This interview took place only from the third attempt. Two times running Tilo just forgot to call. To be honest I always associated Tilo with something dark, sad and even gloomy. But I was surprised to find out that he is not gloomy at all! He was rather talkative, joked all the time and our talk turned out to be rather long. We talked about the new DVD and live-CD of Lacrimosa, about different rumors about the band and even about Russian famous politician – Lenin…
You chose Leipzig as the city to perform your new DVD “Lichtjahre” on a big screen. Why did you choose Leipzig? And was the show a success?
TILO WOLFF: I chose Leipzig, because back in 1993 I gave my first concert in Leipzig and while we were traveling I decided that this would be a good decision to make the presentation in Leipzig. And surely much depends on people’s reaction. And I know how people behave and how they react during concerts, but it was the first time that we were showing a movie. So this time we didn’t even know what reaction to expect – will they be shouting or talking during the movie. But when the film was being shown there was a complete silence. And after the film was shown people began scanning the name of the band and yelling. It was very touching and impressive.
And do you plan to make a tour to support this DVD?
TILO WOLFF: We played several concerts. One of them was in Germany. There was a big Festival there. We played together with Marilyn Manson. Then we played several shows in Argentina, Brazil, Chili and Mexico.
In the press-release of your DVD it was said that this DVD was recorded within 18 months and all this time a lot of cameras were shooting you everywhere – at the parties, during your flights, in tour buses, during your walks, and surely at the gigs. Were not you tired of being watched all the time?
TILO WOLFF: You know at first I also thought that it wouldn’t be very funny to have all the time cameras with you, but in course of time we really didn’t notice the cameras, because there are people behind the cameras and gradually they become the crew. For example after a concert the people with cameras went with us to backstage and they didn’t turn the cameras off, we didn’t even notice the presence of the cameras. They just put the cameras on the table and they were drinking with us and we didn’t even know that they were recording us. Or sometimes he was sitting in the corner with the camera and we were having fun as usual, and again we didn’t even notice him. And that was really fun, because when I was watching the video in the end, I was just, “Wow, did you shoot that??” I mean I remembered the moments, all those events, but I didn’t really realize that I was being shot. I mean that in course of the tour it comes to normal, all these cameras and people around shooting you. You can forget about it and you can behave as you always behave.
And how did you select the songs for the DVD?
TILO WOLFF: Well, actually I just tried to remember the moments when I was on stage. For example I remember very well the concert in Poland, the song “Letzte Ausfahrt Leben”, when I had a very emotional moment. So I told the people from cutting company, “Please, cut the live-performance from Poland into the movie”, because I remember the people reaction and the feelings I experienced. So I tried to reflect all the concerts, I tried which songs people welcomed the best and during which songs I felt the most emotional moment. That’s how I chose the songs for the DVD.
And did you take into consideration your fans’ wishes regarding songs included into DVD? Maybe they sent you some mails…
TILO WOLFF: No, we didn’t ask them to send us stuff like that and they didn’t do it. And I think it was a right decision, because you know there are so mane people and if they all wished their personal favorite songs we’d have to include into this DVD all the songs we’d ever written and performed on stage! (laughs) And of course in this case this DVD lasted not 3 hours, but 12 hours! (laughs)
And what does the title mean? Why did you choose “Lichtjahre” to name this DVD?
TILO WOLFF: There are many reasons. On one hand of course I was influenced by “Lichtgestalt”, the previous album, it’s about this album. And you know each album it’s like telling a story, and if you gather all them together it’s a kind of a big tale. And the end of the tale till now is this actual album, “Lichtgestalt”. And it’s also the most important album for our present. And on the other hand these 1,5 years of touring – they were like “light years”, this time was full of light on the one hand because of all the beautiful and light things we could get through, and on the other hand it was so amazing and quick and there were so many things happening that time. And you know the times when so much I happening in your life it goes away very quickly and this time for us was a time of light. And when you’re waiting for something and nothing happens the time seams endless. And in our case the time went so quickly and it was a really light time.
