I am, yes.
Did he ever expect the band to hang around as long as it has even with its little hiatus for three years?
Gosh, you know we just love to make music. He loves to make music. Itís in his blood. Itís in all of our blood actually so whether or not he expected KMFDM to go on this long, I donít know. I just know that heís incredibly prolific. It always seems really natural to me.
I read that the band has a revolving lineup. Is that done on purpose or does it just work out better that way?
Well, you know for the last number of years itís been the same lineup. I think earlier in KMFDM history they had a revolving door of artists and musicians because they hadnít found anybody that really fit the dynamics of the long term. It was an interesting idea to have them guest on the album rather than to stay for the long term. Saschaís always been interested in experimenting with new vocalists and just keeping it fresh.
Right. I can see where that would definitely keep it fresh. What got you interested in pursuing music and how did you get hooked up with the band?
I started making music when I was about 14. I just had an opportunity to work in a recording studio very young because my older sister worked in recording studios and I loved singing so I just started taking voice lessons at an early age. By the time I graduated high school I had a band and I just took it from there and made it my career choice. Opportunities followed. One of those opportunities was in I think it was late Ď95 or early í96 that I met Sascha. Itís so long ago now I canít really remember. I didnít actually meet him in person but I was touring with a band that he was working with called Sister Machine Gun and he was interested in working with us. He had an opportunity to have one of our songs off of our debut album remixed for the movie Empire Records so we had Sascha remix the record and that established a relationship. We didnít really talk much after that but he remembered me and when he started MDFMK which was a project with Tim Skold that was on Universal, they were looking for a female vocalist and they invited me to come to Seattle for a very informal kind of audition. They had some songs that they were looking for a female vocalist to sing on and I came down and put my ideas in the mix and they really liked them and itís just continued from there.
Iíve always loved industrial music because it has such a unique sound to it. Iíve always been a really huge Ministry fan. I absolutely love that stuff. I was reading where when the Columbine shootings happened that they tried to blame some of that on you guys because one of those guys listened to your band. I find it so weird how people donít ever want to place the blame on the person who commits the act. They always want to involve everyone else.
You know, I think itís one of these very strange phenomena that people forget that a lot of the way we react as human beings in life has to do with what we were exposed to as very young children. How our realities were shaped from our formative ages. But people forget that and they want to blame music. They want to blame movies. Itís just an easy target and I think that the Columbine thing, Sascha didnít buy it. He was not going to take responsibility for something as ridiculous as that. Being blamed. Held responsible for the reactions that these kids had to this social conduct that was going on in their school and in their relationships. It doesnít have to do with music. I donít know, when I was a kid music saved me from all of that. It made me feel less alone and it comforted me. I donít buy that shit and Sascha didnít buy it. Then they went to the next greatest person that they could who was like the big baddie at the time, Marilyn Manson. He took it and ran with it. He ate it up. He wanted to be the poster child for that thing because itís such great publicity. Even with this new record that he has out, he said something to the effect about how nobody else can talk about being associated with the Columbine thing because he took the rap. Or something like that and I laughed my ass off. Oh my God. Not that anybody wants to hold that up as a trophy of association but it was obviously such a great moment for him publicity wise because he could go out there and just toot his own horn in a way. KMFDM isnít about doing that.
Yeah, people were coming up with ďoh well, there are some people in the band who are German and thereís this connection with Nazism.Ē I have a parent who is from Europe and she lived in post World War II Germany and quite honestly I think that people need to get the fuck over World War II. Adolph Hitler is fucking dead and has been for a long time. A lot of these Nazis actually left Germany and came over here to hide out.
Frankly, itís laughable. Itís like ďoh, theyíre German. They must be Nazis.Ē Itís the lowest common denominator of intelligence and unfortunately itís the popular ďoh, theyíre German? Theyíre Nazis.Ē Itís just a joke and anybody that listens to KMFDM knows that that couldnít be further from the truth.
