Interview – Martin Kierszenbaum
Tokio Hotel America is beyond thrilled to be able to say that we got an interview with Martin. In case you do not know, Martin is the is head of A&R at Interscope Records and president of Interscope’s subsidiary Cherrytree Records. He is also a producer for Lady Gaga, Sting, Keane, and Feist. AND, he is a songwriter! He has co-written songs for Lady Gaga, and written for t.A.T.u, Flipsyde, Ai, Alexandra Burke and Colby O’Donis.
AND of course, he co-wrote Dogs Unleashed with Bill Kaulitz!
Okay, on to the interview!
Could you describe your first meeting with Tokio Hotel for us?
It was in Paris. It was in a hotel lobby. The guys were super polite and charismatic as usual.
How and when did you discover Tokio Hotel?
I found out about Tokio Hotel online. I saw the original video for “Scream” in German and flipped out.
If you had to associate or describe each member of Tokio Hotel with just one word, which word would you use for each guy? What word do you think they would use for you?
Bill – supernova. Tom – witty. Georg – kind. Gustav – sharp. They’d probably describe me as persistent, haha!
What is the most effective way for USA fans to support Tokio Hotel? Would you recommend fans petition radio stations for airplay? What is your opinion of “Street Teams”?
I love it when fans get involved in helping their favorite bands spread their music. I do it too. Word of mouth is still the most powerful way for somebody to get turned on to music. It’s makes a lasting connection and it’s rewarding to be the one hipping your friends to music. It’s fun.
Who do you see as having the most business focus in Tokio Hotel? None? All? Who is most involved in the studio? Most involved on the marketing side of things?
I find that the group seem to make decisions as a team on all those subjects.
How would you define “traction” in terms of Tokio Hotel and the music industry?
Not sure I understand the question. Tokio Hotel have a lot of traction. They have fans that support them and their music and that’s beautiful to see and be a part of.
What is the process for getting a single into rotation on radio stations in the US market?
Radio stations have a limited number of playlist slots. Artists and record companies vie for them by trying to show the station that the song will react with their audience. Digital sales can show this. Live ticket sales. Internet stats, etc. But also, I think it’s important to spread an artist’s music outside of radio as well as via radio.
Was it difficult to secure a U.S. release for the Humanoid City Live DVD/CD? What did that involve?
No. It was important to me to make that release available to US fans so we prioritized it. The packaging presented some problems because it didn’t fit the normal configuration of product here but we worked through it and got it out. I’m very happy about that and hope the fans will support it by purchasing it!
Are there any plans for Tokio Hotel in the U.S. at the moment? In the next year?
Oh how I try. They have many commitments around the world. I am hoping they come to the US. I routinely drive them crazy with my requests to do so.
If we are able to harness USA fan power, what can we do to help get Tokio Hotel in the USA?
We can all continue to write the band and underscore that we’d love to see them in the USA. Also, we can support that by purchasing legal copies of the music.
Has TH ever spoken with you about what definitive goals they have for themselves in the USA? If so, can you share these with us?
To me, TH have talked about always wanting to give their best to their fans no matter what country they live in. They seem to really enjoy being in the USA when they’re here.
Can you describe the creative process of writing “Dogs Unleashed” with Bill Kaulitz and the other writers (Dave Roth, Pat Benzner, and David Jost)? What was the inspiration for the song?
It was kind of them to involve me in this. My contribution to that particular song was primarily the song concept and title.
What is your favorite song from Humanoid? Favorite song(s) from previous albums?
That’s hard to pick. I’ve always loved “Rescue Me.” From the current album, I love “Automatic.” It’s probably my favorite TH song to-date.
What is or has been the biggest challenge in promoting Tokio Hotel in the US music market?
The biggest challenge is trying to maintain the momentum we created on the previous record with the MTV win and the radio airplay on “Monsoon” without having the band visit here regularly.
Have you been to a Welcome to Humanoid City Tour concert? If yes, which one and what was your favorite part?
