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A chat with Erasure’s Andy Bell

by on October 27, 2014


Dance music is a fickle thing, arguably the genre where it’s hardest to have any kind of staying power as an artist thanks to the ever-shifting sands of stylistic trends and technological advances.

That makes the success of long-running duo Erasure all the more remarkable. For nearly 30 years, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have crafted songs capable of filling danceclub floors and landing on the pop charts at the same time. They’ve sold more than 25 million albums, created some 40 hit singles, and consistently thrilled audiences filling venues large and small with their visual flair and ability to deliver live.

That seems especially true in Utah, where Erasure has long been a remarkably popular attraction. At the old ParkWest mountainside concert venue (now The Canyons), they set the record for the largest-ever crowd to pack the hillside, more than 20,000 people. The Utah LGBT community naturally is part of the fanbase of the out-and-proud duo, but clearly a lot of folks whose religious or political beliefs don’t naturally jibe with Erasure’s find the synth-pop created by Bell and Clarke irresistible as well.

Bell has a pretty good rationale for Erasure’s popularity in the Beehive State, where they will perform once again on Wednesday at the Capitol Theatre.

“It’s always a lovely surprise to play there,” Bell says. “I think the Utah people are a state of great singers, and this comes out of their spirituality. And spirituality transcends all political persuasions, hopefully.”

Of course, Erasure finds rabid fans everywhere, and of all stripes. Bell considers Erasure fans a mix of “synth enthusiasts, Vince fans, girls who love the music, and gays, lots of straight people, and bears, and a few closets. All [fans] primarily for the music and performance. Prejudices and worries are left at the door.”

Considering the fervent fanbase, Bell mentions vivid memories of “people singing all night long outside the hotel room in Buenos Aires.” Thankfully, there’s never been a particularly scary fan interaction for Bell, “apart from some really pushy fans who tend not to respect your boundaries.”

Most recently, Erasure released their 16th studio album, The Violet Flame, and it’s full of the optimism and insistent hooks that have marked all the duo’s releases to date. Bell says the writing and recording of the new set “was very laid back and easier compared to usual, I think because Vince and I had very clear minds” going into the process. As for their ability to keep sounding of-the-moment so many years after they first joined forces, Bell says “it’s probably because we live for the moment, and don’t particularly follow current trends.

“Sometimes we are lucky in that our music seems to hit a nerve and sounds current and fresh.”

ERASURE, CAPITOL THEATRE, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m., $29.50-$85

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