By Rhys Stevenson
Two years ago, the German Industrial Goth / EBM / NDH trio Oomph! unveiled their twelfth album "Des Wahnsinns fette Beute" (Eng: "Fat Booty Of Madness") and this year mark their 25th anniversary as a band who have never split, nor have had any line-up changes (apart from the live setup where long-standing drummer Leo handed over drumming duties to Silvestri and bassist / backing vocalist Tobi handed over his duties to Hagen Godicke, whilst the band introduced Okusa and El Friede on percussion and keyboards respectively).
GMA spoke to Dero (middle of the photo) about what makes Oomph! tick along nicely.
Hi Dero hope all is well. Now as Oomph! have been going a staggering 25 years, what in your opinion has been the highlight(s) and the least favorite part(s) of the band's career so far?
Well our first ever record deal which was with Machinery Records, this lead to the releasing of our first album "Oomph!". Our first ever club show and the first festival we played at (GMA: we presume this is Ozzfest 2002), our first ever duet, our first show in a foreign country, our first video-clip... there are so many highlights to mention and we're very thankful about that fact.
Four years ago you released your first English compilation album "Truth Or Dare" (Wahrheit Oder Pflict), what was the reception like from the non-German speaking fans?
"Truth Or Dare" is to be seen as a gift for our non-German speaking fans... the album was mainly released in foreign countries, so it was clear that it has not been done for the German, Austrian or Swiss markets... our foreign fans were very thankful for our English adaptations, because they are able to understand our German lyrics far better now with this album...
"Truth Or Dare" can be purchased via: eBay / Amazon.de / Amazon.com / iTunes
Now you're considered pioneers of the Neue Deutsche Harte (NDH) movement, could you explain to our readers would that exactly entails, what makes the music genre what it is?
As this "trademark" had been mentioned by some German music journalists, in the middle of the 1990's, OOMPH! was already there for about 6 years..."NDH" deals with the associations of the 1980's "Neue Deutsche Welle" but implies some kind of hardness, strength and German cliches... OOMPH! never used to be a band who was only hard, so this explaination did not fit very well on our music... even if bands like Rammstein, Eisbrecher or Unheilig claim that OOMPH! were the main influence on them, in my eyes OOMPH! is far too versatile to put a very one-dimensional stamp like "NDH" on it... we don´t like to deal or play with some cliches about Germans that´s been spread especially in foreign countries... that would be too ambigious for us...
Now have you performed in the UK? If so when? If not, would you consider this in the future? Speaking of the future, what plans does Oomph! have for the coming year?
Unfortunately we didn´t have the opportunity to play in the UK so far... if we were left to our own devices, we´d play everywhere in the whole world, but it does not depend on us, you know... it needs a proper local promoter and distributor, who believes in the band and wants us to play there... we´re busy with working on our forthcoming album which hopefully will come out early next year... we´re looking forward to it very much... it would be great to have the chance to play some festivals or club-shows in the UK next year... if you see any chance, please contact our live booking agency... ;-)
Check out "God Is A Popstar" below, this is taken from their release "Truth or Dare" - it is the English version of "Gott Ist Ein Popstar".
"God Is A Popstar" taken from the album "Truth or Dare"
The song "Gott Ist Ein Popstar" caused some controversy in Germany, what enticed the band to write this song and could it be said that the song highlights modern religious traits that have 'glamorized' more traditional religious traits?
Actually the song was a pretty ironical approach on all those casting events..."Britain´s Got Talent", "Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar" and so on... it seems that the now gods are those casting heroes... fortunately they´re not very long-lasting gods... you can recognize a transcendental decay in our "Western world" and I´m not sure yet, if it´s good or bad for us... ;-)... let´s see...
If you could choose any five Industrial / Goth bands past or present that you could tour the world with, who would it be and why?
NIN - one of the most innovative and influencing bands of the last 25 years..."The Downward Spiral" is just killer!
TYPE O NEGATIVE - such a versatile and dark romantic band..."Bloody Kisses" is a true piece of art...rest in peace, Pete!
D.A.F. - to me, one of the most innovative bands from Germany, which had a huge impact on other bands... try "Der Mussolini"!
KRAFTWERK - real heroes, as we all know..."Das Model" is just cult!
