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Exclusive interview with KMFDM (Moscow, 30.06.04)

Last updated 26.08.04



Alex: Firstly I wanna thank you very much for your powerful music, your truly lyrics... and thank you very much for visiting Russia!!! Is it your first time here?

Sascha: Thank you! It's our first time here.

Alex: Your first impressions from Russia? How it could be compared with your expectations?

Sascha: When we came to Russia, we have no expectations, we have open eyes, open hearts and open minds.


Alex: In 1994 you did a special campaign, when people discovered 1001 possible meanings for your band name, and original English translation for KMFDM - «No pity for the majority» - mutated into «No one does more for you». How about new re-interpretation? [smile]

Sascha: No new interpretation, it's still the same [smile]

Alex: Your band was founded in Paris, and in late 80x you moved to America. Why did you do it? Did you think US is more suitable for your music, your creational process or what else?

Sascha: In Germany we have very little success with KMFDM, maybe it was a bit early, people weren't really into that kind of music. When we came to America, we realize that we can sell 10,000 of records, and I think I will stay here for a while and work with KMFDM, and a few months ago we came in new era of 20 years in music. So KMFDM is like a bridge between European and American industrial, I mean by definition, by sound not so much. I never see KMFDM as industrial, I see KMFDM as much more open genre, much open thing in industrial rock. For me industrial has nothing to do with Ministry or Front 242, industrial is SPK, Throbbing Gristle...

Alex: Like Nine Inch Nails maybe?..

Sascha: No, no! NIN is pop band...

Alex: Industrial is more metal music, more electronic music?..

Sascha: No, no. What I am saying is European or classic definition of industrial, industrial are noise bands, like Einstürzende Neubauten, SPK, Throbbing Gristle. In America they're starting defining industrial, you know, as KMFDM, Ministry... for Americans that's industrial. That's definition came back to Europe and everybody now call it industrial.

Alex: As I could remember, my first book about KMFDM that I read in 1996 was Dave Thompson «Industrial revolution»...

Sascha: Fucking Dave Thompson... He is fucking idiot. His book is full of shit.

Alex: What is KMFDM more - music, conception or perfomance?

Sascha: It's all of these.

Alex: Do you miss WAX TRAX! era?

Sascha: Generally no.


Alex: What was the truth behind birth of MDFMK?

Sascha: KMFDM in 1998 was at the point where everybody were fighting all the time. There's no harmony, we couldn't work together anymore. Everybody was working for themselves, sending the stuff by mail, I received material from NY from En Esch, and I received material from Canada from Guenter, that was our last record together. And Tim Skold is someone like Yoko Ono in KMFDM if you want, everything was broke down with him. But with Tim I really work together. If you wanna make a techno project, not classic techno you know, but very computer and tweaky stuff... so we said KMFDM is dead, took the name MDFMK. When we started working then we realized that we need female vocalist, and we started to think who could be a female vocalist, and my first idea was Lucia from band Drill, she was very expressive. So I contacted Lucia, she said «Yes, sure».

Alex: All classic KMFDM albums were released on indie WaxTrax!...

Sascha: except «Adios»...

Alex: ...your last releases were done on indie Metropolis Records and Sanctuary Records. MDFMK EP was released on Universal. Does it mean that MDFMK was more commercial project?

Sascha: No, at that time independent label have done, we started to shoppy 'cos we needed money. So someone, manager guy, he said us about an interest from Universal, they could give us a lot of money, a million dollars...

Alex: You were so lucky...

Sascha: Yes, we think «Fine», you know, we never wanna go major, but it was not KMFDM, it was MDFMK, so we really had that million dollars.

Alex: It was your way to survive?

Sascha: Yes.

Alex: Could we expect new MDFMK release sometimes again? This project is dead or just frozen?

Sascha: I think the only reason to do MDFMK again is if Lucia and Scott and I will work together, but it's very unlikely because Skold is now with Marylin Manson...

Andy and Joolz


Alex: Your own definition of your music is «ultra heavy beat». Please describe what you mean [smile]

Sascha: First poster KMFDM ever did has additional words «The Ultra Heavy Beat!». It was a joke, but definition has stuck to us anyway. And what unites KMFDM from very beginning to very now it's a beats, you know. It's never like simple rhythm beats, it's like «oohhh», these fat sounds.

Alex: I think you are god fathers of industrial rock, but where do you find your own influences, your inspiration? What music do you like?

