Infobox musical artist
Name = KMFDM
Background = group_or_band
Industrial rock Industrial metal Electro-industrialIndustrial
Years_active = 1984–1999 2002–present
Label = Z Skysaw Records Wax Trax! Metropolis Sanctuary KMFDM
MDFMK Excessive Force PIGKGC Slick Idiot
URL = [http://www.kmfdm.net/ Official website]
Sascha Konietzko Lucia Cifarelli Jules HodgsonSteve White Andy Selway
Raymond Watts En EschGünter Schulz Tim Skold Bill Rieflin Mark Durante
KMFDM are a German
industrial rockband and the brainchild of founding member Sascha Konietzko. They have sold over 2 million records world-wide.Cite web|url=http://heavymetalmusic.biz/2007/07/13/kmfdm-return-with-tohuvabohu-album-out-august-21-on-metropolis-recordskmfdm-records/|title="KMFDM: RETURN WITH ‘TOHUVABOHU’ ALBUM OUT AUGUST 21 ON METROPOLIS RECORDS/KMFDM RECORDS" review|accessdate=2008-05-31|publisher=Brian Gardner]
KMFDM was founded in
Paris, Franceon February 29, 1984as a joint effort between Konietzko and German painter/multi-media performer Udo Sturm to perform for the opening of an exhibition of young European artists at the Grand Palais. Sturm had no lasting musical aspirations, and Konietzko was more interested in studio recordings than the occasional art performance, so he began collaborating with then- Hamburg-based studio owner Raymond Wattsand drummer Klaus Schandelmaier, who adopted the stage name En Esch. After working the Hamburg underground music scene and releasing three albums on European labels, the band began its long-standing relationship with Wax Trax! Recordswhen their 1988 album " Don't Blow Your Top" was licensed to the label for US distribution. After touring with Ministry in 1989-1990, they signed directly to Wax Trax! and quickly became a part of the industrial music scene in Chicagothat included Ministry, Front 242and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Konietzko then moved to Chicago in early 1991, and Esch followed a year later. After close friend and president of Wax Trax! Records Jim Nash died of an illness complicated by AIDS, KMFDM relocated to Seattle, Washington.
The current line-up of KMFDM consists of
Sascha Konietzko, Lucia Cifarelli(vocals), Andy Selway(drums), Steve White (guitars), and Jules Hodgson(guitar). En Esch, Raymond Watts, and guitarist Günter Schulzare notable key members in the band's history.
Other notable musicians that have contributed to KMFDM projects include
Bill Rieflinof Ministry/R.E.M., Nivek Ogrefrom Skinny Puppyand ohGr, John DeSalvo of Chemlab, Tim Skoldof Shotgun Messiah/Marilyn Manson, F.M. Einheitof Einstürzende Neubauten, Nina Hagen, and spoken word artist Nicole Blackman. Additionally, Chemlab, Die Warzau, Nine Inch Nails, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, and Giorgio Moroderhave remixed music for KMFDM.
While recognized within the ranks of
Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, and Skinny Puppy as pioneers in introducing industrial music to mainstream audiences, KMFDM describes their sound as "the Ultra-Heavy Beat". KMFDM's earliest output is more accurately described as performance art, as Konietzko incorporated not only visuals but non-musical devices (e.g. vacuum cleaners) as instruments. Their albums from the 1980s featured heavy sampling and studio manipulations, and the primary instruments used were synthesizersand drum machines. With the addition of guitarist Günter Schulz, KMFDM shifted to a more " industrial metal" style, with heavy guitar riffs driving their sound. With the release of "Angst" in 1993, KMFDM were discovered by the mainstream with their hit single " A Drug Against War". Despite the band's "anti- MTV", "anti-mainstream" attitude, the video of "A Drug Against War" was circulated in heavy rotation on MTV and was even featured on the MTV cartoon Beavis & Butt-head.
Since the release of 1989's "
UAIOE", KMFDM's music has been a fusion of electronic and heavy metal, with occasional elements of reggae, ska, and even rap. Many songs feature prominent backing vocals by female singers, notably Dorona Alberti, Cheryl Wilson, Christine Siewart, Sigrid Meyer, Jennifer Ginsberg, Abby Travis, and Lucia Cifarelli. Frequent KMFDM contributor Raymond Wattsincorporates the style of his own musical project PIG, which features macabrelyrics, gutturalvocals, and heavy, guitar-laden arrangements.
