Thanks for taking the time to talk to us; can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Hi, you’re talking to Yogi, the singer, producer and keyboard player of RPWL.
You guys have been around for twelve years and have released several albums over the years, however, I had not heard of you until recently. How have you been received in America in the past?
I think the first of our records that was actually released in theUS was “World Through My Eyes” back in 2005. It made us very proud that the album was so well received, as well as the following album “The RPWL Experience”. Of course we hope the same success for the brand new album “Beyond Man And Time”.
Have you spent much, if any, time touring America? If so, how do audiences here differ from other parts of the world?
We had a couple of wonderful gigs in theUS, the first was back in 2004 I think. It had always been a extraodinary warm welcome, so we’re really looking forward to come again in the future. I hope this will be very soon!
“Beyond Man and Time” is your first concept album, why did you decide to take on such a project?
It wasn’t really intended to be a concept album. I mean, every RPWL album has a main subject, and so, when I wrote the first words in early 2010, we started off doing the album as we always do. But then something strange happened: the story pushed us into a concept album. When we brought together the first pieces of words and music it became very clear that there was something higher that took control and it would lead us into something more than just another piece of music.
The album’s theme is based on Plato’s Cave and Nietzsche’s “thus Spoke Zarathustra.” Can you go a little more into the story?
The story is about the start of man’s journey in a new kind of self-responibility, a plea for a new original thinking. The story begins with leaving plato’s cave, a picture for the impotence of a clear recognition of truth. Like in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra the protagonist meets several figures that help him to reach a higher lever of thinking. Some of the figures are taken form Zarathustra’s “Honey Sacrifice”. Every song on the album is such a figure, full of approaches and free thoughts:
- “The Keeper” on the edge between the two worlds,
- “The Voluntarily Blind”, who can only see a world illuminated by truth,
- “The Scientist”, a soldier at the frontier between knowledge and wisdom,
- “The Creator”, the free spirit with the will to create on his own,
- “The Ugliest Man”, who accepted every single aspect of his existence,
- “The Shadow”, his other side but beloved companion,
- “The Wise In The Desert”, who found a place that is still thirsty for his wisdom,
- “The Fisherman”, who searches for truth deep inside man.
They all help him to overcome old failed models and find a new self acceptance. The journey ends in the great noon, an allegory for his moment of clarity.
The story has no real end, no conclusion. It is a plea for a new thinking, a thinking that questions everything, so any conclusion would lead to a circle anyway.
You stated that it “is a plea for original thinking, for dissent, for liberation.” I think that’s actually a good mantra for life. Are you trying to incite a change in people’s attitudes with this record?
Yes, definitely. There is a certain feeling of uneasyness or discomfort connected to a loss of values in the air of the whole world. Something that Nietzsche predicted in some of his storys with the provocating statement: god is dead. Of course the subject is not that some person is dead, he rather foresaw this loss of values. But how can we overcome this developement? Should we trust in restaurations of old models or should we find thoughts of renewal, trust in our greatest evolutionary gift: our self-reflexive being.
It seems to me that we, at least in America, tend to celebrate mediocrity and conformity. Do you think any value is placed on originality these days?
We have this current state that we call: deadlock of the spirit! We are comfortable with thoughts or words that everyone seems to approve of and that result in hearty claps on shoulders. That makes a superficial way of comfortable thinking possible but it will not lead to any progress. The allegory of plato’s cave makes it quite obvious: of course it is a act of liberation to stand up but think of the consequences: once unchained, your freedom is irreversible. As long as we sit there in the cave and watch the shadows we are cosy and safe. And though the truth that we are told is not the truth at all, it is a comfortable situation. But as Kant said: without the striving for recognition, our life has no sense.
Can you talk about the exclusive edition of “Beyond Man and Time?” It includes an additional audio book. What exactly is the audio book?
The audio book is the story “Beyond Man And Time” told in english and in german. I mean, it’s not another concept story of somebody’s dreams or childish thoughts about the middle ages or ghost stories about death or whatever. There are many thoughts of renewal, suggestions for new models. The world is growing together, getting smaller, we need a new thinking! Otherwise it could be that the evolutionary experiment called “human being” will be rejected at the gate to the future.
What’s next for RPWL?
In April we will start the European tour with around 25-30 dates. We also think about some festivals in summer and a DVD live recording in autumn.
Thanks again, any last words?
Of course we hope to come to the States for some shows. But it’s not that easy to ‘cross the ocean and meet our friend in the US again. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed!