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Friendship, Sex, Money, and All the Rest

After a four year break, Bill and Tom talk with us about their life after leaving Germany. Gustav and Georg are happy that the band continued making music. An interview by Sophie Albers and Ben Chamo.

How do you feel now, after your first fan contact and press conference, after this four year break?
Bill: It was a long, but good, day. We actually just talked about that in the car: Everything went really well.
Tom: There are, of course, days that don’t go so well. I always try not to lose my train of thought, but sometimes you just have those days where the interviewers want to annoy you. But today: We got some good feedback, had nice conversations.

How close have you guys actually been in the past four years?
Georg: Very close actually.
Tom: Just as close as we always were, the only difference was that we didn’t go out with each other as much. We’ve been friends for 14 years now, not much can happen now to change that. We can go two or three months without being in contact at all, but when we meet again it feels like the last time we saw each other was only yesterday.

But geographically you’ve actually been quite far apart.
Georg: We temporarily also spent some time over there, we talked on the phone and Skyped with each other. We always stayed in contact in some way.
Gustav: If we couldn’t physically be there, then we saw each other via Skype.

Could you actually have lived the rest of your life from the money you earned in the past? Could you have retired?
Bill: Depends on how you would have wanted to live. It depends on your standards. I honestly never thought about it in that way.
Tom: We could have lived a pretty normal life after releasing “Monsun” until the end of our time. It was never a topic that came up though, because we invested most of the money we made into our career. We’ve had people and companies working for us since we turned 15…

What type of companies?
Tom: Band companies. The band is our one true love and what we live off. We invest an unbelievable amount of time and money into our stage productions and videos. We did that since we started. It was always very important to us. We never really made sure to get the biggest profit out of something. On tour, a lot of partners always asked us why we spend so much money on our stage productions.

Did you miss being on stage?
Gustav: Yes.
Bill: Definitely! Absolutely! We attended a few concerts in the US and watched other bands play. I always thought: Aaah, I want to be on stage too.
Gustav: It does make you shed a little tear.
Bill: Of course it’s nice to be on the other side for once, and be able to relax for once. And I think you can also learn a lot, when you see what things other bands pull on stage. When you’re only standing up there without doing anything, you sometimes don’t know how the audience is going to like it. I enjoyed attending Coachella without the pressure of having to perform soon. In the condition I was in sometimes, it wouldn’t even have been possible. (laughs)
Tom: We’re also always extremely nervous before we go on stage.

What? After all these years?
Bill: Oh yes. When we’re on tour I’m the most nervous person in the world. I’m so nervous that I’m afraid of fainting at some point. I always feel like I’m another person in that moment. You can’t even approach me at that time because I’m so concentrated.
Georg: We always obsess about this together.
Bill: One and a half hours before each show, we have off-time. No interview, no pictures, nothing. Because we’re so nervous.
Gustav: And all three of them are so nervous that I have my own room. They really obsess over everything, like lunatics. It’s annoying.
Bill: But you also get nervous.
Gustav: I get nervous, yes, but I’d rather lie down for 20 minutes.
Bill: But the moment I’m on stage, everything is okay again. The worst part is before you go on stage. And it’s not getting better.

Did you choose the album release date on purpose? Because of the re-unification of Germany?
Bill: Nope, I actually only noticed it when someone told me.
Tom: Are the stores actually open that day, so people can buy the CD?
Georg: No, that’s the problem.
Tom: We released our album that day and no one can buy it?

But you can download it. How hard is it, coming back? Georg, Gustav you led less of a “wild life” in the meantime, therefore you essentially had to make a decision: Back to the craziness or not?
Georg: To be honest, I never actually asked myself that question. It was always clear to us that the four of us would be doing something together and be on the road again.
Tom: We just didn’t want to work on a new album for a while. It wasn’t the disbandment of the band.
Georg: I didn’t spend a second thinking about that. “What will you do now, study business studies?”
(loud laughter)
Bill: For everyone else it feels like a longer period of time passed. In 2011 we were still on tour, then we didn’t do anything for a year and in 2013 we had actually planned to release our next album. But we made a last minute decision and said no, because it was going really well in the studio. We didn’t plan that four years would pass. We never said that we’re taking a break now. We just didn’t know when and how we would continue.

When did you actually get that tattoo on your hand?
Bill: Shortly after I moved to L.A.
Gustav: That one is already old.

Why something so morbid?
Tom: Pride in being ugly.
Bill: I thought it was beautiful. I wanted to get a tattoo that covers my whole hand and I found a tattoo artist in L.A. that I really liked. He also did all my other tattoos.

