Emigrate's history started long before the band's first album was released 31 August 2007. While guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe praised Rammstein's six-man democracy in the 1990s despite their arguments, creative scratching and hair pulling, things changed during the production of their third album Mutter and the period that followed it.
Kruspe, who according to Rammstein vocalist Till Lindemann is a workaholic, was so productive that his pace and constant input became a problem both for himself and for the other Rammstein members. The democracy he used to praise, where everyone had an equal say, became a source of frustration.
Seeking change, Kruspe left Berlin for New York in 2001. The new location gave him new impulses which he translated into music. «I think that when I got to New York, I discovered another world, a new one. I discovered a different language, other people. It's all very inspiring for me. I just started writing something new without thinking about where it would lead. It is not typical of my nature at all: I, like many Germans, like to make plans!» said Kruspe.
The ambitious musician had dreamt of being more than just a guitarist. «I think that every guitarist dreams of being a soloist, we are just afraid to admit it. While I was in Rammstein, I always wanted to sing, and I believed I would do it one day. But little by little, I started to forget about it,» said Kruspe. «This time I had the confidence to do it. I think it all comes down to not getting the attention of the singer. I compromised a lot of things in Rammstein. I didn't get along with the energy and the rhythm of the other members, and something was wrong. I felt like I wasn't really happy.»
In 2003, rumours said that Kruspe was demoing material along with Till Lindemann, Oliver Riedel, and Sascha Konietzko from KMFDM under the moniker Emigrate. Kruspe also worked with Till Lindemann only. «When I started Emigrate before it became Emigrate, I was trying to do something with him, just the two of us. We have a way of working that is always very interesting, by the way we do it. But when the guys heard that we were trying to do something, they were not very happy. So I had to give up this idea.»
While Rammstein had been sceptical in general of the band members doing solo projects, several band members confirmed in interviews from 2004 to 2006 that they supported the Emigrate project. «We talked together, laid the problems out, and we made sure to find solutions. We found multiple safety valves, and one of them was to allow Richard to express himself through a solo career,» said Christoph Schneider.
«Mutter was our darkest chapter. After the long touring we all were exhausted and we had no more balance in the band. Now for example, it is nice that Richard can work on his solo project. With it he can realise his musical ideas he would never have been able to develop with Rammstein,» said Oliver Riedel.
«He started a solo project to direct his energy elsewhere, and that helped us a lot. It was an outlet he didn't have in Rammstein,» said Till Lindemann. «For Richard, it was really important. He is a workaholic, he has so much output, and I cannot stand if you sit and work all the time. And of course all the things that Rammstein do are limited because there are six people that bring ideas and stuff.»
«There was the biggest problem with Richard in the band. But now that he has his own project, he's not the one in the band telling us what to do, and that's good. Now we are all more relaxed and carefree,» said Christoph Schneider.
Ultimately, Richard Z. Kruspe's solo project became the solution that made it possible for Rammstein to continue as a band. «In Rammstein we could sit for eight fucking hours and discuss whether we wanted to play a break or not, and sometimes it was a waste of time. Even though I understood the bigger picture and how it was important for Rammstein - and I made my peace with it - I needed Emigrate to survive. I couldn't only be in Rammstein. Emigrate is my way of finding balance,» said Kruspe.
Richard's need to create Emigrate didn't just result in a rehearsal situation where all the Rammstein members could take part, it also made room for the other band members to do things outside of the Rammstein. «I have acted in a picture, Flake and Paul have written a book. As a result we are all able to be more tolerant and open in our band relations. This wasn't possible in the past. It was 'the band or nothing'. I am glad we lowered these restrictions and everybody says: You do your thing; I do mine,» said Till Lindemann.
The band name Emigrate has a special meaning for Richard Z. Kruspe. «I had just arrived in New York when I found a piece of paper on the street which read 'Emigrate'. To me, that was a sign. It describes many things, like breaking free from my past. I feel at home in New York meanwhile; it's a city that gives a lot and takes a lot,» said Kruspe. «The very name Emigrate is related to moving to another country, to my feelings in the first month of my new life in New York. And everything I do for Emigrate is completely new to me.»
