The Solo Traveller's View


In English: David Garrett’s Interview on WDR ‘Daheim & unterwegs’

19th November 2015 – Chat Show Hosts: Eva Assmann and Stefan Pinnow


(Intro, played by David)

Eva: (Applauding) “Fantastic – our opening theme never sounded so good! Could you do this every day?” (Laughs)

Stefan: “David Garrett just gave his interpretation of our theme tune, from today the CD will be widely available …”

(They laugh)

David: “I hope it is recognizable.”

Stefan: “It is.”

David: “Thank you.”

Stefan: “Especially that tüdüdüdüm …”

David: “Absolutely – I tried hard to get it right.”

Eva: “Great! We are so pleased to have you with us today …”

David: “So am I.”

Eva: “… a real superstar, a son of Aachen, and he has been with us before, many, many years ago. We shall have to talk more about that in a moment, about all that happened in the meantime.”

David: “Quite a bit!” (Laughs)

Stefan: “And here we have our wonderful Questions-Bingo, with the best questions one could be asked … Go on and take one!”

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(David picks a card and reads it out)

“What was it you never told your parents about?”

(They laugh)

Eva: “The moment of truth!”

David: “For my 18th birthday – my parents were away – I cleared out all the furniture. My grandmother was there, my dad’s mother, and she helped me, and then I invited my whole class. We celebrated with an extended party. Fortunately, I had two days to put the house back in order. But then there were pictures, because a lot of people took photos, and so my parents did find out about it eventually. But for a long time I didn’t tell them about it.”

Eva: “Did you get into trouble?”

David: “My grandmother got into more trouble than I did, because she had allowed it.”

Eva: “We’ll pose the other 35,000 questions in a moment …”

(Talk-show-related announcements)

Eva: “Right, the air is about to catch fire! You wouldn’t necessarily expect so, because this is about violin music …”

Stefan: “… but the way David Garrett plays, it is going to be really hot!”

(David plays Explosive from his new album while the music video is shown)

Eva: “… And we are right in the middle of it, Stefan immediately wanted to get the phone number of the girl who performed in the video …”

David: “Then I’ll have to explain to him that there are in fact three girls.”

Eva: “Why three girls?”

David: “Initially, we were looking for someone who was really proficient in both kinds of dance – and pole dancing has meanwhile also become an art form, if it is done well – so we were looking for someone who was good at ballet, good at pole dancing, and had some acting talent as well – and in the end that was only possible with three girls. But we did carry it off somehow …”

Stefan: “… that it looks like a single one.”

David: “Rather explosive!”

Eva: “Explosive – that is the title of the piece, and also of the new album you just released. We are delighted to have you here, because – well, you have been here before, but admittedly that is a while back.”

David: “I heard of that, and I remembered – you, first and foremost.”

Stefan: (pleased) “He pointed to me!”

David: “At the time, I mentioned in our talk that I watched Disney Club as a child, with Antje, Stefan and Ralf.”

Stefan: “Without Eva – that’s important! … (Unintelligible) … I still remember asking you about your violin – was it anything special? Ah, a Stradivari – and was it valuable? Yes, it was insured for …”

Eva: “Fourteen millions, I believe.”

David: “Well, it isn’t fourteen millions, but …”

Eva: “… but almost.”

David: “Not quite … Meanwhile I have another Stradivari, because I have been very, very fortunate in my life. Initially, they were partly on loan, but this one is now mine.”

Eva: “(Unintelligible) … dropped.”

David: “Well, I do try … (unintelligible) … ssshhhh!”

Eva: “Seriously, did you ever happen to break a violin?”

David: “It happened once – unintentionally, of course – but unfortunately I did have an accident. I generally like to carry my violin on my back during transport, and I slipped and fell backwards onto the violin case. That caused a lot of cracks, naturally – but it wasn’t this instrument.”

Eva: “We’ll show you the violin you played for us at the time … (unintelligible)”

(At this point, there appears to be a bit missing from the interview recording)

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(David plays Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee)

Eva: “Weren’t you actually entered in the Guinness Book of Records with the Flight of the Bumblebee?”

