Part 1 Translation by Theresa from THCN, Part 3,4,5,6,7,8 by TH China and Part 2 by Sugar from THA! The interview originally in Japanese can be found here.
Tokio Hotel was found by identical twin brother, Bill (Vo.) and Tom (G.), who come from an old small city called Loitsche in Eastern Germany. (Birthday: 1989.9.1) Then Georg Listing (B. – 1987.3.31) and Gustav Schafer (D. – 1988.9.8) joined them. Finally four of them set up this band.
Bill and Tom began to compose music at their age of 7. They did their performance in Magdeburg when they were 10 years old. So they were early-maturing.
Later on, at their age of 13, they had similar tastes and interests with Georg and Gustav who came to watch their live show, and began to set up the band.
Georg began to play the base at age of 13 and Gustav began to play the drum at age of 15. To them, the band was the real career.
Regarding to the reason why TH named their band Tokyo, Bill said: “They consider Tokyo as their final destination, because Tokyo is too far to reach. The scene that we are in Tokyo always hangs around us. We are inspired by this scene and add Tokyo into the band’s name.” (This question is on my twitter from Rily.)
The interview started in harmonious atmosphere like last time. (Questions about music are included.)
Click through to read the interview!
What a fabulous hairstyle!
Bill: Thank you!
How long did you spend on this hairstyle?
Bill: This one is easiest, because the hair dresser just needs to make the hair like this. It did not take a long time to do this. But in the past it was really time-taking and troublesome due to my long hair. And every time we used one hair spray up. So the hair style today is an easy one.
It is the second time to come to Tokyo. What do you think of Tokyo?
Bill: We really like the streets in Japan. We were a little nervous on the first day when we just arrived. We could not imagine at all before we reached Tokyo. But we knew what it was like this time. We met different kinds of people and everything was exciting. We really appreciated that everything was full of energy. And all the people were very kind. Besides this, our fans were energetic. They sent us lots of presents and had done many things for us. We were moved a lot. So it was most exciting moment when we took pictures with fans. At the moment, each one released their emotion.
Where do you want to go in Tokyo?
Gustav: We haven’t seen much. But we went to Shibuya, it was awesome! The crossing in Shibuya was amazing. We met many people that we’ve never met before. In Germany, there is no place like this. We really want to see more streets like this.
What kind of impression do you have on Japanese girls?
Bill: They are very lovely. Although sometimes they are a little bit shy, I think they are sweet and cute. It is normal to be shy and flustered when your favorite band is standing in front of you, after all they are your favorite. So this is natural. I really like.
How about German girls and American girls?
Bill: They are not shy at all. What should I say? In Germany, people are more crazy. (He raised his voice.) Because different countries have different culture, I can not judge. It differs from man to man. After we just arrived in Japan, I realized that Japanese are a bit shy. But all the TH’s fans are basically in a big family. They share everything on Twitter. So I think Japanese fans are going to join in the big family.
Bill, so you are a shy boy, right?
Tom, Georg, Gustav: Bill is shy! (laugh)
Bill: No, I’m not like that. (flush) In my option, I believe there must be some moments in people’s life when people feel shy. I guess I may not be shy because I was used to communicating with people after years of practicing. But it all depends. According to different situation, people may feel shy as well. I was wondering that I may say hello to a beautiful lady, telling her that I am a supper rock star confidently in private time.
Tom: I have a good advice. If Bill meets someone and feel shy, he should offer a kiss. (All the people laugh) Therefore Bill is shy! (laugh)
Bill: Ok, I am a little bit shy.
Tom: So you should do that.
Bill: I can not do that. I know it’s better to kiss with true feelings.
Tom: See? Bill is a shy boy. (laugh)
The interview keeps on in the harmonious atmosphere.
All of you started the band when [you] were really young, but from that time, what kind of music did [you] want to make or was there a special image?
Bill: Mm, no, there wasn’t. We just immediately started to write music by ourselves, we made our own music. So until now, we have not copied anyone’s songs.
That’s so amazing!
