KMFDM

(c) Eric Powell (voltlink@aol.com) of 16 Volt


The following is an interview I did with KMFDM in Portland, Oregon for Hypno magazine, the issue should be out soon, probably edited though, so check it out before it's sliced and diced.
Eric: I don't even know if this thing works.

Sascha: Go on.

E: Hopefully, I wrote all these questions down, the memory's gone.

E: So this new album NIHIL marks #33 in your discography?

S: No.

E: No?

S: More like 27.

E: Yeah?

S: Yeah.

E: Are you starting to get bored, or worn out?

S: No. I mean you know everything is different. We are going to start a new album as soon as we have some time, which is going to be quite different.

E: How?

S: Sort of like, the idea, you know you heard that last little bit the sort of secret track at the end of Nihil, that little shit there, much more into that direction i guess. Even though that doesn't really tell you much but, more like fuck, fuck it all you know.

E: A little more noisy, less structure.

S: Yeah a lot more.

E: You guys have been around for almost a decade...

S: 11 years...

E: 11? Do you feel any responsibility for the popularity of quote - unquote industrial music?

S: Um, yeah but I don't feel guilty about it.

E: Well you should!

S: No I mean, the thing is ya know, the question usually asked would be how do we profit from bands like NIN or Ministry making it big. The question should be, how did bands like NIN and Ministry profit from bands like us, that have not given a shit about trends or anything just like stoicly going there own way really. Um I don't. No, I don't really see any parallels between those bands and us. I mean I see parallels between us and completely different bands in a good way. After all a record is just a record. It's just a record. It's nothing but a window that gives the listener a little peek into someone else's world. Its not a manifesto written in stone you know.

E: It seems like KMFDM has come through unscathed by the recent guitar bashing band-wagon, a lot of people are saying guitars are bad.

S: We were unscathed when people were bashing it 10 years ago - when people would just walk out seeing a guitar. E: It seems like a lot of bands are getting a lot of shit for that nowadays.

S: Yeah. So what?

En Esch: You guys want to move to the bus? I mean all of us go to the bus?

S: No, we do our stuff here.

En Esch: So should everyone come here?

S: No you guys do the radio thing on the bus, we do a separate thing here.

En Esch: Yeah but we hang out together. Sound check is supposedly...

S: Now..

En Esch: It's not necessary.

S: Yeah it is.

En Esch: I'm going to the bus.

S: And make fast.

E: What do you think the future of this kind of music is, where do you think it is going to go?

S: Some smart asses are going to say industrial music is dead, at some point sooner or later. But so what, we're not affected, we never claimed to be industrial...

E: I'm just using that word as a metaphore.

S: I know, I know. It's just, you know, it's a system of, an industry that tries to put handles on everything and it stabs them in the end.

E: I know. I agree.

S: What are we supposed to do when MTV tells us industrial music is dead now? What are we all gonna do hang ourselves? It's stupid. It's all so silly. I mean we were invited to this thing in Salt Lake City where they are making this thing of the word alternative, and they bury that word, in a coffin (silence, laughter). Bury it, and they want us to participate in that thing, we are not endorsing that kind of shit. It's shit. We are playing the show because it's a free show and Salt Lake City is a good place to play cause the kids are nuts there. But we don't really do any endorsing of crap.

E: That's like barring the word def.

S: Yeah. Well all these symbolic ritual type events are more or less annoying and in the end are not targetted to anything else but a uniformization of people. I mean if you look at a crowd that comes to a show these days, there is not much of a difference between the crowd and a bunch of bankers on Wall Street. They all look the same in there sort of code kinda outfit. I am not an exception. I'm not saying that. It's just that I look like you would expect me to.

E: People are becoming more open to the sonic beating so to speak with the commercialization of NIN and such. Will KMFDM be affected by this?

S: It's just the monopoly kind of policy does not work. If you know how to do something, why not share it you know? We are on tour with Dink. I mean why not make everything that you have available and accessible to everyone, because it should be.

E: It seems like people are imposing borders that will be hard to cross eventually.

S: Right.

E: I heard that you don't like to tour, is that true?

S: No, we like to tour. Just for the right amounts of time. It looks like we will be touring a lot this year.

E: The longest tour i've been on was for like 1 month.

S: It's pretty tough. I've never done a six month tour. 2 1/2 months.

E: That seems like a perfect amount of time.

S: Yeah, actually i prefer less, a couple of weeks. Then again, it looks like we are going to Europe this summer.

E: Are promoters still trying to get a percent of your merch? Haven't they learned?

S: Still try it.

E: Are you pretty much shutting em down on that?

S: It's a fight everyday.

E: It seems like the scene is confused right now to me.

S: Lets create a new scene!

E: I'm down with that.

E: You were living in Seattle, now your back to Chicago. Why did you go to Seattle?

S: Something new. It's beautiful, but it's no place to work. It's not happening.

E: Tell me about it, Portland is worse.

S: I heard you guys do good here.

