04.10.2014 - Interview: "Freundschaft, Sex, Geld und der ganze Rest"


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Friendship, Sex, Money, and All the Rest

After a four year break, Bill and Tom talk with us about their life after leaving Germany. Gustav and Georg are happy that the band continued making music. An interview by Sophie Albers and Ben Chamo.

How do you feel now, after your first fan contact and press conference, after this four year break?
It was a long, but good, day. We actually just talked about that in the car: Everything went really well.
Tom: There are, of course, days that don’t go so well. I always try not to lose my train of thought, but sometimes you just have those days where the interviewers want to annoy you. But today: We got some good feedback, had nice conversations.

How close have you guys actually been in the past four years?
Very close actually.
Tom: Just as close as we always were, the only difference was that we didn’t go out with each other as much. We’ve been friends for 14 years now, not much can happen now to change that. We can go two or three months without being in contact at all, but when we meet again it feels like the last time we saw each other was only yesterday.

But geographically you’ve actually been quite far apart.
We (G & G) temporarily also spent some time over there, we talked on the phone and skyped with each other. We always stayed in contact in some way.
Gustav: If we couldn’t physically be there, then we saw each other via skype.

Could you actually have lived the rest of your life from the money you earned in the past? Could you have retired?
Depends on how you would have wanted to live. It depends on your standards. I honestly never thought about it in that way.
Tom: We could have lived a pretty normal life after releasing “Monsun” until the end of our time. It was never a topic that came up though, because we invested most of the money we made into our career. We’ve had people and companies working for us since we turned 15…

What type of companies?
Band companies. The band is our one true love and what we live off. We invest an unbelievable amount of time and money into our stage productions and videos. We did that since we started. It was always very important to us. We never really made sure to get the biggest profit out of something. On tour, a lot of partners always asked us why we spend so much money on our stage productions.

Did you miss being on stage?
Bill: Definitely! Absolutely! We attented a few concerts in the US and watched other bands play. I always thought: Aaah, I want to be on stage too.
Gustav: It does make you shed a little tear.
Bill: Of course it’s nice to be on the other side for once, and be able to relax for once. And I think you can also learn a lot, when you see what things other bands pull on stage. When you’re only standing up there without doing anything, you sometimes don’t know how the audience is going to like it. I enjoyed attending Coachella without the pressure of having to perform soon. In the condition I was in sometimes, it wouldn’t even have been possible. (laughs)
Tom: We’re also always extremely nervous before we go on stage.

What? After all these years?
Oh yes. When we’re on tour I’m the most nervous person in the world. I’m so nervous that I’m afraid of fainting at some point. I always feel like I’m another person in that moment. You can’t even approach me at that time because I’m so concentrated.
Georg: We always obsess about this together.
Bill: One and a half hours before each show, we have off-time. No interview, no pictures – nothing. Because we’re so nervous.
Gustav: And all three of them are so nervous that I have my own room. They really obsess over everything, like lunatics. It’s annoying.
Bill: But you also get nervous.
Gustav: I get nervous, yes, but I’d rather lie down for 20 minutes.
Bill: But the moment I’m on stage, everything is okay again. The worst part is before you go on stage. And it’s not getting better.

Did you choose the album release date (3. October) on purpose? Because of the re-unification of Germany?
Nope, I actually only noticed it when someone told me.
Tom: Are the stores actually open that day, so people can buy the CD?
Georg: No, that’s the problem.
Tom: We released our album that day and no one can buy it?

But you can download it. How hard is it, coming back? Georg, Gustav you led less of a “wild life” in the meantime, therefore you essentially had to make a decision: Back to the craziness or not?
Georg: To be honest, I never actually asked myself that question. It was always clear to us that the four of us would be doing something together and be on the road again.
Tom: We just didn’t want to work on a new album for a while. It wasn’t the disbandment of the band.
Georg: I didn’t spend a second thinking about that. “What will you do now, study business studies?”
(loud laughter)
Bill: For everyone else it feels like a longer period of time passed. In 2011 we were still on tour, then we didn’t do anything for a year and in 2013 we had actually planned to release our next album. But we made a last minute decision and said no, because it was going really well in the studio. We didn’t plan that four years would pass. We never said that we’re taking a break now. We just didn’t know when and how we would continue.

When did you actually get that tattoo on your hand?
Bill: Shortly after I moved to L.A.
Gustav: That one is already old.

Why something so morbid? (It’s the skeleton of his hand)
Pride in being ugly.
Bill: I thought it was beautiful. I wanted to get a tattoo that covers my whole hand and I found a tattoo artist in L.A. that I really liked. He also did all my other tattoos.

