CHICAGO MUSIC GUIDE: Well, my first question is probably the one you are going to hear the most, seeing as how this is the 20th anniversary tour and all. How does it feel being in a band as successful, and as free as KMFDM for two decades?
Sascha: It feels good, I think it’s the biggest achievement of the band, so far, to be in this for so long, and to be so free. It’s great.
CMG: You’ve spent, roughly, half your life in this band. Are there any regrets towards anything you wanted to do that you can’t?
Sascha: You mean something I haven’t done yet, or…
CMG: Something you feel you can’t do anymore, because of the time spent in the band.
Sascha: I don’t know. I must admit, I really didn’t have any other plans in life. This whole thing started as a joke, and kind of took off.
CMG: The last time KMFDM was played on the radio was probably “Juke Joint Jezebel” during NIHIL. How has little to no radio play, and surviving solely by fans buying KMFDM’s CDs, and concert tickets, affected you as a person and a musician?
Sascha: Well, it’s been like that all the time, really. The only reason we were being played on the radio in the first place was because we were spending serious tail to get our music out there, and the music company was trying to popularize industrial music at that time. And we’ve never felt dependent on media to make it, but more on fan base.
CMG: With each new line up, because KMFDM is always changing members, the music seems to differ in sound a bit. Do new members get much input into the writing, and decision making of the new album? Or, does that stay in the hands of more consistent members, like Watts, Lucia, and yourself?
Sascha: No, when we all sit down at the round table, so to speak, everyone gets an equal say in what goes on. We’ve never left anyone out, and it doesn’t make sense to keep people out because of lack of seniority. That’s what our guitarists, and musicians have to do to pull their weight. Guest vocalists are a different story, because they just come in, write the lyrics and sing.
CMG: All of your albums, lyrically, particularly your songs that you write have a very political, anti-government, and even anti-religious vibe to them. It’s almost like, no matter who’s singing, that you are always sings about one subject. Are you, or do you just use a lot of political metaphors?
Sascha: I don’t really intend metaphors, I write more direct. Which is different from Watts and Lucia. Songs off WWIII were influenced from the rock invasion coming over, and just what was happening on the news on a daily basis. And there are songs like ‘WWIII’ that are beautifully set up as opposed to songs like ‘Revenge’ that has no real lyrical content.
CMG: Are there any musicians who haven’t been in KMFDM that you would like to see in the line up?
Sascha: Is there anyone I’d like to see in KMFDM?
CMG: Any musicians you’d like to work with in KMFDM that you haven’t yet?
Sascha: If I could think a little more in-depth about it, I could probably think of a few. But right now I think KMFDM has found a nice balance in the band, that’s free from friction and differences. We’ve been touring Europe as just a five piece, Lucia, Jules, Steve, Andy and myself, testing things out, and it’s been feeling and sounding great. I think it’s been better with the concept of two singers compared to three. So I think, at least temporarily, we’ve found a good balance.
CMG: So Watts won’t be on this tour?
SASCHA: No, we haven’t heard from Watts.
CMG: Is he working on a new Pig album?
Sascha: I Don’t know what he’s doing. We’ve had a few sightings around London, and that’s it. But, Raymond and I go back more that 20 years, and it’s natural for bands to have a hiatus for…even up to four, five years.
CMG: Tim Skold, who use to be in the band, is now replacing Twiggy in Marilyn Manson. Did he leave specifically to go there?
Sascha: Yes, it was during the process of recording ATTAK. We started recording, and half way through Tim came to me, and said Mason was considering hiring him as the bassist, and I was like “Ya, man, go. Do something that will make you some good cash”
CMG: So, there was no hard feelings about him leaving?
Sascha: None at all.
CMG: Right now, out there, songs from WWIII are on the Spider-Man 2 video game. Why did you choose that video game out of other ones?
Sascha: No, that’s not right. All the music on Spider-Man is custom made for the game.
CMG: Really? cause there is at least one song that sounds like it’s off WWIII.
Sascha: Well, we started working on Spider-Man right after WWIII, so the same drum banks were still programmed into the computer. So, it’s possible that some songs start off the same, or have similar beats. But it’s all custom made.
CMG: I must just be confused then. Are you a big video game player?
SASCHA: Not at all. I don’t really have too much time for playing videogames, or watching TV since I am usually in the studio working.
And when I’m not, I rarely leave the house. Usually only for booze and smokes.
CMG: What do you drink?
Sascha: A homemade Pepper Stoley Vodka.
(sorry readers, Sascha gave me his recipe, which I wrote separate sheet of paper, for my own use, but lost that paper)
CMG: I’m going to read two or three rumors off, and I want you to either confirm, deny, or pass them. “The original name to KMFMD”, sorry I can’t pronounce it, “was shortened to the first letter of each word, because Raymond Watts couldn’t pronounce it?”
Sascha: That’s true, more or less. We had the original name, and Raymond final went “Just change it to KMFDM for fuck sakes”
CMG: “KMFDM, in it’s original name, translates from German to English as ‘No sympathy for the majority’?”
Sascha: That’s true too. It’s roughly that. The German interpretation is a little backwards. Actually the “majority” and “sympathy” are switched. It says “no majority for the sympathy”, but it means the same.
CMG: Well, that makes the last one non-valid, I guess. It was, “KMFDM, in it’s original name, translates to rubbish”?
Sascha: No, it translates to the “majority” thing.
CMG: If KMFDM never was, you were never a musician, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
Sascha: I’d probably be dead by now.
CMG: How do you think? Suicide or by other means?
Sascha: Yeah, probably that. Probably a drug over dose. It’s strange, KMFDM helped bring me to some point of sanity.
CMG: I don’t think it’s strange. That’s why most musicians are musicians.
Sascha: Yeah. I didn’t approach it as any sort of therapeutic concept, though. I just started, and just went with it.
CMG: If KMFDM end tomorrow, what would you do next, work wise?
Sascha: KMFDM will only end when I am dead.
CMG: Are there any albums, looking back, that you wish you’d never recorded?
Sascha: No, all the albums we’ve done deserved to be recorded. Of course over time there are songs I’m not too fond of anymore. I’m less critical of later records. Right now I’d say, with WWIII, I don’t think there’s a bad song on it. Just like back in the day, when listening to UAIOE, I’d say there wasn’t a bad song, but now there are a few I’d say are. With time, I don’t see it in terms of good and bad albums, only good and bad songs.
CMG: Are there any questions, that you’ve never been asked, that you’ve always wanted to be asked? Anything you want to get off your chest, be have never been asked the right question?
Sascha: No, not really, I’ve been asked everything from favorite color to sexual preference to deep, philosophical questions. I’ve been asked everything. But maybe, if you thought there was a question you would of never been able to ask, I could answer it for you.
I closed the interview there, and talked to Sascha a little more off the record. After two questions, the shakiness I had felt earlier was put to rest. Sascha had shown in those few minutes the cool, and easy going guy he is. He informed me Chicago’s own DJ? Acucrack (electronic side project of Jamie and Jason from Acumen Nation) will be an opener for the entire American and Canadian tour. KMFDM comes to Chicago on November 8th @ Metro. Don’t miss it!