Interview in Burow 08.09.2007

(This interview was the last of Rolf Köhler)

SIB in Burow
Photo courtesy


In 2003 you created your Systems In Blue project. What was the intention that you established?

- Detlef: The fans wanted that anyway. Thomas Widrat, a fan from the Modern Talking board, reactivated the story. This really happened for the fans, fans of this music.

- Rolf: ... he is today our head-author of the lyrics.

- Detlef: That was really pure coincidence. He caught us with his enthusiasm so much that we thought: "Hey, why don't we do this together now ?!"

- Rolf: The first theme was born that way, "Magic Mystery"

- Detlef: I made my own Bohlen concept, his song was analyzed and then it was produced as something almost new.

- Michael: Our first independent song was actualy "Every Little Thing"

What was crucial for make Magic Mystery the first single?

- Rolf: It was accepted by the people and much more by the record company. We do not decide, only the record company.

His appearance in "Akte 03" let several annoying fans. A majority of the statements in the interview came from Birger Corleis, who is not a member of Systems in Blue. Although many fans mistakenly assumed him as a member. But also some statements were expressed by you, that is why you are often accused by the fans. Did you want to unmask Dieter Bohlen?. What do you say about this?

- Rolf: With some Bohlen productions we worked in the arrangements of the music, for example with Nino de Angelo, Blue System or Bonnie Tyler. Naturally we did not do everything, but we also had a part of the work!. We were part of their productions and not just singers. We do not know that Dieter would have sung, we can not judge everything, we only know eventually that we sang the choir of Modern Talking, and we know that I lent my voice to Dieter in the Blue System choirs.

- Detlef: Everyone also knows that Dieter has not sung alone the choirs.

- Rolf: I stopped to lend him my voice and that's what the contract agreed. All the boys here produced the sound for Bohlen concerning to the choirs, and Dieter was eventually as singer in the strophes.

- Michael: 13 LPs, and of all them I think 10 were gold!

- Rolf: That's not malicious, it's just the truth!!.

With the documentary were also known many cuts...

- Detlef: Naturally, we felt we were a little used afterwards. They cut us together and this was very negative for us, something that was not our goal at all.

- Rolf: We also did not know how the documentary would be develop, when I said that the chorus of "My Bed Is Too Big" was sung by us and then as the video continues they put me in "fade in" next. There we had no influence to put it like that!. It is the truth that we do that work, we do not have to lie or invent something.

Which was the purpose of your participation in this documentary?

- Detlef: The intention with the documentary was to make our project a bit known.

Was not your intention to damage Dieter?

- Detlef: No, never!! we would not want that, and we have said that in different TV interviews to which we have gone, inviting him with us as a guest singer!. If he wants it, he can do it cordially. Then the old team could go out together again, that would be a great success, as we did before.
Luis has already declared and explained in the court of our trial, that Dieter introduced something of his vocals when we were away. And if that makes fans happy that Dieter also sang there, well it stays that way.

In the Akte broadcast we also saw Birger Corleis, he was involved in the choir of Modern Talking's first album at that time, but he does not currently belong to your project. What can you say?

- Detlef: Birger was interviewed alone and he also made his own independent trial against Bohlen

- Rolf: He was a part of us that sang with Modern Talking, he had a part just like us, with four people we sing all the falsettos.

Can you again describe how was that the cooperation with Dieter finished in the year 2000?

- Detlef: After all for money! There was definitely a promise from his side that he made us, to be part of the project after the first Golden Album. For "You're My Heart You're My Soul", he gave us an amount of 150 Marcos to each one, that ended there and there was no more relationship with each other. When the Back for Good album started, we left away again like a rocket, we said: with us no more! ... but of course it was too late, we should have done it already in 1986, but we were too good. We are simply good people and we avoid stress. None of us wanted to work with stress in the studio.

After "Back for Good", you made two albums more together with Modern Talking?

- Detlef: There was with us a better payment, but despite of that, we promised do not keep participation.

- Michael: He told us in the 80's that this was a team work and the success would also benefit all the team.

- Detlef: There was an exaggerated disproportion, that couple of thousands of Marcos, which we won as providers of a service, for say it in a way, and he achieved an economic success. That is something that I can not understand until now. Why someone who made so much crazy money with a project, where there were many people involved, does not teach anything about be sociable. I think that after that we would never have had the idea of doing our own project, this is what maybe bothers him.


How is your present relation with Dieter?

- Detlef: There is nothing

- Michael: No contact

- Detlef: Well, I have no problems with him!. If I see him on the road, I can say: "Good morning, Hi Dieter, what's up?". I've known him since he was a boy. We've known each other for a very long time, we're both from Oldenburg.

- Michael: Detlef comes out in his movie like a Hippie who plays the guitar over there.

And how are you looking this new SIB album?