NITZER EBB - great British band... unfortunately very underrated... "SHOWTIME" was their best album in my eyes...
You were 19 or so when you started Oomph! How did you meet Crap (Andreas) and Flux (Robert Flux) and what inspired you to play NDH / Industrial Gothic Metal?
Crap and I used to live in the same skyscraper when we were kids... we grew up in Wolfsburg, which is a very industrial city, which is focused on the manufacturing of the "Volkswagen"... if you want so, the perfect base for founding an industrial band... ;-)... so we were hanging around in the late 80's with our first synthesizers and made some pretty infantile noise... but it was much fun to try and compose our first material back then... Flux joined us in 1989 and thus we founded OOMPH!...
Most people would have recognized you from the "Wahrheit Oder Pflicht" - era with spiked hair and trademark-style beard, did you get inspiration for this or was it along the lines of 'lets do something unique'?
As a kid of the 1980's, I tried out almost every haircut and color that´s been available... ;-)... maybe it was just the right style at this point of time... it was kind of a mixture of everything that i tried out before... ;-)
Check out "Augen Auf!" below, taken from the album "Wahrheit Oder Pflict"
"Augen Auf!" taken from "Wahrheit Oder Pflicht" and featured on the FIFA 2005 soundtrack.
Now "Augen Auf!" is without a doubt Oomph!'s best charted single to date and has featured on FIFA 2005, now two things:- 1. what is the story behind the song and is there a difference in meaning between "Augen Auf" and "Augen Auf Ich Komme"?
The lyrics contain parts of an ancient German child´s game which is pretty much like "Hide and Seek"... we wanted to create a creepy version of this game... "Augen Auf!" means "Open Your Eyes", and "Augen Auf Ich Komme!" means "Open Your Eyes I´m Coming!"... but you cannot translate it one to one into English, that´s why we chose "Ready Or Not I´m Coming!" in the English version... you can decide yourself, if there´s a double meaning in those lyrics...;-)
Oomph!'s songs all tend to vary across lyric topics e.g. more romantic "Brennende Liebe" to cosmetic surgery-style "Wer Schön Sein Will Muss Leiden", how do you choose what lyric topics you want to do and does each album have a theme?
Not every OOMPH! album is a concept album with a certain topic, like "Wunschkind" or "Defekt"... sometimes life in itself offers just too many stories to tell just to be fixed on one single topic...if you walk with open eyes through our world, you´ll be inspired permanently...
How does "Des Wahnsinns Fette Beute" compare to the rest of the albums Oomph! has released?
I would consider it our most courageous album so far... I guess, it was about time to show our self-ironical side with this release... if you wanna avoid becoming ridiculous over the years, you have to have the guts to laugh about yourself and make fun of yourself... that´s true badass behavior in my eyes... ;-)
Check out "Das Letzte Streichholz" from the album "GlaubeLiebeTod" below.
"Das Letzte Streichholz" taken from the album "GlaubeLiebeTod"
Finally are there any thank you's and hello's you wish to express to fans, friends, etc? (feel free to add any other information)
Thanx a lot to everybody who believes in OOMPH! and who helps to spread the OOMPH! virus all over the world... keep your eyes open, ´cause we´re coming... ;-)
"I believe that there is real power in music, and that if we find the best music to listen to—music that is uplifting—it has the power to change us for the better"
Following Lindsey Stirling's hard-worked rise to international stardom, it was time for GMA to take time out to have a chat with such a talented musician in many aspects: creativity, originality and most importantly the ability to challenge the unthinkable. GMA's Rhys Stevenson set to find out what lies behind the violin and the musical genius of Lindsey Stirling.
Hi there Lindsey, I see you are performing in Australia next month, is this your first time performing there?
Yes! Actually I have never been to Australia, so I’m hoping to meet a wallaby and a kangaroo or two lol
So what made you or who influenced you to play the violin?
When I was young my family didn’t have a lot of money, but that didn’t stop our family from having fun! My dad would find all kinds of fun things for our family to do, one of which was going to free orchestra concerts. It didn’t take me very long to notice that the violins were “front and center” and had all the interesting parts. When I was about six years old I started begging my parents to give me lessons. My mom finally found one teacher who was willing to give me a fifteen minute lesson every other week. I’m so grateful to my parents and to my first teacher who believed in me enough to give me a chance.