Kruspe's idea was to make his new project the opposite of Rammstein. Back in East Germany, it was common for musicians to collaborate across bands, and Kruspe wanted to collaborate with as many people as possible. «There are so many great musicians, it's a shame to be restricted to a single story. I don't believe in monogamy. I realise I'm a better team player when I have the final say,» said Kruspe.
«I write and work creatively a lot. Because actually I am in the studio every day a variety of material was produced rapidly. I tried to transform that. In a way the "Emigrate" project is liberation for me and also a kind of emigration in the musical sense. Of course, when you enter a new culture, learn a new language, meet new people and all this stuff, like I did, when I came to New York, then you have to process it creatively. Everything happened at once. It almost poured out of me (laughs). It's always difficult to explain your own projects musically. It is an attempt to get close to myself.»
In New York, Kruspe met bassist Arnaud Giroux, who became a part of Emigrate. «We had a little bit of the same history. Like he came to New York, got married there, and he was kinda by himself. He was looking for someone. We met and we had a deal together basically saying I help him with some stuff, he helps me, so then he came to my studio and he was impressed with the stuff that I did, and said ‘listen, let's do it. Let's write together'.»
In addition to Giroux, Kruspe recruited Olsen Involtini, Henka Johansson, and Sascha Moser. He knew all of them from before: Involtini had done remixes for Rammstein, and he arranged the strings for the Mutter album. He met Johansson while Rammstein toured with Clawfinger. Sascha Moser played the drums in Orgasm Death Gimmick. Kruspe had previously tried to work with them without being able to do so.
Emigrate's band logo bears resemblance to the Star of David, and in early interviews, this was often brought up by journalists. Both Richard Z. Kruspe and Arnaud Giroux denied that this was intentional.
«It's really unfortunate that it looks like this. But it doesn't mean anything,» said Giroux. «The important thing in the logo is the circle that's around the 'E', which actually represents more the concept of migration, emigration, cycles, life.»
«The E is basically breaking out of the cycle of life. That's the idea. When we started the band, I was emigrating out of Germany to America,» said Kruspe, who claimed the similarity to the Star of David never occurred to him. «It never crossed my mind until one journalist told me, a German one, that he went to New York and had an Emigrate t-shirt on, and somebody screamed at him. The first time I put those two pieces together, I thought 'f*ck'. The meaning of the logo was totally based on my personal life, on music, and had no political meaning whatsoever.»
With Emigrate, Richard Z. Kruspe realised that he finally had a chance to sing. «As a songwriter, I'm already quite experienced, everything is simple and clear for me here. But now I had to work with my own voice - it was completely new for me,» said Kruspe.
«Even when I started to play guitar, I was more interested in the song and how it could be played and all that kind of stuff. Without using my voice in Rammstein, my music always had this dramatic and moody vibe. To me, it didn't sound complete. I wanted to use my voice to make it sound right. That was the most important thing for me, to write my songs for my own voice. I just wanted to be a complete songwriter.»
Being the lead vocalist turned out to be the biggest problem for Kruspe. «I'm so advanced in my guitar playing and writing that I knew what to do, but as a singer I'm just a baby. I had to lower my expectations right down because everything was sounding horrible. There were many times when I nearly gave up and accepted that [me singing] was not meant to be. But Arnaud held me together, and insisted that I was the only guy who could sing these songs.»
«I worked with a vocal coach who helped Mick Jagger. It cost me $180 an hour to practice with him! He scolded me for smoking before class,» said Kruspe. In the end, he conquered his fears. «Singing is all about attitude anyway. You have to kind of bring that onto tape, that's what it is. But you have to go there, you have to be in a state of mind to actually do it, which was new at the time for me. So you can't really say how long I took because it was a lot of involvement in the beginning, trying things out, I never really had time... It was just two weeks or three weeks because I was back recording with Rammstein and touring with them. It was always a time in between, so it's hard to say how much I actually worked for it. But I worked a lot!»
Kruspe ended up using English lyrics for Emigrate. «It was quite natural for me, living in the city and speaking the language. Also I basically grew up with rock music from the beginning. Rammstein was different because we made an intellectual choice to sing in German because we were thinking of being as authentic as possible. But that was too much thinking for Emigrate, I just wanted to write songs. I needed it for my own sake and just did it. I didn't really consider which direction I wanted to go in, which language I wanted to use. Pretty much everything came naturally with very little planning.»
