“I think we just needed to get away from everything. We were running away from the career. That freedom we found… we could actually go out and live life and be outside of that Tokio Hotel bubble.”
The biggest change is the liberating independence a famous, young, rich musician gets when they’re experienced enough to have it. Bill and his twin brother Tom allowed themselves space to figure out where they want to go not only as people, but as musicians. They are responsible for their new album’s direction and growing sound, a welcome development allowed by five years of self-exploration.
“We produced for the first time and actually had the time to build our own studio. That’s the first time we’ve produced an album by ourselves. We never had the time before to do that.”
When Bill wasn’t in the studio, he was embracing the club life.
“I partied a lot,” he reflects. “I went out so much. [The album’s] inspired by the nightlife and the DJ scene. It’s way more electronic than the stuff we’ve done before.”
I was intrigued by this, namely because I break out into an anxiety-ridden sweat at the thought of trading in Netflix and petting my cat for a disastrous trip to a club. I asked him for his take on his recent Los Angeles outings.
“L.A. is kind of boring to be honest. Everything’s closing at 2 [a.m.], and I can’t get used to it because I am from Germany. Everything in Europe starts super late. If we party we party all night long. I can’t get used to it. I always get super stressed out. I feel like then you have to get super drunk to enjoy the night. You need to find the right people and the right parties to really enjoy it. I think for me, it’s that freedom that I was actually able to go out to a club without having security and someone recognizing me.”
I laugh and mention I’m from Las Vegas, a city where you’re encouraged to drink past 2 a.m. – so long as you tip. You must fucking tip.
“I love Vegas,” Bill continues. “Whenever I can go I’m down. It’s the closest thing to L.A. and you can party like you’re in Europe.”
The very next day after our interview, Bill and his twin brother Tom traveled from L.A. to Vegas for one last hoorah before a promo tour beginning today.
“It’s a natural development,” Bill says of “Kings Of Suburbia's” blossoming sound. “We didn’t force anything or discuss how we wanted to change. It just kind of happened. Our first single and album came out in Germany when I was 15. From that moment on we were just on the road and working and putting out music. I was super young. It just developed naturally. We never sit down and argue about a song or talk about what we want to do. It just happens.”
Their music's evolved from rock to electronic, adding piano, drums and synthesizers to create original songs like their lead single, “Love Who Loves You Back,” a Rock Mafia-produced track about the craziness of love.
“So many people, even my friends, always laugh at me because they say I’m a hopeless romantic – I have that strong opinion about love. I feel like love is that one thing you can’t control. It’s a beautiful thing. You can have your opinion, and you can make choices, but in the end you can never decide who you are going to fall in love with. Love has no boundaries, no religion. You should just love who loves you back and whoever makes you happy.”
The video for the song’s inspired by German movie “Perfume,” however I told him the orgy scene reminded me of Britney Spears’ “I'm A Slave 4 U” music video.
“That’s an amazing video, and an amazing vibe. That’s actually what I thought, too. When we were doing it I was like ‘that reminds me so much of the ‘Slave 4 U’ video,’ which is cool because that’s one of the best videos she did.”
Tokio Hotel released three music videos before the album's release. Bill says they wanted to put out as much music as possible this time around. Here's an example of their changing style; a hilariously colorful clip for "Girl Got A Gun."
The band's past, their growth and experimental life in and out of the club is thanks to their dedicated fans.
“Nowadays, it’s even more important to have a real fanbase. That’s the success... to be able to go on tour and play for the people, and have people that want to come and see your show. Charts and selling records changes so fast. One day you have a massive hit, and the next people forget about you... Our fans are super crazy and we love them. We’re grateful we have that super strong fanbase that’s made so much happen for us.”
At the time of posting, Tokio Hotel was trending worldwide on Twitter.
But before they trudge back into the nightlife shadows, Bill has a message for their followers:
“Always the best thing is to see the fans. There are so many people that say ‘oh, because of you I style this way or I get inspired.’ I love when I can inspire people and the fans go for their dreams, to achieve whatever they dream of. That’s the beauty of it all… I just want to inspire people with the music.”