Rammstein was started by Richard Z. Kruspe-Bernstein. In 1989 he escaped from East Germany over the border between Austria and Hungary. He eventually ended up in West Berlin and started a band in 1993 (Orgasm Death Gimmicks). At that time he was very influenced by American music. After the wall came down, he moved back home to Schwerin where Till Lindemann worked as a basket weaver and played drums in the band First Arsch.
At this time, Richard lived with Oliver Riedel (of the band The Inchtabokatables) and Christoph Doom Schneider (of Die Firma). Richard realized that the music he had previously made was not right for him. He envisioned something with machines and hard guitars together. The three started working together on a new project.
Richard soon found it hard to write music and lyrics at the same time. He got Till to join them as he had often heard him singing while working. A contest for new bands was announced and the prize was studio time. The four of them recorded the first Rammstein demo and won. Paul Landers knew them all and wanted to know what they were doing. After listening, he agreed to join. At this point, all they needed for the machine-sound was a keyboarder. They tried to get Christian "Flake" Lorenz to join, as he had played with Paul before in the band Feeling B. Flake was not entirely thrilled with the idea at first and didn't want to join for a long time. But, he eventually agreed.
About the time the band was formed, they all had relationship problems which provided the foundation for their debut album Herzeleid (Heartache) in 1995. Since then, they have reached gold and platinum status for their music and have become Germany's number one music export.