Rammstein – Smashing their Own Boundaries

To stay in the press without bigger provocations or scandals is a difficult task these days. Usually this works out only once a year – namely when the new album is released. For Rammstein who have already drawn all attention again this year with “Reise, Reise” this simply wasn’t enough. “Rosenrot” is their answer and latest concoction. Reason enough to sit down with keyboardist Flake Lorenz again.

What’s for you so special about the new album, what was particularly important?
With this album the musical boundaries are broken down even more than before; we experimented with many things that were forbidden before. Interludes, time changes. I don’t know if one has heard that, destroying is structure-wise completely untypical. We haven’t done this before.

What means “forbidden”, what did you impose on yourselves?
Well, it just came along; it was what Rammstein was about, that it was always very straight and very disciplined.

How did it come to this change, has it developed or came about or did someone have the kick and said: now we try this?
We didn’t want to do songs anymore that sound the same or similar. For those you can listen to our first records. You also demand from yourself to do something different.

Are you planning to do a tour and if yes, when?
No, at the moment we don’t know how we will do it. We’ve already been on tour for so long over the last months. In the past we did a tour only every 2-3 years – the people were there and were interested; they looked forward to seeing us! If we would go on tour now again it would be as if we had been there just yesterday. It’s a bit like eating 2 knuckles of pork in a row; the first tastes delicious, yummy but then you have to have a break to get an appetite for it again.

Some of the songs on the new album were already written when producing the previous album, what are the songs? 
Zerstören (Destroy), Ein Lied (A Song), Rosenrot (Rose Red), Feuer und Wasser (Fire And Water) and Wo bist du (Where Are You).

This is almost half of the record; did you already play those songs in your last shows?
No, the only one we already played from the new songs is Benzin (Gasoline).

It caught my eye that Benzin (Gasoline) just because of the word repetitions and the ending –ine like in cocaine, heroine, ephedrine sounds like a drug. Violence as a rapture is not unusual, can violence become an addiction?
Yes, in a way, in the sense that gasoline is a real “power substance” and flows like blood through the veins. I think the metaphor is just great. I imagine an unleashed monster that is hot and leaves a trail of fire behind. This is of course violent and it’s also an addiction. Fire and violence is almost inseparable.

At this point generally asked, how is a song created with you; do the lyrics or the music come first or does it happen in parallel?
We always have the music first. Then we give it to Till and he listens to it a good many times. If he would sit in the rehearsal room he would get headaches. The racket is not of interest for him when we consider and puzzle; he doesn’t have to listen to this. When Till is present and we talk about musical things he’s not interested in it so much. Now he goes in some kind of small ministudio where he listens to the finished music and makes recommendations, whatever comes to his mind. Then he sings on it, in multitrack recording. Nowadays he doesn’t even want to be present when we listen to his text ideas. He says, it’s like a court hearing where you have to get naked and everybody is watching and he already gets sick when the people look down to the floor. So he goes away, we listen to his ideas and then we discuss about it. Someone then calls him and tells him that we like the basic idea but that chorus is somehow rubbish, it doesn’t fit or so.

Is it drawn by lot who has to call him?
Yes, and then he tries something new or it just doesn’t happen. In some cases he of course says that he has this text that would fit perfectly but then he needs this double chorus here and the verse has to get heavier or softer. Then we of course change it for him. On one happy day we will all come together in the rehearsal room. When everything has prospered insofar as we all have a common direction then we’ll rehearse together.

In principle, you have a strict division of work?
Yes, it already came up with the last album. It works very well because it’s faster.

How did you come up with the idea of a duet with Sharleen Spiteri (Texas)?
I think it was an idea from Till and Richard.

The question was more generally about why there’s a guest singer on the album anyway and how did you come together?
Yes, a female voice is important for the song, you can notice that.

Alright, let’s go on with Te Quiero Puta. I’ve read somewhere that your music has no sense of humor; now no one can accuse you of this anymore. At the presentation everyone present had to grin at the beginning of the song. How did this song come about?
Till spends a lot of time in Costa Rica and has brought some music from his holidays. On the last tour we always listened to those CDs backstage before the concerts. Just to lighten us up for the concerts. Till wanted to learn Spanish and by and by we got so used to it that we sang along. Eventually, a friend translated the lyrics for us and then we found out that they sing naughty songs all the time.

Yeah, that’s how much I’ve noticed too although I don’t speak Spanish but some key words were clearly identifiable…
In fact, all of the songs are without exception about this bad sex-thing. The funny thing is that it’s played by old, dignified bands; not only by some punk-kids but also by the Buena Vista Social Club. These old guys only sing about shagging! La canterna means candle and you can figure what is meant by light my candle…

And Puta means whore, right?
Yes. Basically, Till said that he can write a text like this and did one that is of course conclusive in itself but also very funny and not short of innuendoes. We also got the blessing for the text from Latin-American quarters; it is really – at least grammatically – all right.

Author: Anja Röbekamp, Photos: hfr., Translation: Kathleen Gransalke

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski