Interview & Live-Review: KMFDM | Berlin | 11.08.2017 (English Version)

Editor Ginger – with photographer Steph as listener – had a stairwell-interview about dog walking, ultra heavy beats and Vokuhila with none other than Käpt’n K a.k.a. Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM, who stopped by the federal capital city after 5 long years. 

Starting things off with songs from the actual album HELL YEAH (click here for a review – in German), he was naturally accompanied by his adorable and seductive wife Lucia Cifarelli and drummer Andy Selway. Additionally, there were two new faces on the guitars: Chris Harms and Pi Stoffers from the dark rock/metal band Lord Of The Lost

How this all happened, you’ll learn now:

 

*****

Ginger: Describe the sound of KMFDM in 2017.

Sascha: Uhm, what? 2070?

Ginger: 2017!

Sascha: Well, it’s like the painter who has to explain their own picture. It’s a bit hard to say. I haven’t listened to it myself a lot, yet. We rehearsed for 9 days now I think, had one show and it worked out. We’re scraping by and… well, was quite cool. But you’ll see for yourself later, then you can describe it for Yourself.

Ginger: We’ll do that! The supporting bands so far – like FORMALIN tonight – I would assign to Industrial. With regard to the UK and US Tour you take along Lord of the Lost, which is more at home in the metal area. Isn’t that a contradiction? 

Sascha: First things first: I don’t like to think in such categories. I wouldn’t necessarily call KMFDM industrial, but many many years ago we coined the term ultra-heavy beats for us. And as long it is focused on beat, i.e. drums, it can be KMFDM. I wouldn’t make ambient records with the name KMFDM on it.

Well and Lord of the Lost and KMFDM came together because my guitarist in Seattle started to be self-employed with a dog walking business. Someday he said “I can’t stand sound anymore, I want to take dogs for walks.”. After a couple of months he set up everything – trade license and everything – and said that he earns a 1000 bucks per week and no longer has to make music. So I called someone in Hamburg I know, a guitar maker, and I asked him: “Tom, you know all sorts of guitarists, tell me: who is really good?” “Well, Chris Harms of Lord of the Lost.”, he said. Half an hour later I had a phone call with Chris. We met and got along pretty well. So he played 3 or 4 songs from the ROCKS album. And in parallel we worked on the HELL YEAH record together. Chris just played the guitar and things just started converging from there on out. Some day we said „Let’s go on tour.“. He asked “Can we come along?” and I said “Well you are already in, so, yeah! All of you can come with us.”. That’s how it went – completely organic and totally unplanned actually.

Ginger: Have you listened to a song of Lord of the Lost before? Like „Ah, that’s from them“?

Sascha: I heard of them yes, but somehow, well… Someone told me “Lord of the Lost are really awesome”, but because I’m not that much of a music listener, I honestly have to say, I never made an effort to google them or check them out on YouTube. *laughs embarrassed*. Well, and then – when was it – last summer we saw them on a gig in Freiheit Hamburg which was amazing! Then, a few months ago another cool gig somewhere in Hamburg. So we came to the conclusion that we could book tickets now.

Ginger: What would be the worst case for the UK and US Tour? 

Sascha: If one or more of us were injured and we had to cancel the tour.

Ginger: Now a completely different question, away from the topic: What was your worst fashion Faux Pax in history and which ones have you participated with and which ones you didn’t?

Sascha: Fashion Faux Pax *thinks over*… I would say Vokuhila [note: German wording „Vorne kurz hinten lang“ for Mullet] is quite bad. I’ve definitely not done this *laughs*. Is that fashion or kind of hairstyle fashion?

Steph: Hairstyle is fashion, too *giggles*.

Ginger: And which fashion Faux Pax have you participated in?

Sascha: Ahm, when I was about 14, I had really long hair – like down to the butt. I’ve worn bell-bottoms, brown cord trousers with flare, pink velvet pants and golden boots with white laces. Uhm… shall I show you the picture on my driver’s license? Than you’ll know *laughs*.

Ginger: Back to the US Tour: You’ve got a lot German lyrics in your songs, how does the American audience react to this? 

