Interview on 1LIVE Radio 15.12.2014 - "Vom Monsun an die Westcoast"




Part 1
(until 8:30)

Interviewer: 9 years ago the first single and album of the band Tokio Hotel from Magdeburg were released. We all know how it continued, there was mass hysteria among teens, they sold millions of records, not only in Germany, but also abroad. The band won actually every imaginable award except the Grammy in the following years. Among others the „1LIVE Krone“ in 2007, which was given to you on stage by whom…?

Bill (laughs): Haha, that was you!

Interviewer: You experienced all of this in such a young age, how old were you? 15, 16?

Bill: Yeah, 15 or 16..

Interviewer: But the Tokio-Hotel-mania had its price then, you couldn’t even move freely anymore because of so much fans, and in 2010 the twins, Bill & Tom, pulled the brake and escaped to Los Angeles, Gustav and Georg stayed in Germany. That happened four years ago by now, the new album „Kings of Suburbia“ was released at the beginning of October, and I’m sitting in Los Angeles with Bill and Tom. Please tell shortly where we are right now.

Bill: We’re in the „The Village“ studio in Santa Monica…

Interviewer: 1LIVE, one hour at Tokio Hotel in LA…

Interviewer: 1LIVE with Tokio Hotel, or rather one half of the band. I’m sitting in a big music studio in LA with Bill and Tom, where they both still live. Well, not here in the studio, but in the city.

Tom: Well, also here in the studio… (laughs)

Interviewer: What’s your connection to this studio, „The Village“?

Bill: Well, we discovered it a while ago and we just thought the building is so cool because it’s such an old studio where so many people already recorded and there’s just such an amazing traditional studio-flair, which other studios don’t have anymore.

Tom: Yeah, a good atmosphere…

Bill: Exactly, and we recorded some stuff for the album here and really like to come here and rent it sometimes.

Interviewer: Do you know who already recorded here?

Tom: Just a bit, well I think it’s rather the question who has not already recorded here. But there are incredible stars among them, legends, among others Aerosmith, that’s our favorite band for example. But everyone has recorded here, there are also private studios, for example John Mayer has his private studio up there and I also think some other people have private studios.

Interviewer: Pink Floyd…

Tom: Pink Floyd has also recorded here…
Interviewer: And you can experience this spirit in those rooms?

Bill: Yeah, I have the feeling that there’s still also this smell of all those technique stuff and…

Tom: Yeah, also those vintage devices that just sound amazing and we just like to come here for live recordings with the band. It’s really amazing, it’s a typical studio where you bring your computer sound and add some live elements with the band.

Interviewer: Do you still know when you made the decision that you are going to move here [to LA]?

Bill: It was a relatively spontaneous decision, we first wanted to have a second home here where we just can escape to sometimes, and we wanted to keep something in Germany, but then people broke into our house, this happened on our 20th birthday and then our last haven we had in Germany was also gone and we didn’t know where to go anymore. Then we said, okay before we create a new prison for ourselves somewhere in Germany, we’ll just escape completely. And within, I think, four weeks we searched online for a house and we took our family and friends and our dogs and flew to LA. And uhm yeah, we just didn’t come back anymore.

Interviewer: And this burglary, do you know who it was?

Bill: No, uhm.. at that time there were always so many people standing in front of our house and we also had security there all the time. It surely was one of them [the people standing in front of the house] and surely everyone saw that, but no one wanted to help us, not even the police. They could never find out who did it. I only know that in the house everything was digged out and my entire underwear was on the floor…
Interviewer: Underwear?!

Bill: Yeah, they rummaged around everywhere and photographed everything and so on. And I said, okay I can’t stay here anymore.

Tom: But I think everyone knows that, doesn’t matter if it’s a private person or not, but everyone who’s house got broken into knows that I think. It’s such a disgusting feeling. You somehow feel kind of raped, because that’s your privacy and nobody wants everyone to know what’s in your bedside cabinet or so. Not that you’d have some weird things in it… (laughs) Nah, but it’s really like that, you somehow feel raped. When we got there, we already tapped the ashes of our cigarettes on the floor and so on, it already wasn’t our home anymore. But in general it’s not that we’re committed to LA, it just came along spontaneously. Bill wants to move to New York so bad, and I somehow want to go to a place that’s kinda more unusual, not necessarily a metropolis but where you could do some cool stuff. A motorcycle tour for a year in India maybe or so, or also being on the road with a backpack…

Interviewer: Would you accompany him or..?

Bill: Well nah, I would accompany him of course...

