WITH RPWL (italian version)
Reply Karlheinz and Yogi
by Giancarlo Bolther
Can you describe to us how you have known yourselves and how is born your collaboration?
KARLHEINZ: All of us live in the same region (near Munich) and over the years some of us played already in different bands together. But the most important project was VIOLET DISTRICT. In 1992 we released our album TERMINAL BREATH which had great success in the progressive rock scene. In this band I played together with Chris Postl - the original bass-player of RPWL - and other musicians. Yogi Lang was the producer of TERMINAL BREATH. After the break of VIOLET DISTRICT I played with drummer Phil Paul Rissettio in many bands and one day we played a cover program (Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP, etc.) together with Yogi Lang and Chris Postl - just for fun and just for one show. But we had so much fun that we decided to play more gigs - just covers, especially old PINK FLOYD-songs.We made our own versions of PF songs (e.g. CYMBALINE which was released in 2000 on the PINK FLOYD tribute sampler "SIGNS OF LIFE")! But more and more we made our own songs and in 1999 we decided to record our own album which was released in 2000: GOD HAS FAILED. Then we had the problem that Yogi Lang had to concentrate on two important things: playing keyboads and singing the songs. So we engaged a keyboard-player: Andreas Wernthaler. And as you can see in the meanwhile he's a fix member of RPWL. While we recorded our second album TRYING TO KISS THE SUN it became more and more clear that Chris Postl had to quit the band because of his job and family. So Stephan Ebner - the original VIOLET DISTRICT bass player - signed up the band. And here we are...
With Stock you are at your third album, an important goal, can you do a statement of your musical career?
KARLHEINZ: All of us have been musicians for a long time but RPWL is than just a band! We invest our heart, a lot time and a lot of power! On the one hand we spend so much time together that we are like a family and on the other hand it's hard work for all uf us. YOGI: We have to go our way step by step with all the people who are helping us: our live-crew, our booking-agency, our label and distribution, etc. We are part of our own story - in every way. And as long as we can take a step forward we´ll do so.....
How much time did you take to realize Stock?
KARLHEINZ: That is not easy to say because you have to know that some songs were already recorded. Most songs were part of the GOD HAS FAILD and TRYING TO KISS THE SUN sessions.
YOGI: So on some tracks we only had to do some overdubs. But the version of Syd Barretts OPEL is a new session. We always played this song as a soundcheck. A lot of fun and a excellent playground for us... We had to do a new arrangement to the song! You can hear one of the first sessions on the intro of the dvd-video...
KARLHEINZ: This time we spent more time to mix the songs for the dvd: the "conventional" stereo mix and at least the 5.1. surround mix. It was wonderful to experiment with the most modern way in listining music! Especially when you play live with a quadrophonic sound system, like we sometimes do, which is quite similar to 5.1 surround sound.
This new album is particular because you put together a set of unreleased tracks, did it wasn't premature for your third opus?
YOGI: In some way it`s much easier to draw a conclusion and finish all the "old" stuff before you work on new things. Though we worked already on our new album, we thought it is a good idea to complete our material on stock.... ´That it grew to a very special album with a particular spirit was amazing! We´re very happy about that and improved somehow that RPWL is more together than we thought....
Which are the most important differences between your albums?
YOGI: Maybe it´s very simple: GOD HAS FAILED was our first work we did together in the studio. So although the whole thing was very new, it´s a very "produced" album...TRYING TO KISS THE SUN was more based on the band feeling that grew with us... We discussed more than we played, but in a very positive way. We tried to play in pictures, tried to express our emotions.. It was very interesting for all of us... STOCK with its more rough production stands for the band! The spirit that is in that album is what RPWL is about at the moment.... And there are a lot of first takes on it.... So we all felt that there was something really special going on.. maybe a good sign for the next album....
There is a concept behind your first two albums?
YOGI: GOD HAS FAILED was inspired by the death of my father that made me very sad in this time... So the whole album deals with this problem. Something that is not within our power... TRYING TO KISS THE SUN is more about the real live. To do what you want to do, not to think it over and over... We wanted to express very basic emotions that we experienced during this time... So of course the album also deals about women....
