Berlin are known for massive hit singles Take My Breathe Away, Like Flames, No More Words and Sex (I’m A…) and were recently in Australia with the Totally 80s tour. I had the pleasure of having a quick chat with Terri Nunn who spoke about the past and what is on the horizon with a new album with two members of the original Berlin team.
How exciting was it touring with the Totally 80s tour?
It is exciting to come back here, it really is. The first time that we went overseas anywhere was to Australia. You guys were the first to like us and give us a chance and that was a big deal and still is a big deal. I remember that stuff so it is great every time I get to come here. The first time was 1984 and another time was late eighties and I don’t think I came here for the solo album. I didn’t go much of anywhere for the solo album, it didn’t do very well, it wasn’t very good.
Does it still surprise you the level of interest people still have in nostalgia given a lot of bands that were big in the eighties are making a resurgence now?
It has been that way for a while now for me and it is amazing to me but it is also understandable because the music that is happening now is still using a lot of the electronics that we started with. So it is not that different. Nine Inch Nails last single starts TR 808 drum machine, that was our whole first album, that is all we had and is what we used for drums for our entire first album. The stuff that is going on is sonically similar, maybe that’s why for at least like bands like me who started with electro music it’s not going away. That is all that I can think other than that the music is really good and keeps on going.
Do you ever get sick playing Take My Breathe Away and some of your other hits or is it still a huge buzz to see how much it means to people when you play?
The later, when I sing that song I watch people go in to a zone. They go in to this place where they were for them. Sometimes I get to hear after the shows that directly from people what that song was their first kiss, their wedding song and I understand that because I have songs like that for me when I was growing up that was my soundtrack. They are the songs that were playing when important events were happening that meant a lot to me. That song I’m lucky enough to have one that does that, or a few now, but especially resonates with in a way I get to personally see and hear when I do that song live. I love that!
Does create pressure live knowing that is the big moment people are waiting for in the set and not having an off night with that one?
I’ve been doing it so long I don’t have a lot of fear that it is going to suck. There was one night where my guitarist had one of his strings go out so the solo was terrible. We have an extended version that we do live sometimes and his solo over it was god awful and was like oh no not on this one, not on this song! It happens, shit happens!
With such powerful hit singles is it hard to have the focus on your newer material?
I go back to feeling really grateful because it is those songs that people even listening to our new stuff because of. I go back to a time when I was in my teens and I saw the Rolling Stones play and I watched them do over two hours of music and I knew every single song. That’s work, that is decades of writing and writing and writing, stuff that doesn’t make it. To have two hours of songs that everyone knows is like oh my god. If I could get a little piece of that and we have six or seven songs now that people automatically know, that would be so incredible to be able to do that because it is a connection. It’s having connected with people, I appreciate that.
Was it clear where you wanted to take your relatively new album Animal?
Yeah it was because at the time as the universe is so perfectly aligned with timing I got a job doing hosting a radio show in LA at KCSN-FM for two years. Not only did that want me to host it but program it for two hours every Saturday night. They of course wanted me to be the electro queen because that is where I come from. So I listened to everything for two years that was going on in electro music, electronic music, dance music, EDM and I really feel in love with EDM. I fell in love with what people are doing in that whole world.
It is exciting, sexy, new, it’s different and so I wanted to use some of those elements with the Berlin sound. When I found, first I worked with John King from the Dust Brothers and we did two songs for the album. Then I met Derek Cannavo and the song Animal was the first song we wrote together and it was like fuck me this is yeah, this is exactly what I’m talking about. We kept going with it and did the main aspects of it. That’s what I wanted, it was the direction I wanted to go in and is the biggest selling album that we have had in the last twenty years.
Wow, it must feel pretty good to be rejuvenated like that?
Absolutely! Thank you!
What are your future plans?
There is another album in the works with the original Berlin team. It is a big wow for me, I did not see this coming at all because I was in the middle of writing the new album with Derek Cannavo. He left and found God and he could not write Berlin music any more, it was too sexual and if you write about drugs and sex he couldn’t do that anymore. He abandoned the project so enter David Diamond and John Crawford from the original Berlin team.
They kind of fell in to my life and they are both going through breakups at the same time, we were kind of holding on to each other and bolstering each other up then it all started to happen. The music is amazing and I am blown away that this is happening, that will be the next album with the three of us.
By Rob Lyon