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YAZOO (VINCE CLARKE) INTERVIEW [2008]

ARE YOU BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND WITH TALKING ABOUT YAZOO YET?

No. We've not really done that many interviews actually, and I can't remember very much about the Yazoo days anyway so the ones I do tend to be quite short anyway!

I SUPPOSE THE BIGGEST QUESTION OF ALL IS WHY REUNITE YAZOO? WHAT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES LED TO IT ALL HAPPENING?

What happened really was that after the last Erasure tour Andy said that he'd like to take some time off and there were managers and people discussing what we could do for the 25th anniversary of Yazoo... and it just all felt that the timing was right; I had the opportunity, Alison was very keen to perform these songs live, Andy was very supportive, and so we just decided to go ahead and do it.

HAS THE IDEA OF THE TWO OF YOU DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS TOGETHER BEEN TALKED ABOUT BEFORE?

Not really. I mean we had discussed working together, with Andy, but very vaguely but that was quite a long time ago, so not really...

SO ALISON AND YOURSELF HAVE BEEN IN TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER SINCE THE END OF YAZOO?

Well, kind of... probably about four or five times in twenty-five years! We saw each other at my best friend's wedding and on her acoustic tour in New York but we hadn't actually sat down and had a chat for about fifteen years.

WAS IT ODD WHEN YOU DID SIT DOWN AND TALK AGAIN? DID YOU MEET TO TALK ABOUT THE IDEA OF THE TOUR OR WAS THAT DECIDED FIRST?

We agreed it first and then the first time we met was last week when I was in the UK and we met to do an interview together!

REALLY? THAT SEEMS TO BE A REALLY WEIRD SORT OF REUNION!

It was! It was a bit nerve-wracking actually but in the end everything worked out fine and we had a good chat and everything.

WHY DID YAZOO SPLIT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Well... I guess the main reason was that we just didn't communicate with each other properly, we were working together for eighteen months and in that time that's all we were doing, we never went out socially, we never went out for a drink. There was no bad history but I just don't think there was a proper foundation for the band and so when problems arose about the music or about whatever it might be, whatever issues, we didn't know each other well enough to sort them out and we'd end up getting a bit paranoid. That was really what triggered the end of the band, we were both really young and it was just a case of... not a communication breakdown because there was just no communication at all!

WAS THERE ANY ANIMOSITY OR DID IT JUST KIND OF DRIFT APART?

No, not animosity... I think it was a lack of understanding of each other's feelings. I think we were both frustrated and everything... everything happened really, really quickly for us and we didn't have any foundation to build on, to turn to, to address any problems we might have...

IT'S SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU HEAR ABOUT MARRIAGE BREAK-UPS ISN'T IT? SO OFTEN A LACK OF COMMUNICATION IS BLAMED...

Yeah, it was like being married but without actually having the engagement period, and not really having that time to get know each other and how to make things work.

KIND OF LIKE AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE...

Yeah! That's exactly it.

DID YOU HAVE A VISION FOR WHAT YOU WANTED YAZOO TO BE BACK THEN?

No, not at all. All I had was a song. I knew Alison could sing really well and I just 'phoned her up and asked her to come and demo the song and that was really as far as it was going to go. The record company decided to put out the single and that did quite well and then they decided to finance an album and it just went on from there.

ON YOUR WEBSITE THERE'S A LITTLE VIDEO CLIP FROM THE BOXSET INTERVIEWS OF YOU TALKING ABOUT THAT TIME, AND YOU SAY THAT IF 'ONLY YOU' HADN'T BEEN A HIT YOU'D PROBABLY HAVE GONE OFF AND GOT A REAL JOB... WOULD YOU HAVE STILL MADE MUSIC?

I would have still done music for sure, music is in my blood... but when I played the 'Only You' demos to the record company they didn't really seem that keen, and at that point I thought 'oh well that's it then, I'll go back to Basildon and join a local band or something and see how that goes and maybe try again'... but fortunately the publisher showed interest in the songs and it all took off from there.

IT MUST HAVE BEEN A VERY FAST PROCESS GETTING AN ALBUM WRITTEN, RECORDED AND RELEASED ON THE BACK OF THAT SINGLE SUCCESS?

