Interview For

Zillo Magazine (Germany)

circa mid 2000

Zillo: Please, some words about the history of the band.

Lucas: Our compositions were a private affair until the better part of last century when we realized that there was a market for our creativity.

Mik: As implied by Mister L., we had spent most of our time entertaining ourselves without putting much effort into mass-marketing schemes.

Retch: Except, in the middle-eighteenth century when we spent a decade and a half performing for royalty. I was in charge of Dramatic Direction and lip rouge.

Daniel: In the beginning, we were a punk/deathrock four-piece. Members dwindled, and so one year later, after zero activity, Lucas and I gave it a new beginning. We rebuilt it from the ground up, incorporating electronics and then the addition of Mik on guitar and various other contributors, and all with the never-wavering vision of compositional brilliance.

Zillo: Listening to Cinema Strange, it sounds a bit retro. The info-texts on you draw parallels to the Batcave. Do you see your roots in this? What is so fascinating about that epoch?

Bonzo: I like the Batcave imagery. It's so intertwined with punk rock. It's the snarling, dyed-hair, legs-and-arms-in-torn-stockings part of the goth/industrial scene.

Lucas: We definitely cling to the Batcave in a visual respect, but I don't think our music is traditional Batcave. We don't sound like the Specimen.

Daniel: Yes, our aesthetic is greatly influenced by the Batcave and British post-punk. As for our sound, which is indeed retro, I couldn't say honestly that we were striving for that, it is simply an element that surfaces because of our love for the old-school.

Pan: I was a DJ when the Batcave was happening, and the stuff that was coming out of that part of England was the epitome of cool. I don't consider my personal or drumming style Batcave, but that scene definitley influenced my upbringing.

Zillo: Is "Gothic" a way of life for you, or just a style to play with?

Pan: I live in a Mediterranean-style villa. I have a stone for a pillow. Is that Gothic?

Mik: The macabre and melancholy elements of my being have brought me to be the holder of the remains of many dead beasts. I compose music that reflects my emotions. I talk in my sleep. I don't know what all this means.

Lucas: But it certainly isn't Gothic.

Bonzo: It's more like Psycho. I, on the other hand, live in a canvas bag with my family of floating spirits. And sometimes, when she's in town, my sister the Styrofoam head stays with me. I don't think that's Gothic, but I'm working on it.

Daniel: I don't really acknowledge "Gothic" as anything we are associated with. Gothic lifestyles, hairstyles, music, and way of dress are things that were born in the last five or six years. Our lives do indeed reflect facets of a lifestyle known as DEATHROCK.

Zillo: Is there a scene you feel a part of?

Mik: If I felt that I was part of a scene, it would be the deathrock scene.

Daniel: We feel camaraderie with the veterans of the Hollywood scene NOW known as gothic/industrial. Aside from that, we're pretty reclusive.

Bonzo: I hang out with a group called the "Knuckle-Draggers", which is composed mainly of hydrophobic lesser apes.

Retch: I went to that last meeting of the "Knuckle-Draggers". I couldn't relate to the issues. Besides, they insist on nudity.

Pan: I'm in a "Book-of-the-Month" club.

Zillo: Very outstanding is the voice that could become a kind of trademark for the band. To me it sounds like a mixture of Lene Lovich and Gavin Friday, and I was surprised to find out that it is a male singer! Is this just an effect or the ideal way of expression?

Lucas: I wasn't trying to have a strange or sexually misleading voice. But it turned out to be better business that way, after all.

Bonzo: He's lying. It takes a whole rack-full of processors to get it that way. He even walks around on the streets with a backpack full of effects units so his conversational voice sounds the same.

Lucas: Ho, ho! it looks as though I've been discovered! No, seriously, kids. Who are you going to believe, the sweet and innocent front man of an internationally acclaimed underground music troupe, or a member of the "Knuckle-Draggers" who has practically admitted to being a hydrophobic lesser ape?

Bonzo: All right, you win. Next question.

Zillo: The production of "Cinema Strange" is very basic, sparse, and without any big effects. In this way it sounds quite authentic. Was that your aim?

Lucas: Partially. We wanted, on some of the recordings, to have a low-fi, analog feel. Those songs were recorded on an eight-track reel-to-reel. And then we made records out of them. The other tracks sound like that because we were poor and couldn't hire a good sound engineer to come into the seedy tenements where we live to record us. What's a little leprosy? What are a few million rats? It's given our music Character.

Daniel: And some of the songs were originally punk songs, so they retained a basic quality.

Bonzo: We've had a collective fetish with records, and it was the obvious medium to release material in, even though it's generally more difficult to sell and you can't play it in your car. The analog feel to some of the songs was due to the fact that we knew those songs were destined for vinyl, so we wanted it to be as warm and old-sounding as possible.

Zillo: The name "Cinema Strange" implies that you are interested in movies, theater or plays. Even your songs are structured like little cinematic plays, like "Lindsay's Trachea", for example. Why did you choose this way of writing? What is the story behind "Lindsay's Trachea"? What themes do you prefer to cover, in general?

Mik: Our ideas, both audio and visual, are often themes like an idee fixe that recapitulates over and over and over again...

Bonzo: Whoa, I just stepped in a big pile of Psycho.

Lucas: I love storytelling through music. "Lindsay's Trachea" is basically about a man who kills himself via his alternate personality. The rest is squirming, scuttling detail. Abnormal psychology is one of my favorite song-writing themes. I also like ghost stories, and tales of trash collecting. Also, Native American legends regarding mythical, flesh-eating llamas have captivated my attention lately.

Daniel: About two or three years ago, we decided to experiment with new song writing formulas. It worked out so well with the high and low operatic formula of "Lindsay's Trachea" that we have been applying different approaches with every new song. Making for a veritable side show of compositional expression!

Pan: I'm a major Who fanatic.

Lucas: Well, now that we've digressed, everybody come to see us at club Zwischenfall in Bochum on September 22nd!