How We Met: Alison Moyet & Vince Clarke

'Suddenly we were in a really successful band but we hadn't even ever gone for a pint'

Alison Moyet, 46, was one half of the 1980s pop duo Yazoo, alongside Vince Clarke. Her subsequent solo career included the top-10 hits "All Cried Out" and "Love Resurrection". She has just reunited with Clarke for a comeback tour. She lives in Basildon, Essex, with her husband and their three children

Everyone thinks it was a Melody Maker advert that brought Vince and I together, but I'd known him since I was 11. We both went to the same Saturday music school. I never spoke to him but remember him because he and his two brothers all had white-blond hair. They looked like a family of ducks.

Basildon back then was a new town and had no culture, so just about everyone was in a band and it was just a matter of time before we did meet. When I did place that ad in Melody Maker – I was looking for a band to sing with – he called me at my parents' house and asked if I'd sing on a demo he'd just written.

About a week later he said his record label wanted us to make it into a single. So we released "Only You". It did really well. Then we released another and that did really well too. And an album. The whole thing all happened within about three months. We never spoke about anything other than recording – nothing. Suddenly we were in a really successful band but we hadn't even ever gone for a pint together. It was really weird – almost like an arranged marriage.

I like to be affectionate but I couldn't make him warm to me. It was frustrating because I knew that he would like me if only he was open to it. He was, I think, sad at the time after leaving Depeche [Mode, Clarke's former band] and remote, a bit angry, but it was all internalised. Whereas I was this disaffected, slightly aggressive ex-punk rocker where nothing was internalised. I was probably quite difficult to be around. He didn't speak until he said, "I don't want to do this any more."

There was an initial feeling of rejection – and I was slightly comforted that his first project after me [Erasure, with Andy Bell] didn't immediately go quite so well as my first project after him. I was jealous, though, when I heard how well they got on. Then I met Andy and he turned out to be a really lovely bloke and any feelings of resentment dissipated. As the years pass, you start to think, "How fantastic that I knew him for that time" and "How brilliant was that record?"

Eventually, last year, I decided to email him about reforming for a tour and we met for the first time in 16 years just a couple of months ago for a photoshoot. We were going to meet for a drink before but, not being one for small talk, I thought "Let's just dive in," so our first meeting was a difficult situation. But the irony was, we really wanted to talk to each other. The conversation flowed and it was like, "Wow, after all this, we actually have so much in common."

Vince Clarke, 47, was a founding member of Depeche Mode, before having chart success with Yazoo and, to the present day, with Erasure. He lives in Maine, in America, with his wife and son

Before I first met Alison, 26 years ago, my best friend Robert was in her punk band. I'd seen her perform with them and with an R&B band in local venues. She had a huge voice, and made an impact.

When I left Depeche I wasn't sure I'd still have a record deal and was keen to play the label something of my own, so I wrote the song "Only You" but needed someone to demo it with. Alison happened to be advertising in a local paper so I called her. She sang the song beautifully and made it sound exactly as I'd had it in my head.

It all happened very fast and because we hadn't been in a band for years, playing in clubs, it was very much just a working relationship – we never had the chance to bond. We never really knew each other. Not really. We weren't mates or anything.

There was tension, yes. I think I was definitely intimidated by Alison. She had a big personality and she was quite vocal, whereas I'm more of a sulker. The fact that we never talked, never socialised together, meant that when problems came up we didn't know how to communicate and sort things out. It seems strange but we really were just working all the time. I loved being in the studio so much that the thought of leaving to go out for a drink seemed like wasting time. I got quite good at using synthesisers, but I was crap at talking. Also, we were only about 21. It led to paranoia.

What I've since learned from Andy [Bell] is that music is important, but it's not everything. Andy's very chilled, not uptight. Not that I'm saying... well, both me and Alison were both very uptight when we were together.

Her email came out of the blue: she asked me if I was interested in working together again. It was a really nice email. She said some really kind things. Next thing I know, I'm doing a Yazoo tour.

When we first met up again I was a little nervous. Then we started talking immediately about the people we both knew from our home town and past, and it just felt really comfortable straight away. We may even be a little bit more mature. We might even spend some social time together this time. I hope so.

Yazoo are on a UK tour until 19 June. For tickets, visit or

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all