«Honestly, it was really hard at first. And the English I spoke wasn't so flawless. But every day I tried to catch it and remember something new. But I needed help writing texts, and I worked on them with my ex-wife. I think we did pretty well.»
Before the release of the album, Kruspe shared some material online through newsletters to get feedback. «I made a big mistake when I started to participate in all these online discussions. There are things that you shouldn't pay attention to, because there are so many stupid people on the Internet who write stuff. At first, all this really upset me, I took it all too personally. Then I realised that I didn't have to worry about it so much. I talked to a lot of people, and I realised that a lot of people really liked my album. That balanced me out.»
Hellner and Glaumann
Emigrate's self-titled debut album was released 31 August 2007, six years after Kruspe moved to New York City. It contained 11 tracks co-produced by Jacob Hellner and mixed by Stefan Glaumann, who had both worked with Rammstein for years.
«What I did, because the band I put together had never played together, I was nervous about the scenario. You can build up this great band on paper, but until they get in the room together, the chemistry might not be right. Because I was nervous in the beginning, I asked Jacob to join us. Once I realized that there was nothing to worry about, he just became a consultant basically. We wrote 17 songs in like 2 weeks,» said Kruspe.
«With Stephan, I had a lot of engineers in America that I admired, but I couldn't afford them. I have worked a lot on Rammstein stuff with Stephan and he was a guy that I could trust. It wasn't easy in the beginning I must admit. He was trying to adapt the Rammstein sound to the Emigrate songs. I was listening to the tracks and I was quite frustrated. It was not the way I envisioned the songs would go. I couldn't really explain it to him. Then I came back and I always used a cube metaphor to explain Emigrate. I don't know where it came from. I told him about the cube sound, but I told him it needed to be more "cubey" and it worked. From there he moved away from the Rammstein sound.»
Kruspe himself was surprised at how the album ended up. «It sounded really rock in a mainstream kind of way. I always considered myself as being more in a dark world, on a dark side of music,» he said. In the press, the music was described as rock with elements of pop, alternative, rave, and metal. «That was the intent - to get a little bit of all those worlds together. I moved a little bit away from the electronic side of music. At the end of the day, it sounded rocky.»
Emigrate's debut album was received well by the press. «I don't think I have ever gotten so many good reviews from press and journalists. I think it is great. It seems to be the only way you can tell if a record is successful as people don't buy records anymore. One thing people are saying is that the more they listen to it, the more they like it,» said Kruspe.
The question about touring came up many times in interviews. At the time, Rammstein was working on a new album, and Kruspe made it clear that this was his main priority. «Rammstein is first priority. And when the guys, like now, are working, of course I am with them.»
Kruspe did, however, suggest that Emigrate would tour at some point. «The idea exists. For me, it is a great excitement to perform with Emigrate in front of the audience, but there are currently no tour plans. After all, many busy musicians who live and work in different countries play the album. Already recording in the studio was a challenge.
«Every time I'm in New York, I'm working for Emigrate,» said Kruspe. «I'm trying to really separate the work I do by the city I'm in. It's almost like I'm living totally different lives. I never really believed in monogamy anyway, so I always like to live in a duality like that. And when the time is right, I'll take Emigrate on tour, also.»
Silent So Long (2014)
Already during the promotion for the debut album, Richard Z. Kruspe revealed that he was writing for a second album. Though it would take seven years before the second Emigrate album, Silent So Long was released.
«I wasn't really waiting for seven years. I didn't really need seven years to make this record. For me it was basically finding the right moment to have a vision about Emigrate, which I haven't found over those years. There were three elements that I was missing between the first and the second record. One thing was that I had to find the mental switch in my head which says: "I'm a singer!" Because this is the difference between becoming a singer and being a singer. And I think that has nothing to do with like getting any vocal lessons or whatever... It's a mental switch that I had to find. The second thing was that I needed a different kind of sound. Three years ago I moved back from New York to Berlin, so Berlin gave me this little dark and moody sound that I was looking for and that I haven't really had on the first record. The third thing was that, even in the very beginning of Emigrate, I always felt that I wanted it to be an open source for a lot of people to come in and collaborate. On the first record it didn't happen because I was too busy finding my sound and becoming a singer – or being a singer, whatever you want to call it. So, on the second album I finally felt confident enough as a singer and also as a songwriter to reach out to those people.»
