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RockNet Interview with Sascha
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this is an interview of sascha conducted by sheila rene of rocknet. it was done just after the release of xtort. the questions are in red and sascha's responses are in blue.


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                      Sheila René: Hello -- glad we could hook up today. I cannot
                      tell a lie. I'm a fairly new convert to the industrial side of
                      things, but I'm becoming another fanatic fan.

                      Sasha Konietzko: That's good.

                      I'm really hooked on "Dogma," "Power" and "Craze." Is it a
                      myth that this type music takes longer to construct than
                      normal rock and roll?

                      I think it's a myth.

                      Gravity Kills talked about working hundreds of hours on one
                      song.

                      It sounds like they don't know what they're doing. (laughter)

                      Brute is back with some great cover art. How's the animated
                      video with him coming along?

                      It's beginning to look really good. He's working out of Seattle.

                      Where are you headquartered now?

                      Right now I'm in Seattle.

                      Will you be staying in the U.S.?

                      I think so, yeah.

                      It seems that along the way from '86 to now, you've had a core
                      of members bringing in lots of new things.

                      Always, it's just the way it is.

                      I really like the addition of several great female voices. I hope
                      you keep them around. Nicole is wonderful on "Dogma" with
                      all the speaking parts.

                      Absolutely.

                      You've just been out on the racks for 20 days and you're
                      already in the top 10.

                      Really? Wow. That's cool.

                      I'm surprised that you're not out touring while the album rises
                      to the top.

                      That's where the myth starts. That's a record company belief that
                      bands should go on tour when the record comes out. I don't think
                      that's right and it doesn't make any difference whether we go out
                      now or in six months. I do see the point in touring with product if
                      you're a new band. Then it's important for fans to see if the band
                      holds up live. It's a way to catch new fans.

                      With KMFDM, we're established with 100,000 plus as a hard-core
                      following. They'll buy it without a tour. There's a very strong and
                      strict line between people who know us and like us and people who
                      don't know us and don't get into this kind of music. New converts
                      with each album are very easy to follow...just by watching the sales.
                      It's a very slow rise. We're doing it for us and the record label is
                      doing it for money.

                      You've been extremely loyal to Wax Trax/TVT over the
                      years. Are the bigger labels still trying to steal you away?

                      It's not that I'm extremely loyal, it's more or less that I own the damn
                      thing. Who else is on Wax Trax that has substantial sales? No one.

                      They represent some of my favorite bands today...Sister
                      Machine Gun and Young Gods.

                      Wax Trax is a small pond, but we're the biggest fish in it. It's a better
                      situation than being in a big pond and a small fish in it.

                      Are you still being courted by other labels?

                      No, it never really happened. The policy in the industry is that if you
                      know an artist is signed with another label, it means hands off. You
                      don't even talk to them. I guess a lot of people know when our
                      contract is going to be up and I'm sure by that time the phones won't
                      stop ringing. Until then, it's dead quiet.

                      You recorded guitar first on Angst and then you wrote around
                      that. You later said that it was too guitar-driven. Then on the
                      next album you wrote the whole thing yourself and then laid in
                      some trimmed-down guitars.

                      Yes, on both Nihil and Xtort that's the way I did it.

                      Xtort sounds like a lot of guitars to me.

                      It's never without guitar, that's for sure.

                      I will say you've got one of the best Web sites going today. I
                      poked around the site earlier today to see if I could learn
                      anything new about you.

                      Thanks. Did you check out the guest point? That's the most
                      interesting section of the whole Web site...the comments they drop
                      in. It's really amazing.

                      Are you still a compulsive sampler?

                      No, I'm not compulsive. I never have been. I've always been more of
                      a methodical sampler, if that's the opposite of compulsive. I usually
                      go about making a sound and then I record it. Most of this stuff is
                      very conceptual. The story about a snare drum that consisted of a
                      wad of $100 notes being slapped into the hand...like whack! It's just
                      conceptually nice to do stuff like that.

