals you'd already got?

Vince: Well I made a track out of it, not a song, really.

Your most recent recording was 'Baby Love' for the Motown Mania album.

Vince chose the song. I think that turned out really well. It's really ironic because when I started thinking about the solo thing and about how it would sound, that's exactly how 'Baby Love' turned out and it was done in five minutes!

Vince: It was done for Pete Waterman's project. He came down to the studio as well.

Andy: Was that when we used the cardboard box for the drum?

Vince: It's all acoustic with one tambourine and a cardboard box.

Andy: It sounds very good. It sounds very Phil Spector.

So is this an indicated of the future Erasure sound?

Yeah - the cardboard box sound! Nahh!

In past interviews, around the 'I Say I Say I Say' album, you were saying how you had a plan to record a concept album and then a 3-minute pop song album. How does this album fit in with that plan? Is this your guitar album?

Well, there's still loads of synths on the album. It's not really a guitar album.

Andy: Maybe next time if we have a really bizarre idea we'll do a really bizarre album.

Vince: Yeah it would be like 'The Silence Album'. Or just use kazoo and nothing else.

Vince, have you got any further with that rock'n'roll EP you were talking about?

Vince: It's on the go, actually. I've got a guy called Kevin Green working on it. He's the guy who built my studio.

Andy: That's the rockabilly band isn't it?

Vince: That's the rockabilly one, yeah. But it won't be out for ages and ages.

Andy: If we do a video for 'Moon & The Sky' they will be our rockabilly band, playing the guitar and drums and double bass.

And finally, to finish off the interview, what are your favourite songs from 'Loveboat'?

'Alien' and 'Where In The World' are my two favourites.

Andy: 'Mad As We Are' and 'Where In The World'.

Do you think there might be any more singles after 'Alien'/'Moon & The Sky'?

Touch wood. I think there will be. I think 'Perchance To Dream' might be.

Vince: We might be recording a new song, actually, because the Americans want another track, so we're going to write that together this week.

You're going to write a single specifically for America?

Yeah, we've got to write an America-sounding tune, whatever that is. But I don't mind, I think that's quite good actually, because I'd quite like to write another song anyway.

Andy: It's an extra song, innit? Can't complain!

So all the UK fans will have to go and buy the USA version of the album to get it?

Andy: Or maybe they'll re-release it with that track on. Or put it out as a single on its own.

Vince: No, what we'll do is we'll make that track available over the internet.

Andy: Oh, that's good.

That's the current plan is it?

That's it!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

How many Spaniards does it take to change a lightbulb? Juan.