Sascha: I like all kinds of music, really. I think that inspiration for all of us come from so many influences: rock, classical music. You know, Joolz for example is very educated in music, he could play piano, guitar, bass, drums, everything. We are very open minded, so so many influences.

Joolz: That was no really more to say, I listen to a lot of various electronic music. We don't listen exclusively industrial, we listen all kinds of music, and involve it in KMFDM.

Lucia: I'm very inspired by all types of music, I like very melodic music, music that has a melody, I like it to be very heavy in a base, but I like strong melodies, voice, it always inspires me because they give me music, introduce me music I never heard before. So when we are working together they give me tracks and I'm inspired just only with music they give me. But when I listen everything, I listen pop-music, I listen classical music, like Sascha, I don't really listen music of my choice, 'cos music is all around, I listen everything from Sex Pistols to Sade, and everything between: Beastie Boys, Einstürzende Neubauten... so I'm influenced by everything, and I try to be influenced by everything, but not emulate noone.

Alex: Now it's time for new-metal. Commercial music TV plays it all day. It looks like twisted dream of industrial fan - electronic metal on TV again, but it false... Will you continue to fight with it? «No MTV for KMFDM»?

Sascha: There's no MTV for KMFDM, we don't want MTV. We don't like TV at all, we don't like commercial shit.

Alex: So please do more more and more with your web site. It's only way...

Sascha: ..our web site is the window...

Alex: ...window into the world...

Sascha: Yeah.


Alex: On WWIII, you worked with excellent live-drummer Andy Selway instead of programmed beats. Does it mean that you you want to be more a live band?

Sascha: We never really wanted became more live band. We never worked with a live drummer. And Andy was like God sent for us [laugh]

Alex: Every KMFDM record has a track where the name of the band is featured in the lyric, as chorus «K-M-F-D-M». Is it good tradition for you?

Sascha: Yes, it's a good tradition, some people like it you know, so it's good, why not? [smile]

Joolz: When we have no lyrical ideas we add «K-M-F-D-M» [laugh]

Alex: What's your favorite track on the last record?

Sascha: «Last Things».

Joolz: «Last Things» at the moment.

Lucia: I like everything we ever play, but right now, right today I like «Intro».

Joolz: It's really difficult to choose your favorite track.

Alex: And your favorite album of all years?

Sascha: WWIII.

Alex: What is KMFDM's opinion on bootlegs?

Sascha: Look at these CDs [show Russian MP3 bootleg double CD, with all KMFDM releases] we just found it, we bought it and we will sell it for hundred dollars in US, ha-ha [laugh] 80 rubles each, we can sell it for hundred dollars [laugh] Easily [laugh]

Alex: Good luck [laugh]

Sascha: We make our own bootlegs. We make products that we sell as bootlegs.

Alex: Yeah, most of «Beat by Beat» live videos look like bootleg [smile]

Sascha: [smile]


Alex: What do you prefer more - to play live or to work in the studio?

Sascha: Both, yeah. We like making records in the studio, but we like to play live too.

Lucia: When I'm in the studio I wanna be on stage, when I'm on stage I wanna be in studio [smile]

Joolz: It's two different basis. To be onstage is fantastic, the fact to have 500 or even 2,000 people open to your music is fantastic.

Alex: So KMFDM couldn't exist without live appearances, from beginning?

Sascha: No, no. Always live. It takes a long time to make KMFDM albums, 6 or 9 months, after that time you just feel like «We need to go out, we need to see people, we need to see results of our work, we need to see how our recording translates into live on stage.»

Alex: Your tomorrow's gig in Moscow club «Tochka» will open you European Tour. Does it mean something special for you?

Sascha, Lucia: Yes!!!

Sascha: Fucking yes! We just played a short tour in US, it was a warmer to be ready for Russia. We played 7 shows in 7 days just to be ready for Russia.

Alex: Why have you not toured in Russia? Were there no offers from Moscow?

Sascha: We have never official offers from Moscow. This is the first time when someone contacted us, it seamed reliable. So I said «OK, this is gonna work.» We heared a lot about Russia, but it was impossible to go here, 'cos it was crazy, very difficult. At last we have not enough money to go here, fly to Russia costs too much. So right now it is a very fortunate moment - we are here, we'll play a show.