                      What comes first with you -- the writing of the songs, and then
                      you call in the brilliant guests, or do you write with them in
                      mind?

                      No, where it all starts is with the sound, the individual sounds. Let's
                      say I sit around and tweak a little vintage synthesizer or something.
                      The thing goes off and off in a bubbling fashion. I take pieces of what
                      the sound is and I finally get a loop that is rhythmically sound and can
                      repeat itself. That determines the basic rhythm.

                      Then there's the tonality. I instrumentate that thing a little more and
                      then I go to our guitarist, Schulz, and we work out the guitar stuff.
                      Once the song is done, by that time I've spoken to various people
                      who have committed or not committed. They have a pick. They can
                      take what they want. Bill Reiflin, the drummer, would advise what
                      tracks he wanted to work on. Chris Connelly picks out the tracks he
                      likes, the ones he wants to write lyrics for.

                      The criteria is not that they have to be brilliant, but that I respect
                      what they're doing and that they go through my filter as being good to
                      work with. They don't have to be famous or known or anything.
                      Many people who've worked with us in the past have become
                      known just at the same pace as KMFDM.

                      Jr. Blackmail does the narration on "Wrath." How long have
                      you known him?

                      He's been involved with us since the early days, and participated on
                      the very early stuff.

                      I love the tip of your hat to the numbers 666 in the time of
                      "Wrath."

                      Right. It's really 10:09. There's all kinds of stuff all over the record.
                      The other day I got an e-mail from someone who noticed that some
                      of the times were really weird on Nihil. He was wondering if a certain
                      sequence of numbers had a significant meaning for us. (laughing). He
                      was totally smelling conspiracy all over the place.

                      Your music started out as a backlash against metal.

                      Metal was always like a swear word in a way. At some point a good
                      friend of mine gave me a cassette -- one side was the new Slayer
                      record and the new Metallica on the other side. He said "I know you
                      don't like this kind of music, but check it out anyway." I'm listening to
                      it and it was total crap, but with some elements that were really
                      interesting, namely the guitar playing. That's when I got really
                      interested in using sequencing, the machine-created rhythms, together
                      with manually-played metal slide guitars. It wasn't a backlash but
                      rather how hippies are looked upon today, the "what do they know"
                      attitude -- stuck in time, stuck in space.

                      "Inane" is a great song. It sounds as if you're writing from a
                      fan's perspective.

                      That is just KMFDM Sucks Part 2. It was an old idea of making a
                      song out of older song titles but it didn't come about until now. We
                      definitely had enough song titles to make a whole song. It could have
                      gone on forever. It's probably the song with the most lyrics I ever
                      wrote.

                      What turns you on musically today?

                      I'm actually going through a little flashback retro thing. I'm listening to
                      a lot of German stuff from the early '70s such as Kraftwerk and
                      Tangerine Dream, just to refresh my memory. That music was really
                      hip when I was 11 or 12 years old. I did see some of those bands
                      live, but never listened to their music. I'm just doing a little catching
                      up.

                      I tried to get into those particular bands, but I didn't like them.
                      Tangerine Dream was three guys sitting in front of big banks
                      of machinery.

                      I see it two different ways. One is the performance aspect, which is
                      extremely boring, but the compository aspect I think is very
                      interesting. If you think back to what was around then,
                      equipment-wise, it was very rudimentary stuff compared to now.
                      You can go into a music store and spend just under $2000 and you
                      get a super-sampling work station with built-in techno sounds. You
                      could do your own record right there.

                      Technology has progressed so much since then that the effort in
                      terms of composition can be very minimal and yet you can achieve
                      something that sounds very contemporary. You don't have to think
                      very much. You can use a certain avenue or scheme to become
                      immediately stigmatized as this or that.

                      Speaking of equipment, are you still working on a Mac?

                      We're using the Mac as a centerpiece for synchronization. Writing
                      doesn't happen on sequencers at first, but on vintage keyboards.
                      Once the material is coming together and it's being sampled or
                      digitized, then the Mac comes into play with sequencing the bits and
                      pieces together.

