What was your most nervous moment

Interview with Ritschi

"It feels great like it hasn't been for a long time!"

A patina is a surface created by natural or artificial aging. In the case of Ritschi, it has stood for a collection of great hits, unforgettable concerts and perseverance for 20 years. Ritschi's fourth solo album "Patina" will be released on Friday, March 8th - and we asked him about it.

hitparade.ch: Your new album "Patina" will be released on time for your 40th birthday, for the 20th stage anniversary and for the 10th solo anniversary. Was the album deliberately designed to fit these anniversaries, or did you use chance?
Ritschi: I used chance. It was just clear that an album would be released in 2019. And only when it came time to choose the album title did I realize what was coming together. "Umami" was also in the race - but based on the data, "Patina" turned out to be a lot more appropriate. It also fits the album perfectly and forms a central theme.

hitparade.ch: What dreams did you have when you started your career 20 years ago? Which wishes have been fulfilled and which have not?
Ritschi: When we founded our first band 20 years ago and were on various stages for the first time, I always dreamed of being the opening act for a famous band. It was always my dream. Bali, our former plush drummer, later said in an interview that he had always dreamed of playing drums with Phil Collins one day. Then he looked into the camera and said: "Phil, I break Di in the case of nümme" (laughs). It was then that I realized: "Awesome, we don't really need to be a supporting act anymore, we have become the big band ourselves." I got into that pretty much.

hitparade.ch: You have never been an opening act?
Ritschi: Not really. We went to SnowpenAir once, where Deep Purple also played. Or at the Gurten Festival between Travis and Kings of Leon. But that's not really to be seen as a support act.

hitparade.ch: Are there things in the music business that you would have imagined differently?
Ritschi: You can't imagine what it really means. Nothing of my ideas came true, except that people on the street recognize me. But otherwise it doesn't feel any different than when you're a carpenter. You always have the feeling that being famous is totally cool. But in the end it is exactly the same as when you are known as a carpenter in the village. You know me as a musician. It is not much more. It is of course great that I have been able to live my passion for 17 years. A privilege!

hitparade.ch: What goes through your head when you listen to the music you made 20 years ago today?
Ritschi: The first plush album is of course full of memories. Everyone has an association with this. That was huge back then! For me this album is the epitome of a great time. Back then everything was new, you got to know a lot of people, appeared on television for the first time, were allowed to go into the studio with a producer for the first time, you were invited to aperitifs and were allowed to go to the box of the Stade de Suisse - it was an incredible time! Exciting things happened every day. When I listen to the music of that time, this film is playing for me. And I feel that I am not embarrassed about anything I did back then.

hitparade.ch: Still: Does it annoy you that, although you have been soloing for ten years, you are still often referred to in the media as the "former front man of Plüsch"?
Ritschi: It's not annoying. At most it is annoying when it doesn't stop. For example, if I drive from Interlaken to Zurich to a media appointment and then you only talk about plush for an hour, then it's not that cool. But not because I have a problem with plush, but because then I realize that no one is interested in my current work. But I basically see it as a compliment that you don't forget this band.

hitparade.ch: Well, we're talking about the new album now! Well-known personalities such as DJ Antoine and Marc Amacher read the lyrics to "Patina" on YouTube. How did you come up with this idea?
Ritschi: I really wanted people to notice that I was putting a lot of effort into the lyrics. Often you don't concentrate enough on the lyrics, and they are just as important as the music. I thought for a long time how to focus on it. First I wanted to read the lyrics myself. But then I realized that it wasn't going to work - then I can sing it just as well. And when I was scrolling through my cell phone one day, I noticed that I know an extremely large number of people. The first thing I did was ask Marco Rima. He thought it was great and encouraged me in my plan. He reads the text about "Patina", which also suits himself. In contrast to me, he really had a six-pack once (laughs). And so I asked more and more people and it's awesome how they all went along. Whether athletes, musicians or politicians! And it's not the usual suspects, but an illustrious circle of exciting personalities. Even Adolf Ogi promised me a video. I'm curious if he really does it.

hitparade.ch: You describe "I blibe drann" as the most personal song. Do you struggle with self-doubt every now and then?
Ritschi: I think everyone knows self-doubt. I'm just so honest and admit it. It's not that self-doubt takes over me. It might come across in the song, but that's because I always amplify the feelings in the music. If this song stands for me, it would be me four years ago when I really doubted it. I've thrown my doubts overboard. But the feeling that everyone else succeeds in everything, except me, keeps coming back. This also has to do with this illusory world on social media. Nobody posts: "My concert is not running, please come over". No, you post the picture from the corner of the audience where it looks the most crowded and write how great the atmosphere was.

hitparade.ch: In "Höcher u crazy" you address exactly this topic.
Ritschi: Yes. Reach is the new currency. For that matter, I am very poor compared to others. But that's not bad. There are a lot of people who think that's bad, and then it gets dangerous. This is an illusory world in which you have the feeling that everyone else is always running smoothly! No wonder, you only post the great things because you are looking for recognition.