David: “Yes.”

Eva: “As the fastest bumblebee-performer …”

David: “That’s right.”

Eva: “… far and wide, and for a really long time: from 2008 to 2010! And then someone caught up with you.”

David: “No, no – that is utter nonsense.”

(Eva and Stefan laugh)

David: “I have to clarify this: The guy didn’t play on an acoustic violin. You (to Stefan) play a bit of guitar, I believe. So you know the difference between an acoustic and an electric guitar.”

Stefan: “Yes, of course.”

David: “With the electric instrument you can move a lot faster, because you have no resonating body. And the guy who supposedly took the record off me did it on an electric violin. Which means he did not have to exert any pressure at all to make the body resonate.”

Stefan: “Something else entirely!”

David: “Something else entirely … I don’t know what they were thinking at the Guinness Book of Records, but they certainly weren’t musicians.”

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Stefan: “Ok, but back then it was really one of your very first appearances on TV. In Japan you were already a superstar, but here with us it was your first time, I believe, or your second or third time on German television, and since then things have changed a bit.”

David: (laughs) “Yes, you could say that! Absolutely crazy, what happened over the last eight years. Of course it’s been a fantastic development. When I look back – which I do very, very rarely, looking back and pondering all those things that happened – but if one takes the time to consider it briefly, then it does seem like … a dream, genuinely.”

Eva: “And the great thing is, we did ask you a question at the time which you can only really answer today. Let’s have a look!”

(They show a recording of the earlier interview question:)

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Stefan: “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

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David: “In ten years … I really do hope that I may continue to do what I do now, because – even though I travel a lot and am on the move so much – I really love my profession and have a lot of fun with it.”

Eva: “Yes! It worked out!”

Stefan: “It did work out.”

David: (nods and laughs) “It did work out … (jokingly) … dreams can come true!”

(They laugh)

Stefan: “Awesome! By the way, I have a cool story: I told my children, sometime at the start of the week, that David Guetta would be visiting. And they were like, oh really? That’s cool … So I say – nonsense, David Guetta (slaps his forehead) – it’s David Garrett who is coming! And do you know: My daughter, she’s fourteen, goes Waaaaaaah! – She was so much more enthusiastic …”

David: “Funnily enough, there’s a piece by David Guetta on my new album.”

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(He plays Dangerous)

Stefan: “Wicked!”

Eva: “Splendid!”

Stefan: “Now we have come full circle.”

Eva: “So it is! – Now you do pop music on the violin, so to speak – crossover …”

David: “I also do a lot of classical music. Just last night I played Brahms’s concerto here in Düsseldorf, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach – the cream of the crop – and I did like … I’m naturally having a great time, covering both realms.”

Eva: “Which do you prefer?“

David: “Ahem, well – both of them are demanding, of course, if you want to do it well. Playing Brahms is no mean feat, and to continually develop one’s career, to play with really good musicians, good orchestras, good conductors – of course it is a great responsibility to be sound in this respect. Crossover is the area where I can realize my creativity. For my current album I was able to write original compositions myself, more than 80% of the material. I learned composition from scratch over a number of years in New York, then left my mark on arrangements but never did much composing myself. With this album, that is happening for the first time.”

Eva: “But how does it work? Do you call David Guetta to say, listen, I’d like to …”

David: “Well, this is one of the few covers, but it has to – of course this is done by the management – one does need consent to do this.”

Stefan: “It’s not that easy.”

Eva: “But he did know you, didn’t he?”

David: “He did, yes, most people know me by now. But it was complicated with Eminem. Of the four covers on the album, his Lose Yourself is one, because to me that is an epic number … and it really took until two days before the CD was released to get his permission, because he never allows any covers. So I’m one of only two people who ever did a cover of his material.”

Eva: “Cool!”

Stefan: “What would have happened if you had released the CD without his permission?”

David: “Well, one would have had to take it out at short notice.”

Stefan: “Seriously?”