                      What's the best sequencer on the market today?

                      It's really hard to say. It depends largely on what you intend to do.
                      Personally, I'm working with Studio Vision Pro, which is a sequencer
                      and audio recorder. Some people swear by other makes and other
                      brands. The IBM-compatible computers have different lines of
                      sequencing. There's a broad variety of machines out there. If you just
                      happen to start learning what you're doing on this or that system, you
                      probably stay with it or totally hate it and switch to something else.
                      It's not so much that you can say it's "the best," but for me it's more
                      like, "This is the best for me now."

                      Your live shows are infamous. Maybe it's your goal to spice up
                      the live shows.

                      Not really. The thing is we had times where what we played live was
                      quite different than what we played on records. Just because it was
                      difficult to recreate some of that material. We have perfected
                      ourselves to a certain extent in actually creating the kind of sound that
                      we have on record in a live situation. The shows are infamous for
                      other reasons such as the visuals, and certain rigidity in the
                      presentation and a certain non-compromising attitude.

                      Do you have any side projects going on?

                      No, I'm actually getting geared up for doing a production for a
                      French band named Treponem Pal.

                      What kind of music are they into?

                      It's different. "French" pretty much describes it. It's a very good
                      mixture of various styles. It's not very radical, but it's definitely
                      interesting. They're signed with Mercury Records and I'm going to
                      produce their album.

                      Didn't you work with Sister Machine Gun? I know you have
                      their publishing.

                      I did some production on their first album, yeah.

                      They've just come onto my horizon of late with this new album,
                      Burn.

                      It's a nice album. Have you seen the pictures of Chris in Playgirl?
                      You should definitely check those out.

                      No, I haven't. I'll try to find one.

                      You should probably hurry up. He'll be so embarrassed if you tell
                      him that I suggested you pick one up. That'll be cool.

                      As far as touring goes in '97, will you be taking all these folks
                      on the album out with you?

                      I don't know yet. We'll see who's available and what they're doing in
                      their own little world first. Whatever happens, happens.

                      Have the past 12 years gone by quickly?

                      Yes and no. I mean it's surprisingly yes, but event-wise,
                      development-wise, it's been a very long 12 years. We've come a
                      long way.

                      This is the most mainstream album you've done.

                      You really think so? I think it's a step back from Nihil and Angst,
                      which are more mainstream-sounding for me.

                      Are you into Casper Brotsman? He's one of the most
                      underrated talents in my mind. Just a master guitarist with all
                      the incredible sounds he gets.

                      Absolutely. I see him every once in a while. He's mostly in Berlin.
                      Unfortunately, he's one of those guys that don't really sell themselves
                      so good. Maybe fortunately, I don't know.

                      Are you going to stick with the plan of no re-mixes on this
                      album?

                      I think so. Actually, not really, but for the most part yes. I think the
                      reaction to my no re-mix statement was very overrated. All I was
                      saying or intending to say was that I think that the re-mix thing is
                      becoming a bit old. It's probably time to move on, to maybe make
                      songs that are fine just the way they are.

                      Your work on the movie screen, the soundtracks. Is that
                      something you'd like to do more of?

                      It's not really so much that I'm doing any work in that direction, it's
                      more like that movie companies constantly need more music for their
                      films. I've never written any scores out for movies, they just use
                      music that is existing. It's a nice way to make some extra money.

                      I think if you got into that you'd pick up some more fans.

                      That's always a good thing, I guess.

                      When is the video going to be ready?

                      It should be ready in about a month, maybe a little less.

                      Now that MTV is coming out with M2 maybe we can get back
                      to playing videos only. So many of us have complained about
                      the crap they program and taking our "Headbanger's Ball"
                      off.

                      That sounds interesting.

                      Anything you want to say to your fans in the U.S.?

                      Just come visit our Web site.

                      Thanks for my time with you.

                      —Interview conducted by Austin-based Sheila René