For Kruspe, what ultimately pushed him to make the new album was depression. «Big depression. I just came out of a Rammstein tour and I was really down. I constantly write music, it's not like I decided that it was time for a new album and started writing. So I'm constantly writing and I remember about two and a half years ago I was going through the folder of all the stuff I had written and it got quite inspired and it brought me out of the mood I was in. So I called the family and said let's get together and see what we have here. So we spent about two months in Berlin just doing a lot of listening and changing things here and there and we decided that it was time to make a record.»
Out of eleven tracks on Silent So Long, six of them feature guest artists. Kruspe recruited Frank Dellé from Seed, Peaches, Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, Marilyn Manson, and Jonathan Davis from Korn to sing on the album. In addition, Emigrate video bassist Margaux Bossieux provided vocals for one track. «I always had the idea that every song should be an open project - open to other musicians. In the East, that used to be the spirit, and that's how music and songs were created that everyone collaborated on.»
Getting Lemmy to sing on Rock City was a big deal for Kruspe. «We asked him to guest on the song, but he was really sick and cancelling shows. And I was like, 'Fuck, he can't fucking do it'. Especially as we'd also had a little incident - once, he was watching a Rammstein show and I threw one of my guitars at his head, so I felt he wasn't keen on doing a track for us, but he forgave us! I got an email from him with the song, and I was jumping on my bed like a child. It was like Christmas, birthday and Easter all together!»
«The music is the leader; it tells you where to go, you just have to let go and listen to it. That's what I like about Emigrate, we had the freedom to ask these people.»
For Silent So Long, Kruspe chose to change drummers, and Mikko Sirén was recruited. «Not that I wasn't satisfied with the first record, but I was trying to get something else, more wild and expressive. My guitar tech told me about Mikko from Apocalyptica. I knew them because they opened for Rammstein in the old days. I was never listening for the drummer in that band, but I called him up and he was really excited. We didn't have a chance to try him out, so I was nervous bringing him in, but we got really lucky with this guy,» said Kruspe.
«We rehearsed the sh*t out of this guy. He was almost afraid that he couldn't play in studio. He never went though such a German procedure. It was tough for him but he delivered great f*cking sounds and I have a lot of respect for him as a person. He puts me to shame in a way, he's so nice and humble.»
After this second release, Richard Z. Kruspe was again asked about touring with Emigrate. «I have the privilege that I have a big band that gives me the money to do good records and have the time for it where there's no pressure from anyone else besides myself telling me what to do. So making records is the main focus of what I want to do. But now there's a lot of demand and a lot of people contacting me and they want to have Emigrate play live. I just haven't really had the urge because I have a perfect balance in my life; I have Rammstein with the big show and then I have Emigrate making good records. I'm quite happy with the situation at the moment. Also, how do you compete with a band that has one of the best live shows? So for now, Emigrate is a studio band. There are some little plans that are growing but I haven't planned anything regarding playing live.»
«My passion is being in the studio, creating music with people that I like, and that's my focus. In the beginning, I said I didn't want to do it (tour), but now it's a thought that's starting to grow.» «But at the same time it's daunting. In my head I have to live up to the wild success of Rammstein. How am I gonna do that? It scares me. If I'm going to put something out there it has to be unique and big and extravagant. Its myself that I fear the most.»
A Million Degrees (2018)
«When I finished Silent So Long, I had six or seven songs left that didn't work on that album. I just couldn't put them in their place. So I decided in the beginning of 2015 to write five more tracks,» said Richard Z. Kruspe. 
It had been only a year since the release of Silent So Long, and Kruspe was eager to make a continuation of that album. «I was charged up. I was in the mood to compose Silent So Long Part Two. The thing is, we made a lot of mistakes in getting the album out and making the right promotion for it. I only had one clip for this album, it worked well, but then we did not have much money to promote the album. So I said to myself, 'Okay, let's do another one. I already have lots of songs ready.' I was on my way and I did not see it was too much for me.»
Kruspe went to Los Angeles to mix the album with American producer Ben Grosse. Then he realised that he was burnt out. He was in the middle of building his home in Berlin, and he also had personal issues. Realising he couldn't give 120 percent to music anymore, he stopped writing new material.
