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Exclusive interview with Thomas (De/Vision) (January 2006)

Last updated 08.03.06

De/Vision

Some intro questions

Alex: Well... I'm very happy to talk with you, Thomas, again [smile] We have nice reason - on January 27th, 2006 you will release new album «Subkutan». As I know it was ready in early Autemn, so I hope you have some deserved time for rest [smile] So how did you spend your New Year Eve 2006?

Thomas: We were not in the mood for a big party. We had a nice dinner with friends and afterwards we wanted to go downtown to watch the fireworks, which was not a good idea after all because the place where we intended to go, was much too crowded. So we went back home and some of us decided to go to a club. I didnít want to go... At about three o'clock I was sleeping like a baby... Steffen spent the whole night drinking, talking and probably dancing... Not really a spectacular night after all.

Alex: Do you satisfied with last year? Do you ready finally turn page with «6 Feet Underground» era into «Subkutan» era?

Thomas: Well, I think last year was a very good year. We've written and recorded a great new album. We are very happy about the result. Knowing that you have reached another goal is always satisfying. I think the «6 Feet Underground» era ended already with the 6 Feet Underground Tour and the «Subkutan»-era began shortly after, when we started writing new songs. Thatís how I feel about it. In actual fact the era of the latest album ends with the release of a new album, but for me personally the era of an album ends with the tour. I make a straight cut. Itís like breaking with the past. Because now you got to concentrate on what lies ahead, a new process begins...

Steffen

Band

Alex: De/Vision are 17 years in music, with your own very original and emotional manner. Do you find now your early stuff a bit naive and simple?

Thomas: Yes, of course. Listening to our early stuff always puts a smile on our faces. We were young and quite naive and so was our music. But that's alright... It was another time and another place. We had to make our experiences... Needed time to develop... Learning by doing. Nowadays our sound is of course much more mature. On the other hand I think our early stuff shows quite well that we were always good at writing catchy melodies [smile]

Alex: When I'm listening your albums, I clearly recognise evolution of your creativity. Even de-volution in case of De/Vision was a kind of obvious evolution [smile] Tell me where you find a power and an inspiration to do next step forward?

Thomas: A glass of milk every morning gives me the power I need to go on. I guess I was only joking [smile] Although it's true, I drink a glass of milk (with cacao powder) every day but I don't really believe thatís what keeps me going on [smile] Anyway... We simply enjoy what we're doing, we have a fantastic job that gives us the power we need... Each new album is a new challenge and, like I've said many times before (not in this interview but in many others) we are open-eyed, open-minded and we have the ability to re-invent ourselves. Thatís the secret I guess.

Alex: It's always like a permanent fight for every artist - follow broad popularity or true fans, prefer good sales or experimental spirit etc. What's the current choice for De/Vision?

Thomas: Of course we want good sales, and surely we want to satisfy the fans, we donít want to disappoint them, and yes, it would be great to reach more people out there, not only the fans we have already. But not at all costs. We have made our choice a long time ago. We have to be true to ourselves. We are the band, we decide what the band sounds like, we decide which way to go. You can take it or leave it. You say itís a fight for every artist to decide if he should follow his true fans or broad popularity... Thatís complete bullshit! An artist should do what he believes is good and true, it is not his job to kiss anybodyís ass and do what his fans for example want him or expect him to do. The artist shouldnít follow his fans or anybody else, he is the leader and the fans should follow!

Alex: How do you think - current music influences do real impact on your music?

Thomas: I think itís absolutely normal that new bands are extremely influenced by the sound of their own musical idols. It was the same with us when we started in 1988. Over the years we have developed our very own idea of music. Sure, we are surrounded by all kinds of music all the time but I really believe that all this music has no big effect on our own music anymore...

Thomas

Subkutan

Alex: How much time you spent in studio working on «Subkutan»? Was it difficult album for you?

Thomas: The pre-production process in our own studio started around January '05. Thatís when we started writing new songs. Weíve spent three months (July until the end of September) in the studio of Arne and Josef, where we arranged and recorded the new songs. This album wasnít more difficult than any other album. Each album confronts you with problems that need to be solved, thatís normal.

Alex: It's really interesting - which song was written first?

Thomas: The first song was «No Tomorrow».

Alex: Song order on album has the meaning or not?

Thomas: There is no deeper meaning behind the song order but it is of course quite important. This time for example we thought it would be wise to begin with a strong, up-tempo song, since «6 Feet Underground» started with a mid-tempo song and its dragging beat... «Subkutan» contains a wide variation of songs and a certain order is important in order to emphasize different points and feature different atmospheres.

Alex: As I could remember, De/Vision songwriting process starts when Steffen compose music, and just after that Thomas add words to it. But your ready songs looks like music so fit to words... how do you achieve such excellent results?

