Related Artists

Front Line Assembly


My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

Razed In Black

Butthole Surfers






KMFDM Biography

Home > Music > K > KMFDM > Biography

Birth Place: Hamburg, Germany
Years Active: 1984–1999, 2002–present
Genres: Industrial Rock, Industrial Metal, Electro-Industrial

KMFDM is an industrial band from Germany, lead by multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko, who founded the group in 1984 as a performance art project. KMFDM has been recognized by their peers and fans as being one of the first bands to bring industrial music to the attention of mainstream audiences. The band infuses industrial sounds with metal music, while relying on heavy guitar riffs, and electronic samples.

KMFDM has undergone numerous line-up changes over the years, featuring various guest musicians. The band's original line-up consisted of drummer En Esch and vocalist Raymond Watts, with guitarist Günter Schulz joining in 1990. The band disbanded in 1999 until Konietzko resurrected KMFDM in 2002 with new musicians. As of 2005 the band's line-up has been stable, consisting of singer Lucia Cifarelli, guitarists Jules Hodgson and Steve White and drummer Andy Selway.

The band got their start in Paris, France in 1984 as an art project of Konietzko's and German artist Udo Sturm. The duo began performing at art openings for other artists, playing a synthesizer with audio treatments. Sturm's passion was art with no musical aspirations, whereas Konietzko wanted to move forward with his music and form a band and record albums. The duo separated and Konietzko began to collaborate with Raymond Watts and drummer Nicklaus Schandelmaier.

The band's first album, “Opium,” began circulating through the underground club scene in Hamburg during 1984, and gathered a small following. The band's second album, “What Do You Know, Deutschland?” arrived in 1986 and prompted a signing with Skysaw Records, who released the album in the U.K.

The band's relationship with Wax Trax! Records began in 1988 with their album, “Don't Blow Your Top,” which saw KMFDM's music reach American audiences. 1989 marked the band's tour of the U.S. tour with Ministry, while supporting their fourth album, “UAIOE.”

The band's fifth album, “Naïve,” marked the debut of guitarist Schulz. The band relocated to Chicago in 1991, and quickly became a part of the industrial music scene there. The band's first hit single in the U.S. was “Split,” which peaked at #46 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs chart in 1991. The band scored another huge hit with the 1992 single, “Vogue,” peaking at #19 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs chart. Wax Trax! Records filed for bankruptcy just as the band began to work on their seventh album, “Angst,” in 1993.

The band began to see some mainstream success with the single, “A Drug Against War,” off “Angst,” in addition to airplay on MTV. The mid to late 1990s became KMFDM's most successful years. Konietzko moved to Seattle in 1994, Esch moved to New Orleans, while Watts rejoined the band to work on their eighth album, “Nihil,”which peaked at #16 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. “Nihil” featured KMFDM's most widely known song, “Juke Joint Jezebel.”

Watts toured with KMFDM throughout 1995 in support of “Nihil, “but then left the group to return to solo recording. Esch also separated from the group, and “Xtort” was created in 1996 almost entirely without his input. Konietzko instead brought in a number of other industrial artists such as Chris Connelly to assist with the album. “Xtort” was the first KMFDM album to enter the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and it was also the highest-charting and best-selling album in the band's history, reaching #92. Esch returned for the “Symbols” album, which was released in 1997 and featured Abby Travis and Skinny Puppy's Nivek Ogre. “Symbols” reached #137 on the Billboard 200.

By 1999 the band decided to call it quits, due to stress, pressure and exhaustion. During their split the band members went on to form new bands and work on side projects before Konietzko reformed KMFDM in 2002 with Tim Skold, Cifarelli, while past collaborators Bill Rieflin, Watts, Schulz and Esch were invited to rejoin the band, but declined.

KMFDM's 16th studio album, “Blitz” appeared in 2009, however by this time Konietzko had moved back to Germany, making it hard for the other band members to contribute to the band's recordings. Two compilation albums followed, “Würst” and “Greatest Shit,” in 2010.