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All about De/Vision
Exclusive interview with Thomas, De/Vision

Exclusively for Alex Davie, Shout Fanzine, Russia
Photos: Harald Hoffmann

Last updated 02.01.02

Thomas from De/Vision '2001

some intro questions

Q: You're well-known synthie band here, in Russia. You have a lot of fans, every synthie party's play list always contains some of your songs... Do you hear about it? Is it surprise you?

A: Since the Internet-boom we know that we have fans all over the world and of course also in Russia but still it's surprising to hear what you just told us, especially when you consider that we didn't make a single release in Russia but we heard that you have a blooming black market…

Q: How did you spent your Christmas & New Year holidays? You celebrate your Millenium party in 2000, 2001 or both? ;)) [ * ]

A: We spent X-mas with our families like every year. We didn't really care about all the excitement about the new Millenium. It was just another new year's party like all the years before.

music questions

Q: How you can describe your music? easy listening or not?

A: We call our music Progressive Pop. It is based on electronic sounds, sometimes combined with acoustic instruments. If it fits to a song we integrate guitars, real drums or violins, for example. You find elements from different kinds of music in our songs, hiphop drum loops, drum'n'bass sequences and so on. I wouldn't describe our music as easy listening, of course some of our dancefloor single releases are easy to listen to but our albums are more serious, they go much deeper, we see ourselves more as a serious band.

Q: Your melodies are very good-to-put-in-memory... hard-sounded or soft-sensed, dance or not, slow or fast - they're great in their special combination. What music much close to your heart? Your favorites de/vision songs?

A: You can't say this or that is closer to your heart than anything else. It always depends on how you feel in that very moment. When you're in a sad mood you don't write happy songs or even want to listen to them. Slow or fast, hard or soft, everything's a part of you.

Favourite D/V songs: «Strange Affection», «Hope Won't Die», «New Drug».

Q: Where do you find an inspiration to write your music & lirics? You write it in studio and it looks like work process or you write it everywhere, in any possible places, time after time?

A: The inspiration is life itself. The things you see, hear, all the experiences you make. You need to be able to read and express your thoughts and feelings. The music is written in the studio and that is, of course, partially also a technical process that has not only to do with inspiration but it doesn't work to write songs like a robot, you need to put your heart into a song. But you can get the idea for a song or lyrics in any possible place.

Q: Thomas, you write very sensual lyrics, sometimes very sad... and generally it tell us stories of love... Is it your favorite theme?

A: It's true, love and all kinds of relationships between people is my favourite theme. To me it's the only important thing on earth. What is more important to people than finding someone else you can love or have sex with? That's what life is all about. You can live without politics, your T.V. (o.k., some people can't), without a car but noone wants to be alone. So why should I write about something unimportant? That doesn't mean I'm not interested in what happens around the world. Of course it makes me sad to hear about another war somewhere else but I wouldn't wanna tell the people how terrible that is.

Q: You're native german but you write all your lyrics on english. You find it sounds better than german or you just try to spread your music around world?

A: Exactly, we thought it's a much better way to spread the music around the world.

Q: I love so much your «Monosex» album... please tell me what's meaning of title? Is it about of loneliness or something like that?

A: The title was Markus' idea but he didn't have anything special in mind. It was just a word that sounded good and it looked good in its written form. Later we learned that it has a meaning in biology but I forgot the exact meaning.

Q: My favorite song is «Strange Affection»... Great song, brilliant video... where did come that idea with dying from love man? (yeah, that girl was so sexual killer... :)))

A: The idea came from the director of the video, I forgot his name. When you have a song you give it to different companies/directors and they send back their ideas and how they want to realize it and you just have to pick the one you like most.

De/Vision '2001

Q: Your last album «VOID» is much harder than your early stuff. It combines synthie beats with real drums & guitars... is it influence of past musical fashion (many bands do it at recent time ;))), your musical growing (you wanna end up your synthie-pop era :)) or it something else?

A: It was a natural process for us to develop our sound over the years. We, as human beings develop, so the music had to develop as well. We are not the same kind of people anymore than we were ten years ago, so you can't expect us to write the same kind of music. We started with synthpop in '88 but after a few years and albums this music style wasn't satisfying anymore, we needed to do something else and on the «Monosex» album we began to feature the guitar sound much more. We already used guitars on earlier albums but not as much as we did on «Monosex». Here, for the first time we tried to combine electronic sounds with rock music. On «Void» we still used guitars but we also featured the hard electronic sound. That was very important for us at that time. In the future we will carry on trying to re-invent ourselves and our music.

