[artist id="2034673"]Tokio Hotel[/artist] recorded Humanoid in exactly the kinds of places you’d expect a globally successful rock act to record a new album: glossy, flossy destinations like Miami and Los Angeles, to name just two. But they also worked on the album in a tiny studio outside of Hamburg, Germany … because deep down, past the makeup and the massively devoted fanbase, they’re just four small-town kids who have made it impossibly big.
Sometimes people forget that … the guys in Tokio Hotel included. Because, to be honest, it’s often difficult not to.
“We recorded a lot of stuff in a small village where we have a studio. It’s near Hamburg, so it’s a real quiet place. That was really important,” TH frontman Bill Kaulitz said. “I think the third record is the hardest one. Everyone is talking about that, so we are really thankful that the fans like it, and, yeah, I think we went into the studio and wrote and ignored the all pressure and everything. That was really important. And the time was important. That we had time and no deadlines.”
“It was important to have a lot of time, time to hang out,” his brother, guitarist Tom, added. “A week with nothing but to hang out.”
The time was key. Because by their own admission, even Tokio Hotel were getting a bit sick of Tokio Hotel — of the screaming fans and the globe-trotting tours. Sick of playing the same crowd-approved hits. They need to be away from it all, to grow and develop and become a new band. And Humanoid is the end result of that evolution.
“We were on tour for the last record for such a long time and we were really tired of the songs and of our faces and of the name Tokio Hotel. We really wanted to do new things. It was really time for us to go into the studio and write songs and be creative,” Bill said. “I think we had great concerts, and it was really, really cool to see the fans and be onstage, but we really wanted new stuff. I recorded ‘Monsoon’ when I was 13 years old, and last year we were onstage with that song, so it was time for new stuff.”
Hence, Humanoid‘s focus on futurism and the expanded use of electronics. It’s an album that showcases, as Bill put it, “A new sound-world for Tokio Hotel .” Which is why Bill and Tom decided to handle the project every step of the way — a level of involvement that went way beyond the co-producer credit they share in the album’s liner notes.
“You’re involved in everything,” Tom sighed. “In every single step. We were in the studio 365 days in a row.”
But Tokio Hotel’s evolution didn’t come easy: There were disagreements along the way, about the new direction of the band, about the focus of the music. And, as one would expect in a group with two brothers, there was a fair share of brawling, too. Though, given that they laughed about those brawls during our interview, we think it’s safe to assume there are no hard feelings. This is the new Tokio Hotel, after all.
“I think you need that. You need fights. And we fought a lot,” Tom smiled. “And sometimes I just punch [Bill] in the face, and I love that. And he loves that. We all love that.”