The day was beautiful and for me personally it was the first really warm day this year. We had just played a show that the Antitainment guys helped setting up and earlier this day we (i.e. my band Kurhaus), Lt. Mosh, Antitainment and some other friends had been to some great entertainment swimming bath thing where we did a lot of sliding on the various water slides and hung around in the whirl pool. So there we were sitting on the corner of a street in Hanau and it was raining slightly. I just had to grab the chance to finally do the interview with these guys that I was planning to do for so long. So here is what singer/guitarist Tobi and Matze, the man on the keys, were having to say:
You just got your first regular full length “cooler plattentitel” out. How are the reactions? Total bullshit or best record in the world?
Matze: Well, we haven’t that much feedback up to now. The review on yellowisthenewpink.com was quite good I recall. There will be more reviews coming hopefully. It a little while as we are not the kings of sending out records and go listen to this…
Tobi: All the reviews we got so far were good ones I think.
Do you think you managed to create something new with your record or is it more or less the same shit as usual just with some keys added?
Matze: Eh, our intention in playing is not so much about creating something new but about doing the stuff we want to do. Of course it is cool if someone comes around and says like ‘hey that’s cool, that’s new’. But after all what we do is simply happening in some way. So I personally – and I can only speak for myself, we are four individuals in this band – don’t intend to play something where the flyers say ‘true rock’n’roll’ or ‘true punk’ or whatever but something that is harder to categorize…
Tobi: What I see is that many people who come see us play really think that they see something that is new to them and I like that.
Matze: I think it is also quite polarizing. People only tell me that they love it or that they find it shitty but never like ‘it’s okay…’.
How important is humour for you in terms of your band?
Tobi: Pretty important. I think it’s all quite saturated with bands that stand their and raise their fists and of course it is okay to do that if you feel like it but way too often it is just a platitude and fake. It is ‘we want to sound like this and that band and that’s why we do what we do.’ It is just scheme F. There is already a thousand bands that sound like that. That’s simply not interesting.
Matze: Of course we are satiric and write about topics by pulling them through the cocoa. We are funny guys…
Tobi: And some of us do also look funny…
Do you see a discrepancy between the often political topics in your songs (like that Mia. thing in song two) and in the end it is all just funny. Satire might generally have the problem that some people tend to see nothing but the humour in it…
Tobi: Of course it is complicated sometimes but often there is things that are kind of heavy and like you can’t laugh about them like this whole Mia. and nationalism thing. However when you look at them a little closer it becomes really ridiculous and absurd and then it becomes okay to laugh about it because you can’t really take it serious anyway.
Okay, let’s approach this point from another side now. When Refused split up Dennis Lyxzén said he wanted to do something more populist to bring the revolutionary content to the masses and then formed The (International) Noise Conspiracy. Do you see a similar thing in your band like feeding the people certain topics with humour because they won’t react on or simply don’t like raised fists and stuff like that?
Matze: I don’t think we have a certain plan about what to tell and how to make people listen. It is more on a gut level. It’s about what kind of ideas for songs Tobi comes up and we make of them.
Tobi: I think we do it just the way we would like other bands to do it or like we would like certain issues to be handled. There is no agenda behind it. It is really more on a gut level.
So you are no message band?
Tobi: The message is there but we are four totally different people from ‘drink till you drop’ to ‘don’t drink at all’ and so you can’t bring it all to a short definition. But there is this individualistic twist, this do something, do something new and do what you want. And in a way this is political for sure…
Totally different topic. The artwork of your record is really cool as well I think. Who did draw the picture on the cover?
Tobi: That was some guy called Schrottkopp from Hamburg who plays in Oräng Ättäng. So the idea was ours but we all can’t draw at all and so he did it for really little money and we are very satisfied with it.
On your record you have a song called ‘the franz stephan strambach memorial song’. Who was or is Franz Stephan Strambach?
Tobi: That was a guy who a few years ago soon after 9-11 took a glider and circled over Frankfurt have the day and said he would crash into one of the skyscrapers. He did that to remind the world on the first ever Jewish astronaut (Judith A. Resnik who died in the Challenger crash 1986, editor’s note) because he felt like he must do it. Okay if he had crashed into one of those buildings all that would have happened would have been the plane breaking to smithereens but it was a big media hype.
Matze: Yeah, the papers called him ‘the terror flyer of Frankfurt’ and at most all he was a is terrorist of love (he said he loved the said astronaut, editor’s note).
Tobi: I think he is in a psychiatry an Darmstadt now.
And now your song is called ‘the franz Stephan strambach memorial song’. Are you just like him just with weird glider flyers instead of Jewish astronauts and vinyl discs instead of gliders?
Matze: Yes, maybe… More Franz Stephan Strambachs! That is what we want.
Another song of yours starts with a Simpsons sample and says “revolution heißt zu tun was man will, revolution heißt zu tun was man von dir was man von dir will” (revolution means doing what you want, revolution means doing what they want you to do). So do you believe in revolution and stuff or rather not?
Tobi: Well, the song is about many people always talking about change and all they want is deciding on their own to go the movies or buy a beer at the gas station. Personally I wouldn’t say I believe in it because that sounds so metaphysical but I’d wish for it to happen and we can make steps towards it. If it will happen I don’t know…
Matze: Hmmmm… Eh… I postpone this question!
Okay, let me put it like this: Is Antitainment some sort of permanent revolution for you that keeps you living and breathing and prevents you from not even going to the movies but just sitting around apathetically one day?
Tobi: Right now definitely because it really takes a lot of time and it is fun, an outlet, catharsis, whatever you want to call it. If I wouldn’t have music or Antitainment I might really go to the movies and so it is better this way.
Matze: I think for all of us this band is an important part of our lives that I wouldn’t want to miss. You always look forward to weekends when you can play with cool bands. It’s an outlet and one of the most beautiful things in our lives.
Tobi: For me it has already changed it lot because it is a lot about meeting people and social contacts, experiences and all that.
Hardcore and punk music do always need some sort of tension and something to say, to express. What do you think how long can you keep this tension up. Will there be a point where everything is said and expressed?
Matze: I think there has been a lot of development up to now and right now we are making some sort of big step out of the Rhein Main area where we used to play predominantly until now and there is still a lot to explore. I think this whole hardcore and punk scene is often very fast moving with bands that exist for less than a year but giving full power in this time. I couldn’t imagine this for our band. Breaking up and stuff. I think we still have a lot of things ahead of us.
Band as ersatz family?
Tobi: Definitely. We’ve always been friends before the band started and we still are. It is very close.
Okay, now who is the guy on the Fiese Asseln Konglomerat Youth Crew logo?
Tobi: The guy got nothing to do with idea behind that Konglomerat that is like a trademark for things we do (putting out this record, setting up shows etc.). It is just a photo that I found in Bad Vilbel. He is just so damn good looking. We call him the Nasenmann (nose man). He stands for himself. He represents what we are thinking. He is the acme of coolness.
Matze: Tobi has been carrying this passport photo in his moneybag for years now…
Tobi: It is some sort of dream of mine that one day we will get in contact with him because I’d really like to know what kind of person he is. We’d speculate that he is an S-Bahn driver or working at the counter of a small bank.
I also got that technique nerd question. What is all these bleeps and clonks on your record. What kind of equipment do you use? Just as information for all the Antitainment cover bands that will spring up shortly…
Matze: We got some Tiger Dual organ that we got for little money and a Korg MS 10 synth and a sampler. On the record there is also some other cheap trashy keyboards that are not worth naming. They all sound shitty…
Yeah, trash! Okay now Tobi: What did you always want to ask Matze?
Tobi: When will you marry Lena?
Matze: Hmmmm... No comment! It’s a secret!
And vice versa?
Matze: Do you really think you look better with longer hair?
Tobi: Yes, definitely. And it is also better for moshing you know.