Origins of Rammstein’s explosive theatricality

Rammstein bassist Oliver Riedel tells how the elaborate stage presentation, which became the trademark of the German metal band, originated. Right from the group’s inception, stage performance and theatrics were important elements of its expression. In fact, their stage act was an essential factor in Rammstein’s international success, contributing in crossing over to the American market.

While forging their artistic identity, Rammstein found inspiration listening to bands like Ministry and Laibach. Riedel adds that their German heritage, especially History and political events, influenced the band’s agressive style. He also debunks the rumour the band Kiss had any effect on their use of costumes, make-up or special effects on stage. Oliver Riedel would rather cite AC/DC as a meaningful musical influence to him.

It’d be nice if the music coming from each country was expressed in its native language. Each language has its particular musical characteristics.

– Oliver Riedel, bassist of Rammstein

Sensei Pascal w/Oliver Riedel (2010)

The musicality of language

Nominated for Best Metal Performance at the Grammy Awards for their songs Du Hast (1999) and Mein Teil (2006), Rammstein takes great pride in their native tongue. Consequently, Oliver Riedel affirms that the phonetics and guturality of the German language fit perfectly with the band’s style of music.

In fact, Rammstein once declared that they found French to be the language most appropriate to express Love, whereas German was the one most aligned with feelings related to Hate. Exposing his artistic perspective on language, Riedel finds that, when expressing oneself musically, one should do so in one’s native tongue, as each language posseses its unique musical characteristics.

Rammstein back in America after a decade of absence.

Controversy is amongst the factors that kept the German Tanz Metal (Dance Metal) band away from performing in America for about 10 years. However, bassist Oliver Riedel indicates that much of that pause is explained by overdue time-off needed by the members of Rammstein and the production of the Rosenrot album (2005). Also, considering their European origin, the band’s latest touring efforts had been focusing on that particular market. Their 2010 live performance in front of 100,000 fans at the Quebec City Summer Festival (Canada) marked their long-awaited return to the American continent.

3 suggestions to optimize your personal (or artistic) expression.

#1 | Sensei says: Dare to be different.

Throughout the years, the multi-platinum metal band has proven that staying true to one’s artistic style, regardless of criticism or commercial pressure, breeds durable success in the long term. Despite public censorship or national boycotts, Rammstein did not compromise on their content and never stopped challenging social taboos. Those are a few of the reasons why they obtained so much respect from their fanbase.

#2 | Sensei says: Your roots can stimulate creativity.

Winner of a multitude of awards from a diversity of international authorities in the music industry, such as renowned publications Metal Hammer and Kerrang!, Rammstein proves by its authenticity that cultural roots can be powerful sources of inspiration. History, Politics, Geography and Language can be elements bringing a vernacular aspect to one’s expression, regardless of the artistic medium.

Listening to Oliver Riedel, I learned that dedicated artists value the communicational efficiency of their art form. As German musicians, Rammstein recognized that using their native tongue would limit the lyrical comprehension of their songs. Therefore, their exploitation of a multiplicity of channels – i.e. staging, costumes, make-up and performance acting – to support their music’s meaning optimizes its communicational potential, both on stage and in videos.

#3 | Sensei says: Anger can be productive.

Correlating what I’ve discussed with Rammstein’s Ollie, I support the proven principle that all strong emotions are powerful vectors of creation when exploited intuitively. Per example, popular Top 40 music is saturated with content reprising the themes of love and pleasure. Anger, sadness and frustration can also be very potent sources of inspiration and are oftentimes the basis from which stems works of the rock/metal music genre and sub genres.

Rammstein | Du Hast – Music Video


Rammstein is a German industrial metal band composed of members Till Lindemann, Paul Landers, Christoph Schneider, Christian "Flake" Lorenz, Richard Kruspe and Oliver Riedel. Founded in 1994, Rammstein has sold more than 10 million albums, DVDs and singles worldwide.

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