The Molehill Report

The Molehill Report #11 – January 2023

January 2023: Our guest this month is Joke Lanz, aka Sudden Infant. In a prelude to the full interview, which will be posted on the channel shortly we follow his journey from punk to noise to actionism, celebrate the first birthday of The Molehill Report, and look at what’s in store for February 2023 on the channel.

Watch The Molehill Report #11 on YouTube


Welcome to episode 11 of the Molhill Report.

Music playing: DJ Jackal: Drumtrax Pt.5

Christoph Fringeli: It’s exactly one year since we started the Molhill Report in January 2022. Throughout the year, we produced 10 episodes with interview guests such as Ricardo Walli, Controlled Weirdness, Peter Rotawa, sansculotte and Nihil Fist, and topics like the Hekate Sound System, re:focus events, Hakim Bey and the Temporary Autonomous Zone, clubbing and warehouse parties in the 80s and 90s in London and New York, as well as the history of Praxis Records and updates regarding releases and developments concerning Praxis and Datacide.

Our guest in this episode is Joke Lanz, also known as Sudden Infant. Joke and I met in the late 80s. We started making and releasing music around the same time, both lived in Berlin, London, back in Switzerland and back in Berlin again, but often at different times.

Joke started creating an amazing catalogue of musical works, countless releases on cassette tape, vinyl and CD, and extensive tours followed. He’s become the subject of a book as well as a feature documentary film. He also contributed to Datacide and contributed a spoken word piece to one of our talk events, which you can also watch on our channel [YouTube, transcript with embedded video on Datacide]. We sat down with him in January 2023 in Berlin to talk about his journey from punk to noise to actionism over the last three decades.

Joke Lanz: The Schimpfluch label was run by Rudolf himself and it was obvious that when we became good friends and we worked together that he also wanted to release my own stuff. So I released the very first Sudden Infant LP Radiorgasm on his label. I recorded it at the radio studio in Zurich, LoRa, together with guests.

The manifesto on the back of the record is, as you probably can guess, very influenced by the Vienna Actionists. It means for me like a kind of a liberation act to step out of the bourgeoisie context and create your own creative universe. Just do what you want to do, be courageous, be crazy, be subversive.

I always loved the energy of punk, so I wanted to transform this energy also into an experimental performance. I mean, you know, the early Sudden Infant stuff was mainly very noisy. The human voice for me is the purest expression, like when a baby is born, it’s not really kind of looking around all the time, it’s mostly making noises, like with the voice, you know, kind of…

This expression, you know, is fantastic and you eventually then start to build words and your own style of expression. So that’s why I was really keen on working mainly with my voice and I got more into working with words as well, with texts and with like poems, but mostly in the sense of childish things like nursery rhymes and Dadaistic word constructions that I really love, like things that you repeat all the time and then you change it slightly.

So this got a main part of my work, of the work of Sudden Infant, and it still is. Moon swings, strange things, every hour, sweet and sour, no existence, dogs can swim, full of resistance, life can kill, autistic fit, hysteric split, stormy moments, my opponents.

CF: Watch the whole interview with Joke Lanz on our channel and you’ll find out a lot more about his life and work from the early days with his punk band via his extensive solo work and collaborations to the recent metamorphosis of the Sudden Infant project into a three-piece band.

I also dare a brief preview of what’s coming up on the channel in February. Besides the full version of the interview with Joke Lanz, we’ll publish a video of his talk at the Datacide event at Vetomat in Berlin in 2018 and a video of a live show from 2022. The long-overdue, long version of the interview with Sansculotte, my talk about revolution and counter-revolution in Germany in 1919 about the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht and the instrumentalization of their memory, first published in Datacide 18. An exclusive DJ mix by CRi from the January edition of re:focus. Three more audio uploads from the back catalogue of Praxis Records releases, as well as a couple of short videos of live performances at re:focus. And last but not least, of course, the next episode of the Molehill report.

A lot of material is coming up on the channel, so please consider subscribing.

Joke Lanz/Sudden Infant Links:

The Molehill Report #11 was produced in January 2023 in Berlin by CF and Lynxy at the Psychic Defence studio.

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