You mix the classic elements of the violin with dubstep and other alternative genres, what gave you this idea and are you hoping other budding artists will catch onto this genre crossover?
As I got older I started loosing interest in violin, and it occurred to me that it was because I was playing other people’s music. I had an intense desire to create my own, and to share it. In high school I joined a punk rock band called “Stomp on Melvin” and I learned to improvise and create music “on-the-spot.” This is also when I started learning to “move” on stage. I continued to perform / jam with bands throughout college. One day I decided to record myself dancing to “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas and put the video up on YouTube. The video went viral, but shortly after that I decided to serve a full-time mission to New York. http://www.lindseystirling.com/lindsey-blog/in-memory-of-nyc/
Once I returned home, my friends kept encouraging me to try out for America’s Got Talent, so when the show contacted me I decided to audition. During the competition I improvised to several popular songs. It wasn’t until I was “X-ed” lol that I realized that what I really wanted to do was create my own songs… I didn’t want to just improvise over someone else’s music anymore. It was a that point that a friend introduced me to Marco G. He believed in me enough to help me create three singles for what I could afford at the time (which was very little). Together we created “Spontaneous Me,” “Transcendence,” and “Song of the Caged Bird.” I’ve been creating music ever since.
You recently appeared on BBC's The One Show, how was this for you?
SO much fun! Jon and Sian were amazing; I enjoyed the interview and I felt extremely honored to be on the show!
Your self-titled debut album charted at no.1 in Austria, what was your reaction when you learned about this and is there a tour of Europe in your plans for next year given you did one this year?
I was pretty shocked. It is just amazing to me that so many people throughout the world are enjoying my music! It’s truly a dream come true for me. I’m not entirely sure what the plans for next year are yet, but I am pretty certain I will be visiting Europe again in the near future. I will actually be visiting Europe during the next several months for promotional purposes, etc.
Upon Sharon Osbourne commenting: "You need to be in a group. ... What you're doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas." - I guess it's now safe to say you have proven her wrong?
Yeah…basically lol. But at the same time I know that having Gavi and Drew on tour with me has made a huge difference. I don’t think my performance would be quite as exciting if I was on stage all by myself with a synthesizer playing in the background lol, so in a way she was right.
I see you helped contribute to the theme tunes for the Skyrim and Halo video games, was this a challenging aspect in your career and could we see you helping out on any film scores in the future?
I actually don’t play a lot of video games, so yes. My fans kept requesting these, so when I decided I liked the music enough to do a cover I had to listen to the songs quite a bit before I could create the medleys. I also had to research the games, and I did my best to stay consistent with the characteristics and look of the games and the characters in them. “Gamers” can be really picky about those particulars lol.
What advice could you pass on to musicians who idolize you when playing the violin? Do you feel that you can mix and match music genres in different ways without friction between the multiple genres?
When it works, it works. I have always loved ALL kinds of music. There are very few music genres that I don’t like. Within every genre of music I like certain songs and styles. I believe that there is real power in music, and that if we find the best music to listen to—music that is uplifting—it has the power to change us for the better. Alternatively, music can also affect and change us for the worse if we are not careful of the things we choose to listen to.
What are the rest of your plans for the latter half of the year? What can fans expect from you?
I will be touring Asia / Australia for around two weeks in August. After that I plan to work on my album as much as possible in between my promotional visits to Europe, etc. I honestly don’t know how I am going to finish the album by March with all that is going on lol but that’s the goal!
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings, etc you wish to issue to friends, family, etc?
I definitely would not be who I am or doing what I am doing if it were not for my amazing parents. My friends and family have always been a huge support and believed in me. Today I’d like to give a shout-out to my awesome dad, who taught me that anything is possible. He has always wanted to publish a book and finally, after years of hearing “no” from publishers, his first book has been published. I’m so proud of you dad! You did it! https://www.facebook.com/StephenJStirlingAuthor
Readers can check her music out on the YouTube channels below, news via her Facebook page and website.
You can purchase Lindsey Stirling's self-titled album via iTunes (http://po.st/StirlingYiTx1) or online (http://www.shopbenchmark.com/lindseystirling/)
The Alternative music interview page features interviews from Eurovision entries to other non-metal music entities.
Eurovision Song Contest