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Berlin & Hamburg

Band Photos

“Tokio Hotel shoot! Unbelievably exciting filming in Berlin & Hamburg for the new Docu! Unbelievable what stories the boys tell. More in the documentary soon. We are excited! Very sympathetic, charismatic, creative types!” ~ Clemens Bittner (Filmmaker)

Tom's Photos Twin Photos Bill's Photos


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?



Twin Photos

Tom's Photos Twin Photos Bill's Photos

To see photo sets, click an image

Bill and Tom Kaulitz
were already rebelling with fashion against gender stereotypes as teenagers

Suddenly the questions came whether I am now a boy or a girl, with whom I sleep, and whether I am gay or not, I was, of course, overwhelmed because I was only 15 or 16.”

It is now twelve years since Tokio Hotel have released their hit Through the Monsoon. 2005, that was a year where R’n’B stars such as Mario, girl groups like the Pussycat Dolls, boy-bands like US5 or singers like Yvonne Catterfeld dominated the charts and the mainstream. A musical parade of heteronormativity. But then came Tokio Hotel. To the confusion of their parents, all the teenagers were suddenly hanging on posters, with painted boy on one side, and a visibly unconscious, masculine boy on the other. They were twins and only 15 years old.

Bill and Tom Kaulitz were already at the young age in the spotlight, where they had to justify themselves for everything: the Klamottenstil, Bill‘s love for women’s make-up and the sexuality. That they did not fit into the pop clichés and drawers of the mass did not harm their success. Nevertheless, they had to endure discussions and demonstrations by people who had been attacked by the ease and appearance of the Tokio Hotel Brothers. You may think of your music as you want, but the twins have always stood for what and who they wanted to be. Especially through fashion, they could claim this freedom as a teenager. We’ve talked to them about this time, and why Bill is in the new video dressed as a woman.

What is the significance of fashion in your life?

Bill: A great one. Fashion is a feeling of life and a freedom for me. It affects my whole life. My day starts differently when I wear something specific. With fashion you can stimulate and influence your mind. I have the most money in my wardrobe – actually a bad investment, but I just enjoy it.
Tom: It’s a bad investment.
Bill: Fashion is actually worth nothing.

If you feel good, it is a good investment.

Bill: Emotional is good, but purely financially, it is the dumbest thing you can do.
Tom: It’s a bit different for me. I think it’s important, but it’s all about a sense of life. You are always influenced by cities, places and its surroundings, and so the style changes. Nevertheless, it is not as important to me as for Bill. With me it is much faster and I am much simpler.

Bill, you’ve already made yourself up relatively early. When did you realize that as a boy it is OK to wear makeup?

Bill: I was confronted early on how shit people find that. Of course this started at school, but at that time I was never really aware of the importance. When we were successful, of course, this became much more important. Suddenly, questions came as to whether I am now a boy or a girl, with whom I sleep, and whether I am gay or not, and so on. I was, of course, overburdened because I was only 15 or 16. For me it was much less important, always. I did it with such ease and did not really know what I was doing with it.

What did you trigger?


Bill Kaulitz:
This was our chance to tell our own story and make things clear.”

‘ich muss durch den monsun, hinter die welt’‚ these are the lines that made Bill Kaulitz and his band Tokio Hotel famous in 2005. At the same time producer Oliver Schwabe started to recognize Tokio Hotel and was fascinated by them: “what I really found interesting was that Bill combined all codes from subcultures, while he as person took place in mainstream media.”

Guided by this fascination Oliver Schwabe tried to get in contact with the band. But he failed due to the success and high demand for Tokio Hotel: “I was working on a movie at this time and I tried to reach out to you [Bill]. But I wasn’t able to get in contact.”

Today, 12 years later, Oliver Schwabe and Tokio Hotel made the documentary Hinter die Welt (engl. title: beyond the world), which premiered at the Film festival Cologne. In the context of the lecture Beuys will be Beuys Bill Kaulitz and Oliver Schwabe talked about how they build mutual trust, about the developing process and how they used the movie to portrait the band.

Stop talking. Just come over!

Oliver Schwabe filmed Tokio Hotel during the past two years on their world tours, in the studio and in their very own environment. When they started talking about working together, Bill invited Oliver: “we had skype-sessions and then Bill suddenly told me: “stop talking. Just come over. Then you’ll see what’s possible“. Then I flew directly to Mexico. I arrived at night and I went back to the airport, at 6am in the morning, to see the band arriving.‘
The teaser of Hinter die Welt shows what Oliver Schwabe experienced in this moment:

Bill Kaulitz: “It always felt like we’re in this together.”

For Tokio Hotel it was really clear early on that they wanted to do the documentary: “we knew that working with Oliver would be a team work. It always felt like we’re in this together. We wanted to do the movie because there are some misunderstandings. People kept talking about things. This was our chance to tell our own story and make things clear.”
Oliver Schwabe was aware that it’s not always easy to let a stranger into your own world, since he already dived into a lot of different world for other documentaries he produced. That’s why he offered Tokio Hotel to let them do the final inspection of the movie, with this agreement Oliver was able to build trust, while the team of Schwabe was critical about it: “my colleagues told me ‘are you nuts?’ when they heard about my agreement with the band.”

But the agreement of the final inspection gave Bill Kaulitz the feeling that he could let himself completely sink into the movie: “this was the final moment to say: ok, let’s do this. If it turns out crap, then that’s how it is. But if it won’t turn out crap, we will have a really good movie. And I believe we do have a really good movie.

Another challenge Schwabe had to deal with was diving into the Tokio Hotel world while he accompanied the band at their feel it all tour in Russia in 2015. Not only to walk into their world, but to deeply dive into it and become a part of the world itself. Schwabe revealed that he not only met Tokio Hotel, when he started to film, he met a whole family instead. A family which was built over years to have the strength to master the past and very difficult situations. This is how he dealt with it: “when you meet them, you just burst into a family. It then takes a while, until you’re allowed to say something there. But I just waited. I waited until my time came.”

“This is like Peter Pan, like in a fairytale. You can see it in their eyes!”

After Schwabe became a part of the Tokio Hotel world, he continued to accompany the band to their Dream Machine tour in Cologne, Paris and Russia. In Russia Schwabe was especially inspired by the contrast between the country and the band: “that’s why I wanted to go to Russia again. It made a lot of sense to me to film there. For example in Novosibirsk where everything seems to be grey and where it’s still snowing even though it’s almost May. And then they come into the venue and it’s like Peter Pan, like in a fairy-tale. You can see it in their [fans] eyes! It’s a promise of a different world and this makes so much sense to me.”

Schwabe portraits not only the contrast of the different environments around the band, which are taking place in Magdeburg and Los Angeles. He also manages to show the opposition of the environment of the fans and how this suddenly changes when they see and meet Tokio Hotel. He produced a documentary in which he highlights not only the world beyond Tokio Hotel, but also different aspects, backgrounds and environments, by using impressive pictures of the different worlds. But the movie doesn’t only look at the band itself. He also takes a look at the band members. Gustav and Georg, which usually like to be in the background, talked about how they felt when Bill and Tom left Germany and what they thought about the mandatory break. Besides this Gustav and Georg visited Tokio-Hotel-wise historical places in their hometown Magdeburg, like the Gröninger Bad or their first rehearsal space. This way Schwabe succeeded to show one more world: the history of Tokio Hotel, which completes itself through memories and narrations of Gustav and Georg.

Part 2: looking behind Tokio Hotel. Bill Kaulitz talks about the Tokio Hotel band members,
what he’s frightened about and about being self-confident