Bill: (laughs) But, each of our musical interest is different. And so far, because there has not been a band like ours, [we] could only make original [music] right away. Because all the members didn’t have any favorite artists in common.
Bill: Now, everyone likes the rockstar Aerosmith. But of course, the music everyone listens to privately is different. [We] are always asked, about our vision, what do [we] want to do from now on, how are [we] making music but, it’s really simple. We just wait for “something” to come to all of us.
So, it’s easy to find the music you guys want to make?
Bill: Oh yes, that’s it! because the start of the band was really early, I always think of the lyrics, and tom plays the guitar…
Tom: Writing the music is easy. It’s always easy to find what we want to do, so [we] just do it.
How do you find it?
Tom: [We] just start performing in the rehearsal room. Bill starts to write emotional lyrics, and we play [our] instruments. The lyrics and music is all produced at the same time.
Georg: [We] don’t prepare anything beforehand.
Bill: Speaking about some expressions, when writing, there are also people who write a story or write poetry to express [themselves]. But we always express ourselves in making music.
When writing lyrics, where do you get inspiration from?
Bill: From everywhere. [I] collect ideas from many places, and Tom and I organize it together while [we] are recording in our home studio. Inspiration from movies, inspiration from when passing through cities, myself and different people, and also from life. [We] go to the studio and put those things together, and from there some new ideas are born, some are all changed. It’s brought together like that.
Bill, you create lyrics like writing diaries?
Bill: Ja. They are completely different. We get inspiration from various aspects, and the contents are basically about our feelings and experiences.
The songs are not only about reality and fantasy, also the connection between them.
Tom: I think both worlds will arouse my true feeling. The fantasy world affects us, especially reflected on our new album “Humanoid”.
Which emotion can be easily impressed in Tokio Hotel’s music?
Bill: We always create lyrics with our emotions in the moment. We would probably feel aggressive or sad, grieved, brokenhearted, happy, or sometimes we just want to have a party that night. We have different feelings every each day. We always catch some points and put them into our lyrics, just like keeping a diary. There must be some people write diaries at night! And our music is the product of the mixture of diaries and fantasy.
In TH official website, we can know a lot about your own views of world from the concepts of designing webs. When did you have this idea?
Bill: HAHAHA (laughing happily). It’s like doing a puzzle. We had not even one idea at first. We just kept on creating our songs, like putting the electronic music into them and made it more colorful. When we did this, we gradually had some ideas such as how visual effects can be appeared, or how to convey human’s emotions. We achieve this effect through the pictures or backgrounds, and they’re just like the costumes on tour. All of them make the songs lively.
So deep! Cool! Bill, when did you think you are like a star?
Bill: Very early. Mama always said Tom and I were very noisy kids.
Georg: And you are still a noisy kid. (laughing together)
Bill: (keep on saying with a little anger) We’re naturally artists. Mama often brought us to parties and we kept the microphones with us, then speaking or dancing. We were energetic anytime.
Tom: (in German) But sometimes there is bad tongue.
All people laughed when Tom said “bad tongue”, Georg was the loudest.
Though I’m quite interested in the story of the puzzle. Then what kind of movie influences Bill’s World View?
Bill: It’s hard to say. I like various kinds of movie. The first movie I watched was David Bowie’s Labyrinth (1986). It’s my favorite movie.
When did you watch this movie?
Bill: Ehm… At about 6 years old. I watched it again and again because I really like it. I also like Dangerous Liaisons (1988) , though it’s a very old movie. I watch different kinds of movies, such as science fiction movies. When I was young, I liked E.T (1982) very much, and also vampire movies. I like The Fifth Element (1997). And I like watching romantic movies as well, such as The Notebook (2004). It’s really quite moving. Yes, I watch many kinds of movies, rather than one particular type.
Tom: It’s really crazy. We have thousands of DVDs, since there are too many good movies.
And the other three? Do you have a favorite band or movie, or is there something influencing you? Could you talk about this?
Gustav: My favorite album is “Darkside Of The Sun”. And my favorite DVD is Tokio Hotel. (All laughed)
Georg: Talking about the actors, I like Leonardo Dicaprio the most. (Gustav and Tom laughed loudly)
Georg (said seriously): His movies are really good.