«I still finished the album and put it aside. I had become a bit indifferent. That was dangerous. Because the Emigrate project is clearly based on passion,» said Kruspe. «As I was listening to the songs I realized it just doesn't emotionally bring me somewhere. I couldn't judge at the time if I was just very burnt out or if it was because the records weren't good so I left it alone. In September 2015 we started to play with Rammstein, so I left the whole Emigrate idea alone.»
When Kruspe was on tour with Rammstein, disaster struck. A washer that kept a valve shut somehow got destroyed, and the pool on top of his building started leaking, destroying half of his studio. «We put 1,600 liters of water in the pool and it all leaked out. There was water everywhere,» said Kruspe. «At first, I thought everything was OK. My hard discs were in a different room than my studio. I started by going through all my outboard gear. Then I went to check on the music I had done and I realized all my hard drives were ruined.»
«Strangely enough, I always stay calm when things like that happen. In the past, it was not uncommon for my computer to crash after working all night and there was no back-up. That was always a sign for me that I had to do better.»
The incident ended up giving Kruspe new inspiration. He found a new challenge in rewriting his old material. «It was fun to go back over my memories. For example, I had bits of words and music here and there that I remembered. It was fun to do! It is likely that I wrote some of the songs in another tone; I was looking for where my voice sounded best, changing tone here and there. I was doing something I had never done before, recompose from my memories,» said Kruspe.
«To be honest, I'm quite grateful for what happened, because I do not really want to listen to the first version of the album. I realized that something was missing and that I was not comfortable with the first version. And now, when I listen to this album, I can really say that I am very proud of the sound of this album. It was our first time mixing in my own studio in Berlin. I am very proud of what came out of it. So I do not look back, I look in front of me. I am very happy with what happened.»
The title of the third album, A Million Degrees initially came from an idea Kruspe got after his burnout. «A burnout actually feels like a million degrees of heat. Hot and cold. I tried to visualize that but I couldn't come up with songs that somehow illustrated 'temperature',» said Kruspe.
Moving away from the temperature theme, Kruspe and his graphic designer looked to mathematics. «My graphic designer came up with the idea of interpreting it as 'edgy'… highs and lows… a superlative: opening up as much as possible, coming up with as many musical styles as possible, collaborating as much as possible, doing the exact opposite of what Rammstein does. So A Million Degrees simply was the perfect name for it.»
«It's more about styles that I like to present or that I write. It's about this open Emigrate project where I can work in so many different styles; it doesn't have this one certain kind of style. That's also what's going on in my mind – those angles like in a mathematical way, basically. Then I came up with the idea – I had a visual with this mirror room, and I would create a head that has mirrors inside. It kind of describes the musical angle I'm trying to achieve, that I don't want to put myself in any kind of drawer. In Emigrate, I have the freedom to do whatever I want and write any kind of stuff I like.»
Memories with Till
On A Million Degrees Kruspe continued the trend with having guest vocalists. «Every song obviously has a different story, you know, I mean always trying to kind of be open at the song and always tells me where the song wants to go and which singer it wants to be on it. And this time, it was kind of interesting because I've felt like often with those singers, you know, normally I would have them sing the whole song, but this time it was more like kind of duet, because I guess I was much more comfortable with my own vocal performance, and so there is more like a kind of duet situation going on where in like on the previous record like people would sing the whole song.»
This time he recruited Ben Kowalewicz from Billy Talent, Tobias Forge from Ghost, and also his own bandmate Till Lindemann from Rammstein, who did the duet Let's Go with him. The song stemmed from back when Emigrate was created, and when the two of them were trying to do something together before stopping when the other Rammstein members didn't like it.
«This song had a totally different idea and different lyrics, and later on, I found that song again. And I was thinking that I would love to do something with Till, because our friendship changed over the years. If you're playing in a band with someone, you get very close and it changes from friendship into something else,» said Kruspe.
The two of them have known each other since the middle of the 80s, and they went through a lot together. Kruspe wanted this to be reflected in the lyrics. «Around the fall of the Wall, there was an incredible Wild West time here in the East. We both robbed some snack bars because we were hungry. We were like Robert Redford and Paul Newman in the western 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. At times we dealt in cars, which we picked up at night in Bochum and took to the East. Sometimes the vehicles died on the way. In Berlin we went to techno clubs at 7 in the morning, and Till took his daughter to school in between. It was really chaotic, but it was also fun.