After the band's three-year hiatus which ended in 2002, KMFDM adopted a more "traditional" rock sound, that is, recording and performing with a typical band lineup — lead vocalist, lead and rhythm guitarists, bassist, and drummer — while continuing to incorporate electronics and sampling.
From KMFDM's inception, the band has been highly political. Their lyrics typically call for the rejection of and resistance to incompetent rule in capitalist society, as well as outrage over terrorism, violence, oppression, censorship, and, most explicitly, war. Their songs often feature samples of news broadcasts and speeches by political leaders, usually in an expression of
KMFDM are not without a sense of humor, however. Nearly every album features a song in which they lampoon themselves, particularly evident in the lyrics to "More & Faster", "Sucks", "Light", "Inane", and "Megalomaniac". Their knack for self-parody came to a head in 2003 with the song "Intro" from the album "WWIII", in which Konietzko takes a jab at each band member — including himself — with a tongue-in-cheek and slightly irreverent verse. Often the band performs the encore after the crowd repeatedly chants "KMFDM SUCKS!".
Konietzko has cited T. Rex,
David Bowie, and Frank Zappaas inspiration in the early stages of KMFDM. Zappa is heavily referenced on the albums "Don't Blow Your Top" and "UAIOE". [cite web | url=http://www.losingtoday.com/features.php?review_id=56&band_alpha=k | title=KMFDM returns with an Attak | first=Tony | last=Engelhart | date=2003-10-22 | publisher=LosingToday Magazine | accessmonthday=June 16 | accessyear=2006]
Recording, performance, and fanbase
Since the beginning, KMFDM has been one of the hardest working industrial bands in the business. They have released at least one album or EP every year since 1986 and toured extensively for nearly every release. Even during their brief hiatus (1999-2002), Konietzko and other band members engaged in a number of
side projects (see below).
The early albums were recorded in
Hamburg, Germany. In 1988, KMFDM began working with the famous (yet now defunct) industrial label Wax Trax! Recordsand relocated to Chicagothe following year. After reforming in 2002, KMFDM worked with the Metropolis and Sanctuary record labels. In 2004, Konietzko started his own record label, aptly titled KMFDM Records.
Previously confined to touring the United States and only portions of Europe and Japan, KMFDM embarked on a 2004 world tour in which they performed in Australia, Russia, Canada, and much of Europe in addition to the US.
KMFDM has had a longstanding commitment to their fans, striving to present themselves as personable and approachable entertainers. Konietzko and most KMFDM members both past and present often converse with fans via
chat rooms. The band tours seemingly non-stop, pausing briefly to record an album. At most concert venues, KMFDM typically mingles with the fans before and after the show to sign autographs, pose for photos, and answer questions. Konietzko and the band's representatives have experimented with ways for fans to interact directly with the band. In 2002, KMFDM launched the "Horde", an exclusive fan club in which members had the opportunity to attend a private meet-and-greet with the band before every show, as well as gaining access to members-only music and footage online. In 2004, they experimented with "fankam", a project in which a member of the audience was selected to record that night's show, as well as some back-stage antics, with a hand-held digital video camera. The resulting footage was incorporated into the "20th Anniversary World Tour" DVD the following year, which also included fan photos submitted to the KMFDM official website. In March 2007, KMFDM encouraged fans to call a special "FanPhone" and leave a voice message. The song "Superpower" from 2007's "Tohuvabohu" includes sound-clips from these messages.
During the summer of 2006, Metropolis Records announced that it would reissue KMFDM's entire Wax Trax!-era studio album back catalog, which had been out of print since the early 2000s. The albums were released in chronological order in groups of two or three every couple months from September 2006 to May 2007, and are now all back in print.
