Emigrate: Silent Night
Able to reap the lucrative dividends of Rammstein’s lurid performances whenever that machine cranks into gear, in his downtime guitarist Richard Kruspe tackles industrial metal project Emigrate, recently issuing new album Silent So Long. Kruspe adopts English-language vocal duties, while the record also features guest appearances from Marilyn Manson, Lemmy, Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Peaches. BLUNT catches up with the affable axeman while he’s undergoing the painstaking process of building a house in Berlin, having moved back there from New York a few years ago after becoming a father again.
Do your surroundings in Berlin inspire Emigrate’s music?
Well, most of the stuff. In one part I think so, because I’m a big believer that environments has a big effect on your music. Especially us, after the first record, I was a little surprised how rock-y the record was. I was looking for something else, but sometimes you have to just go with the flow and let the music lead. On the second record, I felt like it’s much more moody, it’s more an electro kind of vibe, that’s something that I have in me… And I think Berlin had a big part in that. So I call the first record ‘the New York record’, and the second one ‘the Berlin record’ [laughs].
Was the more industrial vibe also a reflection of what you’re listening to these days?
Well, honestly at the moment, especially when I’m doing records, I don’t really listen to other music. I’m pretty much not really up-to-date with what’s going on at the moment. The only thing I know is that the music quality has changed, which I knew a couple of years ago and it was always my claim, is that in the end people will fuck themselves because the quality of music will go down, because at the end of the day, those bands these days… Everything becomes a promotional tool. You have to a record for promotion, do videos for promotion, everything is for promotion. Then they are so invested in their own music and their live show. So I have the privilege actually to have a big band that pays me to do good records, and that’s something I always try to do, to do quality, good records. The only thing that inspires me is my life, and trying to get away from comfort zones. Try to live life as deep as you can. Life in general inspires me. And sometimes of course I hear a song that’s like, ‘wow, that’s great’, but it’s not like I’m really constantly chasing new sounds or something. I have certain things I have in common and I have in mind that I try to do, but I don’t have a mindset where I want to sound like that band, or this band.
Does this band have a far smaller budget than Rammstein then?
Well, there are certain things you can’t really save money [on] when you do a rock record. First of all you need a beautiful, big drum room, especially for my kind of music. So there’s not so much you can save, and also the mixing part you can’t really save. So everything else you can basically do like in my studio at home; you can record guitar, bass and vocals. But when it comes to drums you have to actually go to a studio, and also for the mixing part. But the budget is obviously smaller than a Rammstein budget. But still, sometimes it’s not even [about] a budget, it’s also to have the time to use to listen through, and really take your time to create certain sounds. Sometimes it’s more about the time than the money actually, which can be money too.
Do you feel it’s a positive prospect that anyone can make a record in their bedrooms now?
I’m not saying that people can’t do that, I just miss the skills of doing rock records. All those engineers that worked for years, they’re probably out of a job right now; they have all this knowledge about recording. There are a lot of skills that you need to make records, and these days, people do that in their bedroom, they use all the plug-ins. That’s why they sound all the same. I miss records that I can listen and say, ‘Wow, this snare drum sounds amazing; how did they do that?’ I’m coming more from like old school, where I’m trying to combine the analogue and the digital world together in a way. But I understand those kids these days don’t have the time and the money to do so.
Do you plan to take Emigrate on the road at some point?
For now it’s just really a studio project; or a studio band at the moment. We’re like The Beatles; we don’t like to tour.
Too many crowds filled with screaming teenage girls then?
Yeah, exactly [laughs]. I actually see a future in Emigrate which I haven’t seen before, because for me Emigrate was always just a little thing… Until I realised that I need this balance between the Rammstein world and the Emigrate world to co-exist in both worlds basically. The idea of collaborating with other people is such a big pleasure, and that’s something I love to do. This is something that shows me a future in Emigrate that I want to continue doing. Especially, one thing I must say that… The change of the new music industry brought to us, that people are willing to collaborate more and easier than in the old days. Not like you have to sign a fucking 100-page contract. People say ‘yeah, let’s do a song’. And that’s something I missed over the years, so it’s much easier to collaborate these days than in the old days.
What’s the latest in the Rammstein camp?
Well, at the moment everyone is on break and we always meet once a year to see where we go and stuff, so we did that in March. We decided we’ll wait for another year to see again, and then we take the lead on that. At the moment we’re not doing anything, like as Rammstein. But we’re coming out with a live DVD from Madison Square Garden next year, and a documentary that I just saw recently which is really interesting. It’s about Rammstein in America. It’s coming out next year. There was this idea that I had in mind, where I would go to each city that I like and write one song in this particular city, because I do believe that the city has an impact on the way that you write. That could be an idea. But I don’t take it that far. First of all I’m trying to do is finishing my construction, finishing this record, then next year there’s another record coming, and then after that I think I also have to go back to the Rammstein world, because I’m running out of money [laughs].
Any famous last words?
It’s all about the new record, and I think it’s important that I add, it was important to me with the Emigrate record, especially bringing in all the guest musicians and guest vocalists, that I still was trying to create one Emigrate record that would not sound like all the other records. It sounds like an Emigrate record, and I think it’s the first time in my life that I have made a record where I don’t want to change a damn thing.