Over the past five years, Scooter and their unmistakable lead singer H.P. Baxxter have experienced something of a renaissance amongst purveyors of continental high culture. Why? Who the fuck knows. Some say it’s their special blend of lowbrow Dada boomboom; others claim it’s Nobel-level PR. Modeselektor’s Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary don’t have the answer, but they do share Baxxter’s love of the Roland Space Echo, as they recently discovered in conversation with the peroxide frontman in Hamburg.
Gernot Bronsert: We could have met a couple of years ago. We were playing in Vienna at the Flex, and we spotted you from the stage. You and your entourage were at the bar.
H.P. Baxxter: I remember. We were in town because we were invited to take part in a talk show. Somebody suggested we attend your show afterwards.
Sebastian Szary: We noticed that you left during the last song we played. I remember thinking: This is how you do it when you’re a celebrity. You leave before everybody else.
HP: We were thinking about saying hello backstage, but it doesn’t really make sense when you’re unannounced. So we just enjoyed the concert as regular members of the crowd, and then we called it a day. But it’s interesting that you noticed us.
GB: It was actually impossible not to notice you: you and your entourage basically took all the seats at the bar. And you, H.P., are especially impossible to overlook. It’s the haircut, I guess.
SS: You’ve got a silhouette. Everybody knows your look— for almost two decades you haven’t changed anything.
HP: Old habits die hard. Whenever I like something I stick to it. I dye my hair once every two weeks, and I shave twice a day.
GB: Have you ever been offered an endorsement deal for a shampoo?
HP: No, but I was offered a couple of other things since I will be quite present in German TV due to my commitment for the new season of the casting show X Factor. I’m part of the jury that decides who will become a candidate for the finale.
SS: Who’s the winner? Come on, I promise I won’t tell anybody.
HP: As I said, we’ve only produced the shows that lead to the finale. Nobody knows what will happen during the live shows that follow . . .
GB: Let me guess: Scooter are releasing their sixteenth album?
HP: Yes we will release our next album in October. But is it already our sixteenth album?
GB: Don’t you know how many records you’ve made?
HP: I know the number of our top ten singles: twenty-four.
SS: What’s the thrill of doing a sixteenth album?
HP: It’s been three years now since we had our last top ten hit. I feel it’s an obligation to write new hits because I don’t want Scooter to become a nostalgic act with an old audience only always asking for the classic hits. A hit single certainly attracts a younger crowd and that’s very important if you ask me. That’s reason enough to try.
GB: How can you know that the next single will become a top ten hit?
HP: Well, I hope it will. We wrote it the way we did thinking it could become one. It’s a very energetic track for sure.
SS: Coming back to the Flex club in Vienna: After we spotted you from the stage, we briefly discussed whether we should play “Hyper Hyper”, but we decided not to in the end. We didn’t dare.
GB: We just weren’t sure about it.
HP:I totally understand. It can be embarrassing when you enter a club and suddenly the DJ completely destroys the mood of his set by playing two Scooter tracks—just because he spotted you and wants to welcome you. Anyhow, I remember that after your show had ended, I told my assistant that he should get me all of Modeselektor’s recordings. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often that I really like a live set. It sounded totally different than your studio work, by the way.
GB: That’s because we’re playing everything live. We have separate tracks for every instrument. We don’t use entire playbacks. That’s also the reason why every show we do is different from the one before. I suppose that you have to check out audience recordings on YouTube if you want to see that part of Modeselektor.
Continued in Part 2 “Every audience loves pyro” .