Even if you're not a Rammstein fan, you're likely familiar with their extremely firey live show. What you're probably not familiar with is the man behind the flames – Nikolai Sabottka, owner of his own pyrotechnics company FFP. In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Sabottka said he stepped into the job after Rammstein vocalist Till Lindemann wasn't exactly being the safest pyrotechnician.
"Well the band started off without professional pyrotechs other than Till being one himself, and had some fairly unorthodox ways of performing live with explosives…while it increased their popularity pretty quickly, it also had left some venues and fire authorities not so happy. A good part of my work for several years was to reverse this while the show had to look even more spectacular and we were and are continuously pushing the envelope."
Sabottka also discussed how he plans for each venue, and what it's like getting the permits.
"This is one of the main jobs…looking at the size of the venues you will be playing first … then design the show accordingly and choose your effects wisely so you're always able to "sell" this to the local authorities. Every market has got a different approach on how to handle flames and pyrotechnics…while pyro is heavily regulated most everywhere in the world, that is not at all the case for flame effects. So, we most often need to deal with different authorities for different effects and we had everything from zero to roughly a hundred firemen on site.
"At some point in your career, it comes down to what reputation you were able to build up over the years, and if you do not screw up it is getting a little easier, over time, since fire marshals start to trust you if you don`t fool them, even if you come to town with rather crazy looking stuff.
Check out the full interview here. Oh, and in case you were wondering – the band uses about 265 gallons of fuel per night.