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+LIFE LOCALISH GET ACCESS

GET ACCESS: ERASURE’S ANDREW BELL

Video Transcript of Karl Schmid’s GET ACCESS interview with Erasure’s Andrew Bell:

KARL SCHMID

Welcome to +life. The show that’s all about inspiring you, to live your best life. Today, Erasure’s Andrew Bell, talks to us about living with HIV and the band’s first new album in two years.

KARL SCHMID

These pop icons have just released their 19th album, “The Neon.” You of course know them from their hits, “Chains of Love,” “Oh L’amour,” and “A Little Respect. ” I’m talking about Erasure, and recently, I sat down with Andrew Bell about making music, living life and overcoming some challenges. Congratulations, a brand new Erasure album out, I’ve heard it, it is all the right elements of what you wanna hear when you’re a huge Erasure fan, but it feels fresh and new.

ANDREW BELL

I think it’s gonna be a really good album. Vince and I met up at his studio in Brooklyn where he lives, and we started writing maybe in June, July last year. The track just kind of came out, it was like all your favorites, ’80s kind of original artists like The Pretender’s, B-52’s, and especially for me Eurythmics.

KARL SCHMID

Talk to me about your influences with Abba. Because, listening to some of your earlier tracks back in the day, and I think sort of, of “Oh l’amour” you definitely hear your Abba, undertones through that.

ANDREW BELL

I feel a bit responsible, ’cause I think, ’cause I feel like I made Vince to commercial in the beginning. Because we were just coming out, especially on the gay scene in London that had these kind of dance tracks and it was all this like ♪ Di di di di di di di ♪ rhythm. And also I was an unashamed Abba fan.

KARL SCHMID

By the way, Andy, any self-respecting homosexual man, is an unashamed Abba fan. Don’t you talk that one down.

ANDREW BELL

I mean, I’d love them, in school with my best friend, and we couldn’t wait till like, when every new album came out, we went and bought it and learned the words off by heart.

KARL SCHMID

I did read a quote of yours that you’d said, “You can’t just do ‘Chains of Love’ and the same songs over and over again.” How do you shake it up?

ANDREW BELL

It’s true, I mean, try and shake things up, and then that can also trip you up. Because, and your way of songwriting becomes stale, but you kind of have to go through that, to be able to come out the other side of you. You have to have your black periods or your blue periods.

KARL SCHMID

So when you talk about sort of your black period and your blue period, and in fact that DIY you have, it’s the whole package that you’ve got to manage, wow! What happens when you get that HIV diagnosis? How does that affect that whole world of yours?

ANDREW BELL

I think what happened was, I really retracted into my shell and stayed a home, wouldn’t go anywhere. And I knew, I had this kind of instinctive feeling that something wasn’t right with my body. But at the same time I was in denial about it, I still had this fear inside me. So it took me until I think 2004, to disclose my status.

KARL SCHMID

Was there any part of you that, as you said, you had to hold it in for work reasons, but, you might have had friends or lovers or people around you who weren’t okay, and weren’t reacting. Was there any part of you, was there, I don’t know whether guilt is the right word or some sort of internalized thing of why me and not them?

ANDREW BELL

At that time I think my behavior was quite self destructive. My lover was from California, and he had HIV just probably maybe one year after we’d started seeing each other. So, that in itself was very hard for me. I was like a 20 year old trying to process all this, information and feelings.

KARL SCHMID

How do you think the HIV stigma, how do you perceive the HIV stigma has changed, from your being first diagnosed to where we are in this day.

ANDREW BELL

I’m very glad that it’s, you do see it discussed in forums on the TV, online, and if it doesn’t seem to be kind of such a taboo word, even to come out of someone’s mouth now, but it used to be.

KARL SCHMID

Do you think that was part of your messaging with that song of yours of Erasure’s back in the day, “Have A Little Respect For Me?”

ANDREW BELL

I just feel like, your life is your life. And sometimes you make bad choices, sometimes you make good choices. I think, when we have freedom, we have the freedom to tell the truth. And to me it’s about just being truthful and being as kind as you can be to your friends and people. I’m not a saint, nobody is a saint, but just having respect for people. I know it’s sounds that sounds corny, but it’s that easy, not rejecting people because of your faith and whatever. It’s just accepting of everybody and helping anyone in need, not turning people away.

KARL SCHMID

You have helped raise a huge amount of money for HIV research and organizations around the world. Tell me a bit more about that. What are some of the things you’re really proud of, that you and the band of being part of, as far as bringing awareness to this course.

ANDREW BELL

That was really proud. I was being in the first band to say yes to the “Red Hot And Blue” Cole Porter album, which was to raise money for AIDS. I feel very proud of being a patron for HMI, Harvey Milk Institute, for working for equality for marriage in California. Really wherever we were invited to, if we could go, we would go – we would be there.

KARL SCHMID

Andrew Bell is one of our biggest advocates, in HIV and AIDS research. We all appreciate him, his commitment and support. And for all you fans out there, mark your calendars, cause you can catch Andrew Bell and Erasure on their next American tour, which is scheduled for the spring of 2021.

Top photo of Erasure performing courtesy of Andrew Hurley under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

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