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Interview with Oneiroid Pyschosis - conducted by e-mail - 5/97

Jester: How did the tour go? What does an Oneiroid Psychosis live show look like?

Leif: It went pretty well overall. We weren't able to bring all the props and visuals we would have liked, due to limited space in the truck. The fog machine had to be left out too. In past shows we've projected video or slides, because we don't move around a lot and we want to create an eerie atmosphere.

Jester: What was it like seeing large portions of America for the first time?

Leif: A lot of the Midwest looks pretty much like Wisconsin. Good thing we had the Game Gear with us.

Jester: When did you first start writing and composing music? What motivated you to write music in the particular genre?

Lars: I started composing music when I was 14. Our older brother Shawn bought a four track and would let us borrow it. At the time, Leif and I wrote music separately. We had very limited gear, so we were forced to be innovative. I remember writing dark slow music then. I've always loved being seduced by music and I've always wanted to do that to others through music. So much music lacks that quality. I really love putting deep feeling in music.

Leif: I had always loved drawing and painting, and with the 4-track and instruments around, I found that music isn't too different from painting: combining elements and textures to create an overall feeling or mood. It became just another way to express myself without needing words.

Jester: How did you get involved with Decibel Records?

Lars: It was Kevin Gayton (a friend of Tom's) that asked me to give him a tape. He said Tom was starting a label that was possibly suited to our music. He said Tom was busy with other projects and thought he wouldn't have time for us. At the time, it didn't matter to me because I didn't believe him anyway, only because I've heard people say things like that before. A few days went by after Tom received the tape, and he gave us a call. We met Tom and ended up becoming good friends. The rest is history.

Jester: Oneiroid Psychosis writes some of the most mentally disturbing audio imagery I have encountered. Where do you draw your musical and lyrical influences from?

Lars: Like I said, the seduction of music can make you feel and think things you normally wouldn't. To me, being turned on by things that you're told is supposed to be sick and deviant is almost a high. There's a strange conflict that goes on in your head, so you let go. Music totally enhances that feeling.

Leif: I've had a hard time in my youth relating to people and feeling comfortable socially and emotionally. I spent a lot of time introspecting and generally feeling shitty about myself. Music and art has helped me work through most of that and control those forces and release them.

Jester: Do you feel that living in such an isolated location in Wisconsin has helped you compose the music that you make?

Leif: We're very comfortable here, so it's allowed us to concentrate on doing what we enjoy. I wonder how our neighbors would feel if they knew the crazy stuff that goes on in our house.

Lars: It doesn't really matter where we live. Leif and I will make our surroundings suitable. Like bacteria.

Jester: Is there any significance behind the titles of your two albums? "Stillbirth", & "Fantasies About Illness"? They both seem to be loosely connected in some manner.

Lars: Well, the first cassette we made in 1992, before we were signed, was called "Death in Utero". For obvious reasons, we decided not to call the CD that. Stillbirth was the most natural title change. The subject matter stood for a change in my life, as well as the certainty of death. As far as "Fantasies", it suggests unnatural states of mind. Similar to what I described earlier.

Jester: Where do you come up with some of your Latin song titles? Have either of you had Latin taught to you in some type of formal education?

Leif: I do an awful lot of reading, mostly on philosophy or psychology. I haven't had any formal education along these lines, but I don't believe a formal education is necessary for the pursuit of knowledge. Anything you want to learn about is out there, whether in bookstores, on the internet, or in people's heads.

Jester: Have either of you had any type of formal musical training?

Lars: No. We both began playing guitar around the age of 10 and 12. I don't know why we decided to start playing. I think it has, and still does, stem from the desire to be creative. We are both artists, so we tend to enjoy making art from things sitting around the house, whatever form it may be. I now feel training can sometimes be limiting. There would be someone telling you "This is how it's done," so you wouldn't be thinking "What can I do with this?". I enjoy trying things out myself, rather than having someone tell me what's supposed to happen.

Leif: I did take a summer school class for guitar in junior high. Basically I only learned to play 'Mary Had a Little Lamb.'

Jester: How did you meet Ric Laciak of RAS DVA and work out an arrangent to appear on his "There is No Time" Quad CD set? Will you be appearing on the new quad CD compilation that he is releasing?

Leif: Ric's been to a couple of our Milwaukee shows and knows Tom at Decibel pretty well, so when he was looking for bands he asked Tom for tracks from the Decibel bands. We haven't heard anything yet about the follow-up comp.

Jester: How did you end up remixing a Psychic TV track on "Cold Blue Torch"? Do you like doing remix work?

