The Ultra Heavy Beat
September 20, 2014 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Legendary industrial music pioneers, KMFDM's 30th anniversary this year, saw the release of a live album and tour called "WE ARE". Sascha Konietzko took some time to provide insights about his friendship with Ministry's Al Jourgensen as well as the last thirty years, and his philosophy on making music.

KMFDM stands for Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, a slight mistranslation of the German phrase "No Pity for the Majority" or "No Mercy for the Masses". Sascha put the name together by taking word clippings from the newspaper and moving them around until he found something he liked.

Other Members:
Over the last three decades, KMDFM has included more than a few amazing musicians including Tim Sköld (Sköld), En Esch (Pigface), Raymond Watts (P.I.G.), and Lucia Cifarelli (their amazing female vocalist and Sascha's wife) to name a few.


Singles: Some of their best, and best known songs
Juke Joint Jezebel
A Drug Against War (a personal favorite)
Power
Trust
Light
Krank
Waste
Kunst (Wherein they play with one of the names which people over the years have speculated that K.M.F.D.M. stood for: "Kill MotherFuckin' Depeche Mode")

While their stated position is "KMFDM are an art form—not a political party. From the beginning, our music has been a statement against war, oppression, fascism and violence against others..." They have occasionally taken a social stance with tracks like "WWIII", "Pussy Riot", and "A Drug Against Wall Street".

They have eightteen studio releases;
Opium (1984)
What Do You Know, Deutschland? (1986)
Don't Blow Your Top (1988)
UAIOE (1989)
Naïve (1990)
Money (1992)
Angst (1993)
Nihil (1995)
Xtort (1996)
Symbols (1997)
Adios (1999)

In the wake of the Columbine massacre, for which the band was implicated by association, the group disbanded and reformed as MDFMK (another favorite)

Attak (2002)
WWIII (2003)
Hau Ruck (2005)
Tohuvabohu (2007)
Blitz (2009)
WTF?! (2011)
Kunst (2013)

With a new album, Our Time Will Come, due out in October of this year.

Trivia:
- The vast majority of the artwork found on their albums, videos, and posters is created by Aidan "Brute!" Hughes, whose imagery and iconography have become emblematic of the band.

- Nearly every album title in the bands discography uses a five letter (or character) name.

- Of the bands first performances "...consisted of (Udo) Sturm playing an ARP 2600 synthesizer, Konietzko playing vacuum cleaners and bass guitars with their amplifiers spread throughout the building, and four Polish coal miners (whom Konietzko had met at a bordello) pounding on the foundations of the Grand Palais."
posted by quin (35 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
> KMFDM stands for Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid

This is the first time I saw it asserted as being anything other than "Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode".
posted by ardgedee at 1:11 PM on September 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


Confession: I am a big KMFDM fan, although their strange lack of Scottish tour dates means I've never seen them live. (Favourite albums: Money and Symbols. To which more than one novel has been written ...)
posted by cstross at 1:18 PM on September 20, 2014 [13 favorites]


This is the first time I saw it asserted as being anything other than "Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode".

Kylie Minogue Fans Don't Masturbate
posted by acb at 1:29 PM on September 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Big fan here too! Got to see them last year for a Halloween show at the Webster Theater, a small venue in Hartford, CT. Very fun and intimate show. There's probably some pictures Lucia took of the audience from the stage floating around somewhere.

KMFDM doesn't make apologies for their music - they found a formula that worked and stuck with it. Quality German engineering and all that :) Thanks for the blue post, good to see (and glad there's a new album coming along).
posted by reptile at 1:32 PM on September 20, 2014


KMFDM was the first concert my mom ever let me go to by myself. I was 13 years old and she drove me to Elgin, IL, to see them at some shabby mid-sized venue on the Naive tour in 1990. I'll never forget her pulling up to the curb and asking the pierced and tattooed bouncers if I'd be OK in there on my own. It was my first of many, many industrial mosh pits of my adolescence, and I still remember bald-headed En Esch wearing a skirt and dancing around onstage. I bought a T-shirt with the Naive cover on the front and "DIE NOW - LIVE LATER" emblazoned on the back, and wore it to school constantly. RIP Mom. You were the best mom!
posted by mykescipark at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2014 [18 favorites]


My memory is fuzzy but the think they actually played the University of Waterloo student bar in the 90's.
posted by GuyZero at 1:45 PM on September 20, 2014


Holy crap, they did!

