Meeting with Schoengeist is always fun, fresh, and intriguing. On the occasion of this interview we had much fun, because of the openness of lead singer Timur Karakus and of his willingness to answer the quirkiest of our questions. This is how we found out what he likes to do before going on stage, whom he would like to share the stage with, and what his feeling is, as an artist, about the scene and the demands artists face and comply with in their careers. It was a very enjoyable experience and we warmly recommend listening to Schoengeist and paying attention to their plans – you are going to hear a lot about them, if you haven’t yet. Enjoy!
VIVA: What is the story of Schoengeist? And how did you come up with the band’s name?
SCHOENGEIST: It is quite simple. You know, Schoengeist means a kind of beautiful spirit of human kind. A spirit we have totally lost in the last decade. More and more people are getting poor and are afraid of their lives, and what is in store for them in the future. The reflex is selfishness and a permanent, destructive fight one against another. No room left anymore for the beautiful things from our environment. So the consequence for me was to build an opposition against this inhuman attitude.
VIVA: Your band on stage seems like a get-together of friends. How did you guys meet and when did you decide to work together in the present formula?
SCHOENGEIST: Oh yes I love my band very much. They are high qualified in their art and also very honest and fair people. The relation between us is awesome. It is three years already that we work together in this format. We all come from the same city, Munich, where the scene is quite small. It was only a question of time before we met each other ;-)
VIVA: For your latest material, “Keine Zeit” you collaborated with Eisbrecher’s Alex Wesselsky. How did you meet and how did your collaboration go?
SCHOENGEIST: Alex and me are very close friends and have been so for about 13 years. Regarding the collaboration, it was spontaneous. Alex paid us a little visit in the studio and listened to some stuff of our pre-production . Then one thing leads to the other ;-)
VIVA: “Keine Zeit” also includes an English version of “Sugar Sugar”. Do you plan to stick to singing in German, or will you explore more lyrical content in English?
SCHOENGEIST: Haha, “Sugar Sugar” is a remake from our German version called “Zucker Zucker” included in our first album “Liebeskrieger”. I love this damned track. I think I am going to make different language versions for each new album like a running joke. I am seriously thinking about this ;-)
VIVA: We had the opportunity and honor to see your performance at NCN Festival and together with Klangstabil you get our vote as favorite performing band. What do you do before going on stage? What do you do after?
SCHOENGEIST: Many, many thanks for this. That is a great honor for us. Before I go to stage I eat too little and smoke too much. And because I am a perfectionist I am always sad if the technical specs do not work like I expect.
VIVA: In our latest private discussion you mentioned new material coming up, first a single later this year and also an album in the beginning of 2012. Please tell us more about what you’re working on.
SCHOENGEIST: My plans are quite simple. I am working on a little EP including no more than three or four tracks for the club scene and also presenting some new material on the upcoming festivals in 2012. I will not be the slave of producing every year an album. This is not healthy, in my opinion. Not healthy for the market and not healthy for me, either. We are artists, musicians not piece workers.
VIVA: Your current musical portfolio speaks in equal shares about political issues and personal, intimate issues. What is the message you want to carry on with your music?
SCHOENGEIST: A lot of people during the last decade made music without any kind of expression or message in common. No content, you know. But we are rockers!!! And the attitude of rock ’n roll was and is to be a rebel. A rebel is one who puts his finger in the wound. If you don’t have a constructive and intelligent message you are not a rock ‘n roller. Don’t misunderstand me; it goes the same if you make electro, rock, metal etc … music. If you need soft music then go to the Eurovison song contest.
VIVA: What are the sources of your Oriental music inspiration? Why did you think of introducing them to the industrial/gothic scene?
SCHOENGEIST: My roots are Turkish, but I was born and grew up in Munich, Germany. I did it because I am convinced about that music is a very important and effective tool for integration. People come closer, talk and learn from each other, for example. It opens minds. Regarding creativity, it is a thrill connecting some orient influences with modern occidental rock music style. No one did that before in the German music scene.
VIVA: What are the challenges that you encounter in your work as a musician? Did you find a recipe for success? If so, please share.
SCHOENGEIST: Haha, if I had a recipe for commercial success I think we would do this interview together in the Bahamas right now ;-) The challenge is first making music, music, and music. This does not depend on commercial success for me personally. I feel I am a musician from the bottom of my heart and my soul. The way it happens, you have to make music first. Success will happen or not. No one can influence this, except God.
VIVA: What kind of music do you listen to? With whom would you like to share the stage?
SCHOENGEIST: Oh, I listen to everything. That’s important for not losing touch with music in general. My biggest dream would be sharing the stage with The Sisters of Mercy. Because they are guilty of my becoming a musician ;-)
VIVA: What is your message for your Romanian fans? Any last thoughts you want to share with us?
SCHOENGEIST: Tune in, turn on and burn out!