At the press conference you were labeled the representatives of the “selfie generation”. Does it mean something to you?
Tom: By now, yes. In the beginning we still wanted to print autograph cards. Then we realized that it doesn’t make sense anymore, because people only want to take selfies nowadays. We’re still from that classic time where everyone wanted to have something signed, but those times are over.
Bill: Yes, sometimes we even feel a little old school. When we started, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram! Ten years ago, when we released out album “Schrei” everyone was standing there with our album in their hand and they wanted to have it signed. Nowadays no one wants an autograph anymore! It even happens that people want to take a picture and I say “I can’t really do that right now, but I can sign something for you”, and then they say: “No, I don’t need an autograph”. We didn’t have any social media accounts for a long time, we actually just started with that. Everything changed.
Tom: But I think that change is good, it also has positive sides. We just noticed that artists have their own medium now and that they can control it in a different way than in the past. We can send out something when we want to.
Bill: Only yesterday we activated our Tokio Hotel Instagram account

Your videos have been received by people as being very controversial. Why are you so against people describing them as being “provocative”?
Bill: I simply cannot understand why people are so enraged over the video for “Girl Got A Gun”!
Tom: I didn’t expect that. I thought they would find it atypical. I thought it was funny.
Bill: Exactly! A lot of people took it way too serious. Oh my god, where do all those discussions about it lead?! We thought of that plushie being a cool gag/joke. But it shouldn’t be a huge deal that it has a penis.

Did you discuss it as a band? Did you find it less funny than the others, Georg?
Georg: We all thought it was funny. It was actually more about the cool video director for us.
Bill: Apart from that, there was quite a timespan between us seeing the videos and the covers. We chose them individually, it wasn’t a package that had been planned before. You have to look at those things separately.
Tom: The single cover for “Love who loves you back” was my idea. I found it online and couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was a perfect fit.

But it is a little cynical.
Tom: It has some depth to it for me. Look, I for example, only found my love by watching porn online for years. By using the computer mouse. Like on the picture.
Bill: There are a lot of people out there that find their love on the internet. Just as many people have watched porn online at least once in their life. We thought that it fit the theme.

Tom, that’s not funny at all, it’s sad.
Tom: We still think that the single cover is funny.
Bill: It does have a meaning. We always decided on the cover art and the videos in the same moment we recorded the songs. Then we have an idea for it. We didn’t want to give the people a sex-package. That’s what the media is making out of it, but if you look closer, there’s more to it.

Bill, a question from women….
Tom: Women (laughs)
Don’t these shoes hurt?
Bill: Oh yeah, they are extremely uncomfortable. I actually almost face-planted while we were leaving, because there were so many people and Pumba pulled me. I almost took them off then.

But why are you doing this to yourself?
Bill: Because they look extremely good. You just have to get through this sometimes. I always had a penchant for extraordinary shoes. My shoe bag is bigger than my suitcase.
Tom: You don’t just have a inclination for extraordinary shoes.

Back to the topic of sex and “Love who loves you back”. I generally think that motto, “Love, who you want, regardless of age, looks and orientation”, is great. But is love not more than sex? And we’re back to the topic of online porn.
Tom: Finding your big love often starts with sex.
Bill: Exactly.
Gustav: You don’t want to buy a pig in a poke.
Georg: It’s an important part of love. There cannot be good love without good sex.
Tom: We’re still in that phase where we have a pretty active sex-life.
Gustav: And afterwards you have the internet again.

Were you disappointed that your fans were so quiet at the press conference?
Bill: I actually didn’t think about this yet. It didn’t strike me as being negative. I think at concerts it’s going to get louder again. Today the media was were, therefore they held back a little. It felt good though. The tickets were exclusively raffled to few fans.

You could have also been relieved about that.
Tom: That they haven’t been screaming that loudly, there is hardly a more energetic audience than the one we had. By no means do I want the people to only applaud, and not scream anymore. There is no greater feeling for an artist when they’re on stage, than when people are going bonkers. Privately it’s a whole different story.

Will L.A. stay your home for now?
Bill: Yes. Even though I also really want to go to New York. I really love that city. L.A. is a little boring. I’m so hungry for life and adventures. I always think that I’m missing out on so many things.

What is life?
Bill: I don’t know. But for me, it already starts with the fact that when I’m home on weekends, I’m not able to relax at home and watch a movie. I always want to go out and socialize. I like when I’m surrounded by a lot of people. We also always have someone visiting us at home. I like having a full house.
Tom: We’ll stay in the US for now. It’s more relaxing for us.

- original article

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TOKIO HOTEL @ Hotel De Sers

Tonight, the German group that everyone was talking about a few years ago is back in Paris to promote thier new album entitled “Kings Of Suburbia” through a press conference that preceded a private showcase at which we are invited.