Joolz: Now we know how are the girls in Russia [smile]

Alex: Lucia, don't listen what they say [smile]

Lucia: It's OK [smile]

Alex: Do you plan any nice surprises for your Russian fans at upcoming live shows?

Joolz: Yeah, we all will play naked [laugh]

Sascha: I think all our shows here will be a big surprise.

Alex: Every Russian fan will be happy if you will do some great encores...

Sascha: Oh yes, it's same as in America, when we did our set and tried to go away, they always shout «More!!!»



Alex: Sascha, as I know, you are living in Seattle, early in Chicago...

Sascha: I moved from Chicago to Seattle, then to Chicago, then to Seattle, then to New York City, and then to Seattle again [laugh]

Alex: Do you feel that you're American?

Sascha: No. Absolutely. It constantly reminded that I'm not American. I have an accent, you know. So I don't feel that I'm American. But essentially I'm American. Because everybody in America is not true American, they just moved there sometimes ago. Everybody is immigrant in America if for true. I am immigrant too, because I have no American passport, but I know American laws etc, so I'm German. But if I will have children and they will be born in America, they will be Americans. It's very strange.

Alex: In various interviews you blamed MTV, for example, you said «MTV is an insult to the world». And MTV answer you the same - there is no place for your news and videos. In other way, your video «A Drug Against War» became Beavis and Butthead's favorite videos of the year 1996. Your comments? [smile]

Sascha: I heard about it [laugh]

Alex: And as I know Brute worked with MTV?

Sascha: Yeah.

Alex: Strange...

Sascha: Yeah, strange relation...

Joolz: KMFDM on MTV are Beavis and Butthead [all laugh]

Alex: Your songs are full of politics. As I could understand, you watch TV, read papers...

Sascha: I don't watch TV...

Alex: Even news?..

Sascha: No. I get my news from Internet.

Alex: Hmmm... It's really the best way, I agree with you.

Sascha: You know, sometimes I buy papers, «New York Times» in US, «The Independent» in England, «Le Monde» in France, I read «Spiegel» in Germany.

Alex: I think your last album is very provocative. I think officials could be very angry from your music. Are you afraid of some pressure from them?

Sascha: No. Fuck them all.

Joolz: If George Bush will listen our record, it has too many words to him to understand anyway [smile]

Alex: Did you join any political movements?

Sascha: We don't join any movements. We are doing our own stuff.

Alex: Modern rock musicians don't like to remember that originally rock mean protest. Sometimes their songs have no meaning at all. They do it just for fun. so it's so great that you are not afraid to do your stuff... Keep it, don't be afraid.

Sascha: It's climate of fear, especially from September 11th attack of World Trade Center. It was perfect example of fundamentals of US conservatism. It was take over, it was real shock for population. If you keep your population in fear then you get support, because you can say «You're very afraid, we can protect you, so give us you privacy, give us your freedom, we'll take care of you.» It's a kind of fascism.

Joolz: Exactly.

Sascha: Göring on Nuernberg process said «Of course people don't want war, but if you keep them afraid enough, they will follow you wherever you go.» And that's the way the fascism goes.

Alex: It's very strange, after fall of Soviet Union, USA became Soviet Union...

Joolz: A kind of, yeah.

Alex: Do Americans lose your freedom?

Sascha: No. Things not so bad as in Soviet Union. Everything runs from Reagan era, when budget for education was cutted, more is spent for military. Now we have a lot of Americans, generations of young Americans who are asked «Show me Israel - Where is Israel? I don't know... Show Iraq - I don't know.» There is no need to have so much military. America have to learn on it's own mistakes.

Joolz: It's quite funny that traditionally youth are always push political age, and now youth are very passive.

Sascha: People simply don't feel how important it is to vote. So on our concerts we always show young Americans how important it is to use their votes, to use their power. 'Cos it's the power that we have, really. If you look at American elections of the last 20 years, you will find that sometimes people simply ignored it.

Alex: Many people point out problems, few have solutions...

Sascha: Right..

Alex: Does KMFDM have any solutions for the problems you see?

Sascha: Solution is very clear. Everybody wants, everybody speaks about their rights, «It's my right to do this, it's my right to do that» you know. «It's my right to have a gun, it's my right to drive.» Think about responsibilities. Every right comes with responsibilities.

Alex: Yeah..

