InSoc IRC Interview: '97 - source unknown.

Well known for their hits "What's On Your Mind?" in the mid-eighties and "Peace and Love, Inc." in the early nineties, Information Society quietly left the music scene after a tour in 1993, leaving many fans disappointed at the loss of another talented group to what appeared to be creative differences. Now, five years later, vocalist Kurt Harland brings Information Society (known simply as InSoc to fans) back but in a way more reflective of his own musical influences. Don't Be Afraid blends powerful beats, dark electronic melodies and Kurt's mesmerizing vocals to present a definite change in direction that fans of old InSoc may not expect. With the help of Steven Seibold of Hate Dept. to produce DBA, InSoc has definitely shown that it is by no means dead, and fans from years ago are slowly regathering to embrace the band they have missed so dearly.

Interviewer: So what made you decide to do a new album?

Kurt: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. . . . Well... I would have had to have "decided" NOT to do a new one. I've been in the band for 15 years and we've done 5 albums, 6 really. It's an ongoing process. I expect to do more after this one. It's not like the band quit and then I "decided" to make a new album. Paul Robb left. I never stopped. It just took a REALLY long time to get a new manager, get a new record label, develop a WHOLE new set of songs and a new style more in keeping with my own tastes, etc.

Interviewer: How long did you work on Don't Be Afraid?

Kurt: When you say "how long have I worked on DBA", that depends on what you mean by "worked on". If you count everything, it took me more than 5 years. If you mean time in the studio with my producers, then it was only 3 months. I spend as much time working on other things to make the album happen as I do on making the music.

Interviewer: Were you surprised that Cleopatra was the only label that would sign you?

Kurt: Well, not surprised exactly, but I'm disappointed that I could only get ONE label. There was another, Slip Disc, but the guy's dad told him he couldn't make any new records. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get the majors to put out a goth/industrial/geek album. But I thought that I could get a FEW indies interested. As it happened, I only got one.

Interviewer: Are there any plans for a tour of any kind?

Kurt: There are plans for touring, but they all are waiting for funding. I'm going to hear next week about the possibility of getting funded by Polygram Brasil, who wants to put out not only DBA, but a second new record of 'Brasilianized" InSoc music to go with it. They'd be willing to fund the tour.

Interviewer: Wow! That's great.

Kurt: Once I have the funding, I'll start building the new show. It will be a massive undertaking because I'm going to go with five people, all electronic, and ALL LIVE. NO DAT! All percussion pads.

Interviewer: Will Steve Seibold be joining you on the tour, or will you find other ppl?

Kurt: I doubt it. It's not impossible, but we haven't discussed it. Brian at Cleopatra has mentioned wanting me to tour with Switchblade Symphony, but I don't think the girls in SS would be into that. (I know Tina personally)

Interviewer: That would be quite a combination. You'd definitely draw a crowd.

Kurt: Yeah. Old InSoc fans would like them, and I need to expose the new music to the Goth crowd. But like I said, don't hold your breath.

Interviewer: Do you plan on keeping InSoc a solo project?

Kurt: Yes. I won't ever do InSoc "with" anyone else again. I might be open to doing another band with other people someday, but InSoc is now just me, and I need it to be that way. Paul and I found it difficult to do the band together, and I need a few years of doing things my way to recover from that.

Interviewer: Any plans on remixes at all?

Kurt: You mean me DOING remixes, or having them done?

Interviewer: Either.

Kurt: Well, I just got a DAT of the tracks and vocals for Gary Numan's remake of his own song "I Die; You Die" in the mail from Cleopatra today. They want me to "re-mix" it. It's Gary's new version of his old song.

Interviewer: That must be quite an honor for you.

Kurt: It's also my second favorite Gary Numan song. It was the first pop song I ever performed in public in 1981.

Interviewer: The first [favourite] being "Are Friends Electric?".

Kurt: Yeah. "They crawl out... of their holes for me... And I die; you die. They call me such things... Tear me! Tear me! Tear me!" What a great set of lyrics for a persecuted-felling teenage misfit!

