Rupert Keplinger (bass) from Eisbrecher
While we are all impatiently waiting for the new release from EISBRECHER to be out on 12th of March 2021, we keep enjoying new videos from the band and play games guessing what the complete content will sound like - both sonically and visually. I had a chance to ask a few questions to Rupert Keplinger, the bass magician, who decided to reveal some secrets and satisfy our curiosity.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hi Rupert, many thanks for agreeing to talk a bit about the upcoming EISBRECHER album - I know it’s impatiently awaited by the fans, especially in view that we are all concert-hungry and new-cool-music-hungry. Do you think ‘Liebe Macht Monster’, that is scheduled to be out on 12 March 2021, will satisfy the hunger of the fans?
Rupert: Absolutely! I think it’s a really special album with the perfect balance between fresh influences and the classic EISBRECHER style.
RoD: You’ve just got back from Berlin where, I believe, you were doing a video for one of the songs? It was shoot on the roof? Am I right? Could you disclose a bit about it?
Rupert: We shot the video for ‘Im Guten im Bösen’ and the location for the band performance was on the roof of the E-Werk Berlin. It was wonderful to meet the rest of the guys and to do something band-related. Our last video and photo shoots were the only activities where we met in person. It’s fun to hang out and I truly missed that.
RoD: Tell me more about the concept of the album. There is a lot of yellow and nuclear-related sings on it. Will it be so strong-kick? Why all the yellow?
Rupert: You can read the album title in different ways; one example, as three single words: Liebe. Macht. Monster. (Love. Power. Monster.) The other way is to read it as a sentence: Liebe macht Monster (Love creates monster). Love or too much love will create a monster. In this case “Liebe” is something really dangerous, it must be treated as a hazardous substance. Everybody should be aware of this danger, hence the nuclear biohazard look.
RoD: While working on the album - is it a team work or is Alex or Noel real masterminds? What is your contribution as a bass master?
Rupert: Pix is the producer, he makes the main decisions together with Alex. My job is pretty simple, I deliver some musical ideas and if something fits the concept, we continue to work on it to make a full song. Besides this I also play the guitars on some songs that only have quickly recorded demo-tracks. The bass is generated mainly by synthesisers or other electronic sources.
RoD: Who did you co-operate with during the recording? Are there any new faces present or is this the set team engaged? Who is responsible for the visual part of the new release?
Rupert: There are several loose groups working in parallel and I can only speak for myself. I had the opportunity to join forces with two new writers on this album. One is Malte Pittner, who used to be in the band DEICHKIND for a long time, a really creative mind and a gifted lyricist. Malte, Alex and me are responsible for the song ‘Kontrollverlust’, a highly energetic track which I like a lot.
And then there is ‘Dagegen’, a collaboration with Dero from OOMPH! Although I have worked with OOMPH! before, it has never been in the EISBRECHER context. Dero had the lyrics to ‘Dagegen’ on hold for a while and showed it to me during a session in autumn 2019. I found it very inspiring; the timeless theme of “swimming against the current” is close to my heart anyway. So, I told Alex about it, maybe something will turn up? Bingo, Alex added the chorus, I built the music underneath and the track went to Pix for production refinement. The rebellious theme of ‘Dagegen’ also gave me the chance to add a Tom Morello inspired guitar solo.
RoD: You are the artists who are known for cherishing your fans and surprising them with every album - I’m wondering where do you take your ideas from? I mean EISBRECHER is freaking awesome in live shows, powerful music but also side activities (like radio show by Alex) or cool merch (unforgettable EIS-teddies). It must make you very occupied - you must really love it, don’t you?
Rupert: Well, all the ideas don’t just come to us overnight, each new album is a very long process. A good example is the development of FAKK. The riff that later became FAKK came to me in the summer of 2018, at that time still in combination with a double-time chorus and the melodious working title ‘Trapminister’. About a year later, at the Rock For People Festival in the Czech Republic, Pix came up with the idea to write a song with ‘Fuck’ as the main theme. And somehow these two ideas came together and it became a song. The perfect combination! For the entire album a lot was written and produced and naturally, a lot was also thrown away. At best, creative work is always characterised by trying out new ways and that also means that you discard a lot of things.
RoD: At this point - do you treat music as your main occupation? Like a job? Or is it still more like hobby? Or a hobby that became job?
Rupert: Music is my passion, but of course it’s also my job. I never learned any other profession as I decided to become a musician when I was about 15 or 16. And to this day I have never regretted it.
RoD: What is music for you personally Rupert? You play in EISBRECHER, of course, but also in your projects DARKHAUS and you support SOTIRIA as well - on this occasion, could you tell me more about your own projects and what you are up to? Any new releases? Or do you focus on EISBRECHER at this point?
Rupert: Not every band or artist is busy at the same time. At the moment it’s EISBRECHER, because the new album is coming out, that means photo shoots, video shoots, social media work… But my parts are done quickly and after that (in normal times) there would be some festivals or maybe a short tour. So, there is plenty of time for other endeavours. As you mentioned SOTIRIA: A friend of mine was booked to play the tour with SOTIRIA, but then he had to stay home for family reasons and I stepped in for him. What began as a regular guitar-job turned out as a songwriting collaboration for the next album of SOTIRIA.
