Hello, Tilo! My name is Daria, and first of all I’d like to thank you for giving us an opportunity to talk to you. We can well imagine how busy you are and greatly appreciate your kind attention.
TILO WOLFF: Oh, that’s nice, ha-ha) don’t bother.
So, let’s go to my first question – it’s about your touring. I guess you are an experienced traveler since you’ve been to so many countries. During your last tour, have you visited any new places? Have you found something remarkable there, what impressed you most? Are there still places on Earth you wish to visit?
TILO WOLFF: Actually it’s always …while travelling you always discover something in countries you’ve never been, because what you learn at school or what you see on television is often different from what you find when you arrive in the country. For example, I was really astonished on our last tour when we arrived in Japan, comparing Japan to China – how different are these countries. I didn’t expect that the difference between them is so huge – it was a kind of a big surprise for me. On the other hand, I was pretty astonished from the people in Equador. We’ve never played there before and when we arrived there the whole airport was full of fans and the administration closed down the certain part of the airport to get us out of there. People gave us a very warm welcome. It was truly amazing. So it’s always very interesting to visit new countries. Of course there are many countries I would like to see on our forthcoming tours, but now I’m very much looking forward to visit new cities in Russia, because we’ve never been to Samara, Ekaterinburg, and I’m very much looking forward o meet the people and see the sights of these cities.
You should be absolutely sure there are lots of people eager to see you in those Russian cities, just like those fans in Equador . You’ll enjoy your staying there
TILO WOLFF:: Yes, I can well imagine!!
Lacrimosa is considered to be a Swiss band only because your label is located in Switzerland. Do I get it right? Why this country? And where do the band members and masterminds live?
TILO WOLFF: Oh, nice question! For me it was very important to be in the centre of Europe, because, as you rightly said, I like travelling and I need to be everywhere in time and as soon as possible. And in the centre of Europe if I sit behind the wheel, in some eight hours I can get to Hamburg, Germany (to the north), or to the southern France, which belongs to the same time zone – that’s the significance of being in the middle of the continent. And of course Switzerland is a very beautiful country, and this is another reason actually.
And where do the band members and masterminds live?
TILO WOLFF: I live personally often in Switzerland; and the other members, our live musicians are spread around … Anne is of course often in Finland; Manne and Jay P are in Hamburg; Henrik is in Sweden now, and Jenz is mostly in Denmark – so people are scattered around Europe.
Why haven’t you shot videos for the Sehnsucht songs? Are you going to? What songs will you choose?
TILO WOLFF: Indeed the only simple reason is… after recording the new album I settled mostly all by myself and had nobody of musicians or nearly no musicians in the studio, no producer. Of course it takes much more time if you do it all by yourself. And after the release of the new album there were just no time any more to shot a video. I know one small collaboration with a video artist from Chili who shot the video which is kind of the official video of the song «Feuer», but we don’t appear in this clip, because we don’t have time to shot it. So it’s a kind of small gift for our fans, but not the real official video like we did for the previous albums.
Tilo, the booklet of the last album says that you yourself directed the orchestra. When did you learn how to conduct? Was it difficult to work with the professional orchestra?
TILO WOLFF: Well, my learning was learning by doing, because I’ m recording often…like 12 or 13 years I’m recording with a professional orchestras and I always had a possibility to watch the conductors and what they are doing. I was always going through the parts and scores of the conductors, and, therefore, of course, I learnt how to do their job. And the difficulty to record with an orchestra is that people are not used to record while having headphones. They mostly used to listen to the orchestra sound – the sound they hear from all the other players that surround them. As soon as they had headphones which they need, because they need to click, they need the other instrument to know exactly what they need to play to, that’s of course confusing, because they are not used to play to drums, they are not used to play to guitars…it’s a bit like directing an actor, when you need to get attention and trust from the musicians. They 100% trust you as a conductor, even if they don’t hear themselves they know that the one in front of them knows exactly what they are doing and stops them if it goes in a wrong direction. So the basic thing is to get their trust and of course in a preparation of everything: to have the scores and notes 100% proper, ready and rightly written down, because otherwise you can’t even start working with an orchestra.
How do you think: were the musicians satisfied with your skills and guidance?
TILO WOLFF: Ha-ha, yes, actually they were, they at least said so – the manager of the orchestra said so. And I think they also were pretty happy with the result, because everybody of them wanted to have a CD in their personal collection. I think they were satisfied.
Some people hear notes characteristic to French chanson on the last 2 albums (for instance, «Mandira Nabula»). Do they hear right? Or they had better have their ears checked? Do you like chanson?
TILO WOLFF: Ok, Yes, but not entirely…I mean…you know, it’s a bit the same if somebody ask «Why don’t you do album only with orchestra»? You know I love all those instruments, I love all those kinds of atmospheres, but I like to combine them with my music, with guitars and drums. I find a fascination in combination of all those atmospheres and instruments and not in only clean ones. I wouldn’t like to record something with only accordion or only in this kind of French style, whatever…but to combine them with all that guitars is interesting for me.
When is the new DVD coming? Do you have any plans concerning the DVD?
TILO WOLFF: Truly we have no such plans so far, because I was so busy with releasing the previous album; then we’ve been on our all the time. Now we’re back and preparing the new album Shattenspiel, which is coming out right now. After that, I’ll start preparing the next tour, so we have no so much time to think about a project like a DVD at the moment. Yet, of course, I would like to do another one very soon and I hope I’ll manage to figure something out.
Frankly speaking, it’s not a big problem, we are ready to wait as much as needed.
TILO WOLFF: Huh, that’s nice!
Tilo, are you going to act as a producer for any new bands? Is there any new band out there, that you like and that may compete with you? Maybe, some old bands?
TILO WOLFF: Well, I don’t like to compare bands or artists, but there are many bands nowadays that I really love to listen to – bands like, for example, Placebo or Muse…
Perfect taste, Tilo! These are excellent bands, just like yours) They’ve always been in my list of favorites.
TILO WOLFF: Thank you! And in the end I very much appreciate gothic rock bands of the 80’s. But unfortunately I haven’t heard any band that sounds like Lacrimosa and actually I would like to listen to the band that sounds like Lacrimosa, because it would be quite a big thing to me to listen to the bands who play songs from Lacrimosa or songs pretty close to my own – just to find out how other people would interpret my music. On the other hand, there are some bands that told themselves that they got inspired by Lacrimosa like, for example, Theatre of Tragedy and from that kind of gothic metal …actually they confess they would have turned out to do different music if they didn’t know Lacrimosa, and that’s of course very nice compliment from them.
In your opinion, is there any future of Goth culture and music? How does it look like: bright and happy, or dark and hopeless?
TILO WOLFF: (gloomily) I can’t tell because at a time when people don’t buy CD’s anymore bands will die. I mean here are so many bands nowadays that won’t bring out any more CD’s because they can’t afford it. There are many bands that don’t do new records anymore, because they just can’t pay anymore. That will kill alternative music styles. There won’t be a long future for gothic music, it’s gonna be a mixture out of the staff that existed until nowadays and some more commercial staff that comes from the outside.
Can you surprise the fans with some interesting fact of the band’s or your own biography? Some secret you want to share with your fans?
TILO WOLFF: Well. There are some things about the songs that we release now on our new album «Schattenspiel», because this album is all about the music we did in the last 20 years, but never released. For example, when I wrote a song «Requiem», which is in very original version on this album now, I thought it’s the end of Lacrimosa already. It wasthe second song I ever wrote for Lacrimosa and when I finished it I did everything, I wrote everything that I could. I didn’t know if I would ever write something again. Actually after that second song Lacrimosa, my band, kind of died already in the couple of days. But some time passed and I returned our project back to life by writing the song «Schuld Und Sühne» which, you know, I never released before and which we have now on our new album Schatenspiel. It’s a very electronic song and it was a kind of idea of reinventing Lacrimosa in a new style. And it all happened before I had my first release. I think this new album is quite interesting, because you can see how many different things I tried and did, but never released and now they are finally to be seen and in the booklet I will write some personal notes about the songs, kind of stories just like that I told you right now, there will be some more about the songs – why I wrote them, why I never released them until now. So there will be some kind of some short stories about the Lacrimosa that nobody knew so far.
I admire your abilities in the predictions – because the next question was supposed to be the one about your new album). So let’s go back to the orchestral theme. Today bands often play with a symphonic orchestra. I mean live shows. May that happen to Lacrimosa and on what conditions? And, in addition to this, maybe it would be useful for Lacrimosa to use some costume shows with actors on the stage? There are a lot of people who don’t know german and it could help them to understand your lyrical message.
TILO WOLFF: (reflectively) I wouldn’t like to… because the point is that music is something light, something, that has to come out of living emotions. Most of the bands that play with orchestra, either on albums or on the stage, they don’t write orchestra parts themselves. They always write a song and then give it to a record company andthen the record company organizes somebody who writes the orchestra staff. After recording the label of the band hears it and approves it. The same happens with the stage. The label books orchestra for them, they do some rehearsals, and then go onto the stage. This is exactly how orchestras perform their work. For me the most important is the process of creating something. That means to write for an orchestra. It’s very fascinating, very important to me, I could never ever let anybody else write orchestra parts for me. Now when I go on stage, I wanna bring this music that I wrote and that I produced in the studio. I wanna bring it to life, I wanna share it with people. And that’s only possible when you do it live rock show, if you take an orchestra on the stage you have to play exactly what you rehearsed, exactly what’s written in the notes and in scores. I would like an orchestra fall out of the song. It’s your decision if you gonna go on stage to do a theatre play, that is each evening exactly the same, or if you gonna do a live concert, if you wanna have a communication with the audience – and I always decide for the second. I wanna have a contact with the audience, I wanna do a live concert, and I don’t wanna do a theatre show for just…you know, bring the exact songs from the studio album onto stage, but without any pure emotions and feelings that arise all of this moment. And when you perform so lively and honestly, when you try to communicate with the audience, there’s no any need in additional elements like actors or something like that.
When you are writing a song, were there any moments of crisis, when nothing seems to go on? How did you fight the crisis?
TILO WOLFF: Interesting question! (laughs) It mostly turns out to be a fight between the song and me. You can imagine it like if you wanna write a song, you wanna express something. And then you start writing this song and this song gets it’s own character, it’s own life. It comes to point when song tells you how it wants to continue. It goes in it’s certain direction and you realize it’s getting out of control. I can’t control it anymore. And then it’s a question of losing temper. What you meant to put into the song is changing without your permit. The song gets stronger and you just do what it tells you…Very simple explanation: I’m planning to an write orchestra part but the song kind of tells «No, I want a guitar solo» Actually, in a guitar solo I can’t express what I wanted to express right here after thisthe lyric line. So I have to decide who is right: is the song right that this is ok and a guitar solo would fit much better, or is it more right what I had in mind the first time – the expression in an orchestra part. So it’s always a kind of question what is more important: the feeling that you’re acting right in this very moment while composing , or the plan you had before, the aim you wanted to reach. Mostly I decide for this very situation and say: «Ok, if the song wants to be like this then it has to be» and seldom I decide for what I planned first and I say «No I have to continue what I in principle want to do». And as a rule if I’m doing like this the song doesn’t work in the end. For example, on the new album «Schattenspiel» there’s a song «Martiquor». That’s exactly a song like that. When I had something in mind and with all my power I wanted to follow the idea that I had in my mind. But the song turned out different and I had no control of it anymore. And then I had to come to the decision: do I follow this song or do I fight for the basic idea? What I did finally was fighting for the basic idea and it didn’t work. I mean I like to listen to this song but it didn’t work, and that’s the reason I never released it on (earlier) album. It’s a very interesting song to listen to, especially when you know the story and come listen to it in a certain way. I misused this song and it turned out bad.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Lacrimosa is the main band of the style, of gothic metal. Your songs may lead someone to some certain actions. Your lyrics may be misunderstood. It’s kind of a responsibility and stress, does that influence your work or you just write what you like and never mind?
