Fire and danger – interview with Flake Lorenz

The legendary keyboardist from Rammstein, Christian ”Flake” Lorenz, released an autobiography titled ”Der Tastenficker – An was ich mich so erinnern kann” in German in 2015. The book tells the story of the keyboardist from the early days to this date and covers a lot of interesting aspects in Flake´s long, but very successful career in the music world. The Finnish translation of the book titled ”Kosketinrunkkari – Niin kuin sen satun muistamaan” was released in April through Minerva Kustannus. Kaaoszine had the honor to meet the writer himself at this year´s Provinssi festival in Seinäjoki, Finland on July 1st, and asked a couple of questions about the book.

How has the summer been so far for you and Rammstein?

Flake: We have played about 13 or 14 concerts and it has rained in 12 of them. Otherwise things have been going good.

We are doing this interview because you released your biography, ”the Keyboardfucker” in 2015 and it was recently translated into Finnish. In the book you say you don’t really like to read biographies. Why did you decide to write yours then?

Flake: The book is not really a biography. It is about the events that have happened to me during my life and also my thoughts about this day. That is why it doesn’t follow a certain timeline like a normal biography. I wrote it because I wanted to know what it is like to write a book. I have heard stories that the kids should be quiet when dad writes but I have never had any idea how writing a book actually is. It has given me a lot of joy.

I read the biography of John Peel. He has had a lot of influence on German music by playing a lot of punk and underground music on the radio. He started to write his biography and after finishing chapter two he died. I found it very sad and that is why I decided to write mine fast to be able to finish it.

The name of the book, ”der Tastenficker”, is pretty striking. Was it really so that all keyboard players in East-Berlin were called by that name?

Flake: Not only in eastern Berlin but everywhere in DDR. It was more like a derogatory term than a dirty word. A good keyboard player was not called a ”Keyboard fucker”, only those who played poorly.

 

You don’t write much about Rammstein in the book, only few sentences at the end of the book. Is there a reason for that?

Flake: About Rammstein I should write a whole book. When you spend 24 hours a day with the band it is clear that I have a lot of memories from different days. The book doesn’t follow a chronological order which is a little untypical. How did the writing process actually go?

I have written all the events exactly in the order that they have come to my mind. The events of early childhood that have come to my mind later have been situated in that exact point. The themes of the chapters go accordingly how the first sentence of the chapter begins.

In new places you like to go out for a walk and to explore. Have you already had time to got out here in Seinäjoki? or have you only been here at the hotel?

Flake: I haven’t yet had any time but I will go later. We are playing at 23:30 so I have a few hours left. The area looks a little bit restless so I have to consider which way I should go.

The last time we were here we were staying in a hotel in the city center and then I walk from the hotel to the concert.

There have been a lot of terror attacks in Europe lately. You fly a lot and spend a lot of time at the airports. Has this made your fear of flying worse or have you already gotten used to that since you do it so often?

Flake: We are flying so often that we just simply cannot fear that anymore. If we play two gigs in a weekend we have to fly four times during that weekend. If I had fear, it would be impossible. It simply doesn’t fit.

In the book you say that you have never actually been a talented keyboard player. Do you still practice a lot?

Flake: I can easily play Rammstein songs even if I would be woken up from my bed and had to play immediately, because they are not so demanding. It is more about the idea and sound. If I practice, I play classical piano songs and that gives me a lot of joy. That doesn’t benefit me much with Rammstein though. I don’t really have to improve my playing skills in Rammstein.

You have been cheated and robbed many times due to you being too naive. Do you have any regrets?

Flake: All the time less. Sometimes my business affairs have failed but so much time have gone by and I have had so much fun that I can’t regret anything.

You say that you are very happy at the moment with your life with kids, wife and band. Do you still have any personal or professional goals you would like to achieve?

Flake: Not actually because I already have achieved so much more than I thought would be possible. Already during DDR times I thought myself successful when we were playing in front of 100 people. Back then I thought I was something really big as we were standing on stage and the lights went on.

I never believed I would play in front of so many people as we do now. Back then it would have been as crazy thought as flying to the moon. All my dreams have become true so many times that I never thought would happen to me, and that is why I don’t have any other wishes.

In your newest DVD, ”In Amerika”, you got arrested in the USA. Do you think that it was worth it to find success in America?

Flake: Actually not. It was just a crazy idea of the other band members who thought that in order to be extremely successful, you have to go to America to play and flatter there. I think that if we hadn’t gone there we wouldn’t be so successful there. It wouldn’t have been so easy to break through from Europe. We have put a lot of time and energy there because people haven’t been so interested there. If you try to force something, it probably wont happen so easily than taking it easy and letting things just happen.

If it is OK for you, we would like to ask you a little bit of the current situation, and also the future of Rammstein. You have been playing a new song, ”Ramm4”, in your gigs. Is it actually a new song?

Flake: It is a new song that consists of the lyrics of our older songs which have been combined and are thus giving the song a whole new meaning. We wanted to show the world that we are still together and play and make new music.

There have been rumour that you are currently working on a new album. How far is the process and what kind of material can the fans expect?

Flake: We have started to look for ideas for songs together and to develop them. It is difficult to say how far we are, because at many days everything is going well and other days we just want to start all over again. That is why there is no objective view about how far we are. We will proceed with the process in fall and then we will see when we will be ready. I think that this was pretty much it.

Thank you very much for the interview, is there something you would like to say to your finnish fans?

Flake: We are happy that we can play here again. Finnish people are very faithful and nice fans. All our gigs in Helsinki and other parts of Finland are always sold out before other countries. The Finnish are thus always on time and a little bit faster than many other countries.

 

Interview: Arto Mäenpää / Ronja Laiho
Photo: Olaf Heine / Matthias Matthies
Source: Kaaoszine

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