(PCM) Tokio Hotel released their brilliant new album “Kings Of Suburbia” last November and it has been met with both fan and critical acclaim. Listening to the album I have found that it is truly some of the band’s most honest and heartfelt work to date.
With their debut album in 2005, Tokio Hotel- -twin brothers Bill (lead singer) and Tom Kaulitz (guitar, backing vocals), Georg Listing (bass) and Gustav Schafer (drums)–rose to become the most successful German rock band of the last 20 years. 7 million copies of their releases have been sold worldwide, and with around 160 Gold and 63 Platinum awards in 68 countries and well over 100 national and international awards, Tokio Hotel is an international phenomenon.
Bill and Tom Kaulitz (25) moved to California overnight at the absolute height of their fame. Submerged in the anonymity of Los Angeles, their experiences there lent them new creativity and inspiration which they used to write and produce “Kings of Suburbia”, their third international studio album.
“Kings Of Suburbia” is filled with a variety of different musical flavors and we see Tokio Hotel having the chance to explore and experiment with a variety of soundscapes including rock, pop and even various electronic elements. The album is a breath of fresh air for the band and certainly stands apart in their illustrious catalog.
From the club-heavy wallop of “Feel It All” to the softer, introspective “Run Run Run” and “Love Who Loves You Back,” it’s an album that finds the Kaulitz twins pushing limits of sanity and discovery, a singular statement born out of one very important realization: Their band could mirror their lives, could provide the soundtrack to the parties that never end. If it feels alive, well, that’s because Tokio Hotel were living it as they were making it.
I recently had a chance to catch up with Tokio Hotel to discuss the making of the new album, their upcoming touring plans, changes within the music industry and more.
It has been about five years since we last had any new music from Tokio Hotel, so when talking about the creative process for the new album Bill says “After the release of our last album we were not really sure what we wanted to do with our music next, so we decided to make the move to L.A.. It was there that we found that we finally had the creative freedom to do what we truly wanted to do with our music. We wanted to make something that we love and what makes us happy.”
We are always curious about the mindset of the band while in the studio during the recording process. The band revealed “With “Love Who Loves You Back”, the albums first single, for that song we kind of had that moment in the studio where you just know that you have something special. That song just stuck with us all day. When we were writing it and recording it and we just really couldn’t get it out of our heads. We really wanted to get it out to audiences and see if their reaction was the same. It is a way to think about experiencing love.
We also made the music video that we have always wanted to make for that song as well, so it was really a perfect fit. It is also the exact opposite of what the rest of the album is like overall. It is very pure without a lot of production, we just wanted to keep it very simple. It is a very fun song and the video was incredibly fun to make. It was something I had never done before.”
Speaking of the music video for “Love Who Love You Back’ Bill revealed that the idea for the video came from a film he saw called “Perfume”. Bill says “In the film the character was getting a lot of hate from those around him as he was creating his perfume. As odd as it sounds, he then sprays his perfume around and it begins to turn the hate into love and then branches out into an orgy of sorts. I had always wanted to recreate that with music and now we had finally found the right song”.
He goes on to say “We found the right director and he had all these people and he asked me if I even wanted to be involved. I said ‘Of course I want to be involved (laughs). He was surprised that I actually wanted to do it. I have never been involved with something like that in front of the camera so it was definitely fun. When I got home that night I felt like I was leaving a porno shoot. Making out with so many people was exhausting, but it was also a lot of fun”.
I was also curious about Tokio Hotel’s upcoming touring plans, as well as, what will be going into the live show. Bill says ” We are going to begin touring in March in Europe with the Feel It All World Tour. It will be a memorable experience for fans. We are still working on some of our concepts and ideas for the show, but it will be great”.
When asked what the most misunderstood thing about Tokio Hotel would be they answered “I think by now people get it, but there was always some confusion about how long we have been together. We have been a band for over 14 years, even before we were doing it professionally”.
During the recording process sometimes there are things that a band will learn about themselves that can be a bit surprising. Bill comments ” Moving out to L.A. and being out here on our own and having control over the whole production was something that we had never done before, so we learned that we could do it on our own without someone telling us how things should be done. It was also interesting in L.A., that no one knew who I am or what I do and I had not had that experience in quite some time. I am used to meeting people who knew exactly who I was, so having this anonymity was a new experience.”
When speaking about the influence that living in L.A. had on the recording process, Tom adds “The move to L.A. provided us with new life experiences, prior to that we had nothing new to say, here we were able to be influenced by all of our new experiences and create new stories to share”.
Many musicians have been affected by the changes in the music industry over the years. Bill tells us that people downloading rather than buying music has been one of the many changes that has had the biggest effect on the band. He says “When we first came on the scene there was not downloading. Nowadays it is more important to have streams and downloads. I don’t even get all of this. There are so many new rules to follow. I remember we used to have these long lines for autographs and nowadays they don’t even do that anymore. They don’t want an autograph, they just want a selfie (laughs). Autographs are not necessary anymore.”
He goes on to say, “When we first started there were music show on TV and talk shows and awards shows to attend, now there are only like one or two award shows to attend per year. So much has changed with the way the world processes music. It is all very different.”
Finally, I wanted to know if we are going to see any Tokio Hotel touring here in the States. They replied “Yes, of course. We announced the first half of our world tour in Europe, so definitely be early summer we hope to announce some touring in the U.S.”.
We can’t wait! We will have to remember to bring our selfie sticks! If you haven’t already be sure to pick up a copy of Tokio Hotel’s phenomenal new album “Kings Of Suburbia” and keep up to date with the band and the following links below: