NEW YORK (Billboard) - Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke have seen so little of each other since electro duo Yazoo went its separate ways in 1983 that Moyet reckons they caught up recently for the first time in 16 years.
Now, however, the pair — who enjoyed a string of top five U.K. hits with “Only You,” “Don’t Go” and “Nobody’s Diary” — will be seeing plenty of each other. Yazoo (or Yaz as it is known in the United States) began its Reconnected tour May 26 in Copenhagen, and dates extend across Europe and the United States through late July.
“In Your Room” (Mute), a four-disc collection of remasters, remixes, B-sides, a DVD and the band’s two albums “Upstairs at Eric’s” and “You and Me Both,” is out now in the United Kingdom and Europe. Moyet’s latest solo disc “The Turn,” issued in the U.K. last year on the Universal-backed W14 label, comes out in North America on July 8 via Decca.
1. IT’S BEEN A QUARTER-CENTURY SINCE YAZOO LAST PLAYED TOGETHER. WHY REUNITE NOW?
I would have done it a million times over in the last 10 years. It was unfinished business. Performing is like the pleasure point of the three areas we work in — writing, recording and then doing it live. We only did about 24 gigs for the first album, but never did any for the second. And these songs are a big part of my catalogue. It fell at a time when (Clarke’s) Erasure were having a break, and it was just serendipity.
Before I put out my last album I was thinking, “I really want to sing these songs live.” I e-mailed him, and he said as much as he liked the idea, he was in a committed musical relationship. You can’t go back and shag the ex-wife for old time’s sake. It’s a bit like that, as much as we were never biblical, obviously. Then I got an e-mail from (Mute Records founder) Daniel Miller saying Vince had been in touch with him and had had a change of heart and did I still fancy doing a Yazoo gig?
I’m sure the powers that be will be considering that. If there’s one thing I can be sure about, this could be the only outing. There’s no long-term career plan. It’s not about milking it. It’s just about what’s happening now. Next month it could be all over again.
No. I was with W14 just for the one album. The last four albums I’ve made, I’ve just licensed them to record companies. I never wanted to get into that thing where they have you and you don’t have them. After my experience with Sony, although I had many great years with them, (there) comes a stage where they have less faith in you and they don’t release you. It’s a hideous place to be. I don’t get upset with people when they want to move on. I do get upset when they want to move on and won’t let you move on.
5. DOES AN ARTIST NEED TO BE MORE BUSINESS-SAVVY TODAY?
Yeah, you do. You just have to realize you’re getting into a marriage with no possibility for divorce from your position. When I started out, I was 20 and signed all sorts of things — I didn’t know what they were and they caused me all sorts of problems later in life. Now I do deals where I say, “You’re going to pay to make this record but it’s only a license.” On the last couple of deals, I’d always put a clause in saying if Yazoo were ever to have a chance of going, I’d always have to be free for that.
6. BRITISH WOMEN ARE ON A HOT STREAK IN THE UNITED STATES. ARE THERE ANY THAT YOU CURRENTLY RATE?
Of them all, Amy Winehouse is the truest all-round talent. She’s a flawed talent, but that’s what makes her interesting. Singers are far more interesting when they get older. I preferred Madonna’s “Ray of Light” (to) any of her earlier stuff.