Recently, electronica has re-birthed itself into mainstream music. Before Moby songs were persuading you to buy cars, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.) created seamless hits such as “Only You” and “Situation.” Yazoo’s success, however, was short-lived. Band members Vince Clarke (once a songwriter for Depeche Mode) and Alison Moyet, disbanded shortly after the release of their second album You and Me Both, in 1983. until this May it had been nearly 25 years since Moyet and Clarke played a show together. Here Moyet talks about why Yazoo just didn’t work out the first time around, her new solo album The Turn, and selling her arse at 47.
It’s been nearly 25 years since you released a Yaz Album with Vince Clarke. What made you want to come together with Clarke for a reunion tour?
For me a musical project is not completed until it includes live performance. When we worked together originally, it was fleeting and we only performed 24 shows together, and just three of those were in the U.S. It was not something fully realized and our second album You And Me Both never got an outing, wholly or in part at all, as we had disbanded before its release. I personally have toured as a solo act consistently since, but never felt able to include the songs from this period because the electronica was such an important element. I didn’t want to do some hideous Karaoke versions of them. Live work is my bag. Now is the time that fits for both of us logistically. This is less about a reunion or nostalgia and far more about completing a project.
Have you personally faced any challenges that a reunion tour might pose? If so, how have you dealt with these challenges?
Vincent and I had little relationship to speak of when we worked together in the 80s. The minute we met properly, we were working in the studio fourteen hours a day. We never so much as got a beer together. When we split up that was it. We neither saw each other nor phoned. What happened over the years, is that we both chilled out. Early on we were both shy, social cripples, and precious over our contributions. There was no warmth. Time has made us easier beasts. Now we talk and we laugh, and it’s very easy.
What was the inspiration behind your newest album The Turn?
I wanted to write an album that relied on melody and intelligent lyricism. My ears are weary from the embellishments that adorn the majority of popular song these days. I wanted to work outside popular trends. Is there a specific meaning behind the album’s title?
A Turn is a catch-all name given to variety performers in the north of England, mainly. It is unglamorous and reminds us that one is quickly followed by another, and is soon forgotten. I have no sense of immortality, and I dislike the smoke and mirrors that some acts use to cover up their extreme common mundaneity. A Turn is slightly tragic, and I feel slightly tragic selling my arse still at 47.
You’ve taken a couple lengthy breaks in your career. What did you focus on during those periods of time?
The breaks are shorter than they seem. I had a sticky couple of years after releasing Essex, with my then-label Sony. They felt i was committing commercial suicide and they were right. I didn’t want to make the records they knew would sell, and they wouldn’t believe I couldn’t be made to back down. I had another child instead. Finally, they let me into the studio to record Hometime and didn’t like the result. It was then another year to get them to let me go. During that period I played Mamma Morton in the West End production of Chicago, until I found a new label to release the album. Sanctuary put it out for me and it was fantastically received.