1. Germany seems to be a fertile ground for the electro scene, and ROOT4 plays a great part in it as well. We would like to get to know ROOT4 a little bit better, so can you tell us who ROOT4 are? How did you guys meet and what drew you together?
Hauke: Till 2006 ROOT4 used to be a pure electro band. In 2007 Martin saw my band and he said „Hey, you need a live drummer!?“ So we had some beer together, and I got a very cool drummer in my band.
PoupéeNoire joined the band in 2014 shortly before we started the ELECTRONIC TRANSFORMERS TOUR. She enriches the band with vocals and keyboard. I founded the band in 1990 and since that I am the singer and frontman of ROOT4.
2. I have started discovering your music first with your “VorstellungsKraft” album and discovered that you are a mixture of electro styles from the beginning. It seems that you won’t settle for just one electro genre, so how would you characterize your sound?
Martin: Mhm…the characteristic of our music is something like…do you know the crossover metal sound in the 90s…? yeah, I think our sound is something like modern ELECTRO crossover. Each of us three was influenced by very different styles of music. Hauke likes EBM, Aggrotech and Futurepop, PoupéeNoire is crazy about Rammstein and Electro and I like also Metal and Jazz. We put all these things together, and after some weeks of hard work in the studio we get the special ROOT4-sound.
3. You sing both in German and English. What comes more naturally for you? Can you tell us something about the main themes of your lyrics?
Hauke: The main themes are: Speed, Hate and Fear! Most of the lyrics depend on my daily mood. Some songs cry out for a German text. Our last three songs have German text and when we played them in Russia last year we realized that it doesn’t matter if the text is German or English. The main thing is the mix of our sound and voice.
4. You create really danceable music! Do you have that in mind when writing songs or is it just the energy you want to share with others when it comes to creating music?
Martin: We manly compose music to perform it live on stage, and the crowd in front of the stage wants to have fun, wants to feel the beat and we want to freak out together. This is what we have in mind when composing our songs.
5. What music influenced your work the most? Can you name some bands for us?
Hauke: Martin said it before: all of us here like different styles of music, I like Combichrist, PoupéeNoire likes for example Rammstein and Eisbrecher, Covenant, Placebo and Depeche Mode. Not to forget some Grunge bands from the 90´s like NIRVANA , Pearl Jam and BUSH. Martin is the Metal-Martin, he likes Slipknot, Korn and Bungle but also Prodigy. We ourselves are eager to see how the next album will sound.
6. Even though your music has a lot of power and is driven by the beat, it is also melodic, catchy and atmospheric. What do you think is the formula for successfully blending all that into one?
Martin: No rules, no compromise, no limit! Open-mindedness for all sounds and styles is the recipe. But the most important thing is: having fun composing that stuff.
7. You have been on the scene for quite some time, since the 90s. Can you tell us a little bit about the band’s history and the evolution of the band’s sound in the meantime? How much do you think the scene itself and the music industry has changed since your early days?
Hauke: The roots of ROOT4 are in synthpop. We loved music from the bands A Split Second, Depeche Mode, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb. All this electronic stuff without guitars! We had one of the few bands between Würzburg and Frankfurt that played on stage only with synthesizer, Atari ST, sound modules and electro drums. Today everything has become a lot more professional and easier. From year to year it becomes more difficult to motivate the people to visit live electro concerts.
8. As I have never seen you live, can you describe what one of your shows usually looks like? How important is the visual aspect on the stage for you, and of course your personal style and appearance? It is also a pleasant surprise to see some live drumming.
Hauke: we enter the stage one by one – Poupée starts with the synths followed by Martin playing the drums. When it’s finally time for the first vocals, it’s my turn to get on stage. Then we start our ROOT4 show. We used to run some videos in the preshow, but we thought it’s more important to focus the attention on our live performance. For us it’s important that our stage outfit harmonizes. That’s also true for our instruments. We bring variety to the show and fill it with „life“. Martin for example plays one song on his cajon.
This is unique in the Dark Electro scene. Well, when we become a rich band, of course we will present you with a big fireworks display during the show 🙂
9. You have surely been recognized by the German audience, but how about other countries?
PoupéeNoire: Well, last year we had a gig in Russia/ Moscow. And is it ok when we say that the audience really liked us?! – We were not sure because it was a little festival and all the other bands were Rock and Metal bands. But the reaction to the one and only electro band that night was really good.
This year we will have a show in Austria and Switzerland throughout the „STONEMAN Steinetour“…
But thanks to Facebook we also have fans in South America – most of them in Mexico, where we of course would love to play…
10. You have shared the stage with some great colleagues of yours, can you name some of them? Do you have some particularly nice collaboration and meeting you remember?
PoupéeNoire: Yes, for sure… it was very great to support bands like Combichrist, De/Vision, OST+FRONT, Leaether Strip, In Strict Confidence. For me as a fan and consumer of the dark scene, it was especially fun to have some beers after the show with the members of bands I really like.
11. You surely show a lot of passion in your music making and on stage, as I have seen some live footage from your gigs. Do you think your passion for the music has stayed the same over the years and how do you manage to maintain it?
PoupéeNoire: For me as a new member in the band, every show is a new exciting experience. I am full of joy and energy. Give me more!
Hauke: Most of the audience will not only hear the music, but they also want to see and experience. Then they give you more feedback. This is very important for us. Only then we bring more action to the stage. There is a relationship between us and the audience. The more we give them, the more we get back. That’s the most thrilling thing at a show! This passion continues to grow…
Martin: I play the drums just to play them live on stage. Every gig is a new one and always with new people in front of the stage. And the most important thing to me is to make this crowd celebrate the moment, the beat, our music. This gives me the energy to give my best at every gig….doesn’t matter if there are 20 or 2000 people.
12. Now a question for PoupéeNoire only. 🙂 As being a woman in a mostly male industry, how hard or how easy do you find music business as a female artist and performer?
PoupéeNoire: Well, yes, that’s right! Most of the musicians in this scene are men, and there where actually many gigs where I was the only woman on stage the entire evening. For me it’s not a problem at all, because on one hand it’s easier to handle lots of men than lots of women. Without exception I had good experience. They all treated me nice and polite. And for the audience maybe it’s somehow kind of special to see a girl on the stage in a Dark Electro band. Men and women have responded positively to me so far. And I am a girl you can have a beer with and talk about soccer – I think this makes it easy for everybody 🙂
Hauke: And I am very proud to have such a pretty girl on stage…
13. What are you plans for this year regarding music making and live gigs?
Martin: Right now we are working on our new ROOT4 album with some new influences. For example Poupée will support the songs much more with her voice, and maybe we will have one or two new instruments, but we will reveal this secret on our tour in autumn with Stoneman. Convince yourself of it when you see it.
14. Where can your fans follow you? Can you share some useful links with us please? 🙂
ROOT4: Sure, of course you can find us on…
Thank you for visiting! We hope to see you at our show someday.