Los Angeles, CA
Tags: 2015, Jam In The Van
Filed Under: TH.V-PerformancePerfection
Exclusive: Tokio Hotel Plays 2 Songs at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve
Fresh off the release of their fifth full-length Kings of Suburbia, German band Tokio Hotel performed two songs from the album in front of a massive crowd at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve. Today Billboard is exclusively premiering footage from the show, which includes the band playing their latest single, “Love Who Loves You Back,” and their first live performance of “Feel It All.”
The twin brothers in Tokio Hotel — Bill and Tom Kaulitz — moved from Germany to Los Angeles before making Kings of Suburbia. Bill calls this period “the first real life we’ve ever had. We had come out of school at 15, started the band, and from that moment on, there was no private life, only Tokio Hotel.” In L.A., the German superstars were relatively unknown. Tom says, “We wanted to do regular stuff, things we couldn’t do before. I was riding my bike, bought groceries, and went to the DMV. It was great.”
The band wasn’t necessarily looking to play a show in Berlin on New Year’s Eve. “Usually we reserve that night to party,” Bill jokes, “But it was hard to say no when you get to perform in front of more than half a million people!
“We had a blast,” he continues. “All of our friends and family were there. We got super drunk after the performance and went out all night. We left the last club at 6:30 in the morning. It was definitely a night to remember!”
Tags: 2014, 2015, Brandenburg Gate
Filed Under: TH-News/Media, TH.V-PerformancePerfection
After the worldwide success of their last albums, German pop phenomenon Tokio Hotel moved to Los Angeles and took a year off. Now, Bill and Tom Kaulitz, Georg Listing and Gustav Schäfer are back to music scene with their new album Kings Of Suburbia. The band sits down with Schön! to talk about their dreams, their advice and parents.
What do you love most about Los Angeles?
Tom: For me, it’s the freedom we have in California. When we left Germany, it was the very first time that we were able to live a regular life. Suddenly, we were able to do whatever we wanted to do. That was a great feeling, it was completely different from our life in Europe.
Bill: I love the weather so much. It’s sunny everyday and it feels like we’re constantly on holidays. But there’s is also a negative aspect about the weather in Los Angeles – people become a bit lazy with fashion. Their outfits can be a bit boring. That´s hard for me, because I´m really interested in fashion.
Do you remember your very first costume on stage?
Bill: I do. When we started performing, we had a concert in our hometown Magdeburg. For this concert, I was wearing a skirt. I still remember that I was wearing this extraordinary garment in combination with a homemade t-shirt and Doc. Martens. We had no money left, so I often created my own costumes.
Tell me about your biggest dream that became true?
Bill: We always wanted to be successful with our music. My brother and I were seven when we started writing our own songs. Back in the days, we didn’t have any producer or record company supporting us in our hometown. Together with Georg and Gustav, we have been a band for such a long time – more than fourteen years now.
So you never thought it would be possible?
Bill: Definitely not. It was just a dream and we are so blessed that it became true some years later. Now, we are living this dream and we are more than happy about it.
What does your family think about your career?
Tom: They hate us. No, I´m just joking.
Bill: They are really happy for us, actually. Our mum is really creative and our stepfather plays the guitar in a band. It sounds funny, but we are living their dream as well. They are really supportive and we have got a strong connection to our family. We have always been focused on creativity; music was an important part of us from an early age.
If you didn’t have this enormous success with Tokio Hotel, where do you think you’d be right now?
Tom: Probably at home without any plans what to do. No, I´m just joking again. Hopefully, I would have started something creative? I can´t imagine sitting in an office the whole day. When I was younger, I always wanted to be a lawyer or a porn star.
A career as a porn star?
Tom: Probably working as a lawyer and a porn star as spare-time work. Great idea, isn´t it?
Back to reality: can you describe the process of preparing a new album?
Bill: We started very slowly after taking a year off. We just needed some time for our creative side, as well as taking time to move to the United States. After a while, we wanted to create a new album: we flew to our studio in New York to start working on the record. For the first time, we produced absolutely everything on our own. Every song was written by us.
Bill: Nearly no one understood what we wanted to do with our new album. Normally, we record new songs by playing the guitar. This time it was different – Tom was more interested in synthesizers. In the end, the album sounded more electronic than Tokio Hotel has ever sounded previously. It sounds like the nightlife of Los Angeles.
