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Interview with:

Der Graf - Unheilig

It was a little bit silent around UNHEILIG in 2007, only a few concerts, no sign of a new release. But during that time “Der Graf” was very busy recording the follow up to ‘Moderne Zeiten’ which is now finished and ready for it’s release in February and in March, UNHEILIG will also be on Tour again.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): First of all, even if it’s a bit belated a happy new year. How did you spend New Year’s Eve?
Der Graf (DG): I spent it with my whole family. I really enjoy that and it is important to me that, especially those occasions can be used over and over to be together, talking, laughing, eating and parlour games. Might sound a bit boring for some people but for me it’s the perfect family evening. I’m doing this for years and I think this won’t change in the future.

RoD: 2007 was a hard year for UNHEILIG fans. Did you spent the whole time, working on the album or did you also take some time for yourself to recharge the batteries?
DG: I didn’t take some extra time to recharge the batteries, but this was probably because I was basically eager to finally start something new. Especially 2006 was a year where it was all about live activities and similar things. I enjoyed that, but I was also glad that I could make something new now. Therefore I just would have harmed myself with a forced time-out. I finally wanted to approach with the vision of ‘Puppenspiel’ and was glad that a calm year 2007 lied ahead, where I could therefore fully focus on ‘Puppenspiel’.

RoD: In 2007 there were only a few concerts because of the work on the new album. Did you miss this close contact to your fans?
DG: In any case. All this wasn’t that easy for me. I appreciate the contact with the fans very much. Because of that I missed all those beautiful moments a lot. I meanwhile know many of them personally and therefore I’m delighted to see them again at the concerts. These are the moments, when I can straighten out my soul and I meanwhile see it as a second family. When those beautiful moments just come in patches at the few concerts, then you can’t wait that they’ll get more numerous again. All the better it is when the new album is finished, so there will be beautiful moments with the fans at the concerts again.

RoD: The title of your new album is ‘Puppenspiel’. What is so fascinating this special form of performing arts? Is it maybe the fact that it reflects the real life in one way, because there you’re also bound to particular mechanisms?
DG: I think the  final picture for ‘Puppenspiel’ took more and more shape with the own experiences in the live sector, what led to a process, where ‘Puppenspiel’ manifested itself more and more in my mind. I recognized that the borders between the real life and the life on stage dissolved more and more and it showed me that all the separate stories of the UHEILIG songs fused with each other on stage. The stage has become a fixed part in my life over the last years. There I had some of the most beautiful experiences and there I can present the individual songs to the fans. Basically it’s become an absolutely essential form of expression for me, where all the individual stories of the UNHEILIG song are lived and told. The basic thought “The world is a stage” was created and therefore the base for ‘Puppenspiel’ was laid for me.

Every topic I dealt with and that was in my mind was one I could use with the genus ‘Puppenspiel’. Topics like love, hate, dictatorship, fear, life, hope and parting and so on limitless harmonise with ‘Puppenspiel’. The puppetry is form of expression which goes along with the people for centuries and through which they keep in mind their own lives, basically some kind of mirror of life through which they can see themselves in different situations or even recognise themselves. The allocation of roles, who is the puppet and who is guided by something is therefore not fixed and gave me the possibility to switch between every kind of narrative form that life contains.

Every human is guided by something like a puppet. That can be an event, another person, another destiny or a religion you orientate yourself on. Similar to a hand that guides the thread and the cross of a puppet. The listener has the possibility to recognize himself in every song on ‘Puppenspiel’ and to refer them to his/her life.

RoD: One is surely nervous, how people will react on a new album. Was there already any feedback from people who were allowed to listen to it in advance and if so, how were the reactions so far?
DG: Well, I’m using my circle of friends and my family as guinea pigs, because I know I will get an honest feedback from them. This was the case with all albums and I place much value on that. What is always important to me is that the emotions of the individual songs jump over then. The first reactions on the album were just great and so far everyone sees a progression in everything. That was, what I wanted to achieve from the beginning. But I know that the definite decision lies in the hands of the fans. They decide how good ‘Puppenspiel’ is in the end.

RoD: Your new album will also be released in the US. Do you think the people there will have problems to comprehend what the songs are about because of the language?
DG: No, I don’t think so. We all listen to English songs and only few people understand what they are about in the end. It’s the same in the US or elsewhere. The melody and the impression of a song will be the bridge to the listener for now. If you like it, you’ll ask yourself what the song is about. I’m already very curious about the first feedback from the US.

RoD: You will be on tour again starting in the middle of March. Are you already anxious to present the new material live and what else awaits the fans?
DG: There will definitely be some new elements at the ‘Puppenspieler Tour 2008’ compared to all the previous UNHEILIG shows. The most important thing for me is the audience. I don’t like all those fire and pyro stuff. You build up a distance to the audience with that in my opinion. We will bring all the equipment and stage design with us and transport it from location to location, so the fans will get high quality in every area at every concert and therefore will get an extraordinary show. I will also be close to the audience like never before during the show. The rest should be a surprise

RoD: I thank you for the interview and wish you much success and much fun for the tour.
DG: Thank you for the interview and kind regards to all readers.


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