While their worldwide tour barely ended, the Germans from Rammstein already deliver us their new album, Rosenrot (« Red Rose »), a combination of songs unused on Reise, Reise, as well as new songs. Knowing their love (amour) for France, it’s no surprise that we met Till and his gang in Paris, on the banks of « La Seine », where they established their Kommandantur.
MONDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2005 will remain in our memories! It is on that day that the Germans from Rammstein decided to land aboard their warship (reference to Rosenrot’s sleeve), in Paris. During three days, the band invited the European journalists into our capital city, in order to make us listen to nine of the eleven songs from Rosenrot, their new album set to be released on October 24th 2005.
It all began at 9:30 am, when an upper deck bus covered with Rammstein’s colors opened its gates for us: « Please sign this receipt in double copy, it guarantees us that you will not put the recording of the interviews on the internet and that you will not burn CDs and try to sell them. » The tone is set. And it is paranoid. The CD-players that are handed to us are sealed. But it does not matter, as soon as the first music note of « Benzin » starts, the bus takes the journalists – all of them are wearing headphones – from one monument to another (tragically neglecting the Eiffel Tower!), so that they can discover the charms of our capital city. What fun it is to listen to « Zerstören » (« destroy ») while going up on « Les Champs-Élysées »!
After over an hour and a half of tourism, it is now time to put our feet down to earth, at Rammstein’s promotional headquarter, « Le Batofar », a bar-concert venue boat, moored near the National French Library (Bibliothèque François Mitterrand). It is into its holds that we once again listen to the nine songs, on a huge sound system. An hour later we are facing Till Lindemann and his interpreter, then Christoph Schneider also escorted by a translator. Despite a very tight timing, handled in a German way, we managed to make both musicians talk.
WHY DID YOU CHOSE FRANCE AS A MEETING POINT FOR EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS?
We were tired of travelling the world (laughs)! Our tour just ended and we did not want to meet the journalists in London, Amsterdam or Madrid. Paris is in the center of Europe, besides who would not like to spend some days in this beautiful city?
DO YOU CONSIDER ROSENROT AS A SEQUEL OF REISE, REISE OR IS IT A COMPLETE INDEPENDANT ALBUM?
That is a tough question. I would rather say that it is all about cycles. I see Rosenrot as the brother of Reise, Reise, or as another branch of the same tree. But those two albums are completely independants. They both exist by themselves. The interval between Reise, Reise and Rosenrot was very short. We took many songs, ideas, rythms or sounds from Reise, Reise to make Rosenrot. Both albums are made from the same mold. They both share the same feelings, the same impressions.
SONG LYRICS SUCH AS « MEIN TEIL » OR « AMERIKA » WERE PRETTY EXPLICIT. THIS TIME, WE FEEL LIKE THEY ARE MORE POETIC AND LESS PROVOCATIVE …
It is true that poetry is more latent on Rosenrot than on our previous albums, but we always develop many various themes. « Mann Gegen Mann » is about homosexuality and « Zerstören » about childhood pulsion of destruction.
HOW DID YOU END UP WRITING SUCH INTIMATE LYRICS ABOUT INNER TORMENTS OF A PERSON WHO FINDS OUT ABOUT HIS HOMOSEXUALITY?
It came to my mind after I went out with homosexual friends. We were in Berlin and I showed them my neighbourhood. It is a place where homosexuals like to meet: there are bars, clubs etc. In one of those bars I was impressed to see how simple their way of communication is. They mostly meet by looking at each other. With men and women it is all about making a move and seduction. That difference inspired me the lyrics of « Mann Gegen Mann ». The verse « destiny made me a gift » also explains that simplicity, that way to meet without worrying. I also talk about the fact of not being able to have children when you are homosexual. It is really cool to have children, but it is also a major source of trouble that homosexual people do not have to care about. They really have an easier life than we think.
DOES THE IDEA TO RECORD « TE QUIERO PUTA! » CAME UP TO YOUR MIND WHILE YOU WERE RECORDING REISE, REISE IN SPAIN?
