• "We see our lyrics as a reflection of the everyday life in Germany which is only tolerable with a certain degree of cynicism." - An interview with Mono für alle!

    Mono für alle! auf Weltuntergangstour 2012/2013

    MONO FÜR ALLE! is a definitely a unique and controversial band that might only appeal to very few open-minded people. But once you have fallen for them, you can’t get rid of their chaotic but catchy songs with the satirical and thought provoking lyrics and the quite alternative image. I’ve contacted the three men from Germany to talk with them about the influence of social medias, the German federal election, merchandise production in Bangladesh and Berlin and much more.

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “Hello MONO FÜR ALLE! and greetings from Canada! Thanks for taking your time for this interview I was really looking forward to. Please introduce yourselves to our readers, tell us what kind of music you play and explain us what your German lyrics are about.

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: „Hello Sebastian. We are the band MONO FÜR ALLE! from Gießen in Western Germany. We have been together since 2000. We are three band members that play organ, bass guitar and drums while the organist is also our singer. Musically, we would place ourselves somewhere in between Punk, Psychedelic, Metal, Schlager and Johannes Sebastian Bach. People often categorize us as electronic band due to our dominating, complex and distorted synthesizer organ sounds. Our songs are called “Amoklauf” (“Rampage”), “11. September“ („9/11“), „Arbeitsagentur“ („Employment Agency“), “Langweiliges Leben (“Boring Life”) and so. Just by looking at our titles, it becomes quite obvious what we are singing about. We see our lyrics as a reflection of the everyday life in Germany which is only tolerable with a certain degree of cynicism.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: „Lately, you have been on „Weltuntergangstour“ (“World Under Tour“) in 2012 and 2013 after many years of silence. What did you do over the last years?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: „A lot of things have happened over the last years and that’s why we had less time to work on music. We have founded families, children got born and back in 2004, we’ve bought a property on a remote island in the Mediterranean Sea. We’ve reconstructed an old stone house and we did everything on our own. The reconstruction didn’t cost us that much but it took several years and requested thousands of working hours. We even have our own well with fresh water and a garden with vegetables and a little chicken farm. Now, the house is done and that’s why we have found more time to be active again.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “You also had some trouble with several authorities in Germany. Can you give us some details on it?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “The confrontation with authorities began a few years after our creation when we played in autonomous centres and got some popularity. One day, we’ve received an e-mail by the authority that insures the protection of the German Constitution. We had written a song about this institution and they’ve asked us to take it off our website and said that it could have further consequences if we didn't do so. But we didn’t know if this message was a fake or not. I mean, anybody could write such a message and we decided to ignore this strange incident. In 2009, the prosecutors of Stuttgart started preliminary proceedings in order to verify if we gave instructions to crimes in our songs. This led to a series of investigations of the state protection who contacted our parents, concert promoters and even our old high school to get some information about us but they’ve never tried to contact us directly. We then contacted a lawyer to proceed to an inspection of the files concerning us. That’s when we realized how much we have been observed over the past months. But they never assembled enough allegations to prosecute us in the end. We don’t even know what the state of affairs might be. The last file entry by the prosecutors said that they would show no leniency if we played our controversial song “Amoklauf” (“Rampage”) again in concert.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: „During your last tour, you have played a couple of new songs such as „Arbeitsagentur“ („Employment Agency“) that was recently released as a free MP3 single download on your website. Can we expect more singles from you or even an entire new studio or live album in the near future?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: „In times of MP3 and file sharing it doesn’t make much sense to produce an album, especially as a small band. You need to sell at least one thousand copies to make the production rentable. We want to record singles only in the future and release them for free via our website. For fans who absolutely need a physical release, we will probably put these singles together and release them on one album in the future. Our only profits are from concert and merchandise articles.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “That’s right. In fact you offer your shirts in Adorno or Abendroth products. Can you explain the concept behind the two products?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: „We sell our shirts in two versions. We have cheaper standard shirts made in Bangladesh and fairer and more ecological but also more expensive products made in Berlin by a good friend and tailor. We got this idea after severe critics concerning our merchandise products because some fans said that our social critically lyrics wouldn’t fit with selling products made by children working for starvation wages in the most difficult conditions. Other fans argued that it’s impossible to act correctly in an overall incorrect system and that it’s okay to wear H&M shirts or go to McDonald’s. There has been some sort of open conflict between both sides and that’s why we decided to create merchandise products for both ideologies. Now it's up to you to choose!”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: „During the last years, there have been plenty of events that would normally inspire you to create lyrics. I’m talking about Wikileaks, the secret investigations of the American National Security Agency, the terror acts of the National Socialist Underground, the Fukushima incident, the Arab Spring and so on. Did you write some new lyrics where you tell about these events from the point of view of a special agent, a revolutioner or a terrorist and so on as you often do?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “That’s a good question. It’s true that many things are happening all around the world but we already gave our comments to some topics and people are expecting us to write songs about these things. But we don’t want to fulfil our fans’ expectations and rather prefer to surprise them. Right now, we are recording a song entitled “Gentrification” that we had written three years ago. Once the song will be released, the topic won’t be all that new anymore as well.