Kicking against the dicks
(Bent Magazine, Australia)

by Krathyn White

German-based art/music/fashion terrorists, Chicks on Speed (CoS),
have been making waves on a global scale for the past five years.
Having met through art school and Japanese boyfriends in Germany,
CoS, aka American Melissa Logan, German Kiki Moorse and Australian
Alex Murray-Leslie, are modern masters of multimedia.

It all started with a multimedia project - The Box Set - which
consisted of a tape, a cardboard record, a t-shirt, button and
poster. They had all the elements of a band without actually having a
band. Then came the music - a tape of chopped-up stuff collaged
together compiled with a tape recorder and a Walkman affectionately
titled 'I Wanna Be A DJ Baby'.

Since their eponymous debut, CoS have gone on to work with some of
the most relevant and vital musicians and artists around, such as
Christopher Just, Pan sonic and Kreidler to name a few. And while
their art and music provide a rigorous assault on our thoroughly
post-modern (and post-pop) world, one thing shines through in all of
their work - the idea that music and art is about communication and
access as opposed to elitism and intelligentsia.

BENT (B): How do you make music? Is their a particular process or is
it more anyhow, anywhere, anytime?

Alex (A): It all depends on the immediate project. At the moment we
are collecting and compiling material for our production session with
Cristian Vogel in Barcelona. We firstly collect a heap of samples
from music styles we just love and adore, recorded outside sounds
(anything really) write texts by us three and chuck everything into
this programme called "live" (made by Abelton in Berlin!)

There we arrange, cut up and stuff and make a rough song, which we
then take with us to the studio to produce - that's it! It's always
different though, I must say, sometimes we've had no time to prepare
and on the way to the studio we go into the bathroom and record
vocals on a minidisc.

B: You collaborate with some interesting people. Do you seek them, or
they you - how do they come about? What have been the more memorable

A: We definitely seek them out! They have usually been friends we've
known for a while, but now we're starting to work with people we have
always admired and have slowly gotten to know over a few years,
things just start to happen.

The most special collaboration has been the one with Pan sonic. We
actually bootlegged a song of theirs on our last album, The
re-releases of the unreleases. We ate mushrooms one night and found
their 7" art package "Arctic Rangers" we then starting speaking and
mumbling over the top - it was so psychedelic. We somehow got their
number and rang them up and asked if it would be ok to use it on our
album, they said yes and we've been friends ever since. We even did a
live version of the song a few months ago at the Royal Festival Hall
and it was a live freak-out - a mega highlight for us!

B: You've done more than a spot of touring (but not Australia) what's
touring been like and is it a thing you enjoy?

A: Touring is a lot of fun, especially in USA - that's really a country
made for live music and touring. The audiences are so into seeing
bands live and appreciate that you make the effort to come over and
do your thing, they participate a lot and make the whole show usually
a very memorable event! It pays off in the mind, things always make
more sense after touring in America.

In Europe we usually just do one off gigs, big festivals and art
events. It's a strange mix - one day you find yourself in a shitty
backstage room in Houston, Texas and the next day you find yourself
playing in front of Karl Lagerfeld in Foundation Cartier in Paris.
These extremes fit the ways in which we like to be perceived by the
audiences and never be locked into that dreaded shoebox of
electroclash hell!

B: You've played with some pretty diverse bands (tribe 8 v. Kreidler)
how has this impacted the music you make?

A: It has added to our understanding of different musical genres and
the feedback from the different audiences has been the most important
thing - they are so opposite but just as important to us to get a
reaction from! You have to have fun with the audience and if you can
do that in these two extremes then that's something, but it's a real

It was very special to work with Detlef from Kreidler. He has an
amazing musical collection, which we got a lot of inspiration from!
He introduced us to bands like Minty. Playing with tribe 8 made me
respect women with guitars! Linney is tough - she pulled out a knife
and stuffed toy which she cut to shreds, oh, and she ripped of her
t-shirt, breasts everywhere, and she made this guy in the audience
suck on her dildo. She had a lot of impact on us! Especially the way
you "stand" on stage.

B: is the CoS live experience as much about theatrics and the concept
of a performance as it is about music?

A: Well, it used to be just about theatrics, we used to not even sing
live, just mimic to the music and show our films and outfits we'd
made that day. Now a days we're a "real band", it sort of just
happened that way. We now have a "real" musical set up with
computers, samplers, air effects, a Sherman filter bank and of course
all the outfits made by us and films made by us and Jules! We try and
weave the visual into the music elements, making both as live as we
possibly can. We see our live set very much influenced by the early
Fluxus groups, including Yoko Ono's work (like her flushing the
toilet piece) and some of what Robin Page did with his guitar at that
one show he did when he dragged the guitar from the street onto the
road and kept going until it was totally fucked up!

B: Do you think people tend to over analyse art and other artistic

A: I'm not really sure. I don't read a lot of art criticism - I'd
rather look at art than read about it. There's a very good site
called where they tell you what's going on
in certain galleries. I read that a lot.

B: I was reading the lyrics to your new single 'Fashion Rules'. Do you
think that individuality is dying out to an extent? It's sort of like
the cult of the individual has turned into the cult of the
wallpaper* reader. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that people seem
more afraid to go out on a limb and take risks, whether it's in
music, art, fashion, whatever (and I don't just mean going out on a
limb in terms of shock tactics) How do you react to this statement -
a shade of truth or bullshit?

A: We are trying to prompt people to do it them selves and be
creative, to just say "fuck the rules" be individual, be cheap and
most of all just do it! I think a lot of this whole globalisation
thing has taken a lot away from an individual's style, big business
has killed off the little creative designers, leaving only h and m
and Bananna Rrepublic. This is sad. A lot of young designers are
afraid to do anything else than copy what is on the catwalk in Paris
and this is bullshit. They're just creating luxury hype, like what
wallpaper* is doing. And its all just regurgitated wallpaper, not
interesting at all!

Another secret - the song is also about a frustration towards this
fashion hierachy or fashion police, and the way in which a lot of
designer professors teach their students at fashion schools, well,
it's all in the text I suppose. It's not about the schnitt but the

B: One thing that strikes me about CoS is the fact that you're three
women doing exactly what you want to and completely on your own
terms. has it been difficult or easy to get to this point?

A: To be honest, its very difficult at times, but it wouldn't work
any other way for us, so we are patient and push things how we want
them to work and be visualized. Sometimes it's very difficult to
battle against strong-headed men who don't realise that we can
actually do it better than they can and that they can learn from us -
they just don't want to listen sometimes. This can be very annoying.
It makes you realise just how much has been changed by feminism and
how far we have to go. Eventually we hope to get our point through
and we donīt care how long its going to take, we have our lifetimes.

B: What's on the cards for the future - recording-wise and other?

A: We'll be releasing our next album in 2002, we're about to start
recording with Cristian Vogel next week and then we are going to
finish our project with Pan sonic and hopefully do a release on CoS