On June 22nd, two music worlds will collide as Till Lindemann of Rammstein and Peter Tägtgren of Pain and Hypocrisy will release Skills In Pills, the debut album from their project Lindemann! The album features songs with titles such as “Golden Shower”, “Ladyboy”, “Praise Abort”, and more.
We got the chance to speak directly with Tägtgren about the upcoming album and what fans can expect. We also got some interesting bits of information, including that there are already plans for a second album, when Rammstein will begin work on their new album, and more. Head on below for this exclusive interview!
Make sure to pre-order Skills In Pills via iTunes.
How are you doing?
Good! It’s nice weather here in Berlin.
What are you in Berlin for?
We just finished up the video and we’ve been doing promotion.
The video for “Praise Abort”?
Can you give me a hint as to what the video will be like?
[laughs] Perfect! I’m very intrigued to see it!
Oh man, you will love it. It’s very sick. That’s all I can promise you.
I read that the two of you got to know each other in 1999 or 2000 and have remained in touch over the years. What spurred the two of you working together now?
We try to keep in touch via SMS or drunken phone calls to each other! [laughs] But in 2013, Till invited me to a festival in Sweden that Rammstein was headlining. When I got there, he said, “Hey, I’m going to have two years off. I want to write some music with you.” I said, “Ok! Let’s do it!” And that’s really how it started.
He was always a fan of Pain’s music. He wanted to do guest vocals on Pain songs but when I was free, he was busy and when he was free, I was busy, so it never worked out. So, finally we started to do one song, which was “Ladyboy”, and it was just like opening a funnel. The ideas just crawling out left and right and now we have 12 songs. It’s insane.
Till used only English for this album. I read that it was partially so that he didn’t have to translate lyrics for you. What were your thoughts on him using English?
I don’t miss the German, let’s put it that way. [laughs] His voice is so strong, I just think it’s genius. I know the hardcore Rammstein fans might not be happy but when he sings in English you don’t miss the German language. It sounds fucking killer. It’s really fucking amazing.
It was good because some songs that he started writing the lyrics first and I got inspired by the words. I started writing music on that. He would call me and ask what I’m doing. He told me once that he was in Canada on the Yukon River and I was, like, “What?!” And he was telling me about how he wrote lyrics for this river and how he wanted me to write a song. So, he sent me the lyrics and it inspired me to write music.
That’s the way we’ve been working together. It feels very unique. Once, he was singing into his iPhone and he sent me the file and I built music around it. That’s how we got “Praise Abort”.
It’s so fascinating that people can make music this way without being next to each other.
Yeah! We went over everything on telephone and emails for how we wanted to construct the song itself. When we finally got into the studio, after half a year of emailing and things like that, he came in and nailed four songs in 12 hours or something like that. He normally has to prep for six or seven weeks, so he was really happy.
Peter, what challenges did you face when creating the music for this project? How did you have to think differently?
It was no big deal. I mean, it kind of wrote itself. Of course I was under pressure from myself to deliver good stuff for Till since we’re working together, to make it interesting. From the beginning, we were not even supposed to do an album! We were only supposed to do one or two songs. He wanted to put it out but right away I knew and said that it’s too good to just put out there. Let’s try to write a little bit more.
There have been mentions that a second album will come out at some point. Are there already sketches and ideas for such an album or is it simply that the two of you enjoyed creating this one so much that you want to do it again?
[laughs] We’re rolling already! We were already writing stupid lyrics when we were drunk and shit. We’re going at it. We’re going to go as long as we have inspiration. Maybe it stops at five songs but at least we have half an album done, you know? It’s just so easy to write music together. No pressure. We do it because we can.
You both have such long and storied careers with your respective bands that this almost feels like a passion project, that you get to have a lot of fun.
Some people fly model planes or do puzzles with thousands of pieces. We write music, that’s our hobby. It’s what we do to get away from everything else, even though we do it professionally. When we do it, it doesn’t feel like a job. It feels passionate, like a hobby, whatever you want to call it. It’s great.