E: We do ok, like 400 under agers, like 100 over agers.

E: What is KMFDM to you?

S: It's my day to day life obsession. It's a vent. It's a possibility to express things. It's a burden in a lot of respects because people want to know so much about what's behind the whole thing. It gets to a point where they want to know what you eat.

E: I will have some questions like that in a few minutes, will you answer them?

S: The only thing if I answer those questions is that it contributes to the stereotype that people have anyway of anyone that could possibly be doing what I am doing. So of course, the media is quick though.
My favorite color is black. I have like 5000 square feet painted black.

E: In your house?

S: Yeah. Like 5000 square feet. That's like the size of fuckin three family homes.

E: Beautiful man. I spend a lot of time on the net and I think if I could be the devils advocate for these people, the question would be why Dink?

S: Why not?

E: They seem to be getting allot of criticism.

S: For what?

E: For being a major label band.

S: They are really nice guys. It came to a point about a year ago where I said I don't want to have anything to do with conducting the tour and picking the support act.

E: So are you trying to stray away from the stereo typical industrial thing?

S: No I'm not trying to stray away from anything, except I'm just not part of something else I don't want to be part of. You know we are not an aspiring band. We don't look for money or success. We want to be the way we always have been, very self reliant, independent. I think it's time for us really to go now because I think we have done pretty much sculpted out the possibilities and it doesn't seem to apply to us, and it doesn't seem to interesting the first step was for us to. If it were in a statement it would say how far can you push it, how big can you get and still kick the doors in. So I think that point is really near right now. I felt it coming after Angst and I was not sure about Nihil. But Nihil for me is like the crown. For me it's constant foreplay - it's like 50 minutes of foreplay. It never resolves into anything, which is really good. It leaves the listener excited, but cold. I think KMFDM in its current form has got to go. We have to do something different. The mainstream is here now. We are just about to become mainstream, and that's what needs to be prevented. So it's a refuse and resist kind of thing.

E: Which brings me to this, I know you've had offers from majors, yet you have remained loyal to Wax Trax.

S: Well it is just honest, loyal. I mean I am best friends with Jimmy Denny and at the time that Wax Trax went Bankrupt I couldn't really get used to the thought of having to find myself another label and I was not ready to start my own record company, so I just said you know, instead of giving up let's keep going, get Wax Trax back up, with a commitment from us it should not be a problem. And it worked.

E: So it seems that your career has been full of luck.

S: Well it's been lucky on one hand. We've been the guinea pigs for everyone else at all times. No one ever knew what to do with it. Everybody always thought we had to push it. Right now it's more like a case of we have to put the brakes on to not be marketed in a stupid fashion. I don't want to be marketed to all these mechanisms like alternative radio, metal radio. I'm not interested in that. I don't want to be a part of that. I'm not going to make the monkey for the institution.

E: Do you see KMFDM becoming more of a band project?

S: No, even though the poster for this tour creates the illusion of the band scenario, it's totally not. There is al ot of changes already coming across, like Raymond Watts is back in the band, Mark Durante is sort of out of the band. We'll see, thing is somehow we never reach a plateau, and I think that's good even though sometimes it's desirable to feel like we've accomplished something. We can sit back now and just rest a little while, we could never do that. I guess it's just the way it is.

E: Fav color?

S: Black.

E: Fav food? group or item.

S: My favorite food is sushi, sashimi.

E: So are you a vegetarian?

S: Fuck no, I hate vegetables.

E: I like salad, Japanese stuff, Mediterranean kitchen cuisine such as you know a lot of garlic, olive oil, chicken, fish, clams, all that shit, in a casserole.

E: I like Italian.

S: Italian is good but I am more into Spanish, not Mexican, southern France Spanish.

E: Fav place?

S: Fav place?

E: Doesn't necessarily have to be a physical location.

S: I don't know, I'm still looking for my favorite place.

E: Do you drive a car?

S: I drive a van. I used to have a really nice 4-wheel drive thing but now I live in a shitty neighborhood so i have a really shitty van.

E: Where were you born?

S: Hamburg Germany.

E: Age?

S: 33.

E: This is Teen Beat!

S: i am 33.

E: Fav Movie?

S: Stalker

E: Stalker?

S: It's by this Russian guy. A Russian foreign film about 4 hours long about this area somewhere called the zone. And in that zone it's not normal but it's not clear what's not normal about it. And there is three guys who want to go to the zone but they need a guide but the guide is a stalker. It's really eerie, it's great.

E: Book?

S: Hard to say, (pauses, silence) I can't say my favorite book.

E: Are you multi media guy, or a reader?

S: A reader.

E: Favorite band?

S: KMFDM.

E: That's a p.c. answer

S: I mean it.

E: Have you ever considered taking out the normal elements of your shows and just doing something totally different, sort of reminiscent of the vacuum cleaner days?

S: Next time.


(c) 1995 Eric Powell
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Cheese (cheese@poetic.com)