Your DVD turned out to be rather large. It lasts about 3 hours and includes shootings from back stage, road, your live-performances photos and the history of the band. And when did you first think of creating this DVD?
TILO WOLFF: The idea was born actually some time ago, cause I was a kind of bored of these boring normal live-DVDs, live-performances. It’s like the same 15 or 20 shots of the same thing – the same people, the same audience. For me it’s a kind of boring. And I wanted to something different where we’re on different stages with different audiences in different countries. Because we have fans in many countries – Germany, China, Mexico, the great fan-base in Russia, but they haven’t seen each other. And I wanted all of them to see our fans from other countries, their behavior, reaction. They won’t have to ask me any more how for instance the fans in Moscow reacted, the don’t need it anymore – now they have the opportunity to see it themselves. And it’s a kind of connecting people from different countries with each other. That’s why I wanted to show this beauty, all these fans and different countries. Not the one concert, but the other ones.
Along with live-DVD you also released a live-CD. And it also includes a 16 page-booklet and 22 songs. And there is information on your web-site that this disk will be released in a limited edition of 1999 copies. Why this strange figure, why exactly 1999?
TILO WOLFF: We released our first live-album back in 1998 and that time the number was also limited. And I thought, “O’k. I wanna do 1998, because it was the year of the release plus one copy for myself. So it is 1999”. And we’ll do it again and again if we make another kind of live-CD. As far as you could notice in Lacrimosa – I like traditions – you could notice the cover-artworks, the style and so on. So if we release another live album the number of limited copies will be the same – 1999 (laughs).
Why made the cover-artworks for CD and DVD? And why did you decide to make different covers for CD and DVD?
TILO WOLFF: The reason is that. When you listen a CD, at least when I listen a CD, I close my eyes and try to get into this music, to imagine my own pictures of this music in front of my inner eye. Music and especially Lacrimosa is a kind of soundtrack to some imaginary movie. And therefore I chose the cover with the piano and a certain which is not yet completely open, because the player the harlequin is still in backstage, preparing and making his make-up as you can see on the back cover. So it’s like the listener can put the CD and in that moment the curtain opens and he can start imagining his own kind of movie. And on the other hand you have the movie, it’s a DVD and here you shouldn’t close your eyes, you shouldn’t imagine your own movie. You already see the movie, that’s why on the cover there are pictures expressing some events going on, happening, some photos from the concerts, here are the musicians. And the listener can already imagine what there will be n this DVD. So it’s the basic idea. So it’s the same. When you look at the cover you should know what to expect – what music and whatever, you can dream and fly away somehow, and when you have the movie, the DVD you see all these pictures, you see the history of the band, the events happening. And if you see at the DVD closely you’ll also see a curtain that is not completely open. So you can notice the connection between these two releases.
The CD was painted again by Stelio Diamantopolous who did all our covers. And the DVD was painted by Ingo Romling who did the cover for 2 Snakeskin albums and now for this DVD.
By the way – about cover artworks. All you albums are in black-and-white colors. Why do you never release albums with artworks of different colors and not only black and white?
TILO WOLFF: Because… Actually black and white are the most important thing it’s like… Everything is always between two ends actually. Dark or light, high or low, hot or cold, and there is something in the middle, not so high, not burning hot, but it’s actually of no interest, because it’s a question of if it’s good or bad, if it’s speaking out or not. And humans are also built like this – we all have two eyes, most of our organs are double, lungs, and brain – one of the most important part – also have two parts, which gives us the opportunity to communicate with each other. All the shades or all the colors in-between are of not so much contrast. The same is with music of Lacrimosa. It’s very dynamic, you have very emotional quiet parts, but you also have very aggressive and brutal parts. On the one hand – there are guitars and bass, and on the other hand is the orchestra. There are always two things coming together from two different sites. Black and white are coming together, high and low. That’s why the covers of Lacrimosa are black and white. It’s like bringing together the two extremes. And everything that’s in the middle of the two extremes is not of so much interest.
