We wanted to do something special in honor of Claus and Kurt and specifically the excellent Heaerts Combine compilation. So we give you this collaborative interview…
We asked the bands to pick at least 1 or 2 out of 4 questions. We didn’t expect to receive what you are about to read…
HUGE thanks to all the bands who were able to participate in this special project. And another massive thanks to my assistant, Ken VH for helping to contact the bands and forwarding their replies to me. I couldn’t have done this on a timely basis without him if at all.
If you are reading this and have not yet checked out the Heaerts Combine compilation, the link is at the bottom of the interview. Thanks!
When you were asked to do the Heaerts Combine compilation, what was your immediate reason for agreeing?
SKOLD: Leaether Strip was a huge influence for me, particularly in the early ’90s. I immediately knew this was something I wanted to contribute to.
Mortiis: Well I have known Claus for a few years, since we did a remix collaboration a few years ago, and like everyone else (I´m assuming) I have been following the story of Kurt´s illness (from Claus´ posts) on social media. It only seemed natural to contribute to this cause. I didn’t think about it really, it was just a matter of digging out something cool for the compilation and becoming a part of it.
Dawn of Ashes: Our booking agent Troy Hilton contacted me and asked if it is something I’m interested in. As a fan of Leather Strip and knowing that it was for a good cause, I jumped on the opportunity.
Caustic: Claus has been eternally kind to me since I met him at Kinetik years ago. The man has a huge heart. I’ve never met Kurt but how could he not have one, too? It’s a given that I’d try and help where I could. I also helped organize a DJ night we just held, too.
7th Victim: First off was that I’ve had the honor of meeting both Claus and Kurt and they are wonderful people. It’s always great, when you meet someone whose art you admire, and they turn out truly decent human beings. And I’m a huge Leather Strip fan. My decade-plus old LS t-shirt was just auctioned off recently. People used to see me in and talk about how great LS’s music is and about how wonderful both Claus & Kurt are. There are some artists whose music I adore but, if they were in need of surgery I’d say “Fuck ’em. Let ’em to perform it themselves” because they’re terrible people. There’s a lesson in that.
Wiccid: I had already been sharing and re-posting the crowdfunding post all over social media when I found out about the comp. I was overjoyed to get to be a part of this.
Ego Likeness/Stoneburner: We love Claus!
Orpin Own: It’s for a good cause, yo. Claus and Kurt are two very good people and better friends! so when we were asked, we had no hesitation but to join in. if we could help their situation just a little bit by submitting a track, then of course we could do that! we were actually kinda honored being asked.
ManMindMachine: Well, we weren’t actually asked – we more or less begged to be a part of it. Claus and Kurt are very good friends – and Claus has been a mentor for ManMindMachine all the way. And I was so lucky to included in the small circle of people trying to get benefits for Claus and Kurt going – mainly because I was one of the promoters of the first benefit evening in Copenhagen. A really fantastic night! So I heard very early on about the compilation – and John Mirland is another very good friend, so I could present the urgent case to him of letting ManMindMachine participate.
Glass Apple Bonzai: I’ve been a fan of Claus’ music since I was a teenager back in the 90’s and I also see him as somewhat of a champion of LGBTQ+ rights, in that he lives his life with Kurt and they openly and purely love each other.
To me, that is an integral component of industrial and EBM that goes back to the very core of where the music started. So, to contribute in any way to helping Claus and Kurt continue their journey together is an absolute honor and privilege for me.
Decoded Feedback: Because it was for our dearest friends Claus and Kurt, the obvious answer was a big loud yes. They are such dear sweet wonderful people and very talented musicians. What they are going through is horrible and if there is anything we can do to help out, we will do it. No questions asked.
Psyche: The situation when a loved one is in need of help medically and needs financial support is very dear to me especially as I have been near to this experience myself. I just wanted to help in some capacity.
11Grams: Claus and Kurt have given so much to the Industrial music scene and we would like to give back to them in this time of need. In this situation, money buys time. Our very best wishes go out to Kurt. We hope Claus is able to donate his kidney as planned.
Mirland: Jonathan Kaplan (for all the emptiness) came up with the idea and I immediatly offered LÆBEL (owned by Claus and myself) as a channel for releasing the album. The original idea was for a very small and condensed release but I felt that Claus’ huge influence on the scene should be reflected by getting a lot of artists involved and releasing a mammoth compilation. Soon Troy Hilton of DSOL Productions hooked up and the three of us connected with artists and compiled the album.