For A Million Degrees, Kruspe started working with Sky van Hoff. «I found a new guy, Sky Van Hoff, and he's a guitar player, producer, engineer and mixer. I kind of started to team up with him and we built a whole new record. I think it was very important to go through that whole rebuilding process. It was very painful because I already did the work and the money was gone so I started really from point zero again. But, you know, I had so much fun doing it. And working again with someone else, I got his perspective and his ideas coming into the Emigrate universe. We worked for eight or nine months together in my studio in Berlin, which was built around the time we were starting to work together. And I did some more collaborations, which I always like.»
«I met him via my guitar technician because I had concerns about technical stuff related to Rammstein's concerts and he helped me with that. He came and he turned out to be one of those guys who's really technical, and he impressed me a lot. I also have this side in me: I can speak for hours of hardware, equalizers, compressors, all these technical things that are used in the studio. And he was very fast on the computer, I had never seen someone so fast on the computer, I was like, wow! He told me that he was so fast because he was a gamer before, when he was young,» Kruspe said.
«He told me that he also liked mixing, and I said, 'Well, I'd really like to try mixing in my studio, could you make a song?' When he came here to work with me, I think he did not expect me to work so hard, I was not gentle with him, I really pushed him. To a certain extent, it's very hard to satisfy me. Many mixers know the technical stuff and know how to mix, but what I always do when I mix is that I try to bring the song to life. It's hard to explain. Someone can mix and everything sounds good on the technical but it lacks life. So it's my job to bring that, and I think I made him crazy. There were quite a few moments when he cried. I think he learned a great lesson, but in the end he was very happy to have been there and worked for a long time. It was great, I loved it!»
Emigrate + Rammstein?
The usual questions about touring surfaced also after the release of A Million Degrees. «I've always said that I have to keep the balance between Emigrate and Rammstein. As long as I'm not busy with Rammstein, I can put my creativity into other projects. That works perfectly well for me. But if I started to go on tour with Emigrate, that balance would fall apart… and God forbid, what if I'd actually like touring with Emigrate?! What if I liked it a lot more than playing with Rammstein?! I am a little scared of that, you know… Right now, I'm just not ready to give up that balance. I know it works for now.»
At the time, Rammstein was planning their Stadium Tour, and Kruspe did introduce the possibility of the two bands performing together. «There are certain songs I really would love to perform, so I'm thinking, well, maybe I could perform an Emigrate song with Rammstein? That would be something that I would like a lot, that would actually be cool! Obviously, I would have to ask the other guys first. It's a very delicate thing. They like what I'm doing, but they also like to stay in their universe. This could be interesting: to play two shows at the same time, it's weird. I did that in the earlier days with some other bands, and it's kind of weird – you have to be in a certain way. One song, two songs is okay, but a whole show in different bands is kind of a weird thing.»
«I always say, and it's really the truth, that at the moment my life music wise is very good and balanced, you know. I have Rammstein as a main wife, right, I have my little lover on the side, Emigrate, I really do, but when the main wife is calling, you know, you have to... You know where to go.»
After three releases, Richard Z. Kruspe didn't show any signs of wanting to stop producing Emigrate material. Quite on the contrary, he was hoping to develop Emigrate further for a next release. «I can totally see myself doing something completely new and different on the fourth album. For example, I'm actually considering making an electronic album. Or just having one singer for the whole album. I don't know yet. Maybe after spending the next two or three years with Rammstein, I'll change my mind and I do wanna write rock songs again. I possibly want to head for other directions though. As a musician and producer, I try to be as open as possible for new sounds. But there just isn't that much new stuff out there, you know?» said Kruspe.
«It's about new colors, shapes and changes. I don't want to get bored with Emigrate. Now with the third album, I already had that feeling that I was getting close to boredom, but then that burnout and that water damage happened, so I had a new challenge to master and that's exactly what I needed; what I'll always need. And that's also the reason why I can't imagine a fourth Emigrate album to sound exactly like the last one. That has nothing to do with singing good or bad. I learned that your voice doesn't matter if you want to say something. The challenge is, to find a way to get your message to the people.»