Tom: … but he doesn’t have a motorcycle license…

Bill: Exactly, that’s the first thing, and then, uhm… I can’t imagine it for such a long time.. I have to say I’m a city person in general. I also like it quiet and nature and so on, but… I can imagine going to India and then going on a trip there for two months or so, but living there… I really feel comfortable in big cities. New York or so… I really love to be there. I just like it. I also have the feeling that I’m going out way more than Tom, I just like being among people, I like those big cities.

Interviewer: You already adressed this „golden cage“, how was one typical Tokio-Hotel-day in Germany when you were still there? How can one imagine it?

Tom: Uhm… always very organized. Well, first it was like that we were on the road all the time. We had years in which we were on the road 320 to 340 days minimum. And then you come home after a tour and you fall into a sort of limbo. Because you don’t even know... well, you’re in this „tour-bubble“ then and you have all people around you, assistents, managers, tour managers, and people who manage everything for you, you actually only run after the crowd…

Bill: The day is always automatically directed by others. And that’s the thing which gets me really unhappy after a while because I actually don’t want this at all in life. You also can’t just simply get out, when you want to go to the cinema and watch a movie or eat a pizza somewhere. It’s always that you have to inform someone first and then they tell the security, who are calling the location… so everything needs a huge scheduling, and even if you want to drink a coffee somewhere it needs to be planned and scheduled.

Tom: It sounds like complaining about first world problems, which it actually is because…

Bill: It really is, because it also has a beautiful side, it’s fun, I really like being on the road and everything, but you just need the balance. And we just said…

Tom: We want to have the other side now…
Bill: Exactly, you also have to get along alone again for a while, and live on your own…

Tom: Then you can enjoy it differently again being on tour with the band and being on the road with all those people, when you also have the other side.

Interviewer: In TV interviews you said that the first year you did nothing. What is „doing nothing“?

Bill: Well, doing nothing for us was uhm, getting up in the morning and having no schedule. We had no deadline for the album, we had nothing in our calendar, and for one year we just did what we wanted every day. We got up in the morning and said „Oh, today we want to go to the amusement park…“, so we went to the amusement park…

Tom: …then you go play paintball, then you go karting…

Bill: Yeah, or you go to a concert, go to festivals…

Tom: Just normal things, you go to „Bed, Bath & Beyond“ to buy new pans and such things…

Interviewer: New pans?! (laughs)

Bill: Yeah, pans. Because we had nothing when we came here, we just had our suitcases and we first furnished our house and bought new things. And yeah, then we also partied a lot. I think I partied every day in some club…

Translation by Herzblut @ TokioHotel_Info || Please use with credit, thanks!

Part 2
(from 8:30 to 16:15)

Interviewer: 1LIVE today with Bill and Tom from Tokio Hotel in LA, where they live. Where are Gustav and Georg actually?
Tom: They are in Germany right now, but they will come here next week again and then we’ll do some promo (please note that the interview was done in November already), and then we’ll do some small performances until, I don’t know, the end of the year, promotion, playing some songs here and there, and next year we’ll be on tour together.

Interviewer: Don’t they like being on TV as much as you do or why do I always have the feeling that when I see your interviews that they’re a bit…
Bill: Well, they’re not…

*something makes noise*

Interviewer: That’s the dog by the way…

Bill: To be honest, they actually really don’t like it that much being on TV. They don’t have a big problem with it [being on TV], so it’s not like they think „We don’t want that at all“ but if they don’t have to, it’s totally okay for them that we do that. They really love to be on stage and play the songs but all the other things like photoshoots and interviews are just not their cup of tea.

Interviewer: Somehow the focus is always on you, so they find that rather good? It’s not like they say „We also want to have that“…?

Bill: Nah, they also had a way more relaxing life because of that. Many people think.. we also see it among the fans when they say „Oh again it’s Bill alone on the cover“, but we don’t have such discussions at all internally. We never talk about how long someone occurs in a video or who is on which photo. There are no fights between us about that, and there have never been. I think everyone has their position and task in the band and is happy with that.

Interviewer: Are they involved in the creative process when you write new music, or are they only in the video and play along?

Bill: Uhm, it varies. Concerning the music, Tom is doing most of the stuff, because he’s also producing and…

Tom: …well, because he’s also the most talented…

Bill (laughs): Nah, but Tom already had some songs finished and then we went in the studio and added live instruments with them. They also bring their input to the work of course and they also have ideas to maybe change something when Gustav wants to change something with the beat for example.. But they don’t actively write songs because…

Tom: They’re just like.. they play their instruments.

Bill: Exactly..

Tom: And you can’t write that many songs with drums… (laughs)

Bill: But we also once were on such a „songwriting-holiday“ together, where we flew away for two weeks and…

Tom: The problem…

Bill: …and we played and jammed around a bit.

