BANDS Magazine interview with Karl Koch - April 30, 2005
Originally in German - translation by Weezerpedia admin Donny.
On the occasion of the release of the fifth, long overdue album Make Believe by Weezer, by all means we had to do an interview. Karl Koch, not the paranoid world conspiracy theorist from the movie 23, but fifth member, archivist and webmaster of Weezer, agreed to do an interview with BANDS.
Visually, Karl Koch perfectly fits the image of Weezer. Horn-rimmed glasses, bog-standard haircut, maintaining a low profile but focused with an uncompromised passion. It was him that collected all the material for the Weezer DVD Video Capture Device over the years.
BANDS: Hello, Karl. First of all, I have to ask the question that has interested me for a long time: Your name sounds more German than American. Do you have any kind of German roots?
Karl: Yes, there’s a lot of German on both sides of my family. My great-great-grandparents came to America in the 18th century from a small village near Stuttgart.
BANDS: Are you involved in the making of Weezer albums in general and specifically in the making of the upcoming album Make Believe?
Karl: Musically, I offer advice if I am asked to, but in general I am an observer and documenter of what is happening in the studio.
BANDS: There are rumors that Make Believe will be more personal again. Is that true? Did Rivers manage to leave his concerns about Pinkerton behind?
Karl: Yes, it’s more personal. It’s not emotionally "raw" like Pinkerton, but it’s definitely more thoughtful and expressive than the last two albums. I think Rivers came to the conclusion that his music is best when he opens up musically and emotionally.
BANDS: Is "Beverly Hills" (the first single) a representative song of Make Believe or is it rather untypical?
Karl: It is untypical. It’s sort of like a starting point.
BANDS: Rivers seems to be very close with his fans. How does he and the band handle negative criticism from the fans that you can read on the internet every time a new album is released?
Karl: The band consists only of human beings. They read what the fans are saying out of curiosity. But they are more experienced now and they are seeing the big picture. They listen to negative comments but they know that it’s impossible to please everyone.
BANDS: Why didn’t Weezer play a single show in Switzerland in the last few years?
Karl: Mainly because no real offers were made. But during the last tour phase (2000 – 2002) they were in Europe only a few times, that’s true. Their planned European tour 2001 was canceled. People don’t know that it is twice as expensive to tour in Europe as it is to tour in the USA. So if you don’t get suitable offers or get a lot of support from your label, it’s hard to plan the details. Anyway, I expect them to come back to Switzerland. Most certainly. The band has developed a great interest and steps are taken to take them to as many countries as possible.
BANDS: What’s the background behind the album title Make Believe?
Karl: Rivers came up with the title. I think it just popped into his head and he knew that was it. There is no specific meaning to it.
BANDS: Why is Pat always the one that acts the parts in the Weezer videos?
Karl: Because he is the only one that is good at it. He is a natural talent in front of the camera. Well, more of a talent than the other guys. And he is extraordinarily funny and friendly.
BANDS: Are you happy with your role behind the scenes or would you like to be in the spotlight yourself? Did you ever play in a band?
Karl: Spotlight is both compelling and frightening. I like to get attention (who doesn’t?) but I like my anonymity and that I am able to preserve my privacy. My own music is based on samples, so I can produce on my own. I call it “Karlophone” and this is the website with a few MP3s and a CD: http://www.karlophone.com.
Let’s see if Karl will stay out of the spotlight any longer. Thanks a lot, Karl Koch!