„Emigrate“ – a cosmopolitan self-discovery. Zillo. August 2007.
While most of the other Rammstein members used the last year for a rest Richard made a virtue of necessity and used the creative pause of the main band to complete the debut of his new project “Emigrate”. He introduced the album officially mid of May in Berlin.
“I always worked on new songs and I rebuilt my studio in New York, which took a lot of time. So I did not have a rest but I didn’t need any at all” Richard explains in the interview. “Writing songs is like holiday for me, it’s no stress. Of course it is a lonesome job sometimes because you only deal with yourself the whole time, but I miss something without.” So with Emigrate a new star is born at the rock music sky, which definitely sounds more international than Rammstein, because Richard already left Berlin in 1999 to move to New York, where he now resides. His new hometown had a great impact on the genesis of Emigrate. “First it gave me the chance to find a new identity. A new language always has to do something with searching for your real self again” he sums up. “It is like being newborn. You find a new culture, a new environment, new friends and start from scratch again. This way a new person was born whom I actively used in this project. I think it was o.k. to take this step because I often felt limited in the role I played before. By and by it was not sufficient anymore therefore it was good to find a new identity.”
In this new role the well-known musician in the beginning was nothing else than another emigrant in the land of the unlimited opportunities. It was a fact which influenced the naming of the band. “It was like in a bad Hollywood movie” Richard says. ”I had noted down some names for the project on a sheet of paper. But someday I found a slip of paper on the street with the word “Emigrate” written on it. That it was! Because it told what I just had experienced.” The guitarist, who also is songwriter, producer and latterly singer of the band in unison, which he says is a very personal project, is supported by Arnoud Giroux (bass), Sascha Moser (programming), Olsen Involtini (additional guitar) and Clawfinger drummer Henka Johannson. But the kick-off for Emigrate was strongly connected with Rammstein. “The urge to step into the centre, to be the singer so to say, I had right from the beginning – but there is already someone! The problem with Rammstein is its tight structure, and the role of the singer already was occupied. Therefore I always was told to go back to my allocated place. But the urge does not go away, it comes back again and again. At some point I had the feeling that I owed it to myself to be the singer. One should listen to one’s prompting of the heart more often and should do what you think is right. Even when it is difficult in the beginning.”
So by and by a new album developed which unites the most different elements to a modern rock record with brute sound – thanks to Stefan Glaumann and Jacob Hellner - and by which Richard will open new fan markets. But why did the guitarist feel so limited in Rammstein? “Some people like to work in a collective and can live with it, even when they need a certain acknowledgement. But there are others, like me, who are not satisfied with the space they are given. I just need another valve, because these democratic rules only work for me because I noticed that Rammstein created something unique. I love to serve Rammstein. So I was able to subordinate my own needs and have no problems anymore. Emigrate is no democracy but a clear hierarchy. Therefore the two of them can exist side by side very well.”
And even Rammstein are working on a new album – of course with Richard. But that are dreams of the future – the present belongs to Emigrate who will release a damn good debut album on 31 of August. The interview in full length will be in the next issue of Zillo, but beforehand the first single release “My world” will blast your ears in July.
The songs on “Emigrate” in short:
An opener with groove and brute rocking chorus and rhythmic “Emigrate” shouts which directly catches your attention.
2. “Wake Up”
Without having time to breathe the next up tempo song follows which combines metal hardness and industrial elements with alternative rock. Also a catchy tune.
3. “My World”
Brute guitars remind of Ministry. The singing, although only a simple one-tone-melody, is dead cool. A true wall of sound to listen to.
4. “Let Me Break”
Another strong refrain, accentuated by mega guitars and slashing drums. Ace riffs, ace bow of tension, very intense song!
5. “In My Tears”
Starts restrained, the brute force only shines through for seconds in the beginning so the clear singing has full room for development. Other highlights: an organic drum sound, a slightly disharmonic guitar solo and again a powerful refrain.
Delay-guitars are significant for the start of a slow and sagging song which reminds in some of its melancholic and nostalgic parts of the old grunge icons of Alice In Chains.
7. “New York City”
In contrary to the last song here you have a fast rhythm, and because of the profound singing and a retro flair a reminiscene to Interpol floats through the room. A blues like solo reminds of AC/DC before the songs gets really intense at the end.
Far Eastern elements cause some disturbance in the beginning but then blend in into a hard played guitar. Otherwise this song laden with lots of effects has a healthy alternative flair and is a good song to dance to thanks to the fat groove and the impulsive character of the song.
Another catchy tune. After a restrained start the song develops more into pop and melody.
10. “This Is What”
Right before the end is near full force is shown. Very impulsive song with metal input and industrial elements which, without Richards singing, could have been a Rammstein song. Opulent and bombastic.
11. “You Can’t Get Enough”
A relaxed and atmospheric finish. Alternative rock with chill-out guarantee. A discreet song which ends the record harmonically.