Aaahh, Disneyland...what a setting for a serious chat with the boys of KMFDM. Well not exactly serious. Shall I say creative and very informative. Finding time to kindly wave among the passengers of the moneral, Sascha, Raymond and Bill explained some thoughts some may or may not actually know or even knew was an option. Let’s let the words speak for themselves.
Laura – We understand that Sascha and Skold did a little bit of producing for Peter Murphy and we just wanted to ask, do you find it interesting to do other people’s music and how do you feel about remixing other people’s music?
Sascha – Well, it wasn’t a little bit. We actually produced the whole ‘Recall’ EP and it was not just Tim and I, it was also Bill Rieflin. The three of us were the production team for it. We had a week’s time to do the production and within six days with Peter in the studio, we just did the whole thing. The second part of the question, yeah, it’s very interesting to work with other people, because it’s kind of like… we get a free ride education. Someone pays for the value of your time and could put you in a room and do your stuff and learn all of your skills and that kind of stuff. Plus, there’s always new and interesting collaborations spawning from these types of things. So, Peter in return for our work, he sang on a track off of the ‘Adios’ album which is still unreleased, but it will come out at some point. It’s a Peter Murphy version of Today and it’s Fuckin’ phenomenal. So that was very nice in exchange.
Laura – Did you start working on the ‘Adios’ album before you started working on ‘Attak’?
Sascha – Oh yeah, of course. I mean, ‘Adios’ was done in ’98.
Laura – That was supposed to be the last album, right?
Sascha – Yes, it was at least the last Album of WaxTrax at the time and it was made in ’98 and came out in ’99 and TVT was holding it back for reasons unknown to us. ‘Attak’ was begun in early 2001.
Laura – Will you be recording anything more with MDFMK?
Sascha – Very possible, I mean MDFMK, KMFDM is practically the same band. At the time, MDFMK was intended on being a departure from KMFDM, but now that we’re back, we could flip flop every night if we wanted to.
Laura – What we have asked, because of the industrial scene and what we’ve noticed is that industrial music does not get much air play or a lot of recognition as such as other mainstream music does. Do you feel that being labeled Industrial-Gothic music in America, does that limit you to a wider fan base?
Sascha – Well it does, but it’s nothing that we choose, nor is there anything we can do about it, because no matter how many times we say KMFDM really isn’t Industrial by definition, it doesn’t matter, it’s…
Raymond – It is a ridiculous phrase, “Industrial”. It’s basically a lazy term. I don’t mind if people label a band, but I just think it’s a lazy term.
Laura – Actually, what we understand is that a lot of people that you’re in presence with now, they describe what they are hearing, rather than putting a label on it. It’s easier to get the word out, than explain it.
Raymond – It’s like ‘Yohoho’ on the new album as an Industrial song. To me, that’s kind of like a Blues song. Sorry, I don’t really understand the Industrial stuff.
Sascha – KMFDM was introduced in 1984. The first poster we made for the very first show said, “Ultra Heavy Beat”. What could be nicer than and ultra heavy beat? That’s been our term for what we do.
Raymond – That’s much more, kind of, descriptive isn’t it?
Laura – That’s what we want to hear. We want to hear your take on it, because this is what we want to add in the magazine.
Raymond – The music speaks for itself, I mean why do you have to explain the music? If you listen to the words, why does it have to be explained when it is self explanatory?
Sascha – It is futile to even go much into detail about it, because that’s the way it is. People need to label stuff and I don’t really care.
Laura – Is the line-up for ‘Attak’ different from your other albums?
Sascha – Slightly different, yeah. I mean, it’s always different. The line-up changed on every album so far. There’s always people that come and go and have other stuff to do. Often times, someone is not available to work on something, because they have other commitments, like for example, Tim Skold right now is producing Manson’s album and cannot be on tour with us. It just extended into this area. People are always worried because they see someone depart for one album, but they always kind of come back. Raymond has been with us for eighteen years in KMFDM. He has partaken in many albums, but not all of them.
Raymond – We’ve worked together on other projects as well. The idea of a band, don’t take this the wrong way, reminds me of kids in a little gang. It’s really nice to have a situation where you kind of float around, like do some stuff with these guys, he does some work with other people. It’s really refreshing to work with other people.