- Detlef: This one is actually ready. A few titles have to be mixed, but it is already well finished. We had time and we wanted the album to be finished at the end of the month in order to be released, just as it was planned. Now, the fact is that the record label thinks that the Christmas season is going to be complicated with the competition of CDs that will be released, and then it would be better to publish the album in January, after the Christmas season, but this is still not decided. We still keep it in the calendar. The album will be finished at the end of the month, but the decision on the release unfortunately is not from us. This is pure marketing decision, if the office says, at Christmas people will follow other superoffers, then we must accept the decision.

Can you already tell us about the style of the album?

- Rolf: The sound has changed a bit, also the sound of the voices.

- Detlef: There will be no more an absolute asociation with Dieter in the strophes, is a bit different.

- Michael: There are many nice songs in this album and is more independent than the first.

- Rolf: The concept is the same. The compositions are also of the genre. Some are very independents, simple but very versatile.

How do you play your playbacks roughly speaking?

- Rolf: Little Orchestra-Break and more modern sounds

- Detlef: But also not completely modern, because I think that fans do not like that.

- Rolf: We are also looking to find a middle point, a bit modern, but not so modern in playbacks.

- Detlef: I think that fans that found our previous music good, will also enjoy this new album.

How many songs will have?

- Detlef: Probably twelve.

In future do your have plans for work in cooperation with other artists?

- Detlef: Parallel to our project we also work in titles for Mark Ashley.

- Rolf: Those are also very good, we are very anxious.

- Michael: Seriously very good. Very close to Modern Talking.

- Rolf: That's is ask to his own nature, because Mark sounds like Thomas now.

- Detlef: We want to make the feeling of Modern Talking revive. Naturally not completely to its past fashion, but also a little more modern. The composition is already moderately in that direction. It's a little soft and sentimentally deep. The compositions are more melodious than with SIB.

- Rolf: Will be a nice album. People who loves the old sound of Modern Talking, will enjoy it.

And how do you see the chance to work with Thomas Anders?

- Detlef: The same Thomas was not reluctant to the idea at all, but he is managing and heading himself in another direction.

- Rolf: We also wonder ourselves in that time, why he makes that album Swing. He wants, I believe, to leave from the image of Bohlen. And because of that, he does things, which naturally are not so successful.

And C.C.Catch?

- Detlef: We also negotiated

- Rolf: C.C.Catch really lives from the Bohlen stuff, but she would also like, I think, to get out of that image. She does some house things and sees the possibility of modernizing herself, as she is. But despite that we could make together their song "Heaven and Hell" as a very good tribute. She would get upset that this title is recorded with us without her.


With which musicians will you work together?

- Michael: They take the credits in the label. Peter Weihe and Marion Scwalger have participated, for example.

And specifically in the new album?

- Rolf: The future will tell, we only knew that with a theme we wanted a super saxophonist. We know one, he plays with Scottish and Irish sounds. We have a ballad where we hope he brings that Irish feeling. A thin part of the album goes towards that. Now we made the first times of the songs simple, we sing all the falsettos of the choirs. There are still small things, that we ourselves do not know exactly where they will go. There we still will see.


Can you describe once again how exactly was the birth of the high pitch voices?

- Michael: We sing all together in unison and in harmony.

- Rolf: We sing each part 4 to 8 times. After this comes the second voice with the choruses of high voices or falsettos, where we usually sing with less traces, because the main voice is always the most important, and then we sing with the voices composing harmony.


How much time does need a person to finish producing a complete song, and how it can end so that is ready to heard on CD?

- Detlef: Since the title is completely finished, there is always a practical rule, by which one at least needs 4 to 5 days.

- Michael: And 12 hours a day!

- Detlef: Exactly, not 8 hours a day, with which the composition is usually simple.

- Michael: Also when we compose, it has already happened to us that we convert 2 or 2 and a half songs in a day, but those are eventually layers.

- Rolf: I once had a song in the 80's as a solo artist in "Broken Dreams". There I had to sing all the voices alone, in that case of course you take a little longer, if you sing the whole chorus alone and also want to have a super sound, then that will last longer.
We can also talk about an album title, this is called "Out of the Blue" and that has the falsetto with a chorus of partially high voices, the correct altitude, such as "Atlantis Is Calling" and that follows even a little more long.


Can you explain us one more time, how you had notion about the comeback of MT in 1998?

- Detlef: Dieter made a little trick to us, he did not tell any big reference about this, whether he was aware or not that he was doing it, he did not even tell us there would be a comeback of Modern Talking, at that time we were in the studio with Götz Kiso, when he had the idea to do 1,2,3 songs, that's what he told us, you can guess what songs were those, they were the new ones of the Back For Good album, he sure smelled what It would have been if he told us everything what was happening, we would have asked for much more money. That's the reason why he did a little trick, we did not notice this until the album was releades, I think that was a very smart move.


