Greetings over there. First of all, I’d like to thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. It’s indeed great to interview such a cult act. As usual, I always ask you to, please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Christof: Thank you for taking time for Japanische, the small and tiny band from little Germany! We are five guys playing something like deathmetal or grindcore with german lyrics. We reunited in the beginning of 2014 after we split three years ago and are now back with a new album called Welt ohne Werbung.
Before we start talking about Welt ohne Werbung, I’d like to ask you about the split. Please, tell us what was the main cause of it and why did you decide to return with Japanische Kampfhörspiele?
Christof: There had been too many reasons to name them all. One bigger reason was that we were kind of annoyed with each other but also with always playing the same songs. After the reunion it’s fun to rehearse again and to play songs we never played before. We all did several soloprojects in the last past years. But entering the stages now again will be great. And to be honest: Japanische Kampfhorspiele is the name that sells. It’s hard to get regard in times where anybody is able to record and produce himself. An established name is a big value. It would have been dumb not to raise the band again. Though it is not the same lineup as before the split.
Yes, yes, I’m aware of that. And indeed it’s very reasonable, as you said, it’s hard for many bands to even record their own material. About the line-up, for those that aren’t yet familiar with Japanische Kampfhörspiele, tell us, were there many line-up changes over the years of the band’s existence? How hard was it for you to find new musicians that were committed to the band and to integrate them into Japanische Kampfhorspiele? Please, tell us about the current line-up and how you’re all getting along.
Christof: The current lineup is nearly the same as 2004-2007. Our former guitarist Robert is on board again. But we left Klaus who was the other forming member beside me. That means that we play with only one guitarist for the first time. But it works since Robert plays for two. He is specially equipped like the guitarist of Dying Fetus what makes us sound like a band with two guitarists when we play live. JAKA never had too many lineup-changes. It´s about four or five guys who had joined the band and are not in it anymore. And we remain in good standing to each of them. Our 2002-vocalist Simon did some guestvocals on the new album for example. And both our former guitarists, René and Klaus, contributed some of their riffs.
Now let’s talk about the band’s new album Welt Ohne Werbung, released in May, 2014, the comeback album. I personally enjoyed it very much, perhaps, in my humble opinion, of course, the best Japanische Kampfhörspiele album. Besides what you’ve already mentioned on the previous question, please, tell us a bit about this release, how the recording process was, what the lyrics mostly deal about as well as how do you feel overall about it. And where would you rank it in Japanische Kampfhörspiele’s discography?
Christof: The latest is always the best one. This album was formed in a bit different way than the others. With JAKA we always let things happen maintaining a big freedom for accidents. We always wrote the albums while we already had been recording them. Welt Ohne Werbung was created by accident, too. But the difference was that we first collected all the riffs and beats and lines, put them in a pot, stirred it and then started to record the stuff anew. Writing the album – that means connecting all parts accidentally – took 3 weeks. Recording it took about 2 months. While recording it we still changed some things but almost the whole thing had been firm.
The lyrics deal with the typical JAKA-topics. My lyrics always depict the modern life. Mostly the western lifestyle. I see them just descriptive, not too critical. Actually I’m only gathering all the information our age floods us with and sort them. Combined with the metal music we play some really nice vocal-lines, rimes and wits occur.
I was reading a review in which the person that wrote it felt a bit confused. This person was thinking about a song with the title like Der Neue Hitler and then this person also knew about the “influences” of Dead Kennedys on JAKA’s music and that Welt Ohne Werbung featured a song called Ramones (well, the last fact isn’t so “revealing” as Ramones, when it comes to the band members, was a walking contradiction that worked). Well, those that follow the band for a very long time might have an idea/ know more about JAKA, but those that are new to your sound, and especially the ones that don’t understand German, don’t. So, I ask you, does Japanische Kampfhörspiele, as a band, have any political motive or instance?
Christof: When you deal with current developments political topics are unavoidable. But I think JAKA is more entertaining than instructing. The Dead-Kennedys-influence has been ascribed to us by a phony music-editor. So that became a running gag. But mostly for us and the german audience. To explain that would go too far. When you read the lyrics of Der Neue Hitler you will get the joke. This one is maybe the least political track on the record, haha.
Generally speaking, not only when it comes to your music, but also to your lyrics as well, what would you say that are the main influences on Japanische Kampfhörspiele? Be it about books, movies, society, anything, even the most unexpected ones, if there’s any, hehe.
Christof: For this one it was names like: Erich Fromm, Noam Chomsky, Emanuel Todd, Ian Morris and the recently deceased Heisenberg-student Hans-Peter Dürr mixed with everyday-news and everyday-life. Musically I don’t know. There is no concrete influence.