hitparade.ch: Do influencers get on your nerves?
Ritschi: There are people who really get on the nerves. But there are also some who are great. It's like a new art form. In addition to music, acting or painting, there are now also social media artists. Influencer is just a terrible word. I'm more impressed by people who do clever things. For example, if I want to do some manual work, I go to YouTube and see how others do it. I have trouble with those who walk around and celebrate themselves. Or even those who do dangerous shit just to go viral, I can't stand. But maybe I'm just too old for this stuff (laughs).
hitparade.ch: But you also address the problem that people define themselves by the number of likes

hitparade.ch: How has social media influenced the Swiss music scene?
The Swiss music scene is more diverse than ever. And that's because artists who would never have got a record deal in the past get a chance to show themselves through the new platforms. And I think that's great about this development. What I don't like is the fact that people believe more and more that music is a common good that you don't have to pay for anything. Every time has its advantages and disadvantages. In my day, a major label decided whether music was good or bad. Today the audience and the range decide.

hitparade.ch: The song "Umami" shows that you still have big plans. Do you think umami can ever be achieved?
Ritschi: A journalist recently said to me that the "mi" in "umami" means "essence". And that goes well with this song. It's about the essence of life. It's about striving for the whole. That you are not satisfied with sweet, sour or salty. That you don't always dedicate yourself to the daily grind, but always look for new challenges. I think if you are ready to let go and dedicate yourself to something new, then you have achieved umami. Only those who let go have their hands free for new things.

hitparade.ch: In "Patina" you target your own aging. Would you like to be 20 again?
Ritschi: It depends. If it means that I have to give up everything I have now in order to be able to be 20 again, then I can answer that question with a clear no. However, if I could just go back into the body of my 20-year-old self, I wouldn't say no to that (laughs). Except that I had bad acne back then, I don't want it back. There are benefits to being 40 too! I have gained a lot of experience that is useful in songwriting and that takes away my fear in situations in which I would have had a crisis ten years ago. When I was 20, I wasn't that confident. Today I trust in my abilities. That's much better! Right now I'm on a run, it feels so great like it hasn't been for a long time.

hitparade.ch: Your tour will start soon. The tour starts at the Hunziken mill in Rubigen. What do you have in common with the location?
Ritschi: I've already had numerous, great appearances in the Mühli. Usually it was the end of the tour. This location has a lot of charm and is a guarantee that it has people. And that's important at the beginning of a tour. It actually only has a few tickets left. It's a great feeling to start!

10 quick questions about 20 years of Ritschl:

1. Your worst concert?
Rondo Pontresina. A hip-hop band played before me, stress after me. Logically, people weren't interested in me. They even had their backs to us. Just a short BeatBox session helped get a little attention, but that was all. Fortunately, that never happened to me again.

2. Your best moment?
The best moment in my career was when I was allowed to play as headliner on the main stage at the Gurten Festival on Sunday. That was magical. 14,000 people were crowded together in front of the stage. I went into the audience, they made room for me like Moses did when the sea was divided and so I got to the back of the rows and back again. That overwhelmed me. Everyone felt that.

3. After which concert did you have the meanest hangover?
I've never had a hangover. I do not drink alcohol. I used to have a kind of hangover from time to time when people were still allowed to smoke at the concerts. I noticed that the next day. It was worst at the anchor in Interlaken. I am glad that it is different today in closed rooms.

4. Your most nervous moment?
That was also at the aforementioned Gurten Festival. I almost passed out there and hyperventilated. Seeing this crowd that is there for me was amazing. That energy was amazing.

5. Your coolest collaboration?
Thomas Fessler. Is my mentor and now a good friend. I learned to write songs with Plüsch, but also from him.

6. What is your best decision?
I made the best decision in 2014 when I decided to continue working as a musician. I have never regretted that.

7. Worst career move?
The decision to release "Öpfuboum u Palme" as the first single of my first solo album was not so successful. After that I had to fight the image of making children's music. The song is important to me though, I wrote it for my son.

8. Your most complex gig?
Christmas sessions in Basel. I invited Marco Kunz, Marco Rima and Adrian Stern as guest musicians and that was quite an effort, also in preparation. But it was also a wonderful concert.

9. Your greatest success?
"Homesickness". That is probably undisputed. Personally, my greatest success is that after 20 years I can still work as a musician. But in fact the greatest success is clearly "homesickness".

10. Your biggest inspiration?
My buddy Chrigu. I've been in a relationship for 23 years, but I keep writing songs about singles, lovesickness and a lot more. Through Chrigu, I experience these issues that I don't have in my life myself (laughs). He keeps providing me with inside details.

Interview conducted: Bettina Wyss-Siegwart (Stella Nera)

Editor: Bettina Wyss-Siegwart (Stella Nera)

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