RPWL have been offering some of the highest quality prog out of Germany in recent years. Beginning as a Pink Floyd tribute band, RPWL have since fleshed themselves out into a vital and compelling art rock group.
Conor: How is RPWL doing?
Yogi: Thanks lot, the band is doing very well. We are proud of the new album and looking forward to play the upcoming tour!
Conor: What has changed for the band since your last interview with me in 2010?
Kalle: A lot! We’ve been very busy etablishing our label. We’ve not only released our anniversary album GENTLE ART OF MUSIC but also Yogi’s solo work and bands like SIMEON SOUL CHARGER and SCHIZOFRANTIK. And finally we invested lots of time in the song writing for BEYOND MAN IN TIME. As it is a concept album we needed much more time sorting out the best and most adequate ideas.
Conor: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard RPWL before? This question is useful not only for people who have indeed never heard the band before, but also gives a glimpse into your own self-estimations of what RPWL is all about.
Yogi: At a big festival that we played in germany last year, we were told that we’re playing modern neo progressive rock music, whatever that is. I think we’re making music that gives you the thrilling moment to enter a new state of thinking. Have you ever seen people walking in order to push their mind and thinking? That is because our way of thinking has a great rhythmical aspect. Our thoughts and our mind can be highly stimulated by music. Our new album is a good proof that life without music would be a mistake.
Conor: What is the songwriting process for RPWL? How do ideas come to you, and how are they ultimately translated onto a full-band setting?
Yogi: I wrote down the first words in very early 2011. That was nearly the same time when Kalle came up with the first music ideas and demos. We brought some of our ideas together and so the whole thing developed. The rest is how you produce the album in the studio. I love the band feeling in the music as much as I love the input of musicians. That makes the whole thing much more interesting in my view, because there is more personality in the music and makes it not as cold as many of the so called “highly produced prog and rock acts”.
Conor: Your latest album, ‘Beyond Man And Time’ comes out early this year, an album that’s among the best I’ve heard so far in 2012. Are there any interesting stories or significant troubles that went into the creation of this album?
Kalle: Thank you very much! Producing a record has many highs and low over such a long time. In the end we are used to do more and more extra night sessions to finish in time. This time we’ve been working through 3 days and nights. But after so many records this is not a surprise for us anymore. In total it was exciting because this was our first regular record with Marc on drums and the very first recordings with our new bass player Werner. But it really was great with the guys. They are fantastic musicians and I think this is the best line-up we’ve ever had.
Conor: ‘Beyond Man And Time’ marks a big step for RPWL; this is your first attempt at a full-blown concept piece. Unlike many prog concept albums, there isn’t a conventional narrative being told here; it instead falls upon metaphors and allegory. It seems to me to be a cross between Nietzsche and Saint Antoine-Exupery’s ‘The Little Prince.’ What can you say about the concept for this album, and what inspired you to make a concept album in the first place?
Yogi: I’m glad you say this because what we definitely didn’t want to do is to present the next stupid and senseless fantasy story with or without music. But to answer your question, I had two things in mind: the first thing is the rising discomfort of the people all over the world as an effect of the “loss of values” or if you want “failed values”. Second, as a matter of the previous one, we hardly find thoughts of renewal but only restorations of old failed models in a system we call: “the deadlock of spirit”. The wanderer in the story is on his search for truth and finds a world with “higher beings” that lead him the way. You’re right, there are a lot of thoughts in the story and some of the figures are based on the “honey sacrifice” in “thus spoke Zarathustra” but there will be no answer because any answer you give has to be questioned again and again. So this album is a plea for original thinking.
Conor: It’s well-known that RPWL began as a Pink Floyd tribute band, but are there any other bands that influence RPWL’s sound and style in a significant or major way?
Kalle: I’m not really thinking about my influences. In the last 20 years since I’m working as a musician I did so many albums and listened to loads of songs that I really can’t differentiate any more. It’s like asking a cook to extract a complete egg out of a cake. Of course there are favorite bands, but even these are to many to count. Of course, Pink Floyd is an all-time favorite of all of us. And there are not to many we have in common. I grew up with Heavy Metal in the Eighties and still love Rock as you can hear on my solo project Blind Ego. There are many band from today I really like, but I never would name one of them because the are just one piece in a big mosaic.
Conor: Inspiration is changing over the years and sometimes a picture or a book or walking in the mountains inspires me in a totally different way. Especially on “Beyond Man And Time” not music was the main inspiration – but the topic. What lies in store for RPWL in 2012?
Kalle: Of course we’re looking forward to the release and the limited edition with the extra audio-book. In Mid April we will start the European tour with around 25-30 dates. After that festivals come up and maybe there will another couple of shows in autumn. We also think about a DVD live recording and we’re still working to come to the States for shows. But this is not so easy. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Conor: Are there any bands you have been listening to that you might recommend to the prog rock community?
Yogi: Sorry, I don’t listen too much to music outside the studio. But we have a great young psychedelic prog band on our label “Gentle Art Of Music“ called “SIMEON SOUL CHARGER”! Their new album is coming out in may and it will be fantastic.
Conor: As a now-well established band, are there any words of advice or wisdom you would give to a prog band just starting out, or even a musician interested in starting a progressive rock band? Tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way…
Yogi: It’s just the advice I would give to everyone: do what you really want to do because this is the only way to satisfy your deepest and natural needs. Otherwise you will be caged in the satisfaction of artificial needs and there will be no way out of a senseless existence.
Conor: Anything I may have forgot to ask?
Kalle: The weather in Germany is quite cold, thanks!
Conor: Thanks for answering this interview; long live RPWL!
Yogi: Thank YOU for the interview, and please say „Hi“ to the States!!