Tokio Hotel is a German pop rock band, founded in 2001 by singer Bill Kaulitz, guitarist Tom Kaulitz, drummer Gustav Schäfer and bassist Georg Listing. The quartet have scored four number one singles and have released three number one albums in their native country, selling nearly 5 million CDs and DVDs there. After recording an unreleased demo-CD under the name "Devilish" and having their contract with Sony BMG Germany terminated, the band released their first German-language album, Schrei, as Tokio Hotel on Universal Music Germany in 2005. Schrei sold more than half a million copies worldwide and spawned four top five singles in both Germany and Austria. In 2007, the band released their second German album Zimmer 483 and their first English album Scream which have combined album sales of over one million copies worldwide and helped win the band their first MTV Europe Music Award for Best InterAct. The former, Zimmer 483, spawned three top five singles in Germany while the latter, Scream, spawned two singles that reached the top twenty in new territories such as France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. In September 2008, they won in the US their first MTV Video Music Award (VMA) for Best New Artist. In October 2008, they won four awards including Best International Artist and Song of the year at Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica (MTV Video Music Awards Latin America) held in Mexico. Tokio Hotel became the first German band ever to win an award at the MTV VMAs and also at the MTV Latin America Awards. They also picked up the Headliner award at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008 held in Liverpool on November 6, 2008 and the Award for Best Group on November 5, 2009 at the MTV Europe Music Award (EMA) held in Berlin. They won an Award for Best World Stage Performance on November 7, 2010 at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Madrid. In July 2011, they became the first German band to win an MTV Video Music Awards Japan (VMAJ). They also won MTV's 2012 Musical March Madness and won MTV O Music Awards three times in a row for "Fan Army FTW".
Tokio Hotel was formed by vocalist Bill and guitarist Tom Kaulitz, who are identical twin brothers, drummer Gustav Schäfer and bass-guitarist Georg Listing. The four met in 2001 after a live show in a Magdeburg-Club, where Listing and Schäfer, who knew each other from music school, watched from the audience while Bill and Tom Kaulitz played on the stage. Under the name Devilish, the band soon began playing in talent shows and small concerts. After Bill Kaulitz's participation in a children's Star Search in 2003 at age thirteen (which he lost in the quarter-final), he was discovered by music producer Peter Hoffmann. Devilish changed their name to Tokio Hotel: "Tokio", the German spelling of the Japanese city Tokyo, due to a love of the city, and "Hotel" due to their constant touring and living in hotels. Soon after Sony BMG took them under contract, Hoffmann hired David Jost and Pat Benzner into the team of creators and authors, and had them give the teens instruction on songwriting and instrument playing; most of the songs of the first album were written by Hoffmann, Jost and Benzer (including the singles "Scream" and "Rescue me" which were completely written by them), only the single "Unendlichkeit" was written completely by Tokio Hotel themselves. Shortly before release of their first album, Sony terminated their contract.
In 2005, Universal Music Group took Tokio Hotel under contract and developed a marketing plan. Their first single, "Durch den Monsun" ("Through the Monsoon"), quickly rose in the charts, appearing on the German official Media Control single chart at No. 15 on August 20, 2005 and eventually reaching No. 1 on August 26, 2005; it also reached No. 1 on the Austrian singles chart. Their second single, "Schrei" ("Scream"), climbed to the No. 5 position in the German charts. These two songs were written by singer Bill Kaulitz together with their group of producers Peter Hoffmann, David Jost, Pat Benzer and Dave Roth. Their debut album, Schrei, was released on September 19, 2005, and was certified triple gold by the BVMI in 2006 for selling over 300,000 copies in Germany. In 2006, a third and fourth single, "Rette mich" ("Rescue Me") and "Der letzte Tag" ("The Final Day"), were released; both reached No. 1 as well. "Der letzte Tag" contained a B-side called "Wir schließen uns ein", which was also accompanied by a music video.
Zimmer 483 (2007–2008)
The first single off their second album Zimmer 483 (Room 483), called "Übers Ende der Welt" (later re-released in English under the name "Ready, Set, Go!"), was released on January 26, 2007 and quickly reached No. 1 in Germany and Austria, and No. 2 in France. Zimmer 483 was released in Germany on February 23, 2007, along with a deluxe edition of the album containing a DVD. The album's second single, "Spring nicht" ("Don't Jump") was released on April 7. The tour accompanying the release of the album, The Zimmer 483 Tour, was scheduled to start in March 2007, but was delayed by two weeks because the band members wished to have a different stage design. A third single, "An deiner Seite (Ich bin da)" ("By Your Side"), was released on November 16. The single contains the B-side "1000 Meere" ("1000 Oceans"), for which a music video was also produced. On April 28, 2008 Tokio Hotel released their single "Heilig" but no music video for the single was released, because of the tight schedule they had.
