saint-donat.org

is the band from Switzerland's Schimpfluch label family, home of dada/noise/punk odds and marginals. It is leading by Joke Lanz, who produced a dozen of tapes and records on various labels, and some CDs as well.

Before describe the music, I must say that in fact it's more action than composition, it's performance with the objects taken directly from our life - the art of extreme with mundane things from the adults point of view, the curiosity driven game from the natural point. Destroying giving birth as we experience the anguish of freedom, and in order to re-obtain our emotional world, just follow the inside call... Destruction means progress, progress means beauty, beauty only exists in action. No abstraction, no sophisticared sound structures, more passion and courage - this is how the life itself could be, and the human as the part of it...

The last LP that was out on Tochnit Aleph in 2000 is called "Sidewalk Social Scientist" and it's a collection of street sounds, strange sounds, human sounds, noise sounds mixed together and boiled with the good sense of humour - I like it very much. So,following interview with Joke Lanz was conducted in January 2001 by email.

Please tell me the history of S.I. and introduce the people who were involved in.

I started 'Sudden Infant' at the end of 1988. Before that I played electric bass in a hardcore band called 'Jaywalker'. S.I. was always a project of my own, sometimes with various members for live performances (Rudolf Eb.er, Dave Phillips, Franz Lieberherr, Daniel LæwenbrÌck, Didi Gallhammer). Since that time, S.I. played many live shows all over the world (Europe, USA, Japan, Taiwan) and released lots of records, tapes and cd's. I worked together with people like Christian Marclay, Voice Crack, Small Cruel Party and musicians of the free-jazz and improvised-music scene.

Franz Lieberherr, Daniel LæwenbrÌck, Didi Gallhammer - I don't know nything about these people. LæwenbrÌck runs Tochnit Aleph Records, did he make music too?
Franz is a 44 years old magician who plays very good trombone. He joined Sudden Infant for the recent Japan-tour. Didi is guitar-player from my old Hardcore band 'Jaywalker' and for one S.I. show he played guitarfeedbacks and noises. Daniel runs Tochnit Aleph and he's also doing music (No Is E, Noise of Gaki, Black Jewish Gays etc.) and of course he was many times Sudden Infant member, when I was living in Berlin. He's one of my best friends.

What is the art conception(s) behind S.I. works?

Noise music is a direct way to honestly express my deepest feelings. I like to work with minimal equipment for a maximal output. I create my music very spontaneous. It is always connected to my daily experiences in life. S.I. is very much influenced by children. My son Cüleste inspired me for many ideas and projects. Children have a lot of power and they see the world totally different than adults. I like to watch them when they play in their very own direct way. Meanwhile Cüleste is 11 years old and he became a smart little man. Sometimes he helps me in recording sessions and even in making artwork for records and cd's. Other main influences in the work of S.I. are early Punk music, Actionism, Fluxus, Dada and the Anarchist movement.

Please describe your live shows for those who never seen it - you wrote about Japan tour, what the kind of success you meant? What is you general sense around japanese audience, japanese musical society/infrastructure?

S.I. live shows are very much physical. In the beginning of S.I. I did many performances mostly with my naked body. Now I concentrate more on music, but still with a sense of action. I hate people who sit or stand behind their table and push some buttons and effects. For me there is no reason to be quiet while millions of children, women and men die of hunger and torture in this corrupted world. Japanese audience is very enthusiastic and S.I. had big success on their Japan-tour. Almost every show was sold out and we sold many many t-shirts and records. Noise music in Japan is much more popular than in Europe.

About performances: are they improvised too? I'm very curious mostly because in Moscow there was really few noise concerts, maybe two or three (the most remarkable action was MSBR/Government Alpha concert in June 1998). You said that you exposed your naked body - what do you think makes the auditory to watch it? What was the counterpoint?

Well, I used my naked body as a sign of the damageable human being and as a symbol for the act of birth. Every man is born naked and if you want to understand yourself, you first have to understand your body. Most of my live performances are half structured and half improvised. Sometimes I have an idea for special material and how I want to use it in my actions, like stones, eggs, ping-pong balls, chairs, rice, beans etc. But the immediate creation of sound and music finally is spontaneous and improvised.

You said that children inspired you for many ideas. Can you give some examples? In the artwork of your "1992" tape there is much grim humour and sarcasm, but someone can see only idea of children abuse...

Children are very much curious about things they don't understand. Sometimes they have to destroy it, to find out how it works. Their thoughts are more radical than adults thoughts, because their feelings are direct and honest. But the inner power gets lost, because society exercices too many influences to human beings like education, school, television, work etc. Children are exposed to massmanipulation. My idea is to go back to the roots, that means to an infants original power. I like to destroy music and then rebuild it in my own way. I also like to work very spontaneous and not spend hours on doing complicated settings or preparations on equipment. Like children I prefer to play with minimal sounddevices for a maximal output. Computer-programs are definitly not my style.

I'm very excited with your co-operation with son. What he think about your music, is it like a fun, game? He is able to compare it with someone else music, the pop music, to discuss it with his school-friends?

