Covid radically reshaped our world over the last two years. Society, at times, felt like it was coming to a screeching halt. We saw business shutter, the costs of shipping and buying goods increase, and the rise of wearing masks just to venture to the corner store for supplies. It didnt end there.
Everyday people were not the only ones drastically affected by Covid, the entertainment industry suffered its own problems. We watched as movies were unable to proceed into filming due to lockdown conditions. And yes, concerts all but stopped happening. During the first two years of covid, Karl and I watched as concerts we were so eager to attend canceled their dates and left us wondering if we would ever see a concert again.
Covid has finally let up enough and the world has poked its head out of the hole and started getting back to a new normal. And yes, we are seeing concerts start happening again. A long awaited KMFDM tour has finally descended back to Cleveland and we could not be happier.
Who is KMFDM?
KMFDM originally started under the name Kein Mehrheit Fur Die Mitleid, that loosely translates to “no pity for the majority, got started in Paris, France as a performance art project with Sasha Konietzko and Udo Sturm.” The starting members were Sasha, En Esch (drummer), and Raymond Watts (vocalist) and recorded their first albums in Germany and had moderate success. It wasnt until Sasha moved to the US that the band gained worldwide popularity under the seminal industrial record label Waxx Traxx. (You can find more about Waxx Traxx and the bands they sponsored here).
Gunter Schulz joined Esch and Sasha in 1990 and continued with them until the band broke up in 1999l due to creative differences. At this time Sasha was working with Tim Skold and decided to recreate the band under the name MDFMK, they broughtin Lucia Cifarelli. Together, they released one self titled album before Sascha reformed KMFDM in 2002 and moved to Metropolis Records.
Most critics considered KMFDM to be one of the first bands to bring industrial music to the mainstream audiences, they were one of the first industrial bands that I listened to. Sascha has refuted that label to instead be considered as the “Ultra-Heavy Beat.” They are known for using heavy metal guitars, electronic sampling, and electronic styled music to create their unique sound. KMFDM bridges the categories of industrial rock and electronic body music and, to this day, remains fiercely political. Speaking out against violence, war, oppression, and hatred.
Success in the States
KMFDM saw the release of their fourth album translated from German to English and arrived in America on December 16th, 1989. At this time, they started a tour with group Ministry, fronted by Al Jourgenson.At the time, the band started the rumor that their name stood for “Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode,” due to journalist who did not understand German. It was at this time that the band quickly singed to Waxx Traxx records.
Sascha moved to Chicago in 1991 and cemented his place in the city’s industrial scene with groups like Ministry, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, and Revolting Cocks. I found both KMFDM and MLTKK, my last year of high school – 1992. During this time Sascha was quotes as saying “we came from Germany where we all had to have day job and work our asses off to afford to be KMFDM and all of the sudden we’re in the states and selling thousands and thousands of fucking records.”
Over the years, KMFDM would rotate artists out for new talent. In 1992, Nine Inch Nails Drummer, Chris Vienna toured with them. Raymond Watts, vocalist of the famed band, Pig helped in the beginning with vocals. Tim Skold, known for Marilyn Manson, Shotgun Messiah, and SKOLD, worked with KMFDM from the years of 1998 – 2009. And Steve White who was a touring guitarist from 2002-2015 and is known for his work with Mindless Self Indulgence and Pig.
Recipe for KMFDM
The beginnings of KMFDM was a performance art project. At the time Sascha incorporated visual effects like exploding televisions and non-musical devices like vacuum cleaners to make his statements. The 1980s saw the invention of music sampling devices that allowed industrial and electronic groups to change how they made music. This is where the roots of KMFDM started.
KMFDM has been described as Industrial, industrial rock, electro-industrial, and so many more in between. They are considered part of the beginners of mainstream industrial music alongside bands like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and Skinny Puppy.
“If I was to give myself a label it would be industrial-alternative-electronic-crossover-rock an danceability.” – Sascha Konietzko
The band is known for its heave use of guitar riffs, borrowing from the heavy metal scene that was popular at the time. Sascha has stated many times that his dislike of heavy metal music came from great guitar riffs that were used once and done. With KMFDM he had the ability to sample them and use them for a much better effect. One prize that Sascha has continues is incorporating band members who are multi-instrumental to give a larger versatility and freedom in creating their sound.
KMFDM is also known for its wide and varied use of sampling. Throughout its discography the band samples political leaders to help punch its political concerns. The band stands by its call for its listeners to reject and resist any means of terrorism, violence, oppression, censorship, and war. Their album WWIII is a perfect example as it sampled speeches from George W. Bush throughout the tracks.
KMFDM has stated that if the band had but one message to leave it would be to “Think for yourself and don’t believe the bullshit.”
KMFDM and their fans
Going over their catalog, KMFDM, has released a new album about every year and a half. Once a new album drops, they try to tour at least once a year to promote that album.
KMFDM is known for its accessibility to their fans. Much like groups like the Birthday Massacre, they are known to mingle with their fans, before and after concerts. It is not unusual to see them stopping for autographs or pics with fans. Sascha is known for keeping in touch with many of his fans through emails and never hesitates to stop and answers questions about the group or its music.
Sascha has used many ways, such as websites, to stay in touch with fans over the years. In 2002, the band launched “Horde”, an exclusive fan club that would give its members an opportunity to attend private meet-and-greets with the band before shows. This access also gave fans the ability to see members-only music and footage.
KMFDM is also know, in the past, to select one audience member to go around with a digital video camera filming the concert and back stage antics. This happened in 2004 and the band incorporated that footage into a 20th Anniversary World Tour DVD. In 2007, Sascha encouraged his fans to use a project called “FanPhone” to leave voice messages for the band, in 2007. The album Tohuvabohu included the song “Superpower” that sampled clips of those voice messages.
KMFDM returns to Cleveland
On October 10th, 2022, KMFDM will make their return to Cleveland, Ohio. This stop will be five years and six days since their last visit to the home of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. That tour featured OhGr as their touring band. KMFDM was last supposed to tour in 2020, due to Covid they canceled their tour dates.
Five years since their last visit puts a lot of weight on this tour, as they have seen two additional albums released since then. Paradise was released in 2019 and many of its songs spoke out against the state of the war. The firs song off that album is K.M.F and heavily samples quotes from the Orange Cheeto himself.
They newest album, Hyena, is scheduled to release September 9th, 2020. This album will probably be featured heavily in this tour. As the restart touring September 27th of this year. Earlier in the year, KMFDM held several concert dates in Europe, Leipzig and Oslo. Here they toured with groups like Combichrist and Clan of Xymox.
If you are a fan of early industrial music or just looking for an awesome band that rages against conformity, then get your tickets for the Cleveland Show at the Agora now, before they sell out. I hope to see you there, look for me.
If you are a long time, or even a new listener, to KMFDM drop me a comment below and let me know what you love about them and some of your favorite tracks. I am excited to hear what others feel for this band and if they have been as much of an influence on your music tastes as they have mine.