N3VOA: First of all Claus Larsen is a good friend of mine so why not help a good friend and my favorite artist at the same time. I’m honored to be part of this compilation and glad to be able to help.
Birmingham 6: Being a friend of Claus and Kurt and having already done the first Tribute show for Kurt two years ago with my band Neotek!
Do you have a particular song/album/era of Leaether Strip’s career that holds a special place in your heart; a specific song that inspired you?
SKOLD: It’s always tricky trying to pick a favorite but “Croatia” from Solitary Confinement will always be a stand-out favorite track for me. That whole album is great and that song is just insanely great.
Mortiis: Well like with all musical genres I´m into, I´m kind of a sucker for the earlier stuff, and the same goes for the EBM and industrial sound. Before things got too complicated. I tend to be drawn to the simpler things… So naturally songs like “Fit for Flogging”, “Japanese Bodies”, “Evil Speaks” and so on are very cool in my book, but by and large, I think everything I’ve heard by Claus so far, old or new, has been really good.
Dawn of Ashes: Solitary Confinement is one of my all time favorite Industrial albums and a huge influence. Honestly, I can’t choose a favorite off that album. That album is pure gold.
Caustic: I’ve always loved “Kill a Raver.” I still play it quite a bit when I DJ. I really dig Fit for Flogging and Solitary Confinement too, of course. I’m so inspired by Claus’ productivity. I put out a lot of music, but Claus puts out a LOT of music, and that continuous inspiration means a lot to me. He’s always pushing himself.
7th Victim: I’m going to go with something pretty recent: “Same Old Shit” from SpÆctator. I spent about a month waking up everyday with that song in my head and it’s a damn good “good on your feet and get out the door” track.
Wiccid: Oh man that’s like asking me what kind of tacos are my favorite! All tacos are amazing!
Ego Likeness/Stoneburner: “Strap Me Down” was a huge part of my youth. But I love “Coming Up For Air.”
Orpin Own: To us, Solitary Confinement and Science For The Satanic Citizen are pillars in our industrial world. Tracks like “Adrenaline Rush”, “Strap Me Down” and “What’s Hell Really Like?” are truly some black evergreens
ManMindMachine: Leaether Strip (together with Klutae) was one of the most important bands for me personally when growing up – one of those select few bands that was part in making me the person I am today. So picking one track is more or less impossible. But one track that is very close to my heart – and that not gets mentioned so often – is “G.A.W.M.” from Science For The Satanic Citizen. I have heard that one and the whole Science-album countless times. But I love all Claus has released!
Glass Apple Bonzai: “No Rest for the Wicked” off of the Industrial Revolution 3rd Edition compilation. What a rad tune. Good, solid driving beat, angry vocals. Embodying all of the elements of industrial and EBM that I needed at the age of 16 when I first heard it.
Decoded Feedback: Hands down it’s “Adrenaline Rush”. Both our favorite Leaether Strip song! That is the song that started it all for us. We began playing around making music just for fun, but when we heard Adrenaline Rush, that was it. We wanted to be like Leaether Strip. Loved the heavy pounding beats laced with the dramatic melodic strings, amazing powerful lyrics and perfect vocals. There was no turning back for us after hearing that song. We had to create music like that! Thank you Claus for the inspiration.
11Grams: Solitary Confinement, without a doubt. It was released during the peak time for EBM/Industrial music. One of the pioneering releases of the genre.
Mirland: I’m going to have to say “Japanese Bodies” since it was the first track I heard. BUT the whole Rebirth of Agony album holds a very special place for me. And of course the debut album for Am Tierpark since that’s where Claus and I really knew how perfect a match we are.
N3VOA: Definitely “Japanese Bodies” Is a very special song to me! First time I heard it I was like wow who the hell is this ?? My favorite album from Leaether Strip always going to be Science For The Satanic Citizen.
Birmingham 6: Object V EP and Solitary Confinement CD-No specific songs as all songs from this era are great, but I do particularly like “Crash Flight 232.”
What was it about your track that made you decide to submit it to the compilation?
