Vince Clarke is an electronic music pioneer whose analog synths, samples and chilly beats have accounted for some of the most memorable chart-topping hits and toe-tapping dance grooves of the last three decades. He is a founding member of Depeche Mode and writer of many of their most seminal and beloved tracks, including “New Life,” “Dreaming Of Me,” and “Photographic” from the group’s debut “Speak And Spell” album, as well as the classic single “Just Can’t Get Enough,” cited by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the100 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time. The track returned once again to the UK singles chart in April 2009 via a Comic Relief benefit cover by UK girl group The Saturdays.
Following his departure from Depeche in 1981, Clarke demoed a new song “Only You,” with a hometown acquaintance, then unknown Basildon blues and punk vocalist, Alison Moyet. The massive success of the track inspired the pair to record an entire album as Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.), one of the first, and still most influential, male/female pairings in synth pop. Their two classic albums, “Upstairs At Eric’s” and “You And Me Both” not only set the standard for innovation in songwriting, composition and production in their own time, but pointed the way to the future for all the artists who followed in their wake. The 12” mix of “Situation” remains a benchmark in the history of dance music and virtually began the long love affair between alternative music and club culture.
After the short-lived partnership with Moyet dissolved in 1983, Clarke continued writing and recording, entering evermore productive collaborations. First with Yazoo producer Eric Radcliffe and singer Feargal Sharkey as The Assembly in 1984, then in 1985, he embarked on most successful and enduring partnership of all, Erasure.
With singer and co-songwriter Andy Bell, Erasure have sold more than 25 million records and charted some of the most beloved songs of the past twenty years, from “Sometimes” and “Oh L’ Amour” to “A Little Respect, “Chains of Love” and “Always” among dozens of others, all recently collected in the career-spanning box set “Total Pop.” The group’s musical and cultural influence continues to this day through their latest albums and the careers of the next wave of electronic musicians, from Hot Chip, La Roux and Ladyhawke to LCD Soundsystem, Fischerspooner and The Faint.
Clarke’s obsession with melody, song structure and constant mission to bring warmth and heart to digital technology have rightly earned him acclaim as the Godfather of Synth Pop. Nevertheless, he has often strayed into more experimental territory, on Erasure’s self-titled 1995 album, and most recently in collaborations with Human League and Heaven 17 co-founder Martyn Ware. The pair have recorded two cds of ambient music created using a proprietary 3-D digital technology specifically designed for large spaces.
With the launch of The Cabin, his new studio in Maine, Clarke has created a home for his world-class collection of vintage synths as well one of the few places where the most complete range of analog and digital instruments, equipment and recording technologies can interface to create for others the kind of soundscapes that have made him a pop superstar and a respected sonic architect the world over. Recent remixes for such pop, rock and indie superstars as Franz Ferdinand, The Presets and The Saturdays are proof of his enduring influence across all genres and vision as a songwriter, musician and performer.
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