David: “Absolutely. One has no wish to get involved in such court cases. I believe he has more money in his pocket than I do.” (Laughs)

Stefan: “Now a little bit of Questions-Bingo in between. We already had one question earlier.” 

(David picks another card and reads it out:)

“What was your nickname as a child?”

David: “As a child, I used to be … (laughs) … This is really embarrassing! … I was a little bit overweight, and they called me ‘pot belly’.”

Eva & Stefan: “Nooooo!”

David: “Sure! Kids can be cruel.”

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(They laugh)

David: (nodding) “In Kindergarten …”

Eva: “Truly horrible!”

David: “Oh, I’m over it.”

Eva: “Just about – but this is an issue which you then, if you were overweight as a child …”

David: “Not actually overweight, like a hundredweight – but I did have a bit of puppy fat.”

Eva: “But in Kindergarten all the kids are a little bit chubby, and surely that’s ok.”

David: “Well, not those who called me pot belly … (They laugh) … Impudence!”

(Stefan presents more question cards)

Eva: “One more!”

(David picks another card)

David: “So, what have we got? … Ah, this is a crucial question: ‘Is a kiss, of which no one will ever know, cheating?”

Eva: “You chose! There were other cards as well.”

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David: (laughing) “Can one hear the falling tree in the forest if no one is there? – I would say, yes!”

Eva: “Yes? Actually, this brings us directly to the Yellow Press, which I always read very attentively.”

Stefan: “She reads everything.”

David: “I don’t, not at all.”

Eva: “But once in a while, there is something about you in these papers, in the press …”

David: “I can’t comment. I don’t read these things, on principle.”

Eva: “Pity!”

David: “And even if I did read it, I would hold off, for I always think that private matters should really be private.”

Eva: “But these things do get spread out. One reads of people in your vicinity who disclose …”

David: “I can’t tell other people what they should or shouldn’t do. Anyhow, everybody should do what …”

Eva: “But doesn’t it hurt you in hindsight? Your ex-girlfriend did tell a bit to the press …”

David: “Nah, I’m a gentleman in this respect, I keep out of it.”

Eva: “Fine.”

Stefan: “Right, then we have to pose the next question. Holger writes, ‘Mr Garrett, you don’t limit yourself to classical music only, but rather interpret pop and rock pieces by other artists. What kind of feedback do you get from these colleagues?”

David: “Positive throughout. I did wonder at first, because I assumed that I’d get a nasty letter at some point, such as, ‘I really didn’t like it’. But I get truly positive feedback. Even Metallica got in touch once, I thought that was really great. Coldplay once sent me – because I had covered Viva la Vida and was on tour last year, and for Paradise I absolutely needed a bass line which I couldn’t find – and then they sent it to me and said, please use it, and so on … So, always very positive feedback.”

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Stefan: “It must of course be added that you have perfect hearing?”

David: “Yes.”

Stefan: “But you are really … your hearing is crazily good, now you are on so many big stages, and with such a thingy in your ear you hear an insane amount, and loud too …”

David: “But not when I’m playing Brahms.”

Stefan: “… doesn’t it all suffer in the course of time – people ask themselves, my God, the poor guy?“

David: “Ahem, well, let’s say that if I had to play every day for eight hours with such an in-ear … of course you get … I have to say, once in a while, when you’re playing in a really large hall and there is a lot of sound coming from the band behind you, and you have to turn up the volume to hear yourself, or rather the instrument – then you’ll walk away from the stage with a slight ringing in your ear. But thank God it passes eventually … (impishly) … That’s why I play so much classical music, of course – so that the ringing goes away again.”

Stefan: “But you’ll be in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne next year, you’ll have a big tour with a huge apparatus, you’ll have to play loudly – but it’s ok, you can hear … (with raised voice) … Can you still hear me?”

David: (pretending to be deaf) “What?”

(They laugh)

(At this point, there appears to be another bit missing from the interview recording)

David: “… It turned out to be a lovely piece. For this album, I had wanted to write a beautiful, emotional number, a little bit in the style of Disney – we come full circle again! – soundtracks like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or Frozen … and it was a kind of inspiration to write such a melody that really moves you.”