Where did you find the ispiration to write your music?
KARLHEINZ: Every daily problem could be a inspiration. Making music is somehow like a outlet. Playing a few chords, relaxing and looking what will happen...
YOGI: Everything that touches you...
Can you tell us more about your quadrophonic sound system?
KARLHEINZ: We have a second PA-system which is behind the people. So people listen to some effects, athmoseric sounds, keyboards, etc. from four sides: Front right/left and behind right/left. This is similar to modern surround systems. YOGI: It is hard work for our engineer. But it is great to let the audience be part of the music that surrounds you. So as long as we can afford it, we´ll play in this way...
How hard is to organize a date with your technical system?
YOGI: It isn´t hard anyway. I remember we played several gigs in france, just stop the bus at the beach, plug and play. I think we are very uncompicated and very adaptable to any situation...
KARLHEINZ: We are used to make the technical expense as small as possible. But without "small quality"! ;)
How is the response of the audience to your live sound?
YOGI: Great! And it´s so important for a band like us to be in touch with the people that listen to your music.
KARLHEINZ: I remember our last tour in Poland and when 800 people are singing your own songs - word by word! - with you... It's quite fantastic!
YOGI: And unfortunately they knew the lyrics better than I did...
What does your name mean? There is something obscure into it (Run Pigs Welcome Lucifer), a sort of hidden message or simply a joke?
KARLHEINZ: No, the story is that our first Pink Floyd-cover songs (Run Pigs Welcome Lucifer) had the same initials as our names: RPWL (Risettio, Postl, Wallner, Lang). So we took the name for our first small birthday-party-gig. And then there was no more time to think about another...
I think that it is obvious that Pink Floyd influenced you, but there are other artist that you would like to mention?
YOGI: It´s hard to say, but the music that influenced me is the music i grew up with.... I started singing the blue album of the beatles in the bathroom, with 6 years...hahaha! But I remember that a real kick to make music was listening to MANFRED MANNS EARTH BAND! I loved his way of producing music. The day I decided to quit school, I went to my grandma with the "yessongs" album in my walkman.... I can connect my whole live to music..., it´s really funny!
What do you think about the new prog scene and how do you see yourselves fitting into it?
KARLHEINZ: I'm very happy that there are some many people who are listening to "high quality" music. No only to the daily shallow radio stuff. And I'm sure the internet made it possible that the prog scene came together! This is an advantage for everyone who love progressive or symphonic rock!
Do you think that the moment of grace that the prog and symphonic scene are experiencing helped your band to emerge?
YOGI: Then we have to discuss the question if RPWL is prog rock or not. But I think this is a thing that you have to answer... You know, we want to express emotions. More or less it sounds like it sounds... we never wanted to make prog rock, it´s the music that´s coming out of us, out of our hearts.. but it could have been punk music too...
Have you listened some of the new bands and there are some that you like?
YOGI: Hm, no, at least not. We played with some of them. With "Mostly Autumn" or "Timothy Pure" and many others... But on stage there´s always something to do, so you can´t really listen...
In this period prog metal is very popular, there are great bands like Dream Theater, Simphony X, Flower Kings or Ayreon, do you believe to be close in some ways to these artists or not?
KARLHEINZ: It seems to be difficult to talk about musical styles. I think our songs are neither that hard nor that complicated. But a good band has always something special.
YOGI: The very untypical thing about us is that we try to keep the song idea through composing, arrangement and producing. All the songs we do grow very natural. We don´t need to get complicated... Some of the prog bands seem very artificial to me. It´s more making music for the head, not for the heart. I think this is the biggest difference when you compare RPWL to other prog bands. You know, it´s not that we`ll never play a 7/8 bar or some polyrhythm, but that is not what our music is about.
What is the greatest challenge for your future?
KARLHEINZ: We hope that people will take the time listening to our songs and visiting our concerts! We are looking forward to our tour starting in March!
YOGI: Unfortunately the first two albums weren´t released in Italy at all, so we never had the chance to play there. But I really hope that we will make it there very soon!