Tokio Hotel's first English language album, Scream, was released on June 4, 2007 throughout Europe. In Germany, the album was released as Room 483 in order to emphasize the continuity with their last German album Zimmer 483. Scream contains English versions of a selection of songs from their German-language albums Scream and Zimmer 483. "Monsoon", the English-language version of "Durch den Monsun", was the first single from the album. "Ready, Set, Go!" (the translation of "Übers Ende der Welt") was released as the album's second single and "Don't Jump" (the translation of "Spring nicht") as the third single. A video for "Scream", the English-language version of their 2005 hit "Schrei", was also recorded, and was released to the iTunes Store in early March 2008.
Tokio Hotel gave their first concert in the United Kingdom on June 19, 2007. "Ready, Set, Go!" was released in the UK as the band's first single on August 27, 2007. The song reached No. 77 in the UK Singles Chart.
Tokio Hotel won an MTV Europe Music Award for Best InterAct on November 1, 2007 and were also nominated for Best Band. They performed "Monsoon" at the event.
Tokio Hotel released their first US single, simply called "Tokio Hotel", in late 2007. The single contains the tracks "Scream" and "Ready, Set, Go!", and was available exclusively at Hot Topic stores. Their second US single, "Scream America", was released on December 11, 2007. The single contains the track "Scream" and a remix of "Ready, Set, Go!" by AFI's Jade Puget. In February 2008, the band toured North America for five dates starting in Canada and finishing up in New York. After appearing and performing live on MuchMusic, while touring in Canada, "Ready, Set, Go!" entered the MuchOnDemand Daily 10, a countdown of videos chosen by viewers. It remained there for over a week, then returned to the top of the MOD Daily 10 chart on April 8. "Scream" was released in Canada on March 25 and in the US on May 6. The "1000 Hotels" European Tour began on March 3, 2008 in Brussels and continued to locations including The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Scandinavia, and was scheduled to finish on April 9; during the concert in Marseille, France on March 14, Bill started to experience vocal problems. He let the audience sing more frequently than normal and instead of the original 21 songs that were on the set list, they only played 16 songs. Bill apologized, in German, for his bad singing and explained that he was sick. Two days later, the band cancelled Lisbon, Portugal concert minutes before it was supposed to commence. The rest of the "1000 Hotels" Tour and a scheduled North American Tour were cancelled following an announcement in Bild by the band's manager that Bill Kaulitz had to undergo surgery to remove a cyst on his vocal cords.
Bill Kaulitz had been putting strain on his voice after playing 43 concerts in the 1000 Hotels tour without vacation. He had to undergo Larynx surgery on March 30 to remove a cyst that had formed on his vocal cords. The cyst was the result of a throat infection that went untreated. Following his surgery, Bill was unable to speak for twelve days, and had four weeks of vocal rehabilitation. If Bill had continued singing the rest of the tour, his voice would have eventually been permanently damaged. Tokio Hotel started performing again in May 2008 and after that they embarked on a 2nd part of their 1000 Hotels European Tour adding many Open Air concerts and wrapping up the tour on July 13 in Werchter, Belgium.
Tokio Hotel embarked on a second tour of North America in August 2008, which included a performance at the Bamboozled festival in New Jersey. The band's music video for "Ready Set Go!" was nominated for Best Pop Video at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, where they also won the award for Best New Artist. They returned to North America again in October 2008 for a month long tour of concerts and record store signings. In December 2008, a behind-the scenes DVD called Tokio Hotel TV – Caught on Camera was released. It contains footage from Tokio Hotel TV and backstage feature stories of the previous year on disc one entitled "History – The very best of Tokio Hotel TV!". A deluxe edition contains a second disc entitled "Future – The road to the new Album!" which features footage of the band on promotion tours and preparing for their third studio album.
In between the North American tours, the band returned to their record studio in Hamburg to record their third studio album, Humanoid, which was released on October 2 in Germany & October 6, 2009 in the U.S. This is despite earlier statements predicting a March/April 2009 release or a May/June 2009 release. The album was recorded in both German and English with both versions were released simultaneously worldwide.
