For a number of years now, there has been a rising star among gothic bands. Of particular interest to real Vampyres is a band called Blutengel (“Blood Angel” in German), which has been singing about vampires and other topics of interest since 1998, all the while steadily climbing up the rankings on the international alternative music scene. Even though some of their tracks are sung almost exclusively in German, and only some in English, they have become immensely popular in the global Vampyre Community.
Here in South Africa, where those who speak Afrikaans (a local derivative of 17th century Dutch) can understand a lot of German words, they are especially popular among goths and Vampyres. When you consider the provocative lyrics, the sensual music, the gorgeous dark look of the band members, the outfits and the unique style – and the seductive music videos – all of which together evoke the image of the classical vampire – who can really wonder why? Many in the real Vampyre Community the world over are familiar with the band Blutengel – and in particular its lead singer and front man, Chris Pohl.
Val: Chris, most of our readers will already know you as the delicious looking front man for Blutengel, would you like to tell us a little more about Chris Pohl when he isn’t in stage or in front of a camera?
CP: I was born and raised in Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany. When I am not on camera or working, I enjoy spending time with my band mates and my friends. I enjoy poetry, going for walks and listening to music. I’m a big fan of Classical Metal or just plain classical. I love music and have always been a fan of music. Ever since I was a kid I have wanted to be a singer.
Val: Please tell us a little about Blutengel and its connection to the vampire, what inspired it, and what inspires you and the other members.
CP: Blutengel is a Gothic band and most Goths are fans of Vampires. And I am Goth and I think vampires are just lovely.
Val: Nearly all your music and music videos that I’ve seen and heard either make reference to the classical stereotype of the fictional vampire, or have a vampire theme, would you like to tell us why, and what fascinates you about the image of the vampire?
CP: Our band is a Gothic band and Vampires are very common in the Gothic world. If you have noticed Vampires are Gothic as well and me and my band members all love Vampires.
Val: What is your favorite vampire movie, TV series or book?
CP: I have several favorite vampire movies, but I would have to say my most favorite one is Queen of the Damned because it has alot of Goth in the movie – and it has the mother of all Vampires in it, and it has amazing music.
Val: What is your favorite fictional vampire character in a moive, TV series or book?
CP: Hmmm well the vampires in the Queen of the Damned are based on real people that were Vampires so…. the only one I can think of would be Blade because he is a good Vampire who kills bad ones.
Val: Blutengel started in the late 1990’s, (1998 I believe?). Would you like to share with us some of the highs and lows of your prolific band and your hopes for it in the future?
CP: Blutengel was created in 1998 but we didnt really start until 1999 after I had decided to give up the preceding project (Seelenkrank) due to contractual problems. Blutengel uses melodious electronic tunes in combination with both male and female voices. The lyrics are primarily in German and English and mixed between male and female vocals paired with electronic sounds and with songs often focusing on all aspects of love, from the tragedy of hopeless romance of vampires (all the way to the more animal aspects of desire) and aspects of death and the beyond. Travel, and most of the time we are hearing bands are breaking up and that’s what I hope for Blutengel in the future that we are together forever, making music and loving it like we do now.
Val: Of all your current musical projects, Blutengel is the best known in the Vampyre Community – but you are or have been involved in other bands as well, such as Seelenkrank and Terminal Choice, sometimes at the same time? How does it all fit together? Are the other bands also focused on a vampyric style or image?
CP: Yes in 2001 I founded the project Pain of Progress , as well as my own label Fearsection. Pain of Progress, however, was placed on the first CD release in mid-2002 on ice and then I turned my attention back to my main projects Terminal Choice and blood angels, and working with it has under contract bands like Trümmerwelten, Cinderella Effect, Silent Assault and Dusty Springfield. Since 2008 I am also working on my new project, Miss Construction , which replaces the project tumor.
Val: In your videos, the dress, hair, and make-up help come together to create a very precise and specific image – this must have taken a lot of thought and effort to achieve – how has the image, and visual style of Blutengel evolved over time?
CP: Well actually, the way I dress in Blutengel’s videos is actually how I dress when I am not working and Blutengel’s style is just about the same. Out of all the projects, I believe Blutengel is probably the only project that is involved with the Vampire culture, but some of my other songs are gothic or related to vampires.
Val: What musicians influenced your musical taste? Who is your favorite singer/group and what is your favorite music?
CP: Most goths are into that very dark gothic music like Cradle of Filth or Marilyn Manson, but I am more of the romantic goth hehe – so I like softer goth music like Nightwish, Fairyland or Apocalyptica – but I do have certain favorite bands that are kinda heavy like Dimmu Borgir or Children of Bodom. My favorite groups would have to be – Nightwish , Sopor Aeternus, Eluveitie and Fairyland because they are similar to Classical especially Nightwish and my favorite genre of music is – Classical Metal, Symphonic Metal, Melodic and Electronic Metal. Blutengel’s genre is Dance, Future Pop and Electro.
Val: How has the sound of Blutengel changed over the years, and what do you think influenced this and why?
CP: The sound of Blutengel is about the same because it has the same genre as it did when we started …… and since our music is based on vampires the only time I guess we change is when we write a new song because Vampires are mysterious there is alot of unkown things about them to be figured out, so we kinda try to make it new with every song we write.