Both at once: “How …”

Stefan: (to Eva) “Did you want to ask the same question?”

Eva: “Yes, but I believe for different reasons than you! In fact, I wanted to know how you know Nicole [Scherzinger]. – He wanted to know that too!”

David: “At the time, when I wrote the soundtrack for the film I did about Paganini, I had also written something for her for this film, and so – that’s why we have known each other for a few years.”

Eva: (to Stefan) “I believe you wanted to ask David for her number.”

Stefan: (rapidly) “Nah, I wanted to ask where you got the violin from – but very well, this topic is now dealt with. Here we have a question from Andrea: ‘What do you do when you don’t happen to be playing the violin?’ – Look here, she has …”

David: “A photo of me.”

Stefan: (amazed) “Is that you?”

David: “Yes, it does look a lot like it.” (Chuckles)

Stefan: “On the right is David, on the left Andrea, Andrea Loehr …”

David: “So, what do you do when you don’t happen to be playing the violin?’ – Ahem, well, all the things every other person does. I see to it that I keep physically fit, of course, that I read the newspaper, that I continue to educate myself – it’s always good to read a book now and then – and of course I travel a lot. Meanwhile, much time is actually spent getting from A to B.”

Eva: “Speaking of reading the news: The terrorist attacks in Paris … the assassins stormed a concert hall too. As an artist, when you find yourself on stage, is it with a different feeling these days, do you approach it somehow differently?”

David: (pensively) “No … Yesterday, I was on stage in Düsseldorf … and you don’t actually think about it. Music is something I really love, it is my great passion. To waste any thought on what might happen, I think that would be … I really can’t live in fear as an artist, as a person. That would be awful, and those people must not be allowed to achieve this. Therefore, chin up and see to it that you live your life the way you want. That is, I believe, the main objective.”

Stefan: “We’re trying to do that too, and the circle completes itself inasmuch as we are once again planning something amazing at ‘Daheim & unterwegs’. Would you support us by signing this T-shirt?”

David: “Yes, if I may put down the violin for a moment … Ok, let’s do this properly, with a violin, so it fetches a little bit… (he is drawing on the T-shirt) … I assume it’s for a good cause.”

Stefan: “Indeed!”

David: (drawing) “In that case I’ll allow myself ten seconds.”

Stefan: “Sure! Take all the time you want.”

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Eva: “You can even draw …!”

David: “There, wham!”

Stefan: “Wow!”

Eva: “Cool!“

Stefan: (holds up the T-shirt to show David’s drawing and signature) “Look here, isn’t that brilliant? Thanks so much!”

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David: “I don’t know about brilliant, but …”

Eva: “The purpose is this: Once again we shall be doing a ‘Secret Santa’ in December, as we always do. People can call us, can receive a Secret Santa present – not for themselves, but for someone who is dear to them, who may have done something good for them, or whatever – simply people who are thinking of others. This T-shirt will be put into a Secret Santa parcel, and hopefully it will make someone very happy.”

(Stefan gives details of this campaign)

Stefan: “Finally, the most important question, (…) from André Fröhlich: ‘Where does David Garrett see himself in ten years?’”

David: “Here with you once again, I hope. It is really nice to find oneself invited back after eight years … invited to such lovely programmes, and I hope that this may still be the case in ten years; that I will be enjoying my profession as much as I do now, and still be healthy. This is of course very, very important – and yes, that is what I wish for.”

Eva: “Tell us: You know TV shows all over the world: Isn’t it nice, here, with us? Isn’t it the nicest?”

David: (with a charming smile) “Absolutely.”

Stefan: “Next year: David Garrett on tour, in the great halls everywhere in Germany – this afternoon here with us. Thank you very much indeed!”

David: “I am very happy to have met you again.”

Eva: “Thanks a lot, so are we.”

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Stefan: “And don’t forget your violin!”


Moving on to other projects, I decided not to keep this domain going; and so it is goodbye, dear readers – this blog and all its content will soon disappear.