This is a great article by the online magazine Rock Pics. It features a London concert review, some concert pictures, as well as the photo shoot in the band’s hotel the day before the concert which was also the time they gave the interview. It’s a fantastic read – hilarious and interesting!
We hope we did ok with the translation as it was our first (and probably will be our last XD ) from French, mainly done by our Anna aka Kiri.
ROCK-PICS: Dossier – Tokio Hotel
Interview & Concert Review
Original source was here but it’s no longer available as Rock Pics are apparently working on a new design for their site.
French original edited by Orianne V.
Tokio Hotel. How can one get around this phenomenon? In many European countries, unless you are blind and deaf, it is simply impossible. So, while the German quartet does not really fit in our editorial tone, we also wanted to take a closer look at the subject.
A good part of our editors are Germanophiles; we were therefore more motivated about studying the youngsters from Leipzig [NB THUKST:Obviously it should be Magdeburg^^] in detail.
The following article is illustrated with photos taken by us when they [the band] passed by the Zenith in Paris on the 17th April 2007, as well as photos taken in London in June 2007.
But where do they come from? How did this wicked saga start?
When he was only 13 years old, Bill Kaulitz took part in the TV show Star Search “following an unlucky bet”. He lost the final and came out in second place. He was however noticed by some producers who were then interested in his band, Devilish, which he formed with his twin brother Tom on the guitar, and their two friends Gustav and Georg, respectively on the drums and the bass.
The four will get signed by Universal Music and will become Tokio Hotel.
They will release a first single “Durch den Monsun” which will have great success in Germany, propelling them to the top of the charts when they are just 15 years old! But the success does not stop in its tracks and not being content with becoming a talking point back home they descended upon the whole of Europe!
In France, the wave hit us badly on the 27th September 2006, during a dedicated show, which they gave at the Fnac St Lazare.
We were indeed present at that event which we thought [was going to be] routine, until everything degenerates and the police would be forced to evacuate some two thousand raging fans.
(Page 2 – pic of Tom)
“We don’t want to stop, our fans are waiting for us outside” Bill declared elsewhere, as Gustav was pacing, while we were locked with the band in the Meet and Greet space.
Later on, a security officer will confess to us that in 10 years of service he had never seen something like that!
What had to be no more than just a show transformed for everyone into a major disruption.
Therefore France understood that something was happening. The guys did some concerts in some small venues before seizing the Zénith, in front of an audience always increasing in numbers. This concert on the 17th April 2007 was after all quite significant.
The group has gained a bit of fame everywhere in the same way: Poland, Italy, Spain, Russia…
Today they attack England before setting their sights on the USA.
For the occasion they have prepared a compilation of their biggest successes re-recorded in the language of Shakespeare. The album “Scream” hit European and English shelves on the 4th June, whilst a few days later in Germany under the title “Room 483”.
The work is, not surprisingly, resented by German fans. What will the English public make of it?
One only needs to recall the failure that Rammstein suffered when they went down the same road.
(Page 4 – pic of Bill)
On 18th June we embark on a plane towards London. We have an appointment with the young Germans in their hotel for an exclusive interview, to get to know their story a little better.
The building is not that bad, 5 stars, alongside the Thames. Our arrival is comical!
Rock-Pics: Good morning, we have an appointment with Tokio Hotel.
Receptionist: Who’s that?
R-P: You know, the German group?
Receptionists: No, sorry, I don’t see them…
R-P: You haven’t seen a young man wearing mascara and an exploded hairdo?
Receptionist: Ah yes! He’s at the bar this very moment, follow me!
That is when we are taken to the bar where the twins are actually nibbling a snack. There, even before having been able to say hello to the youngsters, we are taken into custody by Saki Pelka, their bodyguard who accompanies us to room 604..
We are then left for 30 minutes in possession of Tokio Hotel’s suite in order to make preparations needed in view of the photo session to come. We make the bed, rearrange the curtains… And we wait.
All of a sudden the door swings open, Tom comes in running and goes around the room laughing, followed by Bill, Gustav, George, then the managers, the bodyguards, the translator, and the make-up artist. The suite becomes almost cramped!
