Hell-Zone Interview Part 2
May 26, 2006
Almost exactly eight weeks after our first interview with the Oomph!-trio in Dresden, on the occasion of the release of the new album, we were received by singer and mastermind Dero before the Leipzig concert for conversation part 2.
Interview led by Markus (mr), Mira, and Falk:
mr: Hello Dero! You guys are on tour right now and have already played three gigs. What’s your summary so far?
Dero: So far everything’s been great, we can’t complain. The mood has been good, both with the crew and with the band, as well as with the audience. The shows have been going well, lots of people are showing up. Everything’s going pretty much perfectly.
mr: Your gig in Erfurt on May 19th was cancelled at the last minute because of “media commitments” as they said. What was going on?
Dero: At least that’s the official announcement from our management. I myself heard about it for the first time on our homepage (www.oomph.de), because until then they had said we would be playing in Erfurt. And at some point the official announcement was that we couldn’t keep the gig because of “media commitments.” I was a little surprised by it myself. Until recently they were still saying that the gig might have to be overturned because there were “logistical problems at the location.” Why this choice of words was used stays reserved by the management. We ourselves just heard that there were logistical problems at the location. Presumably in the contract it wasn’t differently…[pause for effect] described.
mr. Rumors were going around that Erfurt and Leipzig hadn’t sold very well…
Dero: I don’t know anything about that. So far all the gigs have gone about the same. There are about 1300 to 1400 people there, which I don’t think is bad. Since we don’t have any number-one hit at the moment, I haven’t calculated it. Last time we had about 2000 people. There are always a few people there who, because of a number-one hit like “Augen auf,” say “I’ll check it out.” This time you don’t have those people there, because we didn’t have one. That’s why I find 1300 or 1400 to be absolutely okay. So to be honest, I don’t know anything about that.
mr: Those are just the rumors that are in circulation for some strange reason.
Dero: Yeah. I also think it’s strange.
mr: The Erfurt tickets are valid for tonight’s concert in Leipzig. Are you expecting a discontented reaction from the audience?
Dero: I have no idea. I can hardly imagine that anyone would seriously think that a band actually has something to do with that. A band on our scale has a management in the background that plans the tour and does all the logistics. The band is just told, you play then and then and then. That was it. We don’t have anything else to do with the tour preparations. So…well yeah, it could be that the “average Joe consumer” doesn’t look at all into it, and thinks that we’re actually sitting there on the telephone and planning our tour ourselves…
mr: I looked around in the forum on your homepage and found a few entries that reflected this point of view…
Dero: Well, yes. But I can’t help it if those people don’t really think about it and have the standard of knowledge of a completely clueless person – what am I supposed to do? I can’t do anything about it. Usually people know what the mechanisms are like. I can only say that we would have wanted to play in Erfurt – not at all an issue! But it didn’t take place, and that’s a matter that’s fought out on a higher level, from the organizer and our management. We just got it set out like this – and exactly like this: we’re not playing there for this and that reason. And then the announcement was there…
For anyone who’s speculating, I can only assure that on that day we didn’t have any TV appearances or anything like that. It says that there, but it’s not true.
mr: Today you’re playing in Leipzig at the Haus Auensee and in a week you’ll be at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen again. Is such a short time gap not that unusual?
Dero: Well, that was also a thing that was handled by the organizer in the context of this action with Erfurt, as far as I know. They said, the gig can’t take place for some reason, but so then you’ll be playing at WGT. So we said, that generally isn’t a problem for us.
mr: You’re also confirmed for the Secret-Garden-Festival.
Dero: Yeah, exactly. In Hannover.
mira: Will there be more festivals?
Dero: We mainly play festivals in other European countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Austria, Switzerland. In Germany just a few hand-picked ones.
falk: How are you received in non-German speaking areas?
Dero: Actually relatively positively. The people get into German-language music and music that comes from Germany, they take it well…I think that worldwide, German music has a sort of exotic bonus, and has always had it, I’m thinking of Kraftwerk and bands like that. Also the Scorpions, in their way. “Oh, a band from Germany” – it’s still like that.
falk: At WGT in 2003 you played on the Park stage. At the time it was a pretty rainy concert…
Dero: I remember.
falk: I was there, and it was great! This year it’s at the same location again. We’ll be hoping for better weather, right?
