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Rammstein rarely give interviews, at least not all together. Guitarist Richard Z Kruspe can be spotted in many magazines and videos talking openly about his other band Emigrate, but we rarely get to see Till vocalising his thoughts on Rammstein. That’s about to change.
In a ten minute long interview with Till Lindemann, Paul H Landers, Richard Z Kruspe and Christoph Schneider, the band look back on their 1998 cover version of Stripped by Depeche mode.
They were approached by Depeche Mode to contribute to a Depeche Mode tribute album “For the Masses” that featured Apollo 440, Deftones, Dishwalla, Failure, God Lives Underwater, GusGus, Hooverphonic, Mark Van Hoen, Meat Beat Manifesto, Monster Magnet, Rabbit in the Moon, Self, The Cure, The Locust, The Smashing Pumpkins and of course Rammstein.
The video itself cause a great deal of upset and outcry from the public and the music industry.
The video was based on Leni Riefenstahl’s 1936 GDR olympic games which was used by the Nazi’s to levegarge their political position for an upcoming election. Whilst Rammstein have no affiliation at all with any right-wing ideals, many still believe this to be the case. At the time, it was intended to simply replicate the imagery of the video to fit with Rammstein's industrial aesthetic, however, many people did not see it this way and accusations started to fly.
Now, Rammstein have released an extensive interview from their archives via their offical YouTube channel today. The short film is a look into the story behind their controversial cover of Depeche Mode’s 1986 hit, Stripped.
Till LindemannOur demands were high as it was now in English and was about to be released internationally and meant to be something that clicks.
The he comes along with this young lady and we were enthralled. Record companies, the close circles of our staff, all of them were enthralled.
Friends, those who saw it were all simply thrilled by it and loved the images. The riff fitted well. All the cuts on the rhythm. And then came the punch to the guts! I wasn’t really familiar with all of the old Leni Riefenstahl stuff. All I got to see was the video, first rough cuts and then in the end, edited and ready and thought: Wow! Even today I still think it’s great.
That is what is most paradoxical, that when you...when comparing footage from the German Spartakiade sport festival as it was known in the GDR, and footage by Leni Riefenstahl, there are hardly any differences.
These multitudes of people, that perform the exact same movements uniformly and form a hammer, sickle and wreath and so the wave whilst creating different figures out of clubes and presenting the workers and farmers state, there was no big difference!
That was the ultimate outcry in feature films. Everyone went crazy. These were commentaries and articles. Then, foreign musicians came along, I won’t mention names, but they felt aggravated by it and wanted to have us shot, including Tim Renner, our label boss.
That was a bad situation. As I said though, we were really happy and thought “what a great video”. It was on MTV for a whole week until the trouble began. But I think it’s a great video. Whether we would do it again is another thing.
Paul H LandersDepeche Mode is one of those bands where you just say the name and everyone starts nodding. There are bands who have a kind of carte blanche whatever they do, which goes through all classes and tastes.
We thought if we have to sing in English, then we’ll do something very different, to open up another level with it. I endorse the video to this day. It’s so interesting and I believe, you can’t say, how far you can separate art and politics from each other.
Some say “if someone pushes a child from a bridge, I don’t want to see his pictures. Another says “He shoved a kid off a bridge, but the picture is great so who cares?”
It’s just a picture and you can argue, whether it’s OK to like it or not.
David Gahan was apparently pretty overwhelmed by the video, because it was different to all of the other Depeche Mode cover versions that he knew. But I don’t know exactly if this is correct.
Richard Z KruspeI was around 14 and I liked hard music, heavy metal stuff. On the other hand I always liked pop too. I always had to keep something secret, as Depeche Mode were too much pop. But I liked the melodies and Martin Gore’s songwriting talent.
It took time until we had a version, and we could say, “that’s cool”. It was really difficult in the studio as Till had to keep singing: “Let me see you stripped down to the bone” and he couldn’t sing “down to the bone”. It didn’t work so we just left it out.
This is why it ended up as “Let me see you stripped”.
Sure, questions arose regarding right-wing radicalism.We could explain this well, but suddenly, we had no more explanations. Other than it is an aesthetic and a political statement. It fit well in discussions regarding our times too.
I;ve said it before but I do think it’s a shame, that probably no one would make a video anything like that again today. I still think it's really beautiful. It was a really beautiful video. The paradox of the video is, that worlds join forces in it. There’s the pop world of Depeche Mode, this dark Rammstein world and the Olympia film from Riefenstahl.
That’s a fine synergy.
The initial publication of this article stated that this was a new Rammstein interview. However, shortly after publication, we realized it had simply been re-released by Rammstein via their official YouTube channel on May 10th 2019. The initial release date took place in 2011.