Erasure are just legends – there is no denying it. One of the first CDs I ever bought was “The Innocents” and I’m thrilled that it’s getting a proper 21 year anniversary remastered re-release. I recently got my copy and it sounds just as fresh and innovative as it did when I first fell in love with it back in the 80s – with a sound that is just as relevant today in a new electronic pop world that is dominated by electronic artists like La Roux, Frankmusik and Little Boots.
I was asked to put together some email questions for Erasure front-man Andy Bell and as you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s not every day that you get to put a few questions in front of your music legends – especially legends as beloved as Erasure.
So in this mini Q&A with Andy Bell, he talks about the re-release of “The Innocents” and the new “Phantom Bride” EP as well as touring with Cyndi Lauper, his solo “Electric Blue” album and his thoughts on being a gay icon…enjoy!
EQ: Well hello Andy – how are you today sir?
Andy Bell: Great thank you.
So you must be pretty excited about the “Phantom Bride EP” coming out in celebration of the 21st anniversary re-release of “The Innocents”. What prompted you to pay tribute “The Innocents” with this special remix EP?
I think it’s because there are quite a few young fans and artists that are doing electro music now for the first time and wanted to do their own interpretations of our songs or add their own remixes. So why not!
I must admit, “The Innocents” was one of the first CDs I ever owned. Why do you think “The Innocents” was such a pivotal album for you and why do you think it touched so many?
It’s purely because we had a great promotional team around us and we did lot’s of TV shows and lots of promotion that led to radio airplay. We did a huge tour around that album too which really helped.
I noticed that you even commissioned Frankmusik to work on a remix for “Phantom Bride”. There seems to be a wee bit of similarity between some of your early work and his current work – what was it like working with him on this remix?
Well we didn’t get to meet Frankmusik – but I would like to. I’m a big fan of his work and I love the cut and paste feel he adds to his music.
What was it like touring with True Colors last year and getting to share stages with Cyndi Lauper and The B-52s! Must have been fun?! I’ve been wanting Cyndi to bring the show to the UK for at least a one-off!
It’s always very nice to share the stage with some of your teen idols. It gives you inspiration to keep on going and to know that there are people still more experienced than you after all this time being out there and making music.
Out of your entire back catalogue – which Erasure song is a personal favourite of yours? Well known hit or obscure b-side?
For me personally, It has to be “Home” or “Hideaway”.
You also released a solo album called “Electric Blue” in 2005. What was it like releasing an album under your own name? How is it different from doing work as Erasure?
It was quite easy to do the recording because the guys lived around the corner from where I was in London and at the same time it was very scary releasing something under your own name because you take the full responsibility for it. It can be quite ego deflating, but I’m still very happy with the work on “Electric Blue”.
A lot of electronic artists are starting to get mainstream recognition lately like Little Boots and La Roux. What are your thoughts on some of the new electronic music that is getting commercial airplay now…
I think it’s about bloody time after all these years! I’m glad it’s females doing it too!
My favorite Erasure song of all time is “Stop”. It’s so uplifting. I’ve always wanted to ask you about what the song is really about.
Vince wrote it. But really, it’s just a love song – nothing more.
Do you find it surprising at all that almost every gay man alive now owns a copy of your complilation album “Pop!” in one of it’s incarnations? Do you like being branded a gay icon or is it all just good music as you see it.
I wouldn’t exactly say that I was a gay icon. When I go into the pub nowadays, there are loads of young people who haven’t got a clue who I am! So yeah, wouldn’t say I was a gay icon at all.
And what’s this I hear about you wanting to work with The Cheeky Girls? That would be quite fun!
To be honest, that was a passing flippant comment that got blown out of proportion. The girls came into our organic bread store one day in Rye Market and it took them awhile to twig on who I was exactly. It wasn’t until later on when an interview came out of me selling bread to them at the market, that they realized it was me! So that’s the story….
Well that’s it Andy – thanks so much for taking the time for this mini Q&A.