Dero: Yeah, of course better weather wouldn’t be bad. But it didn’t wreck the mood, like you said. The people joined in fantastically. For a long time it was wasn’t clear if the concert could take place at all, since there were extreme thunderstorms and the organizers were considering whether or not they should cancel it. Just out of safety reasons, if there was a lightning strike somewhere…everything was all wet and it also could have been the case that the sound would be flooded, in the truest sense of the word, and that you wouldn’t get any audio out of the speakers. But at some point everything worked out. In the meantime I sort of acted as a solo-entertainer. The people really had fun. You also have to say, it had been really warm before, and the cool-down probably did everyone good. It was a nice concert and I like looking back on it. We still have some entries in our forum that say that it was a really memorable concert.
mira: And so this year WGT is for Erfurt?
Dero: At least that was what was communicated to us. Like I said, I can always keep emphasizing that as far as our festival and live planning, we have nothing to do with it. At some point we receive the list of gigs and say, okay, we have to go on tour then and then, it’s all good. Meanwhile we write our music, give interviews…if we were to do that too, it wouldn’t be at all possible. Usually you need a management for that. You have to be educated about festival or live jobs, you have to know the contract situation…as a musician, doing that as well, I think it wouldn’t work at all. You have your management to do that, and then you’re told about it. Of course there are a few people who have no idea about the subject and say “Oomph! didn’t play there. Obviously they book their own tour and are responsible for not playing here or there.” I can only say: no, that’s not how it is. Sometimes it depends on so many factors, the band can’t influence it at all.
mr: That’s just not the romantic picture that people have as music consumers. But the justification is believable.
mr: Your release “GlaubeLiebeTod” has been around for eight weeks now. What’s your summary so far?
Dero: So far everything is positive. “GlaubeLiebeTod” is holding its ground in the Top-20 of the sales charts, the responses are super on our site and from the audience, the people are praising the disc, saying “man, another great step in a new direction without losing the authenticity, without getting rid of the roots, they have it…!” It was received really positively. Live as well! The new songs – we play seven new songs – are sung along to. So it’s crazy how quickly people have the songs down.
mr: And by now the controversy around “Gott ist ein Popstar” belongs completely in the past?
Dero: Well, people still talk about it, and you also get asked about it in every interview: how was it at the time, how is it now, what did it do for you, did it harm you at all, what do you think about it? I can always just say, good, yeah, the people are talking about it, that’s always positive for a band. What it would have done for us if we had appeared on Echo, I can’t say. That’s at least ten million people that are watching you. If we had been able to play there, maybe that would have brought us a whole other wave of…hmm…euphoria or something. No idea, I can’t really say. Maybe also a whole new wave of anger and shock – of course that also could have been the case. Who knows?
mr: Then we would have also probably seen the B***-Newspaper and others at that level.
Dero: Probably, yeah
mr : so perhaps you might have been the – pardon – “disgust-rockers” to reference the Lordi catch-line.
Dero: That could be, that could definitely be. Yeah, the mass media and the Boulevardpress is always open to such things and always like to get that stuff. Like I said, we would have liked to play at the Echo Ceremony. That’s another thing! Even then it’s not our fault we were disinvited. Shortly before the disinvitation they said, you can play there, no problem. And then at some point the refusal came.
mira: Another question: do you also have nothing directly to do with the selection of your opening bands?
Dero: We get to do that, we get candidates sent to us, so to speak, and we get about 10 tapes or CDs and you listen to them and say, I think that’s good, I could live with that, I think that’s total shit. We have complete say in it and decide along with them. So when there’s some band that doesn’t agree with us musically or politically or whatever, and we’d wonder how they’d be, it doesn’t fit at all with us…you always get associated and linked with your supporting bands. Most people think that whatever’s played in the opening act of a big band is what the members of the band like and listen to themselves. But it’s not like that. We listen to the CDs and the tapes and say to ourselves, yeah ok, that’s good, that’s not good. But it’s not the case that it’s our favorite bands that are playing. It’s that we’re giving the bands a chance if we say, ok there’s potential there, that’s nice, then we’re providing them with the chance to get bigger. But obviously it’s not like we’re huge fans of them.
mr: Are there candidates that you would have liked to have? Or the other way around: Is there a band you’d like to be the supporting band for?
Dero: Yeah, of course! Obviously there are thousands of bands we’d gladly play with. Depeche Mode, Metallica, AC/DC…so of course there are big bands that influence us that we’d like to be on stage with, that’s pretty clear – even though it would just be a festival stage. Like I said, we’ve never picked up a supporting band that we thought was complete shit. So this time we didn’t either. We would never do that. But obviously it’s not the case that a hundred percent of us say, Hurrah, this band is coming along, but we unanimously say, yeah, nice band, they can do it – and then the band comes with us.
mira: And how did the selection go down in the case of Samsas Traum?
Dero: On the one hand, Samsas Traum are also under contract with our live management, Contrapromotion, so then it was pretty obvious. They asked us whether or not we could imagine taking Samsas Traum along. We listened to them and said, hmm, well…why not?
mr: And how about with A_Life [Divided]?
Dero: A_Life [Divided] went through our publisher. They’re also under publishing contract with Warner Brothers, and then sent us a tape and asked: man, could you imagine taking A_Life [Divided]? It’s a young, up and coming band that we just want to give a little promotion. We listened to it and thought it was really good. And then we said: yeah, super, we’ll take them with us!
mira: We’re pretty excited, from what it sounds like!
Dero: They play a cover version of Alphaville, and in Berlin Marian Gold from Alphaville sang along, it was really nice.
mr: Are there more such actions due, or was it a one-time thing?
Dero: I think it was a one-time thing. He lives in Berlin and said, so I’ll come by and sing along.
mr: So it was spontaneous?
Dero: It was spontaneous, yeah
falk: Maybe one last time to today’s concert…how do you prepare yourselves for the performance? Right now there’s an interview going, that’s obvious, but what do you do right before the show in order get into the mood and to warm up?
Dero: We listen to a little music, I warm up singing…that’s pretty much always the procedure. We loosen up a little before the show – that’s for sure – so that we can hop around properly. I warm up singing, the other guitarists warm up playing, the drummer sits with his drumsticks and loosens up a bit. Yeah, and then at some point we go onstage.
falk: Do you ever see what the audience’s reactions to the opening bands are?
Dero: Unfortunately we don’t usually have time. We have telephone interviews until right before our own show.
mr: Do you ever realize that there are a few fans are traveling around with you on tour?
Dero: You look in the first row – man, we already saw them yesterday…yeah, we’ve seen that before, we’ve noticed it before.
mr: Okay, our readers can take this with them: it’s worth it!
Dero: Absolutely! It’s always overwhelming to see that people sacrifice their free time and money to somehow be at three, four, five, six shows on this tour. Amazing, really amazing! But for a lot of people it’s a hobby, I think, like how others – I dunno – run marathons or go to the movies…
mr: You’re also making music for such people, if not for yourself?!
Dero: Yeah, primarily for yourself, but then it’s obviously great that there are such enthusiastic people.
falk: After the trouble surrounding “Gott ist ein Popstar,” are you reluctant to play the good old songs live?
Dero: Of course it’s difficult with a repertoire of nine albums to give consideration to each individual piece and each individual album somewhere or another. Naturally we play the songs that are most adaptable live with our current set. That means the first album…of course we’d have to cart all the multitudes of synthesizers on stage, and that would be kind of boring for us. That’s why we play the songs that in our opinion rock the most. But like I said, you can’t give each album equal consideration. But we play a healthy cross section. We play at least one piece from almost every album. There are seven songs from the new album, six from the last album, we play three pieces from “Ego,” two pieces from “Plastik” – or even three – and also a piece from “Defekt.” So we gather a few from nine albums.
falk: Will there be an a-capella version?
Dero: There’s one too, yeah. At the end.
falk: By now that sort of goes with an Oomph! concert.
Dero: It does go with it. After the last song most people start singing alone in the audience “Wie schmeckt dir mein Herz” or something. We can’t do anything about it anymore [laughs.]
mr: Well, by and large our thirst for knowledge has been quenched. Would you like to let anything else out to our readers?
Dero: Yeah! I’d like to apologize in general that the gig in Erfurt didn’t take place, but I can only say one more time: we don’t’ have anything directly to do with it.
Original Source: hell-zone.de