It has to be said that one of my pop music icons and livings legends is Andy Bell. The Erasure front-man has seen and done it all when it comes to pop music. He’s lived through the highs and lows of the music industry and produced some of the most heartfelt electronic pop the world has known. I remember when I first started EQ, I fantasized about what it would be like to chat with him. One time I remember seeing him in a small bar on Old Compton Street about five years ago and I wanted so badly to go up to chat to him about music but nerves and my inner shy child got the best of me. The next day I sent him a message on MySpace asking for a chat and I heard nothing back – which was to be expected back then, the world of social networking and blogging was not celebrated as it is now.
Fast forward to last October. I got the opportunity to submit a few questions to Andy Bell around the 25th anniversary release of “The Innocents” and “The Phantom Bride EP” and the result was my first interview with Erasure. This was one of the moments where felt a sense of accomplishment with EQ as it was the first time I got to chat to one of my personal living legends. Then a few weeks ago, I got offered to meet Andy to talk about the release of his new electronica album “Non-Stop”. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve done hundreds of interviews for EQ before, but I’ve never been able to probe in-person any of my living pop legends before – and when I say living legends, I am talking about the likes of Madonna, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and Erasure…so needless to say, meeting Andy Bell was like a dream come true…
|Visit the EQ Facebook page to win a signed copy of the “Non-Stop” album booklet.|
What I was surprised to find out was that Andy Bell is just as shy as I am. When he walked into the room I felt a little rush of adrenaline and as we sat down after our hellos. He takes a few seconds to warm up to, but after a few minutes of chatting away, we eased right into an amazing conversation about some of the themes on his new album “Non-Stop”.
One of the first questions I asked Andy was about his track “Slow Release” as it’s a standout track on “Non-Stop” for me and probably the most “angsty” track on the album. Andy explains that the track is about not being able to let go of a significant lover in your life. Andy then continues to explain that the track is about someone specific in his life that he knows is absolutely wrong for him, but he can’t quite let that person go and that it’s a painfully slow process. This person even contacted Andy recently and you can see the pain in Andy’s eyes as he explains that having to deal with that issue is continues to cause him a degree of heartache and “Slow Release” is what captures that feeling.
On my list of questions of course was the use of the name Mimó for the tracks “Will You Be There” and “Running Out” where Andy explains that there is already another artist who goes by the name of Mimó and quite simply his label just wanted to avoid a potential lawsuit and since it’s him on the tracks anyways, he explains that he might as well put his name on it which he’s quite happy about anyways.
In our conversation, the topic of the Gaga episode of Glee came up and I asked him if he thinks that being OUT in pop music is different today versus the 80s and although Andy admits he hasn’t watched an episode of Glee yet, he does feel a sense of joy that the male lead Fin can stand up in a red rubber Gaga dress and defend the Kurt, the openly gay student. “For that to happen on mainstream TV these days says a lot about how far we’ve come – I really really love Lady Gaga though – she is absolutely incredible.” explains Andy.
I was really curious how the collaboration with Perry Farrell on “Honey If You Love Him (That’s All That Matters)” came about and Andy explained that whilst performing on Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour, Perry was invited to watch Erasure perform but for some reason he missed the performance and felt really bad. The two then continued to talk and got on really well and as a result, the two ended up collaborating together for the track.
When asked about “DHDQ” (Debbie Harry Drag Queen), Andy explains that Debbie Harry really is the original drag queen and no one else has been able to emulate the style and look that she has as well as she has and that track really is a homage to her.
Some other tidbits of interest from our chat was the fact that Erasure are still planning on making more music! Andy admits that he doesn’t see Vince Clarke that often these days as he is currently in America and keeps himself busy by remixing other artists now, but the two plan on knocking up some new tracks very soon. Andy is quite fond of the Vince Clarke remix of “Call On Me” as am I. Andy doesn’t have many performances lined up this summer but is crossing his fingers that a few dates with Boy George might fall into place as there has been talks of that happening in which both of us got quite giddy at the thought of that.
And just like that – my time hanging out with the legend that is Andy Bell was over, but before I left, Andy asked if he could ask me two questions in which of course I obliged. Andy asked me if I was gay, and that was met with laugh and my response was “Well with a website called Electroqueer – what do you think?” in which we both laughed and Andy continued on “Well, you would make the most amazing looking drag queen….” and from that point on, we got into some specific stuff about doing drag that I won’t share, but I have to say, it was a pretty funny conversation!
EQ also has five signed album booklets of “Non-Stop” to giveaway and they are going to the first five people who leave a comment over on our EQ Facebook page!