I wasn’t able to go in Europe. I’ve watched the DVD. Bill on the motorcycle is pretty kick-ass
What do you think is the next “big opportunity” for Tokio Hotel?
I think the band continue to make great music and great videos. As they do that, opportunities form for them to keep connecting and developing a close communication and deep relationship with their audience. That’s what making music is about.
What advice do you give to Tokio Hotel on what they need to do in the USA in order to be successful here?
Come tour man!
Can you settle a bet for us? Is Tom playing a baritone guitar on “Humanoid” (the song) on the album, or is it drop tuning on a standard guitar? Or studio/ProTools magic? Pages of arguments have been devoted to this and experimental research in guitar tuning completed – but we have reached no definitive conclusions.
That’s for Tom to divulge.
We have heard that some of the production collaboration for Humanoid was done via Skype. What did this add and/or detract from creating the music or working with the artists?
Not at all. That approach is what Far East Movement have dubbed Freewired in their lingo. Humans stay in communication now via different means. It’s just as valid and rich. They talk, create, congregate via technology as much as they do physically. Human Connect to Human!
Anything specifically you’d like to convey from you – or the band- directly to Tokio Hotel’s fanbase in the USA?
I want to take this opportunity to thank you, Schnee, for inviting me to do this interview and also thank you for your support of TH, whom we love so much. I also want to thank all of the TH fans in the USA and around the world for supporting TH and also being such a great part of the CherrytreeRecords.com community. Thank you.
Read THe Full Interview at:
Tom Kaulitz, guitarist of the band Tokio Hotel, at a bit different practice – posing for the camera. The 20-year-old is the new poster child for the sport- & lifestyle-article-producer “Reebok”. He already got many offers, but the product has to match him.
Tom: “I could never position myself somewhere and then, for example, advertise for dress shoes. I think that would be a little problem with me.”
Authenticity is important to him, the subjects show his relation to music, the clothes and shoes are his style. Tom makes the choice of the pics for the subsequent campaign together with the photographer, and the pic could look like this later…
Tom: “Here it’s really that you have to outspend yourself, but it really makes fun. It’s something different and above all, I’m doing this alone, that’s much more uncomplicated than if I would have these other three dudes with me. So, it’s really awesome.”
The next subject gets prepared – stage diving without stage and band colleagues. Short instruction and then – “Action!”
Tom is giving everything, it shouldn’t be just some campaign, it’s about the fans. A prize is luring – an exclusive prize. Together with Tom Kaulitz and the band on tour. It doesn’t get revealed by now, how this should be like, but the winner will be close to the action.
Tom: “I think that this what we made here is a very good thing, the whole contest and so on, that the people can accompany us, and for me… well for us, as a band, this contact to our fans is especially important. And.. uhm.. this is very good, definitely.”
The campaign of the sport- & lifestyle-article-producer starts in July. Then it will also be clear, what we’ll get to see on the pics.
As a model Tom is almost doing as well as a band member of Tokio Hotel.
Sporty solo paths
Tom Kaulitz steps out of the shadow of his brother Bill: He’s the new face of the sport brand “Reebok”.
For the future Tom Kaulitz isn’t only the guitarist of Tokio Hotel anymore, but also promo star: The 20-year-old is the new face of “Reebok”.
Besides a campaign with the company, there will be additionally a promo-action, where the fans will have the opportunity to go on tour with Tom and the rest of the band for two days.
“For the winner it’s a real exception, because normally our tour bus is top secret!“, Tom said at an official press release about this action.
During the shooting for “Reebok”, it was the first time for the musician to stand in front of the camera without his band colleagues from Tokio Hotel. But apparently he didn’t miss his twin brother Bill, the drummer Gustav and the bass player Georg this time: “This time I finally had the opportunity to make good photos, without having regards for the other three dudes – they’re rather less photogenic.”, Tom joked in the interview with the magazine “Bravo”.