Interview with Chris Pohl from Blutengel

  Van Muylem    13 maart 2019

On the occasion of the release of the amazing Blutengel album "UN:GOTT", which we positively reviewed on Snoozecontrol (me in English and Koen Asaert in Dutch), and as a warm-up for their passage at Amphi Festival and W-Fest this summer, we took the opportunity of asking Chris Pohl some questions.

How was it to work on this album? Is it hard to find still inspiration?

Thx! Well, it´s not really hard because I am here in the studio every day. I always make some music, write songs, create sounds or lyrics, I have always a kind of inspiration. And I am thankful for that. There has never been a time when I felt like burned out. If this would be the case I would take a break! I am glad that nobody forces me to release something. It´s all under my control!

Koen ran into you via Seelenschmerz, a track he got via a promo sampler from the Wave Gotik Treffen in 2001. He saw you there for the first time on stage. Do you remember your first gig ever? Where was it and when?

It was exactly this concert at the WGT 2001! And it was terrible! At this time Blutengel was my side-project because I had Terminal Choice running very well. I never wanted to go on stage with Blutengel! But WGT made me an offer I never got before with Terminal Choice. So I decided to play just this one gig. I was so excited... I did not know how to behave. It should be different from Terminal Choice, I had to sing with a clear voice, with Terminal Choice it was more shouting. So it was terrible, but after that, everybody said that we should play more. And so we did.

I saw you for the first time on stage during The Invitation Festival in Ghent or was it In Waregem? Fact is that you don’t play that often in Belgium. How do you look back at gigs in Belgium (somehow it’s hard to attract as much fans as in Germany)?

I really loved the gigs in Belgium! We have been very often in Waregem with Terminal Choice and I guess one time with Blutengel! The problem is that Belgium can’t affort our fee. I don‘t want to earn money when I play outside Germany! I played in Italy, France, Tel Aviv, USA. It´s only important to cover my expenses. And in the last years it was not possible to play because of the bad offers. So I am very happy to be part of the W-Fest! Back to Belgium!

Indeed, during the W-Fest (17th of august) you’ll be back on stage in our country, what can we expect?

Nearly the same like in Germany! ;Although we have only 50 minutes. We are now a band! So very different from the last gigs in Belgium! We play live with guitar, drums and keys. But we have also our dancers with us. So it will be a mixture of old and new style like we used to establish here in Germany for the last 6 years.

On the website of the Amphi Festival they describe you as the pioneers of Gothic Pop. I’m not really happy with the description, how do you see it?

Well, I don´t care about this press info stuff, and I don´t think that I do Gothic Pop. Or maybe I do? But I am not a pioneer I guess. But I am a musician who came from the Gothic scene, found it something too much boring over the years and created his own style. I love Pop music and I love the dark mood.That´s how I describe my music and maybe Dark Pop hits the spot?! Anyway... call it what you want.

Ulrike Goldmann  and Chris Pohl: how did you ran into each other and started working together?

Ulli played in a band that was signed by me when I was still running my own label. I felt in love with her voice and felt jealous that my singers in Blutengel were not that good. So one day I asked her to join Blutengel. And she did! I know it was not really correct to make this offer cause she left her band for Blutengel but with Blutengel she had more chance to be heard all over the world and that´s what her voice deserves!

Is it right to say that on this album you are more than ever handing out your point of view about the real world and all the troubles around us? What is troubling you the most about real life?

It´s more about the different faith that the people in the world have and the problems they cause. There is so much terror around us and even in Berlin, 5 km away from where I live, a truck drove into a crowd of people. Many of them died...Why? Because they have a different faith?! I can´t understand how cruel mankind can be just to fight for their faith! Everyone should believe in what he wants! But he should not influence or hurt other people because they believe in a different god.

Out of Line has been your record company for the past years, and knowing it has been recently very hard for underground record companies to survive the economical crisis, how do you look at all the troubles around alternative record companies? How did you end up signing at Out of Line?

