The Godfather of Electro-pop

Former Depeche Mode and Erasure member Vince Clarke reunites with bandmate Alison Moyet this summer for a Yaz reunion tour. The straight man to some pretty gay acts tells us why he stopped singing, what broke Yazoo up, and why the future of electro-pop music may be monkey brains

BY Job Brother

June 19 2008 11:00 PM ET

Is touring with Alison very different than with Andy? Well, the show’s a lot different. I think it’s more serious. I guess it reflects when Alison and I were younger –- we took ourselves more serious than myself and Andy do now.

You have a son, Oscar. How has being a parent impacted your career? Well, it limits the time I can do any actual work, y’know? Most of the programming I did for the Yaz tour was done between 5 and 7:30 [a.m.]. Then it would be “Daddy!” So, y’know, that’ll be the end of programming.

I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn that you’re married with child. Do you find that because of your popularity within gays, you have to frequently come out of the closet as straight? My Mum was surprised, actually. When I phoned her to tell her I’d just gotten married she didn’t believe me. It was a good half-hour conversation of “No, Mum, I really did just get married.”

As a lyricist, do you ever feel like your songs are compromised -- particularly in terms of romance -- by having either a woman or a gay man sing them? No. No. I don’t think it really matters that much. Hopefully it’s poetry. It’s more the feeling of a song, the emotion of a song. If you write about someone being heartbroken...we can all be heartbroken.

Unfortunately, heartbreak is universal. Yes.

In an early incarnation of the band that would become Depeche Mode, you sang vocals. Why did you stop singing? Well, if you heard the record you’d know exactly why. [Laughs]

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