Yeah, it seems to me that I can never accuse the majority of the people in this country to be progressing forward. If they want to talk about Nazism they better take a damn good look at whatís going on here right now.
Yeah, thatís our point exactly. Weíre living in fascist times here in America and anybody that thinks otherwise has their head stuck in the sand.
Or stuck up their ass. One of the two.
Itís frightening. Youíre truly in the days of the new American century. The information is out there.
Did you ever look at that website thatís called The Project Of The New American Century?
Actually that was the inspiration for the lyrics behind the song that I co-wrote, ďNew American Centuryď, on KMFDMís album Hau Ruck.
Thatís enough to make you feel chilled.
I know. Itís frightening. People just donít want to believe it can happen in their backyard but it is happening.
Oh yeah, and people give in to it more than they think. Fucking creepy assed shit.
I hear you.
You guys are putting out a new record. Itís called Tohuvabohu.
Yes, Tohuvabohu. Without form. Total chaos.
Tell me about the new record and what inspired it.
Itís interesting because Iím reading some initial responses from people who have listened to it and itís so funny to me. Itís always funny to me when you hear what people think is going on in our minds or what we were thinking at the time that we were making this record. The truth of the matter is, whenever we go into making a record we are just interested in coming up with better shit than we did the last time around. Stepping it up a notch and we knew living with Hau Ruck and kind of digesting what we did with our previous albums, we wanted to make a much more beat oriented record. We knew we didnít want to completely divorce ourselves from this very guitar driven sound that weíve established as a result of working with Jules Hodgson and Steve White. Theyíre great guitar players and they add so much inspiration to the mix but we definitely wanted to incorporate a lot more beat. So we just tried to balance those two elements a little bit more on this one than we did the last time around.
About how long did it take you guys to do the record?
It generally takes us between six and seven months to make a record. We usually write and record. Weíre writing and recording throughout the process. We donít write the record and then record. We write and record as we go along because with the way our touring schedule is worked out, we donít have the luxury of getting off the road and then just writing and then going into the studio. We get off the road and we jump right into the entire process of writing and recording. We approach every song that we start writing to record with the intention that itís going to be a demo for the album.
You guys are definitely on the road a whole lot.
We have been in the past. Thatís something thatís been very important for KMFDM to stay in the consciousness of our fans and fan interaction is a huge part in the KMFDM community so we try and get out there and hang out. Play a great show, hang out with our fans, talk to them, and it really is like a worldwide family.
Sometimes I read other peopleís reviews as well to try and get a feel of how other people felt about a record. Sometimes I read some really strange things myself where Iím like how the hell do you know what those people were thinking at the time or why that person wanted to do it that way.
Thatís always funny because the KMFDM fans are pretty passionate with their opinions about what weíre thinking, what we were thinking about when we were writing it, and as far as the process of writing or what it is that I am writing or talking about, I donít really get into specifics on a regular basis because I donít want to sway the listener too much. I want them to interpret it for themselves for them to draw meaning into their life. There is a huge cross section of fans that will tell you exactly what every song is about and what was going through each individual mind when they were doing it. Itís fun because they are passionate and we wouldnít want it any other way. We donít want mediocre fans. We want fans for life so Iíd rather have the passionate ones that know it all or think they do than the ones that are only going to stick around for one record.
Yeah, thatís what makes it exciting. How do you feel this record differs from the last one and do you feel like there are any similarities with the last record?
I think that the longer that this lineup works together the stronger the material gets and I think Tohuvabohu is a reflection of that. Weíre really a tight unit at this point. We travel together on tour a lot. We live in the same area. We have regular barbecues and hang out. Weíre all very close and we made several records together at this point so as a result of being comfortable with each other as people, that just naturally flows over into the music. It doesnít seem forced at all. It just seems really natural and I donít think that that was missing in prior albums. I love Hau Ruck. I just think that the material on this one and I donít know if itís because itís so new that it feels so fresh to me but it feels a little bit more dynamic than Hau Ruck, our last record. I think that can be said for any band that works together over the long haul.
