Radio Metal: Dero, Welcome on Radio Metal. Oomph ! is very well known in France, but not so often heard on the radio. Could you introduce us the band ?

: Yeah, I’m lead singer of Oomph!, which was formed by Flux (guitars and samples), Crap (guitars and keyboards) and me, Dero (voice, lyrics, drums, programming and stuff…). We began very electronical-orientated on our first same-titled record “Oomph!”, which was very much dominated by the so-called “Electronic Body Music” going around ; and we were influenced by bands like Kraftwerk, Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF), Liaisons Dangereuses, Lassigue Bendthaus, Einstürzende Neubauten, etc.

The Cure and Depeche Mode of course. And on the other hand, we really liked Mötörhead and AC/DC and stuff like that. We always wanted to combine both worlds, both sides that influenced us very much in our own youth : the cold electronical appeal of the 80’s, and the rough, dirty metal/hard-rock appeal. And when we formed the band, we said “let’s combine both worlds”, but back then, these worlds were really departed : everybody who was into guitar music hated anything about the samples and keyboards, and vice versa… electronical guys hated anything about guitars. So, it was really stupid and embarrassing for us to see, because we really liked both sides. As we formed Oomph!, we said “Let’s try to crossover both worlds”.

People often say that german bands are in the shadow of Rammstein… How do you feel about that ?

Of course, Rammstein is the most successful band in this chapter of music, they are worldwide well known, but we were there five years earlier… Rammstein always say in their interviews that they were influenced by us, and without Oomph! They wouldn’t have been Rammstein. For us it’s really an honor to be called “a big influence” on such bands as Rammstein, but of course it’s also good to have band such as Rammstein or – don’t laugh at me – Tokio Hotel who really enforce german language in other countries. There are so many young people interested in german language right now because of those bands. So it opens doors for german music, that’s it. Of course, I’m not so much into Tokio Hotel’s music, I’m much too old for that music, but it’s also good for us to see that german music, and german speaking music is really accepted all over the world, and also in France.

For us, as a band who kinda like “formed” this kind of music among others, it’s a real honor, and it’s good to see that our spark has become a real huge fire, spreading, and fire is music, language is music which understands everybody. I think that we’ve got a completely different approach on music as bands like Rammstein, for example. So I can understand why bands like Rammstein are so successful, famous all over the world, because we have to be honest. They broadcast and spread a picture of germans that is really a cliché in those countries ; people want to see germans as Rammstein tell we are. But as we all know, germans are not like that.

For us it’s very important to be ourselves on stage, and not caricatures : we’re not trying to create an artificial show like Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas, with many explosions, fire, and so many things that turns the sights off the most important thing : music. There’s a lot of bands, you go to their concerts and everybody is telling afterwords : “it was a huge amazing show”… but they don’t speak about music… If you want to compare it with movies, for example, I don’t like “popcorn movies” too much, which are just about special effects, huge scenarios and stuff like that. I’m more into small videos which are more about acting. It’s more important to be authentic on stage, or concerning the movie, you have to be authentic on film. There are so many movies, when you take all special effects away, there’s nothing left. Because nobody really acts, because there’s no story. For me, it’s more about stories. It’s important that you have to tell something.

For example, we provoke very often, we like to provoke very much. But behind this provocation, there’s always a background “ why we do that kind of provocation”. Provocation for just its own case, it’s boring. If the audience is provoked, and there’s nothing behind it, it’s boring… that’s not Oomph!…

(Dero) : « We provoke very often, we like to provoke very much. But behind this provocation, there’s always a background “ why we do that kind of provocation”. Provocation for just its own case, it’s boring. If the audience is provoked, and there’s nothing behind it, it’s boring… that’s not Oomph!… »

What kind of relationships do you have with other bands like Rammstein, Megaherz, Eisbrecher ?

Of course we know all those bands. We meet each other at certain festivals from time to time, and we talk to each other. This kind of music is a really small family in Germany. We accept each other, we don’t fight, because there’s nothing to fight with. It’s more about short talks. For example at some award shows, we meet the guys of Rammstein from time to time, almost each year… then we go to talk, drink some beer, and that’s it, you know. It’s not a big friendship, because there’s too less time to get friends. We accept each other, that’s it.

You were talking about popcorn movies… Since the single “Gekreuzigt” in 1998, your singles are regulary in the german charts, like “Augen Auf !”, or “Wach Auf”, which was used on the original soundtrack of Alien Versus Predator Requiem. After 10 albums, 1 DVD and 20 years of duty, what is your look upon your career ?

Well… it’s about developpement. As we want to develop as human beings, we try to reflect those developments on our music. As long as there are new dimensions for us to explore, anything goes. It would be boring to repeat yourself. This is what we always denied : we wanted to see there are new dimensions, new doors to open for us, musically. Of course, it’s not the secure way… the secure way would be to repeat yourself from album to album, because if you know the people like the kind of music that you do, just repeat yourself, and they’ll like it more !

