Oomph!


Biography

In the beginning, there was an idea: why not fuse completely different influences? OOMPH! follow this idea up to today, with the difference that the number of influences has increased steadily in proportion to their creative skills. Dero, Flux and Crap stand for new beginnings and continuity. For more than two decades, the trio has renewed, expanded and deepened their music repeatedly. Meanwhile, the constant process of innovation caused followers of completely different camps to become fans of the band based in Braunschweig today.

In the beginning, there was an idea: why not fuse completely different influences? OOMPH! follow this idea up to today, with the difference that the number of influences has increased steadily in proportion to their creative skills. Dero, Flux and Crap stand for new beginnings and continuity. For more than two decades, the trio has renewed, expanded and deepened their music repeatedly. Meanwhile, the constant process of innovation caused followers of completely different camps to become fans of the band based in Braunschweig today.

The OOMPH! story reaches back to the fateful year 1989 and started in their hometown Wolfsburg. From influences like EBM, rock and new wave the three rookies created a new sound. Hotspots of the electro scene at that time were Berlin and Frankfurt. “Back then we would perform impromptu actions like taking the car on Friday night to get to the “Linientreu”, Berlin or the “Dorian Gray” in Frankfurt. There we’d go all night, eat breakfast in the morning and drive back completely tired“, Crap tells amused. “It actually was in the “Linientreu” where our first single “Ich bin du” (“I Am You”) was played for the first time – and the people danced”, Flux remembers, “at that time, we handed over the track to the DJ on tape.”

The stylistic openness is already reflected in the name. „Those were times when bands liked to call themselves like computers. You saw a name and knew the group would play EBM”, Crap says. “We didn’t want that, that’s why we chose OOMPH!. We didn’t want to belong to a certain scene!” The mandatory question what “OOMPH!” actually means, singer Dero answers as clearly as quick-witted: “Marilyn Monroe had OOMPH!” “We can’t be pinned down”, Dero continues, “we’ve done crossover at a time the term didn’t even exist yet. Already very early, metal magazines as well as electro magazines wrote about us. Our second single “Der neue Gott” (“The new God”) made it to the American College Radio Charts.” Flux drops a few names: “In our younger years we listened to AC/DC as well as Kraftwerk, DAF, Depeche Mode and The Cure.” For Crap it were bands like “Laibach, Krupps, Nitzer Ebb and Front 242. Additionally we had German and English lyrics, apart from us, nobody else did that.”

In the beginning, a Berlin indie label distributed OOMPH!’s records. In 1998 the band switched to a Munich major label, landing first hits with “Das weiße Licht” (“The White Light”) and “Fieber” feat. Nina Hagen (“Fever”). A dream came true in the beginning of 2004, when the single “Augen Auf!” (“Open Eyes!”) reached No. 1 in Germany. The album “Wahrheit oder Pflicht” (“Truth or Dare”) went to No. 2 of the Media Control Charts and was decorated with a gold award, the single even received platinum. On top, the Lower Saxonians even obtained the respected radio award “1 Live Krone” as “Best Band of the Year”.

Highlights were followed by setbacks. Like OOMPH! were excluded from the TV broadcast of the Echo 2006 and were not allowed to present their song “Gott ist ein Popstar” (“God is a Pop Star”). It was the time of the Mohammed caricatures – the TV producers lacked the courage to advocate the freedom of opinion and belief. In 2007, OOMPH! won the German TV music competition “Bundesvision Song Contest” with the single “Träumst Du” (“Are You Dreaming”) featuring the female singer Marta Jandová.
Shortly after, the band participated in the German “Wok Championship” in Innsbruck, where singer Dero sustained a severe brain concussion as result of an accident. One year later good news returned, their album “Monster” (“Monster”) went Top 10. OOMPH! wrote the follow-up album “Truth Or Dare” (2010) completely in English. During their career, the Germans visited all parts of the world: the trio played concerts in Russia, the U.S. and nearly every European country. Musicians of numerous scenes and regions call OOMPH! their idols, amongst them Berlin’s Rammstein.