On August 10, it was announced on MTV news that the first German single would be "Automatisch" and its English counterpart, "Automatic", would also be released as a first single in the United States. On August 20, MTV Buzzworthy released a video which previewed "Automatic" and Cherrytree Records announced that the English version of the song would be released in the US on September 22. Nevertheless, the video for the single was released on September 3.
On November 2, it was announced on Tom's Blog that the second English single would be "World Behind My Wall" and its German counterpart, "Lass uns laufen", would be the second German single. The music videos for both versions were released on December 14 and December 15.
On June 24, the live music video for their single, "Dark Side of the Sun" was released on the band website.
On July 20, 2010 they released their second live album Humanoid City Live from Milan, Italy On November 22, 2010, their new song "Hurricanes and Suns," premiered on the Greek radio station Mad Radio. It was included in the bonus track on all versions of "Tokio Hotel: Best Of," a compilation album of their most successful songs. As well as the single for the 'Best of' release. The album will also include "Mädchen aus dem All", the first song the band recorded in a studio.
On December 13, 2010 their 'Best of' was released in Germany. It was released internationally the next day. December 2 was the World Premiere of the video for "Hurricanes and Suns" on their Official Website.
Tokio Hotel performed their first concert in Asia (excluding their concert in Israel) at the Audi Showcase in Singapore, followed shortly by the TM Connects With Tokio Hotel event in Malaysia, promoting the sales of their album Humanoid. They concluded the series of mini-concerts with Taiwan. They returned to Malaysia a couple of months later to perform at MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010. They performed in Tokyo on December 15, 2010, after their South American Tour concluded in Distrito Federal, Mexico on December 2, 2010. In February, 2011 Tokio Hotel travelled to Japan to complete a second promo tour. A number of TV appearances and media interviews took place between February 8 and February 11.
On April 28, 2011 they received the "Fan Army FTW" award at the MTV O Music Awards, the networks first online award show. A clip of Bill and Tom thanking their fans was played after the winner was announced.
On June 24, 2011 Tokio Hotel performed in Japan at “The Next Premium Night Tokio Hotel in Tokyo". The event was presented by Audi A1 and 150 fans were chosen to win tickets to attend the show. The event was the band's first acoustic performance in Japan. On June 25, 2011 the band performed live at the MTV Video Music Aid Japan in Tokyo. The show, which was formerly called the Video Music Awards Japan, was used as a music benefit to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross in order to help those who were affected by the recent earthquake.
Not long after finishing "Welcome To Humanoid City Tour" Bill and Tom with their manager David Jost moved to Los Angeles and still are living there.
On 18 May 2012 Far East Movement released an album named "Dirty Bass", featuring the song "If I Die Tomorrow" which includes vocals by Bill. Far East Movement announced that there will be a music video released for "If I Die Tomorrow", Bill Kaulitz will take part in the shooting of the video.
Fifth studio album (2013 - present)
On January 5, Tom Kaulitz confirmed on the "BTK Twins" iPhone app that a new album would be released in 2013. No further information has been released yet.
On January 19, 2010, lead singer Bill Kaulitz teamed up with twins Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared to walk the runway at a fashion event in Milan. Kaulitz made two appearances, as he opened and closed DSquared's Menswear Autumn/Winter 2010 show to Tokio Hotel song "Scream".
Car maker Audi hired the two frontmen to star in their new advertising campaign to attract the younger generation. They were featured in an episode of Tokio Hotel TV (on Tokio Hotel's website) and also in a commercial.
On August 4, 2010, Tom Kaulitz got his own Reebok shoe commercial. Reebok signed the 20-year-old Tokio Hotel guitarist and sneaker addict to model shoes for the company. "At home, I created a little room like a little storage room," he said of his sneakers. He also said that he gets 10 new pairs a week.
Bill and Tom released an app named "BTK Twins" for Android on 19 December 2011 and iOS on 16 January 2012 to keep in touch with their fans. On the app Bill and Tom post their photos, videos and text messages, and fans can leave messages which they can respond to.
Bill and Tom appeared as jury members on the 10th season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar which commenced screening in January 2013.
- Bill Kaulitz – lead vocals
- Tom Kaulitz – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
- Georg Listing – bass, piano, keyboards, backing vocals
- Gustav Schäfer – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Studio albums
- Schrei (2005)
- Zimmer 483 (2007)
- Scream (2007)
- Humanoid (2009)
Since the release of the "Durch den Monsun" single in 2005, Tokio Hotel have gone on to win 107 awards in various categories and countries.
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Image from Discogs