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Dandy Diary ~ What if? – Questions to Bill Kaulitz
(audio snippets @ post’s end)

I stand on my seat, I jump, do not jump, but can sing along, scream. Everyone is shouting now and Bill with us. We, that’s about 10000 at the concert here and now is a time to memorize song lyrics from CD booklets and bravo. Scream! is our rallying cry, was my wake up call and the end of my childhood, by-monsoon singing in the darkened room with disco ball and blue neon tube the beginning of everything else.

It’s a Sunday in 2018, Tokio Hotel is giving a concert in Berlin, before that I meet Bill for an interview. We’ll talk about his collection and a little bit about the past, at least not about his brother and Heidi Klum, why? He will tell me that he does not think much about this earlier. On the other hand, I can not help considering the situation in contrast to the memories of my first Tokio Hotel concert and to experience at all. I have the shirt with me that I bought on 27.4.2007 in the Leipzig Arena. Location and date are on the back. It was the room tour, I was 11 and there with my dad, sitting on the couch to the right of the stage. These were the concessions made to parental concerns over the newspaper reports of collapsing teens.

These teens are all gone, but they are still there. I get a bit nervous as I walk past the long line of pending, or sitting there for some time, sitting fans. The front is broken down, there is a SCREAM, ROOM483 and KINGS OF SUBURBIA entrance. I know what it’s all about after I’ve passed the PRESS entrance. I’m told that there are different price levels of tickets and you can, for example, with a Scream Upgrade for the double ticket price 15min. in front of the others may be allowed to then possibly 1.5m further forward.

But now the hall is empty, except for some fog and purple light and some scattered crew members. You take us up a flight of stairs to the backstage and then you are always surprised by the desolation of such back rooms, which are so dull because they are so hoping for so much, interpreted so much into the rooms behind the Doors that remain closed to the normal visitor. Here you could hardly be further from Band room romance, groupie escapades or intoxicants. Everything is light and almost clinically clean and white. We walk through a corridor, in the adjoining room you can catch a glimpse of the entire band standing there lost between all the Meet & Greets, fan sound checks and photo sessions accompanying the concert, opening the door to those who are ready to go numbers.

We are led into the room next door. Here are 2 couches, 2 bottles of water on a table and a circle of chairs that reminds strangely of a seminar or kindergarten and that has obviously happened here too, just before. In the corner on another table gifts: a handwritten letter, a purple orchid and some slightly deranged plastic bags, maybe not so much has changed. At least that’s reminiscent of the Bravo photos you have in mind. In front of it is a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels that does not fit in here and looks like it’s left over from another band. Maybe by Rammstein, whose oversized framed poster hangs on the wall.

Aah nice and cool here” – says Bill as he enters the room after a few minutes of waiting.
He wears blue Nike VaporMax Plus, a green shirt from Champion, a red paisley bandana knotted around his neck and matching silver glasses with red lenses. When he sits down after greeting everyone, he first has to pull up the bottom of his ultra destroyed jeans. Although, as he reports, this is his tenth meeting today, he is very alert and open. He talks and laughs a lot. His whole behavior, that the conversation makes pleasant and less nervous, is a mixture of East German directness and LA Feel-good logic.
That seems to be the key to enduring the hustle and bustle. On a day like today, he has only an hour to spare and now has time to tell me that he is always nervous before the show, even after all these years.

Dandy Diary: Are you going to be on stage like that later?
No, there are fixed stage costumes, so I do not have to worry every time, that’s relaxed. But the hectic is, I have 30 seconds in the meantime only to change and then dragging around 30 people around me and all at the same time have to remove and put on. The idea of the whole show is that we are landing on the stage with our dream machine so ufomäßig and that’s why we are all in the captain’s look. Actually, I’m the captain and the others are my assistants. And everyone has space suits on in the beginning and the guys keep that up all the time and I think I change the outfit 4 times.

Dandy Diary: Do you think about the costumes yourself?
Yeah, so that’s always the nicest part for me on such a show that I can do the outfits. This time I did the outfits for the boys too. I am working with a designer from Berlin. Mostly it’s like I come up with 20 ideas and then we make a huge mood-board and then I show her what I imagine and she tells me what works and what does not. But I can actually skate a bit myself and something like that. So that’s my passion, I could never give it away and tell someone: go ahead!

Dandy Diary: You also designed your merch yourself. In the present time of the Logo-mania you can also wear band shirts outside of bed and gym. Do you wear this privately?
I always have to watch a bit, because sometimes you want to be incognito and we all carry our merchandise all day and I think that looks really stupid, if you sometimes have Tokio Hotel on it. But the stuff is totally awesome, we love them all privately and we put them all on and the whole crew runs around with them.