With our photos done, the interview can start. We take our place in the sitting room to finally get to know the guys better.
R-P: Good morning, how are you?
Bill: We’re doing well, we just arrived from Paris and tomorrow we’re going to give our first concert here, in England. It’s really exciting and we’re really happy to be here today!
R-P: Do you prefer exciting interviews or boring ones?
Tom: A mix would be nice!
Bill: It depends on the questions…
R-P: Wonderful, let’s go for a mix! So, why have you chosen to sing in English, and what are you expecting from the United Kingdom?
Bill (answering directly, without waiting for the translation of the question in German): We have done this album in English because it is important for us that everyone, everywhere, can understand our lyrics. People often have trouble with German, which is why we translated the album. I’m used to singing in German, and singing in English has been an adventure for me. This has been a big challenge, and I passed it, and today I’m really glad that we did it and that we got there. We’re all very satisfied with this album, really.
When [our songs] are played on the radio, we would love for people to understand our messages, even though our fans aren’t lazy and they’re interested in German and translate all our lyrics, and that’s just brilliant. But we said to ourselves, we’ll be our own role model, because we, ourselves, are super lazy, we don’t like other languages at all, so let’s do something for our lazy fans, we’re going to give them a hand so that they understand our message.
But we’re still going to keep writing our songs in German, because that’s my mother tongue therefore that’s the one I handle best. The English [version of a song] will be a literal translation.
R-P: You have recently shot a video for the song “Scream”. You have reused the same decor and the same extras as for the video for “Schrei”, the German version of that song, which you have shot two years ago. Didn’t you feel a bit as if [you were] going back in time?
Bill: Obviously, it was very strange, it was like a déjà-vu to redo that same video, “Schrei”, it was as if we had been projected in the past, two years before, because there were the same people participating… so it was weird but at the same time cool, a really, really good experience, we felt good, we felt like going back to our beginnings because “Schrei” was our second single.
R-P: What are you expecting from the English market?
Bill: We don’t start off on those bases; we don’t tell ourselves that we’re going to be as famous here as in Germany or in France. We aren’t expecting that to happen to us everywhere.
(Page 7 – pic of Tom)
(Page 8 )
Tom: These last six months, we have particularly reacted to the demands of our fans’ communities. We went where we had been demanded. Last week, we were in Spain, in France… Now we are in the UK, but that’s not to say that we have to be as successful in each country as [we are] in Germany. It’s a great chance and an awesome experience being able to cross Europe.
R-P: You are going to give your first concert in England tomorrow evening, so, are you nervous?
All together (replying directly, without even waiting for the translation): Yes!
Bill: And [we’re] not exaggerating. We’re really nervous, it’s our first concert here, and it’s the first time we’re going to play in front of our English fans. It is also the first time that I will be singing a whole concert in English, so yeah, it’s really exciting and stressful at the same time!
R-P: Now, I would like you to introduce yourselves to our readers, but instead of introducing yourself, each of you introduces the one who is sitting to your right. Gustav, you are sitting to my right, you are going to start!
Gustav: Well, Tom…
Tom: … is good-looking!
Gustav: Tom is really in love with himself, he sleeps a lot, he’s very ambitious, he’s perfectionist, he always tries to reach the top, he always tries…
Tom: But what are you talking about? I’m already at the top!!! Wait until I talk about you…
R-P: No, you have to introduce Georg, he is to your right.
Tom: Ok, Georg. If you want to know something about Georg, the best thing to do is to not go and see him! Because you can’t count on him.
Georg: That’s not true!
Tom: He’s always late, he sleeps until late, he tries to play bass. That takes a lot of effort for him and he gives it a lot of good will because he would like to play that instrument very well but despite his incredible efforts it’s not like that…
He’s also the clumsiest guy I have ever met! We could spend whole days sitting [around], looking at Georg, he would give us our daily dose of laughter.
Georg: Bill is the most self-centred person I’ve ever met.
