Z.B. – Zoran Bihac (Director).
J.H. – Jurgen Haas (Animation Director).
U.M. – Unknown man.
Z.B.: "Links" has got to be an ant video. "Links" is somehow a very violent song... quite brutal and militant really...
U.M.: (On shooting stage) Quiet please! Roll video! Sound please!
Push him back in there...
(Shooting video "Links" on screen).
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) Ok, cut.
Z.B.:I wanted to find a way to show something non-violent yet at the same time brutal but not necessarily involving human violence and so on.
U.M.: (On shooting stage) Okay! Everyone come here... Zoran!? We're almost ready to start filming.
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) Have you tasted the tuna-fish yet? It's unbelievable!
Z.B.:The story is basically quite simple... I wanted the ants to be as realistic as possible. Maybe with a slight human touch but not cute or friendly like in Walt Disney or in children's films where animals each have their own character. These ants are just ants... but work with various human utensils.
Then the problem was to create this (laugh)! How do you do something like that (laugh)?!We realized that one month was far too short... (laugh) but the band said: Yeah! Do it! Super!
Z.B.:We managed to get a big team together working parallel in Berlin and Stuttgart and we got it finished in time.
J.H.: (On shooting stage) Are there subtitles because of the Schwabish accent? Then I wouldn't have to exert myself so much!
J.H.: I actually prefer Bach or Schubert to Rammstein... Although, I've worked on clips for some completely ridiculous pieces of music! At a certain point you start to actually really like the music!
(Shooting video "Links" on screen).
Z.B.: Working with real ants... or a lot of real ants is one of the hardest things you can do. You put them down and... zoom... they're gone. Not even the breeder expected that (laugh)! So we had insect experts to help us on set. One ant is fairly easy to control. You can do great things with it, the game of football for example, where we only had about twenty ants. They really played with the ball etc! But when you have to deal with masses of ants... or you want them to go straight from A to B... that can be a real nightmare.
Parallels are being drawn with really great films "Formicula", "Starship-Troopers" or... "The City of the Lost Children" with the fleas. So there are parallels. People are familiar with such pictures. They've already seen it in films like "Microcosm" and so on.
The original thing here is the combination with music... especially this type of music... which, for me, is generally quite one-sided... although this dark and mysterious side has pulled me in a bit as well.
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) Could we maybe get the leg-joint to snap?
Z.B.: If I'm allowed to make the next Rammstein video...(laugh) it's got to be really positive and full of life (laugh)! This video is like Oh my God... (laugh) But that's the way it is sometimes. Burrows and tunnels are dark and morbid and so is the atmosphere and the story... but that's nature! Well, artificial nature! I've never seen another video like it. I don't think another exists.
A video can only be as good as the song. I was lucky with this song... the text, everything, it's so powerful! The challenge is to give the song an added level, everyone pictures something else. I try to show them something different and bring the song to a new level. For example: to show beautiful pictures for a very violent song... and thereby create a bitter-sweet atmosphere which is much more interesting. A lot of people asked: "Why ants?" Because they're just better than people (laugh)! Although a person does feature right at the end... but just as a tribute to "Phase 4" and Louis Bunuel. They worked with ants, too (laugh).
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) I've decided to disappear if everything goes wrong (laugh)! You must understand: our lives depend on this! This is a big risk here! If something goes wrong...
U.M.: (On shooting stage) But what can go wrong?
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) I don't know... Maybe they won't pay us... (laugh).
Z.B.:I think I've been quite lucky here... The band only gave some constructive criticism... and have otherwise let us work in peace. Let's see what they say when we're finished (laugh)! The problem with animation and special effects is that all changes require a lengthy process. We must constantly up-date, but before we do something we have to decide "Yes" or "No".
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) (Singing a melody "Links") ...and cut! That's two parts from the beginning before...
J.H.: (On shooting stage) That's the new cut here on the monitor?
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) Yeah. But only the bright sections. They got a bit nervous.
J.H.: (On shooting stage) Why, too dark?
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) Yes. So nervous they wanted to start with the marching ants.
J.H.: (On shooting stage) Really!?
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) Yeah!
Sounds good, doesn't it? Rhythm-wise...
Z.B.:We just needed a few seconds to agree on the video. It was too long. So we cut a bit out and - Okay! What was funny was the long discussion about: What is a beat (laugh)?! The drummer said: This is a beat (singing). But Paul said: "No! THIS is the beat" (singing). This went on for ages! What is a beat... Where does it start? Where does it end? In the end I said: Just tell me where to cut (laugh)!
J.H.: It's difficult showing this before it's finished. Often bands or managers want to see something, so you show them a few unfinished scenes... and they think: 'What's that!?" Then they get really nervous! I don't like showing clips in advance. It's in the last three days that a clip emerges. I'm excited now, too! It looks better and better.
Z.B.: Hopefully it will be a really spectacular video. The aim is that the kids ask themselves: What is real, and what is not real? But I hope the next video involves herds of Go-go-girls... in Mongolian costumes, and sword-fights... (laugh) and underwater explosions (laugh)! Or something completely different. Rammstein like no-one has ever seen... Nice, for example, or laughing (laugh)!
Z.B.: (On shooting stage) And cut. That'll do for today.