There have been talks of possible live shows. Is that something that you envision happening or is still just in talks?
We’re pretty scared, or whatever you want to call it, of how people are going to take this. We don’t know if they’re going to say, “Oh no, go back to your normal jobs!” So we really need some response from fans to see. As soon as we open up that can, we’re going to go insane with that shit.
So it all depends. If there’s not really a demand for it, maybe we’ll do a few showcases or something like that. But it won’t be full tours. I really don’t know! It’s up to the people to decide if we go out or not.
It’s really fascinating to hear you talk like this. As I said, both of you have such strong careers that it’s interesting to hear you, in a way, almost scared!
Yeah! Of course! We’ve been sitting in the studio for two years doing this, not talking to anybody. Nobody knew anything. Nobody had any sort of influence. We were just doing our own thing. And now, suddenly, we have to let it out to the public. We never thought of it like that when we did it. We were just thinking about the pure passion, just writing and seeing how it came together. And now, when it’s too late, we start thinking, “Was this the best we could do?”
Having heard the album several times now, I think fans of both of you will be very pleased with the final product.
I hope so! [laughs] It definitely won’t kill our other careers but we have so much passion about it for the last two years. It’s not too far from what we do in our normal lives. It’s a party album! I see it as a 2015 Billy Idol kinda thing, except the lyrics are more ironic and funny. It’s good music to pre-party to before you go out to the bar.
The lyrics are, as you say, very funny but also very shocking.
That’s Till! I don’t want to crawl in his brain and see what he’s thinking about! [laughs] For him, he was so inspired by the writing and singing in a new language. He said that it was like picking fucking cherries from the tree. The German tree was already hard to reinvent. He came from East Germany, where it was very difficult, because of Communism, to learn English. So, for him, it’s still very new. He’s a very social person. When he goes out on tour, he’s the last person to go to bed. And he loves to talk, so when Rammstein went out of Germany, he learned a lot of English. For him, it’s like a new beginning.
Both of you are parts of bands that often have very strong connections to the horror genre, either through visuals or through lyrical content. What do you think it is about your bands that draw such a connection?
I can tell you one secret: Till’s hero is Alice Cooper. His first album was ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’. Till really loves this horror thing that Cooper did in the 70’s. He’s always telling me how big of an inspiration he is.
If you listen to this Lindemann album, it’s really spooky, but in a funny way! When it comes to other bands I work with, I wonder if metal is spooky anymore. I know that it used to be. I grew up with KISS, which was scary as a kid.
I always like to ask this question: If you could get a famed horror director to make a music video for one of your songs, who would you like to have do it?
Actually, we were supposed to do the first video with Jonas Åkerlund, the director of The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up”. We were supposed to shoot it in LA but he had to go to Argentina to shoot some video, so we shot “Praise Abort” with the director of several Rammstein videos. He and Till really click, so when we told him that we don’t want to do anything similar to Pain or Rammstein, he pushed the envelope in a completely different way.
What’s next for each of you? What projects do you see yourself working on next?
I think we’re going to keep on writing! Till is going to go back to Rammstein in September to begin pre-production stuff and he says that it usually takes two years from when they start until the album is done.
For me, I don’t know! I have no clue! As soon as all the promotion is over, I’m going to sit down and then think if I should do another Pain album? Another Hypocrisy album? Or should I keep writing for Lindemann? Right now, I have so many ideas for the Lindemann project.
It seems like you have a great deal of freedom that you have all these opportunities available to you.
Yes! Of course, now it’s going to change because people will hear the album. Before, no one heard the music so we had the free way of writing. But we will keep writing and if we like what we write, we’ll keep it. We will never put any rules onto how Lindemann should sound because I think it takes two to three albums before you really know what you’re doing with a band.
Any last thoughts you want to send to readers and listeners?
Yeah. The lyrics? Read between the lines and find the irony. Don’t think it’s all so serious. For us, it’s not to provoke. Yes, we want to shock people but, like I said, it’s a party album. Enjoy it and have a good time!