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KMFDM bring sound of 'WWIII'

Published: July 2, 2004 (Issue # 982)

  • KMFDM ready in combat mode for their upcoming gig at club PORT.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

KMFDM, the intense U.S.-based industrial band, who describes its style as "ultraheavy beat," brings its most recent album, "WWIII," to St. Petersburg and promises a really special event, when it performs at club PORT on Friday.

The band was formed in Paris by Sascha Konietzko and German painter and multi-media-performer, Udo Sturm, in February 1984.

"At first, it was more of an art project, a sort of a soundtrack to art exhibitions and things like that," said Konietzko about the beginnings of the band, which released its first album, "What Do You Know, Deutschland," in 1986.

"We started, at a pretty early point, combining machine beats, electronic sounds and heavy metal guitar, with politically charged lyrics - not stuff about misery and love, but all about anger and political protest, dissatisfaction with political systems, because we figured out communism doesn't work, capitalism doesn't work, democracy doesn't work, so the driving question behind the early KMFDM stuff was: what actually works?

According to Konietzko, KMFDM has never seen itself as a German band. "We never felt like a German band, we've always been a very international mixture of people: our singer was from Indonesia, our drummer was half-Japanese. It was more than a local German band, it was an international force."

Konietzko, who was born in Hamburg in 1961, attributes his Slavic-sounding name to possibly Ukrainian roots. "I think, originally my family came from the Ukraine," he says.

From his early years, Konietzko was surrounded by music and musical instruments due to his parents' musical interests.

"My father is a marine biologist. In the 1950s he worked in Africa as a marine biologist for the Royal Belgian Zoological Society. While in Africa, with a tape machine, he recorded native music, and he exhibited those recordings at ethnic festivals in Germany and all over Europe in the early 1960s. He was interested in all kinds of archaic native musical instruments, African drums.

"My entire life I was always exposed to exotic instruments around the house. I started building my first guitar when I was eight years old, and I made the pickup out of an old headphone system, so that was how I got interested in music. Not so much in playing an instrument, because till today I can't pick up a guitar and play a song, I can't just join a band and jam. I am not a musician per se."

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Friday, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 4

A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at

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