Interview: Vince Clarke
Everyone reading this will know the name Vince Clarke, be it through his Depeche days, Yazoo years, The Assembly age or the ever ongoing Erasure era.
He is almost entirely responsible for a web of genres, still very much alive and well in 2011. Erasure havesold over 25 million records, and continue to be a household name 26 years after their formation.For the latest album, Clarke was working out of a synth paradise in Maine, New England and alongside Frankmusik in LA. Future Music spoke to Vince about changes in studio technology and the Erasure live show.
We love your Analogue Monologues at vinceclarkemusic.com. Was there ever a time you thought of taking all your kit on the road?
"Well, we used to but it was a nightmare. About six or seven years ago, I decided I would digitise the multi-tracks and record them into Logic to use live. We recorded individual tracks and I'd make my own stems from Logic."
Is that what you're using today?
"Yeah, Logic is running everything in real-time, all at the right tempos. For some stuff I've re-recorded the parts, just because I didn't really like the original and there was timing discrepancies because it was the early days of sequencing. So I've corrected all that too. For Yazoo, because it was so early, I cut up every single sixteenth of a bar, of every sound, of every track and moved it back into time."
Do you use Logic in the studio too?
"Yeah I use it in the studio – we're making a new album at the moment and we demo everything in soft synths and then I convert all of the sounds to analogue with my synths."
So what's on the record will be 100% analogue?
"Well 50%. I'm working with Frankmusik at the moment, he's a digital guy. Most of the drums are his samples and whether they're digital or analogue I've no idea, but they sound great. I'm more interested in the music. I was using soft synths for a long time and was thinking they sounded pretty good but now that I've got my studio and can do an A-B comparison, it's an incredible difference."
Which soft synths are you into?
"I like all the soft synths that emulate old stuff, the Moogs, modular synths, [u-he] ACE is great but it's still not as good. It's the classic argument with CDs versus vinyl and I have a very good record player and if I listen to Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl and listen to it on CD, the vinyl is another level. It's the same with analogue versus digital. Having said that, digital is so useful for writing and remixing. It's immediate and it stays in tune. I use some of the Logic synths too, the ones that come built in. But at the end, for the fi nal recording, I'll use my analogue synths and it's the same on the new album."
How did you end up working with Frankmusik on
the new record?
"Well we were talking to a lot of people really, but he was just really enthusiastic and is a bit of a fan. We got on quite well, and I'm a fan of his work too. He's so fast. It's really nice to work with someone who's young and that enthusiastic. Those are the best types of producers to work with – not the people that know everything, but the people that really love it. That's an inspiration for me."