Sascha: They think it’s cool. I mean, in America nearly everybody tells you “I’m also German” or “I’m Swedish” or Scottish, Irish. They think Germany is particularly cool, for them it’s like… “Nazi language”, hard and guttural. They know it from the movies where the bad guys always are German and have a heavy accent. Americans think that’s pretty cool.

Ginger: When will the „KMFDM Kookbook“ be released? You’ve posted some very delicious recipes before. 

Sascha: We have to see about that. First and foremost, we have other things to do and then we’ll see. Our label also owns a book publishing company. Maybe we can talk to them into investing some money… at least for some nicer Pictures.

Ginger: The suitable cooking apron you already have as Merchandise.

Sascha: Yes, we’ll have them with us in America. “Ultra-Heavy Eats“ is written on it.

Ginger: You’ve once made a wonderful cover of „These Boots Are Made For Walking“ – are there plans for some other covers? 

Sascha: Not at the moment. Someday I’ll cover the song „Sugar, Sugar“ from… how were they called?… The Archies *warbles the chorus*

Ginger: Together to the regular albums there are always the remix albums. Will there be one of HELL YEAH, too? 

Sascha: I don’t think so. I rather do a new one altogether. The remix records are something we don’t really want to do by ourselves necessarily. That’s more like the label trying to pile the fire up.

Ginger: But it‘s fun, right? 

Sascha: Remixes? Well, some pieces are fun, some are not. I think most of the remixes from other artists are quite uninspired. The Lord-remix of „Hell Yeah!“ however is really cool. When I listened to it the first time I thought “Who’s singing this?”. They took the 2 or 3 notes I “sung” and… because they are real musicians, not a self-taught like me, they said: „Yeah this fits here, this there“ and the whole thing gets so bombastic and awesome. Really different.

Ginger: Because we had extraordinary jobs before: can you remember your strangest job? 

Sascha: Among others I had two strange jobs. The first was: 4 a.m. in Hamburg I drove an hour out to Tostedt, I picked up rumen from a butcher and cut to pieces in an open Ford Transit. It smelled bestial. And then, around 8:30 to 9 a.m. I appeared in school and my classmates said “Dude, you stink! That’s a no-go!”. Another time I did a job for a friend who asked “I go on holidays, would you wallpaper my flat?”. I urgently needed money so I said “For sure”. I had no idea how to wallpaper.

Yet I did. The whole flat. It was summer and I sweat brutish. Then I thought „Now I open the window and go on the balcony to smoke a cigarette”. I smoked one and heard “schhhhh-schhhhh”… such weird noises. And as I look inside, the whole paper slid off of the wall. I just didn’t know that the windows had to closed when you’re wallpapering. Well… you can open them, but it’ll get shitty. 

I had some other strange jobs, but at the moment it won’t come to my mind… *thinks about it*… Ah yes! Once I waited in a line at the port in Hamburg. In the morning around 4 or 5 you can get jobs there. Unload something or whatever. And a guy approached me like “Hey you are thin”, I said “Yes?!”, “Follow me”. I asked “How much do you give?”, “400”, “400? Cool”. So they put me into a suit, like a diving suit with the same material and send me down on a rope into an oil tanker to clean it of oil residue with a brush. Eventually, my knees started to burn, then my lab and finally somewhere here *points and the middle of his upper body*. I stood in this stuff up to the belly. Well, I got my 400 bucks, took off the suit, just to see my whole body was fire red. The suit had a leak and my skin was totally swollen. I looked like a strawberry, really. Okay, enough of this.

Ginger: How did it happen that you moved back to Hamburg? 

Sascha: It’s my hometown and after nearly 20 years of USA and George Bush I was sick and tired and said “Now let’s go home”. Moreover Lucia was pregnant with our daughter and somehow everything went pretty fast from there. I think within 3 days we made the decision to sell here and move in there.

Ginger: Do you take your daughter with you (on tour)? 

Sascha: She is here. She is always there. After all, I can’t be without her for more than a day anyway. So she always comes along. She learned to walk in the tour bus, certainly toured with us 10 times at the very least. She sound checked the drums earlier – very cool. I think she’ll be at the concert later, too. The girl with the gun muffs.

Ginger: Then I would like to ask the final question – completely obligatory and banal: Your advice to the viewers on the Television?

