“There is no true living in a false world” – interview with Yogi Lang from RPWL

After “Beyond Man And Time”, we waited two years to get our hands on the next RPWL album. It was definitely worth waiting for, as the latest release sounds very fresh and its multi-layered lyrics make you have it in the back of your head most of the time. The concerts played on the “Wanted” tour are also very far from what one may have expected. Not only could fans listen to the whole album performed live, but also see a show telling a story of open-minded people being oppressed by the representatives of various institutions. In an interview for Opinia Magazine, Yogi Lang tells about a mystery substance that helps to break through the world of lies and illusions, a concept album he never intended to make, and his unique relationship with Poland.

You play lots of concerts in Poland. What do you feel every time coming here?

YL: It’s such a pleasure to come here. It’s one of the first countries, apart from Germany and the Netherlands that we ever played. I remember that the first concert we did in Poland was in Poznań. Of course later when we did the first tour we also came to Warsaw. It has always been a great welcome here in Poland. I still feel very honoured because when we released the first album, it was on the radio all over Poland! All the people here that listened to it, made the whole thing with Poland very unique. To this day it’s still something special to come back to Poland, it feels like coming back home.

Yogi Lang - RPWL, photo Jakub Żaczkiewicz

You’re getting towards the end of the tour. How is “Wanted” being received by the audience?

YL: I mean we wanted to do a follow-up of “Beyond Man And Time” because we felt this album was very theoretical. It was hard for the audience to get the show as we played it when we did our last tour. With “Wanted” we intended to do something that is more in our here and now, something more realistic. Our goal was to involve the band in the story, but at the same time involve the audience in the story. And this is why we did all this “wanted stuff” at the beginning – the whole trick with it is, is the band at the venue or not? We wanted to get people out of this entertainment zone and make people know they are here. We’re happy that our “Wanted” is so well accepted by the people. It’s a bit different to “Beyond Man And Time” which was colourful like a fairytale, while in case of “Wanted” you can “grab” it. This is what people feel with the album, and I’m glad about that because this is exactly what we wanted.

Was there anything different comparing to other RPWL albums that you enjoyed while recording “Wanted”?

YL: The difference was mainly in the story. “Beyond Man And Time” was this colourful story with a lot of allegories in it and a lot of pictures. When we produced it – if you see it as a picture – it was like putting a colour here and there, so you have a very multicoloured picture. “Wanted” was more like a black and white movie when we did it. We knew we had to get a bit rougher and we were more in search of this one single guitar that fits to the song. A friend of mine told me that he got the feeling that it’s more back to what we did at the beginning, back to the roots. And maybe he’s right because we had the story, we went to the studio and we just played. The producing was more focused on having the right feeling and not making it colourful. I’ve heard a lot of people get this feeling that it sounds more like in the beginning when we started off as a band. I’m really happy that it’s so well accepted by the people.

In your lyrics you tell about difficult issues, things that most people chose not to face. Do you look for the concepts or rather let things encounter you?

Kalle Wallner - RPWL, photo Jakub ŻaczkiewiczYL: Honestly I have to say, we’ve never wanted to do a concept album. Even in the case of “Beyond Man And Time”, it was never in our thoughts to do a concept album. When we were producing “Beyond Man And Time”, it just turned somehow. There’s this point you create a work and you pull the work, you try to get it forward, but there is a certain time when it turns around and suddenly the work is in front of you leading you somewhere. This was when “Beyond Man And Time” was getting into this concept thing, but as we were getting towards the final touches, it turned out that we wanted to have the essence of the story and transfer the idea into our here and now. This is what “Wanted” is about.

“Beyond Man And Time” is a story about having the power in us humans, as the evolutionary beings. It’s about the idea that everything you believe or see must be inside you, because otherwise you can’t see and you can’t believe it. We put this thought into “Wanted” where we found this substance and used it to leave the allegoric Plato’s cave, so in other words, we have a substance that brings you to the pure truth of life. No illusions, no other things. Even no religion because religion is mainly what you believe, but in this idea of what you believe is in you, we just have an enemy called institutional religion: the churches, but also the authorities. I don’t know if you have the same thing in Poland? In Germany you have a very strange thing when people go to vote or to elect people. If you let them do what they want to do, they will always, let me say, go left wing. They’re always very focused on helping people, but when it comes to voting it’s very different, because they vote for some conservatives or support nationalisms. This also comes from believing people. There is someone that is very smart, has a better promotion, and people believe it. It’s kind of a result of our culture to believe people and I think that may comes from monarchies in the past. I think what you have to do is to focus more on knowledge. Ask questions like: who wrote your Bible? What are they really telling in politics? What are the real facts that hide behind their doings?

In “Wanted” we have the substance to put all these illusions away! So they searched for us and we became wanted. As you saw in the show, we are planning the last final attack to set the substance free. There’s this countdown during the whole show and when it reaches zero, the substance is released. There’s also another narrated level of this story as to why we are wanted. There’s this issue raised by Sartre, who says, “There is no true living in a false world”. I mean if you’re running out of legal options, what else can you do to tell and show people the truth? We want to help the world, but we can’t because we’re running out the legal options. There are many aspects in the album, but we only want to push people to think about it. Everybody can believe what they want to. For me it’s something very individual. I’m just saying that people stop thinking at a certain point. It’s strange for me that people – for example – are reading the Bible and don’t know who wrote it. That’s strange, isn’t it? This is what the whole story is about.

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