Date: October 2005
Rammstein is certainly one of my favorite non-strictly-Metal bands. They do have that "touch" of Metal in their sound but they're definitely more than just that. They're...Rammstein! I was pretty hyped after 2004's "Reise, Reise" and I was really looking forward to their next album - "Rosenrot" - which is about to be released. I had the once in a lifetime delightful opportunity to chat with guitarist Richard Kruspe over the phone, straight from New York city, and here's what he had to say...
Interviewer: First of all, since we're called Metal Temple, I'd like to ask you how Metal or not Metal do you consider Rammstein to be?Richard: Jesus, how do I answer this question? [Laughs] I can only tell you that there definitely are metal elements in there. I always like to portray different kinds of music, all kinds of music into ours, in a way. When I was a kid, I loved certain things in Metal music like certain arrangements in songs. But I got bored after a while. I also like a lot of things about Pop music. So, I think there are elements in there [Rammstein] but I wouldn't consider us a Metal band. I think Rammstein found its own way in updating its own music and that allows us to be open enough to do things that for example Metal bands couldn't do. There's really so much music I love nowadays that's not really Metal...
Interviewer: I've tried to define your music many times but the fantastic thing always was and still is that I can't.Richard: And every time for example that I see on a new record a song that I wrote like a hundred years ago, and I had never considered that it would become a Rammstein song but the others liked it, they'd suggest we use it and I'd be "if it works out, well, fine". What I love about Rammstein is that whatever we touch, it becomes Rammstein! Take for example the song on our new album with Till [Lindemann - singer] and Sharleen Spiteri [Texas frontwoman], the duet. It was kind of a pop song in a way, you know, and it became a Rammstein song.
Interviewer: How was Rammstein's sound created, I mean, what did you guys have as influences while growing up?Richard: Everyone obviously has influences etc in general. I think one of the biggest influences, one of the biggest bands ever is AC/DC. Rock 'n' Roll!
Interviewer: Definitely.Richard: I would listen to so many old bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, you know, Hard Rock but I would also listen to a lot of Pop stuff. Everyone has is own influences obviously, I mean, being in a band of six members means six different people with their influences but we managed to come around with our sound, mixed with our language which is also very important.
Interviewer: Do any of your previous bands (Orgasm Death, Gimmick) have anything in common with Rammstein?Richard: I don't know. I don't think so. But obviously if you listen to that stuff you might find one or two similarities.
Interviewer: Where lies - in your opinion - the secret for conquering such a huge amount of listeners all around the world who in many cases have nothing in common between them, as far as musical taste goes. I suppose it's what you said, that all members have their own influences and together with the proper use of...Richard: First of all I don't think you should really go into any sort of "taste" situation. You know, the other day I had this really long talk with this associate of ours and he told me "why don't you try doing this" or have that part to kind of sing along etc. You know what, when I started to play the guitar, I never was one of "those" guys that tried to play others' songs even because in the beginning I was too stupid, I didn't have the skills. Then after a while I'd get so bored, I couldn't play all those songs everyone else could play. I started to create my own songs and then created my own style. First of all, you have to develop your own personality in music because that's the most important thing. Then there's the language. You have to find the language that expresses your music. I mean, German is obviously not the language for romantic stuff, you know. It's a rough sounding language. So our songs really fit into this language. It wouldn't sound the same if it were in some other language.
Interviewer: Yeah, I don't think it would sound the same if it were in Greek [Laughs]Richard: Yeah, exactly, that's what I'm saying. It has to go along.
Interviewer: "Reise, Reise" came out a year ago and before I ask you about your new album, "Rosenrot", I wanna ask you how satisfied you feel now about "Reise, Reise".Richard: I think I always feel as satisfied as my life allows me to be which is not too much [Laughs]. I don't really look back. I'm actually always really trying to focus on new things that are gonna be on a next record; I don't really look back. I mean sometimes you have to look back like when you're playing live. [Laughs] But I will say that after "Mutter" (2001), things were more open and relaxed for us to do things because "Mutter" was a very intense record, the time we did that album was really intense. For example "Reise, Reise" is an album you can listen to it again and again, time after time but "Mutter", you'll listen to it once and then you'll need a break before listening to it again because it's so intense.
Interviewer: "Rosenrot": First of all, what does the name mean; what does the cover artwork symbolize?Richard: First of all the name is an old German word. A modern translation would be "red roses" but it's not because it's a really, really old word. We were going to name the album "Reise, Reise 2" or something like that in the beginning but after we went back and rethought about it, we felt "Rosenrot" should be its name. The artwork, well, you know, to everyone it can symbolize a different thing. To me it symbolizes a bit this big Rammstein machine that's stuck for a while and needs a break until the sun's come out and then it'll drive out again.
Interviewer: That's a nice explanation. So, what's the album all about? As far as themes go. Richard: Well...
Interviewer: Politics? Social problems?Richard: Hmmm, no. I think we've had only one song till now in which we really crossed the border in politics, "Amerika", on our previous record but...
Interviewer: But you are a band that's always touched by social problems, aren't you? Things that concern society...Richard: Nah, that's what people consider us to be. I never considered ourselves to be trying to state something or point out things because in the end I really believe that everyone has his own experiences and beliefs so you can't play and tell anyone what he has to do.
Interviewer: Are you more of a touring person (personally) or are you more of a studio guy, you know, recording tracks often with the band etc.Richard: Yeah, I'm more of a studio guy.
Interviewer: You don't like being on the road that much, do you?Richard: I don't because honestly it's quite boring for me.
Interviewer: Tiring maybe too?Richard: Well, tiring, yes, but mostly boring. I love being creative, dealing with my life and on tour the only thing you can do is play music which is ok for a couple of times but then after a while, after the same thing you're not really able to create anything else and that's all about it.
Interviewer: So I guess you wouldn't be the most appropriate guy from the band to ask what your touring plans are, right? [All Laugh]Richard: We've toured a lot...
Interviewer: But still there are countries that haven't seen you play like Greece for example...Richard: The big problem we really have is that our show always has so many things involved that it gets so expensive and we always try to be really careful with our plans because we don't really make any money out of touring. We could play without all the pyros and stuff but it wouldn't be the same, you know? You'd come to our show but without all the stuff that characterize our show, you'd be disappointed, it wouldn't be what you'd be expecting.
Interviewer: Yeah, I know what you're saying. A lot of people would expect pyros and explosions on stage and stuff...Richard: Exactly! It would be like going to see Kiss without all their makeup on. You'd be disappointed, right?
Interviewer: Oh, definitely. Now though it's time for an awkward question, Richard. If your lives were to be filmed as a movie, what movie would that be and what title would it have?Richard: The movie would be..."The Godfather".
Interviewer: So...a movie literally like "The Godfather"?Richard: [Laughs] Yeah.
Interviewer: Thank you Richard for this cool interview.Richard: Thank you very much!