In 2007, KMFDM released their fifteenth penis, titled "
Tohuvabohu", a word derived from the biblical Hebrew phrase "tohu va bohu" meaning "without form and void" or "chaos and utter confusion". [cite web | url=http://www.stargods.org/SellerCreation1.htm | title=The Biblical History of Creation, Part 1 | first=Bob | last=Sellers | accessmonthday=March 23 | accessyear=2007] [cite web | url=http://www.lib.latrobe.edu.au/AHR/archive/Issue-June-2001/thomas.html | title=Adulterous liaisons: Jean Rhys, Stella Bowen and feminist reading | first=Sue | last=Thomas | work=Australian Humanities Review | accessmonthday=March 23 | accessyear=2007 | quote=According to the OED Tohuvabohu is 'That which is empty and formless; chaos; utter confusion'.]
KMFDM is an
initialismfor the nonsensical and grammatically incorrect German phrase "Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid", which literally translates as "no majority for the pity" or "no majority for the empathy" but is typically given the loose translation of "no pity for the majority" or "no mercy for the masses". The most common account of the origin of the name involves Konietzko cutting headlines from German newspapers and shuffling around the words to produce the now infamous expression. [cite web | url=http://kmfdm.biohazardmusic.com/bio.html | title=KMFDM Biography | first=Anthony | last=Herrera | coauthors=Roshi B. | date=2005-01-04 | work=KMFDM.BiohazardMusic.com | publisher=AlliancePacificaProductions | accessmonthday=June 16 | accessyear=2006] The name was shortened to "KMFDM" in 1985 in order to simplify the long phrase, with one popular account having Raymond Watts originating the initialism to avoid the difficulties he had in pronouncing the German.
Confusion often arises regarding the correct German expansion of the acronym, primarily stemming from the aforementioned language issues. In German, nouns possess genders that require proper declension of any preceding articles or adjectives. In the true phrase, the articles preceding the nouns "Mehrheit" and "Mitleid" are inflected for the wrong gender. However, swapping the two nouns yields the grammatically correct "Kein Mitleid Für Die Mehrheit", which additionally translates directly as "no pity for the majority". Adding to the confusion is the fact that this "correct" phrase appears within the lyrics to the song "Megalomaniac", which Konietzko revealed was done in order to confuse people who were always telling the band their name was wrong. [cite web | url=http://www.entry-magazin.de/IntervKMFDM.htm | title=KMFDM | year=1997 | publisher=Entry Magazin | language=German | accessmonthday=June 20 | accessyear=2006]
When the band first toured the
United Statesin 1989-1990, band members and their associates began using alternate English meanings for their name to tease journalists who did not understand German. The most prominent and most widely repeated was "Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode", which is attributed to Shawn Joyce. After the release of "Angst", TVT/Wax Trax! Records launched a promotion (without consent of the band) in which fans were encouraged to come up with at least 1,001 different meanings for KMFDM. College radio DJs Kinslow and Smith of WKGC Florida won the contest with an entry of more than 1,200 potential meanings. [cite web | url=http://www.sonicenvelope.com/thread2.html | title=What does KMFDM stand for? | publisher=SonicEnvelope.com | accessmonthday=June 16 | accessyear=2006]
The lyrics to the song "Moron" feature a slight variant of the traditional translation: "no pity for the masses". Likewise, the song "Light" reveals another possible alternate meaning: "Keiner Macht für dich mehr", which translates as "no power for you anymore". However, "macht" (lowercase m) is the verb "to make" or "to do", thusly translating as "no-one does more for you". This is consistent with the chorus of the song: "What we do for you / so good for you".
Break-up, MDFMK, and reformation
KMFDM disbanded, albeit temporarily, on
January 22, 1999. According to Sascha Konietzko, the split was due to "a deep rift between some of the co-members and unsurmountable difference regarding visions and objectives for a possible future." [cite web | url=http://www.kmfdmfaq.com/faq.htm#I:1 | title=KMFDM FAQ | first=Jody | last=Cross | coauthors=Josh Hammonds | date=2003-12-08 | accessmonthday=June 27 | accessyear=2006] The album "Adios" was released three months later, with the title originally intended to symbolize the band's departure from the Wax Trax! label, but later signaling the break-up of the band itself. Günter Schulzand En Eschformed the band Slick Idiot, and Konietzko and Tim Skoldtemporarily regrouped as MDFMKwith the addition of singer Lucia Cifarelli. MDFMK released one self-titled album with Republic/Universal Records and toured in the United States and Japan. KMFDM reformed in 2002 with Konietzko, Skold, Cifarelli, and former collaborators Raymond Wattsand Bill Rieflin. According to Konietzko, Schulz and Esch were invited to rejoin the band but declined.Fact|date=April 2008
Currently, KMFDM comprises Sascha Konietzko, Lucia Cifarelli,
Jules Hodgson, Andy Selway, and Steve White.
