The Berlin punk rock band Die Ärzte (“Noise”, “Cry for Love”, “Too Late”) is worried about social and political developments in Germany. With a view to the European elections in June, the musicians have released the song “Democracy” from their latest album with an AI-based video. Bela B, Farin Urlaub and Rod González answer questions from the German Press Agency in Berlin.

Question: Why is the release of the song “Democracy” important to you at this point in time?

Farin Urlaub: I have the feeling that Germany is becoming more and more like the USA – everyone is screaming, no one is listening anymore; Everyone is right, it’s always someone else who makes mistakes; and compromises are already considered a defeat. Bela felt the time had come to publish Democracy.

Bela B: It’s crazy, democracy is being advertised everywhere in Germany. I see posters for conferences, documentaries on radio and television, discussion groups. We actually live in a democratic state that stands firmly on its basic order and yet democracy seems to be a particularly important asset to protect more than usual. Why do so many people doubt her? Why do so many people misuse the term?

“Our Bass Player Hates This Song”

Question: The song has the secondary title “Our Bass Player Hates This Song”. Has everyone made peace with the song now?

Rod Gonzalez: Of course not!

Question: Doctors have been politically and socially involved in various ways for a long time. In the video, a Farin vacation avatar acts in the Bundestag. Under what conditions is such a direct personal commitment conceivable?

Bela B: As musicians, we automatically belong to the artistic opposition. Our opinions and our comments are read differently and for many people perhaps more honestly than those of many politicians. Within our framework, we act politically, whether as a supporter of sea rescue or a number of NGOs that work for a better world. Our Tempelhof laboratory, where we are organizing a festival that is as climate-neutral as possible for the second time, sets political standards and inspires the entire industry across national borders. We can only do all of this because we don’t have to make any compromises. We are far too stubborn for politics. We won’t give up this freedom.

Farin Urlaub: We act politically as a band because neutrality is not an option these days. However, I personally would be extremely unsuitable as a real politician, simply because of a lack of any competence.

AI is for elevator music, waiting loops and Tiktok songs

Question: What specifications were there for the AI ​​in the video?

Bela B: Hey Norbert (Heitker, the director), tell the AI ​​we want a political video against the shift to the right in the country and look as young and good as possible, haha.

Question: In what form can doctors imagine AI experiments with music or texts?

Farin Urlaub: The great (illustrator) Tex Rubinowitz recently sent me two experiments in which he had an AI interpret classical texts by Thomas Bernhard and Ernst Jandl in different musical styles – that was shocking, stupid and meaningless at the same time. For my part, I prefer to listen to people; AI has so far been more ruminant than actually creative.

Bela B: There has always been music that was and is produced for mass taste. If the AI ​​does that now, nothing could matter more to me.

Rod González: If we did more elevator music, waiting lines and supermarket background music or Tiktok songs, then we would only use that.

Social ticket as an alternative to the VIP ticket

Question: In times of inflation and cost explosions, Die Ärzte offer social tickets. Why is this important and in what form can it be expanded to other products?

Farin Urlaub: After all, inspired by FIL, we have already released economy versions of some recordings: cheaper, but also played worse, recorded more carelessly, with worse – some would say even worse – lyrics.

Bela B: I don’t see any problem with sound recordings. If you can’t afford it, you stream your music. The only problem is that it’s actually no longer worth it for musicians. Greed has brought the music industry to the brink. Only the record companies benefit from streaming. For several years now we have been observing the battle for the last benefices, the income that music generates live. Here too, companies are the first to hold out their hands. Ticket prices of 170 to 500 euros are now normal, and 1,000 to 3,000 euros have not happened just once in the last year. If it continues like this, we will soon lose the most important thing – the audience.

Farin Urlaub: The social tickets were a very direct reaction to all the bands who would like to squeeze every last euro out of the audience with VIP tickets, meet-the-artist-in-the-dressing-room tickets, see the band -offers from close by – at bizarre prices. We thought it was important to also think about those who like us but may be going through difficult times. So we offer cheaper tickets, not more expensive ones.

Bela B: Despite fees for the guest bands, fair admission prices and the social tickets, we still earn money and can pay the stage material and our roadies fairly. The rising price curve for larger concerts is absurd and has the bad side effect that fewer people are going to smaller bands because they no longer have any money left for club concerts.

Rod: I see our social tickets as a countermovement to the pricing policy of the ticketing companies, which artists unfortunately like to hide behind when the backlash of the now horrendous ticket prices hits them.

About the people:

Farin Urlaub was born Jan Vetter in Berlin in 1963. He is the singer and guitarist of the band Die Ärzte. Bela B, born in Berlin in 1962, is actually called Dirk Felsenheimer. He is the drummer and singer of the self-proclaimed best band in the world. Rodrigo “Rod” Andrés González Espíndola, born in Valparaíso, Chile, in 1968, has been part of the band as bassist since the doctors reunited in 1993 after a separation.