"La La La" is the killer chorus in the "song with good lyrics" with which Ikke Hipgold wants to travel to the ESC. The chances that this will actually work are not bad at all. The singer, whose real name is Matthias Distel, talks to ntv.de about the preliminary decision, "Layla", the Wendler and the blessings of satire.
ntv.de: In contrast to eight other candidates, you were not seeded for the preliminary decision for the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), but first had to qualify for it in a separate Tiktok voting. how did you like that
Ikke Hipgold: When I found out that I should be in the Tiktok voting, I was actually already out. My first reaction was: I won't do that to myself! In the context of my genre, I'm a seasoned and very successful musician and producer. And now it was said that I should shoot an additional video and show that I'm a good live performer. Sorry, but I've been proving that for 15 years now.
Did it bother you that the election took place on Tiktok - a platform that is mainly used by very young people?
No, that didn't bother me at all. Tiktok is a great music format. That's why I love it now and I'm really into it. What bothered me was that everyone could vote every day. That has condemned us musicians to activate our fan base - not just once, but actually every day. However, I took advantage of that in a positive way.
In what way?
I put such an anti-video of myself online. On the one hand I told them what a great song we have and on the other hand what idiots we are and what the outside world thinks of us. This provocation was fun. My fictional character also lives from this. You have to read the comments below the music video: This is war! For me there is no middle. There is only for or against. That's why I'm the right candidate for the ESC, so that it gets more attention again.
With 52 percent, the result at Tiktok was very clear for you. Did that surprise you?
Yes, I was surprised, but also relieved and happy. I had already put a lot of heart and soul into the project and I actually think it's a shame that the ESC is so down. I would never be at the start if Udo Lindenberg, Apache, Mark Forster, Nena or Sarah Connor would say: "The ESC is a great thing, we want to be there." But because that's not the case, you can now say: Ikke Hipgold is doing a satirical number, making fun of the whole club and shaving everyone. Perhaps the ESC will then become interesting again - and we'll start again from the beginning.
You joked on social networks that ARD and the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), which is responsible for the ESC, were "fearing and terrified" about your participation. Just flirtation or do you really feel that there is certain resentment towards you?
Just between us: I was already seated by half of the NDR jury and in principle already had a verbal acceptance for the first eight in the preliminary round. But then that became a topic of controversy - as with the comments. Some say: "We need something like this now that people are talking about." And the others say: "No, he ridicules the entire ESC." The compromise was to send me to the Tiktok voting, which turns out to be a huge stroke of luck for me. That's how I was able to mobilize my fan base and now I'm going into the race as an underdog, who you really didn't want, but who made it through the audience to the preliminary round. Now the only thing left for the NDR is: close your eyes and go through with it.
You say you were sorry to see the ESC on the ground like that. What connection do you have with him?
There were several moments in my life when I got in touch with the ESC. That was once my childhood. My parents were ESC fans and with the few television programs back then, you were automatically there. That was lost a bit when I was young. But then I started making music myself and I focused more on such competitions again. In addition, exactly at this time Guildo Horn and Stefan Raab made the thing very popular again in Germany. From then on I stuck with it. Only in the last few years has it all become too boring for me.
Why was that?
It was far too scared and despondent. And I asked myself: Why don't we have any more German songs? Why do the radio stations decide that? Why do men over 60 decide? Why is there no diversity in the musical contributions? The ESC is an opportunity to give all genres of music that are popular in Germany a platform. Now this is finally happening.
There is also at least one "song with good lyrics" in this year's preliminary round. And he goes "La La La", as you sing ironically in the chorus. How long did you work on the song?
When I heard that all genres were allowed this year, it was clear to me: Ikke Hipgold has to go to the ESC! So I sat down the very next day. In this case, it wasn't too big of a deal. The song was produced in an hour in such a way that it could have been played. Sure, we then tuned it a bit, refined it and exchanged a few sounds. But basically what you hear now came out of the pre-production. In television, you would say it was a one-take.
It's amazing that the song flowed out of the pen so quickly...
I simply use the structures that I have been building and developing in my head for years. And I was aware: I have to write a text that is suitable for the masses and at the same time contains the topics of the party hit without addressing them directly! The special gimmick that "La La La" is also international is as stupid as it is ingenious. The genius of the lyrics, at least in our genre, often lies precisely in their simplicity.
In the video clip for the song you can be seen with a band. Your friend Nina also belongs to her. About a year ago, she caused a sensation in a completely different way: as a pregnant fake Laura Müller, which was discussed for days. We recently found out that the real Laura Müller is really pregnant. Would you like to say congratulations at this point?
I like doing that. I actually have a certain relationship with Laura Müller and Michael Wendler. I got to know him as a totally nice and courteous person. He was one of the very few who accepted me without prejudice when we were at an event together. He always kept the good tone. And until he slipped into this Corona thing, I was also his contact person.
how did that stop
The last Whatsapp message I got from him went something like this: "Hey, Ikke, look at this video. And watch it to the end! I think they're right!" And once you've watched this video, the algorithm will continue to provide you with similar content. He just got lost in that bubble. When that happens, you make strange choices. He broke contact with me - like with everyone. But I really wish them both all the best, a healthy child and that they stay together forever. And actually, I also wish that Michael would eventually find his way to Germany again and come around the corner with a statement: "Sorry, so many have gone nuts in crisis situations. I'm just too. Please give me another chance. "
You already mentioned it: You've been in the party hit business for almost 15 years. Outside of that, you've only been in the limelight in the last two or three years: as a participant in "Celebrity Big Brother", a talk show guest on "Hart aber fair" or now with the ESC. Has Ballermann and Co become too tight for you?