Tom: Exactly.. we played and jammed. But we have to say that as a band we’re incredibly undisciplined. Bill and me are more disciplined on our own than when we’re with the band, because we have such an energy, for example when we’re rehearsing, we actually only make fun all the time, and we’re only rehearsing one song maximum. And the rest of the day we…

Bill: …hang around.

Tom: Yeah, we chill and hang around, eat something and play table tennis or so.

Interviewer: It’s always said that everything you do is completely calculated, nothing is left to chance. What would you say about that?

Tom: On one hand I see it a bit as a compliment, because it only means that it somehow must be good what we’re doing and that it comes across like we’re giving thought to it a lot, which we do, but there’s no masterplan or a huge machinery. People always think „Oh God, they have such a huge record company and all those clever managers and consultants“ which created this and planned it, but we never had that and we most probably will never have that. For example we’ve also never had a typical manager. We always did everything on our own, and I think Bill and me we couldn’t even handle that. We would go crazy if there was someone who’s counseling us the entire day. To be honest, I hate to get advices.

Interviewer: So you have the control about everything that’s happening? And can one say that you’re a bit of control freaks?

Bill: Totally. Actually we’re kinda sick control freaks, we’re actually pissing off everyone in our team with that because it’s hard then for some people to do their job well. Because they always come back to us with all the things and when Tom and me are in Vegas on the weekend, then we don’t answer anything sometimes… (laughs)

Interviewer: That just happened…

Bill: Yeah, that just happened, but for me it’s just… that’s our baby, that’s our band. And I can’t live with it if other people make decisions for us. If I make decisions on my own and it doesn’t work out well then, I know I fucked it up all on my own and I can live better with that then, than if I know that some idiot made this decision for me and it went wrong. I couldn’t deal with that at all. And as I said, I have always been self-determined and that’s really important to me.

Interviewer: Above all you knew that you wanted to make this thing, you wanted to go out, play live and reach the audience and so on. Since when did you know that?

Tom: Actually we had a relatively small hope…we had the band all the time, also during our school time and always played some gigs on the weekends, and we were always happy when we had some bigger performances where we got 250 € or so, those were the biggest performances for us to date.

Interviewer: Just like nowadays, right?

Tom: Just like nowadays, exactly, so we could earn some pocket money.. But uhm, we never had… I mean, in Magdeburg there were like a handful of bands and you met in the clubs at the weekends, but there is no record company or management or… there is no music industry. So we never really had hope that a video of us will play on VIVA or MTV. We couldn’t even imagine that. And that it worked out in the end actually still feels like a wonder today.

Interviewer: Now of course everyone comes and says „Oh that thing with all the sexed up stuff, the video and single cover with this weird clit mouse is all planned“…

Tom: I have to say that somewhen we noticed that all the people said „Oh now you have created such a sex package“ … Anyway I think that sex as a strategy doesn’t work for guys as well as for Christina Aguilera for example… (Bill laughs)

Interviewer: Or Miley Cyrus…

Tom: Yeah.. But I think in general it works better for women. It just happened, because Bill wanted to shoot this orgy video all the time and…

Bill: Yeah, it’s really true.. But I also have to say that the people get it all together and consume it so quickly. But when you make the videos, there are longer periods of time in between of course. We shooted the video for „Girl Got A Gun“ for example way earlier than the one for „Love Who Loves You Back“ and then we don’t see it „together“ anymore. We decide our idea actually relatively spontaneously, what we want to do. It also depends on the situation, you don’t sit together at the table and think about how to attract the most attention or how do you make a good promo action. But it really happens in the moment. You have a vision for the song and an idea to it, and it just somehow happens. And when it’s released the people consume it so quickly, they watch one 3-minute-video and then the next one.. and then it’s a package for them, but which was months of work for us, which we didn’t see as coherent.

Translation by Herzblut @ TokioHotel_Info || Please use with credit, thanks!

Part 3 coming soon!

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  1. Thank you! Really appreciate it.

  2. Thank you for translating, you guys are awesome! waiting the part 2 :)

  3. Thanks a lot! You are awesome!

  4. Great job! Thanks!

  5. Thank you so much! :)

  6. thank you! looking forward to part 3. thank you for the hard work !

  7. thankyou !
    still waiting for the part 3 though...

  8. Many thanks for all the hard work you put in doing translations! Its very appreciated :)

  9. Part 3 & 4, please :)

  10. Please, please part 3 & 4!!!! plaese :'(

  11. Hi guys, I wonder if you are going to translate ROCKPALAST BACKSTAGE. I would by grateful at least for german transcript,bc I'm learning german in the school but of course I don't understand everything what they say.