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As I stood outside of the venue KMFDM had just performed in, I couldnít help but notice what significance theyíve made over the past eighteen years. This is a band thatís spawned 11 albums, numerous remixes and contributions to soundtracks, a vast amount of singles, and has influenced countless bands. Now here it was 2am in Oklahoma, and as I watched founding member Sascha Konietzko interact with fans in the light Oklahoma rain, it became quite clear that this is a band that truly cares about music and their fans. We sat down with Sascha while on tour in support of the new KMFDM release Attak, and asked him about the new album, past, and future of the band.

The KMFDM album Adios was thought to have been the last KMFDM album, what made you decide to release another one?

I think it was really a matter of public demand. When the announcement of the split between MDFMK and Universal Records was made there was a flood of email from fans asking, "what are you doing now? Why not do KMFDM?" And at first I was really reluctant to doing it, but I spoke to everyone who could potentially be involved and the majority of everyone was totally into it.

What do you feel makes the new album Attak stand out among the previous albums?

Well it's different in a number of ways, it's a marked departure from the old lineup, and En Esch and Gunter Schulz opted not to be in the current lineup. It was done in a sort of way in which we pulled all the experience that we have so that we could focus on what makes KMFDM what we are. We found that it's the rotation, to just let everyone work and other then in the past, I decided to let everyone work on their own time and in their own environment, rather then bringing everyone into the studio and add that working together pressure. Just let everyone work in their own time frame and country or whatever. It made for a pretty relaxed recording process. It took sometimes months to get something back from Raymond [Watts} but the results were totally stunning. It was easier then saying "today we have to do vocals, tomorrow we have to do drums or whatever."

MDFMK was on UNIVERSAL/Republic Records, I was wandering why wasn't the new KMFDM album on that label as well?

Universal made it very clear that they did not want to continue work with me unless I was basically delivering a commercially accessible product. I made it very clear that I was not interested in making music according to their opinions that would be "commercially accessible".

Were you in search of label after that? How did you end up with Metropolis?

As I started thinking about this, I thought we should get a label to put this out and that's when the phone calls started to coming in. There was no effort made to find a label.

Do you plan to work with Metropolis in the future?

I don't know, it's a mutual thing. They're not really a label that puts too much work into each release. They basically believe that the credibility of the bands on the roster sells themselves, which I think is a mistake. I mean it would be nice to see a few more flyers and a few more posters. I would like to get reports from reps, such as yourselves, that are a little more positive. During the WaxTrax days it was like "wow". I mean kids got sent to them flyers and posters and all kinds of materials and it was just behavior of labels like that and music like this.

Have you ever thought about starting your own label?

Many times but I really hate paper work. I'm not a pencil pusher.

KMFDM has had a variety of guests over the span of albums and I was wandering is there anyone that you haven't worked with that you would like to?

Not really, everyone I've wanted to work with so far has been on a KMFDM album one way or another. What's unique about KMFDM is that it's not a rigid process. We don't have to suffer through the dynamics of role-playing. A lot of the members are multi-instrumentalist so maybe someone played a bass line on a song twelve years ago and Bill Rieflin is playing it tonight, just because he can.

So would you say it's something similar to what Pigface is?

I never really identified KMFDM and Pigface as similar. I think Pigface was botched in a way by egomania by all the participants. I think Pigface would have worked really great if it was kept it anonymously known. I mean you could have seen who it was but it was just like name dropping at the time. But they never really sounded like a band to me; the band is like this gigantic germ. Some stuff is absolutely great and then some stuff is absolutely abominably horrible.

From my understanding for what Pigface is, the way you were explaining KMFDM sounded like it is this interchangeable thing where there is not any real members.

Well, yeah, in that respect yes, I mean Martin Atkins probably has ultimately the same vision.

Have you considered working with him on any projects?

Well we had fallout about paperwork a long time ago when I was representing En Esch as his publisher. Martin Atkins practices in business are not really up to par. So I think that maybe blocked the future of any collaborations.

Are there any future plans to work with Ogre again?

No plans at this point, I mean Ogre is quite busy with the Skinny Puppy reunion stuff and heís very secretive about that. There was talk about Ogre participating on Attak but it never happened, he was busy doing other stuff.

I noticed that most of your album titles are five letter words I was wandering what the significance of that is?

No it was kind of...when we first came to the US, you know people always ask what does KMFDM stand for? And it stands for "Kein Mitleid Fur Die Mehrheit" which translates to "no pity for the majority" so I kept explaining this and it didn't make any sense and people would say, "what are you talking about" and then this guy named Shawn Joyce came up and said why don't you just tell them it means "kill mother fucking Depeche Mode" so with that came the kind of pranksterish sort of joke titles. UAIOE was out at the time and "Naïve" had just came out and both of those both have five letter titles and it was like "oh KMFDM this, the guys with the five letter titles it means KILL MOTHERFUCKING DEPECHE MODE" So we thought ok we would cater to that for awhile and see how that flies, granted it was a total joke. We came from Germany and we all had to have day jobs and work our asses off to afford to be KMFDM and all of a sudden were in the states and were selling thousands of thousands of fucking records! And we didn't have to have day jobs and everything was fine and dandy and it was like this big joke, I mean these people were buying our crap, it's great. But needless to say within a year or two reality sat in and that's when it stuck that this is what direction our lives are going now.

It was rumored that Attak was going to be originally spelled with a q instead of a k and be in middle eastern font is that true?

Thatís right.

Was it changed because of September 11th?

Yup, we didnít want to use it after that, especially since Columbine. That would have been pretty fucking harsh.

What music do you currently listen to? Are there any new bands that you discovered recently that you would like to turn people on to?

I listen to mostly stuff people give me on the road, like demos and CDís. Itís more interesting then your regular mainstream music.

Is there anybody in particular?

Well just last night I was listening to a band called VX 7 from San Francisco, pretty cool stuff, female vocals, very electronic. I havenít really bought any records lately, not for the last two years.

Do you collect anything?

I collect Playboy magazines.

What do you do for entertainment besides music?

I cook.

You bar-b-que?

Yeah I bar-b-que.

I was wandering what is one of your worst or most embarrassing moments that youíve had on stage?

One of the worst moments actually occurred right behind us (Deep Ellum Live-Venue, Dallas). They had a wooden barricade, I think it was 1995. Under the pressure of the crowd the barricade collapsed and it was absolutely heart stopping, I mean there was people being completely crushed and pieces of wood. We yanked about fifth teen or twenty people out of the crowd. Another worst time was when the dance floor collapsed in Boston, and the whole crowd started sinking. I thought, "oh my god, whatís going on". So we stopped the show and pulled everyone out, it turns out the major beams in the basement that held up the building had collapsed. Embarrassing moments, I donít know. Iím not easily embarrassed.

What is the future of KMFDM?

Well I think weíre going to keep touring in general, go to Japan, Europe, and then come back and do another U.S. leg. Then start recording again.

Last not but not least, with all this talk about nuclear warfare and terrorist threats, I was wandering, if you were a weapon of mass destruction, who, what or where would your target be?

(sadistic smile intact): MTV

KMFDM Attak is now available at all record stores on Metropolis Records

 

 

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Brett Newski



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