Thomas: I donít know... Somehow I manage to find the right words for Steffenís melodies, I guess Iím able to think myself into his music and get familiar with it, thatís why everything fits so well... We are simply in tune with each other...

Alex: Georg Kaleve did a lot for revolutionary sound of «Void». Arne Schumann and Josef Bach did the same big work with your «Subkutan» demos?

Thomas: Of course, Arne and Josef did the same great job that Georg K. did. The production of «Void» was very special. Each song was torn apart completely and then the different elements were put back together in a new way. I have to admit that we gave away a lot of responsibility to Georg K. But thatís not the way we work anymore, the songs on «Subkutan» are quite similar to the demo-versions. Nevertheless, our producers still have a great influence and our new album definitely bears the stamp of Arne and Josef.

Alex: For me, «Subkutan» has the best production quality for all De/Vision's history. I guess your professionalism is perfect at the moment. But maybe you already would like to make some «Subkutan» songs to sound a bit different or something?

Thomas: Each album is a compromise. That means an album is full of details each one of us would like to change personally. Not everybody is always happy with all the decisions that are made. Sometimes you are successful with an idea, the next time youíre not... Thatís the way it is... So there is always something you personally would have done different but thinking about that really makes no sense at all. You have to be able to accept the facts.

Alex: Do you decide to release «The End» or any other track as commercial single? Any plans to film new promo video?

Thomas: No, «The End» will not be released officially and it is not planned to release any other single or even another video right now.

Alex: «In Dir» is your first song written in German during ten years! Is it significant event in your creative process?

Thomas: We all were convinced right from the start that it was the perfect song for German lyrics. It was about time to write another German song, thatís something we wanted to do for years and since our fans kept asking for it over and over again they will hopefully appreciate it. We are both very demanding and critical, especially when it comes to German lyrics, thatís probably the reason why we donít have too many songs in our mother tongue... You have to be careful that the lyrics donít get too kitschy or even ridiculous, when people are trying to be too mysterious for example, that easily happens... but everything was very satisfying this time, music and words fit perfectly together... Iím not sure if itís such a significant event in our creative process. I guess I would not attach too much importance to the fact that weíve released a German song after all these years.

Alex: Thomas, on this album we are able to hear your voice as main vocal on one of the songs - as I know, it happened for the first time ever! Tell some details what kick you to do it so suddenly? [smile]

Thomas: Actually it was Steffenís idea that I should sing the first line of «Summer Sun», so I did. But you canít really recognise that itís my voice because I had a cold that day, thatís why my voice sounded rather distorted [smile]

Alex: Guys, please name your most favorite songs from this album?

Thomas: Steffenís favourite songs at the moment are «Not Made of Gold», «Addict», «E-Shock» but it changes from day to day. My favourites are «E-Shock», «Subtronic», «Not Made of Gold», «Still Unknown» and «Summer Sun» but it also changes.

De/Vision

Tour

Alex: In April De/Vision will be on the road again... do you feel excited to have an opportunity to play «Subkutan» stuff live?

Thomas: Yes, of course. Writing and recording new songs is one part of the business. But the main concern of a band is to present songs before an audience. Thatís why weíre really looking forward to being on tour again.

Alex: Can we expect any changes in your live set up?

Thomas: Actually we have a new drummer. Achim left the band after the last tour but we found the perfect man to replace him. Markus is an experienced drummer who works with bands like Goetheís Erben for example and others.

Alex: At the end of last year you asked your fans to submit titles of tracks they would like to hear via upcoming De/Vision's shows. So at the moment set list is ready? Will it be really surpriseble for us, fans? [smile]

Thomas: The set list is done. And the fansí suggestions were of course regarded but I donít think it will be a big surprise. Songs like «I regret», «New drug» or «Endlose Träume» made it into the fansí Top Ten, but these are songs we used to play live anyway during the last few years... One song may be a surprise for some of the fans, the songís called «Breathless», it didnít make it on the album but weíve decided to play it live. All fans already have the chance to check it out at www.myspace.com.

Alex: You will be supported by American electro-pop band Iris. Why did you choose them for a second time? Do you like their recent album «Wrath»?

Thomas: I know it is quite unusual to choose a band that already supported us two years ago but we simply like their style and Iris was also well received by the German audience. Their latest album is very good and since they are nice guys weíve decided to try it once again.

Alex: Your band toured the world.. and which place you enjoyed to perform more?

Thomas: Thatís not true, we havenít toured the world...weíve toured across Europe and Europe is definitely not the world... I guess we enjoy a great concert in Germany as much as we enjoy a great concert in Russia or Sweden or wherever... Travelling to foreign places is of course very interesting and special but in the end it doesnít really matter where you are. All that counts is that we somehow manage to satisfy the fans and everybodyís having a good time. If that works out, everythingís perfect.