Yes and no… I really like the Spanish language, and I think it is very similar to the German language, especially when it comes to roll the « r »’s. The way we speak our language is very similar. If you want a powerful chorus, you need powerful lyrics. « Te Quiero Puta! » was in our drawers since a while, but we did not really have a chorus. When I found that sentence, « Te Quiero Puta », I suggested it to the band, as I always usually do with every Rammstein lyrics, and everyone liked it. Then, it was very easy for me to write the rest of the lyrics. Reise, Reise was number one in Mexico’s charts, so we wanted to offer a tribute to that country. « Te Quiero Puta » was born thanks to that. It is almost the same development that we had with « Moskau » which is on Reise, Reise.
DO YOU PREFER THE RAMMSTEIN FULL OF HUMOR LIKE « TE QUIERO PUTA! » AND « BENZIN » OR, THE NOSTALGIC AND POETIC ONE LIKE « WO BIST DU? » AND « EIN LIED »?
It all depends… I really make a difference between live shows and recording sessions. When we are playing live, I prefer fast songs, which are addressed more directly to the public. I like to see people reacting in front of me, I need that feedback in order to surpass myself. I rather see fans jumping everywhere, than seeing them lightening their lighters (laughs)!
However, when we record an album, I prefer calmer songs, that allow me to reflect, with more romantic lyrics.
YOU ARE ABOUT TO RELEASE THE DVD WHICH WAS SHOT AT LES ARENES DE NIMES. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT SHOW AND YOUR OWN PERFORMANCE?
(Laughs) All our shows work almost the same way. The only problems that could emerge comes from our mood: if we are sick, if we feel good, if we drank more Porto than usual… In this last case, it is easier to forgive ourselves if we messed up with something! What was unforgettable to me, in Nîmes, was the atmosphere, the venue and the sound. All the conditions were united to play an excellent show. Of course, the show in Bercy last winter (February 11th 2005) was also a unique moment. The French audience is amazing. They are as impulsive as Spanish and Mexican people. I was very impressed by their temperament.
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR INTERPRETATION OF « MEIN HERZ BRENNT » AND « OHNE DICH » WITH APOCALYPTICA, LAST FEBRUARY IN BERCY?
I loved the result of that experience! At first I thought it could be dangerous to jam with Apocalyptica’s musicians, because music with just instruments, without singing, can quickly become tiring or boring. When I listen to an album of that band, after four or five tracks it tires my ears. But I really have no regrets about that experience, it was unforgettable.
DURING THE SHOW YOU ALWAYS PLAY A LOT OF NEW SONGS, THEREFORE THERE ARE LESS AND LESS « CLASSICAL » SONGS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU OVER-PLAYED THEM?
Every human being evolves. It is like clothes: you cannot always wear the same clothes. We do not wish to stagnate, to stop evolving. Sometimes, we add older songs at the end of our set-list, during the encore. We cannot be like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and play the same songs during twenty years. We choose the best songs from each of our albums, and also stick to the ones who can have scenical effects. We’ve been playing live for ten years and we do our best to offer a brand new show during each tour.
HAVE YOU ALREADY THOUGHT ABOUT NEW PYROTECHNICAL AFFECTS FOR THE NEXT TOUR?
Reise, Reise Tour just ended for us, even though some people might think we have not toured in their country for a while. We are currently living the echo of that tour. The next tour probably won’t start until mid-2006, or at the beginning of 2007. Therefore currently it is not a priority for us. We will think about it when we will agree on the songs we wish to play live.
CAN YOU TELL US THE GENESIS OF ROSENROT?
Some songs come from the recording sessions of Reise, Reise, we added five brand new songs to this one. Rosenrot is the second part of Reise, Reise. That is also why we are not making a huge promotion for this album.
LAST YEAR, ROSENROT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE NAMED “REISE WEITER” AND SHOULD HAVE CONTAINED COVERS. WHY DID YOU DROP THIS IDEA?
We made some trials. First of all, we had trouble to agree on the songs we wanted to cover. Then we realised that what we were doing was not really good. We decided to drop that idea and write new songs, since we all had interesting ideas.
WAS IT EASY FOR YOU TO COMPOSE NEW SONGS THAT WOULD FIT WITH THE OLDER ONES FROM REISE, REISE?
Totally. We did not wonder a lot, the songs just came naturally by themselves and they were completely fitting with the older songs.
