Box set news + Vince Clarke interview!
Last year’s Erasure career-spanning box set, From Moscow to Mars was exclusive to PledgeMusic and the band’s Lexer Music store. It sold out on both and hasn’t resurfaced at a sensible price, until now…
The 13-disc anthology is ‘released’ today in America and can be ordered from Amazon USA for £116 or around £92. That’s only a tiny amount more than the original selling price, so if you are interested, then now’s the time to pick one up, since who knows how much stock is available.
Last year SDE spoke to Vince Clarke – you can read the interview below
On the phone from New York, this is what Vince Clarke had to say:
SuperDeluxeEdition: What do you put your Erasure’s longevity down to?
Vince Clarke: Andy and I get on so well. There’s not a lot of egos floating around in the band. It’s just been a right delight and pleasure to have been working with him for this amount of time.
SDE: Have things changed much over the years? You had that incredible run of success with number one albums but inevitably things dip a bit and you no longer have that mainstream appeal you once had. Does that make any difference to how you go about your day job?
VC: It makes no difference to our work or our output. We both still love what we’re doing. We don’t sell as many records, obviously, but we’re still writing songs, and that’s the biggest joy.
SDE: What’s your view on the industry these days? There’s no singles or Top Of The Pops any more. In some ways quite a lot of fun has gone out of it, although I realise that with social media, connecting with your fans is quite a lot easier than it used to be…
VC: Andy and I have been very fortunate, because we’ve been through the times when the music industry was making loads and loads of money, and we benefitted from that. But overall I think the changes are good, really, because it’s made the business of making music more democratic. People can afford the kind of equipment, or do stuff on their computer at home that you wouldn’t have dreamed of, 20 years ago. There’s a lot more people making music, which I think is great.
SDE: But do you miss the concept of a hit single and something going in the top ten and the instant gratification of that?
VC: I don’t know really, because it wasn’t like it happened overnight… the most shocking thing for me actually, was when Top Of The Pops stopped, or people stopped watching it, because I’d been watching that since I was nine – it was just part of your life. And to suddenly see that people weren’t interested in that was quite shocking really, so I was sad to see that go.
SDE: Tell us about the new box set then. How involved have you been and whose idea was it?
VC: Initially it was the idea of our manager, or our ex-manager actually, because BMG own the Mute catalogue now, so Shawn at Mute worked with BMG in coming up with this idea, not to capitalise but because it was 30 years they thought they should do something, you know? And they had all this stuff and they thought the band would be interested in it, so we were involved in making decisions about what went on the different CDs. Also, they found stuff that I can’t even remember, so that was kind of interesting.
SDE: But were you charged with digging around for some demos and some of the unreleased material. Presumably you had that in your possession, did you?
VC: No, no, no. It was all kept by the record company. It was in their vaults. No, I don’t tend to keep anything [laughs]. Except old synths, I’ve got loads of those! [laughs].
SDE: You mentioned how BMG owned the Mute catalogue. Back in 2009 there was a really good reissue of The Innocents and then there was a couple of more reissues The Wonderland and The Circus, a couple of years later. Why didn’t the concept of issuing deluxe editions of the album, continue? Was it down to record company shenanigans?
VC: You know what, I really don’t know. They have sort of done things in dribs and drabs really. There was a time when I think they released two records in surround sound and there was an idea then was that there would be a series of them, but that stopped. I think it’s because Mute’s been through quite a few changes in the last few years and projects get abandoned and restarted.
SDE: But does that frustrate you when there is such chopping and changing and basically your work is passed around and bought and sold?
VC: [pause] Well… I don’t know. I think actually BMG have done a really good job. I mean, I’ve been on an independent label all my life, so was never a fan of huge, big record companies, but I think they’ve done a really great job, in this instance. And the fact that they were working with Mute together on it has made it a lot more credible.
SDE: Who do you think the box is aimed at? It has a bit of everything on it, hit singles, B-sides, remixes etc.
VC: It’s aimed fairly and squarely at our fanbase.
SDE: The rarities disc is obviously very interesting and it has the audition version of Who Needs Love Like That on it. Tell me what you remember of that audition and what you saw in Andy when you were going through that process.
VC: Well, it was a long weekend basically and we had lots of people apply for it – I’d advertised for a singer. So people applied, came to the audition and towards the end of that period, that weekend, Andy came along and he was asked basically to learn two songs in about 10 minutes and then sing them as best he could. That was the idea. He just came up with the best, most soulful interpretations of those two songs. The amazing thing about that story is they found that audition tape! I mean we didn’t keep it [laughs]. Where did that come from?
SDE: Was everyone taped then? Do all the other auditions exist?
VC: I guess so. I knew nothing of this. Maybe it was some tape op at the studio making copies of it, for whatever reason, but I was amazed when that came up.
SDE: So the vocal we hear on that particular track is Andy singing live to the backing music?
VC: Yes, it was. Like I say, he had 10 minutes to learn the track and he had one go at it, and that was it.
SDE: There’s two CDs of remixes in the From Moscow to Mars box set. There are so many Erasure remixes, as I’m sure you are well aware, so how did they get whittled down, because it’s probably a bit of an arduous process listening to lots of remixes…
VC: I think the record company were looking for remixes that weren’t so common, so they weren’t going for the obvious ones, and the decision making for those, was really down to Andy because he’s more into dance music than I am.
SDE: You do some remixing yourself, don’t you? So what makes a good remix?
VC: I don’t know. It’s different for different tracks really. Remixing used to be about making a dance track, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that now. I lot of the remixing I do is for much slower songs that no one is going to dance to, but people like to listen to at home, so…. it’s changed really. It’s just about coming up with something different. A different interpretation of the track.
SDE: Obviously this box set is a big, physical item. Do you think it’s quite important that music still gets released physically?
VC: Well I like physical, and I think the fans do as well. I like sitting on the toilet and reading the credits, you know what I mean.
SDE: And what about the cost. This set is £80. Did you have a view on this being affordable and the label not going to over the top, because there’s only so much money people can afford to spend on music.
VC: Yeah, we weren’t really involved in that decision. It is a lot of money, I agree. But I guess you get bang for your buck.
SDE: Do the record company need your permission to put stuff out? How does that work?
VC: I think if we didn’t want it released, then they wouldn’t release it.
SDE: How are you at looking back? A lot of artists are passionate about what they are doing now, but not necessarily that keen on digging up the past. What are your views on that?
VC: I’m definitely more forward looking. I don’t listen to old records of mine.
SDE: Is there anything you’d like to have included on this set, but couldn’t for whatever reason?
VC: No, I think everything is on there, mate. That’s it!
SDE: Does the end of this year , close the door on the archival releases, at least for a while?
VC: In 2017 we’re moving on to the next Erasure record. There’ll be another box in 20 more years [laughs].
1. Who Needs Love Like That?
2. Heavenly Action
3. Oh L’Amour
5. It Doesn’t Have to Be
6. Victim of Love
7. The Circus
8. Ship of Fools
9. Chains of Love
10. A Little Respect
13. You Surround Me
14. Blue Savannah
1. Love to Hate You
2. Am I Right?
3. Breath of Life
4. Take a Chance on Me
6. Run to the Sun
7. I Love Saturday
8. Stay with Me
9. Fingers and Thumbs (Cold Summer’s Day)
10. Rock Me Gently
11. In My Arms
12. Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me
15. Moon and the Sky
16. Solsbury Hill
17. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)
2. Don’t Say You Love Me
3. Here I Go Impossible Again
4. All This Time Still Falling Out of Love
6. I Could Fall in Love with You
7. Sunday Girl
8. Storm in a Teacup
9. Sucker for Love
10. When I Start To (Break It All Down)
11. Be with You
12. Fill Us With Fire
14. Make It Wonderful
1. Fill Us With Fire
2. Save Me Darling
3. Fly Away
4. Here I Go Impossible Again
5. Witch in the Ditch
7. Siren Song
8. Mad As We Are
11. I Bet You’re Mad At Me
12. Golden Heart
13. A Long Goodbye
14. What Will I Say When You’re Gone?
15. Brother and Sister
16. Whole Lotta Love Run Riot
1. Sono Luminus
2. Because You’re So Sweet
3. Love Affair
7. Don’t Dance
8. How My Eyes Adore You
10. Blues Away
12. Piano Song
13. Tenderest Moments
14. Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime
15. Cry so Easy
16. You’ve Got to Save Me Right Now
17. Weight of the World
2. The Hardest Part
3. When I Needed You
4. She Won’t Be Home
5. Knocking On Your Door
6. Don’t Suppose
7. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
8. Over the Rainbow
9. Waiting for Sex (Full Length)
10. Tenderest Moments
11. March On Down the Line
12. Dreamlike State
13. The Soldier’s Return
14. Heart of Glass
15. Let It Flow
16. Runaround On the Underground
1. La La La
2. Truly, Madly, Deeply
3. Like Zsa Zsa Zsa Gabor
4. Sweet Sweet Baby
5. True Love Wars
7. Hi NRG
8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
9. In the Name of the Heart
10. Die 4 Love
12. First Contact
13. Love Is Colder Than Death
14. Don’t Say No
15. In the Hall of the Mountain King
16. No G.D.M
17. Take Me On a Highway
18. Tomorrow’s World
1. A Little Respect
2. Waiting for the Day
4. Blue Savannah
6. Love to Hate You
8. Ship of Fools
9. The Circus
11. Stay With Me
2. I Could Fall in Love With You
4. Blue Savannah
5. Oh L’Amour
7. Heavenly Action
8. Breath of Life
9. You Surround Me
10. If I Could
11. Rock Me Gently
1. Victim of Love – The Circus Tour 1987
2. Knocking On Your Door – The Erasure Show 2005
3. A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot – Tomorrow?s World Tour 2011
4. Joan – The Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour 1992
5. Witch in the Ditch – The Innocents Tour 1988
6. I Bet You?re Mad At Me – The Erasure Show 2005
7. Home – The Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour 1992
8. Spiralling – The Innocents Tour 1988
9. Sunday Girl – Light at the End of the World Tour 2007
10. Don?t Say Your Love Is Killing Me – An Evening With Erasure 1997
11. Breathe – The Erasure Show 2005
12. Sometimes – The Innocents Tour 1988
13. Tenderest Moments – The Acoustic Tour 2006
14. Ave Maria – The Erasure Show 2005
15. Soldiers Return – The Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour 1992
16. I Could Fall in Love With You – Light at the End of the World Tour 2007
17. A Little Respect – The Innocents 1988
1. Who Needs Love Like That?
4. Waiting for the Day
6. 2000 Miles
8. Am I Right?
9. Worlds On Fire
10. Run to the Sun
11. Breath of Life
13. Whole Lotta Love Run Riot
14. Moon and the Sky
16. Amo Odiarti
17. UK Vibe 3
1. A Little Respect 30 Years of Erasure
1. DVD – The Wild! Concert