Dandy Diary: If you say you designed the collection. What does that mean? How do you proceed?
We first had blanks like in the past, where we simply printed the motifs and the stuff is done. Then I started with the sweater, I made this hoodie myself, because I thought there was no hot stuff. So I started picking out the fabrics and a cut and then everyone loved this hoodie so much that we thought we could not do a normal merch, we have to do it all by ourselves. And then I thought that’s right, that must be a bit more expensive, of course you can not offer that at the same prices. Then I got in completely.
I’m doing this with a Berlin company now, they’re doing the 032c stuff as well. Marie and I realized this at some point because we ran into each other in the office. In 2-3 weeks now come again 5 parts. I do not want to work in collections, but I just always want to add parts. So it should not be a standstill, now I’m just too much break

Dandy Diary: Which things are coming?

I’m doing an Old School Tokio Hotel shirt, so make fun of it. We bring a bit of the trash back, I have an old picture of us from the Bravo, there is then very shabby Tokio Hotel over it. Then I make a black shirt with a stick on it. ” Mommy is gonna be very tired tomorrow. ‘
And we do a whole suit with pants for the first time. So in the direction of Motorcycle Racing Club. With an oversized sweater with zipper and a bandana. And for the summer I still do towels

Dandy Diary: On the subject Merch: I have an old Tokio Hotel Shirt – my first band shirt – from 2007 on it you can still see with long hair and highlights. At the time you were shaping the style of the Emo movement with Tokio Hotel, which now revives in hip-hop with rappers like Lil Peep. Studded belts, nail polish and rings on male hands, sweatbands and bell bottoms are hip again and almost mainstream compared to the previous subcultural margins.
How do you experience this come back?
So I think that’s a bit with all things, they always come back. So who knows, maybe someday I’ll have black fingernails again.

Dandy Diary: Can you identify with the scene?
Not really like that. But I never went along with any movements that way. So back then, somehow, I was at school with us anyway and the absolute freak everywhere.

– puts off the sunglasses: “that looked so nice to the outfit” –

That was not fashionable at the time, so no one thought that was cool. I did not really have anything to do with the Emo movement. So I clearly wrote depressive lyrics because I believe that as a child I had depression as well. But I have never really felt connected to this scene. I went to the Halloween party, it was cool to paint my nails and put my hair up and stuff like that. Today it is still so, I’m not the one who leafs somewhere and looks what is currently in or what’s just for movement and what scene.

I never thought about where I could belong.”

Dandy Diary: I bought the shirt almost exactly 11 years ago on 27.4.2007 at the concert in Leipzig. What happened between then and now?
Oh God! This sometimes feels a bit like another life. I think everyone can understand that, you can not even remember who you were at the age of 15, 16, 17. So of course, I can feel that way again, but of course that feels like an eternity. We do not play so many songs back then. So it all goes with it and that was also very important and that was also the time but I live so very rarely in the past

– out of nowhere someone enters the room and puts Bill next to his brought Fritz Kola a new tin Red Bull –

I think that’s just life living. We went to LA at some point, 8 years ago and there we have led the first time an adult life, there we were 20 and before that we were so isolated. When we were not on stage, we sat in a room and it was closed and we could not go out the door. Since (in LA) I also started to change my face externally, because then I was able to run around on the street and came out of my bladder. That’s why I just think free life, that has changed a bit with me.
But I change all the time, I do not even get it, sometimes I walk in somewhere and everybody says human you look quite different again and sometimes, when I scroll through my Instagram, I actually see 3 weeks ago different. I just love change

Dandy Diary: Magdeburg – Los Angeles is actually the short version of your story. Is that the reason why the two cities are motive for the collection?
Also because it’s the extremes. Georg and Gustav, for example, still live in Magdeburg. We are all so blatantly different, we really fit together 0, if we had not grown up together, we would not talk a word to each other, but that is quite good, so today we are also a band, if you had 4 times Bill, that would not work at all.

With the collection I wanted to find something that connects us all and what we all can wear. And indeed, in the end it is often just the styling, so how to put things on, what is different.

