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10/22/2003 - KMFDM

KMFDM, a mainstay in the┬ industrial/goth music scene, ┬ has been around since 1984, producing 15 albums to date, each one more energetic than the last.┬ KMFDM has always had a style of their own, even in spite of┬ a revolving door of band members, including members of Pig, Skinny Puppy, and others.┬ WWIII, the new album, is filled with intense politcal comment, kick-ass driving guitar, and a live drummer.

I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Sascha Konietzko (Kapt'n K)┬ during the WWIII tour:


How's the tour been so far?

sk: It's been really, really excellent... best tour ever.

Has this tour been better than the Sturm┬ & Drang tour?

sk: Yeah, we thought that was impossible, but it seems to be the case.

The Attak album didn't seem as well distributed and promoted as WWIII.┬ With Sanctuary [Records], you seem to be getting better press this time.

sk: Just because they have a bigger fuckin' cock doesn't mean they do better distribution.

(we laugh)

sk: The problem remains the same... there's no difference between the difficulties that we are experiencing and people telling us they can't find the records anywhere.┬ Hopefully there's room for improvement.

Interesting use of banjo and harmonica in some of the songs.. quite an interesting mix of music, definitely a lot more explosive than Attak.

sk: Well, it's a whole different animal with a full-on live drummer and that kind of stuff┬ in the band has an influence on the way we do things and ultimately has an influence on the way it sounds.

The live drummer seems to have definitely kicked up the fierceness of the sound.

sk: Definitely, yes.

The tour you're on now is just in the U.S., do you have plans to tour over in Europe?

sk: Yeah, we're working full steam on putting together a European tour.

I know you had said you had switched to Sanctuary to get better distribution in Europe.┬ Have your previous albums had trouble getting to the fans over there?

sk: Yeah, it was always a bit spotty.┬ We were on Sony for one record, on RoadRunner for another, and EFA for a third, and you know, it will be good if all these things can be consolidated in the near future and it's very important for us to get a second leg firmly planted on to European soil, all being European, 5 out of 6 members.

The new album is full of political statement, Attak seems to have led up to the WWIII album.┬ Do you think people are noticing that this is more politically oriented or is it just because of the current situations and times that it is more obvious?

sk: I think it's just the climate is changing and people are becoming more politicized.┬ Ten years ago, they wouldn't know what the fuck I was talking about when I was mentioning the war in Yugoslavia.┬ But obviously, there is an awakened interest in what is going on.┬ The current government has led America into one of the biggest crisis in its history.

In some of the lyrics on this album, you are pretty much going straight at the government, talking about George W., songs like WWIII, Stars & Stripes and Moron. If you met George Bush, what would you say to him?

sk: What would I say to him?┬ I would ask him how come he is such an irresponsible cunt!

(much laughing)

Do you think he, on his own, is responsible for all that is going on, or is he more of a puppet of his political party?

sk: Well, he is definitely both, but as Bush, you're not automatically a cool guy.

(laughing)

There's too much history being dragged around and too much shady connections and nebulous kind of stuff and things that have been put somewhere under the rug.

I would ask him why it's impossible to find any of the records of his so-called military career.

I would ask him exactly what the liaison between his family and the Nazi party of Germany was.

I would ask him why when planes couldn't fly in the days after 9/11, why planes were flying members of the Bin Laden family by the dozens out of the country, and shit like that.

That's what I would ask him.

I'm sure he'd have an answer for it and none of it would be true.

sk: (laughing) well we would find out.

On this album, and over the span of the many albums you have put out, it seems you're driving more towards the standard guitar, bass, and drums sound and less emphasis on the electronics.

sk: No, there's definitely a hell of a lot of a stuff going on besides organic instruments, but, you know, that's┬ the way that we do the productions... it feels organic, even though it might not be entirely organic.

