Photo: Gentle Art of Music
Progressive German rock group RPWL just released their new album titled ‘Crime Scene’. On the new album the band directs its attention to the morbid, the perverse, the evil in good, and the abysses of the human behavior spectrum in all its unpredictable diversity, which sometimes comes across as bizarrely disturbing and conclusive, if one tries to fathom it. We had a chance to speak with the band’s founding member and singer Yogi Lang about the album.
This album was written around the concept of crime? Can you explain?
Kalle Walner (guitar) came around the corner with a couple of ideas in 2021. It all sounded a bit darker than I was expecting it. But it reminded me of a concept about good and bad I had in mind for quite some time. What is good and bad and how do we get there? Is being good something you can claim for yourself or is it just a matter of being lucky with your genetic and social disposition? Is good just the absence of bad? A lot of questions, and in some way, the album is a big question mark. I decided to split the lyrical content; one part having a closer look at the subject and the other part telling really disturbing, but true crime stories that shows us what human beings are capable of.
What is the band’s usual writing process? Does it start from demos that you guys send around?
The songwriting itself belongs to Kalle and me. Kalle does more of the musical part and me doing the vocal melodies, keyboards, production and all that stuff. But yes, doing demos and see what the other thinks about it. I need that certain kick to get started: could be a song or an idea, a melody. I know that I sometimes get on Kalle’s nerves with this. The band is something like the finish you need, refining the work, making that typical RPWL sound.
The first single “Victim of Desire”? How did that one come about?
When Kalle played the demo of the song to me, I immediately thought: this has to be the opener of the album. We tried to put ourselves into the world of a serial killer. Why taking the wrong exit, what is the motive, was there a stressor. In our case it was a guy that went through a period of social isolation because of something happened in the past he couldn’t overcome. We did a video for the song that should also emphasize the tension in the music. By the way, IMO this song is also a good example of how music and lyrics grew together, corresponded with each other through the whole production.
Let’s talk about the long centerpiece of the album “King of the World”. What is that track about and how did it get developed?
Even the demo had this kind of sophisticated feeling so that it fitted perfectly to a song getting deeper into the story or if you want, behind the story. The idea of the song was that you can even do bad or terrible things with good intentions. If you think the world as your own Utopia, it will be paradise for you but at the same time it’s kind of a totalitarian structure for everyone else. This is the destiny of every Utopia. So many examples in our history starting with good intentions and ending up in fighting or killing what they call the other side.
But again the music grew with lyrical content. It is the most colorful song of the album.
Do you approach longer epic tracks differently when you’re writing?
Not really. If a song developed into a long track, it has to grow naturally. You can’t force it. And so writing or producing a longer track isn’t really different from doing a short track.
Going back to your musical beginning? How did you get started in music? What was the inspiration?
I got interested in music when i was 10 years old. I remember listening to Pink Floyd and Mannfred Mann’s Earth Band at my cousin’s home. He was a bit older than me and had a cool stereo system. The keyboards fascinated me the most. All this synthesizers sounds entered my brain. I could have annoyed my father pretty much, but at least he bought me an organ and so everything went its way. I had a couple of bands and worked a lot in studios producing other artist. I produced a band called “Violet District” in the early nineties. The guitar player’s name was Kalle Wallner. I met him again a few years later and we talked about getting on stage and having fun. We didn’t know at that time that this was the beginning of RPWL.
What’s next for the band? Tour? More music in the future?
We’re on the road in Europe from March 30th to June 22nd, looking forward to present the new album and of course a couple of older songs. After that, I have the feeling that we focus on our solo projects again. But we also have to produce other bands. First will be the next Subsignal album that will be released in late 2023. Thinking about it, the year is already packed.
If you wanted to introduce someone to the band that had never heard your music, which album would you have them start with?
To be honest, it’s not easy to answer after such a long time, after so many releases. Every album is something special in its own way. Why not start with the current album? It has everything a RPWL album needs! If you want to dig in older stuff, I can at least say that the 2005 ‘World through my Eyes’ and the 2012 ‘Beyond Man And Time’ were big steps for the band.
‘Crime Scene’, the 19th release of this internationally successful band is an intensive journey through the band’s vita, as well as their own record collections. ‘Crime Scene’, shall be released March 17th via the band’s own label Gentle Art of Music, distributed by Soulfood. Tour dates for 2023 are below.
‘Crime Scene’ Track List:
1.Victim Of Desire (8:16)
2.Red Rose (5:35)
3.A Cold Spring Day In ’22 (4:21)
4.Life In A Cage (6:11)
5.King Of The World (12:51)
6.Another Life Beyond Control (7:51)
RPWL Tour Dates 2023:
30 March D-Stuttgart clubCANN
31 March D-Bonn, Harmonie
01 April NL-Zoetermeer, De Boerderij
02 April UK-Chepstow, Winter’s End, Drill Hall
03 April UK-Bilston, The Robin
04 April UK-Glasgow, Slay
05 April UK-Oundle, Queen Victoria Hall
06 April UK-London, Boston Music Room
07 April B-Verviers, Spirit of 66
08 April F-Pagney-derrière-Barine, Chez Paulette
09 April CH-Pratteln, Z7
10 April D-Dortmund, Piano
13 April PL-Warschau, Progresja
14 April PL-Piekary Slaskie, Andaluzja
15 April PL-Suchy Las, Centrum Kultury
16 April D-Reichenbach, Artrock Festival
18 April D-Berlin, Maschinenhaus
19 April D-Hamburg, Knust
20 April D-Isernhagen, Blues-Garage
21 April D-Rüsselsheim, Das Rind
22 April D-Freising, Lindenkeller