Interviewer: Has he heard your cover of "Are Friends Electric?"?

Kurt: I don't know if he's heard my cover of AFE or not. If not, he'll probably get a copy of it soon from Cleo.

Interviewer: What inspired Track 10 as far as the use of the internet to get the pieces?

Kurt: "Inspired"?

Interviewer: As far as the "game", so to speak. The hints and clues.

Kurt: I know what you're referring to, I just never thought of it as an inspiration.

Interviewer: How did you come up with the idea?

Kurt: It's just interesting for people, I think. Well, I had that kind of audio-data recording on Peace & Love, Inc., too. Track 12. On our first Warner/Tommy Boy album. In 1988, I made a computer program to go with it. It had a secret message embedded into it that was hard to get at. People loved it. It just grew from there. I wanted to make a fax spit out from playing the record, just because I like to come up with quirky ways to use existing technology. But then I realised that to do a fax, you'd have to have 2-way communication, so that wouldn't work. So I thought well, why not just record the output of a modem? I was always pleased by the fact that modem "data" is transmitted as sound. So that's how that came about.

Interviewer: It was a great idea, makes it that much more enjoyable for the ppl that buy the cd.

Kurt: What I noticed from the people who figured it out was that what they enjoyed the most was the thrill of making the silly system actually work. So It occurred to me that there should be a REAL reward for decrypting all the stuff. So the 10th song is not on the CD. It's been hidden all over the Internet.

Interviewer: Do you have any plans to release White Roses outside of the files obtained via computer?

Kurt: No plans, no, but it's not impossible. I probably wouldn't actually "release" it unles I re-recorded it. Ver. 2.0, but I have asked anyone who actually gets the song to distribute it. So that song will propagate by itself.

Interviewer: What has the reaction been so far to DBA (that you've heard)?


Interviewer: Gotcha. What's YOUR favourite track on the album?

Kurt: Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.. Empty. I think it's the one song that perfectly incorporates all of what i liked about old InSoc and all of what's important about new InSoc.

Interviewer: Are there any other songs that you'd like to cover?

Kurt: Oh yeah, my list of cover songs. Aerosmith's "Nobody's Fault", Tuxedomoon's "Dark Companion", Tuxedomoon's "What Use", Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil", the lullaby from the opera to Hansel & Gretel. There are others. . . . I've already made demos of 3 of those.

Interviewer: Of all the bands that you've listened to in the past (listed on the data cd), which would you say are your greatest influences?

Kurt: My biggest influences are Gary Numan, Devo, Yello, The Residents, Foetus, and Love & Rockets. KMFDM, NIN, F242 showed me that it could be done.

Interviewer: Do you have any plans for any videos?

Kurt: I don't ever want to spend $90,000 on a video again. Even if I DID have the money.

Interviewer: Which video was that?

Kurt: They ALL cost that much. I want to shoot some hi-8 video of a live performance and edit it myself.

Interviewer: Has it been decided if there will be any singles off of this album?

Kurt: There won't be a commercial single that people can buy, but we are in the process of deciding what song to print promo-CD's of for radio and clubs.

Interviewer: Would you work with Seibold again or do you have plans to?

Kurt: Yes. I'd like to make the next record with Seibold too. He's great to work with.

Interviewer: Are there any other artists that you'd like to work with?

Kurt: Jim Thirlwell. Jim "I'm the one who gave the sandwich to Mamma Cass" Thirlwell.

* * *

The second cd of the two cd set is a CD-Rom filled with sound bites, contributions from InSoc fans all over the internet, old photos of InSoc, photos of Kurt and his car (which also appeared on the cover of the album Hack back in 1990), and images of the artwork on the inlay of DBA. You can obtain much more information about Information Society on this bonus cd or on the Information Society website. The address is Also, if you happen to be cruising through IRC, connect to the server and join channel #InSoc on Thursday nights at 9pm CST to take part in discussions with Kurt and friends.