MEB Editor Maria Gironas got a chance to send some question to Paul Robb of pop electronic band Information Society, who blew up with their worldwide smash “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” in the late 80s. Check out the interview below!
So you guys have been on somewhat a hiatus? Or how would you best describe the break between playing music together?
Hiatus is a good word! Or maybe “sabbatical”. Honestly, it wasn’t as much a break from playing, as it was break from recording. We’ve enjoyed playing live every now and then since we all left New York in the late 90’s, we’ve just had trouble finding the time to actually record a whole new album.
When coming back together, was it a smooth transition into playing music together again?
As I mentioned, we never completely stopped playing live together. I will say that it’s great to have some new material to put into the set.
From your past work, how did you want to approach this album differently?
Well, from a technical point of view, obviously everything has changed. Things that used to take days and require walls of synthesizers can now be done pretty easily on a single computer, and so the “cost of entry” is lower for us, just like it is with new bands. But it was a more tricky matter trying to get the balance in the music right, between incorporating some of the new sounds that we are excited about, with the classic songwriting forms and synthpop conventions that most of our fans expect from us. In recording this new record, we definitely were not looking to reinvent the sound of the group, but we didn’t want it to be a completely retro exercise either.
Between the music business in the 80s to today, what have you found has changed most? And how has that affected your new music?
There really is no music business for bands like us today. That industry is gone. It hasn’t really affected our music, however. We were lucky enough to come up at a time when big record labels actually had an interest in developing bands, as opposed to “brands” or “content providers”.
Can you describe each song off your new album _hello world in one word or phrase?
How Zen of you!
Land of the Blind – “Out with the old, in with the new”
The Prize – “The ecstasy of creative destruction”
Where Were You – “Where were you?”
Get Back – “Sometimes you look up and realize you’re on the wrong path”
Jonestown – “Love can sometimes be a terrible thing”
Dancing With Strangers – “We are all still tribal at heart”
Beautiful World – “Wasn’t Devo Awesome?”
Creatures of Light and Darkness – “Things sometimes have more than one explanation”
Above and Below – “Opposites attract, as long as they are both sad”
Let It Burn – “My one and only is gone”
Tomorrow the World – “The seducer’s refrain”
From the album, was there a song or songs that especially took some time to write or has a special story?
Tomorrow the World was a long time in the making. It’s a song we have been thinking about for years, but only decided to release now…
Since you guys had a chance to work with Gerard V Casale of DEVO, are their any other people you’d hope to collaborate with? Or even a dream duet?
Well we’ve now worked Gary Numan and members of Devo and Kraftwerk, who were some of our biggest influences. I guess that just leaves The Residents.
How was it like working with Casale?
Gerry was a total professional. After the recording session, he took me out for dinner and gave me an in-depth education in fine wines.
What do you think fans will love most about the new album?
I hope (and believe) that fans will feel that this record fits right in with our other releases, and represents the next logical step in the band’s evolution.
Besides the album coming out, is there anything else coming up for you guys or that is in the works?
Oh, we have a whole lot of things in the works, but the new album will definitely be occupying most of our free time for the rest of this year.
Any last words for your fans?
The new record is coming out on CD, vinyl, and digital, so there is really no excuse for you not to buy it!