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LEÆTHER STRIP (CLAUS LARSEN)

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I WANT TO WELCOME MY INTERVIEW GUEST CLAUS LARSEN, MASTERMIND OF THE MUSIC GROUP LEÆTHER STRIP AND UNDERGROUND ARTIST FOR ABOUT 20 YEARS. I HOPE I DON`T NEED TO EXPLAIN THE HOLE BACKGROUND OF HIS PROJECTS AND HIS OUTSTANDING IMPORTANCE FOR THE MUSIC SCENE, EVERYBODY INTERESTED IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC SHOULD HAVE HEARD HIS NAME AT LEAST ONCE IN HIS LIFE. HI CLAUS, I HAVE THE HONOUR TO MAKE AN INTERVIEW WITH YOU AT YOUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF LEAETHER STRIP. HOW DO YOU FEEL AFTER 20 YEARS OF ELECTRONIC AGGRESSION, ARE YOU GETTING CALMER ON A MUSICAL OR PERSONAL LEVEL? Hi mate. Thanks for the kind words. They warm my heart in this difficult time for the whole underground scene. I feel even more determined to fight for my music than before, and the aggression hasn’t gone at all. I see more and more unfairness and never have I seen so much “egomaniacism” going around, it’s like an epidemic. So there is a lot to be aggressive about. So I wouldn’t say that I have become calmer with the years. On a more personal level I have never been happier. My partner , the dogs and I are just living a quiet life and just enjoying each other. Only bad thing really is my back problem that keeps me away from touring. But if I was touring I wouldn’t have been so productive so it’s not all bad. I would like to do some shows and the minute I can I will. I really want so much to do that for the loyal listeners who’s been there for me for so long. I still think back to the last tour. I was so great that it’s still one of the most important times of my life. HOW IS THE FEELING WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF A 20 YEARS OLD MUSIC PROJECT? IS IT THE SAME AS WITH CHILDREN, THEY ARE GETTING OLDER AND YOU REALIZE, THE SAME HAPPENS TO YOU?!? ARE YOU MISSING THE “OLD” TIMES? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT SCENE? DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITES? I really cant belive its been this long since the day I desided to leave the projects I was involved in and started the LEÆTHER STRIP project. Not many bands can look back on such a long time in the business. I think I deserve to be just a little proud when I take a look on my shelf with all the stuff I’ve released over the years. It’s almost scary to look. Whats even more scaryer is that I’m still hungry for more. I know the music will always be with me ,and if I , and all the other bands, are lucky, I will get my music released in the future.The whole underground electronic scene was so strong back then and I really wish for all the younger bands, and also us old farts, that they will get to experience the same things we did back then. We all need to support the bands and labels we love by buying the CDs. The pirates are so fucking close to be winning the war. The strange thing is that they really think they are helping the scene. They are killing what we all love so much. My biggest wish for the whole scene is that mp3 rip groups like AMOK and FWYH will see the light and call it quits, and that all the loyal listeners will fight for us. All we can do is write the songs and hope for a change in people’s mindset. I know I sound like a melancholic nutcase but I’m willing to be called that if it can help. The underground scene has given’ me so much over the years, and I don’t want to see any more bands and labels calling it quits because of this situation. The scene today has such a massive amount of new talent, that’s to “My Space” I bump into new bands almost every day. Thanks to my own “My Space” site I get to communicate with the listeners on a personal level. And I get to give my “friends” there some gifts. Like remix’s and such. I try my best to answer everyone. My favourite “new” band at the moment is the Spanish band “LETHARGY”. Their sound reminds me on my own youth back in 81-82. Also my friends from “CRISK” of course, they got their debut album out now. Amazing album and very powerful too. I really want to do more work with them. Great to have them as label mates. I could mention a ton of bands I like. I just hope they all get a chance to get their music out to the world. YOU MADE A BIG BREAK BETWEEN BLOODLINE RECORDS AND ALFA MATRIX, WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS TIME? What really happened was this. I left Zoth Ommog because I was the only band left there and because the didn’t pay me for a long time. Then When “Carry me” was released my former friend, who I thought of as a brother, Talla 2xlc (Music Research), scared Bloodline to pull “Carry me” back from the market. Then Bloodline stopped all communication with me. I never heard from them again really. I was falling into a very severe depression + a financial hell hole. Thanks to an e-mail from Alfa Matrix I started the climb up from that hole. I am still climbing but my world is a lot brighter now. WHY DO YOU RE-RELEASE YOUR OLD RECORDS? BY THE WAY, I READ IN A OLD INTERVIEW, THAT YOU HAD A FLOODING PROBLEM WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT, EVERYTHING SHOULD BE GONE, WASN`T IT A HUGE PROBLEM TO MAKE NEW MIXES OF YOUR OLD SONGS? Well, first of all because so many people asked me to. I also had the idea to “re-create and re-write” a lot of the old songs. Also the mastering equipment they use today is so much better than then. But it was mainly because of a demand from the listeners. New listeners should also get a chance to hear where I came from musically. We release them as a very strictly limited edition. Something to collect. I am a collector myself and it’s fun to get something not everyone else has. “Retention no1” is almost sold out so if anyone wants to get the complete series they should get it. This first one made it to Number 1 on the DAC charts, and that’s came as a huge surprise to me. It’s not every day a re-release does that. I have already started working on the re-made songs from “Retention no2” I re-wrote “Torment me” and “Mohawk” already so it’s in the works. No2 will contain “science for the satanic citizen” and “object V” and some surprises. + and whole album with re-written oldies. The new version doesn’t contain any sounds that was