Sascha: Do people still watch TV? Really? Ehm… wait, we had something: Shut down your television and live!

*****

 

These aptly formulated closing words from Sascha Konietzko we adopted immediately as we approached the stage on the second floor of the Nuke Club which was still shrouded in darkness (and didn’t really get any better later on. A bummer for our photographer) to enjoy two and a half hour of brutal electro-industrial-rock. 

And it happened faster than expected: the supporting band entered the small stage a few minutes before the official start at 8 p.m. and started their show with Salvation after singer Tominous clarified „We are FORMALIN – we’re locals“. The fact that they were known all over town was the ideal warm-up for the headline. The audience grew with every song and submitted more and more to the beats, which Gabor achived out from the keys, with each passing song. Within the song Faker he presented himself  at the guitar to the celebrating audience – also a little universal talent 😉 …

An hour later, when the first notes of D.I.Y. resounded there was hardly a free space on the floor made to accommodate around 250 guests. The KMFDM classic was followed by the title song of the upcoming album which was released on the 18 August: Hell Yeah. In general the set list read like a march through 30 years of music history so there was something for everybody. And even the two unreleased songs Murder My Heart and Glam Glitz Guts & Gore were accepted quickly by the Berliner and incomer audience because the songs contain catchy melodies, in sync with the typical KMFDM sound. And although it was only the second gig together with the scene giants, Chris and Pi did their jobs so well, that even hardcore fans welcomed and celebrated them. Those who were there knows what we mean. Those who weren’t there should get the album which was released last Friday or convince themselves on a live gig of the upcoming UK and US Tour.

 

ROCKS UK TOUR

w/ Inertia & Lord of the Lost

9/5 – Newcastle upon Tyne @ Think Tank?
9/6 – Glasgow @ Saint Luke’s
9/7 – Manchester @ The Ruby Lounge
9/8 – Wolverhampton @ Slade Room
9/9 – London @ O2 Academy Islington
9/10 – Bristol @ The Fleece

HELL YEAH US TOUR

w/ ohGr & Lord of the Lost

10/1 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro (Cold Waves VI Festival)
10/2 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Delmar Hall
10/3 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ The Vogue
10/4 – Cleveland, Ohio @ Agora Ballroom
10/5 – Falls Church, Va. @ The State Theatre
10/6 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Underground Arts
10/7 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
10/8 – Allston (Boston), Mass. @ Brighton Music Hall
10/9 – Baltimore, Md. @ Soundstage
10/11 – Atlanta, Ga. @ The Masquerade – Heaven
10/12 – New Orleans, La. @ House Of Blues
10/13 – Austin, Tex. @ Mohawk
10/14 – Dallas, Tex. @ Gas Monkey Live!
10/15 – Houston, Tex. @ White Oak Music Hall
10/17 – Tucson, Ariz. @ The Rialto Theatre
10/18 – Tempe, Ariz. @ Marquee Theatre
10/19 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Fremont Country Club
10/20 – San Diego, Calif. @ House of Blues
10/21 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Globe Theatre (Cloak & Dagger Festival)
10/22 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Regency Ballroom
10/24 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ Metro Music Hall
10/25 – Denver, Colo. @ Summit Music Hall
10/26 – Omaha, Neb. @ The Waiting Room
10/27 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall
10/28 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ The Rave II

And who knows, maybe we’ll be reporting about an KMFDM gig again in 2070 – of the first cross-generational band. The offspring is already waiting for her chance 😉 …

Setlist FORMALIN: Salvation / Tied And Blinded / Above The Sun / Wipe It Out / End Of All Suffering / Faker / Fallout / Supercluster / Deliverance

Setlist KMFDM: D.I.Y. / Hell Yeah / Freak Flag / Light / Amnesia / RIP The System / Rebels In Kontrol / Total State Machine / Burning Brain / Bumaye / Glam Glitz Guts & Gore / Shock / Virus / Murder My Heart / A Drug Against War / WWlll / Hau Ruck / Godlike

 

Text + Translation: Ginger Chan + Steph Lensky
In
terview: Ginger Chan
P
hotos: Steph Lensky
11.08.2017 KMFDM @ Nuke Club Berlin
 11.08.2017 FORMALIN @ Nuke Club Berlin