18.07. - 21.07.2024
Sometimes everything turns out differently than you think. You make big plans – and then they just get crossed from one moment to the next. For example, from a worldwide pandemic. This is what happened to Tokio Hotel when the band had to cancel their big tour in Latin America with a heavy heart in spring 2020. But the sudden end of the concert series also has something good. Tokio Hotel may be returning to the studio heartbroken but doing so as a full band for the first time in a very long time.
Without sessions via video chat and audio tracks that are sent across different time zones halfway around the world. Hidden from the world they worked on songs together, spent nights racking their brains over small details, tried them out, discarded them, started all over again. Making music like back then, 20 years ago, when Bill, Tom, Georg and Gustav decided to form a band that would not only change the lives of the four teenagers, but also music history. A band that has made history - well beyond their big hit "Durch den Monsun" from 2005.
At this point, it must be said unequivocally that Tokio Hotel have never rested on their first major successes, but have continued to develop the idea of themselves further. And that on an international level that still exists today in an unprecedented way. The extroverted self-image of a front man like Bill, the musical nerdiness of a producer like Tom, the stoic tempo of Gustav and and the bass play of Georg that holds everything together - all this results in a band that is still unparalleled in terms of influence and standing, and that even after 20 years of band history, five albums and countless tours around the world, has still remained relevant.
That has never been more evident than on 2001, the band's new sixth studio album, out on November 18, 2022. The chosen title based on the founding year has a good reason. Because when Tokio Hotel went into the studio in spring 2020, the idea quickly arose to re-release the formative song. "This has closed a circle," says Tom Kaulitz. "We looked back at where we actually came from and what has happened since then."
This is exactly what becomes the main idea and the essence of the album, which on the one hand goes back to the roots, but also combines all the Tokio Hotel facets of the last two decades. Exactly this feeling accompanies the band in all sessions, through many studios in Berlin and L.A., with new encounters and one or the other reunion with old acquaintances.
The results are classic Tokio Hotel songs like "Dreamer" - or the quiet and intimate "Just a Moment". "I wrote the song when I just moved into my new house and spent a weekend there with someone I was in love with at the time," says Bill. "We drank, chatted and it felt like five minutes, even though it was actually a whole weekend." Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, Bill sings about that one brief moment where everything is perfect but passes way too quickly. "That's also why we didn't change Bill's vocals after the first recording," says Tom. “The music should be as simple and pure as the story behind the song. Because actually you don't need that much in your life to be happy."
"Just a Moment" is one of two collaborations with Canadian newcomer VVaves, who is not only behind the songwriting of big hits like Zoe Wee's "Girls Like Us", but also has made a name for herself as a solo artist and through collaborations with Iggy Azalea. After a first joint songwriting session in L.A., a declaration of love for Germany's capital followed with “Berlin”. A dynamic piano ballad, for which Bill even wrote a large part of the lyrics in German. Contemplative and melancholic, but also as thrilling and euphoric as the city itself, which over the years has gained a very special meaning for the band, who, despite their cosmopolitan career, always return to their roots.
“Because we no longer live in Germany, Berlin is where we meet to work on new music and where we start our tours. The city has become our band home. With Berlin i associate nights of partying and the best clubs across Europe, but also diversity, the art scene, music and culture,” explains Bill – and Tom adds: “For me, the song also describes a deep connection to someone with whom you haven't spent quality time in a long period - but even if you don't see each other again for years, everything is the same as before," explains Tom.
Anyone who knows Tokio Hotel knows about the humor that the band lives out not only in interviews or on TikTok, but also in the music. There is, for example, "Happy People" with the Berlin based Icelandic electronica musician and singer Daði Freyr who, after participating in the ESC with his band Gagnamagnið in 2021 and the millions of streamed solo songs "10 Years" and " Think About Things” has long since made a name for himself far beyond his homeland as an accomplished pop producer between DIY and big sound.
A tongue-in-cheek uptempo track that, despite its danceable vibes, contains a mixture of melancholy and comedy in equal measure. "Happy people make me sad", sings Bill Kaulitz to uptempo beats suitable for clubs and you inevitably have to smile, but at the same time you can also feel the heavy melancholy behind the line. "Actually, that's a sentence that gets in its own way a bit," says Bill. "But when you think about it, a lot of people feel that way -- and while everyone around you is having a great time, you wonder why you're not. That's why the track is a feel-good song for all misfits."
For “White Lies” Tokio Hotel are collaborating with the Berlin based electronic producer duo VIZE. The song begins as a classic band song: "I don't wanna make you cry / stay here by my side / only big white lies to get by...", sings Bill to his band's spherical synths and guitars, before VIZE brings this bittersweet tale of lies to the dance floor with their trademark sound of throbbing beats and hard bass lines.
On the latest album, the band shows an unusual joy in experimentation. While Tokio Hotel albums have so far all been under the sign of a single musical era, on "2001" the most diverse genres and feelings go hand in hand. So it only makes sense that alongside a banger like “White Lies” there could also be a mysterious piece like “Here Comes The Night”. A song about the night - and the love-hate relationship with it. An emotional roller coaster ride that tells of the dark side, but also of the beautiful and attractive moments that darkness and loneliness bring with them. Loud guitar riffs meet cool bass synths, warm 80s pads and a crystal-clear vocal pop production, making the song the perfect soundtrack for the dark hours of the day.
Accompanied by melancholic grooves, "Runaway" tells of the feeling of never really getting there, always wanting more and having to break out - simply because you can't help it, while "Bad Love" skillfully deals with the ambivalence of feelings and with the chaos that can result from that. And with an impressive vocal performance on "Aint' Happy" Bill Kaulitz allows us an unusually deep look, before "Back to the Ocean" closes the album with its very own vibe.
“‘2001’ is quite a colorful album with the best songs from the last five years. We are incredibly grateful for all the people who have remained loyal to us over the years and are still with us today, but also for all the new people who have made the last two years so unforgettable and successful. This album is for all of us and for all the love of the last 20 years.”
In April 2023, Tokio Hotel will finally go on their big “Beyond The World” tour, which will take the band on 16 gigs throughout Europe. “Tokio Hotel has always been a very visual band, and we write our songs with ideas for the stage show in mind. Unfortunately, we had to postpone the tour twice. But now it's going to be even better and all the ideas from the last three years will be part of this new show. We are really looking forward to spending time with the fans!”