Title: Act one
Fresh from the ruins of ZTT’s almost-stars Propaganda, Claudia Brucken has teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Thomas Leer to form Act.
Claudia turns to me and assures me that Thomas did not sing in the bath this morning. This particular piece of information is both unexpected and vaguely suspicious, but one way of saying that Act starts here.
“We’d like to spoil the idea of what people expect from a pop group in the Eighties. Throwing the cat amongst the pigeons… we like the phrase and laugh about it. Mischief seems the most important way to behave. Affectionately mischievous. It seems natural to play with ourselves. Please pardon the expression.”
Having spent the last few years playing, damned unsuccessfully, at solo pop star, Thomas was quietly despairing, while Claudia, after watching Propaganda sweep to a grand end, was just about ready to make some shapes of her own. Their erraticism, camp eroticism and need for some fanciful parodies all demanded an introduction. He adored the great playfulness of the ZTT operation and she laughed at his jokes from the very start. Act, they insist, was planned very carefully, scrutinised and refined, before we were allowed our first glimpse.
“After my last record deal with Arista,” Thomas says, “I’d had enough of grinding away and decided that there were only two ways to go. Either I’d stop completely and start working in the background or I’d have one more blast at it in and attempt to do something totally different, ??? to work with a female singer and I wanted ??? on ZTT. They way that Act fell together ??? indeed, inevitable. We wanted something ??? lucid rather than loose, expressing some ??? specific, though threaded with certain ??? ambiguities. Mostly, it’s like making ??? the first time, which I haven’t felt for a ??? it seems as though we’re completely ??? totally immersed in all the fine ??? peripheries are as important ??? is music. We are obsessed with ???
Snobbery And Decay, this ??? describes itself as a drama ??? influences range from Martin ??? last words of Liberace, the ??? Calvin Klein’s imagination, ??? hemline and the breakdown ??? It might well be some kind of ??? parody of ??? mind when one ??? rather than fancy ???
“Well,” sighs Thomas ??? both of use intently in the ??? what they might have ??? to surprise with out first ??? represents what we’re about ??? Underneath is a very ??? ourselves amused with ??? step had to be parody, ??? and playing them in ??? obvious pop concerns ??? glitter and decadence of the old ??? because we both love the stupidity of that ??? Everybody from Quentin Crisp, Tony Bennett, Tom Jones, Wayne Newton and Seventies’ Presley is in there somewhere. It was a matter of taking these influences and shredding them, rearranging them to make some different shapes and sounds. We end up with a different kind of glamour that the one we started out with.”
Act, understandably, are outrageously pretentious.
“Definitely. There seems to be this great misuse of that word and we’re very fond of it. Every time you create or perform, you’re being pretentious. Act is all about performance, let’s not forget. Pretending is just a method of provoking. It’s putting something on, inventing something. Again, it comes back to playfulness and why not? I suppose we’re like a schizophrenic pop group, very multi-faceted in our nature. We like the idea of not knowing what’s coming next and the audience should also have this sense of expectancy about them. Although we have some moves marked out, we’ll be making it up as we go along to some extent.”
Claudia explains that Act are just like that candelabra over there. Elegant, chic and curvaceous. Silver but somehow, unlike Propaganda, not cold to the touch.
“Certainly not cold,” she warms me. “More like, how you say, torrid and smouldering. Like making love, like dancing in the dark, like the thrill of the chance. Yes, chasing, that’s just what it’s like.”
Act. To put into motion, actuate, animate.