At your granny’s 5 o’clock tea party!
23 June 2017 will see KMFDM release YEAH!, a 5-track EP of brand-new songs, remixes and edits to be followed by the band’s new studio album in August and a UK tour in September. Ahead of all that, mainman Sascha took time out to speak with MR’s Jason Guest about the EP, the band, its history, and the probably-published-sometime-this-decade biography of the band…
UK Tour Dates 2017:
- 5 September 2017 Newcastle – Think Thank
- 6 September 2017 Glasgow – St. Lukes
- 7 September 2017 Manchester – Ruby Lounge
- 8 September 2017 Birmingham – O2 Institute
- 9 September 2017 London – O2 Academy Islington
- 10 September 2017 Bristol – Fleece
Hi Sascha. Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview.
Hi Jason. Alright, let’s have a go then!
The upcoming EP YEAH! features two new songs, ‘Hell Yeah’ and ‘Freak Flag’. Can you tell us about this new material, the sound, its themes and inspirations?
HELL YEAH and FREAK FLAG are two songs from the forthcoming new album by KMFDM. One is somewhat classical KMFDM-sounding, the other a bit of a departure from treaded grounds as it is quite dance-floorish and tricked out. FREAK FLAG is all about individuality and freak-pride ;-), HELL YEAH is sort of a blend of Metal and House with tongue firmly in cheek.
There will also be a remix of ‘Hell Yeah’ by German rock band Lord Of The Lost. Why choose this band? And what can we expect of their remix?
Two members of LOTL are rounding out the live line-up of KMFDM this time around, lead-singer Chris Harms and I have been working together on the new album for the past year, both bands are working in the same studio with the same engineer Benjamin Lawrenz, and last but not least, Lord Of The Lost will be touring with and opening up for KMFDM during our UK and US tours this year.
In recent times I’ve hadn’t heard too many good remixes that people released, it more or less felt like re-hashing stuff simply to have a reason for putting out more drivel. The remix that LOTL did for KMFDM is truly a remix in the best possible sense of the term. It completely re-addresses the song, the feeling of it and gives it a whole new dimension, turning a somewhat linear and straightforward track into an epic musically way more complex structure.
For the EP, you’ve also revisited 2002’s ATTAK/RELOAD for a remixed version entitled ‘Attak 2017’. Why choose this song?
It’s not uncommon for KMFDM to sometimes revisit an older song and give it a new twist, we’ve done GODLIKE 2010, LIGHT 2010 and some others. ATTAK is a tune we’ve been playing frequently during live shows over the years and it felt just right to change it up quite a bit. We hadn’t released an album in nearly three years, since the fall of 2014, so ATTAK describes a bit our mind set, revving it up a notch, after all 2017 is the year of KMFDM ;-)
KMFDM has been around since 1984, gone through a few line-up changes, had numerous guest musicians, and has undergone many changes and transitions during that time. Your upcoming album will be your twentieth. After so many releases, how do you keep it fresh for yourself? And how do you avoid re-treading old ground?
The way I personally look at it is that I make this stuff that is KMFDM for my own entertainment, I enjoy it thoroughly and it’s my way of life and besides that, making a living. As soon as an album is finished, I turn around and start another one, I never run out of ideas and concepts. There’s a certain continuity underlying, sort of like someone’s identifiable handwriting that fans of KMFDM appreciate so a fine balance between not too much of a departure, yet constantly offering new angles must be maintained.
How has the band evolved during these past 33 years?
How has it not? 33 years are a long time in human perspective at least. I mean back in the beginning we worked with equipment that you’ll find in a museum today, our outlook, our world-views, everything was quite different. An album would be recorded in a matter of days, there was no money to spend on studio time, we were completely unknown and had to invent something, a style, a name, a fan base, fame and fortune so to speak…
How does the KMFDM of today compare to the band of the early days?
I am still the guy behind the wheel, self-deprecating as ever, not taking what we do too seriously, though being quite serious at doing it, other than that I don’t see much comparison at all.
Other than music, are there any other influences for KMFDM and its music?
Practically everything in everyday life can be an influence or an inspiration, as are movies, art and literature. But I think influences are not working in too direct a way, it’s rather that one mulls things over and digests them, that’s when they finally find their way into your actual output.
How does KMFDM approach composition?
That’s not an easy one to answer. There isn’t much of an approach but I know once an ‘arrival’ has occurred in the sense of I tinker around with a sound, a rhythm or a noise of sorts, one thing leads to the next and suddenly a structure begins to form and something emerges, that what I mean with ‘arrival’. Once some of these have happened I pass them on to Lucia and she begins her work on some of them, shaping them into actual songs.
What does the act of making music mean to KMFDM?
It’s what we’re good at, what we like to do with our time on earth I guess. One of the most rewarding aspects is the fact that so many people come to us saying in so many different phrasings: your music means so much to me, has helped me through this or that time of my life, and such things. It’s really touching and inspiring too.
What, if anything, are you looking to capture when making music for KMFDM?
Like I described a moment ago, it’s capturing some small moments, when the proverbial “genius strikes’, although I don’t think of it as genius, but just capturing the essential spark or whatever that can turn into something bigger, better.
What stage are you at with the KMFDM biography?
Haha, still writing it! Been so damn busy making the new album and just doing stuff.
In terms of artwork, appearance, and on stage, KMFDM are a very visual band. What format will the book take?
It might be a two-format type of thing, of course there’s the possibility to make that flashy coffee table book with all the BRUTE! Art in big beautiful reprints, and/or the grimy pulp paperback you read on the subway about all of the shenanigans and weird exploits of KMFDM over the past three decades +.
Any idea of when it will be published?
When it’s finally done, but I feel that somehow it’s a project I will have to take some time off from everything else for finalizing it.
KMFDM will be returning to the UK in September for 6 dates. What can we expect from the shows?
Murder and mayhem?
What would be the ideal setting for a KMFDM show?
Any setting can be made to work ;-) At your granny’s 5 o’clock tea party!
Thanks for taking time out for this interview. Any closing words for our readers?
Yeah! Much looking forward to hitting the UK very soon, loads of luv to y’all in advance!! Hell Yeah!