Interview at by toroddfuglesteg with Lutz Meinert

January 17 2011

Out of the omnipresent standard sound of mainstream, hip hop and tekkno FOR YOUR PLEASURE consistently have developed their own music style since 1993. In the course of this commercial calculation never was an object. Instead of countless other artists an their grim pursuit of the Big Hit, FOR YOUR PLEASURE, born as a studio project and grown to a complete band of five in the meantime, take another way. Inspired from the fascinating Art Rock of the late sixties and the early seventies, the musicians have taken up this music style and developed it further. So various elements of rock, folk, jazz and classical music shape the individual style of the band. After a long phase of personal changes now the band presents its second CD timeless.

I got in touch with the band and Lutz answered my questions.

The For Your Pleasure biography is quite extensive so let's bypass the formalities.

Were any of you involved in any other bands before you joined up in For Your Pleasure, which bands were you influenced by and why did you choose that Roxy Music associated name?

From 1979 till 1985 I played in Berlin with Camembert (rock), Bizarr (rock), Keex (progressive rock), Imago (progressive rock) and Solaris (jazz rock).

My main influences are: (the early) Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, PFM, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Van der Graaf Generator, ELP, Traffic, Brand X ... and much more ...

Certainly I like the early Roxy Music, too and if we were searching for a project/band name I remembered the second Roxy Music album. Its title was program, the reason why musicians publish music. And "For Your Pleasure" sounds not so dramatic and lofty like some other prog-bands.

Why did you choose your type of music instead of pop, folk music, punk or brass bands?

I hear readily many music styles except hip hop/rap, tekkno and pure rock'n'roll, but as composer and musician the versatileness of progressive rock me fascinate most of all.

Let's go straight to your debut album. Please tell us more about Scattered Pages from 1993.

In 1991 the guitarist Georgios Zikidis (aka Greeko) and and I (aka Margin)(voc, keyb, dr) came together in Berlin to record some tracks for a demo-tape in my own homerecording studio. We didn't have a strict concept for the music style. I used to play pure progressive rock with Imago some years before, but after the 70s the situation in the 80s and the early 90s in Berlin and Germany was not very good for playing progressive rock - no matter on stage or on CD. And as a unknown band it was still gaining weight.

At this time we had no motivation to record only pure progressive rock with long tracks, complex arrangements and many changes of measure. Therefore arised a less and more random collection of tracks, some of them inclined to progressive rock, some others to pop/rock.

Because the great german labels didn‘t have interrest on the songs we founded our own independent label MADVEDGE RECORDS and released in 1993 our debut-CD.

I like our debut still today, in particular "Another future", "Only We Are Trying To" and "The Damaged Book", even if by now I would record some tracks with a better sound and slight another arrangement. Only the song "I want you now" was rather shallow.

And then there was a long break. What happened?

After some good reviews Georgios Zikidis and I worked on material for our second album which should contain pure progressive rock. Parallel to the recording sessions we were looking for musicians to form a group for live performances. But it was very hard to find good musicians for this kind of music. For professional musicans our style was not commercial enough and at this time in Berlin (till today...) the most amateur musicians want to play pop, punk, heavy/metall-rock, grunge, funk, folk-pop and all stuff which gave a chance to get a deal with a major label like hip hop and tekkno - but no progressive rock.

We found with Frank Brennekam an excellent drummer and with Arne Spekat a very good bass player but it was a very big problem to find keyboarder.

I don't like to play keyboards while singing lead vocals. Also the arrangements were so complex, that we needed a additional main keyboarder. Some keyboarders came and went and someday in 1995 Georgios Zikidis was tired to play only the same titles and left the band.

After that, we had two problems: To find a keyboarder AND to find a guitarist! And keyboarders (if ever) came and went ... and guitarists came and went ... and always we practised the same titles with changing musicians. At the same time we had over the years some gigs for small audience.

After some years with endless searching for musicians our frustation was too big and someday Frank Brennekam and I decided to resolve the band. But some weeks later we looked again after musicians for For Your Pleasure and found Nils Conrad, an excellent constant guitarist. But Arne Spekat did not want to came back. For him Peter Stärk joined the band on bass. But unfortunately we never found a constant keyboarder.