TILO WOLFF: I think is’t impossible to understand something wrong, because it’s only question of interpretation and everybody’s free to interpret art in his personal way. And I think the original interpretation of the artist is not the only existing…coming back to the first part of the question. Actually, I don’t care, and I can’t care. Because, if I always would think about what the people would expect from Lacrimosa, then I would be jailed. And I would make Lacrimosa very quick to become just slave of the audience. And of course I would lose my interest in the band because I couldn’t express myself anymore. I think the only reason for Lacrimosa was always that I expressed my feelings through my music, – just the same if the people like it or they didn’t. I mean in the very beginning when I’ve just started with Lacrimosa not many people liked what I did, because it was so different. And when I started working with an orchestra in the mid-90-s, the people said like: «Orchestra is music our parents are listening to. Why are you doing it, it’s really old-fashioned». I like the combination, but there were times when everybody said: «You can’t listen to Lacrimosa because they use orchestra, it’s really old-fashioned». Later it became a trend and now nobody even remember that people were talking in that way about Lacrimosa. So that explains that it’s important to go your own way and not to care what other people say – if it’s good or bad – just the same, because if you care, you just become a slave of what other people say, and you can’t follow your own way anymore.
And Aren’t you afraid to show everybody what’s going on inside your soul in your songs?
TILO WOLFF: Ha-ha-ha…well…(hesitating) Yes, that’s the point. When I started with Lacrimosa, my basic idea was to give my lyrics another dimension and I didn’t think of spreading my music worldwide. At that time I thought only about giving the tape to the DJ at the local disco to play some songs…So years later it happened that Lacrimosa became more and more known and I realized that people all over the world suddenly can see inside my soul, inside my heart. And it off course became a problem sometimes for me. And I realized how people reflect themselves in my lyrics. Those personal lyrics I write gives them possibility to see their own soul. People might now something about my inner life, but it’s much smaller, then what I can give to the people. I’m giving them an opportunity and strength to do the same with their own heart and their own soul. So therefore I one day decided: «I don’t care, I just do it and it helps other people and it’s good».
One of the brightest songs on the last album is, doubtless, «Feuer», where you used children choir. When did the idea to invite children come to your head? During the making of this album, or earlier?
TILO WOLFF: No, actually it came to my mind after singing the chorus. I was producing the song already, like I…mostly when I compose I produce at the same moment already. That means if I write a guitar part, then I right away play it, I right away record it and then I continue composing the song. That gives me the opportunity to work very intimate and get inspired by what I did already in the production. So the song kind of reflects itself all the time. So, I mean that when I had the first part of the song ready, one evening after recording the chorus I listened to it and I realized that it’s not strong enough – it can be harder! I can’t shout more, I can’t use more guitars, but it needs to be harder. And I realized…often when people argue with each other and nobody listens to anyone anymore, then comes a whisper – very calm and very quiet – and then the whole atmosphere changes and becomes sometimes even harder, because now it seems to be really honest. That brought me to the idea that I can’t scream any more, but I can bring in children, which is kind of innocent, pure and have high voices – it is like more quiet, more sacred – yeah, the different atmosphere that makes it actually even harder that if I would – you know – scream more. That was the basic idea of that all.
So Lacrimosa comes to Moscow for the 5-th time. By the way, when did you like Moscow most: in summer or in autumn?
TILO WOLFF: Well, actually in summer. There are so many green places in Moscow, and together with rich and beautiful architecture of the city it looks just fabulous – the sun is shining, everything looks like – you know – shining. And this unforgettable atmosphere of a huge city, which takes you – it’s a bit like in Paris, I have the feeling…And you said it’s the first time we are coming. Actually we are coming every year, First time it was in 2005 and since then every year we do one trip to Russia and it’s the only country we are in every year – not in Germany, not in Switzerland, not in Latin America or Asia – nowhere we play every year – so Russia really is the only country in the whole world where we go every year to play some gigs and it’s kind of a good tradition.
Maybe one day your Russian fans will give you some apartment, for instance, in Moscow, so that you can even more frequently please us with your visits)))
TILO WOLFF: (approvingly laughing) Oh, great idea!!
This year it’s 20 years since your first album was released. We guess you are planning to celebrate it somehow? Can you be a little more specific on the point?
TILO WOLFF: Yes. On the other hand we celebrate it by giving concerts – not only in Russia, also we are doing more concerts that will be before Russia. But on the other hand I thought that to play only concerts is not very fair for the rest of the people who can’t attend the concerts, because we can’t play in every country this year. That was the reason why I decided to release the new album «Schattenspiel» – because through all the years people came to me and asked: «Why don’t you ever released all those songs you recorded and never brought out?» I mean all those 20 years there were many songs and there must be the reason why I never released them, why I kept them. So, they told me, for your fans it will be a nice benefit. And then I thought: when we came now to our 20-th Anniversary (and actually this Anniversary is only possible because of the fans, their support, because they are loyal to us), if our fans are so anxious to get those songs, then it would be the best gift for this Anniversary – to give them the songs. And that’s the reason why I decided now to release «Schattenspiel». But, of course, I didn’t want to release only old material, therefore I included 2 songs that I wrote in last two weeks, actually, half a month ago finished and put on the album, as follows – «Sellador» and ««Ohne Dich Ist Alles Nichts».
As a matter of fact, Tilo, can you remember exactly when the band was founded – the particular day, please?
TILO WOLFF: Well…Actually there would be certainly one special day I could find out if I wanted to. But I don’t want to, because…you know…of course there was a certain moment when I wrote the first tape, when I wrote the name Lacrimosa, but actually the band already started when I recorded the first song – it was before that. So there isn’t really the one day and I don’t wanna, you know, celebrate this just one special day, it’s more like…Lacrimosa was more an idea that came to life more and more concrete from day to day and therefore…it was definitely not a one day. Now we are ready to a release the new album in spring, on the 7’th of may and to say: «Ok that’s the day when we and the Lacrimosa community in 2010 can celebrate this one day – and that’s gonna be the day of the new release.
If you remember, we had a short conversation after your Moscow concert in October, so can you tell me is there something that changed in your life during these months?
TILO WOLFF: Yes, my life kind of changed…pretty much actually since that time. The last year was full of surprises for me. Many things changed, many things happened to me – kind of private things, but actually those things are expressed in those two new songs – both sides of what happened to me personally are in those songs, and one of them – «Sellador» – with lines, where I just sing only the one line which means something like «I think there are something more to see and I climb up the stairs and I don’t want to turn around…» And this is the line that I sing all the time through the whole song and that’s nothing more…The other song which is called «Ohne Dich Ist Alles Nichts» (new song), which means in English “Without you everything is nothing” .So they of course reflect pretty much of what happened in last months in my life.
Thank you. I have no more questions but I want to say that it’s always a great pleasure to hear from you, Tilo! Please, once again, accept our congratulations on your anniversary and send our kindest regards and greetings to your charming colleague Anne and the rest of your musicians! We are all waiting for you upcoming concerts in Russia. See you soon!
TILO WOLFF: Thank you for this interesting conversation, we are really can’t wait to visit Russia again and meet you all!
DarkSide.Ru, Gerda Lore, 6.05.2010
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