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Forum » RAMMSTEIN SIDE PROJECTS » Lindemann (Official & Interview) » [TEXT] 2015 06 25 - Interview Till, Peter, Metal Obsession
[TEXT] 2015 06 25 - Interview Till, Peter, Metal Obsession
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Interviews : “We were open-minded and we dared to speak whatever we wanted” – An Interview With Till Lindemann and Peter Tägtgren (Lindemann)

Just recently saw the release of ‘Skills in Pills’, the new debut album from Lindemann; the joint project of legendary Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann and famed Swedish producer and musician, Peter Tägtgren, of Hypocrisy and PAIN. In the lead up to the release of the album, I was lucky enough to be given the wonderful opportunity to meet these two fine individuals in person, and it was my absolute honour to interview them on behalf of Metal Obsession. Meeting them at the hotel they were staying at the time, we discussed everything from how Lindemann came about, what this band and project means to them and for the music industry, as well as some fish allegories.

For ease of reading, due to interviewing two people on this occasion, I’ve decided to go the more traditional route this time for my interview write-up. So, please, read on and discover the small carnival of grotesque delight that awaits!

After exchanging pleasantries, I kicked things off asking how it was for them being back in Australia.

Till Lindemann: The first time was for the Big Day Out back in 2011. It’s one of the best festivals on Earth. And then we got this invitation and we barely believed—

Peter Tägtgren: Yeah, we couldn’t believe it. I can’t even get my bands here that I’m in! [laughs] And then with this, we get offered promotion here. It’s like, wow!

Metal Obsession: With Rammstein currently on a break this year from any activity, you announced on January 4th, the day of your birthday, your new project Lindemann, a collaboration with famed Swedish producer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren. And further the album title, ‘Skills In Pills’, in March. Can you share with us a little bit about this new project?

TL: Well, to make a long story short, [Peter and I] met in Stockholm in ’99. Rammstein were mixing an album and we always go to Sweden because our producer lives there and he runs the studio. I got introduced to Peter by [Jocke Skog], the keyboardist of Clawfinger. One day we discussed doing a song together and that I could do the chorus line on one song for PAIN. So that was the whole idea behind it all, and in 2013, after a festival in Sweden, we met again. I said that I had a break coming after the summer, and that I’d have a break from Rammstein for at least a year, maybe two, so I have time, what about the song? Then he came over with the file, and it was the first song on the album, called “Ladyboy”. After another crack, we had four or five songs done, and talked about making an EP or something. We continued because it was always fun and then finally we ended with eleven songs [twelve for the extra bonus track].

PT: We still write music. In our heads, we don’t fall asleep. Like when you’re eating a meal, we were still going, ‘What, what about this?’ Especially with the lyrics, [Till’s] gone bananas now with stupid things! [laughs] And we’re just writing it down and saving it for a rainy day, you know? Making music is easy, but to make lyrics that make sense with the way that he writes, it takes a while. It’s not something you can just squeeze out of your ass.

MO: How did you find the transition from Rammstein to Lindemann to be, Till?

TL: Obviously, it’s an English band. I wanted Peter to know what’s going on in the lyrics in the first place. Secondly, we wanted to stay away from that Rammstein impression so that [Lindemann] makes a difference. If I would sing in German, it’d maybe be too close to Rammstein, so we decided to sing it in English. It was a big challenge for me. Growing up in the east part of Germany, we never had English in school. I started speaking English when the [Berlin] Wall came down, because it was necessary with travelling, and when it comes to touring around the world talking to people. So I had to learn it the hard way, and learning in the east, it’s even harder to learn a new language. So I’m really proud I can present the 20 year result of… talking bullshit [laughs]

PT: I was going to say ‘party’, but that works too!

MO: Being a bit more fluent in English then, did you help more with the English side of things, Peter?

PT: Not really. I mean, I always tried to push him to go the English way because we didn’t want the Rammstein world to collide with our world. We wanted to ‘start naked’ in a way. I think his lyrics just comes naturally. When he starts, it just fits.

MO: Judging by the tracklist which includes song names like “Golden Shower” and “Ladyboy”, alongside the surrealist cover art and promotional artwork that has surfaced since the announcement, it appears there will be a lot of strangeness going on with this album. Was this effort to be rather literal with the lyrics than subtle a conscious and/or artistic decision?

TL: I would say it comes out of the stomach. I have these instrumentals from Peter and I try to get inspired. If you have open eyes and ears, you just grab onto things and experience, and topics from books, movies, and the internet. You have to be on high alert all the time and watch and use these and be inspired. It’s a process. I don’t sit down and be like I want to write about these topics; the sexual stuff. It just comes out of the blue.

MO: Would you say you consider Lindemann a touring band or a side project?

