REVOLVERHELD: A NEW LIGHTNESS OF BEING
TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI I PHOTOS: OLAF HEINE
Returning with a bang after the period of the pandemic, Revolverheld have now toured Germany with a whopping 22 new concerts, thus preparing the ground for their new album Neu Erzählen (Retelling).
The album explores a mixture of topics old and new and, as such, both is and is not a ‘pandemic album’. Singer Johannes Strate explains this delicate balance between the past and the present, both in style and in lyrical content, as well as discussing a new beginning for the band.
Discover Germany: How have you experienced the past couple of years, both as an artist and as a human being?
Johannes: Faced with something beyond my control, I accept it and try to make the best of the situation. So instead of lying on my back crying ‘oh god, life doesn’t make sense anymore’, I busied myself with home schooling and songwriting.
Discover Germany: With Das Größte (The Greatest), you wrote a ballad about your child. In other songs you mention a feeling of being constantly driven by circumstance – has this changed with being a parent?
Johannes: Yes, that has definitely changed over the past eight or nine years. I don’t need to run after every bit of nonsense anymore. I can take my time and look at it first. However, I remember clearly from my twenties what being driven feels like.
Discover Germany: Like in Keine Zeit (No Time)?
Johannes: Yeah, but that is also a song about an ongoing phenomenon of my generation – for us, it is supposed to be normal to have too much on your plate. Corona merged the professional with the private life even more – and suddenly you find yourself at home in the same video call that was supposed to end half an hour ago – and there are still all those emails! ‘There is no time’ has become a running commentary in our lives, and that’s just not healthy.
Discover Germany: Revolverheld will turn 20 next year – who were your role models in the beginning and how did that change over time?
Johannes: Back in the ‘00s, it used to be Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Foo Fighters – loud and noisy! Nowadays, it is probably The Killers and then, the ‘80s – a-ha, Toto, Duran Duran, The Police. From album to album, the sound keeps shifting. Who knows, the next album might become a ‘NU-Metal riff’ one again!
Discover Germany: You have shown much support for climate protectors in the past. Allegedly, the energy transition is in full swing now – where do you see tweaking potential?
Johannes: We have known since 1979 that climate change is a fact and we need to act – and yet, we don’t. In Germany, there is an old attitude of putting economy, for example high sales in combustion engines, first – as opposed to trying to tackle this immense disaster hanging over our heads. It seems a worldwide problem where many people just think about their own lives, instead of those coming after us. I am, however, very much convinced that the next generation – for example, the Fridays for Future movement – sees this problem much more clearly.
Discover Germany: How does your son deal with this topic?
Johannes: Well, he certainly is a lot more aware of things than I used to be. He thinks twice if some packaging contains plastic or if we intend to travel somewhere by plane. I can’t remember worrying over plastic yogurt cups back in the ‘80s!
Discover Germany: Back to the recent past: a lot of us have dealt with all sorts of traumatic experiences that need to be handled and processed. How can we – referring to your song Suchen und Finden (Searching and Finding) – start ‘dancing above things’ again?
Johannes: I have a wish for next year that a certain lightness of being finds its way back into our lives. That, by the way, is the reason why we gave so many concerts this year, so as to give people something else to think about, even if only for one evening. I hope a lot more will happen in that direction and that people can return to a more positive mindset.
Discover Germany: What makes a perfect Revolverheld day?
Johannes: (Laughs) It depends – the perfect tour day would have us tumbling from the bus in the morning to a place where we expect to play a nice festival gig at night. Obviously, the weather is wonderful and we rent a boat or explore the old town. Soundcheck runs smoothly and then we play a sold-out concert. People are happy, and afterwards we go and celebrate a glorious day.
New album Neu Erzählen – release date: 8 October 2021 www.revolverheld.de
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