I think it was a good show.
posted by GuyZero at 1:46 PM on September 20, 2014


I love KMFDM. Saw a great show of theirs at the late lamented Hammerjack's in Baltimore. I was in the pit, got delightfully bruised up, and wound up dripping with both my own sweat and everyone else's. I think Ray Watts set a T-shirt on fire during that show.
posted by rednikki at 2:15 PM on September 20, 2014


Also, the song "Don't Blow Your Top" is one of my favorites. Clearly I need to go back and buy some of the recent albums I missed!
posted by rednikki at 2:16 PM on September 20, 2014


XTORT and Symbols are fairly different albums but they're two of my very favorites. They've fallen off in quality IMO since reforming; ATTAK was solid, and Tohuvabohu was alright, but their work's been samey and unevolving since. I hope they can recapture some of what was driving them creatively in the 90's- maybe bringing back Watts and En Esch (who just finished a solo album that as far as I can tell was only released to backers on pledgemusic) would be a good step.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:29 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Related...

Bill Rieflin (also of Ministry) did a road-stint with KMFDM on bass. He's on the road with the latest King Crimson incarnation right now - drumming on the front line with both Pat Mastelleto (Mister Mister, KC, Stick men...) and Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree). Reviews are impressive.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:13 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nice post!

What song of theirs goes, "...I made a god out of blood..."? Probably my favorite track of theirs.
posted by Renoroc at 3:53 PM on September 20, 2014


The short stint as MDFMK is my favourite and torpedoes is the best song on an album where every song is great.

What song of theirs goes, "...I made a god out of blood..

That's Anarchy.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:01 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


My band was fortunate enough to open for KMFDM in Nottingham last year. They're a great bunch of people, and they put on one hell of a show. Damned if I've ever encountered a drummer who took such a big chunk of the soundcheck time to perfect his kickdrum sound though!
posted by Bodd at 4:29 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Plug KMFDM into a Pandora channel, enjoy.
posted by The Power Nap at 5:10 PM on September 20, 2014


This is the first time I saw it asserted as being anything other than "Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode".

It's something you learn when you seek them out and listen to them. I was turnt during the reign of Nihil while waiting for another NIN release. It's not so much an assertion as basic band bio stuff, with the "kill" version being an anti shibboleth that flags the out group.
posted by aydeejones at 5:16 PM on September 20, 2014


Also if you like Anarchy that pretty much means you like Skold and you will probably like his solo stuff and all of his work on the Adiós album. Adiós and the Symbol albums were pretty similar with adiós being more triumphant sounding, as metal heads might say...
posted by aydeejones at 5:18 PM on September 20, 2014


Bodd: "My band was fortunate enough to open for KMFDM in Nottingham last year. They're a great bunch of people, and they put on one hell of a show. Damned if I've ever encountered a drummer who took such a big chunk of the soundcheck time to perfect his kickdrum sound though!"

Oh man, Sheep on Drugs are still around?
posted by boo_radley at 5:19 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


And my phone is adding the accent marks, I don't think KMFDM spells adiós in español
posted by aydeejones at 5:21 PM on September 20, 2014


that pretty much means you like Skold and you will probably like his solo stuff

Skold is fantastic. He's actually one of my favorite parts of KMFDM, and this post was in no small part to get his name out there as well.

His early stuff under Shotgun Messiah, is a fairly mixed bag of hair metal and industrial, but one of their last albums, Violent New Breed, which in addition to having one of my favorite titles ever, produced two of the greatest songs of all time. PAMF and Side F/X.