Long ago you created your own label “Hall of Sermon”. What’s going on with this label at the moment? Do you have time for it?
TILO WOLFF: Lacrimosa became so big all over the world that we got completely occupied with the band. We have contracts for example as we have in Russia, we have partner labels – in Russia it’s Irond, but nevertheless we have a kind of connection and control over our releases in the whole world. And as for small labels – I want them to stay small. And that’s the reason why we completely concentrated on Lacrimosa. But “Hall of Sermon” is independent, that’s why I started this label and let it be independent. And I don’t want the success of Lacrimosa would change these rules. It’s very important for me not to change this situation, because otherwise I wouldn’t be the same anymore, and it would be a major label, which I don’t want. That’s why we tried to keep it small.
As far as I know Anna makes all the costumes for your performances. Who decides about the style of costumes? Do you leave this mission on her or do you think it over together?
TILO WOLFF: She designs her stuff, I design my stuff and then she is sewing everything we’ve designed (laughs)
Is it easy for you to work with Anne? I mean that most of band-members have some contradictions about some private questions or about music…
TILO WOLFF: Yeah, that’s funny. Everybody wants to know more about private life of people and when they know it they are disappointed sometimes. For example if I’d say there is a rumor that Anne and me would have been together and we split up in 1999 when we released “Elodia” album and it was the album about us. And if I commented this people would be in any case unhappy. Because someone would be happy if we were together, others would be happy if we were not… Many people would be very angry that we parted and they don’t know. So it’s a private life and people should concentrate on music and try not to interfere into private life. They shouldn’t do it really (laughs)
A little about the lyrics. In one of your songs you sing – “Das Herz ist mir mein Kompass“ (My heart is my compass). And in real life do you often rely on your heart in taking decisions?
TILO WOLFF: Absolutely. It’s one of the most important senses. I wrote this, because my heart is really my compass. I’m living only by the feeling of my heart and take decisions relying on it. I use my brain only for transforming the direction which my heart has given into real life. Once my heart tells me that I should go to the left, then I turn to my brain and there follows, “Be careful, don’t drop”, for instance. And I usually end up with the aim I wanted to reach. And it’s always the heart telling me what to do and the direction I should to go. And it’s very important you know, because your mind is not really always reliable. It often happens that you don’t understand something, you don’t see the things in the right way, but your heart if you listen to it always knows. That’s why I think- the best thing to do is always listen to your heart.
You also write a lot about love and you say that “Ein Leben ohne Liebe ist kein Leben!” (“Life without love is not a life”) Do you think that life without love is impossible?
TILO WOLFF: Yeah, actually yes. And I think that it’s possible as long as you are in the search for love. But when you give up – I think you can’t live anymore. I think everybody needs love to be able to live.
The majority of your songs are in your native language – German. Why don’t you sing in English? The majority of people outside German-speaking countries don’t know this language…
TILO WOLFF: Well, you know when I started the idea was that I do music out of my poems and my poems were in German, because it’s my native language. And I express my feelings the best in my own language. This is my aim – I do music around my poems, around my thoughts, around everything that I’ve done. Most of my songs are in German, because it’s the purest way of expressing my feelings. And lyrics is the most important thing in the music. And on the other hand when I release the albums I always translate the lyrics in the booklets into English, so that everybody could read them in English. But it’s more important that you sense the real … It’s again something between your heart and your head. Your head, you brain can help you in translating something and help you to understand something, when you learn the language. But the heart when you listen to the music actually tells you what the music is about and what lyrics are about. You don’t even need to understand each single word, because the music tells you what kind of emotions are lying here.
So you think that music is a kind of universal language?
TILO WOLFF: Yes, absolutely.
And what inspires you to write lyrics?
TILO WOLFF: Lyrics for me it’s a kind of a diary actually. I write down all the things that I need to express, things that happen in my life, when I get hurt or when I have very strong feelings, something happens which I can’t deal with anymore. And I need to share this with the pen and the paper. That is what I write about, this is my inspiration.
