– from station to station
New Rammstein photos by:
nearly splitting up, Rammstein suddenly
returns with a new album. In June,
Johan Carlsson listened to it and
hooked up with spiky haired guitarist
and founder Richard Z Kruspe as well
as tall drummer Christoph Schneider,
in a small hotel room in Stockholm
to learn more about the new sound,
internal issues, tape culture in East
Finally Johan sings The Sounds' "Living
in America" and Rammstein discover,
for the first time, it can be heard
in their song "Amerika".
All six Rammstein members come from
former East Germany. Behind the iron
curtain, and maybe not the best place
to go record hunting. Christoph Schneider
– Yeah, back then we had more
of a tape culture, and it was a bit
hard to get many records. Everything
came pretty late to the east, but
if you were interested in something,
you could get it. It’s not like
we were living behind the moon like
some people like to think.
Most of the members come from the
metal side of things, but some like
Christoph listened to other styles
– In the 80:s we had the Neue
Deutsche Welle. Many German bands
came out and they used these new instruments
like computers and keyboards. It sounded
very electronic, and they had German
lyrics. That was their entire concept,
– For a couple of years it was
very popular, and then it disappeared.
But this influenced me a lot, I liked
that music, and later also darkwave
music like The Cult, The Cure and
Einstürzende Neubauten, he says.
more or less organised sound and electronic
parts are something that sets Rammstein
apart from many other guitar driven
bands, and has always been part of
the band's strategy of melding the
aggression of metal with melodies.
Richard Z Kruspe elaborates.
– Our keyboards were in the
beginning more about making some noises,
but we started to fall in love with
the computer world. So we used it
a lot more on the early albums, it
was the new thing. We felt excited.
– But in the end you come back
to your instruments again, you become
more confident with them. You don’t
need the electronics, you just play
it on your instrument instead, he
Rammstein have of course never been
better at playing than on the new
album. They are considering the title
“Reise Reise”, which roughly
translated means “Travel Travel”.
– It’s about the whole
life. This time, most songs are about
love. And we had this song called
“Reise Reise” and thought
it might be the album title. I mean,
we travel through all kinds of stations
throughout life, which is interesting.
You worked with Jacob Hellner
once again. Did you record it here
– Yeah, and in France. Guitars
and vocals: in the south of Spain,
I have listened to "Reise Reise",
and the album has a more direct feel,
with more acoustic guitars and drums.
Even some blues-like riffs can be
heard on the track "Los".
Richard tells me more about the new
– We really tried to play more
live on this album. The machine thing
is not as strong, Kruspe says.
I heard some synths in the background.
– Yeah, but they are not as
– We tried to use them less,
Schneider chips in. This time it wasn’t
possible to re-invent this thing once
again. We tried to bring in more life.
We tried new rhythms.
I mention that I heard shuffle beats
on one song, and drummer Christoph
– Yeah, this is the first time
we have used shuffle rhythms, he says,
obviously thrilled that someone noticed.
There’s one song on the album
called “Amerika” that
might become the second single. It
sounds a bit political, but Richard
tells me it’s not.
– No, it’s not political
at all. You know, everyone has a different
opinion about America, but it’s
more an ironic way to describe a culture
that's everywhere. Not only the bad
way, but also in a good way. Everywhere
you go, you can’t miss America.
And we’re playing on those things.
The chorus sounds suspiciously similar
to that of Swedish band The Sounds'
hit “Living in America”,
and I bring it up. Christoph looks
at me with a surprised look on his
– Really, I don’t know
Richard, who is on his way to the
– To me it sounds more like
He starts to sing "We all living
in a yellow submarine".
Christoph investigates further, so
I sing the Swedish song for him. "We're
not living in America...".
– Really? It’s almost
the same line!
I realize this was probably not a
conscious move from them.
– No. Sometimes this happens…
and they will think we have copied
them. There’s so much music
out now, that you’re bound to
make something that has been done
before, I guess.