SKOLD: I read a review of the Leaether Strip album Spaectator in ReGen Mag and that made me want to look into the newer material Claus has released an in particular the song “White as Chalk.” It struck me as a very genuine piece and I immediately had a version for me in mind. It wasn’t until later I found out that Claus wrote the song the day his Mother died.
Mortiis: I just wanted to contribute something that hadn’t necessarily been heard before, you know, whatever could make the comp a bit more special. And I also decided to use that remix because it´s a bit more synthy so to speak. I figured that might work nicely with what I assumed would be the main sound of the comp, as my stuff can get rather guitar/organic sounding at times, so it seemed like a good idea to pick something that was primarily synth based.
Dawn of Ashes: This track is actually coming out May 8th 2018 on our Sacred Fever Remastered album which is a introduction back to the Industrial from being in the Metal Industry for a long period time. I felt this would be perfect for the Compilation.
Caustic: “Beating Off a Dead Horse” was a track that was in the running for my new album American Carrion, but it didn’t make the final cut. It’s a perverse, weird, loud track and I think that works great on a comp from a guy who has a song called “Go Fuck Your Ass Off.”
7th Victim: Honestly, I picked it at random and I really wish I had had time to have someone else sing on it. At the time, it was like someone was ringing a fire alarm and yelling for help, so I grabbed what I could and came running. That said, I’m really glad I went with that track because it’s become curiously popular.
Wiccid: I actually created this remix especially for the compilation, and I am so glad that I could help out.
Ego Likeness/Stoneburner: Claus remixed it!
Orpin Own: The track is about denying reality. People sometimes makes obstructions of reality in their minds to cope, because life is not effin’ fair. the theme of the song kinda fitted with Claus and Kurt’s situation, so that’s why we picked that track for the compilation.
ManMindMachine: ManMindMachine was seriously pressed on time meeting the very short deadline for an exclusive track. We were – and are – in the middle of finishing our next ep Automaton City and had no exclusive material lying around. So we asked our good friends in the new very talented Danish EBM/Industrial band Negant if they had time to do an exclusive remix. And luckily they had – having just finished recording their debut ep. The guys in Negant is also very good friends with Claus and Kurt – so this way both bands got to participate. I can recommend you checking Negants debut ep out – released soon.
Glass Apple Bonzai: Going back to the “Industrial Revolution” compilation, there was a Leaether Strip remix of “Incubus” by Electric Hellfire Club which ended with a particularly garbled “Ave Satanus” that I always thought was so awesome. When choosing a song to contribute I was working on this alternate mix of the title track off my latest album “In the Dark” which is chock-full of satanic film dialogue and other goodies and it kept reminding me of the “Incubus” remix. Then I get an email asking me to be part of the compilation and…well, it all seemed to make sense that this was the tune for the compilation!
Decoded Feedback: “I’m The One” was supposed to be released on our latest album Dark Passenger, but we held it back because we felt it wasn’t ready. But when we were asked to contribute a song to this amazing compilation, it was the obvious choice. We tweaked it a bit, added some things and when we felt it was perfect, it was ready to go. I am so happy that song found the right way to be released.
Psyche: It was suggested by Dirk Ivens as we were both asked to participate, and our previously unreleased live improvised homage to Suicide seemed to be the best collaboration we could offer. Industrial pioneers fit the occasion.
11Grams: We had just received the remix for our song Immortal from label mates Hexadiode when John Mirland asked us to contribute. We decided to submit Hexadiode’s remix because it fits with the old school sound of early Leaether strip.
Mirland: Claus has been bugging me for years to start singing on my tracks so I thought this would be the perfect occasion for it.
N3VOA: The track I sent was nothing special it was just the last song I had written and first song in 2018 so I decided to send that one for the compilation.
Birmingham 6: It was one of the last songs left in my vault that hadn’t had a proper release, which I had been saving for the right occasion. This compilation was exactly that.
This interview will be made public with a special section for public Shout Outs. Is there anything you’d like to say to Claus, Kurt, or any of the organizers of the Heaerts Combine project?
SKOLD: Great music for a good cause. I’m very happy I can be a part of this. Thank you all!
Mortiis: Well to Claus and Kurt I´d like to tip my hat for sure, for their strength and just being so proactive and supportive of each other. I can´t really imagine what their dark days must be like, but obviously they have some serious strength in them, to keep going and remain as positive and optimistic as they appear to be. For the organizers of Hearts Combine, I think I speak for everyone when I say that you´re doing a fantastic job. I think it´s admirable what you´re doing, and I am sure Kurt and Claus very much appreciate having such great friends and supporters as the organizers behind Heaerts Combine.
