Zoran Bihac, the creative video genius behind many videos, including “Mein Herz Brennt” – Rammstein, “Eat you Alive” – Emigrate, and now to complete the trio: “Praise Abort” – Lindemann. With a resume that stretches over 20 years, it is easy to see why he is a popular choice among creative talent. It is with great pleasure that Lindemann USA brings you the first exclusive interview with Mr. Bihac, to discuss his latest work on “Praise Abort.”
Dani – On behalf of Lindemann USA and the fans, thank you very much for your time and this interview.
When you were approached for the video for “Praise Abort”, did Till and Peter already have a vision in mind, or did they come to you with different scripts and then the vision for this video came to be?
Zoran – The process was, first they try to do something with Jonas Åkerlund , a friend of Peter’s … but it didn’t happen. Now Till was asking me to do it, and if I have an idea. And then I was looking for, well, for something that is metaphoric almost. Representing the thing not so much Praise Abort, but “I Hate my Life.” I had to find something that symbolizes a person who hates her life so much, and hates her children. So by all the images and films, I found a female pig, giving milk to the little piglets. That was like “wow”, symbolizing it to me. Do you have children?
Dani – No. *laughter*
Zoran – Well if you have children, give them as much love as you give them. There is one significant point, because they suck your energy, you know? That is what it is all about. They take away your energy. I love my kids, but that’s the point. So I try to find something that symbolizes this in a very drastic way, and then; “Wow! Look at the pig! Sucking sucking sucking.” This is the starting point. So I started to think, how could I turn them into pigs? So Till had to become the pig and give them his energy.
With this idea, we met a lot of times and talked. I was kind of afraid of telling him this because he [Till] had to be very brave for this concept. We had to do it quite fast. Look, just take a look at this and think of it, and maybe I think of something else. But I don’t think of anything else. This is the point, this is the thing that has to be done for this song. This song explains everything. There is a different level. It doesn’t have that deepness that Rammstein has. We have to come up with another picture.
He really trained very hard. It was really hard for him because he had some knee problems, but I am very thankful for it. The big thinking of it was, with this project, I’m very thankful they asked me, being a Rammstein guy – doing stuff for them. I think this is the most dangerous thing to do. It’s not something that Rammstein would do. That’s why I wanted him moonwalk and to make like Cab Calloway moves and stuff. He has to define this project. This is something that has to be different than Rammstein because his project has to be defined.
Dani – For this project, it was serious, and sad, and even with humor like when we saw Till moon walking across the stage. What was the ideology for this project? The intended feel? Or was there a deeper sentiment?
Zoran – I’ve never worked with a person like Till in my life. For me, he’s the perfect artist. He reduces his personality for the art, actually all those Rammstein guys, but he, the most. I saw it with “Mein Teil”. That is where I started knowing him. He suffers a lot just for the art. So to come up to him with something, it also has to be sacrificial and serious. It has to be comedy and tragedy because I know he can handle it. But he acts out everything with his face, he can do it. But I wanted to have something in this video that you cannot really catch, that you don’t understand right away. Oh! This is a comedy! Oh, no! This is ironic or sarcastic, or I don’t know, it has to be something that people ask themselves why am I happy with this. And Till as well.
From Till’s point of view, he doesn’t like answering questions. He prefers questions to be not answered and this is what was happening. Technically it was really hard, because of the mask and everything, and then we tried some stuff with the piglets. Really, it was a big thing. So to me, ideology speaking, it had to be all of the aspects: entertainment, shocking, funny, empathic. I really wanted Till to be someone who everybody feels empathy with, but everybody also hates as well. So he had to play those two roles.
Dani – When you started the video with the deceased piglets, were you worried about backlash from animal rights groups? Did the sudden outcry surprise you, or perhaps was it an element meant to incite a reaction?
Zoran – *laughter* We knew there would be a reaction. We had handlers for the live pigs. These were very happy pigs, well taken care of. In this shoot where happy alive pigs, dead pigs, fake pigs, and animated pigs. But really no harmed or suffering pigs. When the handler saw Peter and Till in the pig costume, it was a big reaction. Like “Ahhh!”
Dani – The part where the ballerinas are coming in, they look like they are instigating – looking down on everyone.
Zoran – One of my favorite shots is actually what’s happening just around that scene, after the killing. Till kills and then Peter is like, “Aww.. no.” *sighs*. I really love it because it really gives it another level to all of that. Like, don’t take it too serious, and gives away that very brutal killing. It gets it to some other relation.
Dani – For our final question, we asked the Street Team to submit questions, and we chose one from our members, Sarah, who asks: Could you explain the concept behind Till’s wardrobe/costuming choice in the beginning of the video? (The exaggerated white hat, long white coat), it seems to reference more than one time period/country of origin?
Zoran – So the costumes, it’s a Berlin fashion designer that actually doesn’t have anything to do with that kind of music. Electronic, dark, that’s her stuff. I wanted to bring in somebody who is coming from a completely different direction. My wish was to have something that is getting close to Alejandro Jodorowsky. He is a comic writer and film maker. He did El Toppo and Santa Sangre. Very artsy, psychedelic movies of the 70’s. Very brutal stuff. This kind of strangeness I try to find in the costumes also. Also because there is a feminism thing with Peter and Till, and to have a balance of them both. Masculine and Feminine, and then in the other world they change, where Till is the wife and Peter is the husband. So that it’s always a duality thing. I really didn’t want to do it with someone who is doing gothic stuff, or steam punk things, you know, which is always like the style of Rammstein. So it has to be something different to surprise them.
Let’s put in some style, because of Till’s shape; well, you cannot go into a shop and find a proper dress. Those feet! Those legs! They are like columns! Italian marble columns. You know to find a plausible frame, it’s impossible. This is the reasoning. I really like the stuff of her, Esther Persbandt. It doesn’t have anything to do with the world of Rammstein or the gothic stuff, the hardcore metal [stuff]. She’s more like a Berlin based fashion designer. Very traditional, modern fashion, more of the haute couture. So, I thought that it would pair with Till because it should be something that is not expected. He’s always had that kind of style, and for this Lindemann thing, it is very important to find a way to separate us from Rammstein, visually, as well. But it’s not possible, because you have that face! I try to do things that Rammstein maybe wouldn’t do just to make them more two different things.
You can find Lindemann in the USA on Warner Bros. Records, Amazon, or for the Exclusive Box Set, Best Buy.
Super Deluxe: http://smarturl.it/LindemannSuperDeluxe
Digital Download: http://smarturl.it/LindemannDigital
Zoran Bihac: http://www.zoranbihac.com
Interviewee: Zoran Bihac
Interviewer: Dani Malone
Editor / Online: Maya Aster
Editing Assistant: Murray
Assistant: Elena de’ Grimani
Special Thanks: Sarah H.
Warner Brothers Records