Are you satisfied with your past projects?

- Rolf: We are pleased about the fact that even though we have a small group of very enthusiastic and passionate fans, we noticed that this is growing all over the world.

- Detlef: We heard from our record label, that even though the fifth single released from the album did not have a positive opinion in the fan forums, they had a relatively good sale.

- Michael: Better than others who promote well the singles of their artists.


Maybe with a new good single could this be more?

- Detlef: It's what we do now!

- Rolf: If you see how many people buy the single, we must point to a different group for an answer. We have no entry in the chart, but the single was well sold.

- Detlef: It happened for example that due to the previous single, the same company, became closer to us and requested us more. This is because today, where singles are relatively poorly sold, record releases with good sales is what different companies are looking for. A great promotion is important now, that's what the fans always tell us. We would love to do it, endless promo, we wish every day to appear on TV, but it is not as easy as anyone could imagine.


With the market availability of your CDs, you see these often not as good as ...

- Rolf: The first record company we had was a loser firm, but we wanted to start anyway.

- Detlef: It is always the same closed circle for the promotion. The structure is like that, the promoter of the merchandise sales, as for example Mediamarkt goes and offers for example a cleaner. The guy in the store says: "Why should I clean my shelf?. How many employees do you have? How many times do they appear on TV?" and then says: "No, I will not!". There we have no influence.

- Rolf: and only if the shoppers order the CD, they take what is purely. Also with Amazon purchases do not help much, so it is better to go to stores!.

- Detlef: When the album is released and the publication date is there, we will tell people to go to stores and book the CDs three weeks in advance.

- Michael:There will be also a total and massive propaganda this time!

- Detlef: But we also have a better presence now. We noticed it in sales because we obviously sold much more than what we originally thought.

- Rolf: That's why we do not have entries in the chart, which we could really have from sales. We are now three little guys, who sometimes also have a "pitch". There was a peak time of the Point Of No Return, a flood in Austria and our press work stayed in Austria...

- Detlef: ... We were in the chart in 103 position more or less. The cliches of always were in there in the stores, but the manufacturer could not deliver and we lost again 3 positions.


You have a medley of Blue System and another of Modern Talking. In future, you still have it like something next planned?

- Rolf: I must now anticipate that I can imagine if we could perform with Mark Ashley, maybe we will make the Modern Talking Medley with him.

- Detlef: Probably will be in his album a version of "You're My Heart you're my soul"....

- Rolf: ... it is conceptualized in a modern version

- Detlef: How it would exactly be, we still don't know, because we have not idea, but it should be different. Not just like a cover, that would be stupid.


A question for the producers by hobby. Which sounds of productions do you use in your productions?

- Detlef: Due to my work and activity of arranger with Bohlen, I still have the original sounds, which were used at that time, naturally I can not publish that, the thing is about that "pressure & dynamic" stuff, that those are partially sounds of that time, which we can season a little. On the other hand we also have a lot of stuff in computers, I also have a couple of analog synthesizers, for example the line of "Roland" the Prophet T 8, S1000-, S5000-Sampler, so we have resources if we need something, now a lot can be done with computers [...] something will be recorded analogously with old technology, I own some of these systems, preamplifiers, microphones and also a large mixer unit, so anything can be recorded analogously before is placed on a computer, then also the mixing and mastering run on an expensive analog compressor. I do not go for the echo on computers, they all sound terrible. The Lexicon 480 is simply "unbeatable", you will not get a "plug-in" like this at least not in that quality.

Do you have some words to the fans?

- Michael: We love them all.

- Detlef: We could not make anything if they were not present in the music.

- Rolf: We only try to continue the sound!!

- Detlef: I would find great that Dieter were once available as a guest artist, he is cordially invited, we do not envy him, we wish him all the best of the world. I do not understand all this theater either, it was never our intention that Dieter was whipped, which is always alleged to us. What we said corresponded simply to the truth, without any insane intention to do any harm.
I also find stupid this well-known war, which takes place internally there between the fan forums, between the Thomas forum, the Bohlen forum and our fan forum and this "theater" as we post in red. That is completely ridiculous!. Strictly speaking, we are all in this music, which is for all the people who find it good. Why confront ourselves in that way?, just because a guy like Dieter polarizes from one way to another and rant things against Thomas from time to time. Really what is that?
The reason is that there was never a great community, in which everyone wants the same, this hatred to Thomas and viceversa... I do not understand anything. You will never hear a bad word about Thomas or Dieter from us!. Strictly speaking, we do it for the people who find this music good.

- Rolf: We are now maybe a little bit more in 80's than Dieter. We simply go for the old music, we were witnesses of that time and we carry that style printed with us.



Many thanks for your interview Rolf, Michael and Detlef!