To someone unfamiliar with your music, what would you tell them your songs are about?
Tom: Well, every song has its own meaning. Bill writes about everything that’s going on in our lives, in the lives of our families and friends, or in the lives of our fans. It’s about what we feel, what we’ve been through, what we are about, and the thoughts we have. One song that Bill wrote is called ‘Live Every Second’ and it’s about enjoying life and not wasting time. ‘Ready Set Go’ is about tearing down walls and leaving everything behind you to make your dreams happen. ‘Scream’ is about being yourself, speaking your mind and not letting people tell you how to act.
How did the band come together?
Tom: Bill and I started when we were about nine. I got my first guitar from my stepdad who is a musician as well and runs a music school. Bill always used to sing and wanted to become a singer for as long as I can remember. So we started writing our first songs (laughing) which were not that good. After that we played wherever we could. One night when Bill and I played in our main club called Gröninger Bad, we met Gustav and Georg.
Gustav: Georg and I met at music school and became friends.
Georg: Yes, and that night we saw these two guys on stage—
Gustav (laughing): They needed help. That was obvious.
Tom (grinning): We were looking for a bass player and a drummer anyway, but couldn’t find any, and after we performed, these guys begged us to join the band. And it seemed that they were the only drummer and bass player in town so we gave it a go.
Georg: You mean the best bass player and drummer.
Tom (laughing): No, I mean the only. Magdeburg, the small city we are from, is not really known as a place of great music or great talents. Anyway, that was like seven years ago. Then we got our rehearsal room and started writing. We recorded our own CD and sold it for five Deutschmarks—(laughing) that was a really big deal. We also sent tapes to record companies, but didn’t get a response. (laughing) Gosh, I hope these tapes don’t exist anymore. We were thinking everyday, ‘Please, can’t just a producer come by and discover us?’ And then he came. He saw us performing in our main club and asked us if we want to work with him in the studio. And that’s what we did—for two years. Man, we didn’t even think we would ever get a deal and release a single, or even an album. But finally it happened, and we released Monsoon in August 2005.
Is all the fame and success sometimes overwhelming at your young age?
Tom: I don’t think it’s about age. Of course we’ve started pretty young, and especially Bill and I had to grow up in front of the public eye. So we had to get used to a lot of things. We’ve been brought up very liberal and free and all of a sudden it was a big deal when we went out to party. Everything that happened to us is really more than we ever dreamed of, and we can’t even explain it to ourselves.
Georg (laughing): Sometimes, when I see a piece on tv about us I go, ‘Yes, that really happened.’
With all the awards that Tokio Hotel have received, is there one that stands out as the most important?
Tom: Each and every single award we got so far has a special meaning to us because it stands for a particular time in our lives. But I have to say that the awards voted by our fans are the most precious to us…
All: Yes, definitely!
Tom: Our fans are just so amazing and supportive and it’s amazing. When we were nominated for the MTV European Music award we were in a category with really big bands, like Depeche Mode and Linkin Park. Being nominated with these big bands—that was overwhelming. But winning the award? Our fans made it happen—that was crazy!
As a band, did you set out to make rock music?
Tom: We never really said, ‘Let’s do rock.’ It just came out of us once we started to go together in the rehearsal room
Who would you say are your favorite American bands?
Gustav: Of course, there are tons of great bands in America. I love the Foo Fighters and Metallica.
Georg: Green Day is great as well.
Tom: When I was younger I listened a lot to Aerosmith and they are still one of the biggest bands in the world.
Do you find rock music from Germany different from American rock?
Tom: I think it’s not about where you come from, it’s more about every band having its own individual style and sound. And the greatest thing about music is that there are no borders and no limits—music is the language that everyone in the world understands.
Tokio Hotel will be performing on Sat., May 3, at the Bamboozle Festival in East Rutherford, NJ. For more visit tokiohotelus.com