How has this line-up been as compared to some of the others.┬ I know you had said that Attak was a reformation and not really as solid as the current line-up has been.

sk: Well Attak was kind of a┬ get ready, pick up the pieces, and see who's on board, and provided at least enough steam to attract the current band to perform it and so we found ourselves all of a sudden in an unexpectedly lucky position to actually have a band that's ready and available at our fingertips.┬ ┬ KMFDM of the past was a thing that was totally scattered around the world┬ on several continents and it was difficult to work.

So you didn't have as much time to work in person with the members?

sk: Yeah, it was more like a sort of, you know, we worked via FedEx.

Speaking of other members, I know that Raymond Watts and the other two members of Pig are in the band and┬ that you were supposed to be doing work on the new Pig album, which is now under the band name WATTS.

sk: Yeah, that was something that was planned, but it didn't really happen because Raymond was in London, I got unexpectedly really, really involved in the making of WWIII, so it just took on a life of it's own and Raymond decided to rename Pig into WATTS.┬ So, you know, it didn't go according to plan, but that may be a good thing.

Any plans to further your work with the Schwein project?

sk: No, that was just a one time thing... it was a pretty unpleasant experience.

Not good working with the Buck Tick crew?

sk: It just didn't... it had a lot of potential, but nobody really saw it through, and that's unfortunate.┬ When I first heard that record, I was like, "Fuck it, you guys didn't even mix this".

The artwork on the album is definitely representative of the album.┬ How do you work with Brute to come up with the visuals for the album?

sk:┬ Brute has some sort of telepathic capacity.┬ He always sends us the right pictures or images at the right time... it's frightening.┬ We don't talk more than one or twice a year but, somehow, he's so connected with this whole thing.

Do you tell him the name of the album is, or the gist of it, or does he just submit stuff.

sk: Yeah, in this case, we actually had an album name, so I told him that and that's what he came up with.

Hopefully the album's name, WWIII, isn't as prophetic as Attak.

sk: I think that the way we understand World War III is a process that we are already in our necks involved in, but nobody has named it that quite yet.

So a slow buildup instead of an all-at-once thing?

sk: I think of World War III as a sort of war that is not necessarily only fought with bullets and smart bombs, but as a war that is fought on the backs of millions and billions of people in this world whose air quality and water quality and quality of life is being threatened and destroyed slowly by corporate greed and that kind of stuff.┬ Globalization and exploitation of third world, AIDS, the fact that countries in Africa are being left to there own devices where it would be very simple and not even that expensive to help them out a little bit.┬ To prevent their populations from just dying by the millions.┬ That's a form of war, war is definitely a form of violence, and these are forms of violence that are happening all the time all over the place, every second, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it in the western world here.┬ We're all sitting by complacently shoving stuff down our own throats.

Is MDFMK defunct or do you have any plans of working with Tim Skold┬ in the future?

sk: Well, Skold is right now out of reach of anything.┬ He's playing bass and producing with Manson and I guess that really takes up most of his time and energy.

Do you talk with him at all?

sk: I really haven't had a chance to get in touch with him recently.┬ He's been on tour for many months and been really busy.┬ But you know, it's definitely possible, there's always this kind of a revolving door principle in KMFDM.

I believe you've lived in Seattle most of your ten years in the U.S.; what do you like about that city?

sk:┬ Actually, I've spent even time in Chicago and in Seattle and I lived in New York City for about a year and a half or so.┬ What do I like about Seattle? It's a good place for some reason - it has a good vibe to it. I like to be there and work there.┬ I like Chicago a lot too, though.┬ If I could, I would split my time between the two cities, but I'm not that affluent to afford two apartments.

You probably don't have much spare time, since you seem to put out albums quite often, but in your spare time, do you tend to listen to music, and if so, what?

sk: Actually, in my spare time, I usually go outdoors and do things outside and leave the music behind.┬ Music is good, but it's so much a part of my life that sometimes I just need time without music and I just need to listen to the 235hp of my outboard engine.