Q: Do you searching for new third member? Who played instead of Marcus on stage?

A: No, we decided not to look for a new member, it's not necessary at all. We are quite happy the way it is now. On stage I'm playing the parts Markus' used to play.

Q: I note that you're very negatively with any kinds of de/vision live & remix bootlegs, MP3s etc, spreading around Internet. Is it possible for you put some tracks on your website, officially, like other artists already did for their promotion?

A: To be honest, I really don't care about live bootlegs, if people are stupid enough to pay a lot of money for a tape or CD in a miserable quality, that's really none of my concern. But it's true, we don't allow people to record during a concert, simply because we don't want to support this market.

Concerning the MP3 files in the internet: we are musicians and we earn our money by selling CD's. If everyone gets our songs from the internet without paying anything at all, then we can't afford any longer to make music, we have to do something else because we don't earn any money that way. That's why we are not very happy about Napster, for example.

Putting songs in the internet is, of course, a great thing because that's a way to reach people all over the world but they have to pay for a download, otherwise Indie-bands like us don't have a chance to survive and I guess that's something noone wants who likes our music. Sometime in the future we will surely offer our songs on our website, but for now fans can already download samples of our new album «TWO».

depeche mode questions

Q: I know that you're were Depeche Mode fans since early eighties. How about current time? Are you still mad on DM?

A: They have always been one of our favourite bands but I have to say that I was never mad about them. In the eighties I loved The Cure much more than DM. DM had some great songs in the eighties but I have to say that I like their new stuff much more and I know that Steffen thinks the same. Nowadays I don't like their childish melodies of the 80's anymore, of course some songs I still love, but I prefer albums like «Songs of Faith and Devotion», «Ultra», «Violator» and «Exciter». These albums sound much more serious.

DM is still a band we both like but there are so many other bands we like as well.

Q: As you started your band did you want to be like Depeche Mode? Sounds like them, looks like them or be so famous like them? ;))

A: We never wanted to be a copy of any other band but we were of course influenced by bands of the 80's, like Kraftwerk, DM, Camouflage and so on. At that time we just loved that electronic sound and the feeling all these bands embodied. We wanted to become a part of it but as individuals with our own identity.

Q: Could you ever imagine to play show together with DM (like a support band or second headliner)?

A: Of course we would love to, but as well we would love to support U2, Him, or any other famous band.

Q: What's your most liked and most disliked song of DM?

A: There are many songs I like and many I dislike, I couldn't pick out a special one and say that's the one I like or hate most of all.

Steffen`s favourite song is «Sea of Sin» and he dislikes all songs from their first record.

Steffen from De/Vision '2001

Q: I heard de/vision are very popular in Germany. Can your success be compared with DM success?

A: No, it cannot be compared to DM at all. They are a famous band, they sell much more CD's than we do. They reach the Top 10 in Germany easily. De/Vision is just an Indie-band, known by some people but not famous at all. We reached the charts too but not such high positions. Our best result was position 30 with «Monosex».

some politics

Q: Are you interested in politics? Or you close your eyes on it?

A: Steffen is very interested in politics. He always says, if he had not become a musician then he would probably have become a politician. He knows quite well what happens in the world and he regularly reads the newspapers and watches the news on T.V.(but right now his tele is out of order).

I have to admit that I'm not very interested in politics, my knowledge about it doesn't go very deep. I watch the news on T.V. (but not even regularly) and that's it. The reason for this is quite simple: I'm very interested in philosophic and religious topics, in things that have to do with the human being and life itself, ways to find your inner-self, the truth. Politics is something that has not much to do with truth, that's why I don't wanna waste my precious time with it. But I know what party I have to vote, namely the one that embodies the social aspects.

Q: Some people help Greenpeace, some people organise anti nazi concerts... do you involved in any kind of public movements or like that?

A: We are open for charity concerts or, for example, like you said concerts against Nazis but so far nobody asked us to take part in something like this. We were involved in a musical project that supported autistic children, the song was called "Heal yourself" and was also supported by bands like Guano Apes, The King, Raemon, Wolfsheim… etc.

Q: Do you believe in future without any borders (in case of countries, cultures etc)?

