I’m a bit scared

He’s Till Lindemann’s sex slave and punching bag, gets cooked into a stew on a regular basis and sails across an ocean of people in a dinghy – on stage. Privately, the Rammstein keyboard player, Christian “Flake” Lorenz, has a penchant for literature. And now he’s written a book of his own.

“Der Tastenficker” Flake calls his biography, is available in German bookstores since the 16th of March. At nearly 400 pages, the Berliner writes about everything that concerns him: trees, fear, family, childhood, cars and just about everything else you can possibly imagine. Just not about Rammstein. But this doesn’t make “Der Tastenficker” any less worth reading. Even if Flake himself is of the opinion that biographies are boring. Why, despite this, he wrote one himself, is what he recently told us over the phone.

Hello Flake. Let’s start the interview with talking about your book. You write at the beginning that your favorite trees are birches. How come?

That’s stemming from my childhood in the GDR. Birches are trees that can grow under inhospitable conditions. In quarries, for example. I thought this was fascinating.

A symbol for perseverance?

That’s one way of looking at it, yes.

You pose a lot of questions in your book and, for most of the time, you offer several possible answers. On a wide range of topics, but also on the big questions of life, death and immortality. Do you think that there is one, right answer everyone has to find for themselves?

No. There is no thing as an absolute truth. And no one who has died has ever come back to tell us about it. It’s different from person to person. I have just written down my thoughts. I won’t tell anyone what to think. That’s out of the question.

What were your main motives with the book?

I read a lot and love to. And I have always admired people who write books. To be able to invent a world, to tell stories. I wanted to do that too. But I realized I couldn’t. I can only write about what I have actually experienced and to offer my thoughts on that. And even that, I find difficult. To sort everything out and put it onto paper. To think or to say something is a completely different thing to writing it down.

So, your initial plan was to write a novel? Something fictional? And it wasn’t until you realized that you couldn’t do it, yet, that you decided to write a biography?

Yes, exactly. Fictional worlds and stories fascinate me. I find biographies boring.

Well, I wouldn’t call your book boring. It reads like one long train of thoughts (i.e “stream of consciousness). However, now you say that it was hard for you to put your thoughts onto paper. Did you write everything in one go, or did you ponder which segment to write next?

Of course, I wrote the whole thing in one go. I said the sentences out loud to myself and then thought about how to best write them down.

How long did the writing process take? The finished result is rather extensive.

I wrote pretty briskly initially. I started out last May and I was done in November. I had the time, summer holidays and so on. The actual time spent on writing was probably rather short. I spread out my writing during the day. I didn’t organize it, I just sat down at the computer. Sometimes, a thought came to me when I was taking a walk, or at night. Anytime, really.

Have you written everything yourself, or did you have a co-author?

No, I wrote everything myself. That was what it was all about – to write. Not necessarily to write a biography. I didn’t change much of the text after I was done either. Some conjunctives and such were taken out in editing. But I really wanted to make it for myself. I wanted to write. I wanted to see if I could.

What are you reading yourself?

Pretty much anything I get my hands on. To mention a classic: Dostoyevsky. And so on. I could talk about it for hours.

You said that what you really wanted to write was a novel. Is that a possibility for the future?

Yes, of course. I want to do that at some point. I already have an idea. But I’d rather not say anything concrete about it until it takes form. (laughs)

In your book, you discuss several, different topics. Sometimes very complex, universal topics. But you keep breaking them down into quite personal terms. Is that the best way for you to address such philosophical topics? From your own experiences?

Yes, I only know how to do it in this way. From what I have lived myself.

You often make comparisons that at first glance don’t make any sense, but somehow fit into the situation in their own way. That leads me to a very general question: What is your view of the world?

(deliberates) Hmm, I see the world simply as an astonishingly fascinating place. But I also believe that man at his core is evil. There’s quite simply too much predator in us. But I try to counteract this.

During the course of the book, you are often describing yourself as “the perfect victim“, especially in the sections about your childhood. How do you view this period of time today? Would you change anything if you could, or is it just a part of who you are?

Well, the human brain generally tries to suppress bad memories. I think that’s great, it helps. I remember a happy childhood. Of course, there were a few, small things, but that’s just how it is. It doesn’t necessarily have a bad connotation for me. I wrote it down as I remember it.

It’s very humorous, with a lot of self-irony.

I don’t know about that, if I can describe myself as a humorous person. That’s just the way I remember things, I can’t help it. (laughs)

Like you state in the epilogue, you don’t write a lot about Rammstein. You would think that the band has been a great part of your life?

I would have to speak to the others first. Perhaps, one day we’ll write a band biography. I am not Rammstein alone, there are five other people too. And my view of the band is not necessarily that of the others’.

This book is just me. My memories. Of course, I am very influenced by Rammstein and that is a huge part of my life. But the book isn’t about Rammstein, but about me as a person.

Do you think it’s a problem when people only see you as a part of Rammstein and therefore buy the book?

Sure, that will happen. I can’t do much about that. But hopefully, the word will get around that the book isn’t a Rammstein biography. Maybe that will upset some people, but I can’t change that. And reading has never hurt anyone.

Provocation plays a big part in Rammstein, but your book doesn’t have a lot to do with that. The closest it comes to it is with the title, “Der Tastenficker”, even if that’s not especially provoking. What is your take?

No, I cannot see anything provocative about the title whatsoever. I showed it to my friends and they all laughed heartily about it. It was quite a common term in the East for a keyboard player. As was calling the drummer the Shooting Range Target.

Am I making too much of it by calling the book a counterpoint to the band?

Yes, absolutely. I haven’t written it to distance myself from anything or to stir up controversy. It’s quite simply just my thoughts that I have written down – without any grand intentions.

Till has just launched his new solo project, Richard is doing Emigrate. Would you say that “Der Tastenficker” is your solo project?

Hmm, I don’t know. It’s really not my thing, but it is a bit special. But I wouldn’t describe it as a solo project in that sense.

Next, you will be giving a whole series of public readings. Do you know already how you are going about this?

No, quite honestly, I haven’t engaged myself in that in the least. I don’t really know how to do it. To tell the truth, I’m a little scared of this. I have only once been at a reading and that was comical, somehow. The author sat there and read from his book with a bunch of vociferous old grannies around him. Completely unexciting. But I couldn’t think of anything better, though. If someone has a suggestion, I’m game. But they wanted me to read something, so I’m going to read something from the book.

Do you know which parts you are going to read?

No, no idea, I haven’t even read the book through myself yet. First, I have to see what it is that I have written. But most likely, I’ll read from the easier chapters. About my first performance or my apprenticeship as a toolmaker, for example. I’ll just let it come to me.

Original Source: Laut.de
Interview by Manuel Berger, laut.de
Foto: radioeins.de
Translation: Murray

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