It was very fast yeah, not that we were rushed it, but it was more that there was no self-indulgence, no space for messing around with it all.

AND OF COURSE YOU HAVE THE RECONNECTED TOUR COMING UP, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT?

I am actually, well I am now... I was a little bit apprehensive at the beginning and I wasn't sure that anyone would want to buy tickets, I mean it's not like we have a real fan base any more. But there seems to be a lot of support and so I am looking forward to it. I'm excited about playing a lot of it live because a lot of the second album we have never played live before.

IS THE TOUR THE CHANCE TO PROVE SOMETHING TO YOURSELF OR IS IT MORE OF AN ENJOYMENT THING? DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR AGENDA?

For me it's very much an enjoyment thing but it's a bit different for Alison, I know that for her it's unfinished business and she really wants to go out and sing those songs live.

HASN'T SHE PERFORMED AT LEAST SOME OF THEM IN HER OWN LIVE SHOWS?

Apparently she has done 'Only You' now and again, and 'Don't Go', but she was saying last week that she hasn't wanted to just do 'karaoke versions' of the songs.

I'VE HEARD THAT THERE'S UNRELEASED YAZOO SONGS IN THE ARCHIVE SOMEWHERE, IS THERE A CHANCE THAT YOU'LL BRING ANY OF THEM INTO THE LIVE SET?

No... I'm not aware of them actually, but Alison said that there was one song that we wrote together that never saw the light of day. I don't think we'll play anything like that, no. Alison and I have discussed the idea of maybe doing some writing on the tour but that's as far as it goes.

I KNOW THAT ANDY BELL IS A HUGE FAN OF ALISON MOYET AND HAS SAID THAT HE'D LIKE TO WORK WITH HER SO IS THERE ANY CHANCE HE MIGHT BE INVOLVED IN THE TOUR?

I think... well I hope, that there's a good chance of myself, Andy and Alison working on new music together. But Andy has been involved already because he has done one of the new remixes of 'Nobody's Diary'...

I'VE HEARD IT AND IT'S MY FAVOURITE REMIX OF THE LOT I THINK...

Yeah I like it too; I think it's really good. So there might be something that we all work on together but it won't be the tour.

IS THE CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING DEPENDENT ON THE SUCCESS OF THE TOUR? THE STATE OF THE RELATIONSHIPS AFTERWARDS AND THAT SORT OF THING?

No. No, I think that it's something that will happen. it's something that myself and Andy have discussed for a long, long time, it's just finding the right thing to do together that's the thing, but I'm sure that Alison will be up for it too.

SO IS THAT SOMETHING NEW, A PROJECT OUTSIDE ERASURE, OUTSIDE YAZOO, OUTSIDE ALISON'S SOLO WORK?

I guess so, yes.

THERE'S A YAZOO BOX-SET COMING OUT SOON TOO... IS THAT SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN PUT TOGETHER BECAUSE OF THE REUNION OR WAS IT COMING OUT ANYWAY?

No, the box-set was going to come out anyway and then the tour thing came out afterwards but obviously we've sort of linked the two.

HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE BOX-SET AT ALL?

Not really... they wanted to include the recording of a concert from the last tour and I didn't want that on the record, so they have consulted us on it and some of their ideas weren't approved but that's about as far as our involvement goes.

IT MUST BE NICE TO HAVE IT ALL MIXED INTO THE 5.1 VERSION AND BACK ON THE MARKET 'PROPERLY' AGAIN?

I guess so, but to be honest I'm not a big fan of box-sets... I think it's a bit too much like looking back and I still feel that I've got some good songs in me still to write so I'd rather look forward!

ALTHOUGH LOOKING BACK AT THE THINGS YOU'VE DONE, IT'S A GREAT CAREER ISN'T IT? THE EARLY DEPECHE MODE STUFF, THEN YAZOO, THEN ERASURE...

Well I mean... I don't know... I feel very... it's a really corny word to use but 'lucky', lucky to have been in the right place at the right time, working with a great record company and just working with some really good people. God, that sounds so corny!

APRIL 2008

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