Dandy Diary: Aesthetically, your designs are more reminiscent of Berlin than Magdeburg. The last album was also heavily inspired by Berlin. What fascinates you here?
I just believe that diversity and freedom. In LA, you still have to go home at 2 pm, you can not drink anymore, and that’s where the alcohol is taken away, as with so small children. I love LA for the freedom that I have found in my particular situation. If I had not lived my life now, I’m not sure I chose LA. But for us it just went really well and I would never go away again.
Berlin is somehow more interesting, there are somehow hornier clubs and scene. There’s nothing like that in LA at all, there are 3 shops where everyone runs. But there is not this cool underground scene or you go into any demolition house suddenly there is a great club in there as in Berlin. You have 0, you do not have that. In Downtown there are a few afterhour shops, where then a garage, but it is not so exciting. It’s all a bit of glamor, palm trees and sun

Dandy Diary: Will you and Tom, you live together, eventually move on?
I could imagine having something second here. I think we will always leave our center of life in LA, because it is simply more relaxed for us. When there is a lot of talk again and you’re in a lot of tabloids again, then it’s nice to be able to go there, as the perspective changes, then that’s not so present. And in America, the press is always a lot nicer.

Dandy Diary: So far, you’re designing your stuff either as a merch or stage outfit. Could you even imagine having your own label detached from Tokio Hotel?
That’s actually my big dream! I really want to do that someday. Since I was very small, my passion has always been fashion and singing. I have to do that, it’s overdue. So Tokio Hotel is of course my baby and if there is something that always has priority. That’s why, with all the other stuff I do, I have to make sure they fit in with Tokio Hotel’s plan. I’d like to design something for anyone, for any label that already exists, just like “by Bill Kaulitz”. Do not ask me which, but

Dandy Diary: That would be interesting to know.
Of course there are such dream labels, but of course they would never do that because the star designers have it. So my absolute dream label is for example Saint Laurent. My wardrobe is full of things, even if they are extremely overpriced. For a long time I only fit in skinny jeans from Dior and only had pants from Dior Homme. I probably invested the most money in my wardrobe in Dior Hosen. And of course my dream is Hedi Slimane, I adore that, that’s my hero. Of course, that’s unrealistic, of course.

Dandy Diary: What would your first collection look like? What is your inspiration?
These are very spontaneous things, I always write notes in my phone.

Dandy Diary: In the interview with the Whitelies Mag, you said that earlier David Bowie was a great inspiration to you. Is that why there is a tendency for extravagance?
I think so. For a long time I was not aware that David Bowie had such an impact on my life, but (he points to the old shirt) these are the hair of the Goblin King from the labyrinth. And we had this video on videocassette and it ran up and down the whole day with us. I always wanted to have a cape and he had so horny leggings and hair. I also loved the music in the movie, which used to be sung and danced earlier.

Dandy Diary: Like Bowie, you’ve been playing in your androgyny looks right from the start, you’re also discussing cross dressing and transsexuality in the video for your song boy, do not cry. Where does the interest in this topic come from?
I just believe, because I’ve always been confronted with it. Already at school, I came there so made up. I did not make it easy to walk around the village like this. I remember, every time I went to the bathroom, a saying came from somewhere: “You have to go to the girls’ loo ..”, “You can not wear this ..” Everyone called something after me. That was always the biggest disruption to people. I remember, when we moved to the village, I had very long hair and such a small face and great skin. At school, all the boys fell in love with me and then gave all my love letters to my brother for his sister. When they found out I was a boy, it was a nightmare for them, of course, and everyone wanted to hit me in the face. These were experiences in my life where you can see how close the hatred is. I mean how freaking is that, you’re writing a love letter, then you find out that this is a boy and then you want to hit him on the face. How amazing is that?

Dandy Diary: Is breaking gender roles for you more a game or an actual liberation?

Rather, a personal liberation, although I always like provoked it.

– He interrupts his answer and points to my backpack made of green can openers: “The bag is so cool, I watch it all the time.” –

So for me that was always soft transitions, I always found that it is important that you are totally free.
For me there was never, this is for men and this is for women, for me, there were always different sizes

Dandy Diary: Do you believe in a happy ending?

Actually, I’m already positive, but that would be too easy for me to say, in the end everything will be fine, so you can not say that in a general way. For some certainly, but maybe not for me

After the end of the interview, Bill invites us to stay for the concert, at least this evening has a happy ending. The show actually has very little to do with 11 years ago. As announced almost exclusively new songs are played, Bill speaks most of the time English, everything reminds rather of nightclub than rock concert and the hysteria has decreased significantly. Unbelievable how grown-up we all have become, one thinks just when at the very end the first notes of Through the monsoon sound and just a few feet in front of me a wild ruffle between several women develops, where Bill’s towel has landed. Going out, I’m thinking of purchasing one of Bill‘s new towels in the summer, while the chorus of the just-heard What If? as earwig eats in my head.

Audio Snippets

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