Is there any piece of advice you would have liked to hear at the beginning of your career?
Bill: Read every contract carefully. Retrospectively, I wouldn´t have changed anything. For sure, we were also making lots of mistakes during the last couple of years. I think we are still making mistakes, aren’t we?
Tom: Generally speaking, we were extremely lucky.
Bill: But there is a process that we have learned: keeping the balance between career and privacy. We’ve always wanted to keep it this way, but it hasn´t always been easy.
Because of your fan base? Has it changed during the last couple of years?
Bill: Lots of guys listen to our music now. Our management just told us that there are a lot of boys who watch our videos on YouTube. Back in the days, we almost felt as if there were only teenage girls at our concerts.
Are there any differences between American and European Fans?
Bill: Not really. It feels like a huge family for us. They are connected online from all over the world, it´s so nice to see that.
Tom: Unfortunately, we haven´t met our American fans for a while. That´s the reason why we would like to start a tour in the United States.
Have you ever thought about coming home to Europe?
Tom: Georg and Gustav still live in Germany. Bill and I, we love life in Los Angeles. At the moment, there is no reason for us to move back to Europe. We spend so much time in airplanes – it almost feels as if we are living on the road. Maybe one day, we´ll move back to Germany. Italy or Mexico would be nice as well.
Is there anything in show business you are afraid of?
Bill: We have seen a lot during the last couple of years and we do have an idea of how to manage show business – I feel like we’ve figured it out. The most important thing is just that we are always together. We are a family. As long as my brother and my band are next to me, I feel like if I can deal with everything.
What moment of your career are you most proud of?
Bill: It´s really hard to choose: I´m proud that we won a VMA in 2008. It still feels so unreal.
Tom: I felt proud when we finished our new album.
What´s next for Tokio Hotel?
Bill: We will start the first part of our world tour in March. London will be our first stop. Our world tour will be more intimate than before, we want to play in smaller clubs this time. We will just go everywhere to see our fans. It will be great.
Tags: 2015, Schön!
Filed Under: Bill-InterestingInterviews, Tom-InterestingInterviews
Tokio Hotel Returns with Kings of Suburbia and a New World Tour
Band Members: Bill Kaulitz (Lead Vocalist), Tom Kaulitz (Guitarist), Gustav Schäfer (Drummer) and Georg Listing (Bassist)
Following their recent show at The Viper Room in LA, we had the rare opportunity to sit down with German pop rockers Tokio Hotel, whose fan base, the Aliens, are known for being extremely dedicated. The band just released their first record in five years, Kings of Suburbia, which took them in a different direction with a new sound and a set of electronic, dance-oriented songs. They are gearing up for their new world tour “Feel It All: The Club Experience” in March 2015. Be sure to track Tokio Hotel on Bandsintown so you’re the first to know when tickets go on sale near you.
We are also offering 5 lucky Tokio Hotel fans a chance to win an exclusive signed Polaroid from the band! To enter, simply send a tweet to @Bandsintown & @decodeltd with the hashtag #THxBIT. We’ll randomly select 5 winners and alert them on Twitter next week!
It’s been five years since you’ve put out an album. What are your thoughts on the new ways artists have to promote themselves, as well as all the new streaming services?
Bill: I feel like it’s good and bad. It’s good that you have your own kind of media so you can put out whatever you want and communicate with your fans directly without having someone come in between. You can actually communicate with your fan base and you can clean up shit that has been said about you, which is great. On the other hand, it’s sad a lot of big magazines don’t exist anymore, or they don’t have the money to do great photo productions anymore. Also CDs, downloads, streaming, I hate it. We do it because you have to do it but I hate that stuff. For me, it’s best to buy a CD. We released a vinyl from our record. We had a cassette as well. We like all of those formats and we put so much thought and work into our videos and artwork but people don’t even see it anymore. That’s the bad part about it. I can live with social media, but we should stop the illegal downloads and go back to CDs. That would be my perfect world.
How would you describe your relationship with your fans and how you see that changing now that your sound has changed and you’re moving to a more electronic music audience?
