I chatted with the pop-music comedy duo, Astrid and Otto Rot, of Die Roten Punkte (The Red Dots) a few days after a recent show at Joe’s Pub. They are currently on an international tour, debuting a new show called Euro Smash. I caught up with them, via a very bad phone connection, while they were in Edmonton, Alberta. The self described sister and brother duo from Berlin (although an Australian accent can occasionally be detected when you catch them off-the-cuff) like to talk about how they became “the best band in the world.”
You guys have been doing this for a long time, right?
Astrid: Since we were kids, yeah. We didn’t play concerts for a while, ‘cus we were just so little.
Otto: Yeah, we spent about, like, five years working on all the small elements of how to be in a rock band. Like, how to pose for photos.
Astrid: Yeah, and how to twirl drumsticks, and how to leap off of the drum stool properly. You’ve got to know all your moves first, before you do concerts.
So after all this touring, you’re not getting tired of each other yet?
Astrid: Oh yeah, we are tired of each other. But once we get on stage and we rock out, you know, then it’s all good again. But yeah, in the day I try to stay as far away from Otto as possible.
Otto: Yeah, sometimes she goes missing and I have to call the police.
Astrid: I’m not missing, I’m just doing my own thing – you misinterpret “missing.”
Otto: For me, being on tour is like being a detective. I have to try and find Astrid.
Astrid: There’s nothing to find, I’m just out having a good time and I’m always on stage at the right time. I was on stage, wasn’t I? You saw me there?
Yes, I did.
Astrid: See, I made it to Joe’s Pub. I can make it anywhere. I even made it to Littlefield in the Gowanus – so if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.
How does performing in New York compare to other places in the world?
Otto: Well, for us it’s always really different because we have this manager, who keeps booking us in to comedy festivals and theater festivals but really, we are a serious Rock & Roll band.
Astrid: Yeah, he’s a bad manager, his name is David Eppstein with two “Ps.” I don’t think he knows what he’s doing and sometimes I get upset because people laugh at us so much, but then Otto says, ‘Don’t worry Astrid, so long as people are enjoying the concert’…you know…so I guess I’ve come to accept it.
Where’s your favorite place to perform?
Otto: Maybe Winnipeg, in Cananda.
Astrid: Yeah, I don’t know why but they just love us there – it’s a particular kind of love – they get dressed up and they wear little furry lion ears and they line up for hours – I don’t know, we touch them in some way…
Otto: I asked my friend in Toronto why people go so crazy for us in Winnipeg and he said that in Winnipeg people have nothing else to do.
Astrid: That’s not a very nice thing to say, Otto.
Otto: Yeah, but I didn’t say that, that’s what this guy in Toronto said.
Astrid: I guess if you come from New York, you say that about people from somewhere like, Kansas?
Yes, that’s true. So what’s up for you guys after Edmonton.
Otto: We’re on to Vancouver, and then Victoria.
Astrid: And then the Yukon!
Otto: Oh yeah, we’re going to Whitehorse!
Astrid: And apparently there are big moose there, and coyotes! It’s very far north, but apparently you have to go still farther to get to the polar bears.
Otto – Then we’re going to do some recording and then we’re going to do some festivals in New Zealand and Australia.
Astrid: And then maybe Korea.
Otto: Oh yeah – Korea!
Wow, you guys are really on the road – a lot.
Astrid: Yeah, that’s why I have to stay away from Otto as much as possible in the day and at night after the concert.
Story by Traven Rice.