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Music

German band Revolverheld sings the stories of their generation

Kids, career - life starts getting serious when you hit 30. After over 10 years together, Revolverheld know about the tough choices that come with adulthood. DW chatted with the band at the launch of their new tour.

Their name may mean "revolver heroes," but German rock band Revolverheld is all about sticking together, and not picking a fight. After over a decade together, the Hamburg-based foursome recently released its fourth album, Immer in Bewegung (Always in motion), and is now on tour throughout Germany. DW's Kate Müser caught up with lead singer Johannes Strate and guitarist Kristoffer Hünecke at the start of their tour in Cologne.

DW: Revolverheld has been nominated for an ECHO Award, which will be presented on March 27, 2014. You've already received tons of awards over the course of your career, including four Gold Records. But do you think that prizes can be given for something as subjective as music?

Johannes Strate: Every artist probably says that awards are not important for him. We don't do music because we want to achieve a lot of awards, but the ECHO is the biggest award in the German music industry, so it's a great honor to be nominated. We were nominated two times this time - for the Radio-ECHO, and Best Band (Rock/Pop National), which is probably the biggest thing we've ever had in our career. So we really want to win this thing!

It's a hard choice between you guys and German rapper Cro

Kristoffertoffer Hünecke: But Cro wears a mask, so maybe he's ugly!

Johannes: Maybe he's a girl…

Kristoffer: He's a robot, perhaps.

So you guys have been together as a band for over a decade. How would you describe a friendship that goes that long?

Kristoffer: It's like a relationship. It's like we've been in love since day one.

Are you closer to each other than to your partners?

Kristoffer: Sometimes. (Laughs)

Johannes: We sleep in the same bed.

Kristoffer: Yeah, and we drive in the bus and it's like back in school when us guys would go on vacation. Every time we go on tour it's like this and it's really nice. You share things that perhaps you don't share with your partner. It's like a deep friendship plus a musical relationship and that goes side-by-side and it's really nice.

Do you have nicknames for each other?

Johannes: We have a lot of nicknames, yeah. Jakob [Sinn, drummer] has the most nicknames. We call him Pinsel ["brush" in German]. I don't know why.

Kristoffer: Because of his hair.

Johannes: I think this year we are calling ourselves "Herbert" and "Manni."

Kristoffer: Because these are really stupid German names.

Johannes: It's like Joe and Jack.

You're at the beginning of your tour. Being on the road so much, how do you maintain a private life?

Johannes: When we're on tour, we don't actually have a private life. The band is the private life. We share all of our problems and stuff with the band members. Every night, everyone calls their girlfriends, and I Skype with my son. Now he's one year old and he waves at the camera. That's very cute! But we're only touring the German-speaking countries, so we're not on tour for like six months. Right now we're on tour for three weeks in a row. But it's the longest time since my son Emil was born that we're not together. So I don't know how I'll feel about that in two weeks.

You recently helped a close friend who proposed to his girlfriend in your music video for the song "Ich lass für Dich das Licht an" (I'll leave the light on for you). Do you believe in marriage?

Johannes: I do. Now that we shot the video, I do. David made a very romantic proposal to Saskia. I've known this guy since the day I was born, so he's kind of like my younger brother and he proposed to his girlfriend. So now I believe in marriage - even though my parents are divorced.

Band Revolverheld, Copyright: picture alliance/BREUEL-BILD

Revolverheld: from left, Niels Grötsch, Johannes Strate, Jakob Sinn, Kristoffer Hünecke

What makes the perfect friend or the perfect girlfriend?

Kristoffer: I think loyalty…

Johannes: Honesty.

Kristoffer: Honesty and loyalty are a big thing.

Johannes: I think you don't have to love your partner every day, every minute, every second, and you don't have to share everything. My girlfriend doesn't have to be my best friend. I have a lot of good friends and I have best buddies, who I can share different stuff with. You have to accept that you don't have to have the same opinion about things in every minute of your life. People are so different. So you just have to find a way to get along and work on the relationship.

Kristoffer: We were talking about that this morning when we were having breakfast. You have to work on it and you have to communicate. I know a lot of couples that don't communicate anymore. They talk, but they don't really say important things. Perhaps sometimes people forget this.

You've said you tell the stories of your generation. What are the issues that people in their early and mid-30s are facing in Germany?

Kristoffer: Of course, relationships.

Johannes: The society is changing, with gentrification. The cities are changing, the bars are closing. Ten years ago we had drinks at a lot of bars that are closed now and there are huge office buildings there now. That's tearing out my heart. So everybody is done with their studies and working now. People are having kids; life is getting serious. So these are the issues in your mid-30s…10 years before the mid-life crisis. (Laughs)

The texts in your new album Immer in Bewegung (Always in motion) include a lot more visual, concrete imagery than in your previous songs. Does that come from having more life experience?

Johannes: Maybe. This is our fourth studio album, and we worked on it a lot. The more you learn in the studio over the years, the more you have to put in the new album. So it took a lot of time to do the album. We recorded a lot of songs and we did a lot of demos. There were a lot of steps before we finally recorded the final songs for this album.

Kristoffer: Our sound in general changed a bit. We wanted to go away from the rock band sound, like having a guitar, bass, drums and vocals. We wanted to go into the big melodies, and having some more instruments, and really move the sound up a level - and make it bigger.

Do you have any crazy stories with your fans?

Johannes: One beautiful story is that, a couple of years ago, one fan gave us a star. You can buy a certificate and name a star. And she named a star after Revolverheld and handed us the certificate and said, "I have a star for you." And we were like, what!? And now we have a Revolverheld star.

Kristoffer: What's always crazy is when fans tattoo something from the band, like the logo or just word "Revolverheld."

Do you have a Revolverheld tattoo?

Kristoffer: No, of course not. But some fans do. They make the decision and it's ok, but I think it's spooky.

You're at the beginning of your tour. What can your fans be looking forward to?

Johannes: It's going to be the biggest Revolverheld tour of all time! We brought a truck with lights and toys and stuff.

Kristoffer: It kept getting bigger and bigger. We had a small truck and then a medium one and now we have the biggest truck that exists!

Johannes: We're going to play the longest set we've ever done, more than two hours. Everything is sold out every night.

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