Val: Many Blutengel videos, especially the one for Reich Mir Die Hand (and the out takes from the video) show a lot of blood letting and a romantic connection with the vampire stereotype, and also that the crew had a lot of fun making it – is this often the case behind the scenes with your videos? Could you tell us a little more about that?
CP: The song title Reich Mir Die Hand is “Give Me Your Hand” in English and the lyrics are kinda talking about vampire lovers because its talking about being together for eternity and Vampires are immortal, so they can stay together for eternity. At the beginning the song says “You wander through the cold lonely night” and Vampires like the cold and hate the sun. They only go out at night and it also talks about blood haha. So basically one vampire is saying to the other “Give me your hand so we can stay together for eternity”.
Val: Do you know that there is a global community of real self-identified Vampyres, and if so, did/does this play any part in your creation of the band, its image, the genre and feel of the music or marketing for the band?
CP: Yes I do know about that. Actually I do alot of research about Vampire cults and covens and one of my good friends from America (his name is Bam) and there is actually a Vampire cult in the city where he was born. Like I said before, the characters in the movie Queen of the Damned are based on real people. So I knew about them and thats kinda the reason why our band has alot to do with the Vampire culture and also because we are big fans of Vampires – and may I add that there is a well known Vampire who actually lives kinda like a human? His name is Don Henrie or Don The Vampire. He actually drinks real human blood but not the way we see in movies – he doesnt bite their neck, he has donors that let him take blood and he drinks in a glass.
Val: The lyrics for many of your songs, but especially “Bloody Pleasures”, which is a personal favorite of mine, strike a chord in many Vampyres – where does it come from and what inspires it?
CP: The song Bloody Pleasures is connected to Vampires because we do know that Blood pleasures Vampires because thats how they survive and they enjoy it so I guess what inspired that song is the fact that Vampires love blood and it pleasures them.
Val: How do you view or feel about the real Vampyre Community (in your area or internationally or both)?
CP: I think the Vampire Community is interesting. Vampires are real to a certain extent because there are actually human beings that live like Vampires – you know drinking blood or having fangs, but what is not True about Vampires is that they do not change into bats and they do not split people in half, and its never really gory or killing people like in the movies. They get most of their blood from donors or blood banks, but there are some people that are so into being a Vampire that they actually kill people like in the movies.
Val: What is your personal favorite Blutengel track/video and why?
CP: I enjoy all of my songs but if I chose a favorite it would probably have to be ” Reich Mir die hand” because I think its catchy and its got good music to it and even though its goth music it has the dance vibe going on too. It’s probably my fans favorite song as well because I have alot of fans come up to me and say “Omg I love “Reich Mir die hand ” haha.
Val: What are the funniest and saddest things that have ever happened to you?
CP: That’s a hard question haha. Hmmm oh I got something – the saddiest thing that has ever happened to me was when I was at an event signing autographs. A fan had a little kid with her and she was absolutely scared of me hahaha and I had no idea why until her mother said “She thinks you are a vampire!” She was so scared of me she started crying, and I was like “Omg this kid thinks I am going to hurt her!” haha. The funniest thing that happen to me was, a girl asked me if my nails were real and she said “because they look nicer than mine!” haha – and FYI my nails are real they are not snap on or anything, I grew them this long haha.
Val: What sort of reception does Blutengel get from the German public? Are some people more friendly or hostile than others, and is ithis any different to how you are received in other places such as when you are on tour?
CP: I have alot of fans in Germany because that is where Blutengel is from… but when It comes to having fans in the United States, some of them aren’t okay with that because [of the war], so that is probably the only reason why my German fans do not like my fans in America, but I have many fans in America as well and they do not care that Blutengel is a German band which is great.
Val: Do people ever ask you/the band members if you are ‘real vampires’ etc? What do you tell them?
CP: Yes we have several people ask us if we are Real Vampires haha …. and No we are not Real Vampires we are just Goth haha which makes us look like Vampires because Vampires are so dark.
Val: Do you use fake blood during live shows, and have you ever had any problems with club/venue owners or even law enforcement because of this? How does the crowd/audience react?
CP: Well obvisouly since we are not Real Vampires , we do not use real blood it is fake but looks very real. The only problem we have had at clubs is with fans trying to get on stage with us, and some clubs dont let us perform because they do not want us messing up the stage with the fake blood because it stains. We don’t really perform in a lot of clubs for that reason, only if the song does not involve blood.
Val: What are your future plans for touring, musical projects, and do you think you will ever bring Blutengel to South Africa?
CP: I am not sure when we plan on coming to Africa, but we have been choosing on locations to visit that we haven’t yet. I have been working on a new project since 2008 and I do not have a specific due date because I am still working on it, and I’m not sure when I am going to be finished.
Val: Do you have a message for your fans in the Vampyre Community, both internationally and here in South Africa?
CP: I would like to say to all of my fans around the globe that I am so glad you like our music and I thank you for your support and I hope you enjoy our new projects that we are making.
Chris, thank you so much for taking the time to give us an interview! We wish you and Blutengel the very best of luck with your projects and for the future!