Starpulse recently had the chance to chat with Tokio Hotel
band members Bill Kaulitz, Tom Kaulitz, Georg Listing, and Gustav Schafer. The German pop quartet emerged on the American music radar when they pulled out an upset win over Miley Cyrus
, Taylor Swift
, Katy Perry
, and Jordin Sparks
for "Best New Artist" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.
The guys were great to chat with and Bill, the eccentric lead singer (who did most of the talking
), let us in on one of his styling secrets, what band he's been listening to recently, Adam Lambert
, and the making of their recent album, "Humanoid
Starpulse reporter Phil McRae caught up with the band, here's what transpired...
How are you guys liking Los Angeles?
Oh, it's great. I think the weather is actually really cool. In Germany, it's really cold right now, so it's good to be here.
I was in Germany a couple months ago and went to Berlin for five days and thought it was great.
Oh, you liked it, yeah?
Absolutely. Are you guys from around there? Do you ever hang out in Berlin?
No, most of the time we are in Hamburg; that's where we have most of our studios. So, yeah, we spend most of our time in Hamburg when we're in Germany.
I've been listening to the new album, "Humanoid," lately and like it a lot. It differs from your first English-version album, "Scream" - is that something you were doing on purpose, or did it just work out that way?
You know, I think it just happened in the studio. The first English record was like a 'Best Of' from our first two German albums ["Schrei" (2005) and "Zimmer 483" (2007)] and we just translated everything. We weren't sure what the new album would be like, and originally we planned to do something new - something fresh. We decided to go to the studio for one year and we produced and wrote songs and wanted to be creative. The goal was to try things out. We have a lot of different versions from every song, and ["Humanoid"] is more electronic than the other records. There was nothing planned. It was just something different.
Was there a concept behind the album?
No, not really a concept. It just happened in the studio. I think the most important thing is that we had time to produce and write. Maybe the record company hates us now because they expected the record half a year earlier. For us, it was more important to have the time. And like I said, we needed one year to produce this record. I think in the future it will also be like that, so we have enough time to produce and write.
Image © Interscope
Is that something the band prides itself on - not listening to exactly what the studio wants? It's just whatever comes naturally?
Yeah, I think that's important, so we have no record company that is talking to us about our music - that is something we hate, when other people want to talk about that. I think it's important that you do your stuff and you like it. We don't think about other people. We just do our stuff, and when we're happy with that, we know it's going to be good.
I think if you love [the music], then other people can love it.
After looking at some fan sites, it sounds like Tokio Hotel loves performing and being on stage. What do you guys like about that so much?
I think that it's something hot - like music and being on stage - that's why we do all of this. You know, I think the promotion stuff and photos shoots and interviews, that's just a part of it. But the most important thing for us is to really be on stage and to make music.
The energy and the reaction of the fans, and having our own production and our own stage, and being on the road for months - that's what's great.
Bill, I like the look you have going on. Do you think Adam Lambert is trying to copy you?
I don't know, I'm not sure. I haven't seen older pictures of him. [Haha]
Do you know who he is?
Yeah, I know who he is. People have told me about that. We have that same show ["American Idol
"] in Germany. I don't know how he looked before, so I don't know if he stole my look. Maybe he's just wearing makeup all the time like me. I started to wear makeup when I was - I think - 12 years old, so I don't know what his background is.
Do you have an inspiration behind the look?
I really love vampires, so it started with a Halloween party and I went to it as a vampire. After that, I started wearing makeup and polish my nails and everything.
Are you excited for the new "Twilight" movie?
Yeah. I saw the first one
and it was really good. So I want to see the new one as well.
Have you ever heard of the TV show "True Blood"?
Yeah, I heard about it, but I've never seen it. I think it's not out in Europe.
You should check it out.
Image © Insidefoto / PR Photos
My girlfriend is always telling me I need to use more hair product. Do you have any advice?
[Haha] I just use one bottle of hairspray every day.
Wow. A full bottle?
Yes, every day is a different kind. So I don't have like [a] company or anything [to recommend].
Will Tokio Hotel be touring in the U.S. anytime soon?
We hope so. We just scheduled our European tour, and so we'll be doing that for 2010 and it'll be huge. We go to a lot of countries, and we hope that after the European tour we come to the U.S. We really want to.
Do you have a favorite place to perform in the U.S. - a favorite city?
I really like all of the huge cities, so I really love New York and L.A. - and Chicago was great and San Francisco. I think all of the huge cities are incredible.
Do you guys have a few bands that you really loved when you were growing up, someone who has inspired your music?
I think everyone listened to different music, and it's really hard for us to pick one band. For me, I've never had like one role model or something, but I listened to David Bowie
and the Stereophonics
. And at the moment, I really like Kings of Leon
. They're really different and I really like their music.
Anything else going on with the new album release?
No, I think we're just focusing on the tour now. And the record is working very well in every country, and we're really proud of it. Right now, it's a really important and exciting time for us because we've been working for such a long time on this record and put so much into it. We're proud that everyone likes it so much. Now we're focused on the life process and the tour.
What English-version album are you guys most proud of?
That's really hard to say. I think we like all of our albums - they're all great - but at the moment I think we're really happy with the new one.
Congrats on the new album and good luck with the tour.
OK, thank you very much
Story by Phil McRae
Starpulse contributing writer
*Follow Phil's super-exciting tweets on Twitter!