MB: I believe I first become aware of Das Kaput when he was recording under the name Wet Dentist. Around the 2008 mark or so there was a pretty engaged community of musicians on Twitter, somewhere around that time Bandcamp and Soundcloud started, and I think he had supported one of my early releases and I in turn checked out his music.
Music influences are too broad and varied to list. I tend to pick artists, genres, etc. and go down rabbit holes, so I have a really long list of music I’ve listened to and been inspired by at one point or another. Early influences would be Billy Joel in my very early teens when I was trying to learn how to play piano and structure songs, immediately followed by about 5 years of listening to nothing but Prince and affiliated Minneapolis funk projects (The Time, Sheila E, Jesse Johnson, etc.). I then took a hard left turn into late 60’s early 70’s prog rock (Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd), and then really dove into 90’s NIN, Tori Amos, Soul Coughing, Seal, Peter Gabriel, Terence Trent D’Arby and on and on. I can find inspiration in anything I can make sense of, and when I listen to something and don’t “get it”, it makes me want to know what I’m missing and dig deeper.
JK: I don’t remember exactly what year it was, but sometime around when Mr. Bitterness put out “Destined for Dust” is when I found him on Twitter, IIRC; there’s a pretty good chance I was searching for Soul Coughing-related stuff at the time, so it was total luck. I was really impressed with Destined for Dust; the songs, the playing, the lyrics, and especially the vocals. Then I remember when his next record “The Good Fight” came out, I was like “holy moly is this hot, or what?”. That was an album that made me think that if he had a band playing those songs live like how they sound on the record, he could make a good living touring & recording. So when he suggested that we do a project together, I was excited. Granted, I had absolutely no idea what it would end up sounding like, but I sure wanted to find out. My musical background/back catalog, with bands, collabs & solo situations, has usually involved a lot of weird experimentation (with guitars, computers, and especially my voice), sometimes a bit too weird (especially apparent in Wet Dentist songs, lol). So, being presented with the opportunity to add some of those elements to Mr. Bitterness’ songsmithing seemed like a good thing to do.
In terms of influences, I like music in many genres, and there are some genres I can’t stand. At the place that I’ve been employed for the past 11 years, I listen to “classical” music for 8 hours a day, mostly a mix of these particular kinds: lute music of the Renaissance and Baroque period, lots of other Baroque, classical, and some Romantic era stuff, though I’m not that into symphonies/big orchestras or opera. I would much rather listen to something Beethoven wrote for a duet of piano & cello than one of his masterpiece symphonies any day. I think I was 9 or 10 when I first heard the “Candy-0” album by The Cars, with that luscious mixture of synthesizers, guitars etc. I was a fan of hip-hop from the beginning; and I remember exactly where I was, and how floored I was, when I first heard “Planet Rock,” and a few years later “Rebel Without a Pause.” I got into punk/hardcore back in the early-to-mid 80s, and then “college music,” and funk & jazz & reggae while I was in college. And, of course, there is The Fall, and Brainiac’s “Electroshock for President” EP was a huge influence on the early development of Wet Dentist back in the early oughties. I could easily keep going on and on, as there has been so much music that has impacted me deeply, like Antipop Consortium, LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, Talking Heads, etc. etc.