How does your solo album differ from your work with Erasure?
"Erm... I think a lot of people wouldn't notice that much difference. Synths plus my voice equals Erasure, you know? I did try to make my voice more affected though and I think this album shows who I am more. I've always regarded Vince as my mentor, so when I'm writing Erasure lyrics, I always show them to him. If there's something he doesn't like, he'll cross it out. For this record, I found it easier attaching words to the rhythms of the songs and that's why it's more personal."
Did you ask Vince for feedback while you were making this album?
"I didn't play him anything until right at the end, but on a couple of low points I did email him saying, 'I'm f**ked off with this'. He replied saying, 'Don't worry about it, just carry on and always remember you're a true artist'. That really helped to pick me up again."
There's a song on the album called 'DHDQ' - 'Debbie Harry Drag Queen'. What made you want to write a song about her?
"The song wasn't written specifically about her in the first place, but the melody on the verse came out sounding really Blondie-esque, and 'Debbie Harry Drag Queen' just came into my head - I couldn't think of anything else! I really, really love her. I wouldn't say I know her well, but I did the True Colours tour with her a few years ago. Any chance I got I'd be in her dressing room - I was like the naughty schoolboy sitting on the steps outside!"
Another song, 'Touch', finds you rallying against reality TV shows. What do you have against them exactly?
"Well, the line 'I hate all these people and I don't know where they've all come from' just came out straight away. Whenever you watch Big Brother and those sorts of shows, it's just loads and loads of people talking and it's all just nonsense. I've been asked to go in the Big Brother house and into the jungle - which I don't mind, it's flattering really - but it's not for me at all. As soon as I got hungry or a little bit tired, I wouldn't be very nice!"
Are there any reality shows you do like?
"I quite like Come Dine With Me, but they always pick the most bitchy, horrible queens who are completely into one-upmanship and cattiness for the sake of it. I just think, 'We're not all like that'. They've asked me to do Celebrity Come Dine With Me actually, and I've got nothing against it, but I had to turn it down. It would just be too intense and stressful."
When will you start work on the next Erasure album?
"We've started working on it already. We've got loads and loads of ideas and I'm heading into the studio with Vince for a couple of weeks around July 5. It's going to be a proper Erasure electro record. I'm really interested to see how this record comes out, but I think something really amazing's going to happen. I've just got this feeling about it."
You and Vince have been working together for 25 years now. What's your secret?
"It's just flown by! Vince had been waiting for his ideal songwriting partner, and I was a huge Yazoo fan, so I couldn't believe my luck right from the start. I thought Vince was the coolest person I could be working with - and our working relationship and friendship has just continued to develop. Last time I counted we'd done about 200 songs and over 750 shows, so we must be doing something right."
What do you think of the current crop of electropop artists - La Roux for example?
"She reviewed my single in the NME, and I shouldn't hold it against her, but she did call me "mutton dressed as lamb". I thought that was a really horrible thing to say, though it's probably the sort of thing I would have said when I was her age. I remember one time me and Vince said we didn't like Diana Ross, and the next week she came to see us in the dressing room at Top Of The Pops and gave us a telling off! That really taught me my lesson."
Why do you think Elly Jackson might have a problem with you?
"Well, I was DJing at a gay party in Palm Springs and she was playing there. I didn't get a chance to say hello because she was already performing when I came along... and then she was gone. When she was performing, all the guys were just lounging around the pool not really watching her and I think she kind of put that down to me. It's a shame really because I do like her music."
And what do you think of Lady GaGa?
"I think she's fantastic - I really love her! She performed at the Palm Springs party too and she was amazing. She'd promised the guys the year before that she'd perform there, and she stuck by what she said, which I thought was really admirable. I met her and she was really demure and charming. Her tour manager had come to see Erasure live a few times so he was trying to explain to her what we were like!"
Finally, what do you think of the new Kylie single?
"I heard the remix in a club and I thought it was fantastic. Then when I heard the single version on her website, I thought she should have gone with the remix instead. I do really like the song though and I'm glad she's back."
Non-Stop by Andy Bell is out now.