A: I believe in a world without borders but I will not live to see it, that's for sure. The first step in that direction will be made soon by the EU. That's a great thing, I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe it will be a sign for other countries in the world to follow this example one day.. But I think the people are still afraid of what will become of their traditions and cultural achievements, but a world without borders doesn?t mean they have to give up their national identity.

Maybe we should try to pull down the boarders in our heads first…

computers, internet

Q: How much time you spend with PCs? At work or just for fun? Do you like games? What's your favorites?

A: We use the PC mainly for work: for programming the songs and answering interviews, for example. We spend a lot of time with the PC, it's one of the main instruments when making music. Steffen likes to play a game on the PC once in a while, but only some of the cheap little games you get from the internet, like Moorhuhnjagd, if you know that, it's a game where you try to shoot flying chicken.

I love to play videogames, N64, Dreamcast, Playstation etc… I like Adventures, Ego-Shooters Role-playing games and Jump'n'Runs.

Q: Do you like surf Internet? What's your favorite sites?

A: I don't surf much around the internet. I visit the De/Vision Homepage once in a while and take a look at my E-mail address or get information about new videogames.

Steffen surfs much more in the internet than I do. He visits our homepage regularly and also other bands' homepages.

We don't have any special favourite sites.

Q: Do you plan some improvements on your website? Music/Video Download section or something?

A: We're just doing some improvements right now concerning the clarity of the page, everything should be more clearly laid out, you'll see in a few weeks. I'm sure Music and Video downloads will be integrated one day but that still takes a while.

Q: Yey there are some nonofficial de/vision websites... how you attitude to them?

A: We don't say anything against nonofficial sites, as long as they do a serious job but our management already found a few sites where some shit was written. It's not o.k. when people write about things they know nothing about. When they are well informed and just write the truth, then it's absolutely all right.

personal questions

Q: Did you ever use a drugs? Did you write any of your songs being under drugs?

A: The question is: what are drugs? Something you are addicted to? Some people are addicted to alcohol (but officially it's no drug), some people can?t live without their T.V., they are really addicted to it but noone would say it's a drug. Yes, we drink alcohol sometimes and we like to watch television sometimes. But I know, you're talking about the official drugs. Steffen never took anything at all and OF COURSE I don't like to smoke some weed once in a while…

Q: Tell us, is it possible for you to clubbing without drugs or any kind of alcohol?

A: When we go out together, Steffen likes to drink a few beer but it doesn't have to be, it always depends on the mood he's in. I drink very rarely when I go out (talking about alcohol), most of the times I prefer Water, maybe once every five or six weeks I drink some alcohol, but when we?re on tour it may happen that I drink more. But it is definitely possible to have fun without alcohol or whatever.

Q: As I heard you guys don't drive cars... why?

A: We live in Berlin right now, you really don't need a car in a city like this. There are enough cars on the streets already, it's much more relaxing and faster to take the bus or trains. I used to drive a car when we were still living in our small hometown. Another reason for me to quit driving was that I did something for the environment.

Steffen never had his own car.

Q: We can see some girls in your videos (such as «We Fly... Tonight» and «Strange Affection»)... are they your girlfriends or just models?

A: They were just models, we don't have girlfriends at the moment.

Q: You hide your full names from public... what's the reason? I'm sure your huge fans know it as well as names of your girlfriends, he-he ;))

A: There's nothing interesting about our last names, that's the reason. They are important for us and nobody else.

some final questions

Q: What we can expect from your new album? Will it be so different & hard, as «Void» to «Monosex»?

A: Our new album «TWO» is rather a pop-album. Void was quite extreme for us but «TWO» contains mainly mid-tempo songs, very electronic again. We still used guitars and drums but this time we didn't feature the rock sound of the songs as much as we did it on «Monosex» or «Void». But as always the songs are very atmospheric and with a touch of melancholy.

Q: How about visit to Russia? With live concerts or just like tourists?

A: We would love to come to Russia and play a few concerts. I'm sure it's a beautiful country. It is planned that we play a concert in St. Petersburg in September (??), after the Depeche Mode concert there, a party is supposed to take place and the man, responsible for that party, wants us to play there, but it's not for sure yet.

Q: What do you want to wish your russian fans?

A: May you live in peace and enjoy life… Maybe we'll see you soon…

All the best wishes from DE/VISION… bye bye… Thomas.

Thanks a lot for your interview!

[ * ] : note that first questions were sent in January 2001 ;))

De/Vision '2001
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