That’s about lies, also, because everybody develops, in a certain direction, and if you don’t reflect this developpment, you start to lie. Unfortunately, in many scenes, weither it’s hardcore scene, gothic scene, electronical scene, there are so many people who wants to depart from the so-called mainstream of the so-called Philistines, by wearing other clothes, hearing different types of music… but they are acting so reactionnary, so conservative concerning their own music style… There are so many people who deny development within their bands ! The whole universe develops, anything… so why shouldn’t a band develop ? To show people that there is so doubtful security ? There is no security. You still stay honest when you develop : when you show other faces from time to time, when you reflect all your different shapes of emotions. There are too many bands who only have one or two emotions : aggression, anger, hate… but who is only like that ? Really one-dimensional, flat, stupid person…

As we all know, complex persons are much more dimensional. We also are sad from time to time, powerless, melancholical, happy and desappointed… Human beings are more complex in my way of thinking. If you want to stay honest, you have to show each kind of your personality. If not, you start to lie with your music. That’s what we don’t want to. We like to live from this really cool hobby, so why should we start to lie ? Like if I worked for huge bank or whatever… I would start to lie, cause this is not me. When I do the same within my music, it doesn’t matter, it’s all the same, cause so many people lie in their normal jobs… I fucking hate musicians who start to lie within their bands.

About your writings… love and religion are recurrent themes in your lyrics. Why is it so important for you ?

I think these are the three main foundation of human life : where do I come, where do I go, and what do I do in the middle of that period (laughing). But I like the philosophical approach… I’m not entire faith because you have to believe in something, at least in yourself. If I wouldn’t believe in myself, I could quit being a musician. Faith is important, of course, but we’re very religious critical persons… for us, the question is much more important than the answer. In almost every religion, the question mark is not so important ; they’re just trying to tell you that they got the truth, the answers to all the questions, all the problems…

Who will ever know ? I don’t know… for me the question mark is important, so I would consider myself an agnostic person. I don’t know what life awaits from me. I just know that I’m here to reproduce myself, as any animal do…

That’s a good hobby…!

Yeah, that’s it… But the other things that we put into our beings, our lives, are wishful thinking. This is where religion starts. If you stop seeing yourself as a part of evolution… for me mankind is just one small part of evolution, and no one knows, if we remain that important than we think we are… Dinosaurs used to live for hundreds of millions of years, and human beings are living since a really small period of time… So I don’t think that we are so important in evolution than we think we are. We’re just one small part, one small thing within a whole life, a whole universe.

It’s a good approach, it’s not frightening for me ; I feel myself really comfortable being not that important. Why should I be more important than a snake, or snail or a rabbit ? There is no reason. Just human thoughts “we are the best, we are the most important beings”.

You’ve always written in german and english, but not since GlaubeLiebeTod. Is it a choice or fate ?

I think it was more accidently. I just happened that way : I feel more secure in my own mothertongue… I just wrote more in german. Maybe I’m more intense with that language. Most of my experience is made of it, that’s why you’re so emotionnal in your own language. But English language is not excluded, but we don’t wanna force it unnaturally… it has to happen that way. We plan to do a Best Of in english… let’s see what will happen ! I still like english language very much, because it’s really different from german language. German is very rough and strange sounding, english is a very musical language, very well-sounding.

Do you want to do other duets, like you did with Nina Hagen on Fieber ?

Yes, we did also one on this album, Bis zum Schluss, with Mina Harker, a new band from Braunschweig (ND Guillaume : one of the opening bands of tonight’s show). We also did a duet with Martha Jandowa, Träumst Du, on GlaubeLiebeTod. If you know that there is a fitting with a duet partner, why not ? And if there’s a fitting song, we will. But as the use of the english language we don’t want to force it… it has to happen.

Let’s talk about Monster. You’ve asked your fans to create a cover for this album ?

Yeah. I thought, for the tenth album, that it would be a good idea to have something creative coming from the fans. And we know that our fans can be really innovative, and weird and…

Pervert ?

(Laughs) Yeah maybe… some of them… The title Monster was perfect to do it. We had received 800 cover versions of fans. It was really amazing for us to see it, so many creative fans… it was really really hard for us to choose one cover, because we wanted to have another approach on the theme. If you entitle your album Monster, and you put onto a cover which shows a typical monster, it would be boring. And after all, we had this cool cover which puts more questions… People look at the cover and ask themselves “Why should the boy be a monster ?”, or “Is the boy a Monster ?”, “Has he already killed the monster ?”, or “what is the secret behind this scene ?”, you know, with the lanscape, the tool and the boy… I think it’s that what makes Oomph! actually… You have to think more to the reasons, there are more dimensions behind a title. And there are many interpretations between a title and the lyrics, for example. This is what makes it interesting.

Of course, many of our albums deal with childhood, because childhood is really important. It’s the most important period of your life, the first ten years… makes you, forms you to the person that you are as an adult. Anything that happens in your childhood is so important, we can’t deny it. Eventhough there are many adults that want to forget about their childhood… it’s impossible… it always remains. That’s why it comes back with Oomph! from time to time. All the monsters within yourself are formed in your childhood…

That’s a good image… It’s time for our last question… What about France ? Will you come in 2009 to defend your album ?

Hopefully ! We had a really cool club tour two years ago, and we had something like ten shows during the ten last years, in Paris, for example. And we had a cool couple of festivals also in France. We like the audience here very much, the country, the scene. People are really nice in France, and we hope to come back as soon as possible. We have to talk to our promoter, and of course they have to connect with people in there. But hopefully, we’ll come back for a club tour, it would be cool !

Interview conducted November 26th, 2009
MySpace Oomph! : myspace.com/oomph

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