Till Lindemann on Golden Showers, Ladyboys, Drugs and coming to stay at my place

Credit: Lindemann

This story was originally published on 29/06/2015

Fuck man, I never thought I’d get interview Till Lindemann. All my life Rammstein were this shadow over hanging over everything.

An enigmatic German band that writhed naked in videos with a front man that bashed his head in with his microphone.

I didn’t (and still don’t) speak a word of German but there was always something there, something that made me feel tingly inside. A tingle only Rammstein could give.

But there was a catch. A trick. I wouldn’t just be interviewing Till Lindemann (in his capacity as frontman for his self titled solo project). Oh no, we’d be talking about golden showers, fetish porn, East German drug cocktails and his album Skills In Pills. It wasn’t nearly as fucked up as it sounds and it was strangely insightful. In the end, I invited him over and he promised to come and stay…

But past the golden showers and songs about men that feed their wives until they’re so fat they can barely move the most surprising thing about this interview was Till’s intent. What was surprising about that was that there was no intent at all.

“We [he and Peter Tägtgren of Pain and Hypocricsy] wrote the music for ourselves. It’s just, y’know, an instrumental and you sit down and think how you can fill it with lyrics and you come up with strange ideas.”

Till’s accent is a thick, heavy, German and it’s emphasised by his heavy, balls to the floor, voice that — without the accent — might be considered velvety. He frequently drops words from sentences and is light on his contractions.

“You watch TV,” he says after a brief pause for thought, “you read books, you watch documentaries, you just have to watch the news, all shit happens. Golden showers and stuff like, you watch these things in the Internet website, porn, whatever, there’s a lot of strange things.”

Till’s voice is contemplative. He thinks before he answers the questions and he’s not childish about the content of his songs. He doesn’t shy away from his subject matter but neither is he particularly perturbed by it.

“I just see it and I try to understand this obsession and try to crawl inside a different person and, y’know, try to figure out what these guys are thinking, feeling, what they’re doing and try to make an interpretation for myself, it’s like playing a role and I just write it down.”

Sorry fetishists, he claims not to be a feeder or a fan of golden showers or one of ladyboys. He looks at his role in all of this like an actor playing Hamlet (strange comparison, I know. He said it, not me.)

“If you have to play Hamlet then you have to think like a murderer so it’s just a role you have to play and I’m lucky I can crawl inside a person like this and write it down so it fits the music.”

While he argues, rather convincingly, that he doesn’t take anything on from what he writes about — he writes about it all rather convincingly too — instances like ‘Skills In Pills’ are where he steps out of the fetishist role and back into himself.

He champions the fact that anyone can take anything from music so he needs a little coaxing and convincing before he wants to reveal a Skills In Pills secret.

But first, a quick history lesson: East Berlin was the Communist side of the Berlin Wall. There was a very strict regime that made East Germany drug free. So, when Till tells this story and says he couldn’t get drugs it’s because there were none. Zippo, zilch, nada.

“I grew up in East Germany and I couldn’t get any drugs and we had to do it [get high] with crunching up pills and mixing it up with water and we had really strange cocktails to get wasted. You had to be really skilled in what you were doing or bad things could happen, you could get lost in your mind or you can die.”

Well Till, that explains a lot.

What he does admit, rather freely, is that everything he writes (looking at you ‘Home Sweet Home’ but not you ‘Fat’ and ‘Golden Shower’) contains little pieces of him and there’s some hesitation around how much of himself he should give to his audience.

“You always give a different part away with whatever you do and when it comes to writing it’s like there are always particular parts and how to be graphic in the lyrics and the songs.

“[There’s] not too much [he wouldn’t write about]but even if there was I will never tell you.” He bursts into rapturous German laughter. One of the few times he laughs (other than calling me a “lucky bastard” for living in NZ) and it’s like a rumble up from his stomach,

“Something things should remain in secrecy and I hope that people can read between the lines and don’t take it too seriously.”

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Sebastian Mackay

Sebastian Mackay

Pop culture writer and junkie using Medium as an archive for Music, Journalism and Podcasts.