Please tell us more about your second album Timeless from 2000.

Primary it was intended to record our second album with the complete constant band. Because we never were such a band, I took 1999 the tracks, which we recoreded since 1993 in my home studio with overdubs of less or more actual members of For Your Pleasure as material for our second album. That was also the reason because 4 guitarists play on it!

The single tracks and parts were recorded with different quality of studio equipment over the years. Better we would recorded all tracks new, but at this situation we had no time, no money and no desire for it. We only wanted to publish finalley our second album after 7 years!

Today I would record and master the material with a better and more homogenous sound.

The album title "timeless" less hint at these recording situations over the years as at the obvious influences of the progressive rock of the early 70s. In this respect "timless" is more "proggy" as our debut "Scattered Pages". And still today I like especially tracks like "City Nights", "Goodnight and yet", "Sleepwalkers" and "The Hole".

By the way the tracks "Always The Same Old Introduction of War", "Sleepwalkers" and "Goodnight And Yet" were older compositions, which I wrote in the 80s and performed with my former band Imago.

That was ten years ago and nothing has been heard of you since then. What has happened and what is the latest update and plans?

In spite of some very good reviews for "timeless", we sold only few CDs. Both CD productions were been commerical flops. We had no distribution, only our homepage.
Beyond that we don't find musicans to complete the band and in Berlin there were barely locations to play progressive rock.

One event was symptomatic for our situation: In 2001 the band Transatlantic played in Berlin. Before the musicians went on stage we distributed at the entry and in the concert hall bulks of flyers with exellent reviews for "Timeless" and "Scattered Pages". After that and weeks ago no one had sold one single CD. The only reaction was the interest of a journalist of an online-magazine. As we had sent to him a promo-CD, he published a another very good review... At this point I guessed that For Your Pleasure has no future in Berlin as unknown progressive rock band.

However Nils Conrad, Frank Brennekam, Peter Stärk and I rehearsed less or more steady for several months. But someday we all decided that we will suspend the rehearsels till we are a complete band with a main keyboarder. And since that time we never played as band again.
We had never resolved the band officially, but we never have played together again.

About one year later, Nils Conrad, Frank Brennekam, Arne Spekat (he had interest in the group again) and I met us at home to speak about a new studio album. Each of us had brought some demo tracks. As I heard the single tracks, I knew that it would be a a very tough job, to form all these very different pieces of music to a halfway homogenous style.
For this work I didn't have neither the power, nor the time. Because nobody of us wanted to produce a new common CD-project, the third album never appeared.

Today, Arne Spekat, Frank Brennekam and I are still friends, an we meet us less or more regularly. But till today a reunion of For Your Pleasure is not a theme. The situation for unknown progressive rock bands in Berlin is not better. Very possible that For Your Pleasure was the last for this kind in Berlin. I don't know another progressive rock band in Berlin, neither while we existed nor after us till today.

How was the creative processes in For Your Pleasure from coming up with an idea to it's being recorded?

Normally Frank, George or I myself composed the whole track alone at home with concrete ideas for the arrangement. In studio (or rehearsel room) we set the final arrangement and the solo-parts.

For those of us unfamiliar with your music: how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with?

Prevailing the stylistic basic of For Your Pleasure was the progressive rock in the spirit of the early seventies with some elements of jazz-rock, folk and psychedelic/ambient music and pop. I think on some tracks you can listen the influences of the early Genesis, Jethro Tull, Peter Gabriel.

If this is the end; what is your best and worst memories of your time in For Your Pleasure?

The best memories...
As I hold our debut CD in my hand at the first time.
And some magic moments in the rehearsel room, when a new song was played at the first time or we added some new parts to an old song. So we extended the closing part of "The Damaged Book", it grew to a real poignant trip, much more intense as the cd-version!

The worst memories...
Wasted time in the rehearsal room, because the musicians had not practised their parts at home or didn't show up.

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview?

I feel honoured that today someone is interested in For Your Pleasure. And if only few listeners like our CDs it would have been worth the whole trouble.