UNHEILIG :  interview with "der Graf"


face to face  by  Ann "gimmer chops" Turner and dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo ___ 

an interview of say just words fanzine-yahoo group  combined with gryphonmetal.ch


at Endstation in Winterthur - 19.11.2004   

organized by Management TCM Special Marketing GbR and gryphonmetal.ch

Unheilig live at the Endstation 2004 




Ann, der Graf and dalia

photo by Stefan Vogelaar


WILLKOMMEN IN MEINEM LEBEN (welcome into my life)



Ann: How long have the band been together as Unheilig?
Der Graf: I began in 1999. Yes! Before I made a lot of music in the same way but I didn't know what will be in a few years before this time. I began with Unheilig in 1999, yes!  The first single was "Sage ja" and it was 1999.

Ann: Where did you all meet? When did all the band meet? Have you known each other for ages or..
Der Graf: I began with other musicians and in the last year, the musicians changed and I am the only one who is er…
Ann: Still left?
Der Graf: Still left, yeah! Now I know the keyboardist from the band and went and told my management and I met him in the same town. He's a friend of my managers. We asked him if he wanted to play with Unheilig and he said yes!, Ok! Graham Stevens was the first, he's an Austrailian guy who began with Unheilig.Yes, the musicians changed in the last five years.

Ann: Where do you get your inspiration from for your songs?
Der Graf: Ok, erm.. It's a good question. I think the inspiration can come in every minute and every second, on every place, I don't know.
Ann: It's like something that you think about at that time, sort of thing?
Der Graf: Yes! In anything, in any time. You can sleep and you will awake and you know, oh, that's a great idea, it's a great verse or it's a great melody. I hear in my head and then I go to the studio and I play this melody or I produce this song and inspiration.
I think, I don't search them because they speak to me. Yes! They find me!

Ann: Where did the name Unheilig come from?
Der Graf: Ok. In the beginning, I wanted to have a name, oh! and yes, now the word in English. I wanted to have a confrontation to the audience, which they will see this name and I want them to think about this name. What can it be? What can it mean? And Unheilig described my religion. I am not in any religion. I have my own, my, my…
Ann: Own beliefs?
Der Graf: Yeah! I Have my own beliefs and in any other religion, I am in their eyes Unheilig, unholy. That's the same really.
Ann: So it actually means unholy!
Der Graf: Yes, really, really, unholy yeah!

Ann: Who are your favourite bands?
Der Graf: Ok! Bands, Yeah, yeah. I don't think I have a favourite band, there are a lot of bands which I like. I don't have a favourite band beacause, erm… a favourite musician or a favourite artist. I like every…
Ann: A bit of everything?
Der Graf: Yes! Yes! I like David Bowie. He is an artist for me because he makes music for twenty/thirty years and erm… such people in my eyes are really artists not the people who are now in the charts
Ann: Oh yeah!
Der Graf: Yes, because it's not…
Ann: Rubbish really isn't it?
Der Graf: Yes, yes. Artists are for me Phil Collins, David Bowie and such. These people are really artists because they write their own music, they write their own songs and they don't write the songs or the lyrics from other people. They write their own and it's very important for me because these people are then artists for me.

Ann: In the first song Filmrolle, on Zelluloid, you say, "Willkommen im meinen leben!"
Der Graf: Yeah!
Ann: Is this an album about parts of your life?
Der Graf: Yes!
Ann: Or someone close to you?
Der Graf: Yeah, yeah! All the songs describe my life in a lot of stations/stages.
Ann: From like being young?
Der Graf: Yes!
Ann: And teenager to now?
Der Graf: Yeah, yes! Every song describes a moment in my life which is very important for me and if I thought back about my life, It looks like if you are dying, you can see your life like a film.
Ann: You said that earlier didn't you , Dalia?
Der Graf: I describe this moment for me and I say welcome to the people who hear these songs because they can look at my life, if you have a lot of fantasy or you can … I hope the people who have heard these songs can identify with my music to their own lives.

Dalia: What is more attractive for you…pain or proud?
Der Graf: Proud!  Proud is a very important word for me because I am er… proud about my grandfather, my mom, my dad and I don't forget and these people are in every moment by my side ok! And I say thank you to these people because.. I have to say thank you to them and proud is very important but pain! (Everyone laughs) Uh! Ok! Proud, then second pain yeah! It's really important too, yeah, but not in every moment.
Ann: Depends on the situation! Hehe
Dalia: Not in every moment!
Der Graf: Not in every moment, but in a few moments. It is important.

Dalia: Why do you call yourself The Graf?
Der Graf: Ok… Nobody knows my real name! Really..  At the beginning I wanted to have erm… a name like magic. If you tell stories in your songs. I want to be a person that is untouchable. I want to have the magic. If you see me, if you heard the songs, then you think, how is this name? And nobody knows it, it's a little bit magic.
Ann: There's definetly magic in those songs. I bought your album a couple of weeks ago and I've been playing it to death.  Laughs
Der Graf: Yeah!  Really!
Ann: I know a lot of the words now in German!

