AS co-founder of the electronic pop pioneers, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Andy McCluskey has had his fair share of highs and lows. At their peak, OMD were one of the biggest bands of the 1980s. They sold 25 million singles and 15 million albums, flicking the switch on Britain’s love affair with the synthesiser.

But then in 1983 they released their experimental album Dazzle Ships which lost them three million fans and was widely considered at the time to be commercial suicide.

Despite disbanding in 1996, they have come back stronger than ever in 2006, going on to score a top four album with 2017’s The Punishment of Luxury.

Today the duo are back on the road and are heading to Bournemouth next week for their 40th anniversary tour. The show is part of a year of performances and releases which have also seen keys player Paul Humphreys and singer-guitarist Andy McCluskey release a lavish box set, Souvenir and a career-spanning greatest hits collection of the same name, which includes all the singles from 1979’s Electricity to 2017’s What Have We Done, as well as a new single, Don’t Go.

By anyone’s standards, they’ve had an impressive run.

“It’s quite remarkable because we never intended to make a career out of music,” Andy tells me. “It has really been a 40 year rolling accident. I think maybe that’s been part of the charm of it all – it started as a bit of dare to do a gig in October 1978 and here we are now.”

He adds that they never take anything for granted. “We enjoy what we do and we are in a fortunate position because we don’t have to make new records or go on tour if we don’t want to –quite frankly we are blessed.”

Formed in 1978 on the Wirral, by Andy and Paul when they were just teenagers, they became a regular presence in the charts, hitting their highest points with the top three hits Souvenir and Sailing on the Seven Seas; Joan of Arc and Maid of Orleans.

“We didn’t see ourselves as just a band but as an art project. We have always been true to our roots. When we reformed I had hoped that I might perform with more dignity but that doesn’t seem to have happened – I still dance like a dad in a trance but I love the buzz of seeing the audience enjoying themselves.

“We are having lots of fun. We’ve had the chance to perform with four orchestras and on film soundtracks, and also fill the Albert Hall playing the weirdest album (Dazzle Ships)we’ve ever made that killed us commercially when it was first released.

“And completely out of the blue we have been asked to create some multimedia art installations for some modern art gallery in New York which is very exciting.”

Andy adds: “It’s a very different world now to the one we first started out in – everything runs on a very tight budget now. Most of the labels make money out of back catalogue and Spotify streams but the artists get peanuts.

“The dilemma I have is that my son has a band and they will be supporting us on the tour. I’m very glad I started when I did. Nobody could just fall into a 40 year career now – there were so many open doors then which are mostly closed now.”

But Andy said he was looking forward to touring with his son and playing at the Pavilion.

“We always play the hits. I never understand bands that refuse to play the songs that they are bored of – have some respect– those songs have treated you well and it is also important to treat the audience well by playing them respectfully.

“But as well as all the hits, there is going to be a couple of interesting left turns that people might not expect to hear so we will spice it up a bit too.”

n The OMD 40th anniversary tour plays at Bournemouth Pavilion on Tuesday, November 19.