DID YOU AGAIN WORK WITH AN ORCHESTRA AND A CHOIR?
Not this time. We did not find it useful, and even though we had made such a thing, it would have been difficult to organise it since we did not have much time. The only collaboration was the one with the Mariachis who played trumpets on « Te Quiero Puta ». But I don’t think we can compare them to an orchestra (laughs)!
ONCE AGAIN YOU WORKED WITH STEPHAN GLAUMANN AND JACOB HELLNER. ARE THOSE PEOPLE THE INCARNATION OF THE RAMMSTEIN SOUND?
Totally. We are not like those American bands who hire a new producer every time they record a new album. We have very strong bond with Stephan and Jacob, and they are part of the Rammstein family. Our success is also due to their work, therefore we have no reason to work with other people. Besides, it is easier and faster to work with people that we know. In the past, we had to meet during weeks in the studio to discuss about what kind of sound we wanted. From now on, everybody feela the same and understanda what the Rammstein sound is about. Nobody in the band wants to discuss about that again with a new producer! Now we just have to make them listen to a mp3 of our songs, and they know exactly where we want to go. We work very easily this way, and have no interest to complicate our lives.
HAVE YOU RECORDED ADDITIONAL SONG TO PUT THEM OUT AS SINGLES?
No. We keep on offering remixes from people we appreciate. We all store ideas on our external hard drive, in Berlin, but we did not have the time to record anything more than the eleven songs that are on Rosenrot.
YOU JUST WON A WORLD MUSIC AWARD FOR « Best Selling Artists Around The World » THIS YEAR. DOES THAT KIND OF THING MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU?
We were not aware about that award ceremony. Our management told to us yesterday via e-mail that we had won this award in Los Angeles (laughs)! It does not mean a lot to me, except that it is always nice to be rewarded when you have been working hard. I am pleased about it, but it does not thrill me.
NOW THAT RAMMSTEIN IS FAMOUS WORLDWIDE AND YOU ARE HAVING EXCEPTIONAL SUCCESS, IS IT EASY TO MOVE ON, TO LOOK UP FOR NEW AIMS?
I do not think that success is one of our motivations. Our first aim is to have pleasure writing songs that we enjoy. Our biggest motivation is to see people having pleasure during our shows.
A FEW TIMES AGO, SOME TENSIONS HAPPENED IN THE BAND. DOES IT BELONG TO THE PAST OR ARE THERE STILL CONFLICTS BETWEEN YOU ALL?
Everything is going very well now. We got rid of that issue right on time. We discussed, talked about our problems, and found solutions. We have found many securities, one of them was to allow Richard (Kruspe-Bernstein) to express himself through a solo career.
WHEN YOU ARE ON TOUR IT MUST NOT BE EASY …
This is true. That is the reason why we are going to take a break before meeting again.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN? RIGHT NOW?
Yes, we are doing some small promotion for Rosenrot and then we are going to take at least a six months break.
SO, THERE WILL NOT BE A TOUR TO SUPPORT ROSENROT?
It is not planned at the moment.
WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO MEET AGAIN IN SIX MONTHS OR MORE, WILL YOU CONSIDER THE IDEA OF A NEW ALBUM?
Probably. But first we will make sure that everything is still going on well between us, hear everyone’s wishes, and then we will start to think about a new album. It has been ten years since Rammstein started, we have not found the time to step back. And we all agree on the fact that we need to know if what we are doing is good or if we are starting to make bad things. Right now, it is very hard to judge our work. A break will allow us to be more objective about ourselves.
YOU CANCELLED A TOUR IN SOUTH AMERICA THIS OCTOBER, CLAIMING THAT ONE OF YOU WAS ILL. WAS IT JUST AN EXCUSE?
No (laughs)! It is true. Our keyboarder, Flake, has been sick for a while because of food poisoning, we did not know if he would be cured for that tour. We cannot cancel a tour at the last minute, we have to respect people we work with as well as the audience.
Source: Hard ‘n’ Heavy Magazine, October 2005 issue
Till Lindemann’s interpreter: Brigitte Soelzer
Christoph Schneider’s interpreter: Beate E. Renner
Translation: Garance Colin
Corrections: Ezzy Davidson