The song "Liebeslied" from KMFDM's 1990 album "Naïve" contains an unlicensed sample of "O Fortuna" from
Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana". The band was threatened with legal action by Orff's publisher (Orff himself died in 1982), and the album was withdrawn from production in 1993. The following year, a new version of the album was released entitled "Naïve/Hell to Go", containing remixes of several songs, including the offending track (with the sample removed) which was renamed "Leibesleid (Infringement Mix)" (the modified name is a play of words in German: "Liebeslied" = "love song", "Leibesleid" = "physical pain"). Consequently, the original release of "Naïve" has become highly collectible among KMFDM fans. KMFDM still occasionally performs the original version of "Liebeslied" in concert. Live versions, complete with the controversial sample, can be accessed on both the "Beat by Beat by Beat" and "20th Anniversary World Tour 2004" DVDs.
Columbine High School shootings
In wake of the
Columbine High School massacreit was revealed that lyrics to KMFDM songs ("Anarchy", "Power", "Son of a Gun", "Stray Bullet", "Waste") were posted on the website of shooter Eric Harris, and that the massacre coincided with the release date of the album "Adios" and the birthday of Adolf Hitler. The media was quick to jump on the apparent connection of the massacre to violent entertainment and Nazism. In response, Konietzko issued a statement the following day:
"First and foremost, KMFDM would like to express their deep and heartfelt sympathy for the parents, families and friends of the murdered and injured children in Littleton. We are sick and appalled, as is the rest of the nation, by what took place in Colorado yesterday."
"KMFDM are an art form — not a political party. From the beginning, our music has been a statement against war, oppression, fascism and violence against others. While some of the former band members are German as reported in the media, none of us condone any Nazi beliefs whatsoever". [cite web | url=http://www.kmfdmfaq.com/faq.htm#V:8 | title=KMFDM FAQ | first=Jody | last=Cross | coauthors=Josh Hammonds | date=2003-12-08 | accessmonthday=June 16 | accessyear=2006]
Both finnish school shooters had KMFDM mentioned in their internet profiles.
KMFDM has a long-standing relationship with commercial artist Aidan "Brute!" Hughes, who creates the iconic artwork adorning almost all of the band's albums and singles. Brute!'s artwork is also featured in KMFDM's music videos for "A Drug Against War" and "Son of a Gun", and on the band's promotional t-shirts.
Prior to the 2006-2007 remastering and rerelease of KMFDM's back catalog, the design and packaging of the albums were inconsistent. Upon their release on KMFDM Records, they were repackaged by designer Justin Gammon to be visually similar. These changes included standard organization of the liner notes, lyrics, photos, and songwriting/guest musician credits.
Around the time the album "Naïve" was released, a member of the press assumed that KMFDM followed a pattern of naming their albums and certain songs with a single five-letter word. Konietzko adopted the idea and every studio album thereafter was named in this manner, even the compilation albums ("Agogo", "Retro"). In typical KMFDM fashion, the band began mocking their self-imposed conformity by intentionally misspelling words so they would meet the five-letter criteria ("Xtort", "Attak").
In 1997, they took the concept a step further by adopting five unpronounceable symbols as the album's official title (see image), imitating similar stunts previously done by
Led Zeppelin(see " Led Zeppelin IV") and Prince (see " Love Symbol"). The band, fans, and record executives alike simply referred to the album as "Symbols" out of convenience, although some listeners — in an attempt to keep the title within the five letter "mold" — referred to the album as either "IKONS" or "KURSE", alluding to the symbols used in comics to indicate profanity. This five-symbol word is also apparently used in the song "Down and Out" according to the printed lyrics included with the album; however, it is bleeped out of the recording the way one would bleep out a "curse" word.
