The Strings of Ice

Interview by TFS Merton

Claus Kruse and Your Schizophrenic Pal assaulted the electronic scene some years ago with their straight dark electronics, catchy melodic choruses and danceable tunes. After extensive tours and a couple of CDs on Van Richter Records, Plastic Noise Experience disappeared from the surface of the globe. Both guys lead their own private lives while working on new material and other side projects. Winter '97 marks the highly noticed and unexpected come back of the German duo with a new single and album soon to be followed by a new European tour. Freezing blasts of darkness for your pale minds. Side-Line got a chance to speak to them....

After a very productive period we had to wait for a very long time until your unexpected come back! What happened during all this time?

YSP: First of all I'd like to say there we are not only producing music all the time. It has its place in our lives, but that is just a part of it. We had to do a lot of exams for example etc. We recorded new material during the whole period of time, but as usual the new recorded tracks seem to be better than every old one. When we thought it was time to master the new album, some of the older tracks didn't seem to fit in the whole style if you know what I mean, and we had to do some more new tracks. Now we have enough material to master one or two more full CDs!
C: We've got really a lot of raw cut tracks on DAT. Perhaps we will release a CD with such material. Some tapes are so old that they are still in digital heaven...Because the dawned DAT tapes are coming in the years of trash! On a few tapes you couldn't play the first three tracks, for example!

Are you still in touch with Jens H., your manager?

YSP: Yes I am still in touch with Jens. But he isn't our manager anymore. He is no longer interested in the scene and the music, and he now concentrates his label-work on german-chart music. GA-records doesn't exist anymore for perhaps two years now, and that's it.

We can say that musically your sound is still very faithful to the PNE sound. When did you write/record this new material actually?

C: I recorded the current material between January and April, but also used some older tracks. Directly after this CD I recorded my new side project "Sonic Unit". "Sonic Unit" is a little bit harder than PNE. All the tracks are instrumentals. Maybe it's a mix between PNE and Industrial ... On our next concerts we will mix everything together.

No interest in incorporating x-over or Prodigy-like ingredients into your sound?

YSP: No, not in this project. You know it , my musical background before PNE was the indie guitar scene and we decided to use only electronic instruments and no guitars. I can't understand why I should use guitars, when I can do thousand and more sounds with a sampler or synth, and unplug the guitar from the effect-section, it is always the same sound...that's pure boredom. Beside this, I know a lot of bands in the past doing some kind of crossover, like Big Black, Sisters of Mercy and so on in the eighties. Crossover is definately nothing new and goes perhaps back to the stone-age. This leads us to the native ritual dance style of Prodigy. But I can only imagine this style mixed with PNE in form of remix like the cyber-remixes. Things are far too different to combine them seriously on a regular album I think.
C: We want to keep our style of sound . I will think about using guitars when I haven't got a single idea in my imagination. But I've got a lot of ideas for new tracks etc. It's just a question of time.

Your opinion on the success of bands like Prodigy or yet Rammstein today?

YSP: I really don't know what to say about the success of Prodigy. I know them from the release of "Out of Space" and I love the first two CDs very much. But only on CD, when we played Popkomm- '93 with Prodigy, I have seen them live for the first time and I hate their performance, especially the MC, talking all the time destroys the whole music. But their success started with "Firestarter" I think, in my opinion the first real bad track they made, things went on. I loved them when Liam did the whole production, but now also the MC and the dancers do and for me everything sounds like dustbin. I don't remember anything from Rammstein before |"Engel", so I can't say anything on them.

I noticed you stopped using lyrics in German language? Is it a hazard or was it intended?

YSP: I love the idea that a listener hears something different in the lyrics, as it was written. That a listener has his/her own ideas on what is going on and this is only possible in English.

Is there any change to perceive in thw themes you deal with, or any concept to search behind this new album?

C: The difference is that we have themes for the first time. It isn't just the destruction in it. We are getting older and we experiened a lot over the last years. The best time to write lyrics is when you are really angry about something . But I always want to hide the theme to let some space for the listener.

And what about your other project Gaytron? Any plan? C: Not at the moment. I need a new label for new releases, but I haven't got the time and motivation to care about this.

Claus, is it important for you to reveal your homosexuality in your texts/music? And how it perceived by the audience/media in general?

C: It is important for every gay to reveal his/her homosexuality! You can't live your life hiding such a secret all the time. But it's just an adventure in the beginning. When everybody knows about it, it is as boring as to be a hetero. Some people didn't believe that I'm gay because of the hard music I am writing. We had some trouble after some concerts, some people shouted "schwule sau" and things like that. After that I recorded the track "schwule sau" and no one shouted ever more.

Do you think that as a gay you have more or at least different emotions/intentions to express? Do you think it helped you in your success for example?

C: Oh my god! No, really not! To be more creative or emotional is the same prejudice as to be perverse. You just recognise more gays in creative jobs, because it's much more easier for them to live in public. There are a lot of gay people in your own environment, working in your shops, fast food resturants...

Don't you fear that your fans forgot a bit about you after such a long silent period? When you see for instance a band like Project Pitchfork putting out one new CD every 10 months or so?!

YSP: No. I think this is more an advantage for us. A lot of people I have spoken to really await new releases from PNE. Now the new material is going on the market and a lot of people want to hear real new music and not every ten months another remix-CD. On the other hand there might be a new generation in the scene that needs to be informed about PNE, but that is what we are doing right now.
C: I hope that some of you will at least remember PNE?!

Your new album also features a cover version of your ex-label mates "Paracont". How did you come to cover that song actually?

C: This song is two years old. It was recorded for a Paracont "Do it" MCD. They asked me to do a PNE remix of "D Ranged". But they never released their own maxi and so I decided to release it on my own CD
YSP: The last thing I heard from them is that they are working on a new album for Ausfahrt but how far things are I don't know.

Which is the last movie you have watched? Your opinion?

YSP: I can't remember when I was the last time in a cinema, that is too long ago...
C: The Fifth Element. Story ok; Bruce Willis great.

And the last CD you really enjoyed except yours of course?

YSP: Sonic Unit? Aahh!
C: LTJ Bukem presents Earth Volume two...

Do you plan anything special in the next months?

YSP: We are planning a tour with DIVA Performance but there are only a few concerts in Belgium (October) and Germany (December) until now. Perhpas there will be more in the beginning of next year. We'll see...