| Band: Information Society|
Interviewer: Matt Willis
Paul Robb, James Cassidy, Christopher Anton (vocals) & Sonja Meyers (keyboards). Photos taken from www.myspace.com/informationsociety
A familiar name with a new line up, “Information Society”; fueled by the programming and songwriting “electro-meister” Paul Robb and his side-kick James Cassidy. We also get to know newest members Christopher Anton (vocals) and Sonja Myer (backing vocals, keyboards) as they are primed to bring new life to old songs and start a new chapter with their latest upcoming material. They work to bring us familiar sounds of days gone by with their sights set on the future. We at Grave Concerns E-zine knew it was time to sit down with INSOC and get the full story…….
Matt(GC): I’ll start by asking the obvious. Can you tell us about the new INSOC line up? What brought on the decision to resurface after all this time? What is Kurt’s reaction to this idea?
Paul: The new members are: Christopher Anton, vocals, and Sonja Myer, vocals and keyboards. You know, we (the old three) played a live show in New York last November, and I just got really excited by the idea of putting out new Insoc music... As far as Kurt's reaction goes, I'd say he wasn't thrilled with the idea of me doing a record without him, but he relented when I argued him into a rhetorical corner by saying, "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeez!?!?" But ya know, Information Society is like a box of Legos, you can make many different toys with the same basic pieces.
James: This group of INSOC on every level is the strongest line-up we have ever had. The question remains, can we successfully re-introduce ourselves to old and new fans. As Paul say "dice are rolling" and I think we have as good a shot as ever.
Kurt has graciously given his blessing to the whole affair in public fashion and this makes me feel very good about the future. I wouldn't want to be involved if there was any un-settled business in this matter, our friendship is more important than anything we could get from this project and I applauded his decision knowing it is the right one and it shows great strength and courage, inspiring really.
Matt (GC): How did you and Jim go about recruiting the newest Members? What talents do they bring into the band that perhaps did not exist before?
Paul: I found both Christopher and Sonja here in LA. I wouldn't exactly call it recruiting, I mean, we're not INXS or something! ; ) They both bring a vibe to the band that's really refreshing, and of course, Chris is a great singer! Also, the other thing they bring to the band is not being old f***s like James and I.
Chris: I had to undergo a series of excruciatingly painful tests. No seriously, It was fate and a lot of good luck. Also, the courage of Paul Robb to believe in me.
Sonja: Ron Baldwin had attended one of the showcases that Billy Steinberg put on for me and we stayed in touch. When he and Paul were putting Insoc back together, he thought I would work well in the group and set up a meeting for me with Paul. Paul was terrific! We had a lot in common being that we both have written and produced music for television, films, and commercials. I kind of felt like his Mini Me. When I grow up, I want to write and produce just like him.
James: Chris is a fucking great singer and a talented songwriter of his own. I am VERY excited to see how that translates to an onstage presence. He is very excited for the opportunity and is going in (like all of us) eyes wide open. He has years of experience and that will be greatly appreciated. Along with Sonia, we are a team in a way we never have been before. And, we are more mature and have learned about the pressures of the business and can stick together and support each others needs both personally and professionally.
Matt (GC): Explain where you are at with creating new material (Album) and performing live?Paul: I have a new album pretty much completed. We're about to begin "shopping" for a record label, since we haven't been a signed band for awhile now...In the meantime, I'll be uploading a few new things to our myspace page (www.myspace.com/insoc) and our new website (www.informationsociety.us), and we may also do a "white label" 12" in a month or two. We'll see about performing live.
Matt (GC): Jim, what are your specific contributions to the new album. Programming?, Bass?, synths?.... Will you be doing any vocals as you did in previous albums?
James: I have never been a major contributor to the recordings, my contribution is much less tangible than that though I am flying down to LA this weekend to play some live bass tracks on some of the new songs, some backing vocals etc. My role is complex and nuanced and as one of the last guys standing, important. Decisions about the band involve all of us but, Paul and I have been through the whole thing together from soup to nuts and we respect each other more than ever.
Matt (GC): What new elements will be brought into the music that perhaps did not exist in the previous INSOC works? What familiar elements of the music will continue to be apart of the music?
Paul: Well, it'll be a departure from the Kurt sound, that's for sure. I see it as returning to our roots. "electrodiscofreestylealternativegothicfunkyshit" It will certainly be familiar to anyone who knows our earlier work.
Sonja: I think that Chris and I ourselves are actually the new elements. Because we are the new additions with a bit of our own following, we will naturally bring new attention and new fans to INSOC, and hopefully by embraced by loyal INSOC fans as well.
Also, INSOC originally had a girl in the band. Then for a long time they did not. So I bring the element of feminine wiles and sex appeal to the table. : ) it’s about time they have a babe in the band. : )
Chris: Because I am in the middle of it, It is very difficult to contrast strengths and weaknesses. I have done some writing with Paul, which I think have turned out nicely.
James: You'll see.
Matt (GC): What is your message to anyone who might be skeptical of this reformation of INSOC?
Paul: [expletive deleted] : )
No, no, no. You know, early on we had a lot of highfalutin' ideas about being a "collective" and branching out into different industries and things like, which is sort of what happened actually. And there are "old Insoc" fans and "new Insoc" fans, and people who liked both eras...For some people, Information Society IS Kurt Harland (as insoc.org says), but I think a lot of people just liked the songs, and hopefully a lot of people will like the new songs too.
Sonja: That while Paul and James are moving with the times and bringing a new contemporary presence to INSOC, they are very integral and committed to the style and esthetic of the original INSOC. Chris and I respect that as well and wish to uphold that while being in the present moment with it.
Chris: Ok, I remember when I first saw the video for WOYM and thinking “wow! , This is awesome!” I am a big Kurt fan myself and I understand that I would not have this opportunity without his contributions to the band. Being a realist, I know I’m different. Sometime change can be good. That being said, the new material is great. Having Paul and James working together is really a terrific thing. Just give it a chance…..
James: Give it a shot, and you WILL hear friggin Information Society! I guarantee it our I wouldn't be here. Try it and you will see, this is Information Society the way you remember it and much, much more.
Matt(GC): Jim, will you continue to remain in Oregon at the University as things progress with the band? What are your plans?
James: I am not quitting my teaching position for the band. I will do everything short of that depending on the success of the new album. Teaching soils is something I had to work doubly hard for coming from the rock-n-roll life, and I am not a talented scholar, I have had to work for everything I have learned in science. SOIL IS TRUTH, everything else is a media-induced trance that leads no where.
Matt(GC): How can we keep up with you guys and learn about the latest INSOC news? It seems the official INSOC website is no longer being updated…??
Paul: Sure, Here are some sites for everyone…
Matt (GC): Finally, Is there anything else you would like to say to all the INSOC fans out there that have followed your work over the years?
Paul: Yes. It's a great big disco world!
Sonja: I can't wait to see you all and look forward to hearing what you think of the new set up. I just know you will love it!
Chris: Thank you all so much for your emails and support.
James: I love to rock! Come to the shows and sing, and enjoy. Paul's songs are beautiful and have meaning. If you ever liked us in the past, try these new songs on for size, I think they measure up, and I should know, I have been an INSOC fan since 1981 dig? We missed you and we are giving it our best shot. Thank you for your interest
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