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Interview: KMFDM

By: Regen Robinson

For nearly thirty years, the industrial group KMFDM has been leading the scene with their art war against the establishment. They have branded their own self-coined “ultra heavy beat” music. HEAR Magazine caught up with KMFDM’s front man and founder, Sascha Konietzko, in Germany, as he prepares for both their 30th anniversary and North American tour in support of their upcoming album.

The albums WWIII and OPIUM are also being re-released by Metropolis records, which is almost a time capsule look back at how the group has evolved. We asked Sascha about the gradual changes in their music over the past thirty years and he stated, “Well it has evolved quite a bit. It went from a complete garage underground bunker-type mentality band to one of the last standing names from the 80’s that is still going strong today. It’s an achievement in a way. It can only be achieved by evolving and rotating certain things around you and you know, just sort of jumping over your shadow all the time.”

From their beginning KMFDM has been highly political, with lyrics against war and oppression. When asked if any current events were inspiring him, Sascha said, “Of course, I mean KMFDM is always very reflective of the political goings on at any given time, and these times are not any less political than others. We just had a big election here in Germany two days ago that produced an unexpected and

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unprecedented outcome; so yeah, all that turns into lyrics at some point.”

While KMFDM is regarded as pretty much the gold standard of industrial music, they receive, even by underground standards, minimal mainstream media recognition. On why he thought this was and if it was at all intentional, Sascha stated, “Well it’s half and half. It has to do with the fact that KMFDM was initially blamed to have been a major influence on the killers in the Columbine Massacre. So that’s when every DJ that knew about KMFDM was like ‘uh oh better get my hands off that shit.’ Everyone that wanted to keep their good name stopped playing us.  Fact is one of the killers in the school was found wearing a KMFDM hat. And his website was full of one-liners from all kinds of KMFDM songs made into some screwed-up manifesto of sorts. That’s when everybody who wanted to keep their good standing would disassociate from KMFDM.”

When asked about memories from playing in Detroit, Sascha kind of laughed and expressed that, “Many times, many times we have played at what is it called? One of the oldest rock and roll venues…Harpo’s?  And seeing that place go down to the point you could only get patrons in with like…armed guards!”

For a show that’s not to be missed, you can catch KMFDM on their second North American tour October 26th at the Magic Stick.

For more information on KMFDM, see their official website at: www.kmfdm.net and/or www.facebook.com/officialkmfdm and/or www.twitter.com/kmfdmofficial.

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