He’s really very self-centred. He’s also a perfectionist. If something goes badly [wrong], he can shout really loud and become incontrollable.
Tom: Yes but if Bill loves someone he is not that self-centred.
Georg: But the problem is that the only people he loves are himself and Tom!
Bill: Honestly, I’m a very nice person. I always try to help others. Anyway many people say I’m too nice! And that I should be more suspicious.
Bill: Gustav is very reserved, very quiet. But when you get to know him well, he’s very funny and it’s nice to be with him. You can always count on him! He’s always on time, but sometimes he becomes a bit…effeminate! He picks up girly ways, he gossips. In German, this is called “Zimtzicke”. (NB R-P: “Zicke” means “goat”)
Tom: If you want to give him an awesome birthday present, give him a T-shirt which says “Going with Zicke” or even “Zimtzicke”.
[NB THUKST: “goat” is the literal translation of “Zicke”. When talking about people, mostly females, it means “cow” or “b*tch”. “Zimtzicke” could be translated with “stupid cow” or “queen b*tch”.]
Gustav: I’m just more sensible, that is the difference.
R-P: Here we are in England, homeland of John Lennon. You did a cover of one of his songs, Instant Karma. Why?
Bill: It was for charity. Ever since we had heard talks about it, we had been very interested. When doing it was offered to us, there was no doubt about accepting. It was concerning Human Rights, and that’s something that we really take to heart because we benefit from it every day. We are people who need to be free, we need our rights and we don’t want to be told what to do. We can’t stand being controlled and we fight against it, we hate it and it can really make us mad. Being able to use music to tell people how important that freedom is, is the best present we could be given. We had never done covers before and we didn’t want to do any, that’s one of our rules, but in line with Amnesty International, we decided to do it. Plus, that song is really genius, it fits my voice perfectly, technically it was amazing to do!
Tom: Our version was more rock than the original one, we gave it a typical Tokio Hotel-ian touch, we all loved working on this project.
R-P: It’s true that that song is more aggressive than your usual repertoire. Gustav, being a fan of Metallica, did you use it to try and direct the guys towards a little more energetic rock music?
Gustav: Yes, it’s true I really love that kind of music, but not as a fan. To be honest, sure I try to give the tempo but if you listen to some songs like “Schrei”, “Ich brech’ aus” and “Wo sind eure Hände”, you can hear that they are more powerful. I also benefit from that during concerts when I step up and take command, in that moment I’m the boss because I set the rhythm.
Tom: You know, in Tokio Hotel we all have different tastes when it comes to music. The music that we make is what we have in common, here we meet and each one brings in something different. It’s typical of Tokio Hotel, we write ballads but we can also come up with very aggressive guitar riffs.
R-P: What do you think of the English rock scene?
Tom: There are a lot of very talented bands in England, like Coldplay it’s one of my favourite bands. We met them two years ago at the MTV [Europe] Music Awards in Lisbon and it was awesome seeing them, without a doubt the others are all in agreement with me.
Bill: I really like Placebo, in fact soon we are going to be playing with them and Marilyn Manson at a festival in France, I can’t wait. But for sure, there are many good bands here, historically speaking England is the country of music.
R-P: Here we also have Harry Potter mania. In France it’s Tokio Hotel mania, well hey, here the votes are for Harry! But did you know that on the internet there is a fan club dedicated to your bodyguard Saki, and that his fans call him Harry Potter?
All together (bursting into laughter): HAHAHAHAHAHA! Noooooo?
Bill: That’s great news, we had absolutely no idea!
(Page 11 – pic of Bill)
R-P: When you were in Paris three days ago, for the M6 concert, Saki took care of sound check and went up on stage before the show. The music had started and he did some playback, singing as if he was you, Bill! The fans have put a video of this up on the internet and many say that Saki is sexy! They call him “sexy man”!
Bill: Hahaha! Excellent!
Tom: We need to go and see that!
Georg: No really, it’s too funny!
(As if it was magic, Saki opens the door that very instant and furtively scans the scene to make sure that his protégés are doing fine. The door closes again after a few seconds and he disappears.)
