EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tokio Hotel releases Kings of Suburbia after five year break

After a five year break, German pop rock band Tokio Hotel, introduced a new electronic album to their international audience, Kings of Suburbia.

Founded in 2001 by singer Bill Kaulitz, guitarist Tom Kaulitz, drummer Gustav Schäfer, and bassist Georg Listing, Tokio Hotel took the world by storm in their 2007 American debut.The band decided they needed to live out their lives after touring world wide for years, so they relocated to Los Angeles. A year into their break they decided to reform and create new music to surprise fans with.

Kings of Suburbia is an electronic album featuring 15 tracks that stray away from any of the band’s previous albums. This is the band’s fifth album to date, it was released digitally Oct. 3 overseas and Oct. 6 in America. The album has gone number one on the iTunes Chart on pre-sales alone in various countries.

Tokio Hotel’s world tour, Feel It All Part One: The Club Experience, is set to hit London June 6.

Substream Magazine: So this is your first album in five years, Kings of Suburbia, how are you enjoying releasing an album again?

Bill Kaulitz: We’re totally excited. We were on the road a lot and we needed to take a break to get our lives back, but we’re really happy with how the album and record turned out.

SM: What did you do during that break?

Tom Kaulitz: We didn’t do anything, we were on break for most of it. The band has been on tour for years, since we were 15. After a year into our break though, we decided to start making music again and to work on an album.

SM: Your new album, Kings of Suburbia, is something new for the band and its fans. I used to listen to you when I was younger and I was surprised by the spin on your music. Did you enjoy experimenting with music?

BK: Just like you our taste and interests in music have changed too. You know it has been five years since our last album and it was important for our band to make music we now like and are now inspired by. It’s important for a band to change and progress and this album reflects that. It ended up a little electronic but we didn’t predict it to. The whole process of developing and producing this album was very natural.

TK: We tried new things and new music, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. We see a lot of artists now who make the same music over and over because they know its successful, but that not how music should be made. We never want to just stick to just one sound.

SM: How has Los Angeles affected your album, if it has at all?

BK: It definitely affected our music, but it was the freedom of being here that did it. It was impossible to have a private life in Europe, we just couldn’t be there any more. When we got here it was great to just be able to do stuff. We went to supermarkets, coffee shops, just normal things. We also partied a lot, maybe too much, but it was good. We’d work on the album at midnight or later because we’d be partying too much, then we’d have an after party.

SM: So you said that some artists stay with one sound because they know it’ll be successful, how did you skew away from doing the same?

BK: This album is a lot more electronic compared to our last album. We had so much time to work on it though, it wasn’t hard to express who we are now through this album. We were finally able to create our own music from writing to producing it. We tried to meet with some of our old producers but they just wanted to reattempt our old music, and that wasn’t what we wanted so we decided to do it on our own. That’s where ¨Stormy Weather¨ came in we recorded it on our own and sent it to some new producers who really liked it and wanted to work with us.

SM: What inspired this album?

BK: All the partying, the night life, and the clubs.

TK: Honestly, the freedom. We finally had the chance to live our own lives and finally experience life and this album really reflects that.

BK: Yeah I found this so interesting, I would go out and meet people who had no idea who Bill from Tokio Hotel was. It was great to meet people on that level again.

SM: I get a very sensual nightlife vibe from this album, did the band intend for that?

BK: We knew it was going to be a surprise for fans to hear this album, but we didn’t really think of a target audience for it. It was such a natural process of making music, we didn’t think of anyone outside of our home studio. I think that’s how all great music should be done, you don’t just sit down and determine you’re making a hit. You have to just be confident and love the music you are making and success will follow that.

SM: What was the most frustrating and the most rewarding elements of working on this album?

BK: I hated working with other people sometimes, I know that sounds bad. Don’t get me wrong some of the people were really amazing and inspiring, but others were just douche bags. But that kind of thing happens when you’re in the music business there are a lot of big egos to deal with. Getting to feel the final CD was worth it all in the end though, you can just feel all the work pay off.

TK: Another thing was hearing our song on the radio for once. Five years ago no played Tokio Hotel on the radio so hearing it now is great.

SM: What tracks are you most proud of on Kings of Suburbia?

BK: Oh wow that’s hard, I think it changes every day. For today I would say that ¨Run¨ is my favorite song, right now. It’s just so different from all of the other songs and anything we’ve ever done. Also my personal experience with it in the studio, the sounds my voice was able to make surprised me.

TK: I would say my favorite is ¨Girl Got A Gun.¨ I produced the whole album, but I worked on this song the most.

SM: Feel It All Part One: The Club Experience, your world tour, starts this year in London. What are you looking forward to most on tour?

BK: We get to meet all of our fans on an intimate level. The concerts are being held in small clubs so we’ll get a chance to get to know our audience, it’s not your typical concert. We also get to talk to our fans now with the VIP tickets. I think our fans are just as excited as we are.