Proud of the Music They Play

Best known for songs such as “Living in Oblivion,” “Jubilation (This Thing Called Life),” and “Carmen” and for the albums Peace, Worth, and Hope, Anything Box, affectionately known as ABOX, remain one of the most enduring synthpop bands to arise out of the 1980s, formed by Claude Strilio, Dania Morales, and Paul Rijnders. Influenced by Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, and The Beatles, the band has released more than 10 albums and performed in a nearly three-decade career. Claude Strilio who prefers to to be called just Claude S. or Claude, discusses his personal achievements, the recording business, and future works for fans via email.

Jeff Boyce: Why do you think some people have such negative views of synth-based electronic music?
Claude S.: Not all music speaks to all people. There's the validity of that first course, that we are all different as human beings. That said, for a time, I myself wasn't too keen on it. But my own reasons came from the fact that 'synthpop' became just that… 'pop' in the sense that it did not seem inventive or unique anymore. All the output of the genre sounded the same. Over time I got over that, by coming back to it and breaking every rule that exists.

Who has influenced you in your music?
For me, music is an ethereal thing, and influence musically comes from how the music currently affects you. My singing came about from listening to early rock music, like the Beatles, Kinks and even The Who.. But as my tastes expanded, I discovered disco and the strange music that people called ‘New Wave’. Then it became more about Kraftwerk, and later bands such as New Order and Joy Division. And let's not forget that while I am 2000% into electronics, I also love punk and 70’s power pop. Everything in its right place, as Radiohead says.

Being such a Beatles fan, what do you feel are the Beatles’ contributions towards electronic music?
For starters, in Revolver & Sgt. Pepper’s there are sounds that are so removed for the music of the time.... fuzzy bass sounds, backwards instruments.. In [the song] Tomorrow Never Knows for example, there’s a repeating tape loop of sounds (sampling). In Mr. Kite there’s the tapes spliced together to form a ‘sampled’ collage. There's a lead moog or arp in Here Comes The Sun. These things influenced music greatly as did the idea of the ‘Concept Record.’ And on a rudimentary level, The Beatles bought us ADT (automatic double tracking) which we all love today.

As a painter, how significant is visual artwork in relation to Anything Box?
More than I’ve ever had time to execute. I feel there is a deep connection to visual art in the way that I choose and use sounds. The layers are simple on their own, but together they form the proper synthesis. I want to go further with this on the next thing.. Painting was for me, also the rival career that lost out to music, but coming in "2nd" did not diminish its importance.

Your band is noted for its explorations into human nature and psyche. Do you have a personal favorite ABOX track that sums up how you feel about the world?
Hmm. Great question. Yikes. Cannot answer that one. What is my favorite is watching people sing songs back to me.. when that happens, that song becomes my favorite for a while. I owe it to the people.

What would you say is Anything Box’s greatest recording achievement? Performance achievement? And why?
I think Elektrodelica was incredible for me because of the willingness to part with rules, and that was important to me. But of course, working with Gareth Jones on Worth was an experience that changed my life (in the production and personal sense). All things changed after Germany.

MusiccornerAbox - Three
ou and your band have released several works on your Orangewerks and Endpop labels. How difficult is it to manage an independent record label in an age of corporatism?
I do it by making fun of corporatism. :) Endpop is a perfect example. Take this link: ... [w]e have a drawing program so people can draw and save their own paintings. It's there because I thought it was cool for me to draw no matter where I was. So I put it there. What label does that? And then there’s the name.. end pop. Does it mean end all pop? or does it mean end-of-the-world pop? Corporatism can suck it is another way of looking at it. ;p

What are your new projects in the coming year?
Stay close to us and our site, because there is something huge brewing. I’d give you the scoop but someone would kill me! We’ve been playing more, as well. Expanding and expanding. That’s a big change, and I am pushing that visual aspect even more. [A]ll of this is taking me somewhere creative and amazing, and I love that!

Any last comments for fans on your music?
If you have never heard us…[t]he music will ether speak to you or it won't. That's up to the music and you. As for our fans?? We love you, and I hope that it shows in everything Abox does. We have the best fans in the world, bar none. I am so proud!! viva Abox fans, cause you are the champions!!

by Jeff Boyce