You’ve been to Russia twice, what can you say about the Russian auditorium? Are you satisfied with the way Lacrimosa was treated in Russia?
TILO WOLFF: Definitely, that was the reason why we came back! (laughs) And the Russian audience is really – I would say crazy. On the one hand they can show their emotions, though so intense. And on the other hand they have this very emotional heart. And they don’t place it behind closed doors, they show their emotional heart and that’s exactly what Lacrimosa is about. It’s about emotions. And Russian people show their emotions during the concert. It was something that I appreciated very much and this is something that is very gentle and touching. When we were sightseeing in Moscow people were very gentle. When I was first time in Russia I was so fascinated with the country and the people that I started to read about Russian history. I’ve read three books about the history and I’ve also read one book by Vladimir Nabokov, and I’ve just bought the second one by him. I like Russian literature very much, I’m looking forward to coming back to Russia and I hope that this time I would also be able to visit St.-Petersburg, because this city must be really amazing.
In the final shot of you DVD report about your visit to Russia there-s Lenin – our politician. Why did you choose him for the final shot?
TILO WOLFF: This is something that you’d better ask the director of the movie. He decided to do this and he did this, because Lenin tells so much about the Russian history on the one hand, and the future of Russia on the other hand. Whatever you do is connected with his work. Either you don’t like something that he did and you try to change this, or you like it – anyway everything is connected with what he did, whether you like it or you don’t. That was the reason, I think, why he chose this shot.
By the way when you were performing cultural center in Moscow by Gorbunov, you might have seen a bust of Lenin in the backstage…
TILO WOLFF: Yeah! I’ve seen it and I was wondering why it was still standing there. (laughs)
Me too! (everybody laughs)
TILO WOLFF: I mean it’s really wired!
In the beginning of our talk you mentioned that you performed together with Marilyn Manson at the WOODSTAGE Festival in Glauchau, Germany. Whose idea was that and what was it like to perform with him?
TILO WOLFF: I think the idea came from the organizators of the festival. And of course it was sa little bit crazy, because we have different audiences. I didn’t know what to expect to tell the truth. I didn’t know what will be their reaction. But it was a great fun, there were so many people in Marilyn Manson T-shirts. And they were singing and shouting with us together. It was something new for Lacrimosa and a lot of fun. And when we were leaving the stage nobody was screaming for Marilyn Manson, everybody was screaming for Lacrimosa and encore. It was very very nice. And the crew of Marilyn Manson were also very polite and nice, they didn’t do a kind of super star behavior or something of the kind in the back-stage and this was pretty cool.
If you don’t mind let’s speak about your side-project Snakeskin. What further plans do you have regarding this project? As far as I know you have rather tight schedule with Lacrimosa…
TILO WOLFF: That is of course not very easy, because there is not so much time for it. But for me Snakeskin is some kind of taking holiday from Lacrimosa. I mean I love Lacrimosa, it’s my hobby and I really like what I’m doing, but sometimes you need to have a break before you get crazy or bored by it. It like this – imagine that you’re working and you like your job and you do it with passion, but having worked for some time you wanna take a holiday, you wanna go away in another surrounding for a while. And then in a couple of weeks you become missing your personal surroundings that you normally have, you become homesick and you go back and you’re happy to be back home again. And the same is with Lacrimosa. Sometimes I need to break out and make the things different, because Lacrimosa have so many rules. For example first I write my poems and then I write the music, and I never write music and then try to fit the lyrics to it. It’s not the idea of Lacrimosa and therefore I don’t do it. This is a rule and I never break this rule, but sometimes I need to break out of these rules. In Snakeskin I can write songs and don’t think about the lyrics in the first moment. Or I can write a lot of electronic stuff which I don’t use so much in Lacrimosa, and I may not think about the style or sticking to the boundaries. And then after a while I become homesick and I want get back to Lacrimosa. And this works very well, it’s perfect I should say. You are always looking forward to the next project.
And what plans do you have for Snakeskin?
TILO WOLFF: Right now I don’t have any plans, because now I’m concentrating on Lacrimosa, again I wanna continue writing again for the new album, for the new studio album of Lacrimosa, so I don’t have time for Snakeskin. I guess before 2009 I won’t touch this project.
A lot of your fans wonder why Lacrimosa have so few video-clips. Do you have plans to shoot video for the new material?
TILO WOLFF: I didn’t think about it yet. I mean the clips are beautiful and nice to do, but they are not the most important. If I have some idea regarding the clip for this or that song – I’ll do it, but as long as i have no good ideas, I won’t. You know for example the clip for “Lichtgestalt” was shot about a half of a year after the album was released, because I didn’t have the idea of how it would look like. And when I found this idea, I began shooting. My idea is that i don’t want shooting clips just for shooting clips. I wanna do beautiful short movies and if I don’t have the idea I won’t shot the clip. I think there so many bad clips in the world and I don’t wanna add to them. (laughs)
Is it your responsibility to think about the plot of the clip?
TILO WOLFF: Mostly yeah.
And at what stage are you at the moment with your new record?
TILO WOLFF: Because we’ve been touring with the new album! (laughs) The tour was rather long and we didn’t have time and opportunity to go to the studio, but still I wanted to share this tour with our fans. That’s why I decided to release not only live-CD, but also a live-DVD. But of course the next studio stuff of Lacimosa will probably come next year.
I think every person has crises. How do you overcome them, if you have any?
TILO WOLFF: I start writing (laughs). I mean it’s a kind of therapy. I start writing and if the bad mood doesn’t go away I sit at the piano and start playing. I try to deal with my downs, with my inner side and I think it’s the best way for me to do. Other ways could be dangerous for myself I think.
What is your motto in life?
TILO WOLFF: I don’t have any pronounced motto, but I try to live my life the way where can be some kind of a light, some kind of something good for everybody who surrounds me. I want the people to gain something from me. When I leave I want to say good bye to people and they will say it to me, too and I want that my being here on this earth was something good and not something disturbing and bad. You should live by your heart, whatever you may do – write music, play something, doing every job – do it with your heart, and then this will be right. And of course you have plenty of things to learn. I have to learn very much in the upcoming years to become better and better and better… (laughs)
And how do you have rest?
TILO WOLFF: I don’t know, cause I don’t have so much rest (laughs) When I find time I listen to the music, drink wine and I try to do what I normally do – I try to connect myself with the music, flow into the emotions of the music, so this is actually how I try to spend my time, try to relax.
So music surrounds you throughout your life.
TILO WOLFF: Yeah! Absolutely, it runs through my veins so to say. You asked about love, yeah – people can’t live without love, but some people can’t live without music, and I belong to this kind.
What plans do you have for Lacrimosa and when can we expect you in Russia next?
TILO WOLFF: I don’t make so many plans, because I never know what happens in the future. For example, I write the new material for Lacrimosa now and I don’t know how the next Lacrimosa album will sound. And actually everything is dependant on how the next album will develop. That’s why I don’t make plans. Hopefully I will release the next album next year and I’d love to go on tour and then I’d love to come back to Russia. I don’t know yet. But there are no concrete plans. This is the aim which we want to reach this or next year.
By the way did you really receive some threads from Russia?
TILO WOLFF: No, there are rumors, because I haven’t read anything of the kind. And you know all these rumors… For example there were rumors that I died in Moscow in a car-crash. (laughs) I think the people when they are bored come up with funny stories. (everybody laughs)
And your wishes to Russian fans…
TILO WOLFF: I can just give all my thank to every person in our audience in Russia, because the two times we were in your country were so beautiful, and I have so many good memories. I remember for example the last evening when we were there we were giving the autograph after the concert in “Tochka” and people were so gentle, patiently waiting during the whole night, because there were so many people that we took breaks and it lasted I think till 5 o’clock in the morning. It was really wonderful evening and we were talking with so many people so I can just say thanks to everybody who has been supporting us and giving us his love.
© Darkside.ru 2007 Ksenia “Wolfin” Khorina
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