Yes, for my son it's more like a game when he helps me with recordings or sound-searching. Actually he prefers Pop and Rock music instead of my noisy experimental stuff but probably he's very proud of his 'mad' daddy. Two years ago, when I was living in Berlin, we went out on the streets to collect weird sounds. I learned him to open his ears and to use them like eyes. I'm sure it was a very interesting experience for him. We had big fun in doing this and most of these recordings finally were released on the Sudden Infant tape 'sounds from the sidewalk' which was packaged in a plastic-bag with lots of trash from the streets of Berlin.

When you said about anarchists and corrupted world it makes me think about the political position - mostly artists do not like to say much about it, but you are an exception?

I can not say that Sudden Infant is a political group, but my sound and performance work is an expression of myself and therefore I also have to manifest my opinion about injustice against my brothers and sisters. We are all in the same ship and I have the opportunity to cry out and to accuse because I live in the first world. As I mentioned before, my roots are in the Punk and Anarchist movement of the early 80's. In that time I was very activ in organising demonstrations and political actions.

What do you think about musical underground, about opposition and non-entertainment purpose of art? Do you believe that it may help people to be closer to truth, or what?

Yes, definitly closer to truth. Art doesn't have to be non-entertaining, but as soon as commercial values stand in the foreground, people's creativity gets lost. There must be a midway, between poor underground and heavy capitalism.

Most your works in discography are tapes, CDRs and singles, and I think there was just a little amount of copies - just a few people had opportunity to hear your voice. It seems that underground and major cultural life will never meet together. What is your most known record? What is you most successful record? Have you ever seen or heard about strange facts, appearance or misunderstandings concerning your music, i.e. reviews in glossy magazines, or in newspapers - anything that makes you laugh?

My most known record is Sudden Infant's first LP 'radiorgasm' which came out in 1991. It was a limited edition of 323 copies and I know that there are some crazy collectors in Japan or USA who would pay everything for a copy of this record. I don't know exactly which of my releases was most successful, but thats not the point of interest. Once in New York a guy told me that my first 7"single 'broken glass' totally changed his meaning of music and for me thats a bigger satisfaction than having a large quantity of sales.

Soya Sauce Bolognese - this tape label is also unknown to me. It's from Switzerland, it's still exists?

It's my own tape-label and it still exists, but I'm not doing many releases at the moment.

Are you familiar with other musicians from Schimpfluch crew?

You asked about Vehikel & Gefòss and Inzekt. V&G are Rudolf Eb.er and me, and Inzekt was involved in the Schimpfluch family in late 80's. Long ago he stopped making music. Now he's doing experimental video-art. Another artist from the early Schimpfluch years is G*Park. He's a painter and from time to time he releases new sound-material on various labels.

SUDDEN INFANT sudden infant  Tape  (1989 Schimpfluch)
SUDDEN INFANT broken glass   7"  (1989 Schimpfluch)
VEHIKEL & GEFÒSS make em pay  7" (1990 Schimpfluch)
SUDDEN INFANT 1989-1991 Tape (1991 Schimpfluch)
SUDDEN INFANT radiorgasm  LP (1991 Schimpfluch)
SUDDEN INFANT/BRUME sperm & egg 7" (1992 Tadpole)
SUDDEN INFANT 1992 Tape (1993 Artware)
SCHIMPFLUCH-GRUPPE mama LP (1993 Schimpfluch)
SUDDEN INFANT solothurn  CD (1994 Pure/RRR)
SUDDEN INFANT/TAC split Tape (1994 Soya Sauce Bolognese)
SUDDEN INFANT/AUBE split Tape (1995 Soya Sauce Bolognese)
SUDDEN INFANT/BRUME split Tape (1995 Soya Sauce Bolognese)
SUDDEN INFANT/R&G split 7" (1995 Self Abuse)
PSYCHIC RALLY mail music Tape (1995 Psychic Rally)
SUDDEN INFANT holko 1 Tape (1996 G.R.O.S.S.)
SCHIMPFLUCH-GRUPPE live in taipei 7" (1997 RRR)
SUDDEN INFANT latex lady Tape (1997 Soya Sauce Bolognese)
MK SELECTION tough enough to...CD (1998 Unit Records)
SUDDEN INFANT/SCP stalker 7" (1998 eM 13n)
SUDDEN INFANT species CD (1998 Solipsism)
SUDDEN INFANT mon enfant Tape (1999 Soya Sauce Bolognese)
SUDDEN INFANT sounds from... Tape (1999 Soya Sauce Bolognese)
SUDDEN INFANT/NO IS E finals 990217 7" (1999 Cut-Up Constr.)
SUDDEN INFANT/PROJECT MARX split Tape (1999 Soya Sauce B.)
SUDDEN INFANT rare noise Do-CD (1999 Tochnit Aleph)
SUDDEN INFANT where is happy Tape (1999 Spite)
SUDDEN INFANT bandenkrieg CD (1999 SSSM)
SUDDEN INFANT sidewalk social scientist LP (2000 Tochnit Aleph)
SUDDEN INFANT/NOISE OF GAKI hælle Tape (2000 Pain Art)
SUDDEN INFANT/MSBR split CD (2000 MSBR Records)
SUDDEN INFANT zwei Tape (2000 Mongo Club Production)
EB.ER & LANZ akustische aktion CD (2001 Absurd)
CONTACT:
Joke Lanz / Sudden Infant
Schæneggstr. 29
8004 ZÌrich
Switzerland
or
suddeninfant@gmx.de