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “Let’s continue talking about things that happen all around the world. A few weeks ago, German federal election took place. Do you think that Germany needs a change and which parties could do better than the conservatives and liberals?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “If elections really changed something, they would be banned. Of course, Germany and the entire world need a change. That’s our point of view even though many people arranged themselves with the established parties and politicians. Things are more interesting in Greece where uninfluenced elections almost led to a revolution and could have changed the face of society. Finally, a scare campaign by the medias that claimed that such a revolution would lead to a closure of the hospitals and the loss of important resources such as gasoline prevented this historical event at the very last moment. The biggest problem to realize a true change is the fear and the lack of imagination by the people who aren’t able to realize utopia.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: Don’t you think that some of your lyrics dress a too negative picture of the world and especially Germany? I’m aware of the fact that German authorities aren’t always fair and fast workers but it’s even worse in many foreign countries. Don’t you think Germany has become an enviable country where things are actually working better than elsewhere?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: „ We have been living in a foreign country just like you but instead of Canada we chose Greece. We don’t need to compare a big piece of shit with an even bigger one. In every country, there are things that are working well and not. The important thing is to recognize these problems and to get an idea how things could work differently. It’s true that a lot of German authorities are less corrupt and more efficient than in other countries. But the question is if we really need these facilities after all. In Germany, everything is managed, institutionalised and based on optimized efficiency. For a long time, there have been no state and no laws on our small Mediterranean island. A small community solved all its problems through an intern approach. A few months ago, the Greek reforms started to touch our island and it created a whole bunch of new problems. We could imagine a society that renounces to many unnecessary institutions and could actually work a lot better than it actually does.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: „Another problem you mention in modern society is the influence of social media on the people. You have your own website and you have been one of the very first bands that offered its music for free on the internet. But you refuse to have any Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Youtube and similar accounts. On the other side, these social medias helped you to become famous and get some attention on the internet. Where do you trace the line between exploiting the internet for your own good and being exploited by the internet against your own freewill?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: „These days, people are more conscious to avoid commercial social networks and most of our fans seem to be aware of that as well. Since our statements, only a few videos of our songs remained on Youtube and it doesn’t have anything to do with a decrease of popularity. Our concerts are very well visited these days. People and especially our fans rather tend to discover alternative channels to present their favourites. Our most important tool is our own personal website. We don’t like to see our videos next to an advertisement on Youtube and so on. We refuse this kind of internet. We think that the internet will become more and more divided into a commercial area for passive consumers and a free space with active users. Of course, the boundaries between both clienteles are open and not always easily recognizable. In music business, depending on the genre, it’s also important for big labels to present themselves with an underground flair and kids can’t distinguish between the free and honest underground and the commercial fake underground image yet.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: „You surely are an interesting band from many points of view. I’ve made many friends listen to your music and explained what your songs talk about and some of them said that it’s a pity that bands like you don’t exist in their own countries. Have you ever thought of recording some of your music in foreign languages?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “We have grown up with the German language and express ourselves very well with it. I think that wouldn’t be the case in any other language and that’s why we aren’t doing or trying it.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “But you have played a fair amount of special concerts in foreign countries and I’m not only talking about Austria and Switzerland here. You have played in London but also in Cuba and at the remote beach of San Pedro in Spain. How did it come to these concerts and can we expect similar concerts at exotic locations in the future?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “We had been invited to London and Cuba and it were very interesting experiences. Concerning the valley of San Pedro, it’s quite a different story. We've discovered the beach on a trip to Morocco because we were travelling with a woman who wanted to stay there. We were so fascinated when we arrived there. It wasn’t just about the landscapes but also about the dropout people living there and their special activities. We decided to come back and give a concert there the year after. This event was quite unique and is documented on the “San Pedro Konzert” CD and SVCD. We didn’t do such as crazy thing again but maybe we feel like trying out something similar again anytime soon, who knows?”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “What about your activities for the next year?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “We may try to release a few new singles via our website and give a couple of concerts again. You will see…”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: „Well, then thanks a lot for this detailed interview. As always, the last words are ours. What would you like to tell our international readers about MONO FÜR ALLE!?”

    MONO FÜR ALLE!: “International readers, eh? You should get the „San Pedro Konzert“ live album which includes a video CD with English, Spanish and Japanese subtitles. That’s the best way to get in touch with the content of our lyrics. We are always happy about feedback of any kind.”

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: “Then don’t be shy, dear readers, and thanks for your attention!”


    « "Wir verstehen unsere Texte als eine Reflexion des Alltags in Deutschland und der ist nur mit einem gewissen Zynismus ertragbar" - Ein Interview mit Mono für alle!Un groupe pionnier qui combine l’histoire, la musique et la poésie traditionnelle de la Corée avec le monde moderne »
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