TL: We definitely want to go on tour. When you work in the studio for two years, you definitely want to take it to the stage, of course. We have no ideas yet how and when, but we’ve love to play Soundwave or Big Day Out in Australia, because, as I told you, it’s one of the best festivals; I’ve had every good experience with it. But we have no plans yet, because there was so much work with the artwork and the video, and we had a big mixing process going, so it took all our energy and our time. After the release, we will wait to see what the reaction is from people.

MO: If you were to describe this album in a short sentence, how would you do so?

PT: Grotesque.

TL: We call it a ‘party album’. The thing you put in your car stereo before you go to the beach or a concert. To help get in the mood.

MO: Peter, you’ve been a music producer for a long while now and have produced a number of successful records over the years. Was it strange for you doing a project like this where you are both producing and working on at the same time, or did you find it to be a natural transition?

PT: For me, it was a great experience. I think I got a lot wiser by working with [Till]. He sees things in a different way than I do, and he really showed me things that I didn’t think about as a producer before. I mean, he writes the lyrics, I write the music, yeah, but it was how we put this together. You know, how should it start, which riff is here, which one is the chorus? That we did together. It wasn’t an easy puzzle to lay out, because in the beginning, I was not sure how he worked: does he start by singing; does he start this way or that way? But after 3 or 4 songs, we knew what was going on with each other.

The hardest part is everything after you make the album. How when you sign a contract, you’re obligated to do it in certain ways that labels expect. But [Warner Music] has been really supportive about our ideas. Till changed the format of a CD now — for the rest of the world actually! It’s pretty cool. They listen when we came up with things, especially when Till came up with this Blu-ray format for a CD.

TL: It’s like a little fairytale book. We have one photo for each song so you can follow the music with your ears, and you can watch the photo and read the lyrics. It leads you through the whole record. It’s a 360 degree [experience].

PT: Most people just put it down on iTunes, so for us, not only do we want you to download it, but we also want to give you something visual as well.

MO: It is clear from the onset that there are musical influences on this album akin to both the likes of PAIN and Rammstein. Do you hope that with ‘Skills In Pills’ that not only will it open up the listenership for both bands like Rammstein and PAIN, but perhaps also introduce people to a new shared vision from the two of you? No matter how unusual it may seem on the surface.

TL: We never had intentions like that. We wrote it for ourselves and to get relief in things we would never do [otherwise]. We were free to do whatever we want [with Lindemann]. And I think you can hear it. It’s fun all the time, and we were open-minded and we dared to speak whatever we wanted. We had no limits, borders or boundaries. We just let everything out. And [Skills in Pills] is the result. We never thought about what people were thinking or how their reaction would be.

PT: Of course, now we do! Because we’ve done something and we don’t know what we did.

TL: But in the beginning, there was no intention behind it. It was all, ‘just let it out’. Go fishing.

PT: We kept it super quiet. Nobody knew about this until we had, like, ten songs done.

TL: A big part of it was let’s throw out our fishing rod and see what comes. Maybe it’ll be a big motherfucker or sardines [laughs]

PT: [Till’s] management flipped out because that had no clue what we were doing in our spare time [laughs] It was a hard thing to sell, but we just let it out. I mean, suddenly we said, ‘hey, we have a band’ and people were like, ‘what?!’

TL: Yeah, we kept it inside for a year and a bit and nobody knew. I was travelling back and forth between Sweden and recording, and then when we got this idea to go shopping with this record and introduce it to record companies, and of course, our management, everyone goes ‘what?!’ They never expected it.

MO: Yeah, that’s so unusual in itself; to keep something of this scale hidden for so long.

PT: Yeah, we were not interested in trying to get money or trying to get people to listen to it. We were just interested in our own little world to create stuff. That was the main thing.

TL: It was a totally different way in doing music. In what I know in my world of Rammstein, everything is really well prepared and takes a long time to set things up. But we were jamming in the studio and figuring out and trying several things in the studio that I never would have with Rammstein. With Rammstein, there’s a schedule behind everything. With this, we were just fucking around all the time. It was really all about trying things in the studio and going wild, you know?

PT: We’d be like, ‘do we dare say this?’, and then we’re go, ‘Do it!’ It’s like, ‘Okay, I’ll say it!’ If it’s a good feeling, then keep it, you know?

MO: Any last words you’d like to offer your fans before we wrap up our interview?

PT: As a first timer here, I would say, I hope this thing with Hypocrisy is actually going to happen for once. But I hope that we can come for Soundwave or something like that.

TL: I’d just say, I go back in September with Rammstein, so we’re gathering up preproduction for the next Rammstein record. Jumping from one project to the other. Back in the cage!

Forum » RAMMSTEIN SIDE PROJECTS » Lindemann (Official & Interview) » [TEXT] 2015 06 25 - Interview Till, Peter, Metal Obsession
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