Plastic Noise Experience

Interview by Orren Merton

With its roots as Claus Kruse's "Plastic Error" in 1987, Plastic Noise Experience as a duo consisting of Claus Kruse: Programming and Voice and SM Kalwa: Programming and Lyrics has been on the electronic music scene in Germany since 1989. This interview was conducted over a period of a month via email, fax, and postal mail, so that should explain any apparent jerkiness or disjointedness in the interview.

ORREN: Well, to start off, let me ask if there is anything that you wish an interviewer would ask you?

PNE: No, no idea at the moment.

ORREN: Who came up with the name? Is there a story behind it?

PNE: As you know, Claus had some experience with electro-music under his project "Plastic Error," so we changed this name to "Plastic Noise Experience." The idea behind it is difficult for me to explain in English, but I will try: To me, electro-music was in that time like the sensation of a plastic film/foil when you touch it, a cold and synthetic something that you can form into anything you like. Both meanings of the word plastic (art/material) interested me. And the same with the word noise, as noise pollution and a form of music. We are experienced in doing art noise pollution you might say, but I don't feeli like a real artist--more like an artisan (steelworker?)

ORREN: Do you feel that this latest release, "Neural Transmission," givesan accurate overview of your career?

PNE: Of our career? No. It is an overview of our first years, perhaps. If you take also the "-196°C" CD you might say these two give an accurate overview of our career, but not just "Neural Transmission." In my opinion there are some tracks missing on these 2 CDs to give the best overview of our career ("prison," "synthetic sign," etc) but that is not so important here.

ORREN: I noticed from some of your earilier tracks such as "Tateinheit" and "Schachtende" you sing in German, but most other songs are in English. Do you prefer singing in one language over another?

PNE: I believe I have to create a PNE Language. In the past I wrote most of the "lyrics" in English because it sounds better to me than in German. The main point is, that the voice is just another instrument in our music. There is no message behind and many Germans can't understand everything, when it is in English with distorted voice. So it was very easy to combine words to create a "form of lyrics"--nobody could make sense of it. I guess a native speaker would be suprised at some of the word constructions. But you can try to find something behind, if you'd like. Its all free for interpretation.

No message: Some bands try to catch people with certain messages like: animal testing, war, atomic power, pollution and things like that. They not that most of the people in this scene are against these things and write their lyrics in this way. We are not men to tell people what is right and what is wrong. These things have to come from the inside not the outside, because inside the human being of multimedia and cyberspace is still the hunter and collector from 100,000 years ago.

ORREN: How do you decide which language to sing in?

PNE: It depends on a case by case basis. On "Das Ritual" it was the lyrics we wanted up front. Everyone should understand it (PNE Language). On "Visage de Plastique" we wanted to have a French female voice just to try something new, and so it goes.

ORREN: Personally, I really like your take on Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy." Who decided to cover that song? Why did you choose it?

PNE: This track is very old; the first version is out of Claus's "Plastic Error" times (about 1987). We decided to create a newer version and played it as the last song in our live concerts. It was more like a joke, because we live in a small town and Claus is homosexual, we never thought to put it on CD. It was our live gag, but one day our label wanted to have it on CD and now you have it.

We chose it because of the background mentioned before, because we like the music from Bronski Beat and because of the gag that a small electro-project like ourselves covers a number one hit of the eighties.

ORREN: I read in an previous interview that you two live 600km apart and get together every couple of months to record. How do you think that affects your collaboration?

PNE: We don't sit on one another, so there is no time and place for quarrel like in other close friendships. Everybody is doing his own things and when we meet for recordings we can more or less concentrate on the work. The negative aspect for PNE may be, that in between the meetings one part works on other projects than PNE with friends in the town, but everybody is free to do so.

ORREN: Do you have any plans to tour in the future?

PNE: We plan another tour in Europe after the release of our new CD. We'd like to play in America as well, but the system is completely different to Europe and so it might be very expensive for us to do this. We have no financial background and we don't want to have to sell all our equipment when we want to go home.

ORREN: How do you view the electronic music scene here in America? Does it interest you?

PNE: I don't know so much about the music scene in America. I know some great bands like FLA, Numb, etc. but that is all. It interests me of course, what is going on, but it is very hard to get information about that here in Europe.