Leif: Tom was in touch with Cleopatra and got the opportunity to do the Alien Faktor remix on "Cold Blue Torch". They sent him DAT tracks for two songs, and he remixed one and gave us the other to play with. Tom sent it along with his own remix, and there it was. We didn't find out until afterward that they had wanted dance mixes, so we're surprised they used ours. Right now we're remixing Android Lust from New York for an upcoming project.

Jester: On the No One side project, what was it like releasing such an abstract yet extremely personal album like that?

Leif: Most of those songs I wrote without ever intending to release them. They were very experimental, and since I thought nobody would ever hear them, I was more willing to act on whims and spontaneous ideas. Lars mastered it from the original 4-track cassettes onto digital 8-track, and added new sound processing and effects. We included two paintings of mine in the sleeve design which I think go well with the music.

Jester: Will there be more No One releases in the future?

Leif: I hope so. We have plenty of ideas, but none of them are recorded yet.

Jester: What motivated the decision to start up another, more electro/dance project called Signal 12?

Lars: I think after you buy a certain number of synths, you are compelled to write music like that. It's unavoidable. Actually, Leif and I are both really into that kind of music. I enjoy the thought of something being completely synthetic and techno music easily captures all the spectrums of sound.

Leif: Techno music is usually just so damn happy. You rarely hear a really dark techno band. So that was one motivation for us; to do "techno" with a different twist than usual.

Jester: When can we expect the release of a Signal 12 album? Is there a working title?

Leif: There is no planned release date, but we'd like to get it out this year. Tom may consider releasing it on Decibel, but not all of the tracks are completed or recorded yet. No title yet either. We'll definitely talk with him again when it's ready. If nothing else, we may shop it around to some techno labels.

Jester: How did you meet Paul Nitsche who does most of your album artwork?

Leif: We've known Paul since we were little kids. He grew up in the same neighborhood we grew up in. His personality and artistic style evolved in the same direction ours did, so it was a natural choice to have him do images for our music. He's always extremely busy, and unfortunately won't be doing design for our next album, "Garden of Remembrance." We're working with a new artist we really like though, Kelli Hoppmann.

Jester: What is your favorite song that you have written and why?

Leif: I'm really pleased with "Assuage" from our latest album. It was a song Lars wrote on his own in 1991 or so. I wanted to do a new version for "F.A.I.", and it was great to have a hand in updating a song I've always loved.

Lars: I feel the newest song we are working on is usually the favorite. But after you hear it over and over again, you get a little desensitized. So I don't really have a favorite I guess, well maybe, but I can't think of what it is.

Jester: Who came up with the idea for the remix single "Assuage"?

Lars:? Tom and Leif actually wanted that remixed. I guess it seemed like one of the better songs to remix on the CD.

Leif: Tom wanted to do a single for the new album, which is something we didn't do with "Stillbirth". I don't know yet if we'll do one for the next album.

Jester: Did you choose who remixed your tracks, or did Tom Muschitz from Decibel?

Leif: We really wanted to be remixed by Severed Heads, and it happened on the "Complications" compilation.Tom Muschitz got to know Tom Ellard, and it led to "Gigapus" being released on Decibel. I love the work Chris Peterson did with Will, and I mentioned him to Tom as a possible remixer. Now Chris's project Decree is being released on Decibel as well.

Jester: Who are some of your favorite musicians and why are they your favorites?

Lars:? For me, one person would have to be Brian Eno. I admire his creativity. He uses all different types of media to create art and has so many styles. I think I respect him most of all the bands I listen to. However, my interests in music are so varied. Everything from death metal to ethereal. Umm ... I love Gwar.

Leif: We grew up listening to heavy metal, but for me that changed when I heard Severed Heads in college. "Come Visit the Big Bigot" blew me away with all the layers of crazy noises and synthetic processing which really fired my imagination. I'd never heard anything like it. At that time I also heard Skinny Puppy, the Residents, and Foetus for the first time. It sort of set my life in a new direction. Lars and I have been into Cocteau Twins for a while now, too.

Jester: Would you like to collaborate with any artists in the future? If so, whom?

Lars: Strangely enough, we prefer to work with each other. We always think along the same lines. But the music we've written with Tom has been great. He's easy to work with. I guess working with a female vocalist would be the next step, but there's nothing solid at this point.

Jester: Do you think that because you are siblings it has been easier or harder for you to work together musically?

Leif: Lars and I get along together extremely well. We always have. It's made our work in the studio much easier, because we have similar ideas about how we want things to sound. Tom knows us both very well also and does a great job of bringing out the style we're going for.

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