KMFDM are the German “ultra-heavy beat” band first formed in 1984 as a performance art project. Still based in Hamburg, the group now includes founder Sascha Konietzko and his wife, American singer Lucia Cifarelli (formerly of Drill). Be sure to check out their latest LP ‘Paradise’ out now via Metropolis Records after you read this interview filled with ultra-heavy answers
To those who haven’t caught up with your most recent releases, how would you describe the vibe you achieved on the ‘Paradise‘ album? What’s the general zeitgeist of the LP?
Sascha: It would be counterproductive for me to explain our music to potential listeners, thus taking away the entire experience from them. Everybody who’s interested in what we do should get a chance to make up their own mind before it gets pre-digested for them. But I guess that’s a sign of these times that people’s attention span has gone way down. Generally speaking, however, each album is like a snapshot in a family photo album, a unique product of its’ time.
Using the track ‘Paradise’ – your longest off the LP – as an example, what’s been the average way of constructing a song 35 years in?
Sascha: What does the length of one particular song have to do with having created songs for the past 35+ years? You’re being cheeky, right? I like that; But to the point: there’s no “average” way. There’s also not an average way to look at children, they’re all different somehow, aren’t they though? A song may start by a dream, by a line in a book, a newspaper, a song. A walk in the woods, a meal with friends, a play on words. It’s always different.
The cover art for your latest LP has stayed consistent to KMFDM’s aesthetic, could you talk a little on this cover and your collaboration with the artist behind it?
Sascha: The cover art is our aesthetic, it’s like a brand name, it’s easily recognizable and distinguished. It’s KMFDM face plate. The artist BRUTE has been working with KMFDM since 1987, with a few exceptions, for instance the cover art to ‘Nihil‘.
Describe the following songs in five words or less: ‘Piggy’?
Lucia: Filthy rich men
‘Binge Boil & Blow’?
Sascha: Spontaneous. Collaboration. Dangerous.
‘Oh My Goth’?
Lucia: Sirenum scopuli.
It seems that every day a new way we’re being manipulated by corporate interest and the political discourse is brought to mainstream attention, are there any speeches or events that have happened over the past few months you wish you were able to sample/expound upon for ‘Paradise’? Or do you have any samples already in mind for the next album?
Sascha: Have not thought about a new album yet. Sampling isn’t all that important to me anymore. But once we begin to focus on another album things will fall into place, as they always do. The process starts slow but over time becomes a runaway train.
How have live audiences changed over the past 35 years, if at all?
Sascha: Many of them have kept up with us, but there’s always been a steady influx of young blood, teenagers discovering the Ultra-Heavy Beat. It’s quite rewarding to play in front of audiences spanning three generations.
Are there any tracks off ‘Paradise‘ that you particularly enjoyed (over others) to perform live?
Sascha: We haven’t played a single song off of ‘Paradise‘ live at this point in time.
In a similar line of questioning: you were just on tour across the US and Europe in coincidence with ‘Paradise‘, and I’m sure you’ve played most of the cities before, but was there any tourist-y or obscure places you visited ahead of or after a gig that peaked your interest this time around?
Sascha: We haven’t played a live show since 2017, almost to this day that year, October 29, 2017.
Having such an extensive catalog by now, are there certain tracks you haven’t revisited that you would like to in the future?
Sascha: We revisit older material each time we’re touring.
Are there any newer industrial artists that you’ve taken a liking to? What/who has been on your radar lately?
Sascha: We’re not considering ourselves “industrial” and I pay very little attention to the music scene in general.
Best Throbbing Gristle song? Album?
Sascha: Never been a fan.
As one of the forerunners of industrial, and the ultimate ultra-heavy beat band, I must ask this “versus” question: Nine Inch Nails or Ministry?
Sascha : Ministry, by a very long shot.
What’s up the pipeline for KMFDM? What can fans expect within the next year?
Sascha: touring across the US and Europe with ‘Paradise‘.