Bill (agreed): Ehm, it’s a fact. His movies are quite good. The movies made when he was young are good too.
Georg: He could be a century actor.
And music? What’s your favorite album?
Georg: I listen to many kinds of music. And I listen to more than one album each day. The lastest album I bought is Mike Posners’. (Mike Posners was also a candidate for 2010 MTV Europe Music Awards)
Bill: He is an American new-comer. And there is a pop and R&B feeling in his music.
Tom: R&B, Dance and HipHop, those three feeling mix together.
And what about Tom?
Tom: My favorite movie is Training Day (2001) which was acted by Denzel Washington. He is cool and…
Bill (interrupted): Tom likes all the movies acted by Denzel Washington. And Man On Fire (2004).
Tom: Ah! Man On Fire is really good. Dakota Fanning is also a good actress. (Who acted in Man On Fire too, her full name is Hannah Dekota Fanning, well-known movie is I Am Sam (2001).)
The interview suddenly warmed up.
Back to the topic of music, since your first album, you guys have been collaborating with producers like Dave Roth, Patrick Benzner and David Jost. What kind of effect has been brought by working with them?
Bill: We’ve been working together for a long time.
Tom: Yeah, we have been working together for 7, or 8 years since we started our band.
Bill: We know each other well, and all the albums are recorded with the producers. Our latest album “Humanoid” was slightly different that, we worked with different people, though we had put a lot of new ideas into the album, we still worked with those guys.
Tom: I think the most important thing is that, we know each other well, everyone in the studio knows the direction of production and sound.
Bill: It is important for us to have the same taste. If we have producers of taste for music different from us, it will be difficult for us to produce an unique song. But we have been working for long time, we know what to do, so it is quite easy.
Which song, from the album”Humanoid”, contains the newest element? I think that “Dog Unleashed” is an unique song which mixed electronic with rock.
Bill: Yeah, that’s the song which we performed our new sound best. Effect of electronics, programmed drum, keyboard and synthesizer, we had challenge to different sound.
Bill: But when we put these stuff into our music, we had something bare in mind. The songs were ours, though we wrote our songs from our hearts, we might be affected by outside world when recording. There were people having different ideas, but their ideas might not be the best. If we used the wrong way, the sound would seem cheap. So, in order not to make those sound become cheap, we had to mix it with awesome rock. In the latest album, electronic rock is the part that I like most. I think that we are of the stage that wanna have challenge for new stuff.
Tom: It’s a tool for us to make music of larger scales. By introducing electronic rock, we were aiming at making album of sound of more sense of scale.
Bill: Actually, the musical instruments had played more music than we played, that’s it.
Bill and Tom looked serious when talking about their music. There are still chat with the 4 guys.
You four started your band activities since the age of 14, and now there were changes that you mixed something electronic in some parts of the new album, but also something that you kept all the time. So, what’s the chief part and the most binding part of your band?
Tom: Basically, it is consisting of the drum, the bass guitar and the guitar. The guitar with the addition of Bill’s voice that have never been changed. Bill’s voice wasn’t sounded like before anymore, though, his feeling of singing never change. You can see our changes from Devilish to Humanoid.
So, what kind of music that you drumer and bassist think that is similar to TOKIO HOTEL’s.
Gustav: The rhythm of drum and bass. (laughed)
Georg: It’s hard to answer. Because we are who TOKIO HOTEL are.
Tom: (nipped in) I think we were very lucky. When creating music in the studio, we wrote down the feeling in our brain, but not meditated it first and did. I tkink it’s lucky that we did such a thing, that we created awesome music. Without luckiness like this, we can’t work out any good music at all.
Bill: (seriously) However, not all the audiences would love our music. The most important of all it’s that “we love our music”. Because that were created by us, they were our own music. We worked the songs for ourselves but not the fans. And it’s lucky that they can be loved by our fans. Fans love our songs and they want to share them with the others, but sometimes I didn’t want this to happen. (Another meanings: Bill wants we to buy their albums.) Say so, though, in order to work out songs to the fans’ taste, not only will we keep our music concept, but also attach importance to what we like.
Awesome!!! You have such a firm concept in your heart. TOKIO HOTEL is so popular around the world now, so who you will cooperate with in the future.
Bill: I dreamed of cooperating with Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but hope that I can meet many people and cooperate with them. A secret plan will be pulled off lately, but yet I can’t say a word about it.
And which producer you want cooperate with.
Bill: Like I have just said, I have to meet him firstly to make sure if we have ideas that in common. You may thought that this man is cool, I want to cooperate with him, but sometimes your thought would be overturned when you meet each other. The most importance is that you two have iders in common.
We have received questions from the fans, for emample, the single “Don’t Jump” released in Japan, too. There are many fans like this song, will this song on the list of the shows that you will give in Japan later?
Bill: Really? (happily) Of course. Because…
Tom: (nipped in) Actually, I love this song very much!!!
Bill: (nipped in) As we have so much good songs, it’s hard to choose songs each time.
Tom: (nipped in again) Since there are so much good songs, it’s not enough to give a concert in 2 hours. (the two of them ran comments and laughed in concert)
Bill: (became loudly) We also remixed those former songs and performed on the concerts.
It’s odd that Bill wanted to talk calmly and clearly in the first place, but became funny suddenly. And his twin brother, Tom, is a funny guy, too.
We will keep on interviewing, and the next one will be the last one.
Can we talk about Bill’s dressing, do you have some special ways of dressing?
Bill: Take the last tour for example, it came under the influence of sci-fi films. We have discussed it with Dean and Dan, the designers from Dsquared2. They are twins like us, so we can get along well with each other. We want to create a fantastic world, the stage like in other planet, the clotheses with the led lights which can match up the stage were made by them.
So, will Bill give a performance as another identity like David Bowie used a pseudonym “Ziggy Stardust” at a time. (When David Bowie released his fifth album in 1972, he conjured himself a superstar Ziggy Stardust who came from outer space and recorded from success to failure of the artist. It’s a masterpiece of the history of rock and roll.)
Bill: (shyly) I’m just a dabbler that cannot compare with him. And you just look at those pictures, that people in the 1980s. Their looks and clotheses both looked like that they were from outspace.
Tom: Maybe others will think that Bill is monstrous, but when you have seen the old pictures of David Bowie, then you will change your mind.
Bill: As a boy but making up and wearing shoes with high heels, however, all these didn’t start by me. They had been here before I was born.
Really. David Bowie raised a tornado in circle of rock, fashion, and art. Didn’t Bill make up because of “Ziggy Stardust”, did you?
Bill: No. I knew that later. I started to make up since a Halloween party. (Gustav and Georg tittered)
Tom: (nipped in) There were so many bardian bands and singers in 1980s, but there are so many singers have affairs, and there is little bands work at the album seriously and think about how to choose clotheses to suit the stage. They form the band just want to be popular.
And what do you think about Lady GaGa?
Bill: I like her very much. No matter what she did just on her own style, and no matter how crazy she did, it just well-balanced. Lady GaGa knows what she want clearly, and what she want to do and the visual effects presented on the stage are really nice. I admire her.
Do you know Adam Lambert?
Bill: Hum, I know him. Cause he talked about me in many places. (Adam has said that he’s a fan of Tokio Hotel.) I haven’t seen him, so I can’t say anything about him. However, I heard his song on the radio. I knew his face from the picture and someone tell me the things about him. But We have never seen each other.
Bill said that he couldn’t judge people before they meet each other, I think Bill is very clever.
As Bill and Tom are twins, so if you four were brother-german, who would be the eldest brother and who would be the youngest?
Tom: (The oldest one is) Me.
Georg: It’s me.
Gustav: I am.
Georg: Bill is the youngest one.
Bill: In fact, Georg is the oldest one, but Tom is the most dependable one.
What about the third one Gustav?
Georg: These two guys (Gustav, Bill) just act like they were the same age. (laughed in concert)
Georg: Because we stay together mostly, we really like brother-german. (all the band members agreed)