Meiwes is sentenced to 8,5 years in
Photo by: AP
No strangers to provocation, Rammstein’s
new single “Mein Teil”
is about cannibalism. And cooked genitals.
Christoph tells the fascinating tale
about the German cannibal Armin Meiwes
who was big news not long ago.
– The song is about two people
who met via the Internet. To eat each
other! A man was looking for a victim
he could murder, and the victim did
this by his own free will. It was
a very weird story, and Till (Lindemann,
vocalist) wrote a lyric about it.
– After these two people had
sex, they cut off the victim's “tool”,
and thereby the title “Mein
Teil” (“My Part”).
In a magazine they described it: they
tried to cut it off, but it didn’t
work. But they finally managed. And
then they both ate it! He ate his
own tool! After that, the cannibal
did the rest of his job, slaughtered
him and put everything in a deep freezer.
The whole case was hidden for a long
time, and each weekend he made a meal
for himself, with potatoes and vegetables.
He had the feeling that for the first
time in his life, he had a friend.
He was otherwise very alone, but he
had a feeling of friendship for the
Richard steps in.
– It’s very interesting
to get into the psyche of him. His
mother was so strong, and he was afraid
of her. And she turned everyone away
from him, so he couldn’t reach
out to anyone. I think that, if you
look at other murderers like Jeffrey
Dahmer and Ted Bundy for example,
when they killed, it was because they
were afraid that their victims would
leave them. And a reason for eating
them was to keep them. Very interesting.
– The law didn’t know
how to handle it, because the victim
wanted to do it, Christoph continues.
But they decided to give him a couple
of years for lust murder.
The single is getting the remix treatment
by Arthur Baker and British synthpop
legends Pet Shop Boys. The duo has
made two different versions, wittingly
titled “PSB You Are What You
Eat Mix” and “PSB There
Are No Guitars on This Mix”.
– I liked it, Christoph says.
Yeah. It’s dancey. And, for
them, it’s kind of hardfloor.
I expected a more soft mix. The problem
with remixes is that you have to be
very careful with the lyrics. Use
them in the right way. And the Pet
Shop Boys have made them a bit faster,
to fit the dance beat.
six members in the band, I guess there
is a possibility for a lot of conflict.
When I bring up the subject, they
first laugh before Richard diplomatically
gives an answer.
– Well, there are always good
things and bad things. The good thing
is that there are so many combinations
of people in the band that you’ll
learn a lot about yourself. It’s
almost like a self-therapy group,
and we’ve been through different
stages of life, you know, both loving
and the “can’t stand anymore”
phases. In the end we always managed
to come back, cause we feel that the
band requires all its members.
When I ask if the rumours about the
band splitting up after the last album
“Mutter” are true, Richard
silently moves the question over to
– After the last album we had
a crisis. We didn’t say we’d
split up, but we had problems. We
had to find new ways to continue.
– The band has been together
for ten years, and we’ve never
got to a breaking point, which is
a good thing, Richard says.
– Yeah, but sometimes it can
be very tiring, Schneider continues.
You never reach any results, and then
you have to find some common ground
that everybody can agree with. Once
we were talking about stage clothes,
and we couldn’t find a direction,
and in the end we came on stage with
black jeans. The black side of democracy…
Richard goes on:
– Democracy… there is
not one member in the band who is
a leader that decides “that’s
never gonna happen”. Of course,
a lot of people try to be,
but that one is immediately pulled
back. All are part of the Rammstein
process. It would be good if everyone
found their specialties, but they
all want to do everything.
Now my time with these two German,
down to earth rockstars are almost
over, but I quickly ask if I can get
some more information about their
life, as I know most of them have
families, and presumably also other
interests than music and pyrotechnics.
always in the band…
But Richard tells me that unfortunately
he has no hobbies outside of the group.
– I’ve been searching
for one! I think I could be interested
in sailing. I think it’s something
that would be good for my soul. I’m
always happy when I’m on a boat.
It's pretty obvious that they really
don't want to talk about their private
lives, so I give up and we say goodbye.
Then I walk through Stockholm and
I can't help humming the chorus to