Absolutely. What kind of touring plans do you guys have?
At the moment weíre stepping back and weíre assessing that. One mistake that we made in the past was with our album WWIII, we went out on a huge national tour right on top of the release. Weíre not convinced that that served us well at that time. With Hau Ruck we went to Europe first and then we came back around in the States about eight or nine months later. Our fans here in the States had a chance to digest the record and there was a whole bunch of anticipation built up over all these months and it really served us much better than if we had just jumped right out on the road on top of the release. Weíre holding back for a minute which is a first for us. Usually weíve got some kind of plan to go somewhere but weíre going to hold off for a couple of months and I honestly donít foresee us going out on tour until early next year.
You guys have a lot of different projects such as Pigface. I saw that band in Dallas a few years back.
Weíre not really involved with Pigface. Obviously KMFDM has a long history and there are a lot of musicians out there that will be able to associate themselves with the KMFDM name and have played on a record here or there and try to maximize their exposure by aligning with KMFDM. If you ask Sascha about his involvement with Pigface or any of its members, he would just say he doesnít want to talk about it. Heís not invested in that. Heís not a huge fan. Pigface really doesnít have anything to do with KMFDM at all but they have tried in the past to associate with it and have even gone so far as to build in some kind of KMFDM acronym into one of their projects. I donít know what they did. I donít exactly remember what it was but Iím not huge fan of them either. I think that some of the things that theyíve done have been rude and just wreak of child sandbox bullshit.
Well, I think when you call your band PigfaceÖ.
Yeah, but the irony of this, theyíve wanted to tour alongside of us in a package tour for years and that hasnít really been of any interest to Sascha. When it wasnít of interest to Sascha then they would just go on this badmouthing binge. ďKMFDM is such shit.Ē There are a lot of disgruntled people for whatever reason and I think that has more to do with the fact that their later projects didnít have the success that KMFDM has. Everybody thinks that itís so easy to replicate what they did with KMFDM. ďOh, KMFDM is just shit. Anybody can do it.Ē But they canít. If they could then they would have the fan base and they donít.
How old are these people?
These people have been around a long time. But theyíre just disgruntled old affiliations who have nothing good to say.
Well, thereís too much negativity in the world already.
I know. Thatís why I donít associate myself with people like that because I donít have the luxury of encouraging that kind of behavior. Iím not interested in feeding any kind of childish drama. I donít care. We just do what we do. We work really hard. We love making music. We go on tour. We go in the studio. We make more records and we just live our lives doing what we love. We feel really lucky that we continue to have relevance in the music community.
Absolutely. Did you use that artist, Aidan Hughes, on this record as well for the artwork?
Yes, Brute has as you know been a longtime collaborator in KMFDM album artwork and itís no different this time around. Iím really actually surprised that Sascha has tried some different things over the years because heís found so many different musicians, you would think that he would try some different artists but heís just really happy with that association. I think that hand in hand, each have benefited from one another so itís been a really great alliance.
Brute captures the essence of the records I think.
Absolutely. I couldnít agree more.
Once you have somebody that has that kind of chemistry and can get what youíre doing, itís probably not a good idea to try somebody else.
Yeah, but with Sascha you always have to be prepared for the unexpected because as soon as everybody expects him to do the same thing, he changes things up. Thatís part of the beauty of KMFDM. Heís always trying to surprise people with something including the title of this new record. I think everybody was like ďwhat? Tohuvabohu? What is that?Ē
I practiced saying that a number of times because I didnít want to sound like a fucking idiot.
Oh, well you did it. Somebody else said Tofuvabohu. I was like what?
That sounds like some vegetarian diet.
We all told him people are going to have a hard time saying this. But the meaning is so great and it really captures the essence of the record.
I even like the meaning behind the bandís name. Thatís cool. Any other thoughts or comments?
Just if you could include the KMFDM official website, that would be great.