By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – U.S. electro-pop pioneers, Information Society, return to Rio on Friday, March 14th, to help the Lapa venue Circo Voador celebrate ten years of their Festa Ploc (Ploc Fest or 80s/retro parties). While this will be the first time the band has performed at Circo Voador, they are no strangers to Rio or Brazil.
Over twenty-five year career Information Society have played numerous shows in the country, including a 1991 performance as part of the Rock in Rio 2 festival lineup.
“Brazil is our favorite place to play in the world,” Paul Jason Robb, Information Society’s synthesizer player and one of its founding members, told The Rio Times, adding, “and Rio is our favorite place to play in Brazil.”
Formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1982 by Robb, vocalist Kurt Larson and bassist/keyboardist Jim Cassidy, the group is responsible for numerous hits including “Walking Away”, “Think” and “Running”. It was the 1988 single, “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” that is considered their breakthrough hit. It reached number one on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year.
Of the band’s origins, Robb said, “We were all involved with music from very early in our lives, so I think the idea of ‘making music’ has always been with us from the beginning. But specifically, like most other artists, we started making music so that we could imitate our heroes, which at the time were groups like Devo, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, the Residents, and Yello.”
Sometimes known simply as InSoc, the band has seen lineup changes and has taken breaks during its over two decade history. In in 2006, Robb and Cassidy teamed up with another vocalist, Christopher Anton. Larson returned in 2008 and the original trio is currently touring in support of their upcoming release entitled, “_Hello World”.
“In 2012, after playing some shows, we started discussing recording a new album,” said Robb. “It has taken a few years to get everything wrapped up, but we approached the process on a song-by-song basis, so that no one felt burdened by any big commitments. The idea was to make a new record that would be instantly recognizable as ‘an Information Society record’, and I think we have achieved that.”
When asked how the members have changed personally over time and if the new music reflects those changes, Robb said, “Well, obviously, we are all much older! Can’t say that we’re any wiser, though, so in that respect, the songs are about pretty much what they’ve always been about, which is the intersections between people and people, people and technology, and individuals vs. groups. It’s the intersections that have always interested us.”
Known for being pioneers of electronic and electro-pop music, when asked about the current popularity of EDM (Electronic Dance Music), Robb said, “I think EDM is no different than any other form of pop music these days, it’s a boiled-down formula where everything of interest has been removed, and everyone is trying to imitate everyone else, as quickly as possible, like a dog chasing its own tail. Listening to pop music today is like a meal consisting only of sugar and salt.”
Due out later this summer, “_Hello World”, however, if its lead single “Land of the Blind” is any indicator of the album in its entirety, promises to be full of everything Information Society fans have come to know and love.
Robb confirmed that when asked what Information Society works he was you most proud of, saying, “Well, everyone always has a bias towards their latest work, but I can honestly say I think the new record, “_Hello world”, is the best Information Society record yet.”
What: Information Society/Festa Ploc 10th Anniversary
When: Friday, March 14th, Gates Open at 10PM
Where: Circo Voador – Rua dos Arcos, S/N, Lapa
Tickets: R$70-R$140 available online at ingresso.com and at the Circo Voador box office.