Georg: Hey! Hello Harry!!
Bill and Tom (dying of laughter): Hey Harry, how’s it going??
R-P: Georg, this next question is for you. We saw that you took part in some car races, can you tell us a bit more about that?
Georg: It was last October, on a TV show where we played a few songs. I just participated in the race, something that I will never do again!
Tom: Yeah and you lost everything! You really were very bad.
Georg: That’s not true!!
Bill: Yeah, and you almost came in last!
Tom: But we were all behind him, we encouraged him enormously.
Georg: In fact, there were three races, for the first one I came in second out of eight drivers. Everyone came to congratulate me like “Yeah, bravo, Georg, well played, you’re a good driver, etc…” Afterwards, I had bad luck and I lost and everyone was there like “Whoa Georg you’re so bad! The shame!” And afterwards they say that they were behind me as one man.
R-P: No but seriously, admit it to us, you let him do that because you secretly hoped that he would crash so you could change bassist?
Bill: (dying from laughter): Yes, yes, yes!
Tom: He had played really badly during the concert, so I told him “Go on Georg! Do the race!”
Bill: In fact he didn’t have the courage to do it, he was scared sh*tless!
Tom: We would have liked to do it as well, but we couldn’t, we were too young. We really would have liked to but because of the insurance the TV station refused to let us participate.
Georg: I was the only one old enough to drive, and above all I was the only one KNOWING how to drive!
Bill: We don’t have our driving licenses.
The interview comes to an end. The guys get their room back, not without having rewarded us with a warm “au revoir” and “merci”. “We’re going to find Harry Potter!!” they proclaim.
(Page 13 – pic of Bill)
When they escort us towards the exit of the luxurious hotel we cannot prevent ourselves from being pensive. Tokio Hotel are at a crossroad. They are at the crossing of two paths: that of the boy-band and that of the rock band. We say that without any spitefulness or mockery, but it is necessary that they choose between the easy success that they are enjoying now, or straightening out their career, being more involved in writing their lyrics and music. Because their big drama is that they do not compose their own songs. To realise this is really simple, it is enough opening the booklet of no matter which one of their CDs, at the very end. The credits show that almost the entire album had been composed by their producers. The artistic approach of the young Germans seemed to us rather questionable. In their defence, they are still young. We hope for them that they will take charge of writing, otherwise they will end their career as variety performers (it’s not that we have something against variety [shows], but we’re still a rock magazine!).
The next day, Tuesday 19th June, we are given an appointment at the Carling Academy Islington, small London venue of around 600 places. The entrance is located in a shopping centre and just after the exit there is a clothes shop which is called “Monsoon”. Nice coincidence! Three hundred fans are already there, totally frantic. They scream for mere nothing and wave all kinds of banners and flags. Some have slept outside the venue and you could say that the whole of Europe can be found on the sidewalk of the Academy! French, Germans, Polish, Austrians, Italians… One would almost forget that Big Ben is not far from us! A few locals are also present in the ranks of admirers.
The audience stomp their feet with impatience and when the doors finally open, around 18:00 [6pm], the crowd becomes feisty to get in front of their neighbour. Luckily Tokio Hotel’s security keeps watch and calms ardours. They handle the situations admirably well and we are very happy to know them there to ensure a good development of events, given the furious madness fans have been known to show.
The venue is very small, it goes just the length of the stage and the audience is grouped lengthwise [to the back]. Thanks to our VIP badges, we can go on the balcony to have a better view of the concert.
There is no opening band. A little before 21:00 [9pm] the lights are dimmed and the screams get louder. It’s then a surprise for us: Tokio Hotel take to the stage on some bare planks. The quartet play at audience level, separated from them by a pit of barely half a meter. They have left their huge stage set consisting of silver plates and three floor tops at home.
“Ready, Set, Go!” Open the dance. Bill enters the stage running and begins the song dancing very energetically, a big smile on his lips, then he bends
forward and sends a fiery look to the crowd. The first few rows respond with strident screams. Bill, the charmer?