Bill: Some people grew with us. They’re our age because we were super young when we started. They now have a different taste in music, they see things differently just like we do. We have a strong fan base so it’s like going on an adventure with us. Our fans are very, very supportive – we have the best fans ever! They are very intense. We gained some new fans as well – a lot more guys. Back in the day it was always girls and now we see on YouTube that we have 50% guys watching our videos!
Tom: Now that we are a little older and a little uglier, guys are more open to our music.
Bill: Which is great! We don’t have a target audience or someone we go after. Whoever enjoys [our] music and the stuff we do, it’s like, “Welcome to our shows!” We then grow our fan base a little bit.
What do you think about older fans commenting, upset about the changing sound?
Bill: I expected it, there are people that like to complain about anything. Even if we had created the same album we did a couple of years ago, we would’ve heard, “Oh my God, they didn’t change at all! The same old shit, they didn’t put any work into it.” We don’t care about that, we never really did. With Kings of Suburbia, we wanted to make an album that we enjoy; that reflects our tastes and the music we want to make. For us, it’s all about being authentic. If you go straight to what you’ve done for so many years and just keep doing that, that’s not authentic. We’re all people, we change and life is changing us and we get inspired by different things. I can’t stick to the same sound with every album. We want to keep it fresh and do what we enjoy.
What music and artists inspire you, particularly in the creation of this album? Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Tom: There are plenty of people I would love to collaborate with but it’s hard to say who inspired us for this record because we were producing it over four years. I’m really into Chet Faker right now and then there are our childhood heroes Aerosmith and Depeche Mode. It’s so different, we don’t have one genre that we love. As artists and musicians, we are more into great productions and good songs, no matter the artist. Daft Punk would be great to collaborate with, that would be amazing.
Kings of Suburbia marks the first time you produced an album yourself; was it refreshing having all that control?
Tom: It was refreshing, and really intense, and a lot of work. Totally a new experience. That’s why it took us such a long time, because we made everything on our own; like writing the songs, producing, playing, everything.
Bill: It’s the best thing we could have done. I’m super happy with it – to have that freedom, and to not have to rely on a good producer and someone you might not even want to work with. We collaborated with a couple of songwriters and producers on this album but in general we just made so much on our own. Especially in vocal production.
Tom: It started out of a frustration, because initially we met up with people and started to work on stuff but it didn’t feel right and it was not music we wanted to do. Then we decided, “Let’s build a home studio!” where we started from the very beginning. “Stormy Weather” was one of the first songs that we came up with and it was the guide for the whole record. Because of our frustration, it turned out to be amazing.
On your “TOKIO HOTEL TV” episode, you mentioned the album was ready to come out last year, but then you started writing again. Is the album that’s out now from the first or second batch, or a combination?
Bill: It’s a combination; a lot of songs weren’t on the record a year ago when we wanted to put it out. Like “Love Who Loves You Back” and “Run Run Run” – we didn’t have these songs in the beginning. We were in the studio and amazing things were happening. I was like, “We need more time because the material we are making right now is so good we can’t miss out on it.” Really it’s a best out of four years of writing and making music.
Your upcoming tour is called “The Club Experience.” Does this mean you’ll be playing smaller venues? Do you prefer smaller spaces to the big arena shows?
Bill: Not necessarily, I love to play in front of a lot of people. I like big stages. We wanted to change it up, and since the album is so electronic, we want to turn a live club into a night club; between 1,000 -2,000 people [size venues]. Its going to be small; like a night where you go and party rather than a normal concert. We thought it would be cool to have smaller venues; our fans requested that a lot. They want to see us and meet us, so the whole concept is a little different. And then we hit the arenas by the end of the year.
How did you manage to assemble such a great team behind you – with representation from De-Code LTD, distribution from Universal, publicity and marketing from 42 West and Total Assault, etc..? What advice can you share on how to choose the right partners to manage a musician’s career?
Bill: Interscope was involved with our last album but we didn’t like their work so we got out of the contract for this album. Sometimes you work with big people and big companies and that’s not always the right choice. We now work with William Morris Agency for live booking, they’re great. It always depends; it’s about the vision and the vision you have as a band and that’s how we pick our people. We never had a classic management, we always had people on our payroll just to keep everything going but the decisions we always make ourselves. Basically everything that happens is on our table.
Tom: We cleaned it up a bit too. For this record, we had the video directors, to the people making the clothing and taking pictures for the album, and the artwork… everything is pretty much with the label in the U.S.; friends and people we’ve known for a long time, and that love the band, are passionate about it and understand the project.