His solo stuff, is all good, but I'd particularly encourage you to seek out the unreleased Dead God demo (A lot more great stuff than just the title track too.), and Anomie which is just all amazingly good.

And then, obviously his works with KMFDM which are untouchable. Particularly a weird little album they released called Skold vs KMFDM which really has a lot of excellent stuff.
posted by quin at 5:48 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh man, Sheep on Drugs are still around?

50% of the original line-up. I met Lee on the way from the dressing room to the stage during load-in, and his first words to me were "Hey man, know where I can get some weed?" Still living up to the legend.
posted by Bodd at 5:54 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was piqued by Angst, but Tower Records only had Money on cassette so I bought that instead, and found myself a much bigger fan of pre-guitar industrial like Ministry’s Twitch, Frontline Assembly’s Tactical Neural Implant, and all of Skinny Puppy’s mid/late 1980s work.
posted by migurski at 6:02 PM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't have much to add to this except that their cover of Material Girl kills me every time.
posted by mordax at 6:04 PM on September 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


When I'm in the mood, there's no better combo than Meatbeat Manifesto's Subliminal Sandwich, KMFDM's Symbols, and Ministry's Psalm 69.
posted by dr_dank at 8:01 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tactical Neural Implant is one of civilization's great accomplishments.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:45 PM on September 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I saw KMFDM in Portland.... around 4 years ago? It was a last minute sort of thing, "hey KMFDM is in town" and while the venue wasn't really near sold out, I remember that the sound was good and they were really tight live. One of the better shows I've seen.
posted by chimaera at 8:59 PM on September 20, 2014


I saw KMFDM last year in Pittsburgh at Mr. Small's and damm, it was a kickass show. I hadn't seen them since the 90's and it really took me back. (I think that show was at the late, great Metropol.) I wore out more than one cassette copy of Money and Angst.

I agree with Pope Guilty that they were a little formulaic over the years, but c'mon, it's KMFDM...add in some Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Sister Machine Gun, NIN, and their ilk and you've got half the soundtrack of my adolescence and early college years. (Okay and sometimes my current middle-aged old fogey years, not gonna lie.)
posted by cardinality at 11:02 PM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I actually got turned on to KMFDM through the old scary devil monastry in the late nineties -- can't be a sysadmin without having some sort of obscure industrial as your soundtrack.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:05 AM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow, thanks for the great FPP.

My dad likes KMFDM, so I more or less grew up with Money, UAIOE, and Don't Blow Your Top in the household music rotation. When I was 16 or so he took my brother and me to a concert in NYC (of course I can't recall the venue now). I remember it being loud and fun. Haven't listened to them in a while... guess it's time to break out that part of my collection again.
posted by spitefulcrow at 6:09 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


My band was fortunate enough to open for KMFDM

Ha. I think I saw you guys in a Dallas sometime in 1993, right around when Motorbike came out. I seem to remember it being a tiny venue with a handful of folks milling around.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:08 AM on September 21, 2014


I think I first started listening to KMFDM after picking up the new Vogue single on a whim as a kid. This is one of those bizarre bands which somehow manages to establish something truly great and keep it going year after year. Through all the changes over the years they're still unmistakably KMFDM and, as indicated in the interview, this is testament to Sascha's talent and overall integrity.
posted by aletheia at 7:52 AM on September 21, 2014


> My dad likes KMFDM

augh I'm so old
posted by contraption at 9:17 AM on September 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


another fun offshoot of KMFDM's is Slick Idiot. I got to see them a few years back in a tiny underground club here in Toronto, and they were just fantastic.

amazing post, thanks!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:27 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love KMFDM. I always recommend the Sturm & Drang Tour 2002 live album, which includes lots of collaboration with PIG and opens with an epic version of "D.I.Y.".
posted by neushoorn at 1:31 AM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


My favorite lets-get-this-party-started song is KMFDM's Megalomaniac. I saw them on their last anniversary tour seems to me with DJ? Acucrack... time flies.
posted by koucha at 7:30 AM on September 22, 2014


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