We work together since 20 Years. They do a good job and they are big enough and clever enough to survive! But today the question is: Why do you need a record company? People download and stream music, and that´s something an artist can offer by himself. Maybe he would sell less but earn more money to survive. The companies don´t pay more but the artists earn less money. So the question is how the artist can survive?

I feel that since the reboot album you found new fans and got a total new vibe.  What's your look on that?

The funny thing is that with every album we find new fans! Not only gothic fans but normal people. I love this! And yes, we have a new vibe, and this vibe means be yourself, be a band, do great and sometimes funny shows and entertain the people! Give them 2 hours fun, love and understanding to make them escape from their normal life! That´s what people tell me after a concert!

One of the thing that proves my point is the live album, the number one position in the national German charts, how do you react to this sudden and massive success?

Well, I don´t want to seem arrogant, but since “Monument” we have been in the charts every time under the first 5 positions! Three times No. 4 and “Un:Gott” reached even No. 2! Our biggest success so far. But this doesn´t mean much. Well it looks quite good and promoters recognize it but for me the important point is, that more and more people like what I am doing! I am very thankful for that!

After all those years you keep on mixing tracks in German and tracks in English. How do you decide on what in English and what in German? Will you keep it that way or will you choose at some point to focus on one language?

It always depends on what I want to tell. Some lyric need to be written in German to explain straight from my mind what I want to tell the people. I don´t plan it but when I listen to the instrumentals, I always get the idea whether it will be a German or an English song. German is harder so some fast and harder songs are in German, but sometimes it´s always good to make a ballad in German so every German fan understands me correctly and I can reach them straight in the heart.

You launched a lot of videoclips with the new album, how is it to shoot them? Do you feel like acting is something natural for you?

Depends on how you act and which role you gonna play. I will always play more the role of a dominant, dark person. That´s what I am (Ask my girlfriend). And I love to shoot these clips to make my position even stronger. We shot with a Polish company and they were very cool and I like what they did!

Did you get a lot of negative reactions from catholic organisations after releasing the Vampire and Morningstar clips? Was it easy to shoot it in the church?

In fact I only heard from my company that it was hard to advertise this clip. Some refused it and we were not able to spread it like we did with other clips. So yes – we had some problems. The funniest thing was that we reached a high position in a Christian playlist on Spotify! WTF?! Know your enemies. And in fact we did not shoot in a church. They did a good job to let it look like a real church and us being there.

Did you get the inspiration for Morningstar whilst watching the Lucifer series?

Hmmmm, kind of... Morningstar is an ancient name for Lucifer. And in this series the Morningstar is a charismatic, good looking but also fragile guy, looking for love. So it makes the morningstar more human.

Do you ever want to figure with your music in a commercial movie or in a commercial vampire series?

Yes! Of course! Would be a dream, and I think every musician would like to hear his song in a big movie!

How do you see the end of times?

It´s near...Mankind fucks up the planet, but I hope that there will be something in the afterlife.

If you could pick out the venues where you want to perform, where would it be?

Again in Mexico City! That was one of our best gigs ever and people went crazy. But I am totally afraid of flying!!! Otherwise we would have been there more often.

Rabia Sorda did a great remix, but who else did you want to remix a Blutengel track but never got it?

Once I asked APOP, but they wanted so much money...hahaha, never ever! I don´t pay for remixes, I do something for the band in exchange (remix, guestvocals). A remix from Rammstein would be nice, or even better: Nine Inch Nails!

Will there ever be a new rising for Terminal Choice or is it game over? Or would you mind playing a Terminal Choice track during a show?

It´s over because all the people left the band, that means Louis has his own band. Gordon has a job, a wife and soon a baby, Jenne already has two kids, it would never be the same again. Maybe one day I will do a Terminal Choice 2.0 with... just me!?! Maybe not...

What is still on your wish list for Blutengel? Any special words to close this interview?

It would be nice to reach the peak of German charts, but the biggest wish I have is that I can do my music at least another 15 years! I will be nearly 65 then, but I love my job and can´t live without my music! Thanks for the interview and I am really looking forward to play again in Belgium!!!