Meet: We Chat To Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM As They Reinterpret A Selection Of The Group’s Best Known Songs For New Album ‘In Dub’.

KMFDM, commonly regarded as one of the driving forces in what we generally term industrial/rock since their formation in 1984, the band has been so much more, incorporating elements of so many musical styles to result in what they themselves refer to as the Ultra Heavy Beat. The 2019 release of PARADISE was a bold statement on the precarious state of the world, with the heaviest infusion of funk and dub sounds the band has exhibited since such landmark albums as 1988’s UAIOE and 1990’s NAÏVE.

Now in 2020, KMFDM takes this to the next level with IN DUB, reinterpreting a selection of the group’s best known songs of their over three-and-a-half decades spanning career into a blistering display of chilled out grooves and spaced out atmospheres. With a long history of addressing political issues and encouraging social revolution, it is fitting that Sascha “Käpt’n K” Konietzko should reach back to some of KMFDM’s earliest roots in dub music and present a fresh take on what it truly means to “Rip the System!”

“Everything old is new again,” sings Lucia Cifarelli on “Real Dub Thing,” and so perfectly defines the power of IN DUB. Mosh pit anthems are reimagined into a bevy of meditative grooves laden with strident horns, shrill organs, and slithering bass lines as on “A Dub Against War,” “Hau Dub,” and the opening “Dub Light.” Andrew “Ocelot” Lindsley’s incendiary rapping on “K•M•F Dub” and Cifarelli’s vicious and vivacious vocals shine brightly on tracks like “Superhero Dub,” “Amnesia Dub,” and especially on the in-your-face electrified sonic assault of “Rebelz Dub.” Throughout the album, Andee Blacksugar’s accompanying guitar textures and angular solos add that extra dash of audio intrigue, making for one of KMFDM’s most unique outings.

Purchase a copy of the album here

Read on for our interview with Sascha Konietzko

1. Difficult times, how has this crisis affected you guys? All safe and well? Any message to your fans?

Difficult times indeed. We had two US tours with Ministry scheduled as well as a nice European run, and all went away. A big financial hole is the result and i frankly have little hope to be able to catch up on these lost shows in the foreseeable future. That said, we kept ourselves busy, a new LUCIA album is nearing completion, KMFDM – IN DUB has been release on August 21, 2020 and looks like over the winter months there’ll be some new KMFDM in the works. So stay tuned, stay safe and healthy, wear your mask and keep social distance, it has proven to work for us here in Germany so far and it really doesn’t invade your personal freedoms at all. It’s a sign that you care for the people around you and personally, i haven’t had as much as a sniffle since the beginning of march, most likely as a result of masking up 😉

2. Have you been able to keep in touch with each other, or even do anything creative since we went into lockdown?

Yes of course we have, Andy (drummer) lives in Florida and Andee (guitars) in NYC, so we’re totally used to communicate and work online. In fact, working online is something KMFDM has been doing since the recordings for 1997’s EMOJI (some call it Symbols) album.

So we’ve put the final touches on some of the IN DUB material as well as collaborating on some of the new LUCIA tracks.

3. With the release of IN DUB. Where did the idea come from and how did you guys go about selecting the tracks for the album? How did it feel to go over your back catalogue? Bring back many a happy memory?

The idea to do a dub record has been brewing for a few years, i just never had the time to sit down and tackle it. Dub and Reggae have been some of my earliest influences and i went about it really old-school. Had loads of fun coming up with all the brass arrangements and disassemblage of the original tracks. I found that generally speaking tracks with bpm’s somewhereabove 125 lend themselves not so ideally to be dubbed out, it works best with the really slow and the really fast ones. The main criteria was to open an old session and if i didn’t find an angle within the first 20-30 minutes i skipped to another song.

4. Whilst looking back over your history. Have you noticed a change in the way a song is constructed within the band?

Since KMFDM has never ever been a band kinda band, i would say it hasn’t changed. I am the song starter and then pass it around to whomever i feel would be a good contributor, given the circumstances that is mostly Lucia. She instinctively knows whether or not she could latch on to some ideas i have.

5. How do you find the music industry has changed over the years? Do you find that social media and in particular streaming sites has made it a better place to be in? 

Frankly, i’ve hardly ever been a part of the “music industry”, KMFDM has been DIY for the most part, so don’t pay too much attention to what’s going on out there. We’re quite self-sufficient and self-contained. As far as file sharing and particularly streaming goes, it has ruined the very last refuge to earn some money from making music entirely. It appears that we get one US dollar for each 3,000 streams or something ridiculous like that. Hence the loss of 3 tours in 2020 is extremely painful on the financial side.

6. Are there any bands or artists you are aware of that have drawn inspiration from yourselves?

Probably quite a few, it’s been what, 36 years of KMFDM by now ? Since i quit on most of all social media activity about 2 years ago, i am not really in the loop, and i don;t mind that at all. Social media is like what they said about websites some 20 years ago: it’s like an asshole, everybody’s got one.

7. With all the various members the band has seen over the years how do you feel the bands sound was affected by 

I was always welcoming collaborations and the effort was to make them shine in the context of KMFDM’s conceptual continuity.

The sound has always been clearly recognizable as KMFDM, whoever was involved at whatever time i the history of KMFDM.

That’s the beauty of being executive producer 😉

8.  Three decades is a hell of an achievement? What do you think is the key to your longevity? What has kept you wanting to be in a band and creating the music?

It’s not a band as i mentioned before, it’s a way of life, and once you’re set in your ways you know what you’ve got and how to work with it. Like a well oiled trusty machinery. It needs lots of TLC and it’s finicky at times but never fails.

9. Difficult to talk about future plans, but what does the future look like post lockdown for the band?

We’ve got loads of shows to do once it is safe to do so again, all these gigs have not been cancelled, just postponed. And i tend to think that once shows begin again there’ll be a huge amount of demand to party and live a little after all these dark days, weeks and months

10. What music are you digging right now? Any particular artists do you think have the chance to be big?

I am always listening to and working on my projects, day in and day out, therefore i do enjoy a bit of silence, talks over dinner or a good book. My ears need breaks every once in while 😉

But when the weather allows and we’re having a BBQ outside, there’s always a portion of  DEFUNKT, EAZY-E, PUBLIC ENEMY, ALPHA BLONDY, some DENNIS BROWN and perhaps a little TACKHEAD, MARK STEWART and PRINCE on the turntables

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