Bill: I hate to deal with any egos. We just wanted to work with people that are excited about the band and have the same vision. In Europe, we are still with Universal Music. It really depends on how you get along and if it works out. It’s not always the biggest company that works best, for sure.
You already put out three music videos for the new album. How much input did you have in those concepts?
Bill: A lot! We made “Run Run Run” with one of our close friends, John Lucah Fellini. For that song it was perfect because he’s very good at capturing intimate situations and very pure stuff; it was such a passion project for both of us. We worked with Chris Morris for “Girl Got A Gun” – we wanted to do something different and funky, which led to the idea of including transgenders. With “Love Who Loves You Back”, I wanted to film a massive orgy, but then I told the guy no, I want to be INVOLVED in the orgy – not just singing in the background! He said, “I didn’t know you would do that… great let’s do it.”
What’s a typical gig day like for you?
Tom: Now that we’re going on tour it’s going to be: get up sometime in the afternoon, soundcheck, and after that we meet the fans. Next city we get up, soundcheck, meet the fans, play; maybe some table tennis in between. Pretty much every day, exactly the same.
Bill: It’s exhausting though. People don’t know how exhausting a tour is. We are just trying to stay healthy, so no one gets sick cause it’s such a long time. You always sleep on a bus, you never have a real room or a nice shower.
Tom: You don’t have a lot of daylight.
Are there any cities you look forward to playing in, or do they all kind of seem the same?
Tom: It’s more about the venue. In Paris we have a great venue so I’m looking forward to Paris.
Bill: This tour we are playing in really special venues. Like in Hamburg, a beautiful church. We either have outstanding cool locations or legendary clubs. It’s going to be interesting, I think they’re all going to have very shitty backstage rooms.
Are there any phone apps you can’t live without?
Bill: Instagram, InstaSize, Uber, WhatsApp
Tom: I’m really old school. I’m not using anything.
Bill: He doesn’t even have an Instagram! He only takes his phone to text or make a call.
Tom: I have a news app I’m always looking into.
Tags: 2015, BandsInTown
Filed Under: TH-Interesting Interviews, TH.G-SexyShoots
The Nerdy Girlie’s Music Monday #8: Tokio Hotel
Sometimes you find a band and you just don’t click. You think they are all right, but it just might not be what you need right then. When my friend Rachel invited me to see Tokio Hotel do a secret show at The Viper Room on Thursday, I was nervous! What if I didn’t like them. Before committing I You Tubed them quickly and listened to ONE of their songs. I dug it and replied back YES! BONUS I’ve been DYING to go to The Viper Room since moving to LA.
The night arrived and to be honest I ALMOST talked myself out of it. I do that a lot, especially since I usually go to shows alone, and I always regret it. Getting anywhere in LA by our designated 8:30pm meeting time, is HELL. The drive ended up taking me over an hour to go ELEVEN miles.
BUT upon arrival I found a lot just a block down to park in which was lighted, felt safe and was only FIVE dollars! I was already happy I came.
There was a fairly large line when I arrived, but it moved quickly. As soon as I walked into the venue I felt like I had stepped into the opening scene of one of my favorite movies School of Rock! My excitement continued to grow.
Up a dark staircase opened into the main viewing area of the venue and it was just about at it’s 250 people capacity. I loved how even though there were THAT many people there, it still felt intimate. Tokio Hotel took the stage around 9:30pm to fans who had been queuing up since early afternoon!
Now you know that I LOVE my bands, and I have done the same a time or two, but this felt like an entirely new experience for me. I knew NOTHING about Tokio Hotel or their music. I liked the song I heard on You Tube, but would the show even be like that? It was so much more.
Right away I kicked into photographer mode, so I wasn’t fully in the moment. Once I knew I had what I needed, I was able to finally sit back and share in the scene. I LOVED seeing how the fans reacted to the band. Usually I am in my own world at a show, this time I felt I was like an outsider looking in and I couldn’t help but feed off the pure love that filled up the room.
Tokio Hotel held their fans in the palm of their hands from start to finish. The vibe in the room was super chill and the songs, though I had never heard them before, caught my ear and made me want to hear more. Their very short set of only five songs peaked my fan-girl interest and I cannot wait to devour all that they have to offer.