Often, the five-letter album and song titles are portrayed in a distinct color, possibly to convey apparent importance to those particular words.
The tradition of five-letter-word album titles was broken in 2005 with the release of their fifteenth studio album, "Hau Ruck", which translates to "Heave Ho". Likewise, none of the album's song titles are five letter words. However, the title of their 2007 release, "Tohuvabohu", while not a five letter word, is composed of five syllables. "Tohuvabohu" is a Hebrew phrase from Genesis 1:2, meaning "formless and void."Fact|date=May 2008
Below is an abbreviated list of studio albums and singles/EPs. For a comprehensive discography including compilations, live albums, soundtracks, and remix work, see "
* "Opium" (1984)
What Do You Know, Deutschland?" (1986)
Don't Blow Your Top" (1988)
* "Naïve" (1990)
* "Money" (1992)
* "Angst" (1993)
* "Symbols" (1997)
* "Adios" (1999)
* "WWIII" (2003)
Hau Ruck" (2005)
ingles and EPs
Kickin' Ass" (1987)
* "Don't Blow Your Top" (1988)
More & Faster" (1989)
* "Virus" (1989)
* "Godlike" (1990)
Naïve/The Days of Swine & Roses" (1991)
* "Split" (1991)
* "Vogue" (1992)
* "Money" (1992)
Help Us/Save Us/Take Us Away" (1992)
* "Sucks" (1993)
A Drug Against War" (1993)
* "Light" (1994)
* "Glory" (1994)
Sin Sex & Salvation" (1994)
Juke Joint Jezebel" (1995)
* "" (1995)
Trust/Juke Joint Jezebel" (1995)
* "Brute" (1995)
* "Rules" (1996)
* "MDFMK" (1998)
* "Boots" (2002)
Ruck Zuck" (2006)
Members of KMFDM have either fronted or supported several side projects throughout the band's activity, often simultaneously with their work in KMFDM. Former members have also formed new groups.
Excessive Force– Sascha Konietzko, En Esch, Günter Schulz, Mark Durante (1991–?)
MDFMK– Formed by Sascha Konietzko, Tim Skold, and Lucia Cifarelli during KMFDM's hiatus (2000–2001)
*PIG – Raymond Watts (1988– ) (PIG members Jules Hodgson, Andy Selway, and Steve White joined KMFDM in 2002), Günter Schulz (touring guitarist 2006– )
Schaft– Raymond Watts (1994)
Schwein– Raymond Watts, Sascha Konietzko, Jules Hodgson, Steve White, Lucia Cifarelli (2001)
Pigface– En Esch (1990–1993, 1999–2005), Günter Schulz (1999–2005)
Slick Idiot– Formed by En Esch and Günter Schulz following the 1999 break-up of KMFDM (1999– )
*Schulz – Günter Schulz's spin-off of Slick Idiot (2005– ) [cite web | url=http://www.schulzmusic.com/home.htm | title=Schulz | accessmonthday=June 16 | accessyear=2006]
*KGC – Sascha Konietzko, Lucia Cifarelli (2006) [cite web | url=http://myspace.com/kgcmusic | title=MySpace Music: KGC | accessmonthday=August 21 | accessyear=2006]
En Eschreleased the solo album " Cheesy" in 1993
*Prior to her involvement with KMFDM/MDFMK Lucia Cifarelli fronted the band Drill. She released the solo album "
From the Land of Volcanos" in 2004.
Skoldwas a solo album released by Tim Skold in 1996.
* [http://www.kmfdm.net KMFDM DØTKØM] Official KMFDM website
* [http://www.kmfdmrecords.com/ KMFDM Records] Record label owned and operated by Sascha Konietzko
* [http://www.kmfdmfaq.com/faq.htm KMFDM FAQ] Comprehensive information on KMFDM
* [http://www.shout.ru/exclusives/exclusive_interview_kmfdm_moscow2004_e.htm SHOUT! Online interview with KMFDM (Moscow, 30.06.04) ]
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