On tour, do you get tired of┬ playing the older songs┬ or does playing them for the fans still have the same energy as when you played them for the first time?

sk: Well, it's very interesting to re-adapt the older material to the current show and it's really a fun kind of thing.┬ I thought I was going to hate playing Juke-Joint Jezebel 36 times in a row, but I'm actually enjoying it more than I would have ever thought possible.

Do you find the songs reshaping themselves while on tour with different members?

sk: Yeah, they take on a life of their own, it's pretty good.

...and as a cooked chicken on the tour bus called his name, my interview with Sascha came to an end.┬ I had concerns the interview might be difficult, but found Sascha┬ extremely nice and very knowledgeable in the current political scene.┬ Much of what he had to say was┬ to the point and thought provoking, something that often seems missing from many bands.

KMFDM is:

Sascha Konietzko ´┐Ż vocals, keyboards/synths, drums
Raymond Watts ´┐Ż vocals
Lucia Cifarelli ´┐Ż vocals
Bill Rieflin ´┐Ż bass
Joolz Hodgson ´┐Ż guitar
Steve White ´┐Ż guitar
Andy Selway ´┐Ż drums

Lucia - From the Land of Volcanos @ LuciaMusic.com

WWIII Tour Dates:

Friday, October 17th Seattle , WA  The Catwalk ┬  

Saturday, October 18th Boise , ID  Big Easy 

Sunday, October 19th Salt Lake City , UT  Bricks ┬  

Monday, October 20th Denver , CO Ogden Theatre ┬  

Tuesday, October 21st Lawrence , KS  Granada Theatre ┬  

Wednesday, October 22nd St. Louis , MO    Mississippi Nights┬

Thursday, October 23rd  Minneapolis , MN  First Avenue  

Friday, October 24th Milwaukee , WI   The Rave / Eagles Ballroom 

Sunday, October 26th Chicago , IL  House Of Blues ┬  

Monday, October 27th Chicago , IL  House Of Blues ┬  

Tuesday, October 28th Cincinnati , OH   Bogart's ┬  

Wednesday, October 29th Pontiac , MI  Clutch Cargo ┬  

Thursday, October 30th Cleveland , OH  Odeon Concert Club ┬  

Friday, October 31st Rochester , NY   Water Street Music Hall  

Saturday, November 1st Boston , MA  Axis ┬  

Sunday, November 2nd  Providence , RI  Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel ┬  

Monday, November 3rd  New York , NY    Irving Plaza  

Wednesday, November 5th Philadelphia , PA   The Trocadero ┬  

Thursday, November 6th  Washington , DC    9:30 Club ┬  

Friday, November 7th Charlotte , NC   Tremont Music Hall  

Saturday, November 8th  Atlanta , GA  The Masquerade ┬  

Sunday, November 9th Tampa , FL  The Masquerade ┬  

Monday, November 10th Fort Lauderdale , FL  Club Venu ┬  

Wednesday, November 12th New Orleans , LA   Howlin' Wolf ┬  

Thursday, November 13th Houston , TX  Numbers ┬  

Friday, November 14th San Antonio , TX   White Rabbit ┬  

Saturday, November 15th Dallas , TX  Deep Ellum Live ┬  

Sunday, November 16th Tulsa , OK  Cain's Ballroom ┬  

Tuesday, November 18th Tempe , AZ  Marquee Theatre ┬  

Wednesday, November 19th West Hollywood , CA  House Of Blues ┬  

Thursday, November 20th Las Vegas , NV   House Of Blues ┬  

Friday, November 21st Anaheim , CA  House Of Blues ┬  

Saturday, November 22nd San Francisco , CA  Slim's ┬  

Sunday, November 23rd San Francisco , CA  Slim's ┬  

Monday, November 24th Portland , OR Roseland Theater┬

Tuesday, November 25th Seattle , WA  Fenix / Fenix Underground┬


-legion