Rammstein for grown ups

Noch zu timelesscellardoor-Zeiten führte ich ein schriftliches Interview mit der slowenischen Musikgruppe Laibach. Die „retroavantgardistische“ Vereinigung, die auch in der Kunst Fuß fasste, veröffentlichte im März ihr neues Album Spectre.

Was Laibach ist und warum sie nie mit Rammstein spielen werden beantwortete Ivan Novak (alias Ivo Saliger, alias Sperans) – inklusive einer Lehrstunde über die Geschichte/Zukunft Europas.

What Laibach means exactly?

LAIBACH: Exactly nothing, but in general everything.

Not only Slovenians know and love Laibach. What’s the secret of the success?

LAIBACH: The secret of our success is that we always fail better.

Who’s writing the lyrics of the songs?

L: Laibach is a collective organism. Our work is industrial, our language political. 

What’s behind the mix of languages?

L: History of humankind; culture, politics, civilisation…

Pressefoto von der Bandhomepage, 1983
Pressefoto von der Bandhomepage, 1983

The NSK, the so-called New slovenian Art, enabled the state „NSK“ (similar to a micro-nation) in 1991. How’s the situation at the moment, are there plans for the future? What is the general intention of this state and art project?

L: We helped launching the idea of the NSK State but we are not directly involved in it anymore. This state now belongs to its citizens and they are the ones who now have to create its content. The state only exists as much as its citizens believe in it. 

What is the opinion from Laibach about the European Union and the difficult politic situation in Slovenia?

L: Europe is the western part of Asia. The name Europe comes from the Assyrian word ereb, which means “sun set” or “setting” in general. The Greeks adapted it from the Phoenicians in the meaning of the west coast of the Aegean Sea. Eventually the entire continent came to be called this. Western Europe today is forming a union on the basis of a very pragmatic economic and not spiritual postulates, on the law of the market and not out of ethical motives, because of fear and not because of courage. But if Europe still wants to play a major role in world policy the growing European community is definitely a good idea.

At the same time we have to be aware that the history of Europe is the history of regions and differences and unification is not going to be an easy way. If Union will not include the full co-operation of Eastern Europe (together with the »troubled« nations and states), it will lead to a new radical division of the Continent (war in ex Yugoslavia, for instance). On the other hand unification can easily damage cultural differences, and the melting pot of nations and cultures can produce a really stereotypical super monster within the Unity, whereas the increased growth of technocracy, bureaucracy and politocracy can completely deform – if not abolish – the diverse faces of European national metaphysic.

Of course expansion will have to stop at some point. Any union is sooner or later based on exclusion of the others. Europe for now still remains far from being a federation, although the EU idea already includes some, very symbolic, characteristics of federalism. In a world divided as it is now EU can provide a reasonable economical and political security to its nations in general, although in particular the last events in Greece and elsewhere are proving, that EU cannot provide economical and political security to all of its citizens and democracy in these, economically weaker states, is becoming just a euphemism for financial totalitarianism. Slovenia can easily follow the steps of Greece, but it’s not quite there yet.

It is said that Laibach is the father of the german „Neue Deutsche Härte“-band Rammstein. Critics said that Rammstein icons the symbolic of Laibach. What is the opinion of Laibach concerning Rammstein?

L: We’ve explained that already many times and we can only repeat our statement here again;  Rammstein are Laibach for adolescents and Laibach are Rammstein for grown ups.

Pressefoto von der Bandhomepage, 2011
Pressefoto von der Bandhomepage, 2011

Does a contact exist between Rammstein and Laibach? Could you imaging to cover other songs of the german band (like “Ohne dich”), is there the thinking of projects where both music groups could come together?

L: We met in the past and Rammstein are usually visiting our shows, when we play in Berlin. They also invited us to do a remix of their ‘Ohne Dich’ song, which we did. But generally we don’t believe there’s much in common between Laibach and Rammstein, except maybe misunderstanding.

Rammstein was playing with Marilyn Manson as singer. How realistic is it that Milan Fras will sing with Rammstein? And on the other hand, how realistic is it that Till Lindemann (and the other guys of Rammstein) will sing/play with Laibach?

L: That’s a very utopian idea. If not already dystopian. It’s more realistic that each of the group does their own work.

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