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Gay Times June 10 - Issue 381

Andy Bell

Bob Henderson went round to Andy's gaff for a chat. Lovely garden, nice sofas and good coffee. Well done Mr Bell.

“People say to you ‘Oi! ‘ere, aren’t you that guy out of the 80s?’ and you’re like, what? Eh?”
But y’are, Andy Bell, y’are! You were one half of 80s synth pop duo Erasure. What people don’t realise is that actually, he still is. Along with Vince Clarke he’s been recording, writing and chain smoking in a small flat in New York. It’s quite a schlep from their early days, having essentially founded the whole electropop Shoreditch sound according to Andy (they’ve recorded at The Strongroom, a coffee shop in the heart of Hoxton). “We recorded there for about 20 years so it’s really funny to see this place turn into the electro-central of London. You sort of feel that part of it is to do with you, or part of your roots.”
After 21 years of non-stop Erasuring, he’s taken a pop at the solo thing, and is about to release his second lonesome musical venture. There is a distinct danger in going solo – just look at fellow “gay out of the 80s” pop band singer gone-it-alone artiste Marc Almond, who is still wanking out woefully bleak solo records. Not so at the Bell end of things. “I’ve done all the maudlin stuff in Erasure. We’ve gone up and down and had troughs and peaks, so doing the solo album I just wanted to have a party, let my hair down. I’m probably making out like Erasure is so serious, but I love Vince.”
The result is electroclashtastic, with a punkier sound than you’d expect from a one man Erasure. Though back in the day, his punk efforts were a bit of a failure. “When I was 15 and the punk thing happened, I was quite scared of it because it was quite aggressive. I tried to get a safety pin through my lip but I wasn’t tough enough. I was a soft punk really.”

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