Trümmer / Paul Pötsch

“All of this self-promoting posting seems lame to me.”

Kaput-Trmmer-AufmacherI’ve been talking to Paul Pötsch about having to conduct this interview for days now. Instead of doing that, we went to a pub in Hamburg to drink beer and whisky (me) or rather a very delicious glass of water (Paul).

The fact that we are friends doesn’t ease this whole interview situation. One could say that it makes it a lot harder. “You will ask me all of these personal questions and I don’t want that. Enough already with this striptease”, said Paul at the first try for an interview in Hamburg.

Now he and his three Trümmer bandmates – bass player Tammo Kasper, drummer Maximilian Fenski and guitar player Helge Hasselberg – finished their soundcheck in Cologne. This means he still has time, and no place to prevent the interview. But he once again tries to: “Why?”

If you ask me, it would be particularly because of that story with Hamburg Marketing. The agency’s sole reason for existing is to put the city of Hamburg into connection with its cultural scene, and promote that connection into the world. For that purpose, they asked Trümmer if they would be allowed to use their music and/or pictures of them.
As an answer, Trümmer decided to release an open letter on Facebook. Hamburg Marketing then felt obliged to attack Paul, the singer, personally. Why?

“Everything that can be said has already been said about that,” Paul says.By now we are sitting in the backyard of a café, that is regarded as the spearhead of cologne’s barista artistry.

One can tell every time that Trümmer is on tour, because the number of posts increases dramatically..
All of this self-promoting posting seems lame to me.

Your short, unsuccessful, private career on Instagram, was…
…Yeah, that got off to a great start, with the invitation to a secret show. That was not very clever.

That was the occasion for our first private meeting.
Nope, we’ve met before. You called me at work and then visited me there.

Yeah, I know. I chatted you up a couple of times before that.
This whole self-marketing thing seems totally awkward to me.

You are trying to press ahead with the interview.
Hahaha, ya. I don’t really want to do this right now.

The coffee is good. All of the lecturers from the university are coming here to fetch and sip their cool coffee.
It’s extremely pleasant to be here with you.

Despite the interview situation?
Yes, despite the interview.

Let’s talk about something private.
But that should not be part of the interview.

[Five minute break]

This is going to be the most private interview of all times! I’m going to use all of this!
NO! No, you won’t!

Yes, I will!
No! No one is interested in who I’m dating, for example!

You’re right. No one cares. But it is a matter of this being “THE MOST PRIVATE INTERVIEW OF ALL TIMES”. That is a headline that draws attention.
No, only our friends will click on that. And than they will say something like, “Wow dude, did they really say that?” and “Why did they even publish this?”
But what now? We haven’t even said anything up until now. Is this supposed to be like Interview Magazin, or something? They do have chats like this as well?

Or we will go back to the nineties and once more rehearse the uprising. Like Marc Fischer did. I mean, an interview that is equal parts about you and me.
Music journalists have never been my heroes.

But they were mine. That’s what I love, talking about music. That’s why I us a lot of fake-quotes..
We promoted the last “Euphorie” event with a quote by Olaf Scholz: “Hamburg, what it would be like, if I weren’t.”

Yes, that was quite good.
He actually came to the event – and afterwards said that. That’s what’s so awesome, how realistically he can assess the situation.

He must have been looking for euphoria.
Do you really have to turn in something at Kaput?

Up until now I have told them, that you are withdrawing from the interview…
…Which is true. I really did like the interview with Frank Spilker. But that was actually very personal. I don’t really want that. If I were in an interview situation right now I would behave differently.

So far I declined every inquiry to interview you or the band, because I tend to take advantage of my previous knowledge. That would be too much like “tough love”. And it would turn awkward to easily. Since we know one another thoroughly…we’ve seen each other in the most impossible conditions.
We don’t wanna talk about that either. You can delete everything up until now.
Maybe we could talk about something interesting. That would probably even fit. Something about the compulsion to manifest oneself, to be authentic, and the expectation to be oneself, I mean, to be identical with oneself.

Do you mean, that we always have to admit who we are and what we are doing? That would be something you could find in Focault, but in a very abridged version.
I never read Focault. I’m not always trying to get everything. Even though that would certainly be a good thing, to have read Focault. I don’t alway have to know everything. For starters I’m rather concerned with the opposite – to be with myself, and being able to get my thoughts together. If I succeed at that, I’m glad. Sometimes you just have to fade out stuff on purpose.

But to deal with stuff..
I can’t check out everything. Sometimes you just have to go at things with a leap of faith. Or simply delay things. Should we start the interview now?

It’s been going on for a while now.
But I didn’t say anything yet. I prefer listening to you.

Then I will just put words into your mouth. Like, subject: authenticity. You could just make up a character Paul and a character Lars and have them have our conversation.
As long as they won’t talk about our partners or friends. They may not be too personal. No one is really authentic, dammit! No one is even authentic on stage. That’s bullshit. Everyone who claims that is totally…

But we are totally authentic right now, aren’t we?
Nope. Although I am. I just enjoy drinking tea, and you put me under stress, because you want to hear stories about the band, and music, and “the career”.

No, I don’t. You didn’t get that yet. The point of interest can’t be the band right now. That would be so much easier. The point of interest is YOU. Just YOU.
I’m just a person, who by accident is receiving attention.

By accident?
Yes. I had other bands before. I made music then as well. Even though I would have preferred to become an actor. I find that to be much more appealing than the whole music thing.

You just want to throw in this statement.
My ass! While you were talking about something else, I considered that idea again. During our show yesterday I had the thought that the band is a play, and that my role is that of “Paul from Trümmer” – that worked extremely well.

The show as an (acting) performance, the Goldenen Zitronen do that as well. I’m not quite sure if that happens as musician or as performer. I should ask them as well. But maybe that’s not really interesting anymore. What I find way more interesting – because it is so much closer to myself – is if one makes music one hundred percent as oneself. If you feel that one-to-one. When it gets congruent with the self..
You are talking way more than me.

So what?
I don’t know. I just realized that I got huge wrinkles here on my forehead.

And I got a zit right here.
I’m totally on detox right now. Maybe you should try that as well? I got the feeling, that one suddenly gets responsibilities for others as well. I have to take care of my voice and can’t just go on stage any way I want. There are others as well. At least that’s when the authenticity is being broken.

I have done that once, I mean detox. I drank mate tea instead of coffee.
I haven’t been drinking coffee for six weeks now. All of that coffee runs you ragged. Completely hollow.

Looks like we are in the perfect place to talk about this. I’m afraid of coffee as well. I can’t enjoy the coffee-high.
I never realized.

Up until now we’ve only ever drunk beer together. Or lemonade. It doesn’t matter. I should pose a video-question now. That looks good in the piece.
My ideal is that no one even figures out who talks to whom and why. That’s what interviews should be like. Enjoyable conversations between friends. Or not between friends – “Is privacy being faked?” Hahaha, yes!

And then you say something into the camera of my mobile phone and the child has a face again.
The other day, while doing a radio interview, I was supposed to invite the people of the city to the show. I wasn’t able to just say: “I’m Paul from Trümmer, see you tonight”. No kidding, it took my twenty attempts to say it without breaking out in laughter. It was so much easier to say with a robotic voice “This is Paul – take me to your leader”.

But this is also this radio situation. I cannot talk on answering machines. There is just no counterpart.
There isn’t a counterpart here, as well? You just make everything up. And that is so much better.

Truemmer-EndePaul, thanks for this fair and square conversation. Let’s do this again, soon, or maybe even as a periodic column for Kaput. That’s what the crowd deserves.

Translation: Denise Oemcke



Translation: Denise Oemcke

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