– Mr. Helbig, what led to the beginning of such a close collaboration with Rammstein?
– It was related to our meeting regarding the classic “Mein Herz Brennt” album. Together with my friend we formed an orchestra back then and we wanted the composer Torsten Rasch to re-sound Rammstein bands lyrics. This is how we met.
– Along with Torsten Rasch, you have prepared the song cycle “Mein Herz Brennt” based upon Rammstein lyrics. How this project started and what was the cause for it? As far as we know, it was your idea.
– Yes, I’ve came up with the idea as soon as I have read the lyrics. Then I imagined, that such strong lyrics could also work with other music.
– Single „Mein Herz Brennt” was released on December 2013. How was it possible, that both Piano Version and Instrumental Piano Version were created? How long were you working on this? Have you got lots of freedom?
– I had full freedom. Band wanted their song to be re-made in new clothes. Original version is well known classic among lots of people. It should be heard and recognized once more, so I changed a few things in tempo and dynamics. Loud elements are silent in my version and the track itself is slower. It was not clear whether or not this concept would work this way, but in the moment we were recording with Till, it has been clear to all people involved that something fascinating is being made.
– The new Rammstein Europe Tour starts soon. On the general rehearsal in Berlin “Mein Herz Brennt” in Piano version was performed by Flake on the piano.. Have you spoken with Flake and Till about this version’s live performance?
– No, the band surprised me with their decision. I have sent the notes to Flake and he began to practice. He plays piano very well. The fact, that my Piano Version was placed on the A side of Mein Herz Brennt single and is now performed during live shows, that fans and band like this version. I am very happy about that.
– Please imagine, that Rammstein invites you to joint live tour with orchestra. Would you agree or would you decline?
– Why would I decline? I would start my preparation immediately – that is for sure
– You have also worked with Pet Shop boys. Could you say something about this? Was this collaboration different than working with Rammstein? How much?
– The collaboration itself does not differ that much. It is always based upon trust and I have some freedom. Work is always intense and we have vivid discussions. While working for both bands I do not need to stretch myself. It is interesting and mysterious, that both bands reached for me and for both totally different bands I do exactly the same thing. I cannot discover two different kinds of music. But in both worlds it functions in wonderful way.
– We have heard, that in 2013 – the year of Wagner – you want to work with Apocalyptica. Could you tell us something about this?
– New Apocalyptica compositions are being made – they were partially mixed with Wagner’s music and partially imbued with orchestral arrangements. Eicca [Toppinen] delivered me some detail, but I also can bring lots of my ideas. I am still on the very beginning and I cannot see where we end up. The massive production will start in Leipzig this July. Directors role is held by choreographer Gregor Seyfferd and he has some brilliant ideas on how to transfer all of this on one stage. Orchestra members are sitting basically one on another on a massive scaffolding.
– How do you work on specific song? Is it something unusual to add classical elements to non-classical track?
– I was raised upon orchestra music and music without violin. I cannot separate this. For me all of emotions can be expressed either with or without orchestra. Transferring something from one genre to another is not a problem. In my life these were never two separate worlds. Firstly, I listen to one song many times and when I turn it off, changes appear in my head and so I simply write them all down.
– Do you think it is possible to show the classical side of Rammstein music once more? What song would sound the best after such transformation?
– I cannot tell. It is always great to keep the interest, but nothing shall be forced. Of course, I am enthusiastic about new ideas.
– Do you think, that your work might be the cause for amazement over classical music among people normally uninterested in such music genre?
– I have lots of new contacts regarding my orchestra arrangements in Rammstein world. My album, “Pocket Symphonies”, that was released in Germany recently and has attracted many people among Rammstein fans. I receive euphoric letters containing clear explanations about people finding my music thanks to Rammstein and they really appreciate it. It touches me very much and I can only be grateful for that. In June album will be released worldwide and I can imagine, that once more I will meet some Rammstein fans on my FaceBook page. And if someone would like to listen to the music material – it is possible via www.svenhelbig.com