Interview with Tokio Hotel: Music: The Universal Language

Tokio HotelThere’s a new trend of late, with bands appearing on the scene younger and younger. It’s a tried and true method, as seen lately with the massive success of acts such as Paramore and The Jonas Brothers, both undoubtedly adorning the walls of your younger sister’s bedroom. Now there’s a new band that has been building steam since 2005, winning numerous awards and recently seeing their last two members turn legal age.

German rock band Tokio Hotel came together from the musical ambitions of twins Bill and Tom Kaulitz, who “needed help” in the eyes of future members—bassist Georg Listing and drummer Gustav Schäfer. Already a staple on the German pop rock fan’s menu, they made themselves further available for English-speaking fans’ consumption with their first English album, Scream, released last year.

Recently, their lead singer underwent surgery on his vocal cords, forcing the cancellation of their European “1000 Hotels” tour. Tom, Georg and Gustav take some time while in the studio near Hamburg to express their anticipation for returning to the stage, the new re-release, and allow for a proper introduction of these rock heartthrobs.

How is Bill feeling after his surgery?

Tom Kaulitz: Bill is feeling well. After the surgery, he is not allowed to speak for 10 days. That’s a real challenge because Bill normally speaks 24/7. To be honest, he is bored to hell and he can’t wait to go back on stage.

Are you excited to go back on stage and perform?

All: Yes!

Tom: We were in the middle of our European tour and we felt really bad that we had to cancel dates and to disappoint our fans. Bill felt really bad, but we all told him that it is nobody’s fault. Our fans have been so supportive. They sent so many ‘Get Well’ greetings. We can’t wait to go back on stage to spend time with our fans and thank them for being so understanding and supportive.

Georg: We really have the best fans in the world. They are just amazing.

Describe a Tokio Hotel show?

Gustav: It’s a very driven show!

Georg: It’s an energetic show!

Tom (laughing): It’s a real rock show with an amazing guitar player who is also very sexy…

All: Ooooohhh!

Tom: Yes! It’s a pretty intense show and there’s always a great vibe coming from the fans—a very special, intense and energetic vibe. It’s hard to describe. We would love to see you there.

Scream is doing extremely well in Canada. Do you have a strategy for conquering US listeners?

Georg: We freaked out when we got the news that Scream hit the Canadian charts at #6—that’s crazy!

Tom: Yes, we are really flattered. (laughing) But I think I have to disappoint you because we don’t have something like a major plan. Getting the chance to go overseas and playing in the States is a really big thing for us, because these things normally don’t happen to a German band.

Will there be any new additions to the US release of Scream?

Tom: We do have some special surprises for the States and we’re really excited. There will be three versions of the album available. All of them will have ‘Live Every Second’ and the German version of ‘Monsoon.’ The Hot Topic version also includes ‘Raise Your Hands.’ We can’t wait to see how the fans will react!

When you listen to your songs from your English albums, do they have a different mood or sound from the original versions due to the language change?

Tom: Our lyrics are really important to us and we wanted everyone to understand us so we decided to do the English version to make sure people don’t need to sit down and translate. The most important thing to us was that it sounded great and none of the meaning and feeling of the songs would get lost. (Smiling) Our English isn’t that great so we got help on that. But we are all really happy with the English album. So all the songs feel like the German versions to us. (laughing) The only difference now is that Bill has to keep two versions of nearly every song in his memory. And we actually have bets running when he will mix them up for the very first time.