How does the saying go? „Good things come to those who wait“. So Richard Z. Kruspe, guitarist and songwriter of Rammstein in 2001 already began working on a new project. His moving to New York and the resulting new impressions, with which he dealt musically, were the reasons. Now the time has come for the first self-titled album of the band “Emigrate”, available from 31 August on. For those already interested in some information we have the following interview. On a sunny afternoon in Berlin eventually we had the opportunity to meet Richard and to elicit some detail about Emigrate, Rammstein and last but not least Richard himself.
DARK SPY: When did you start working on the new project “Emigrate”?
Richard Z. Kruspe: The idea of a new project occurred to me in 2001 when I decided to leave Germany and to move to New York, to “emigrate” so to speak.
DARK SPY: How would you describe Emigrate?
Richard Z. Kruspe: In my special case there always has been the urge to be the centre or the focus of a band. With Rammstein I didn’t put it into practice, although the need for it was there - maybe because of fear. Of cause I reflected over where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I have been present a bit too much in Rammstein, which was not always an advantage for the band. To balance things I had to decide and therefore founded a new project, in which hierarchy instead of democracy ruled. I write and work creatively a lot. Because actually I am in the studio every day a variety of material was produced rapidly. I tried to transform that. In a way the “Emigrate” project is liberation for me and also a kind of emigration in the musical sense. Of course, when you enter a new culture, learn a new language, meet new people and all this stuff, like I did, when I came to New York, then you have to process it creatively. Everything happened at once. It almost poured out of me (laughs). It’s always difficult to explain your own projects musically. It is an attempt to get close to myself.
DARK SPY: What’s the difference in working with a band and on a solo project, in which only your opinion counts?
Richard Z. Kruspe: Emigrate really is a band. But in Rammstein we have a democracy and everybody has the right to say what he wants and we discuss everything. That is time consuming. If, like in Emigrate, there is a clear hierarchy right from the beginning, someone makes the decisions and the others don’t have the burden to deal with certain resolutions. You can compare it to a river: With Rammstein many stones are in the water and it takes an awful lot of time until the water runs through. In Emigrate there are no stones and therefore the flow is different. I clearly noticed that when we were in the rehearsal room and played the songs live. It worked out easily. In two weeks we recorded seventeen songs. Everything was fluent, harmonically and organic. Just totally different from what I was used to with Rammstein. I am not really a dictator. I listen to what the others have to say, but in the end I can decide if I like it or not.
DARK SPY: You became famous with the music of Rammstein. A lot of people will compare Emigrate with Rammstein. Did you take care in the album making process not to sound like Rammstein?
Richard Z. Kruspe: It is difficult to make comparisons. But Emigrate definitely is different because it came to life in a different surrounding; and every environment leaves its typical impact on you. It was clear to me that the sound and the songs would be different, because I now live and work in New York. In sing in English, that’s a difference. The way I write songs has changed. For Rammstein I wrote a lot of songs which worked out fine musically without text.
Then Till came in as the singer, and most of the times the lyrics were just put on top of the music. With Emigrate music and lyrics nearly develop simultaneously. But certainly you are always the same person. As a musician life is relatively boring, because you have a role you will have to play for your whole life. I always wished I would be able to play a different role. When I arrived in America I noticed I had a different effect on people.
In the new town and with the other language I could create a totally new and different identity; that really was fun!
DARK SPY: In which musical category would you put Emigrate? Next to which cds would you put Emigrate if you had the choice?
Richard Z. Kruspe: It is a kind of modern rock music, influenced by different music. I think you’ll find the cd before the “F” and after the “D”.
DARK SPY: Will Emigrate go on tour? Any plans or maybe just your wish?
Richard Z. Kruspe: It is a vague wish to go on tour. But Rammstein is first priority. And when the guys, like right now, are working, of course I am with them. Therefore I set a back my timetable concerning any plans for playing life with Emigrate. I can serve both sides; that’s important. I can write and produce songs, can record, give interviews and am able to care of each and everything. But I cannot go on tour the same time. I don’t have the time. Otherwise I would have to decide and that I don’t want. Basically for me as a person Emigrate is the balance I need to survive in Rammstein. A lot of people always said that is the end for Rammstein, but it is exactly the contrary! That is a new beginning of Rammstein for me, because now I am balanced, everything else wasn’t good for me.
DARK SPY: Did you ever think about doing something else than making music?
Richard Z. Kruspe: If I would be 14 or 15 years now and someone would ask me what I wanted to be some day I would say: actor. I like acting for the possibility of being able to play different roles. You have the chance to learn and to change identities. On the one hand making music is a very lonesome business. But on the other hand it is my medium to express myself. Music is disembodied. In many moments it is a kind of tool to reflect what I think or feel.
DARK SPY: What is more important for you: songwriting or playing live?
Richard Z. Kruspe: Songwriting is more important to me because it is creative. Playing live on stage is only reproductive. It’s not that I hate it. But you have to count in what you have to do for it: you play a concert for 90 minutes and then drive fourteen to fifteen hours with the bus to the hotel or the plane. I never ever could be a musician who’d only tours around the world to play only live concerts. I need an environment that I know and in which I feel at home.
DARK SPY: What are your current projects? What about Rammstein?
Richard Z. Kruspe: We are working on a new Rammstein record.
DARK SPY: When will it be released?
Richard Z. Kruspe: I don’t know. It’s nice I don’t have to care about. It will be released when it is finished. We are just working on it.
DARK SPY: Great! Thank you!
Richard Z. Kruspe: You are welcome! My pleasure!