Dalia: I am fascinated from your music, your way of singing
Der Graf: Yeah!
Dalia: Because it reminds me of the German roots of the past century, the period between the two big wars, the republic of Weimar and so on.
Der Graf: Mmmm!
Dalia: Do you agree with this feeling, do you think your music goes back somehow to those roots of the German culture of the past century?
Der Graf: Mmm… What is the past century?    What is the past century?
Dalia: The twenty's, the thirtys...
Der Graf: Yeah, yeah, that's ok, but only the good times, yeah, only the good times. In those times there were a lot of bad German people I say but the words, the lyrics and the good times, erm.. yes, identify like a little bit of nostalalgia, that's ok, that's good! Identify this album with a film as though like these old films with er… Yes, yes, really good. You're the first who knows this (Everyone laughs) and you're the first who's asked me, yeah!
Dalia: Yeah! (Looking shocked, meanwhile dramatic Gothic  music is playing in the background) Lol It was!
Der Graf: Nobody or anybody has asked me that, yes, yes, that's really good. Thank you! The first films
Ann: Film rolle- Black and white films
Der Graf: Yeah, very good. After eight months, you're the first who knows this. Thank you!
Ann: She's very perceptive Dalia!  Laughs.
Der Graf: That's ok, that's really good!

Ann: (Buggers the interview up at this stage) Going back to your Zelluloid album, does it follow a theme all the way through. I think I have already asked you that haven't I? It follows a theme all way through like a story. I think I've asked you that, sorry about that (laughs embarrassed) I'm a bit tired! (That was an understatement)
Der Graf: It's like a story about my life, the first song is the end of the last song, because it's part of the last song, you begin with the same melody like the end.
It's the same melody and it's a beginning and end of my life, but only on cd.

Ann: Up to now, only on cd (Laughs)
Der Graf: Up to now. I hope in a few years, I can make a lot of albums like the life after this, yeah, I hope so!

Ann: Who were Unheiligs influences? Early influences of Unheilig?
Der Graf: Yeah, ok!  They are bands of the eighties but erm… but more is my influence is the soundtrack a few films, which were Ennio Morricone makes the soundtrack. Do you know Ennio Morricone?
Ann: Not sure!
Der Graf: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Dalia: It's a western!
Ann: Ah yeah I know.
Der Graf: It's a western and from other films. I heard them when I was a child. I heard this music because my parents were listening to them every time, ok and then I am a little boy and I thought, what great music.

Ann: Would you like to eventually go to England and tour?
Der Graf: Yes, yes, really. I hope so! I hope so!
Ann: I hope so too!
Der Graf: Yes, I hope so but don't know when. I get lots of e-mails from England and New Zealand erm….
Ann: So it's looking promising!
Der Graf: Yeah, yeah!

Ann: A message to your fans….
Der Graf: Ok. In German it's no problem to say. 
Ann: You can say it in German as well if you like!
Der Graf: Respektiere den, der nicht so ist wie du, damit du weisst wer du bist. 

Stefan translates it for me (kind lad)

Stefan:  That's cool!   Respect who is not like you, in order to know who you are!
Der Graf: That's very, very important.

Ann: Have you got a favourite motto or saying that you use a lot?
Der Graf: Erm… Only one word… Freiheit!…Freedom! Yes, it's a very important word. Because one word is everything included to life, death, everything.
Ann: It can mean different things.
Der Graf: Yes!   Only the word Freedom! You must fight for Freedom! Yeah!

Ann: What are your plans for 2005?
Der Graf: Oh yeah! A new live album comes in January. Live album in january and I hope in the middle of the year comes a DVD, yes, I hope so! And at the end of the year, I hope I will have some new songs for the new album. I don't know! I am writing now for this.
Dalia: Ah yeah!
Der Graf: I don't know how much time it needs, Ok.

Ann: I think I have covered everything, have you got anything else to say Dalia?
Dalia: We have an interview in common between our two media, so from my side, i would like to make the last question. This is our last typical Gryphonmetal question, we are always proposing to bands we interview for the first time.
Der Graf: Mmm
Dalia: It's a game - The game of the tower! (Laughs) There is a very high tower.
Der Graf: Yeah!
Dalia: And at the top of this tower, three bands are waiting for you and you have to kick down two of them.
Der Graf: Oh no! Oh no! (Everyone laughs) I don't like this kind of games. I hate them. Ok, I must kick down one band or two bands?
Dalia: Two bands and you keep only one. You save only one.
Der Graf: Oh no!
Dalia: You have to choose one, kick the other two down.
Der Graf: It's an hard game!
Der Graf: And now you tell me the bands Ok!
Dalia: L' Âme Immortelle
Der Graf: Ok
Dalia: Wolfsheim
Der Graf: Ok
Dalia: Within Temptation
Der Graf: Ok, Within Temptation you can kick and please let me keep L'ame Immortelle and Wolfsheim. I get rid of Within Temptation.
Der Graf: I like L'Âme Immortelle because a few years ago I did my first tour with them.
And Wolfsheim was one of my favourites as a singer and I met him a few years ago and he is a very great person and I shouldn't kick him. Oh no! Within Temptation Ok, that's ok. (Everyone laughs)

Ann: Thanks very much for giving us an interview.
Der Graf: No problem!
Ann: Very much appreciated.
Dalia: Thank you!
Der Graf: Thankyou!

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