“Final Day”. Tom and Georg play face to face while we watch Gustav’s straightforward way of playing, who is in our opinion the most gifted musician of the band.
Bill, always near his brother, holds his shoulder for a few moments singing until the song comes to an end, when Tokio Hotel all jump in sync.
Then comes “Break Away”, which electrifies the atmosphere. The screams reduplicate the rhythm of Bill’s swaying hips. Incidentally, this song is one of those the group prefers performing on stage.
The boys follow it up with the calm “Don’t Jump”. Tom briefly swaps sides with Georg. His arrival to the right of the stage is, yet again, welcomed by a ton of decibels. The young guitarist smiles lavishly at his audience; we can feel that he is very delighted of being in such good company.
(Page 17 – pic of Tom & Bill)
Tokio Hotel continue their concert with “Raise Your Hands Together”. From our perch we have an invulnerable view of Gustav who hammers his drums with incredible vigour and speed. One can detect punk influences in this song.
On his side, Tom sweats large drops and does not take his eyes off his [guitar] neck if only to sing, in unison with Georg, the chorus of the song (Indeed the man with shoulders of steel -aka Georg- makes a mistake by not singing at the right moment, something that does not escape Bill’s sharp ears, who turns around and flashes him a Colgate smile right in the face!).
The drummer then begins a drum roll on his drums during the break whilst the other members of the group come forward to the front of the stage and encourage the audience to raise their arms.
“Monsoon”, the song that brought them their success.
While they told us they would be nervous at the eve [of the show], the youngsters from Magdeburg get one with it pretty well! They are very at ease and accomplices on the stage, Bill expresses himself admirably well between songs for someone who says he does not speak English, he proves to us right there to be perfectly Bi(ll)-lingual (oh, the lovely word play!).
The show continues and the songs follow [one after the other] always with the same fervour in the room and the same amount of sweating on the stage. “On The Edge” comes to an end and Gustav finally decides to use the biggest of his drums: a huge floor tom. While he makes a deafening drum roll with his drumsticks, Bill grabs a megaphone: “The next song is the last song for tonight” he points out to us before pressing the button of the device which then fills the room with its strident siren, whilst Bill shouts “SCREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!” and sends out the vibe. Then it is the finale, guitar and bass in the air, picks thrown away and then they’re gone… only to come back again! Towels around their necks, the guys settle on some stools and start playing “Rescue Me”, an acoustic ballad. Bill does not sing too right anymore, the fatigue of the concert is starting to make itself felt… Nevertheless this song is pleasant and refreshing.
Finally the group take their electric instruments again to end their set with “By Your Side”, which is also a ballad but more energetic. This concludes with the traditional throwing of bottles and wet towels. Some fans remain clung to the barrier to fight each other for one of the thrown cloths for more than 15 minutes. One of the security men ends up cutting the towel into pieces to end the scrap and, above all, to get them to leave.
(Page 19-20 – pic of Bill)
On the other side of the room girls are fighting to get back the stuffed toys they, themselves, threw on the stage.
This whole small world is headed towards the exit and the 600 people in attendance tonight are quickly evacuated. We stay on the intermediate floor where an after show [party] in the presence of the group is going to take place but, finally too tired (they are in the middle of a promo tour), Tokio Hotel go to bed.
What conclusions can one draw from this concert? It was a striking success, only regret would be the lack of an English audience, and the issues (technical problems and groupies’ shrieks) which made it so we did not hear Bill’s voice at the very beginning of the concert. Apart from that, Bill, Tom, Gustav and Georg offered us a good performance, stunning confidence despite the fact it was their first concert in a foreign language.
The intimacy of the venue was also a positive factor, even if their shows on big stages as we have been able to see them in France are visually very nice.
The show was however fairly short, from 20:45 [8.45pm] to 21:40 [9.40pm]. But we need to give the guys time to expand their Anglophone repertoire.
Tokio Hotel will surly return this autumn [to play] some concerts in the United Kingdom. They will also pass through France in October for a ten dates tour (which has completely sold out within a few hours!)
See you at a concert?
Photo shoot pictures: