Jennifer Rostock U.S.
Interview with Jennifer Rostock

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The day rainy and cold, the sky deep gray: shortly before their concert in Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen, I was allowed to squeeze in a few minutes with Jennifer Weist, Joe Walter and Christoph Deckert of Jennifer Rostock. A boiling hot room, a table full of sweets, two cuddly sofas, three very likeable and cheerful people and I, very close together. The mood loosened and the welcome, contrary to the weather, radiant and bright – the crucible for my first interview couldn’t have gone any better.

I just saw that you have a packed schedule today: six interviews in a row and today is already your seventh concert in ten days – does the body do well with that?

Jennifer: Sometimes if we had off the day before, then you always come in again a little tough. You think to yourself: “Ugh, I could use a day like that! And you?” but in principle, my body works well like that.

Joe: Mine, too, it isn’t like that!

Now I won’t ask where the title “Schlaflos” comes for the hundredth time…

Jennifer: Cool! Really? Thank you! (laughs)

I’d rather ask you what your favorite albums for sleepless nights are. Whether it’s for going out or to clear your mind.

Joe: That works really well because in the tourbus, we’re all sleepless sometimes. So it’s really cool that you can sleep in there, but you don’t always sleep well in the bus.

Jennifer: I sleep better in there than in a hotel! If it isn’t stuttering anymore, then you can’t sleep at some time. (laughs)

Joe: For all that, there’s always hours in which you can’t sleep and I hear a whole lot of music. Right now, I’m listening to the album from “Haim” a lot.

Jennifer: I always listen to audio books to fall asleep. That’s somehow better for me, because I put myself in that situation and then imagine how that all looks there and then I fall asleep. (laughs) I always listen to the Three Question Marks or whodunnits. I just downloaded Sebastian Fitzek. It’s good!

Christoph: Good, now party music. The other night in the tourbus, sometime really late, I fired off a big DJ set – with my favorite album of the past year from Soukie & Windish “A Forest,” among others. It’s more techno-fuss, but it’s awesome! Such girlie-techno.

Techno – could you imagine making a feature sometime with it? You currently have one on the album with four other artists: MC Fitti, Madsen, Großstadtgeflüster and FeineSahneFischfilet. Do you have a feature in sight that you’d like to make?

Christoph: All of our friends with whom we wanted to make something, we already handled them on the album.

Joe: On this one and on the last! We do a lot of features live, too. We’re often asked, actually, what kind of feature we’d like to picture to ourselves and then we say: “Yeah, we actually already did some with the people we wanted to do a feature with, because we were interested in doing something with people that we already personally know and like.” So we’d rather do one with them than with some global super stars – completely anonymous.

Christoph: And with the techno, we also worked it onto the new album. There’s a special fan edition for which we asked a few people to make remixes for us. That’s why we’re already done with it. We’re quite satisfied as far as it’s concerned and if something occurs to us, then we’ll just do that, too.

Your new album landed directly at Number 2 on the newcomer charts – first off, congratulations on that – and in “K.B.A.G.” you, Jennifer, sing “We need a fanbase that powerfully consumes” appropriately enough. Are you satisfied with your fanbase or does the air up there, at Number 1, want to be cracked?

Jennifer: Oh, no! That wasn’t important to us before and it’s still like that now, too. I also think that such a chart placement relies a lot of luck and when you release, who you released with and so on. At another time, we’d only be at maybe Number 10 or maybe right to first – we’re so happy how everything is now. That comes through in this “Not interested, but guest-listed” song really well. The message is simple: Where we are now, we feel really well. We see ourselves as a live band, the people come to our shows and we’re really happy that that’s been working for years already.

Live band – which song do you still love playing the most after seven years? Do you have a song that you love playing again and again?

Joe: Right now we especially like playing the new songs because for the past 3 years, we’ve always been on the stage with the same songs. That’s a pretty long time and that’s why we were looking forward to this tour so much more, in order to finally be on the road with new things again.

Jennifer: We also make the old songs a little nicer and do them differently again and again. So we’re entitled to want to change the songs a little when we go on tour with ‘old’ ones…

Joe: …to not lose the fun in them.

Jennifer: Yeah, exactly! “Ich Kann Nicht Mehr,” for example, probably sounds the same for the audience as it had, but we’ve already changed it and for us, that’s something new and different again when we play it.

Christoph: One that’s still fun after three or four years is the song with Nico: “Es War Nicht Alles Schlecht.” That’s always the moment everyone really looks forward to, at the end of the concert.

What have you always wanted to be asked? What has nobody trusted themselves to ask you?

Jennifer: Oh, a lot, a lot of people have dared to ask everything there is already.

Christoph: However, they haven’t dared to ask these bed questions recently.

Joe: “How’s it going for you in bed?”!

Christoph: That was on the list and we saw how the question was simply skipped over. Out of fear! (laughs)

Jennifer: Out of fear, we wouldn’t answer it correctly. (laughs)

So there are no questions you’ve always wanted to answer?

Christoph: I think you can’t link it to questions. There are interviews where you realize that it’s just going a little deeper. If you have fun and don’t just say some phrases, rather notice that a conversation arises.

And the worst question you’ve ever been asked?

