On the other end of the line, they say, there will be one of the boys in the band. It’s my time to patiently wait until I hear a nice greeting in quite fluent English. “Who’s speaking?”, I ask carefully. “The whole band!”, they cheer altogether, to my surprise. Tokio Hotel, the German band led by brothers Bill y Tom Kaultiz with Gustav Schäfer in drums and Georg Listing in the bass, will visit Argentina in March for their Melancholic Paradise Tour to make a musical trip around their discography and their greatest hits, as well as to present their last single ‘Chateau’.
“WE EXPECT NOTHING BUT MADNESS”
From the first disc Schrei (2005) to Dream Machine (2017), the changes have been drastic, going from an angry and emo sound to a cheerful and festive one like dream pop. “Honestly, we’ve come such a long way… We started very young, 15 years ago. We were so different”, says Bill about this. This drastic change is also partly the result of their growth as people. They don’t believe these changes came from a personal issue nor even from purely musical experimentation: “Life changes a lot, it’s a mix of both”.
The sounds, aesthetics, and changing profiles haven’t been a deterrent for the band to generate connections with a loyal group of fans who have followed them since the days when ‘Ready, Set, Go’ was the greatest hit of the moment. This is clearly my case, “I’ve followed you since Room 483 (2007) days”. “Wow, that’s a long time!”, they cheer.
“It’s so good to connect with the fans”, Bill confesses, more extrovert and talkative than his brother. “We’re really happy to have fans with us for so long. Honestly, we grew up together”. They believe this particular point allows them to create strong connections over the years; not only growing with them but also meeting new generations along the way: “the old fans also nowadays come with new generations, they’re always with us”.
The aesthetics of both the band itself and the individual musicians have always been important. “Do you try to match the way you dress with the emotions in the album?”, I inquire and they laugh about it, telling me that it is definitely Bill’s case, he’s the one that cares the most. “Style is an automatic thing, you can’t control it”, they answer after a minute of silent thinking. “We always do whatever we feel at the moment, so maybe the video, the lyrics and the moment, they all match together. It depends…”. They also believe that the emotions in the album are not something they can actually control: it may mean something for one person, and a whole different thing for another one.“Every song depends on how’s your mind when you listen to it”.
In Argentina, the fans club has been always a very strong one. Speaking by my own fan experience, I’ve made some great friends thanks to this band. Being a country that’s so far away from theirs, they can’t help but get emotional when I tell them about this: “It’s so beautiful. It’s such a huge impact, it’s what you want from a band”. They get a little serious as Bill adds: “It’s everything we could have wished. They’re so far from home, and they know the songs, they sing along the lyrics, even those which are in German”. What do you expect from Argentina?: “we expect nothing but madness”, they say as they break into laughter. “People in Argentina are so crazy, is amazing”.
“WE WANT TO BE THE BAND YOU BUILT MEMORIES WITH”
“How would you like to be remembered?”, I ask. “Uh, that’s tough”, they mumble and they stay quiet for a brief moment. Immediately after, Bill says: “the best band in history!”.
“We have great anthems and that’s so great… We’re really lucky”, they confess and it’s true: they not only have ‘Monsoon’, which is a classic song a lot of us can sing from start to end, but they also have some great singles such as ‘Melancholic Paradise’ —the one that gives the tour its name— and ‘Love Who Loves You Back’. “This is the greatest thing: people grew up with your music. We want to be the band you built memories with”.
Before we finish the call, I ask them about their guilty pleasure song. They quickly start thinking, Bill already knows the answer: “‘I’m blue’ is a song I used to listen to when I was younger, it was everywhere and I love it”. Tom finally speaks out, and he’s pretty sure his song is ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush. Greg doesn’t have time to answer since Bill interrupts him to yell: “I know yours, Greg!… It’s from Kelly Clarkson”. Gustav guesses it’s a song from Eminem, but Tom says: “dah, that’s not a guilty song, man”.
We’re suddenly laughing about guilty songs and stuff, and that’s the best way to describe what Tokio Hotel is as a band: a group of friends, them and us the fans.