Get ready – Germany’s most successful rock band Tokio Hotel are set to cross the English Channel this summer, and send the youth of Great Britain into a frenzy. Their debut English single ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ is out on August 20th through Fascination Records. Glasswerk's Ben Rimmer caught up with the Kraut rockers before they attempt to win the UK over following unprecedented success in Europe.
1/ How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences? Do you attempt to resemble other artists or are you trying to be completely original?
Tom: Our sound is fast, driven and emotional. It’s German Rock. We always tried to develop a unique style that fits us best. From the very beginning, which was seven years ago, we have been writing our own music. So far we only covered one song – “Instant Karma” by John Lennon – for an Amnesty International Sampler. All participating artists such as Green Day or U2 did the same for that charity.
Bill: Doing our own thing, creating our own style and sound was always our main priority.
2/ How has your huge European tour gone? Are you amazed at the reception your music has provoked?
Georg: It was absolutely amazing. Playing a European tour – that was actually unbelievable for us. We always dreamed of playing in front thousands of people, but touring through Europe, that was more than we ever hoped for.
Tom: Especially going to places we haven’t been to before, meeting fans there for the very first time, getting all that support – that really hit us.
3/ You are obviously massive in Germany and Europe – no.1 singles and album, platinum ten times – has the speed and scale of success sunk in yet or are you just living the moments and looking for more and more success…and rocking shows?
Bill: We just want to be musicians, play shows and meet our fans. Two years ago we released our very first single “Durch den Monsoon” in Germany. Ever since than everything went so fast and we’re just trying to live every second. We are definitely having the time of our lives. Pretty soon the European tour will continue – Holland, France, Russia and many more countries are on the schedule and it doesn’t feel like the speed has sunk in yet.
4/ The tour stops at the famous Amsterdam Heineken Music Hall. How excited are you to be playing such a big arena show?
Tom: To be honest, we love to play big venues like this. It’s so exciting to play in front of such a big audience. Prior to gigs we are always extremely nervous but a gig in such an amazing venue nearly drives us crazy!
Gustav (smiles): I would say the bigger the better!
5/ Which award of the following – “Best Newcomer 2005” – Echo Awards (German equivalent of the BRITS), “Best Newcomer 2006” – MTV France “Best Selling German Act 2006” – World Music Awards, “Best Selling German Act 2006” – European Border Breaker Awards – means the most to the band? Are you motivated by sales and material success or the satisfaction of playing and succeeding for yourselves and your fans?
Bill: Overall, the most exciting for us is to play live, to go on tour, to have a good time with our fans. Getting this gigantic response from them, that they feel our music – that is unbelievable. We sing about situations that are part of our lives and this music helps our fans to master tough times in their own lives, it makes us proud. It’s great to start your own band by yourself – that is the best feeling ever.
Tom: Sometimes all this success and these awards we won seems so unreal. We are very proud of all of them. However, the ones where our fans had to vote for us are probably the most precious ones.
6/ Do you feel you are progressing to a level where you can crack the English and US market?
Tom: Whenever we found out that people in other countries picked up our music and wanted to see us live, we went there and did a show. That’s the way everything in Europe started and that’s how we will continue.
7/ Are you confident you will be as successful here and the US as you have been in Germany and mainland Europe?
Bill: It’s not about a certain level of success. Everything we reached so far is already more than we ever dreamed of and we are very thankful for that. To get new fans in all kinds of different countries is a new challenge and it is very exciting.
8 / When this happens will Tokio Hotel find it strange to go from playing to 10,000 – 20,000 fanatical fans every night in Germany to smaller crowds – at the start – who are not all familiar with your music? Are you prepared to start all over again to become a worldwide success?
Georg: We have been a band now for seven years. We played in front of 5 people and none of them were interested in us. Now we are able to play big venues, but we know that this can change again.
Tom: All we really want is to be musicians and play live. It’s not starting all over again for us. Playing in front of new fans, traveling to new countries is a new exciting step we take. We know were we come from. Going to the UK, especially for a German band, is an incredible step. We are able to do it because of our fans. They took our music and brought it out there – we owe them a lot!
The phenomenal impact Tokio Hotel have had across Europe – from France to the Czech Republic – has seen them win a legion of loyal fans and net them a 10 x platinum debut album (Scream). They have had four number one singles in Germany and their debut tour saw them play to over 400,000 people across 43 sold-out dates.
Tokio Hotel’s meteoric rise to the top is all the more jaw-dropping given that the average age of the band is just sweet 18. Despite their youth, twin brothers Bill (vocalist) and Tom Kaulitz (guitarist) along with Georg Listing (bassist) and Gustav Schafer (drummer) have already been signed to Universal for five hard-rockin’ years.
They have spoken to a generation of teenagers who identify with their music and ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ is a perfect song to reflect that. It talks about believing in yourself, taking risks and embracing your dreams.
Tokio Hotel have already gained a UK following from fans who have discovered them via the internet. Many were at the band’s first ever live sold-out UK show last month at London’s Islington Academy, to witness the ecstasy that is Tokio Hotel. ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ is taken from Tokio Hotel’s debut English album ‘Scream’ out August 27th.
For all the information on Tokio Hotel visit their website via this link: link