Jennifer Rostock U.S.
The Freedom of the Uncool Ones

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What do Jennifer Rostock have to look for on the uMag cover? Quite a lot: Whoever shrugs the Berliners off as a chavvy tits-and-tattoos combo, is missing an extremely opinionated band.

Interview: Carsten Schrader


uMag: Jennifer, Joe, Christoph, why are there so many reservations and prejudices regarding Jennifer Rostock?
Joe Walter: We were never an image band that knowingly plans with a target audience. You can kind of brush mainstream, or you can be cool, alternative, indie. But we don’t exactly say that we’re the new Silbermond and we also don’t pass ourselves off as an indie band, we’re somewhere in between instead. That confuses people. That’s why they think we’re weird and dumb, that’s why they often don’t understand us.
Jennifer Weist: You can make a long list there: We’re always opening our mouths and say what we think. It’s definitely going to deter some people, the fact that we drink a lot of alcohol onstage. We’re already drinking before concerts, kind of like pre-gaming, so that the performance is kind of like a party for us. And then there’s also the really explicit sex stuff.
Christoph Deckert: Actually, this is the biggest prejudice: If you were never seriously cool, you don’t have to be bothered by a lot of stuff. That gives us a certain freedom to do as we please.

uMag: If you watch what you’ve gotten yourselves into up till now, then there has to be a really marginal interest in trashy TV shows for you guys.
Deckert: We’ve made a lot of questionable television appearances, and it’s just that we’re not happy with every decision we made. But we always agreed to it beforehand. Nobody forced us to go on “Fernsehgarten” or “The Dome.”
Weist: Many people mob us, but I have to be completely honest: I adhere to everything we’ve done. We wouldn’t have had such fun for the past five years otherwise.
Walter: Maybe we’d decide differently today, but we’re happy that we could have all of these experiences.
Deckert: With things like “Fernsehgarten,” we didn’t assume that we’d have a use for it. It was clear beforehand that none of the viewers were interested in us. We just wanted to see this recreational pop music park and then stand in a pool with playback and act like we were playing a song.

uMag: Don’t such appearances prevent a profound examination with the fact that Jennifer is onstage as a very confident woman who owns up to her sexuality and lives life on the offensive? Jennifer, why haven’t you been on the cover of Missy yet?
Deckert: It’s true, your dealing with feminine sexuality is definitely progressive.
Weist: They probably toss sexism at me and don’t differentiate, because I’m a woman. I also think that it’s somewhat different when I suggest to girls that they should undress during our concerts. I’m a woman, and my breast has already slipped out onstage.

uMag: Above all because you monitor guys’ reactions very closely and take sharp action against chauvinistic behavior. When they get off easy, you talk to them about the size of their genitals or you dare them to show their dicks.
Weist: I wouldn’t say that I do that because it’s important to me to promote feminism. I gave a seminar for young girls who wanted to be on stages, too. They told me that they couldn’t understand when the technician growls at them because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. Nobody growls at me onstage when I make it very clear that it’s my stage, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t know where every plug should go. It’s about confidence and, for me, being confident to try out tech. When I tell girls in the audience to flash me, then it’s clear that I don’t want to see breasts. There’s something hiding in there, and afterward, you can ask – but for some reason, nobody does that. That’s probably why there’s this label.

uMag: You also have a problem with this stigma when you announced that you don’t want to see anyone in Frei.Wild or Böhse Onkelz shirts at your concerts. Instead of getting credit, because you take a stand against bands in the gray area, you’re accused that you’re using the fight against bands with a right image for PR purposes.
Walter: We wrote this Facebook status on the tourbus at one in the morning, and when we woke up the next morning, there were 6000 comments. Even death threats were thrown in.
Weist: There was a shitstorm, and we had a similar situation three years ago at a festival we played. I told someone in the audience to either take off his Frei.Wild shirt immediately or to fuck off. At that time, nothing happened, it somehow went below the radar, maybe because Frei.Wild were relatively unknown at the time. But it’s interesting that we’re now reproached for jumping to conclusions.
Deckert: The German pop landscape is so unbelievably comfortable. Nobody wants to have a scandal anywhere, and that’s why they keep out of it nicely. If so, then you usually say that Nazis are stupid. But of course: Everyone except the Nazis think Nazis are stupid. Obviously we didn’t want to run around the place pointing fingers, we wanted to leave some space and not just profess an opinion. That’s why we just let some things fall and then people can inform themselves.
Weist: For our single “Ein Schmerz und eine Kehle” we made a statement to Putin and the discrimination of homosexuals in Russia, but that was ignored by the media. Then more important things came around: Tim Bendzko is dancing on a tightrope for his new single.

uMag: Well “Ein Schmerz und eine Kehle” isn’t the most radio-friendly song from your new album “Schlaflos”…
Weist: Radio’s done for us, anyway, they don’t want us.
Walter: You get a list of feedback from radio stations, and the nicest comment was: “No, we aren’t playing the new single because Jennifer Rostock are strange people.” That was the nicest compliment we’ve ever gotten from a radio station.