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schoengeist2014 1Interview with

Timur Karakus (vocals) from Schöngeist

It’s always interesting to discover new music for yourself. I don’t even know how it happens, but accidentally you find something you’ve been looking for a long time and this is exactly how it was with SCHÖNGEIST whose music appeared to be like a breath of fresh air. It’s for me of course, without comparing or drawing parallels with other bands. And finally I’ve got a chance to talk about this music with Timur Karakus, the mastermind of the project. So after some traditional technical problems and a general talk we smoothly passed on to the discussion of SCHÖNGEIST, the band’s music and related notions. The whole thing is below, just read and enjoy!

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): What does music mean to you?
Timur: Music means passion, a feeling of being alive. And when you make music, you feel always healthy, always good.

RoD: About the beginning of your creative way, how did you come up with the idea of making your band?
Timur: I was a very big fan of THE SISTERS OF METCY. I was a teenager when I saw their concert for the first time. They inspired me so much. And then my father bought me a guitar and an amplifier and I started making music.

RoD: So you can play the guitar.
Timur: I played the guitar, but not onstage.

schoengeist2014 2RoD: Ok, what attracts you in the carrier of a musician. Or what are the benefits of being a rock star for instance?
Timur: I’m not a rock star. I’m a simple guy, hope a nice guy most of the time. But the benefit is the chance to meet a lot of wonderful fantastic people, definitely not money. For musicians it’s a very hard work because you don’t earn much money if you’re not on top, so this is a very hard and long way. But I love it very much!

RoD: And please say a few words about the name of the band. What did you want to express with the word “Schöngeist”?
Timur: “Schöngeist” is a special and very old German word, used mostly with a negative connotation. It means someone who doesn’t care about the real life and prefers to be surrounded with art, alcohol or sex, drugs, Rock’n’Roll, etc. And I make rock music with critical lyrics to expatiate on this notion “Schöngeist”.

RoD: Do you remember your very first live performance?
Timur: My very first live performance was not with SCHÖNGEIST as I’d been playing in several bands for many years, garage bands so to say. So my first gig was in the youth centre and it was very nice. Many years ago.

RoD: Ok. And how could you describe your sound, especially for those who haven’t listened to your music yet?
Timur: I think it’s simply Rock’n’Roll, quite modern, with German lyrics, romantic, with electronic and classical fusions. It’s like a mild version of NDH, we are not a metal band, maybe in-between THE SISTERS OF METCY and OOMPH!, but there are always some influences of this or that. But we stand apart.

RoD: Getting down to the latest album ‘Wehe!’. This album seems to be more profound and matured so how could you personally describe the transformation of your music and lyrics from ‘Liebeskrieger’ to ‘Wehe!’?
Timur: I think ‘Liebeskrieger’ was more experimental, then with ‘Keine Zeit’ we wanted too much. It’s a very interesting album with great musical aspects but a little bit too overloaded. And now ‘Wehe!’ took the best qualities of the first and the second albums. It’s straighter, more serious and more professional. And this is the right way as by now it’s our best-selling album. So that transformation was just right.

schoengeist2014 3RoD: And what was the source of inspiration for this album?
Timur: Well, the inspiration is life, feelings. Different situations of everyday life may inspire. Sometimes it may be just a word in your head and then there come sounds. There are many ways of getting the inspiration, of producing songs.

RoD: One can notice that some tracks touch the subject of dreams, ‘Traumtanz’, ‘Er zählen die Sekunden’, ‘Ich bin dafür’. So let’s talk a bit about this issue. Do you think that people should always follow their dreams? And what about you?
Timur: Mostly I don’t think that people should always follow their dreams. In countries with the strong economy people are prisoners of their life, of their reality, of the jobs they don’t like for example but they have a fear of losing their jobs. A lot of people are not doing what they are made for. On one hand they just don’t know what they are made for, but they may feel that they’ve chosen the wrong way and it makes them unhappy. On the other hand those who know their predestination, but they are still prisoners, they have to earn money, to do this or that to stay alive.  The musicians have to fight every day, and that’s not only about music, as it’s also a business fight. So to live your dream is not an easy decision because there’s a risk of losing everything. But without undertaking that risk you can’t reach your goal. This is a very hard and even dangerous way. Yet anyway it’s an adventure.

RoD: Definitely. So back to the album. What comes first, music or lyrics?
Timur: It differs. I think it’s mostly 50/50.

RoD: And all the lyrics are in German. So have you ever thought of writing something in another language?
Timur: Well, we made a cover version of Nick Cave’s song, ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow’. But actually it depends on the concept and even the name SCHÖNGEIST is a German word yet we may make another cover of an English song. Why not?

RoD: What is your most favourite SCHÖNGEIST song?
Timur: It also differs from day to day and from year to year. But today I was listening to some old songs of SCHÖNGEIST and was very excited to hear ‘Sesam öffne dich’ from the first album ‘Liebeskrieger’. And I forgot how good this song is. So I’m thinking about performing it live again, maybe at the next gig.

schoengeist2014 5RoD: SCHÖNGEIST consists of six people. Can you characterize each of them with only one word?
Timur: Ok. Daniel is pure Rock’n’Roll. Our drummer Manuel is an Italian sunshine. I think he’s one of the best drummers in Europe. He plays as a guest drummer with many bands. So he is young and he has a big future I think. And he’s also one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. Well, Henriette… I think if Leonardo da Vinci lived today, he would paint Henriette instead of Mona Lisa. She’s the diamond onstage. Andreas, our bass player is a female killer. Michael is very cool, powerful, solid. Well, and I think that other people should describe me, I’m not gonna do it myself.

RoD: Great! About your music taste. Definitely THE SISTERS OF MERCY, but what other bands do you listen to?
Timur: I listen to a lot of music, classical music for example, then also NINE INCH NAILS, and of course such legendary bands like LED ZEPPELIN, PINK FLOYD. You can learn something from these bands. When I was younger, I was listening to METALLICA. Of course I respect RAMMSTEIN and one of my big heroes is FALCO. But if I like a song by LADY GAGA, I will listen to LADY GAGA. I’m not afraid of getting in touch with other styles. It’s not like that I’m gonna listen to only one genre, I’m not so restricted. Besides if you listen to one and the same style all the time, your own music will sound the same.

RoD: True. And what is your favourite song of all time?
Timur: Well, I think it’s ‘Earth Song’ by Michael Jackson.

RoD: OK. So if your life were a song, what would the title be?
Timur: Interesting question. I think that it would be ‘Searcher’, always in search for yourself, who you are, where you come from and what the sense of your life is.

RoD: Really cool! And what are the future plans of SCHÖNGEIST? Are you working on a new material? Or maybe a new video?
Timur: Well, yes, now we’re in the right mood for writing some new stuff. We’re also going to play some gigs, besides there’s supposed to be a small tour at the end of the year. And before that shows at Free & Easy Festival and Nocturnal Culture Night.

RoD: Is there any question you want to answer but have not been asked before?
Timur: Well, actually I would say “hello” to our Russian community and repeat again how happy and moved we are and we hope to play in Russia one day.

RoD: Ok, that was for Russia. And now please say something to the readers of Reflections of Darkness.
Timur: Well, I like this webzine, the wonderful readers. Thank you! So stay tuned, don’t forget about us. I think we will surprise you in the nearest future.

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