SO definitely check them out if you haven’t already! They have been around for a long time have you heard of them before?! What do you think?! Let me know in the comments below. And I want to end with another HUGE thank you to Rachel for MAKING me get out of my comfort zone and experience some awesome music!
Tags: 2015, The Nerdy Girlie, The Viper Room
Filed Under: TH-News/Media
Watch Tokio Hotel Explain
A Decade Of Their Best And Most Horrible Fashion Choices,
Starting From 2005
Spoiler alert: they didn’t always color coordinate!
Everyone has those photos in their timeline, the ones where you are like, “what was I thinking?” Now imagine being in Tokio Hotel‘s universe, where your look changes practically every six months, and this year’s spiked hair and silver jacket is last year’s oversized jersey.
MTV News sat down with the Kings Of Suburbia and asked them to play fashion flashback with their old photos. Thankfully they were totally game to explain their best and most questionable looks.
VIVA Comet Awards, Oberhausen, Germany, 2005
Bill Kaulitz: It was our first awards show… obviously we didn’t talk about what we were going to wear. We just put on whatever… I wouldn’t wear that again, but I like that picture a lot. I can see the excitement.
Music Meets Media, Romania, 2006
Kaulitz: I’m wearing a Dior jacket, and it’s actually a nice jacket… but the rest is horrible.
Cinema For Peace, Berlin, 2007
Kaulitz: That’s actually not bad. I would probably wear that again… I don’t like the hair anymore, but I think the outfit is not too bad.
“TRL,” New York, 2008
Kaulitz: That was in America. We were there performing, and I like my orange jacket! I hate the t-shirt now.
2009 MTV EMA, Berlin
Kaulitz: I like our outfits. I think they are cool. I like Gustav’s blonde hair, I like him like that.
VIVA Comet Awards, Oberhausen, Germany, 2010
Kaulitz: Great outfit, I’m wearing Dior again.
MTV Video Music Aid Japan, 2011
Kaulitz: I’m wearing Givenchy. That’s in Japan. I hate Georg’s outfit, but mine is great.
Tags: 2015, Fashion Choices
Filed Under: TH-News/Media
Young Hollywood – Tokio Hotel Performs Live and Talks New Album & Tour Essentials!
German pop/rock group Tokio Hotel performs their single “Love Who Loves You Back” live at the YH Studio and sits down for a chat about their album ‘Kings of Suburbia’ and more! Bill, Tom, Georg, and Gustav explain their 5-year absence between albums, plus they talk about how their music has changed, why they still like designing their CD booklets, and they each name their 3 must-haves for life on the road!
Tags: 2015, Young Hollywood
Filed Under: TH.V-Interesting Interviews, TH.V-PerformancePerfection
Tokio Hotel @ Viper Room
West Hollywood, CA
A lot of secret things happen in Los Angeles each night, that is unless you’re a super fan. When word leaked of a secret Tokio Hotel show at the Viper Room, “Aliens” (that’s what Tokio Hotel fans call themselves) began to queue up in the early afternoon hours for a chance at maybe getting into the invite-only performance.
You see, Tokio Hotel is German rock-pop band consisting of twin brothers Bill Kaulitz (vocalist) and Tom Kaulitz (guitarist), drummer Gustav Schäfer and bassist Georg Listing. Forming in 2001 these guys are no stranger to the music scene. They just weren’t widely known here in the United States until winning an MTV Video Music Award (VMA) for Best New Artist in 2008.
Now the Viper Room is a smaller venue, only holding around 225 if they squeeze ‘em in, and this show was definitely at capacity. Announcing their new world tour, Tokio Hotel treated fans to an all acoustic session, playing just five songs. As soon as the curtain opened a sea of mobile phones went up; Tokio Hotel had their die-hard Aliens in the palm of their hands until their final note singing back every line. The majority of the set featured songs off their recently released album Kings Of Suburbia but the band pleased fans with a couple old tracks as well. Following the set, fans were treated to a meet and greet and for many fans this was up to eight years in the making.
For this newcomer, the energy of this show was addicting. For the fans, it will surely be a concert to remember. Tokio Hotel’s “Feel It All World Tour 2015″ officially begins March 6, 2015 in London.
Tags: 2015, High Voltage
Filed Under: TH-News/Media