Information Society is a musical collective which has been recording and performing for over twenty years. The group was originally formed in the summer of 1982 by Paul Robb and Kurt Larson and later joined by James Cassidy. A tip from Husker Du member Grant Hart led to numerous shows in the Minneapolis area, and a growing local following, but it wasn’t until the release of “Running” in 1986, by New York-based Tommy Boy Records that Information Society broke onto the national consciousness. Originally released on St. Patrick’s Day, 1985, the record went through numerous remixes, re-recordings, and re-releases, until, by early 1986, the song had cracked Billboard’s Top Ten Dance chart.
Led by founder/producer Paul Robb, the group seized their opportunity and moved to New York in early 1987 to record their first album, Information Society, for Tommy Boy/Reprise. Producer Fred Maher was brought in, fresh from his work on Kraftwerk’s Electric Café album, and helped Robb & co. craft a tight, pop sound. Initial buzz was intense, and proved to be accurate; by the time the group got to its first in-store appearance, two days after the record’s release, the disc was sold out.
After a whirlwind series of live dates throughout the world, supporting the initial release of the first album, the group went on to release the albums Hack and Peace And Love, Inc. and numerous Top 40 hits, notably the #1 smash “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy),” as well as “Walking Away,” “Think,” “Repetition,” and “Peace and Love, Inc.”. Numerous national and international tours followed; outside the United States the group is particularly popular in Scandinavia, Spain, Japan, and South America.
Departing Tommy Boy/Reprise Records in the mid-90’s, the group returned to its electro-industrial roots on several independent releases. Kurt Larson took the artistic helm of the group in 1997, and released Don’t Be Afraid, which explored the darker recesses of the band’s musical imagination. Meanwhile. Paul Robb released a series of industrial techno records under his nom de disco, Think Tank.
During this period, members also pursued musical interests as diverse as video game music, television scoring, and even commercial jingles, a goal the group had announced in one of their earliest manifestos in 1983!
In the early 2000’s, re-releases of both “Running” and “What’s on Your Mind” reached #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club chart during this period. This renewed interest in the band served as a catalyst for a new round of songwriting, and an EP of new material, entitled Oscillator was released in 2005, followed by the full-length album Synthesizer in 2007.
Since then, the band has enjoyed something of a renaissance, performing both domestically and abroad, and including a 25th Anniversary performance in Philadelphia which was memorialized in 2009 on the DVD release, It Is Useless to Resist Us: 25 Years of Information Society.
A companion digital-only release, Modulator, offered easy access to the hidden tracks and Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the DVD release.
2010 saw the release of Apocryphon: Electro Roots, a collection of the group’s earliest releases, along with ultra-rare live concert recordings and outtakes. The limited edition, signed release was sold out within days.
In 2011, HAKATAK International, the group’s longtime label, released a well-received collection of remixes, entitled Energize: Classic Remixes, Vol, 1, which included the first digital release of several underground classics from the early years in New York.
As 2012 begins, Information Society has begun planning a summer tour in Brazil, the home of some of the group’s most fervent fans.