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



Any plans for a Yaz album of new material? Myself and Alison have discussed the idea. We’ll start off by sitting down and writing some songs on this tour, but we have no real plans to record at the moment.

At certain points in your career you’ve returned to older electronic equipment rather than seeking out the latest advancement. Do you feel like electronic music has already had a golden age? No, no, not at all. I think it’s wide open. In the stuff I write now I try to incorporate the old and the new. And also what’s great is that it’s relatively cheap now. It’s not like the old days where you buy a big ol’ Moog system, which costs a fortune. And there’s people making new sounds all the time. I can’t even imagine what’s going to be happening in the next 10 years.

I was talking to a software company in Berlin a couple days ago, and they asked me what would I like. I said, "What I’d like, really, is to not have to use a mouse -- rather, just think my ideas onto the screen without having to punch things into the computer." That’d be very cool.

The same day, interestingly enough, there was a CNN report about a scientist in Pittsburgh who’s implanted a circuit into a monkey’s brain –- and using only his brain, the monkey could pick out food. It’s for people who’ve had strokes, if they’ve lost use of their arms or legs or something. So I'm thinking, Well, that could be applied to synthesizers as well, so if I want a harsh, dark sound I could just frown and, on the screen, it would be there. That would be very cool.

I can’t believe that Vince Clarke has told me the future of electronic music is monkey brains. I haven’t been drinking, I promise.

Tags: Music