German Rockers Tokio Hotel Embrace Electronic Dance Music on New Album
The German rock group Tokio Hotel — twin brothers Bill (lead singer) and Tom Kaulitz (guitar, backing vocals), Georg Listing (bass) and Gustav Schafer (drums) — has such a rabid following in its native country, where it’s one of the biggest rock bands of all time, that it had to get out of town. So a few years back, members picked up and moved to Los Angeles, a place where rock stars and celebrities are a dime a dozen.
“We were actually trying to hide away in Los Angeles,” says Bill Kaulitz in a phone interview from L.A. “We were living in Germany and it become impossible to have any private life beyond the career. We couldn’t go anywhere. We had 24-hour security. We needed to go somewhere to take a break. We moved to L.A. about six years ago just to not do anything and get a break and find inspiration for new music. For a year, we didn’t do anything. We slowly got back into the studio and trying to write songs and make new music. It was a perfect decision for us — personally, for us to have private life and also for the creativity for the band.”
“The music scene is so different,” says Kaulitz. “The whole life in L.A. is so different. It’s a whole different thing, for sure. I do miss Germany sometimes. I miss the German bread and the food, but I love living in LA. The music scene is massive. There are so many producers and writers you can meet up with and go in the studio with. We’ve taken advantage of that.”
As a result of the move to the States, the band adopted a new sound for last year’s Kings of Suburbia, an album that embraces electronic dance music on songs such as the synth-pop anthem “Love Who Loves You Back.” That new sound is also reflected on a new EP that features remixes of “Feel It All” and “Love Who Loves You Back.” Dubbed Feel It All World Tour 2015: Part 2 The Club Experience North America, the band’s current tour arrives at House of Blues on Sunday, where the band plays at 8 p.m.
“It took forever to perfect the show,” says Kaultiz when asked about the current tour. “We wanted something new and special. The idea is to create a show that’s never been seen in such small venues in club situations. We prepared the show for two months in Germany at the beginning of this year. We hit the road and had the first leg in Europe and we wanted to bring the exact same production to the U.S. It worked out well. It’s the same show. It’s a lot of lights and a super big production. We wanted to turn the live venues into a nightclub and party with everyone and have a big party with costumes. It’s a very electronic show.”
While the producing and mixing process for Kings of Suburbia took longer than previous efforts, Kaultiz says it was worth effort.
“You do think about every single tone on the album,” he says. “We’re so proud of everything that’s on it. We didn’t want to compromise. That’s how it happened. We were working with producers but when they sent things back, we didn’t like what they did. We felt like no one quite understood what sounds we wanted. We just took it over and did the final mixing and producing. I think we’ll never do it any different. It’s just the way to do it. The whole electronic vibe to the song is our sound now and with Kings of Suburbia, we finally have found a sound we like and the sound for the band. That’s what we’ll go for. All the stuff we’ll do is way, way more electronic than what we used to do.”
Because the clubs in L.A. are so different from the European clubs, the band started to absorb new sounds and attitudes.