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Interview with Leaetherstrip - conducted via e-mail - 11/96

Jester: How did you first get involved with composing and performing music?

Claus: I all started when I met a guy in 1981 who wanted to sell me his Moog. I did not have any training at all, so I started out learning some basic bass lines, and how a synth really worked. I didn't take long before I was addicted to the stuff, and I slowly began to compose my own songs. I did not have a sequencer, I only had my Moog and a Yamaha drum-machine so it wasn't until I got a double tape recorder before I could record the songs by switching tapes to get more tracks. It was primitive but it worked.

Jester: To what would you ascribe the stylistic changes in music on your last two albums towards?

Claus: That is pretty hard to explain, but I guess that growing older had a lot to do with the changes. Also, I never plan what directions my style will take, I just do what ever my mind tells me. I have to follow my instincts, and give myself new goals all the time to become a better song writer.

Jester: What would you consider your greatest musical influence? political/social influence?

Claus: I try to discover new sides of my hidden self. I feel I mainly write about the freedom of individual self expression, personal or sexual, and the frustration of trapped minds. I cant really say that I am political, Only when it comes to animal and human rights.

Jester: Why did you choose to compose an tribute EP to Soft Cell?

Claus: Just because this band meant a great deal to me in in my younger days. And I felt that I have to give my thanks. I cant explain it but Soft Cell really moved something in me. And I don't think I would be writing songs if it wasn't for them.

Jester: How much of an impact did the flooding on your studio have on your music?

Claus: My composing stood still for 3 months, 2 days, and 4 hours. But the nice thing was that all the equipment was cleaned up, and it really needed that anyway. The scary thing, was that I realized how much my music meant to me.

Jester: Have you ever had any musical training of any kind?

Claus: No, none what so ever. I think it was passed on to me by my father. He was a Jazz musician before he proceeded me and my brother & sister.

Jester: What do you do in your free time when you are not making music?

Claus: Pet my snakes, lizards and my love.

Jester: Is a US tour even a remote possibility any time in the future? Or is it something that would cost you too much money to ever accomplish?

Claus: I would love to go on tour in the states, but right now it is not financially possible. I still cant live on my music alone, and I have to find reliable musicians to go with me. So people! Tell your friends about Leather Strip and make them buy my CD's. And it won't be long until I'm on your doorstep.

Jester: Have you ever had any desire to collaborate with other artists?

Claus: There is only one person I've fantasied working with. Marc Almond.

Jester: You seem to be involved with remixing many, many bands. What kind of process/procedure do you follow when you remix another band?

Claus: In most situations, my goal is to change the track completely, and make it my own. I only use the vocals and I build new music around them. But I hate the fact that I have to give it back to the bands again, in most cases I would rather keep it for Leaether Strip.

Jester: Where do you see your various projects (Leaetherstrip, Klute) going in the future?

Claus: I don't think a lot about that, but I would love to become financially independent, and live off the music alone. I don't have any dreams about becoming the new Trent Reznor In fact I think I would hate it. I like the idea that Leaether Strip and Klute is for the few and selected. Buy anyway it's nice to see that this kind of music is getting more approval than ever before. Respect is all I want.

Jester: Who does the artwork on the Zoth Ommog releases of your albums?

Claus: The first releases I did on my own but now I give the artworker a general idea of my visions and the photos + graphics. Then I am supposed to give my approval before it's printed, but they sometimes "forget", and I am pissed for a few months. The new album I did all the graphics, edits and fonts, am I hope they won't fuck it up this time.

Jester: Where did the concept of titling every Klute release by starting with an 'ex'? (Excepted, Explicit, Excel)

Claus: I don't really know, it just became a habit. Excuses Excuses

Jester:What has motivated you two write more self-reflexive music, rather than the more external/political subjugated music

Claus: I guess it just came with age. I was not something I planned, but it really helps me in my personal life. I get my inner demons out that way.

Jester: Have you done a video for any of the tracks on 'Rebirth of Agony'?

Claus: no, but I would have love to do one for one of the tracks, but the label apparently dont wanna spend the money.

Jester: What sound are you going for on your upcoming material? Are still exploring the more "emotional" side of industrial or are going for something completely different this time around?

Claus: "Self Inflicted" is a much more aggressive and frustrated album than the last two. There are still some emotional song on it though, and it is still true Leaether Strip.

Jester: Why is your back catalogue so hard to get a hold of (at least in the states)?

Claus: The reason was that Cleopatra chose not to release the first releases in the European format, but did them as compilations. But the future U.S releases will be in the same format as the Euro ones, except for the artwork maybe.

Jester: Ever have plans to do more aggressive-laden stuff like on first few albums, or do you feel you've progressed beyond that stage?

Claus: Well, the new album is more aggressive , as I said. And I never plan what I'll be doing next.

Jester: Might we ever see another album like 'Serenade For The Dead'?

Claus: Hopefully I will have a "Serenade....Part II" ready next year.

Jester: Why do you put messages to your fans on the record sleeves? Are just making sure your fans are aware how much you appreciate them?

Claus: I am very greatful the the people who take the time to listen to my work. I see it as a privilege, to have a small impact on a strangers life.

Jester: What does the messages the inside of 'Rebirth of Agony' mean?

Claus: The people it's meant for will know it when they read it.

Jester: Have you done any soundtrack work as of yet?

Claus: I will have a song in some film that I dont know the name of, Cleopatra haven't told me yet. But my dream is still to do a full soundtrack.

Jester: Have you always been into classical music? Who are some of your favorite composers?

Claus: My fasination for classical music started in my late teens. My favorite composers are: Wagner, Mozart, Grieg and Beethoven.

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