used on the original ones. The mastering of the old songs was done from the original tapes. I`LL GOT THE LATEST PROMO OF YOUR NEW RECORD “CIVIL DISOBIENCE”, A TYPICAL LEAETHER STRIP RELEASE, BUT YOUR BONUS CD IS A TRIBUTE TO THE OLD ANALOG 80`S. PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR INTENTION FOR THIS IDEA. Ouch. That was not a very fulfilling review of my new album. “A typical Leæther Strip release”. You just hacked a long long knife into my heart, I had hoped that I evolved just a little. I hope you meant that in the most positive way possible, haha. READER: Don’t listen to him. He’s just pissed that he “only” got a promo copy. Haha. (We don’t send real copies out anymore, when we did somebody working on the magazine gave the music to the pirates to release a long time before the actual release date) I did the release in that way because its, as you know, LEÆTHER STRIP’s 20th anniversary. “One Nine Eight Two” is a look back to where I came from. 1982 was a very important year for me . That year I bought my first Synthesiser (Moog Prodigy) and it was almost a religious experience to me. From that day my life turned around 180 degrees. From not knowing what the hell I wanted to do with my life to knowing exactly what I wanted. A queer kid, not knowing where to go, or what to do just found a path to happiness. I wanted to create an album where I only used sounds and synths that was available that year. And write the songs as I wrote the first songs while I was slowly learning how to compose. I wanted to recreate the sound of that period. “You don’t look the same” was infact the first song I ever wrote. I lost the recording I did then but the song has been in my head for all those years, so it wasn’t hard to re-write it. All the other songs are totally new. IN THE MEANWHILE IS THERE A POSSIBLE WAY TO “STOP” YOU MAKING MUSIC? YOUR MUSICAL OUTPUT IS SPECTACULAR, ARE YOU TRYING TO CATCH UP YOUR WASTED TIME OR WHAT IS THE CAUSE? Not if you want to get a good ass kicking. Hehe. I found out the hard way that little old me, HAVE to make music. If I don’t, I fear I will fall into that hell hole, I was in, again. Maybe it’s my way of staying sane. I think all creative people will go nuts if they can’t get the Creativity out in some form. If I am able to, I am in the studio every day, I have to really, to be able to keep up with all the ideas and inspiration I got inside. I know I write a lot, but if you aren’t on the road touring 6 months each year then you got time to write. I never know when the inspiration stops, so I am going to “ride the horse” until it’s too tired to crawl. WHAT IS YOUR NORMAL WAY OF WORKING, DO YOU HAVE ANY OLD EQUIPMENT OR ARE YOU NOW “DIGITAL”, MAKING MUSIC BY VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTS? Because of that financial hell I was in, I lost most of my equipment. The flodding before my bankruptcy “only” kept me from composing for a few months. They got fixed for the insurance money. Thanks to the amazing programmers who creates the Softsynths and programs I am now totally “virtual”. My most used synth is the “VAZmodular” I can make the sounds I need on that mostly and its got the same round sound like my old Moogs and Korgs. LET US TALK ABOUT SOMETHING WHAT EVERBODY MISSES, YOUR LIVE PRESENCE. WHEN WILL YOU MAKE A TOUR? A FRIEND OF MINE CELEBRATE HER 30TH BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR AND SHE WANT TO BOOK YOU FOR A CONCERT IN STUTTGART ;-) “Everybody” means ME too. As I said earlier in the interview. I want to tour so badly. But my back problem doesn’t allow me to. I tried to suggest that I could do it sitting behind a keyboard but that wasn’t a very popular suggestion. I have seen so many different people about my back problem, also some alternative people but nothing has worked yet. Sadly. Im sorry but that’s how it is. Tell your friend that I’m sorry and give her a bear hug from me. I am sure she’ll have a perfect 30th birthday party without me. TELL US ABOUT THE NORMAL LIFE OF CLAUS LARSEN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IF YOU NOT MAKING MUSIC OR BE A IDOL FOR THE WHOLE ELECTRO SCENE:) The music takes most of my time. I wake up together with Kurt then we eat breakfast together, He goes off to work and I take a long walk with Ras and Bufas (the dogs), Then I go into the studio and check my mail and answer interviews, if there are any, then I start writing music or doing. Some days I will paint a bit. When Kurt comes home my head is blown out with all the music, so I usually never sit in the studio if he is home. We live a very quiet life here but that’s how we want it. I love the big city but I don’t want to live there. I need the nature close to me. There any clubs around here who plays the music I want to hear, so we aren’t clubbing a lot.(Yes you can actually go clubbing when you are 40 years old) WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? MAKING MUSIC ANOTHER 20 YEARS? I am working on “Retention no2” + writing new songs for a future Strip album. I hope “Civil disobedience” and “One Nine Eight Two” will open the ears to a lot of new people, and make them explore the electronic underground. I still have a MEGA dream to compose something for a movie or documentary. And of course I want to make the best album ever made. I would also love it if one of my hero’s would remix one of my songs. Or I could talk Depeche Mode into using people from “our” scene remix the songs for their next maxicd. (me included of course :) Instead of using house DJ’s. I want to send out a secret signal that will make Marc Almond call me, to ask me to write a song for him. I dream that my fucking back will be 100% good when I wake up tomorrow so I can call Alfa Matrix and tell them to start the promotion for a tour. I dream that I will get to make a 30th anniversary album. I dream that the rest of the labels and bands will make it through this harsh time. I could go on and on, It’s not dreams I’m missing. THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW AND I HOPE WE’LL SEE SOMEDAY AT A CONCERT FROM YOU. Thanks to you too mate. Thanks for all your support and for the fight to keep the scene alive. You people are just as important as the bands and labels. Keep fighting! Lots of love Claus

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