InSoc Interview: '97 - Sideline magazine.

Interviewer: Information Society have enjoyed much success in the States, but you have'nt really had much promotion out here in Europe. Could you give us a quick history of the band?

Kurt: Uhhh... is that one question? It seems like two. The history of the band wouldn't really answer the question of why we haven't done much in Europe. Information Society started in 1982 in Minneapolis Minnesota. We were most influenced at that time by Deutsch Amerikanishe Freundschaft, Fad Gadget, Human League (Pre-Dare), Gary Numan Kraftwerk and Yello. 2 Germans, A Brit, 4 Brits, another Brit, 4 wacky Germans and 2 Swiss. You'd think Europe could have related, and maybe they could have, but it wasn't until 1988 that we had a record out on a major label who could get the record accross the Atlantic. Unfortunately, the overseas licensing was handled by Tommy Boy records, who was a wholly-owned branch of Warner Bros. They didn't really try too hard, and just sold the licensing to small labels who really weren't too interested in anything beyond the first dance single.
   Also, and I may be wrong here, I believe that the U.K. is not very interested in American white synth music. Perhaps the fact that this genre originated in the U.K. makes the American version of it unappealing there... I don't know.

Interviewer: What happenned to the members of your original line-up?

Kurt: In 1993, we were dropped from our label, and we knew we wanted new management. Paul Robb, the other songwriter in the band, decided that he didn't want to slog through 4 years of trying to re-build, especially since he was newly married and expecting a child. he dicided to go back to college, but later returned to the music business. He moved back to Minneapolis, and now lives in L.A. Jim moved to Oregon. Amanda Kramer hasn't been in the band since the summer of 1988.

Interviewer: InSoc has been producing music in the electronic field for over a decade now, How did you first get into this kind of music and what are your influences?

Kurt: In addition to the people i listed in q. #1, I would add Larry Fast (Synergy), DEVO, and the Residents to the list. I got into it because Paul was into it. He already had some gear when we started playing around in 1981. I think he was into it because the electronics allow you to focus on the song, the top level of the music, instead of the mechanical, self-indulgant task of actually physically producing the sound.

Interviewer: You had quite a few chart hits in the States, Did you ever get to number One!! If not what was your highest postion?

Kurt: What's On Your Mind was #3. I don't think much of chart success, so I hope your readers won't think I'm bragging when I say that it was said to us 100 times by various people in the industry that if the labels had been ready for the success of this first song, they would easily have been able to push it up to #1. They didn't expect it, and frankly, neither did we.

Interviewer: I hear that for a while, all the kids were going around with "Kurt Harland" hairstyles, in the States!

Kurt: I would have to assert that this is not true.

Interviewer: Did you enjoy being a "POP" idol!!, and does it still go on.... !!?

Kurt: No, I don't enjoy it. I'm not very good with people before I get to know them, and when you get that kind of attention, even the relatively small amount that I got, people are nervous when they approach you and very easily offended. It goes on, but not in the same way. I don't get recognized on the street much, but I get a lot of e-mail through the website. (

Interviewer: You have worked with some top producers over the years, including Francois Kervorkian, Joey Beltram and Elektric music, what was it like to work with these people and do you have a favourite one?

Kurt: Well, Francois never worked with us. He owned the studio that our producer, Fred Maher, worked out of. I got to know him fairly well, though. Recently, I did the new album with Steve Seibold of Hate Dept. ( This was undoubtedly the best experience I have ever had working on music with anyone in any setting. He's really great. I'm hoping to convince him to tour Hate Dept. with me.
   Karl Bartos (Elektric Musik) did two songs on Peace & Love, Inc., and that was fun. Paul and I had been listening to Kraftwerk since before we even started the band. Another producer we had was Mike Thorne, who did half of P&LI;, and was known for doing most of the Soft Cell albums, including the one that Tainted Love was on. Working with him was good, because he was very thoughtful and serious about what we were doing. He also had a Serge Modular, which rocked.

Interviewer: You were signed to Tommy boy / Sony, what happenned with that deal?

Kurt: Over and done with.

Interviewer: Your new album "Don't be afraid" is out on Cleopatra, it is co-produced by Steve Siebold from Hate Dept, why did you choose to work with him?

Kurt: In November of '96, I was looking for a producer. A friend of mine here suggested that I get in touch with Don Blanchard at 21st Circuitry records for recommendations. He put me in touch with Steve. I chose him over the other people i was talking to because My first choice was unavailable, I loved Steve's music, and tlkaing to him, I had the sense that he completely understood what sort of music and art I wanted to do.

Interviewer: The new CD is a departure from the old InSoc sound, it's seems to me more atmosperic, and more songwriting based, Did you have a particular theme to this album? How would you compare it to your previous efforts?

Kurt: If there's a theme, I didn't plan it. The best I could say is that the album is about the extremes of emotion, but from a very solitary point of view, as opposed to the more common relationship-issues-based pop music. I have to point out, though, that I've seen pop music move in this direction as a whole over the past 15 years.

Interviewer: Any plans for touring?

Kurt: I'm definitely going to tour, but I don't have specific plans yet. I will always have detailed info on when touring begins, of course.

Interviewer: Any plans for Europe, releases, touring etc...

Kurt: We're still trying to work that out. No labels in Europe are too interested right now.

Interviewer: Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that you could'nt live with out?

Kurt: Two: The Akai S-series of samplers, and Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge 4 (, which is my audio processing software.

Interviewer: You 've used quite a few Star Trek samples in your music, have you ever had an instant where you were not allowed to use a particular sample?

Kurt: Well, on our first album, we had a 7-month delay while we got permission for all those Star Trek samples. We had to pay a bunch of money, too.

Interviewer: What does the future hold for InSoc?

Kurt: More albums, more touring.

Interviewer: Any last word.....?

Kurt: Osmosis!