InSoc Interview: '97 - source unknown.

Interviewer: You said that you never really fit with that label. What made you decide to sign with them in the first place?

Kurt: We didn't know what we were doing. No one else knew about us or was interested. This was 1985, remember, and if you weren't Duran Duran or Motley Crue, no one knew what to do with you. We were just astounded that anyone was even talking to us.

Interviewer: Were there other labels interested in InSoc at that time?

Kurt: See above.

Music gear.

Interviewer: Are you happy with the current crop of electronic music-making equipment?

Kurt: I've completely dropped out of the loop. I have no IDEA what's out there anymore except for computer software like Logic Audio or Sound Forge. I'm a beta tester for Sonic Foundry.

Interviewer: What do you see as the coolest innovation since the time you started doing music?

Kurt: Digital recording. It is having a profound impact on the record industry which is very good for artists: You can make a professional sounding record BEFORE you have label backing. That kind of empowerment is what computers are all about.

Interviewer: What specific pieces of gear have you found to be the most useful over the years?

Kurt: My computer, and my AKAI S-1000 samplers.


Interviewer: How did you originally hook up with Seibold?

Kurt: A friend of mine here in San Francisco told me to talk to her friend Don Blanchard at 21st Circuitry records. He recommended Steven because he had done some production work on some 21st Circuitry releases. I called Steve and it seemed like a good match.

Interviewer: There seems to be a pretty solid base of creative electronic musicians in California right now. Are you in touch with many of the other artists?

Kurt: Not as much as I'd like to be. I've never been good at networking and making meaningful professional connections. But I have gotten to know a few: Luxt, Spahn Ranch, Switchblade Symphony, FineLine...

The Internet:

Interviewer: How long have you been using the internet?

Kurt: Um.... Well, I guess I only got my account on the W.E.L.L. in 1993. Before that I was on Prodigy, before that PCLINK, and before that just doing BBS's.

Interviewer: Do you see it making record labels obsolete eventually?

Kurt: No. The job of the record labels is not to manufacture and distribute plastic discs. The job of the labels is to do the work of selecting which music out of the avalanche of bands out there will be likely to be pleasing to many people. But their way of operating is going to have to change. They are going to have to start selling digital recordings as data, rather than as plastic discs. This is already beginning. I know some people in L.A. who are investing heavily into a system which will story over 100 gigs of CD-quality audio (about 200 albums) and burn you a CD in 5 minutes while you wait. You buy the blank, put it in the box, select the song, and while it's burning the CD, it prints out a label. I think the internet could make PHYSICAL RECORD STORES obsolete, though. I haven't actually bought a record from a physical record store in YEARS. I buy everything from, or, or even Tower records' online store. It IS more expensive, but it's worth it to KNOW that they have what you want. But what really concerns me about all this is that I don't see the labels doing ANYTHING about or even UNDERSTANDING the problem of copying. In a few years, when it's easy to download 500 megabytes of audio data, and everyone has a CD-burner, copying records will be trivially easy. The solution is most likely to digitally protect the data in some way, so that you can't download it without paying, and you can't easily copy it after you have. But this will be difficult, never 100% foolproof, and require a lot of time and cooperation between the labels. I don't see any of this happening. I think there's going to be a big shake up sometime in the next three years when all the labels see their profits plummet due to CD copying. Then they'll have to mutate to information distributers and content developers instead of being plastic disc salesmen.

Don't Be Afraid:

Interviewer: How did hook up with Rachel Girard for the cover art?

Kurt: Rachel was my girlfriend a while ago. We lived together in San Francisco. I met her at a bus stop in Minneapolis.

Interviewer: Was Cleo really the only label that wanted you or the only one that made a decent offer?

Kurt: Yes. Slip Disc records said they were going to sign us, but then the guy's dad told him he had to quit making records. Misc:

Interviewer: What can fans expect from upcoming live shows, compared to previous InSoc tours (other than no Paul or Jim)?

Kurt: All-live, all-electronic, all percussion pad... NO DAT! Mostly the new songs, maybe a few of the more popular older ones, but in horribly mutated form.

Interviewer: I understand InSoc is considerably more popular in other parts of he world, such as South America. What kind of deal have you worked out for distribution outside of the US?

Kurt: Well, we're in the middle of working that out right now. Cleo only has North America. We are going to get a Brasilian label for South America.

Interviewer: Do you feel that music video is still a viable means of artistic expression? How do you think it has changed in the past decade?

Kurt: Yes, but what sucks about it now is that most of the videos have nothing to do with the band. Some would-be filmaker basically just takes the band's money to fund his own resume-project. This was REALLY bad about 5 years ago, but I think it's getting a little better. I'm seeing more videos now that are just bands being bands.