Laura – Well, that’s what creative people do. You keep moving and keep flowing and then you can use a little of what you were doing there for a little of what you’re doing here.
Raymond – With KMFDM, with Sascha, he’s always been the absolute pillar, right down the middle and he’s always there and there is that consistency, given the albums have different sounds, but still consistency, because he’s holding it together.
Sascha – You see, Bill will play bass tonight and he will interpret all the bass lines on all the songs that were ever played. You know, I’m singing songs that Raymond would sing at some point, or Tim, you know…
Raymond – That makes it more interesting, you’re getting somebody doing it slightly different, kind of like interpretation, you know. We’ve got these guys from ‘Pig’, it makes it interesting, because I am in a band called ‘Pig’ that Sascha’s produced and worked with. We’re so kind of closely linked.
Sascha – It would be extremely boring having a band with always the same bass player, always the same drummer. You get a dynamic that’s really stifling. That’s just the nature of bands. KMFDM was actually founded to not be a band, but to have a project to make music that we wished to hear, so to speak. Back in 1984, there was an extremely boring phase. It was like, Soft Synth-Pop stuff. Kind of VNV Nation, kind of Depeche Mode. So we wanted to make stuff that was different and like free. Not binding, not limiting, not even serious.
Raymond – When we did that first album. I can’t even remember of it being serious it was us just goofing off. We were just doing the stuff that we wanted to do for fun.
Bill – I knew when I was 12 years old what I would be doing.
Raymond – You did?
Bill – Yeah, it was very clear.
Raymond – Completely opposite for me, because I came from like suburbia, no-where’s ville. You just want to like escape from that. It made me just want to be in a punk rock band.
Laura – People say that ‘Adios’ was to be the last album, but then you came out with ‘Attak’. Could you explain that?
Bill – Well, at the time, it was.
Sascha – The situation in 1998 was this. We had just come from extensive touring in ’97 and there was one more commitment or obligation to be fulfilled by us to our label. That was to make one more record on WaxTrax. Then after that, our contract is done, over, we had done our work. So we did this record and then it was like, “Okay. So we’re ready. We’ve done it. Let’s look at what can we do next? Do we want to continue as KMFDM?” It didn’t really feel like to say yes. It was a bunch of difficulties, it was a bunch of ‘tug-o-wars’. I said, “Fuck it”. Why would I do something that was not really pleasant at this point to think about doing. Let’s do something else instead. So I said this is the last one titled, ‘Adios’. Basically until further notice. KMFDM left the building. Not more or not less. That’s really what it was. Then three years later the prospect was different. Time heals a lot. It felt right to be back as KMFDM with ‘Attak’. We could have simply named ‘Attak’ as another MDFMK album, but it really wasn’t because MDFMK was a more minimalist approach. It was only three people. Tim Skold, Lucia and I exclusively. There was no one else on that album. But now in the fold are like, Bill and Raymond and that makes it automatically more like KMFDM than MDFMK, because for all we know, that’s what KMFDM is all about.
Bill – The music itself also has a determining character. For instance, I was in a group that made a lot of music and a lot of the music had different characteristics and so it was all eventually released under different names, you know, that happens. You’re writing different songs and certain songs have a flavor. Well this flavor goes together, this flavor’s different. It doesn’t maybe quite fit right, because you can’t put curry in a sage pasta dish. The point is that the music itself determines what happens with it. He makes a track and it’s agreat track, but it doesn’t belong on the ‘Attak’ record. And it shows up somewhere else. You make a record and say, “Oh, that sounds like KMFDM so…” The essence of collaboration is that the result is something neither party would have come up with on their own singly.
Samuel – It’s kind of like Skinny Puppy, ohGr and Cevin Key.
Bill – Right.
Samuel – They all have their own bands and such.
Bill – And it isn’t Skinny Puppy, but it’s still the same guys, but it isn’t Skinny Puppy.
Conducted by Laura DeFelice & Samuel Gibson. Photos by Brent Peters copyright 2002, plug-media.net