Arrived around 8 p.m. in front of the hotel De Sers, it is impossible to be wrong about the venue as hundreds of fans are hoping to see their idols, and even in the pouring rain. Inside the hotel, a small twenty media and a dozen of fans having won a Polydor contest settled in a conference room in which instruments are already waiting for the Quartet. After a few minutes of waiting and without having been announced, Bill Kaulitz and his musicians arrive under the cheers from their fans. For someone who would not have followed the news of Tokio Hotel, it would have been impossible to recognize its members they have so physically changed. It is obvious that their image of teen rock band no longer has place to be.

Once their leader has welcomed the public, the four young men begin to play the opening notes of “Girl Got A Gun”, whose quirky clip was recently released. Acoustic rendering of the title away from electro pop and we get to much better to enjoy the clarity of voice of the singer who does not need to be retouched for sounding good. The group directly segues into another song taken from their fourth album, entitled “Louder Than Love”, quite different from the studio version. At the end, Bill Kaulitz asks people who already saw them in concert to raise their hands, what will make the vast majority of those present, including media. He adds that this song was part of ‘Humanoid City Tour’, their previous tour. Before the smiles delighted their fans, the Germanic play “Automatic”, which was the first single from their 2009 album “Humanoid”. Many whisper the words of the song. To conclude this short showcase, Bill Kaulitz announces that “Love Who Loves You Back” will be the last song on what is the “shortest of our lifetime” concert.

The applause, the group leaves the room welcoming fans to reappear minutes later. This time, the twins have withdrawn their sunglasses and the four leave themselves taking pictures before to re – install in order to answer the questions the media and the fans. Unfortunately, their staff will force them to answer all questions in German that will pose a barrier between them and the audience, since most will not understand a single word. Despite the fact that the group is visibly annoyed does not have the right to express themselves in English, they will comply with this condition.

Various themes will be discussed during this press conference.

Bill Kaulitz confirms that their new album, with more electro influences, is inspired by the new life in Los Angeles that he and his brother, Tom have had. It also adds that they are surprised and excited to see that so many fans are always present, even if they already knew that their fans would support them. Bill, who is the more talkative of the four, also admit that at the beginning of the creation of this album, they felt all misunderstood in Los Angeles and that’s the reason that prompted them to have their own studio and they have subsequently written “Girl Got A Gun” and “Love Who Loves You Back”.

A question, surely awaited by their fans, about possible concerts in France was asked, the frontman responds that they are organizing a tour, which will probably begin in the spring, and that Paris will definitely do part. For those who don’t know, Bill (vocals) and Tom (guitar) now live in Los Angeles, a media asked if they felt now foreign when they came back in Europe, by which they replied that they spend more time in Germany, but they are still returned to record the album and that Gustav (drums) and Georg (bass) live there still.

Their favorite songs from the record, they will hesitate in saying that it is a very difficult question, but both brothers have a preference for “Love Who Loves You Back”. They also add that this test has evolved compared to the former, because they have improved, many wrote and produced it differently.

A question for Tom is then asked. A fan asks him how he came to the idea to run as many tasks on this album (he plays the guitar, piano and produced), what the concerned responds with irony that it is because it is the only one of the group to have talent and can do it. On a more serious tone, his twin explains that this was not something planned, they were creative and that they worked with other people, but that this had not happened. It is for this reason that they decided they were going to do only things and in their own way.

Because this effort is much more electro compared to the old, a girl asked how they would go about playing new songs onstage, “other versions, other musicians will be with us, for example for the synth piano“, says Bill Kaulitz. Latter then reveals that “Run Run Run” has been the most difficult song to record.

A fan said later that she has a question for the drummer who, on hearing this, lets out a cry of surprise that will make laughter throughout the room. The person concerned will respond that the funniest moment in the studio was when it was necessary that he sings backing vocals on the song “Kings Of Suburbia”. “Georg, what has been the most troublesome moment in the studio?” “Are there not really any, apart from the songssaid Gustav, Tom will add a humorous tone that the moment most troublesome for the drummer was the time where he had forgotten to close the bathroom door while they were in full recording and the smell bothered them.

Asked then if they had problems during recording, Tom will respond that there are not really and that the problems occur rather sometimes once on stage.

The last question asked to Bill how happened the filming of “Loves Who Loves You Back”, video in which he kisses and touches many people, men and women alike. The smiling singer lets out an “amazing” before laughing and adding in German that it was he who had the idea and that initially, and that the Director did not want the others to participate in the video, but he insisted they be. He also adds that he was uncomfortable when he had the kiss someone before a camera for the first time and that the woman was even a bit too spirited.

In conclusion, the showcase has proven how Tokio Hotel could be such good musicians, but one then wonders why they felt the need to edit their album up to make an electro directory. Acoustic performance was able to convince all those present and their good mood during the press conference was nice to see. However, the very incomplete translation surely prevented us to understand half of their responses.

original article

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Showcase, Paris France

Love Who Loves You Back

Girl Gotta Gun

songs also performed:
Girl Got A Gun
Louder Than Love


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