At the press conference you were labeled the representatives of the “selfie generation”. Does it mean something to you?
By now, yes. In the beginning we still wanted to print autograph cards. Then we realized that it doesn’t make sense anymore, because people only want to take selfies nowadays. We’re still from that classic time where everyone wanted to have something signed, but those times are over.
Bill: Yes, sometimes we even feel a little old school. When we started, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram! Ten years ago, when we released out album “Schrei” everyone was standing there with our album in their hand and they wanted to have it signed. Nowadays no one wants an autograph anymore! It even happens that people want to take a picture and I say “I can’t really do that right now, but I can sign something for you”, and then they say: “No, I don’t need an autograph”. We didn’t have any social media ccounts for a long time – we actually just started with that. Everything changed.
Tom: But I think that change is good, it also has positive sides. We just noticed that artists have their own medium now and that they can control it in a different way than in the past. We can send out something when we want to.
Bill: Only yesterday we activated our Tokio-Hotel-Instagram-Account

Your videos have been received by people as being very controversial. Why are you so against people describing them as being “provocative”?
: I simply cannot understand why people are so enraged over the video for “Girl Got A Gun”!
Tom: I didn’t expect that. I thought they would find it atypical.
I thought it was funny.
Bill: Exactly! A lot of people took it way too serious. Oh my god, where do all those discussions about it lead?! We thought of that plushie being a cool gag/joke. But it shouldn’t be a huge deal that it has a penis.

Did you discuss it as a band? Did you find it less funny than the others, Georg?
We all thought it was funny. It was actually more about the cool video director for us.
Bill: Apart from that, there was quite a timespan between us seeing the videos and the covers. We chose them individually, it wasn’t a package that had been planned before. You have to look at those things seperately.
Tom: The single cover for “Love who loves you back” was my idea. I found it online and couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was a perfect fit.

But it is a little cynical.
Tom: It has some depth to it for me. Look, I, for example, only found my love by watching porn online for years. By using the computer mouse. Like on the picture.
Bill: There are a lot of people out there that find their love on the internet. Just as many people have watched porn online at least once in their life. We thought that it fit the theme.

Tom, that’s not funny at all – it’s sad.
We still think that the single cover is funny.
Bill: It does have a meaning. We always decided on the conver art and the videos in the same moment we recorded the songs. Then we have an idea for it. We didn’t want to give the people a sex-package. That’s what the media is making out of it, but if you look closer, there’s more to it.

(Bill, accidentaly, bangs his foot against the table with his huge shoes.)
Bill, a question from women to women…
Tom: Women (laughs)

Don’t these shoes hurt?
Bill: Oh yeah, they are extremely uncomfortable. I actually almost faceplanted while we were leaving, because there were so many people and Pumba pulled me. I almost took them off then.

But why are you doing this to yourself?
Because they look extremely good. You just have to get through this sometimes. I always had a penchant for extraordinary shoes. My shoe bag is bigger than my suitcase.
Tom: You don’t just have a penchant for extraordinary shoes.

Back to the topic of sex and “Love who loves you back”. I generally think that motto, “Love, who you want, regardless of age, looks and orientation”, is great. But is love not more than sex? And we’re back to the topic of online porn.
Tom: Finding your big love often starts with sex.
Bill: Exactly.
Gustav: You don’t want to buy a pig in a poke.
Georg: It’s an important part of love. There cannot be good love without good sex.
Tom: We’re still in that phase where we have a pretty active sexlife.
Gustav: And afterwards you have the internet again.

Were you disappointed that your fans were so quiet at the press conference?
I actually didn’t think about this yet. It didn’t strike me as being negative. I think at concerts it’s going to get louder again. Today the media was were, therefore they held back a little. It felt good though. The tickets were exclusively raffled to few fans.

You could have also been relieved about that.
That they haven’t been screaming that loudly…there is hardly a more energetic audience than the one we had. By no means do I want the people to only applaud, and not scream anymore. There is no greater feeling for an artist when they’re on stage, than when people are going bonkers. Privately it’s a whole different story.

Will L.A. stay your home for now?
Yes. Even though I also really want to go to New York. I really love that city. L.A. is a little boring. I’m so hungry for life and adventures. I always think that I’m missing out on so many things.

What is life?
I don’t know. But for me, it already starts with the fact that when I’m home on weekends, I’m not able to relax at home and watch a movie. I always want to go out and socialize. I like when I’m surrounded by a lot of people. We also always have someone visiting us at home. I like having a full house.
Tom: We’ll stay in the US for now. It’s more relaxing for us.
Translation by Icey @

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