LES INROCKS: Rammstein – meeting the living legends of German metal

The giants of German metal bring the beast back on the road…to the beat of their own drum. Interview.

Making the frantic trends of modern music a walk in the park isn’t a luxury that could be afforded by just anyone. The institution Rammstein, whose Teutonic musicians haven’t released a new album in a decade, recently released a live DVD recorded during a gargantuan show…in Paris, 2012.

Christoph “Doom” Schneider and Richard Z. Kruspe take the media commotion all in stride, with the serenity of contented fifty-somethings, serving as a sharp contrast to the walls of guitar riffs and the flamethrower mounted live on stage. The peaceful spectacle. The throng.

Photo by Olaf Heine

Isn’t it a bit strange to give interviews to promote a DVD that was recorded five years ago?

Christoph: Certainly, it is a bit strange. But this project, which is very close to our hearts, is actually the director, Jonas Åkerlund’s, baby. We have admired his work for a long time, and he has directed some of our music videos. However, once the show was in the can and we realised that the DVD wouldn’t be out for quite some time, we thought about it a little differently…

Richard: It is weird to release it so long after the fact, but it would be equally weird to put it out there in 2015, or 2019, you know? Because as a band, we have already moved on, and this thing, which has been gestating for so long, is a testament of a moment in time that is very dear to us. And launching it when we have already moved on is a bit strange.

Ultimately, is this a Rammstein testament, or a film by Jonas Åkerlund?

Richard: We have always wanted to remain in control of what the band produces, be it live concerts or recordings. We poked our noses into the editing process while working on the Völkerball (2006), but our desire to work with Jonas required that we let him have his way with it. We didn’t agree with everything, once we saw the final cut, and it didn’t always match our expectations, but this is a very different creative project, one which we have never done before.

Christoph: Actually, we feel more like “actors” than those in charge of the project, you know? But we knew very well that there would be differences between what we would have done, and what Jonas would do. We had known Jonas for some time when we learned that he actually plays the drums, which would explain some of the editing…

Richard: Yeah, we really feel the influence of those double bass pedals (laughs). If you haven’t seen it, make sure you have some headache pills handy, because it is quite difficult to keep up with! But it’s good for us, because this film brings our work to places where we would never have been able to go otherwise. And if we had, the thing would be so long, we wouldn’t have been able to release it anyway.

I’m under the impression that Rammstein haven’t been in any hurry to get anywhere for quite some time?

Christoph: Some bands feel the need to get right back into the studio the very minute the tour is over. Sure, go right ahead! We used to feel this urge when we were younger, when we felt we were on a roll and had the energy and the ideas for it. We take our time these days, because some of us are parents, and we need to make sure we can ask ourselves the right questions.

Richard: It is a privilege, indeed. If we wanted, we could take an entire year off, to spend time with our families or just take a few steps back. We all know that Rammstein is very important to us, and in order to keep being relevant, we need to find those right questions to ask ourselves. Why do we want to go on? How do we end this story once that day comes? Because we want to do that in the best possible way too. These are the terms under which we operate.

Do you think you could ever top the 2012 tour, which was so critically acclaimed?

Richard: So many people have seen us, and the rumour has spread over the years, of the band with the insane live shows. I think we need to stop thinking that we should outperform ourselves with every new show, because that could quickly turn into a trap. We try to think what we want to do differently instead. One idea could be doing a simpler live show, for example, who knows?

Christoph: I think we can tell him now, Richard? Right, so, we are planning a new album, and as a band, we needed a lot of time, and not to feel the pressure of a deadline. I never thought I needed to play so much with a band I have been in for so long. But if we had said, “let’s push this thing a bit further,” it would have choked us. Rammstein is already a bit difficult to get moving…

At your last concert in France, in 2016, before you went on stage, you flashed up on a screen a message, telling the audience to enjoy the concert instead of trying to film it. How does one handle that image spreading after such gambits?

Christoph: It’s less about image control than, “Hey! Put your damn smartphone away for once and live a little!”

Richard: I think I hate social networks. I really hate them (laughs). The ability of people who can live through their digital camera lens scares me sometimes. Why this compulsion to record everything, to archive everything?

Christoph: Actually, I think it’s less of the idea to record everything and more of the opportunity to chronicle one’s own life with a 20 second video of Sting’s concert, or Rammstein’s, or any other band, by posting it instantaneously on Instagram or Facebook… There’s nothing we can do about it, other than trying to make the best concert we are capable of, and trying to challenge people regarding these issues. And regarding how people see us after such a request, we’re glad we don’t have to deal with that ourselves.

Richard: You know what? If I had a switch in front of me that would turn of the Internet, I would use it. Really! “Sorry, guys! You’ve rendered the Internet so meaningless that it’s best to put an end to it. Party’s over!” (laughs).


Source: Les Inrocks
Date: May, 2017
Author: Mathias Riquier
Translation: Rammstein Press Team
Special thanks to Garance Navarro

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