Dawn of Ashes: I know what it’s like to protect your partner from health issues as I am doing the same. Stay strong.
Caustic: All I can say is the zone takes care of its own. Without Claus, directly or indirectly, we wouldn’t have a ton of the music we have now. He’s inspired countless men and women making music, and countless others to not apologize or fear who they are. I’m so glad the scene has made such an effort to help. It makes me proud to be a part of it
7th Victim: Thank you for inspiring me to make better music and to be a better person. Before I start a remix, I always ask myself “What would Leather Strip do?” I never get as close as LS, but I try! To the organizers of the Heaerts Combine: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to start to payback two wonder artists. If you need help robbing a bank for Claus & Kurt, I’m in.
Wiccid: I’d love to give a shout out to Distortion Productions for all of the great work they do musically as well as helping others. Plus, as a bonus, I get to be label mates with Claus and John! 😜I wish health and hope and love to Claus and Kurt!
Ego Likeness/Stoneburner: All of you are amazing!
Orpin Own: Thanks to John Mirland for asking us to be a part of this compilation. But also a big thanks to everyone that have contributed time and talent to this compilation. And to Claus and Kurt, thanks for everything you have done for the scene@ Let’s make this world a better place for all of us!
ManMindMachine: If anyone deserves this kind of support it is Claus and Kurt. They are the kindest, nicest and most giving persons I know – and it seems like the rest of the world knows that too, coming together and giving the kindness back to them in their hour of need. Big shoutout to Michelle Molitor and Tom Shear for organizing and the initiative – and to all that are doing events all around the world. I have never witnessed such a massive support from everywhere.
Glass Apple Bonzai: Banding together to help people in our scene is a facet of the industrial/goth/ebm scene that, while fairly evident doesn’t get as much attention as the dramatic ebbs and flows. Claus’ continual outpouring of the love he has for Kurt is one of the great shining bright positive lights of “our scene” and I feel that aside from the massive Leaether Strip catalog, and his indelible mark and influence on dark electronic music, we also all need his openness, compassion, caring nature, and constant inspiration. We learn from it. It helps us all grow and shape the world, as much we can, into a better and more inclusive future. So to that I say “Cheers!” to Claus, Kurt, and of course those who have worked to bring this compilation together. Every bit of positivity breeds the change that we need. Thank you.
Decoded Feedback: Claus and Kurt: you guys are the sweetest, most amazing, caring people I know. I feel privileged to have you in my life and as my dear friends. I would do anything for you. We are so happy to contribute to this compilation to help raise the money you need. If you need anything else, we would do it in a heartbeat! To the people who put this compilation together: A huge thanks goes out to John Mirland of Laebel, Jonathan Kaplan and Troy Hilton. I would also like to thank Tom Shear and Michelle Moliter for being so pro-active in getting the ball rolling on everything. Because of you, all these events are being set up to raise money. Thank you Tom for making sure all the funds get to Claus and Kurt. You guys are amazing! Thank you so much.
Psyche: I wish you both all the best, and hope that the Danish medical association treats you well, and that you receive the resources you need to recover and keep on performing and making your way in the electronic music world for some time to come. Let this release show how close we are as a community, and how good we are at supporting each other in difficult times.
11Grams: Claus, you are an inspiration as a musician and as a friend. Thank you for being so down to earth and accepting. Kurt, thank you for being supportive of Claus and his efforts to bring great music and happiness to all of your fans. You are both selfless.
Mirland: Claus and Kurt are my family – I guess that really says it all. I want to give a huge shout out to Tom Shear and Michelle Molitor for starting the whole benefit campaign in the first place. They are the ones to thank really.
N3VOA: Claus knows how much Love I have for him and Kurt ! Just stay strong, you are not on this battle alone !
Birmingham 6: Best wishes to Claus and Kurt and hope for a future treatment/transplant so Claus and Kurt can enjoy each other’s company for many years to come. And great job to everyone involved in putting the compilation together.
To buy the Heaerts Combine album:
You can also support by going to Claus/Kurt’s GoFundMe page:
Worldwide Leaether Strip Pride Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/171514096959273/