I definitely wanted to get out of this niche. That was incredibly difficult. I put myself in chains with Ikke Hipgold, which you really can't get rid of when the videos are floating around on the net and tabloid journalism has zeroed in on you. And of course my songs are also weird and in a way alcohol glorifying and sexist. In our scene, that's the good tone. But everyone also knows that these are satirical approaches. This also applies, for example, to Micky Krause with "Finger in Po, Mexico" or "Go get a beer, you're ugly again". You don't have to find it beautiful...
I've been fighting for years to just be accepted. What we do is still great entertainment in its own way, which is now also consumed - and by just as many women as men. I'm also fighting for people to take a look behind the scenes at who is doing all of this. They are all sensible people, often with a high degree of education, socially committed, with a broader view, family fathers and mothers. And the people who visit us are, among other things, the future elite of our country.
You also have children...
Yes, that's another reason why I'm glad that I was able to go public with "Celebrity Big Brother". This also took a lot of pressure off my children. After that everyone said to them: "Hey, your dad is a cool and really nice guy." So I was finally able to destroy that stigma. And suddenly people came up to me who actually wanted to talk to me. That was just a Frank Plasberg, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" or the "Stern". I would never have gotten into these formats if it hadn't been seen and understood at some point that I'm a relatively normal guy.
You keep talking about yourself as a satirical artist. On a scale from 1 to 10, how much ironic refraction is there in Ikke Hipgold?
I would say I sometimes reach 11 or 12. But sometimes it's also in the direction of 0. That's the nice thing about an artificial character. Once you've created them, you can also just bang out under their guise. You can also sell something that is dead serious as irony or satire. I can only recommend this to everyone: get a second character! Or just go out and celebrate carnival. It's just nice not to be who people expect of you and to break out of everyday life. As a musician, artist and producer, I also see it as my responsibility to prevent popular depression.
Yes, with Corona you saw what that does to people's heads and how liberated the celebrations were again last year. It's just important that people have outlets to deal with that stress. I think our industry and the music industry in general is doing a huge job there. Nevertheless, moral boundaries must of course be observed. I've also set my limits. They are enshrined in our laws. Beyond that, I don't want to and won't move. It also has something to do with my own upbringing.
Nevertheless, you see yourself confronted with accusations of sexism with songs like "Big Tits, Potato Salad"...
Yes, but I think the discussion is completely misguided. So much sexism and violence is hidden in English-language world hits. It's on the radio here just because it's a different language. Of course, I don't have to insult anyone in public: "Hey, big tits, potato salad." But if I'm doing this with my best friend and she's going to hit me with something else in return, that's totally fine. You have to decide intuitively to the best of your knowledge and belief.
But with your songs you don't shout things out to someone in your private life, you sing them on a stage...
In my work, however, I try to be just as charming with things as I am with my surroundings, so that I don't hurt anyone deeply. Now I neither wrote nor sang "Layla", just produced it. But mothers wrote to me who were angry because their daughters were called Layla and were now being bullied in kindergarten or school. Of course, that also hits me at the moment and I can and must of course reflect on myself in such cases, whether everything is always right the way we do it.
And how do you deal with it?
In such situations I really have sleepless nights. I can't undo it. At the same time, I also say to myself: Okay, there are maybe five children who are suffering from this. But there are also five million children celebrating it. How do I weigh that? Do I then prevent the song or do I accept it? That's a really difficult question of conscience, especially since I'm also the founder of a children's foundation. On the one hand, I'm saying, "Celebrate folks, let go and let the pressure off." On the other hand, there are the children who come into contact with alcohol through my texts. I have agreed with myself to go both ways with as much heart as possible. If I can't go one way or the other, I'll stop.
You mentioned "Layla". There was a lot of heated debate about the song. Did that change your attitude?
Discussing "Layla" has made 2022 a very busy year for me. Of course I reflect on whether I did everything right - not only in the case of "Layla", which I was 100 percent behind. I'm actually pretty good at just listening. What do people around me think? What are people thinking? How are the opinions stored? Why are the opinions sometimes so radical? Which people hold these opinions? I am someone who is completely in the middle of society. Anything too far to the right or left is too short for me. I am also non-party and do not allow myself to be used politically. That has already been tried.
Let's get back to the ESC. What can we expect from your appearance in the preliminary round?
Of course I'm kicking ass now. And of course there will be no performance as you would imagine from Ikke Hipgold - with buckets, straws, plastic palm trees and sand. No, now it's going international! I'm going to over-stage myself completely and sell the whole thing dead serious as if it were about a world hit. I don't want to reveal everything just yet. Just this much: It will certainly be different than what is expected of me!
You've probably already kept an eye on the other participants in the preliminary round. Who are you particularly afraid of?
Ikke Hipgold is basically not afraid of anyone! I will definitely be the one who stands out the most. In addition, I have a German song at the start. I can't do anything with two or three things in the preliminary round. Will Church is a gifted musician with a gifted voice. Above all, I'm looking forward to getting to know the guys from Lord Of The Lost. That's my musical home and my benchmark.
They are also likely to be your biggest competition in the preliminary round...
That can be good, but now I fully trust my community. In the end, only she can fix it.
If you do make it to Liverpool for the ESC final, where will you return home?
In any case, this will be three digits for the first time in ESC history. And I will also be the first to collect minus points. Okay, but now let's look at it soberly: Of course it has to be a top place.
Volker Probst spoke to Ikke Hipgold, alias Matthias Distel