Sascha: So solution is education. Information, education, these are first steps to create solution. World population must be aware of everything. For example, people use one bottle of bleach to clean toilet, but bleach goes in water, it's a big problem. Everybody knows it, but nobody thinks about it. So if you educate people, you make them aware of the world they living in. I mean it's first step for solution.

Joolz: And very dirty toilets [laugh]

Alex: Hmmm.. your solution is really clear..

Sascha: It's real but very expensive.


Alex: How much time do you spend at computer?

Sascha: My entire working time. If I sleep 6 hours, I am at computer 17 hours a day. We recorded at computers, we communicate at computers, we entertain ourself at computers.

Joolz: It's very strange world, people with square eyes [laugh]

Alex: And in the Net? Do you like surfing?

Sascha: I don't spent too much time surfing, 'cos I'm always working.

Alex: Your music has appeared in some games. It reconstruct very suitable mood. Do you like to play games?

Sascha: Sometimes, yeah.

Alex: When did you play games last time?

Sascha: Last year.

Joolz: We did music for «Spiderman», it was quite funny, to make music for game. it was real KMFDM [laugh]

Alex: Your official site has only news and store sections (plus links, hehe). No bio, no discography, no downloads...

Sascha: ...We are working on them, a bit slowly.

Joolz: «Under construction» [smile]

Alex: Why did you close your «All Access» service?

Sascha: It was too much massive, people always saying «It has not enough stuff, where's my shirts.» It should be free. It was experiment that doesn't work well. But we'll try.

Alex: What about MP3? Is it an evil for your band?

Sascha: No, it's not an evil.

Steve: It's not an evil but it doesn't help anybody.

Sascha: It's just destroys...

Steve: ... making of music. How to survive and make music now?

Alex: In Russia the situation is so that when some people download a lot of stuff in MP3, and if they like some tracks, they go to a record store and buy some original CDs.

Joolz: Sure.

Steve: MP3 is bad form to listen music.


Alex: Your current line-up is different to the first KMFDM era. Do you coninue your personal contacts with your ex-band mates (En Esch, Guenter Schulz, Tim Skold)?

Sascha: With some of them, yes.

Alex: Is it only personal contacts or you take part in their musical process?

Sascha: No, its our personal contacts only. We drink together, we talk phone.

Alex: So you have good relations..

Sascha: Yeah.

Alex: How did you meet Aidan Hughes (Brute!)

Sascha: He was introduced by another record company. They wanna re-release first KMFDM album, they said «We wanna new cover», and he did us these cool stuff.

Alex: Your cover arts are very familiar with Russian political art of Soviet Union era...

Sascha: Yeah-yeah!

Alex: And question which I wanted to ask you all the time - do you have any Russian or Ukrainian roots? [smile]

Sascha: I think so, yeah [smile]

Alex: Do you try to discover where did you come from?

Sascha: Nobody really seems to know. We with my brother don't know. After the War everything was lost. As my brother said, our roots came from Ukraine to Poland, then to Germany. Long time ago.


Alex: 2004 is the year of 20th anniversary of KMFDM...

Sascha: We will do something later in this year, something like greatest hits, in re-recorded versions.

Joolz: Yeah, maybe. We're talking.

Sascha: I think 20th is good, but 25th is more important.

Alex: So it will be available later this year?

Sascha: It depends how much touring we do. It seems we gonna go ontour in Canada again in October, and in US again in November, so we maybe destroyed for a long time [smile] we don't know yet.

Alex: When we could expect your next album? Do you already have some new ideas or even demos? What will happen with the world after WWIII?..

Steve: Re-birth [smile]

Sascha: We'll think about it [smile]

Alex: I hope this war will end... without crisis...

Sascha: Best case scenario will be Peace.

Alex: What you want to say for your Russian fans?

Sascha: We wanna said that we all are very very happy to have a chance, an opportunity to be here for the first time and we so happy to sing here a show.

Lucia: It never in my wildest dreams that I could be able to come to this beautiful country, and it's a honor to be here, be exposed to your culture, food and people. Just come to the show, and have a great time, and I hope you'll enjoy the music.

Alex: And I wanna wish you a very good time here, a very good concert, very powerful concert... so thank you for your music, thank you for interview!


KMFDM are:

Andy Selway (Drums)
Steve White (Guitar)
Joolz Hodgeson (Guitar)
Lucia Cifarelli (Vocals)
Sascha Konietzko (Vocals, Keyboards/Synths, Drums)

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