Members of German rock band Fotos talk about their music
They are your typical rock band-dressed in ganjis and shorts, unshaven and extremely tired after a late night flight following two months of non-stops gigs across India and 17 other countries. Their lyrics range from conventional ones like lost love to more unconventional topics like anorexia (You dissolve or Du löst dich auf). Groggy at the start of the interview, the four-member German rock band Fotos, who were in the city, warm up and speak their hearts out on their passion – unadulterated rock music. Excerpts from an interview.
Did you know each other before you formed Fotos? How did Fotos come about?
No, we did not know each other previously. We had been involved in other bands. We met at a six-week workshop for musicians looking to form bands. It was a room filled with almost a hundred people and we recognised that we three – Benedikt Schnermann (drums) Frieder Weiss (bass) and Thomas Hessler (vocals) – wanted to get together.
Our lead guitarist (Deniz Erarslan) joined six months later when our guitarist at the time quit to start his own band. We are an unusual band as we don't live in the same city. We are scattered around Germany (with Frieder and Thomas in Hamburg, the producer in Berlin and Benedikt and Deniz 400 km away).
We travel a lot to make music. Most bands have rehearsal rooms. We've never had a rehearsal room. We exchange music over the Internet and meet up for a couple of days to practise and record.
About your first and second albums.
Both the first and second album is about failed relationships.
In your immensely popular song After the Goldrush (Kalifornien - Nach dem Goldrausch) what does goldrush refer to?
The song is actually a description of our situation. We achieved a lot of success in a certain genre of music. It's about our feelings after we became a “hyped” band and our emotions about being on the road for two years almost continuously. It is also our homage to Neil Young who made a record after the Gold Rush and it has lots of references to West Coast songs.
Your songs seem to deal with the impact of urbanisation and city work culture. Is that what you were trying to convey in your song Repeat Your Rhythm (Wiederhole deinen Rhythmus)?
Well, it is about work culture. But it's also a very German song as in Germany music and lyrics go together. German music is very monotonic and rhythmic. The German people like to be very effective. It is also a very optimistic song that asks you to start moving. It's about energy. It's also about protest. It asks you not to give up even if things get you down and to keep trying to make a difference even if no one is listening.
You have toured both China and India among other countries. How would you compare your audiences in these two nations?
We played to more people in China. In India we played to 2,000 people at a time, but in China we played to 10,000. But Indian kids are more euphoric and scream more loudly than Chinese kids.
Your message to Youngistan?
Marry who you want to marry. If you don't want to marry – don't marry!