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Manuel Beck

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«Mum preferred WW to VW»

Shooting-Star Wincent Weiss («Feuerwerk») on «Irgendwie anders», his dream of children and a beard. And why he isn’t called Vincent.

Some Rock’n’Rollers would turn in their grave if they heard that they had to give an interview at 7.45 a.m. Are things so bad in the music industry that they have to get up so early?
Wincent Weiss: When we are promoting a new album, we make a sound check at 3.30 a.m. to be able to appear on breakfast television. Contrary to the sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll cliché, for me making music means more than anything a lot of work every day. This is a good thing. I prefer to get up early and get a lot done than to sleep all day.

Did you release «Kaum erwarten» as the single coinciding with the release of your CD because you consider this song to be the one that would stay in everybody’s mind?
It was important to me that I choose one song that represents the entire album. The previous singles «An Wunder» and «Hier mit dir» were made much earlier.

Which wishes and dreams, the subject of the song, have already been fulfilled, and which not yet?
Everything I envisaged for my music and career has already been surpassed hundredfold. It is simply unbelievable what I have been able to experience! To date I have always had too little time to fulfil my private and family dream: To be a daddy one day, and granddad. In the video to the song I’m wearing an artificial beard. Growing my own is probably my unrealistic wish. But we should never stop dreaming …(smiles)

Does writing the lyrics help you process difficult things like the separation from your girlfriend?
It always helps to keep busy. Some talk to friends or family, I communicate with my fans by writing songs. I was once asked: «Is it not silly standing on a stage every night being reminded again and again of your ex?» Not a bad point, but that’s how the process continues.

You can build yourself up again with songs like «Hier mit dir».
Exactly, it’s about a friend, who I have known for 26 years and who is like a brother to me. I can’t remember a time in my life without him. We were pushed around together in twin prams and I have never celebrated a birthday without him.

How did you two come together?
Initially we lived in the same city and were always close to each other – until I moved to Munich from the north of Germany to make my album. Our mothers were best friends. After kindergarten I often went back to his house, as my mum worked full-time. I was partly brought up by his parents.

How did the video in New York come about?
The record company said: «We are filming it there. Who do you want to take with you as extras?» I thought ok I’ll take my best friend then and we can show how our friendship was formed. I asked him if would have time. «I’ll collect you in three days. We are flying away for two days.» I waited until the last minute to tell him where we were going. He nearly didn’t get the time off, we had to work on his employer a bit!

«An Wunder» was filmed in Lisbon. Do you choose the venues as a replacement for holidays?
A little bit! (laughs) I haven’t been on holiday for a while and thought «Come on, if you at least have the chance to travel to a beautiful location to film a video then make the most of it.» We have nevertheless made the «Kaum erwarten» clip in Cologne, although it’s beautiful too. We’ve been to Japan and Cape Town as well.

How do you repower your batteries?
Not really at all. I work 95 percent and have 5 percent private life. I at least try to have one and a half hours a day for me. Then I go out on my motorbike, do sport or listen to music – and I don’t have to talk to anyone. I always intend to take a holiday, but I even cancelled one week’s holiday in April because I had band rehearsals. I’ll have to postpone it until after the tour.

Where did you plan to go?
Bali. After 13 years of skateboarding and snowboarding I really wanted to learn how to surf. As I have knee problems and a pending MRI appointment, it is unlikely that I could have fulfilled that wish.

How important is speed to you?
I like to drive fast but when I am snowboarding I have a more relaxed, technical approach and do tricks when I’m moving slower. However, I do love speed when I’m driving or on my motorbike. Unfortunately.

What do you ride?
A BMW 1000 RR. It does 316 kilometres per hour and I drive that too on the roads. Or 314 with my car, an S 63 Coupé, that I have at my disposal thanks to an advertising contract with Mercedes.

How much of your salary is spent paying speeding fines?
I drive with cruise control so I haven’t been caught on camera for the last two and a half years. It could also be attributed to the numerous motorways in Germany, which do not have a speed limit, but most of all I want to keep my license…

Do you take your role model function seriously?
Absolutely, but I refuse to play the role of educator, which is expected by the parents when they write: «I will no longer allow my daughter to go to your concerts because I read that you drink alcohol.» They do not see that I am 26 years old and have the right to celebrate a little, as long as I don’t ask ten year old girls to replicate that.

Today artists don’t get drunk anymore, if they want to be successful.
When I’m on tour I do not drink alcohol at all. The concerts are so huge; you have to deliver a good performance. I can’t go on the stage with a hangover.

How did the song «1993» come about?
I wrote it five years ago but it didn’t suit the style of the first album. That has changed now, as I reveal much more about myself on the second album. «1993» deals with my family situation. I grew up with my mum and without a father. I never missed him though. Nevertheless I would like to appeal to fathers and mothers through the song to look after their children and not simply to disappear.

That is understandable …
It is a song with quite a hard message, I say: «When I’m a father, I never want to be like you.» I wrote myself a reminder: When I become a father, I always want to be there for my child – regardless of how difficult it may be sometimes and whether I live with the mother or not. The least that parents can do is to be there for their children.

There are a lot of films dealing with children looking for one of their parents. Did you do that?
My mum always said she would give me the name and address and I could drive there at any time. But I haven’t felt the need at all. My grandfather was always there, my best friend’s father too, we played football and everything was perfect with mum.

What was different about writing the songs and recording the second album?
It felt more familiar and relaxed. When I was working on the first album I didn’t have any idea how it should sound, how I wanted to sound and what type of songs I wanted to make. I formed a set team for the second album with my producers and two songwriters, who have become my friends over the past few years; the team made it possible to work on a more personal level. Everybody knew about my childhood and my separation, so I could let down my guard and go deeper.

You are the first Vincent I’ve met who writes his name with W …
When I see Vincent with V, I find it weird. But I don’t know anybody with W! (laughs) Everybody thinks that it’s a stage name but that’s the way it’s written on my ID card.

Does it have any particular meaning?
My mum wanted the initials of my first name and surname to be the same. She preferred WW to VW! So I became Wincent. If I had been a girl, she would have called me Wendy. So I’m happy that I wasn’t born a girl …

Who inspires the live-Show, with which you are on tour in autumn?
I don’t have one particular role model, but I go to a lot of international concerts. I recently watched Taylor Swift on Netflix.
I find it so exciting how bombastic the American pop artist’s shows are. Every second something explodes sky high in her shows. She even flew through the air herself at one point! (laughs). Our shows will definitely be a lot more relaxed. My roots are based more in Metal.

Really? Have you ever played Heavy Metal or just listened to it?
I started out with Metal! When we covered the famous Metal bands a friend contributed all the shouts and screams and I sang. Today I still listen mainly to Metal and a little of what my colleagues are making.

What happened that you now make popular German pop for the radio?
I feel more at home when writing the songs because I express myself better in German and can package my feelings. But I haven’t ruled out taking on a small heavy metal project some day. Maybe I will tackle that in the near future and show my more powerful side.

Wincent Weiss:
«Irgendwie anders»
(Universal Music).
Live: 26.11.2019 Zurich
Samsung Hall.

 

Photos Copyrights: Christoph Köstlin