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Press: Exclusive Interview with Richard


Part two - Two-way theft
Copenhagen, Denmark
March 20, 2001


Talking about videos, why not leave the subject with an explanation to solve the mystery of the discarded video for 'Das Modell' and a word on the legendary David Lynch, who showed interest in Rammstein when nobody else did?

"Well, about David Lynch. That was just a working relationship that never happened," Richard explains. "The thing with movie directors like him is, that they always need so much time to complete their work. They're professionals. Unfortunately we no longer have that kind of time. But I can tell you that I still would really love to do a video with David Lynch, or a movie even. I have found peace with the fact that this wish will probably stay in the back of my head.
I would like to add that the person I would love to work with the most is filmmaker Luc Besson. I'm fascinated by his work.
The video for 'Das Modell' we have given up on. We didn't get involved in the making of the video, and that was a crucial mistake. That experience has taught us to always be alert and take control of the artistic processes. The video was bad."

Staying in the pre-Mutter period, Richard answers the one question that webmaster Jobarr himself managed to squeeze through to the final round. Who is Jürgen Engler and what does he have to do with the song 'Tier'.

"Jürgen Engler is, or rather was, the singer of the German group Die Krupps," Richard says through a mixture of a smile and a facial expression telling a story about not so warm feelings.
"Somehow Jürgen Engler had heard 'Tier' before the release and he immediately claimed that we had stolen a specific riff from him. I said to him: 'Listen up! I will play it out loud.' It was nothing like their riff, but he insisted. Finally I told him that if he felt that Rammstein had taken anything away from him, he was invited to steal something back from us - and I even promised to mention him in the booklet to 'Sehnsucht'. That's the story. Die Krupps don't exist any more. They have broken up."

Back to 'Mutter', but still clinging to the good old Jürgen Engler way of seeing things. Rammstein has been attacked, also on Herzeleid.com for ripping off Metallica's 'Unforgiven' in the process of making the song 'Mutter'. A subject that brings a frown or two to Richard's forehead. Quite a relief that the guy just ate a couple of sandwiches before this session…

"…No, I don't think so. You never grow up without inspiration; you don't live in a vacuum. You will inevitably get your inspiration from somewhere.
About 'Mutter' resembling anything else: It's just so important to me that you hear something original when you listen to Rammstein. When I heard that song played for the first time, I was so pleased with it that I simply couldn't come up with anything I could have done differently. It does not sound like Metallica. But I know that many people think so.
It much more obvious that 'Mein Herz Brennt' is inspired by Led Zeppelin, but no-one seems to care about that. Of course you can't help being inspired by all kinds of music, but the thing that really matters is, that you are able to make something uniquely yours out of that inspiration.
Accusations about stealing or copying others will always be around, and that's just something we have to come to terms with."

Well, let's try and aim for the target this time. It would be pretty wrong to accuse Rammstein of lack of communication with the audiences at live shows, but it's never verbal. With the appearance of 'Ich Will' from the new album it seems like there's a change on the way. Is that an invitation?

"It is true. We have no verbal communication with our audiences. We communicate in so many other ways, but not by words. It's all about the way our stage show is put together - it just doesn't seem right. Another important factor is that Till is a rather shy person, and it all adds up to the conclusion that talking to the crowd is not suitable.
The song 'Ich Will' is actually not meant to be a sing-along crowd pleaser. We don't mind if it turns out that way, but we'd like to explain what's really behind it.
It's a song about the spreading 'Verdummung' of people in Europe especially. Apparently they accept - and even adopt - everything that is served to them. This goes for many aspects of the cultural world. Right now in Germany the television shows are getting stupider by the minute. A show like Big Brother is pure trash, but people seem to like it very much. Why? Because it is exposed to them, not because it's good! It's the same when it comes to music. If it is advertised effectively enough, people will buy it. Most of it is horrible, but that doesn't seem to matter. Do not follow the masses, they are not necessarily right. We say: 'Ich verstehe euch nicht!' - I don't understand you."

Is it really necessary to get this message across to Rammstein fans? Are Rammstein fans like that?

"Mmmm…No! I don't think so, really. I think many Rammstein fans are willing to broaden their horizons and seek new experiences. I believe our fans are better equipped for that. Generally rock fans or heavy metal fans are much more faithful to the music and their favourite bands than pop fans. In pop music the flavour changes by the week and the masses just move along. It's not really a fair question because Rammstein fans are so different depending on where they're from. The fans in America are much younger than the German or European fans. I can't afford to make a statement about Rammstein fans in general."

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