Jennifer: Well, the worst question is always this, I think: “Where did you get your band name?” but thank God that doesn’t come up as often anymore.

Joe: It applies to the entire interview when you realize that someone didn’t prepare at all, then the interview isn’t fun.

Christoph: “Do you like women’s tennis?” was also a really interesting question.

Jennifer: Yeah, in the interview, I was asked whether I like women’s tennis. It was supposed to be a joke because I always squeak and they always squeak during women’s tennis. (squeaks) The joke wasn’t well received, though. (laughs)

You, Joe, mainly write the songs. Do you have a heart song in which you virtually load everything?

Joe: It’s just that everything’s put into each song, actually. When you say: “That’s my favorite song!” then it’s as if you said: “That’s my favorite child of my children.” But of course there are songs that touch me more personally. “Schlaflos,” “Ein Schmerz und Eine Kehle” and “Du Nimmst Mir Die Angst” are songs that absolutely stand far more ahead for me.

“Ein Schmerz und Eine Kehle” also puts itself forward – you proposed to your boyfriend last year at one of your concerts. Is there already something being planned?

Joe: (smiles) It would actually be nice if we had managed something this year, but with the album production, there was somehow just no time whatsoever to think about something different. But we’ve now decided to proceed this summer. The ‘project!’ (laughs)

To the topic of the Internet. Do you follow what happens? These nice ‘shitstorms’ that keep happening?

Joe: How, is something there now?

No, no. But for example when you, Jennifer, post something vegan or vegetarian then it immediately starts off with: “Yeah, yeah, being veggie, but wearing leather” …

Jennifer: Oh, yeah! I always just think “Man, people, somewhere…” So it’s nice when you start somewhere. I don’t understand why people always see something bad in things that are good. Why it’s always is, that when you do a thing, you always have to do that and that and that and that.

Do you witness that, too?

Jennifer: Yeah, I read through it. It starts like this and I think: “Ugh, now the discussion’s beginning again – not interested!” and then I just let it be. I have no interest in pulling myself into it because I just find it stupid. It’s also not as if you write a comment and then everyone says: “I see! Yeah, it’s okay.” You write something and then it just gets worse from there. I always do it how I think it’s right and it’s good like that. They should just start to do something and not buy themselves leather shoes anymore.

Back to music: You released “Ein Schmerz und Eine Kehle” last year as the first song and afterward, there was a bit of murmuring in the crowd because the song sounded so different than everything else you’ve made so far.

Christoph: The decision was deliberate!

Joe: It was perfectly clear to us that the song polarizes and not everyone is crazy about it, but it was clear that we wanted to release the song as the first single anyway because it was important to us. We knew when we first brought it out that it would get the most attention. There were of course people who thought it was stupid and were afraid that the album would be shitty, but there were also a lot of people who thought it was good.

Jennifer: The message was important to us and that’s why it was also important to bring it out first.

Is it so different now because of that? Precisely because the message is important to you and the song stands out better from the album?

Joe: There are occasionally songs that stand out a bit. All the same, you could say that “Schlaflos” stands out because it’s the only real ballad on the album. Or that “Wenn Der Wodka Zweimal Klingelt” stands out somehow.

As the only song from the album recorded in Germany.

Joe: Someone’s well-informed! (all laugh)

Jennifer: Well, we didn’t bring that out because we thought: “Oh, that’s a song that’s completely different and we need to release it!” but rather it was clear to us. The song underwent the most development. When you hear the demo for it – it’s just unreal how it evolved and when it was done, it was obvious to all of us, we wanted to release it. And so everyone saw that it’s somehow something special and then the Russian theme was added. At the latest, it was just a heart affair for us. The people who know us said at the time: “Sure, there’s something different. Jennifer Rostock, sure, they’re also rock and sure, they’re also pop!” These people completely stand behind it, too, and so a shitstorm adjusted itself mostly on its own. You don’t have to react to it, the people who really know us do that. You take everything to heart, otherwise.

You generally don’t do that at all?

Jennifer: I don’t care at all what’s written. Sorry, but the people don’t know me and for 80%, it’s probably people who are bored, sit in front of the computer the whole time and think to themselves: “Oh, I’ll write another dumb comment here.” Why should you respond to such people? Waste my time on it! (laughs)

Joe: You have to learn to disconnect between it – that’s me and that’s my picture in the open – those are two different things and then, if people get upset over the one thing, that’s has nothing to do with me. I can’t take it personally. Jennifer Rostock is a ‘topic’ that’s declared open season on and people are happy to fire at it.

Jennifer: We don’t disguise ourselves. We’re all Jennifer Rostock. It isn’t as if we’re different people on the stage.

Probably not every band would dare to present a transsexual woman in a “Rage Against the Putin” shirt in their video.

Jennifer: Exactly. Everything was important to us and it doesn’t matter what other people say to that. And so the tour is super until now! There are a lot of people there, everything is almost sold out.

And the feedback so far is, too…

Jennifer: Super!

Christoph: With the song, too. The crowd rocks out to it, it’s unreal.

Which everyone bitched at in the beginning…

Jennifer: They find it good now! But I don’t think many know today, what kind of message the song has. I need to wave the flag a bit…

If anything has been improperly translated, please let me know.