When you created Japanische Kampfhörspiele was there some sort of goal or was it something just to have some fun and then it actually turned into a cult act?
Christof: The second. It formerly was just a 2-member-fun-project. I think it grew that big because there was no goal at all. And even today we really take care keeping that demo-band-feeling. We don’t tour or play too many shows, we don’t have endorsement deals, etc.
Back to your lyrics or maybe the Japanische Kampfhörspiele’s message, why do you think that some people don’t understand them, the humor behind some of them? In a way, do you think that Japanische Kampfhörspiele is a misunderstood band at all?
Christof: Because the humor is not that obvious. it´s more how the lines are placed or what rimes happen. So the humor is not a part of the message. Hard to understand for non-native speakers. To make this clear: JAKA is no fun-band. Neither a fun nor a political band. Mostly the lyrics are ironical. And impartial. So “message” is the wrong word actually. I don’t want to push someone into a direction. And I don’t believe in a rockband being able to change others opinions.
I think the same. Regarding the no-message-thing most of the reviews get this. But I think that’s because I always disclaim it all the time, haha. But you mean the fun or political issue? There are always a few thinking JAKA was a fun-band. And also a few JAKA is a political band for. But that’s often people who don’t go into it too deep.
Now let’s head for a more fun part of the interview and yet knowledgeable ;). I don’t think I’ve met one German person that doesn’t like beer. There must be, of course, but I still have to meet one. About eight years ago, I played a game when interviewing Tankard named one beer, one word. Let’s do the same here. I’ll name a German beer brand and you tell one word you think about it (some might be form the same brauerei, but the beers are different):
Christof: Hahaha. Shit! Now you met that one! That means I like it, but beer is all the same to me – except Weissbier. But I prefer weed. Don´t you have some sorts of weed?
Christof: That´s a flavor from Bayern, right? Normally it´s not allowed to smoke down there, so this one is a breeding nearly without any thc. I never tried it.
Christof: This one you smoke through an “erdloch”. That means you dig a hole in the ground and then … i´m sure you all know how to do it.
Christof: Another bavarian sort. Similar to Paulaner. No thc.
– Hacker Pschorr
Christof: That´s the one Julian Assange likes the best.
Christof: This one was given to our worldwar2-warplane-pilots for to increase their paranoia.
Christof: Comparable to White Bud.
Christof: I don´t know that one. But it sounds like you can´t walk the line after you smoked it.
Christof: The infamous deathmetalband from England in which Barney Greenway once sang likes this, I guess.
Christof: The very popular indie-rockers from Scotland like this.
Christof: Don´t know it. But it sounds good. I think I´ll have to test it!
– Maisel Weisse
Christof: It´s shit compared to Maisel Purple.
Christof: Prickelt herrlich im Bauchnabel when you smoke it.
Christof: You mean Wernesgreener?
Christof: The grower of this one just died. No wonder since it´s a very cheap sort with lots of brix in it.
Christof: This is no grass, this is yoghurt!
Christof: A very dark sort. The guys of Mayhem smoke it before suicides, photo-shootings or murdering each other.
Christof: This one works good in the morning.
Christof: Tom Ayinger used to smoked it through Heineken-cans with his buddy Jeff Henninger.
Christof: You only need a very small amount of this to fly really high. So watch out!
Christof: My favorite sort!
Hahah, that’s one very interesting and completely unexpected answer! I liked it. Well, if you want to really talk about your favorite weed sorts, you can now tell us on this, as I’d like to know your favorite activities when not creating music. What are your main “hobbies” outside the music world? Are you a member of the “masturbation for peace” movement?
Christof: How do you know that?? We invented that organization! Did it already slop over to Brazil? In fact masturbating is my only activity besides creating music. In a way it’s a requirement.
Hehe, I think it’s already a worldwide organization! So, Christof, where to you see Japanische Kampfhörspiele heading to now? With the release of the new album, do you feel that the band might play live more often? In your view, is Japanische Kampfhörspiele “here to stay”, to keep on releasing more and more albums? Hopefully so, hehe.
Christof: The next production will start in june or july. We will do a new cover-album on which we cover german bands from the past and present. In 2005 we did “Deutschland Von Vorne”. Ten years later it´s time for “Deutschland Von Vorne 2”. Broadly we have no plans. No goals! Der Weg ist das Ziel.
Genau, Bruder! Well, Christof, thank you very much for all of these awesome answers. It has been indeed great to interview you and I’d like to wish you the best of the best in your future plans. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Cabeça vazia é oficina do diabo.May 23, 2014