Alex: I hope Russia is in your tour plans for this Spring too?

Thomas: It is planned to play three shows in Russia (Moscow, Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg) but the dates are not confirmed yet. Weíll see if everything works out the way weíve planned.

De/Vision

Projects

Alex: In November 2004 De/Vision took part in Marc van Linden's «The Real Thing». It was released on vinyl only, but sounds very impressive. The question is: what push you, guys, to turn for side-projects? Available free time, desire for additional self-expression or something else? Could we expect new side-projects in close future?

Thomas: Weíre interested in all kinds of music and a side-project is simply a chance to do something that is different from what we normally do. It is an opportunity to explore other styles of music. Iím sure we will try out new projects in the future but right now we havenít planned anything.

Alex: Beside music projects, did you ever involved in any kinds of projects?

Thomas: Not really, music was always involved for the last 15 years. Some years ago we were asked to write a song for a German movie. I travelled to Munich and watched the movie but in the end we didnít get the job. We hadnít even started with song-writing, when we were told that the film company had finally chosen another band...

De/Vision

Internet

Alex: Your site is big pleasure for your fans. But maybe you are planning to give them additional stuff or extra features?

Thomas: Iím not sure what kind of additional stuff or extra features you exactly mean but as far as I know nothingís planned.

Alex: I noticed that Steffen was regular active in German-speaking forum last year. Am I correct? If yes it's a good tendency. Maybe we'll have a chance to see Thomas in English-speaking forum too?

Thomas: Itís true, Steffen is quite active in the German-forum... and I know I should be more active in the English-forum. Iíll try!..

Alex: This time you put full streaming versions of each track online - before album release. It's a big step forward to your fans. How you convinced your record company to allow it?

Thomas: Actually it was Steffenís idea to do that. But it wasnít really a problem to convince Drakkar. They liked the idea right from the start and at MySpace we found exactly the platform we needed. Both, band and label are absolutely convinced that it was a good decision to do that.

Alex: Also I guess De/Vision's page on MySpace is your attempt to reach your American listeners, right?

Thomas: Yes, of course. MySpace is a very popular platform and a great chance to get into contact with American listeners/fans but also with fans from all over the world. And since we have planned to play some shows in the U.S. towards the end of the year, MySpace is just the perfect tool in order to mobilize our American fans.

De/Vision

Personal questions

Alex: Guys, how do you think - are you reached internal satisfaction, as musicians, and as just humans?

Thomas: Weíre both happy with our actual state of living and being. And weíre very satisfied with our latest release. But I think whatever you do, as a musician or human being, you should never be too satisfied, especially not self-satisfied... Itís important to preserve a hunger for improvement... Donít be content with your present state or with what youíve achieved in the past, otherwise youíll get lazy... Never rest on your laurels...

Alex: You always seems so quiet and confident in ordinary life... Please share your secret of being in such positive mood?

Thomas: Thereís absolutely no secret about it. It has to do with a certain state of mind. Life is beautiful and there is simply no need to feel negative or be in a bad mood all the time.

Alex: Some private details are always interesting for fans. De/Vision's possibly one of the luckest bands, which private life is successfully kept in secret. Could you share something by yourself... maybe you are happy fathers for a long time etc? [smile]

Thomas: I really donít know which details could be interesting. No, weíre no fathers yet [smile] Well, we both go to a supermarket several times a week (as private persons) in order to buy something to eat and drink. But I guess thatís not really an interesting detail of our private lives. By the way, it wouldnít be private any more if I would tell you. OK, all right. I will reveal one detail of my private life... Only for you... I put on my Superman dress every night and try to make this world a better place [laugh]

Alex: By the way, fans never too much disturb your privacy? Tell any funny story if yes [smile]

Thomas: No, they donít... The fans are very respectful most of the time. But interviewers are so curious all the time. They want to know everything, all the private details... Interviewers are the real intruders [smile]

De/Vision

Some final questions

Alex: What is in your close plans? Which promotional work is waiting for you?

Thomas: We had to do lots of interviews for the last few weeks. At the moment weíre busy rehearsing the songs for our forthcoming tour. Thatís all weíll do for the next weeks.

Alex: Dear Thomas (and Steffen too!), now it's time for your final words. Tell something for your Russian fans who are patiently waiting for «Subkutan» release [smile]

Thomas: Hello everybody! We hope you will enjoy «Subkutan» as much as we do... And we also hope to see you soon at a De/Vision show in Russia!.. Take care!

Alex: Thank you very much for your answers!!!

Thomas: Thank you too!

De/Vision

De/Vision released their new studio album ęSubkutanĽ on January 27th, 2006 via Drakkar Records (Germany) and on February 28th, 2006 via Art Music Group (Russia).

Official De/Vision website: www.devision-music.de.

Official De/Vision MySpace page: www.myspace.com/devisionmusic.

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