To Kruspe, the name Emigrate still held meaning, just a different one than when he first started the band. «It is an incentive to leave your own 'comfort zone' as often as possible. Not to commit yourself, but to open up and get to know new sides. If you've been in the same band as I was in Rammstein for many years, then you know exactly how everyone works, how you yourself function in this constellation, how you are triggered, etc. That's different with a project like 'Emigrate', because the team changes all the time. Other people trigger different sides of you.»
The Persistence of Memory (2021)
Late 2020, social media posts created rumours that new Emigrate material was in the works. In May 2021, these rumours picked up again as Richard Z. Kruspe increased his social media presence by creating a Facebook page in addition to becoming more active on Instagram.
8 August 2021, Kruspe deleted all his Instagram posts and posted a photo of his hand. He was wearing an Emigrate ring, and the photo was captioned "Soon" and tagged EmigrateOfficial. This was also published on his Facebook account and on the official Emigrate Instagram. Two days later, his old photos were back along with a video clip of himself wearing the white coat used in the DJ RZK version of Deutschland. The clip was captioned "New dimension" and was also tagged EmigrateOfficial. The caption later turned out to be a line from the lyrics of the first single.
Another teaser was published 18 August 2021; A photo of Richard in the Emigrate chair from the New York City music video with the following caption:
A seed had been planted within me the first time I visited NYC. The city was calling me and offering me exactly what I needed to begin my much needed mission. I did not know exactly where I would start or how it would go, so I just went there. Eventually it all unfolded exactly how it was meant to be. "Whatever's clever has to wait" - RZK
20 August 2021 yet another post was published, this time offering a select number of people a chance to speak with Kruspe. Submissions were to be sent to the email address EmigratePodcast@gmail.com, suggesting that an Emigrate podcast could be in the works.
On 24 August 2021, Kruspe announced in social media that the video Freeze My Mind would be released on the following Friday, 27 August 2021. The single was available from midnight while the video premiered at 1600 CEST. The music video showed Kruspe playing in a mirrored room with a band. In addition to Emigrate's regular video drummer Joe Letz, the music video introduced two new musicians: Andrea Marino on keyboards and Alice Lane on bass.
Emigrate's fourth album, named The Persistence of Memory, was officially announced in social media 12 September 2021. It shares name with Salvador Dalí's famous painting, and the preorders for the album started 24 September.
The second single from The Persistence of Memory, You Can't Run Away was announced on 17 September 2021. The song premiered at midnight one week later, Friday 24 September 2021, while the video had its premiere at 1600 CEST the same day.
On 15 October 2021, the third single of the album was released. The cover song Always On My Mind was a duet between Richard Z. Kruspe and Till Lindemann. Originally, Kruspe wanted to use vocals by Elvis Presley, but the Elvis estate wanted so much money in royalty that he decided against it. After thinking who could do it, he finally realised it had to be Lindemann. "Somehow I never thought of Till. Sometimes it's just too obvious. But he is simply the only one who can sing like that. I asked him, he wanted to do it, and in the end we even recorded the whole thing as a duet because I found it more emotional that way."
- Metal Hammer 12/1996
- RockUrLife 02/2015
- Total Guitar 12/2014
- Ultimate Guitar 11/2007
- CMJ Music Report 31.03.2003
- Radiometal 15.11.2018
- Hard'n'Heavy 2005
- Legacy 2005
- Kerrang 10/2005
- BreakOut 8/2004
- EMP 07/2007
- Radio Bremen 10/2007
- Dark Spy 7/2007
- Rockfreaks 6/2007
- RockLouder 2007
- Digital Spy 24.22.2014
- The Gauntlet 09.11.2007
- MusicPlayers 30.01.2008
- Motor Music 22.05.2007
- MTV 29.11.2007
- Radio Metal 2014
- Ultimate Guitar 13.10.2014
- Metal Hammer 2014
- Kerrang 2014
- Zoo Magazine 2015
- Revolver 2018
- Magazin Forum 22.03.2019
- Rock Antenne 10/2018
- Cryptic Rock 31.12.2018
- Metal Wani 04.01.2019
- Consequence of Sound 18.01.2019
- Zoo Magazine 2018
- Sonic Seducer, November 2021