With “Des Wahnsinns fette Beute” (“Completely Nuts”) the three marathon men round of the dozen, twelve albums in 23 years – only a few bands manage that. For the current opus, new rules were established. “Let’s allow ourselves everything, like we had just founded a new band. Let’s work self-ironically and not so serious. Before others laugh about us, we rather do it ourselves”, Dero phrases their intention. Additionally they had musicians that they were friends with come into the band-owned studio, who also threw in their ideas. “We wanted to re-discover ourselves. Away from gothic and melancholy, colorful instead of dark!”, affirms Crap. This way, the most diverse, most catchy, and funniest work of their career so far was created. Along the lines of “anything goes”, it became a motley selection of multiple styles, without losing sight of the roots of their beginnings. This way a guitar track like “Unzerstörbar” (“Unbreakable”) stands next to “Zwei Schritte vor” (“Two Steps Ahead”), a song with Sixties feeling and a horn section. “Such mich find mich” (“Look For Me Find Me”) is pure dance floor, “Bis der Spiegel zerbricht” (“Until the Mirror Breaks”) a yearning synth ballad. Accompanied by 80's pop like “Kosmonaut” (“Cosmonaut”), straight forward rock like “Komm zurück” (“Come back”) and a cabaret song with Reeperbahn flair like “Seemannsrose” (“Sailor’s Rose”).

Musical wealth is combined with loads of witty humor in the lyrics. “Unzerstörbar”, for example, is about megalomania and self-delusion, things you often find in the music business after all. “Zwei Schritte vor” deals with the worldwide economic crisis and its wolves (banker), lambs (main street investors) and herding dogs (politicians). “Such mich find mich” revolves around love, while “Bis der Spiegel zerbrich” is about casting shows and disposable culture. “Aus meiner Haut” (“Out of my Skin”) deals with a favorite topic of singer Dero: “Every human being is bi, am-bi-valent and bi-polar. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be reserved for gays and bisexuals to write songs about homo- or bisexuality. Because I can act it out in lyrics and on stage, I am quite relaxed in that sense”, says the family man and father of two children. Flux sees the lyrics as “a metaphor for all the other areas, in which you might want to jump out of your skin, but don’t dare to do it. Maybe we should just put on a dress sometimes, take Marilyn Manson for example. He might like to make a cuddly album one day, but obviously can’t escape the tight-laced bodice of his own cliché.” With “Seemannsrose” OOMPH! stay on topic and even up the ante. In this sultry harbor honky-tonk track, almost every scene cliché is served. (Excerpt: “Komm mein schöner Leichtmatrose / lass uns bummeln gehen / lass herab die Seemanshose / alle soll´n uns fummeln sehen”, “Come on, my handsome sailor / let’s go for a stroll / let down your sailor’s pants / they all shall see us groping”).

One more highlight of OOMPH! poetry is the title “Bonobo”, where you can literally hear the fun the three of them must have had. (Excerpt: “Die Bonobos sind vorbildlich / sie teilen alles brüderlich / zu zweit, zu dritt sogar zu viert / bei Stress wird einfach kopuliert”, “The Bonobos are exemplary / they share everything like brothers / between two, three or even four / when stressed they simply copulate”). “Sometime on tour we watched a documentary about Bonobos. Us humans derive from two arteries of primates: Chimpanzees and Bonobos. This makes the ambivalence of the human being, on the one hand we are able to steal, murder, rape – probably our chimpanzee genes; on the other hand we are relatively needy in terms of harmony and don’t mind stress management through sex”, Dero explains. “We wanted to reduce fighting within the band, so the Bonobos became our running gag.”

Every member of the trio is smart, eloquent and quite disputatious. That raises the question: How did OOMPH! manage to stay together for more than twenty years? “In a constellation of three, there is no tie when it comes to voting”, Flux knows. “We aren’t very resentful and make up quickly. After all, we also are a community of interest”, Crap responds. “Method Bonobo”, Dero laughs, “meanwhile we have figured out the right mixture of proximity and distance.”

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Discography

1992 Oomph!
1994 Sperm
1995 Defekt
1996 Wunschkind
1998 Unrein
1999 Plastik
2001 Ego
2004 Wahrheit oder Pflicht
2006 GlaubeLiebeTod
2008 Monster
2012 Des Wahnsinns fette Beute
2015 XXV


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