The first track we wrote on the road between Munich and Cologne and we continued later in the studio. In general, I am glad to be in the fortunate situation of being completely independent as a musician. Over the last few years, I had the opportunity to work with various artists / bands from very different genres (PETER MAFFAY, MATTHIAS REIM, LORD OF THE LOST, LAITH AL-DEEN, SOTIRIA, OOMPH!, FERRIS MC, DER W, KAREL GOTT, EISBRECHER…). In 2008 I received my first Gold Award for Christmas songs for children. What?!? Yes, sounds funny and indeed it is! Since then, I have continued to be lucky and collected more Gold and Platinum Awards that now fill the walls of my living room.
But let’s get back to passion: It was a very fulfilling time with the band DARKHAUS from 2011 until 2017, we played over 70 shows and we wrote great music that is still listened to a lot. After we decided to close this chapter, I needed some time to recharge myself. But I noticed pretty soon, that I miss something where I can realise my very own personal ideas. When I work for other artists, no matter if it’s EISBRECHER or PETER MAFFAY or whatever, there is always a guideline as to how the songs should sound. And that’s totally fine, but there is more. I still have the inner urge to do my very own thing. If I do not follow this instinct, I am unhappy and miserable. Hence, I started to work with a new singer, we put a band together, we already wrote and recorded incredibly powerful songs, we took stunning promo pictures and as the next step we will look for suitable business partners to put this band on the market. Yes, we start from scratch with 0 followers, but that’s how it is.
RoD: As EISBRECHER you travelled a lot - do you miss it? Do you miss live shows? How do you feel during the concert? It’s always a real adrenaline rush but I can imagine, much as it is great for you, it must also be very tiring. So, I’m wondering - how do you prepare for the concert? How do you vent the energy afterwards?
Rupert: I miss everything about the concerts! Playing a show is always the purest affirmation that not everything went wrong in my life. I also like the social experience of the travel party, all the crazy things that happen. Yeah, sometimes I am tired or hungover, but I don't mind that. As soon as we get back on stage, I’m back at 100%.
RoD: The tour with EISBRECHER has been rescheduled again to 2022, how do you feel about it? With covid-19 still being a real threat – do you think we will ever be going back to normal? I mean I had a last chance to see you in Dresden 2020 – that was indeed the only show for that year and I must say it exceptional. Like a moment of normalcy stolen from crazy reality. Do you plan anything at this point?
Rupert: Frankly spoken I am quite pessimistic about the live business. First of all, I am afraid that from now on there will always be some kind of health risk that will result in restrictions of big events. You just have to search hard enough and you’ll always find something that could be dangerous for some people. And second, I think that a lot of people have gotten used to stay at home on the couch, it’s so much more comfortable than to visit a concert. But hopefully I am completely wrong! I wish nothing more than to experience live shows and festivals like we used to.
RoD: What kind of music do you personally listen to? Is music your inspiration, or there are some other sources of ideas for you?
Rupert: I listen mainly to guitar driven music and classical music. Sometimes I get inspiration from a song or a groove that I really like and take it as a starting point for a new idea.
RoD: How do you fill your time during the isolation? I know in Germany it’s still pretty tight…
Rupert: I do what I always do, I sit in front of my computer and try to make something happen. Normally the concerts were a welcome break to leave the studio cave behind and travel and meet people. But that is now gone. When I packed my stuff for the recent video shoot, it took me forever, I already lost my travel routine.
RoD: Your gear - it’s awesome, one must say that once and for good. How long have you been collecting your guitars? Do you have a favourite one? What was the first one you bought? Is there any special story with any of them? How did your journey with the instrument or the music in general start? Do you have to adjust your style or technique with every band? What is it like with EISBRECHER?
Rupert: I don’t see myself as a collector of instruments, I have about 20 guitars and maybe 8 basses, that’s nothing compared to the amount that some colleagues own. But I like every single one of my instruments and I take good care of them. My first electric guitar was an Ibanez, that my parents bought me after I made clear, that I really, really want it. It took some years until I could afford to expand my arsenal and now I have pretty much everything I need. But although you can have too many guitars, you can never have enough! So, I constantly look for new gems, I browse through vintage guitar sites and enjoy looking at all these beautiful guitars that I don’t buy.
RoD: Being busy as you are, do you still have time for, say, your friends, family, cinema, gym, occasional beer?
Rupert: I ask myself the same question very often. There are many things besides music as a profession that I find interesting, like literature, learning languages, staying fit, drinking beer with friends or just listening to music as a consumer. During the last years I increased the daily proportion of these none-professional activities, because work is not everything. I also want to enjoy life and have a good time.
RoD: What is the best that EISBRECHER brought to your life?
Rupert: The best thing is that I met so many great people and made new friends.
RoD: Back to the new album - if you were to tell us what we are to expect in three words…
Rupert: Massive, mighty, thrilling.
RoD: Thank you very much for your time Rupert and see you during the shows!
Eisbrecher Promo picture by Holger Fichtner (360 Grad Design) / Pictures of Rupert by Franz Schepers & Tony Berger