KMFDM on 30 Years of Bringing the Noise + Exclusive VIBE Remix

Like its punk and metal cousins, industrial music has a rep for being nefarious, violent and misogynistic. It is ironic propaganda considering how ardently industrial artists have railed against the very social ills which they’ve been accused of perpetuating.

In their three-decade history, industrial titans KMFDM have had their share of blame heaped upon them, most famously after the 1999 Columbine shooting because one of the shooters [who shall remain nameless here] was an avid fan of the group. At the time, founder and leader Sascha Konietzko issued a statement making their mission clear. “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.”

Nevertheless, this specter reared its ugly head again during the 2007 shootings at the Jokela school in Finland, despite this shooter [again remaining nameless here] taking full, explicit blame for the incident. “Don’t blame the movies I see, the music I hear, the games I play or the books I read.” (In a nod to the Columbine shootings, he had used the band’s “Stray Bullet” in a video uploaded to Youtube shortly before the shooting.) And yet, at last count, there are over 1000 articles linking the group to these incidents.

Undaunted, KMFDM stayed true to their hardcore roots and continued to kick out one album after another. Kunst released yesterday is the band’s 18th album. The title, German for “art”, is also a cheeky pun on an unsavory English word for female genitalia. Taken with the cover art, an illustration of a buxom woman with a chainsaw, you can almost hear the complaints bubbling up. Speaking to Vibe exclusively on the phone from their current base in Hamburg (“where the real music and art happens in Germany, not Berlin, which is like Hollywood”), Sascha explains their inspiration for the art. “It was the women’s right activist group FEMEN who, in protest against the sentencing of Pussy Riot members to labor camp time, felled a gigantic wooden cross in Kiev, as [is] usual for them when they appear in public, without tops on.”

Possible courting controversy again, the album opens with the title track featuring the chorus, “Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode,” whom uncannily also just released a much anticipated album this month. Long thought to be the meaning behind their acronym, Sascha explains that there is no intent behind the lyric. “It was not so much a ‘decision’ as more of like a ‘wow, haven’t done that yet, so it’s about time.” As he has explained many times, KMFDM is poorly translated German loosely meaning “no pity for the majority.” To underscore the silliness of people reading too much into their name, he adds that it has also been thought to mean “Kalte Melkerhände Fürchtet Die Milchkuh: the milk-cow fears the cold hands of the milk-maid.” Another fanciful interpretation has been “Kylie Minogue Fans Don’t Masturbate.” All of which is just fine with Sascha who would rather let the band’s trademark fusion of heavy metal guitars, grinding synthesizers and pummeling beats speak for the band as they have been since their formation in Paris in 1984.

A huge part of the ‘80s industrial scene in Chicago centered around the famous label Wax Trax!, Sascha credits Ministry for giving them their big break. “Ministry (Al) invited KMFDM to open for their 1989/90 ‘The Mind Is a Terrible Thing’ US tour and thus jumpstarted KMFDM’s career and opened the door for many years of living and working successfully in the US. I definitely owe Al [Jourgensen] a lot for that. The last time I saw him was this past summer and he wasn’t in the greatest of shapes, unfortunately.” Poignantly, that same summer Jourgensen collapsed on stage in Paris where KMFDM were started. For a while in the ‘90s, KMFDM were based in Seattle, though their decision had little to do with the grunge scene. “We love our synths, you’ll never hear an ‘Unplugged’ set from us,” he says, reaffirming the group’s devotion to their industrial DNA. Fans can experience the intensity of their devotion this March as the band heads out on its US tour, which will undoubtedly confirm, yet again, that you don’t have to be a woman-hating Satanist to raise some hell and bring the noise.

Kunst is out on Metropolis records now. Stream an exclusive remix of “Ave Maria” below.

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New Music: Billi Phene Drops 'Love Crimes' Off Of Forthcoming EP

Billi Phene started as a background singer for Rihanna, but since then, she has emerged as a solo entity who is read to take the world by storm on her own accord.

The Bronx-born singer and songwriter recently released her first single off of her forthcoming EP, which is expected to drop in the summer. "Birthed from the ashes of an explosive breakup, 'Love Crimes' is an unapologetic declaration," says a press release for the song, which became available on streaming services Friday, Jan. 11. "Envisioned as an interrogation room confession, it tells the story of emotional self sacrifice."

The artist, who cites her influences as David Bowie, Bjork, Beyonce and Lady Gaga as some of her influences, says that she's always trying to push the envelope. Her lyrics range from mysterious to dangerous to playing with the boundaries of sex.

“I’m always down for edgier soundscapes," she continues. "It’s the story of being nonconformist, and not fitting into any pigeon hole that seems to inform my lyrics and musical choices. It comes from my truest self. Maybe my music can encourage others to do the same...to be different, to be honest with themselves for once.”

Listen to "Love Crimes" below.

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Footage Reveals That R. Kelly Was Aware Of Aaliyah's Age, Contrary To Lawyer's Statement

An old video has resurfaced which showcases that R. Kelly was aware of Aaliyah's age when they married in 1994. The documentary-style interview demonstrates the R&B singer in the studio with a then 14-year-old Aaliyah while they worked on her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, Okayplayer reports.

“Right now I’m producing a very talented young lady, she’s 14. Aaliyah, she’s real street,” he said, continuing to give her directions on how she should hit her notes on the track’s production.

Amid the blatant evidence, Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg recently said that the 52-year-old singer did not know Aaliyah's real age at the time of their marriage. Greenberg also said that Aaliyah allegedly lied about her age in order to get married.

“..My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15. And in order to get married she had to lie about her age,” Greenberg said on Good Morning America. However, he confirmed the two were married. In 1994, VIBE published Kelly and Aaliyah’s marriage certificate in a cover story documenting their union. An excerpt from journalist Danyel Smith reads:

"Then there’s the story that says Aaliyah is supposedly 19, and none of this is as scandalous as folks would like to make it. There is, after all, an Illinois marriage license dated August 31, for Robert S. Kelly and Aaliyah D. Haughton, which lists their respective ages as 27 and 18,” Smith writes. “(Of course, the marriage would be null and void if the ages are not legit.) The only problem is, while promoting her million-selling Jive Records debut, Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a Number, Aaliyah has been evasive about stating her age. Her official bio says 15, and a record company publicist has said, “We stand behind the bio."

Now, another detail has surfaced in relation to the physical abuse Aaliyah allegedly endured at the hands of Kelly while they were married. Journalist Jim DeRogatis, who's extensively covered Kelly's plight with sexual and physical abuse of women, told The New York Times that he obtained court documents stating physical abuse, BET reports.

“The annulment of the Aaliyah marriage and Aaliyah’s legal claim against him had been sealed in Detroit … they were sealed by the court but those documents were provided to me," he said. “It’s a harrowing document, a non-disclosure agreement on both her part and Kelly’s, vowing not to pursue further legal claims for physical abuse. So it wasn’t just an underage sexual relationship, he hit her, allegedly, according to that court document."

R. Kelly is reportedly under criminal investigation by the state of Georgia since Lifetime aired its docu-series Surviving R.Kelly.  

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Premiere: Jordan Hollywood Goes To War In Visuals For "Explosion"

A war-torn forest reminiscent of 1969’s Vietnam War serves as the perfect backdrop for Jordan Hollywood’s video for “Explosion.” Through a montage of wild greenery, Jordan is seen dodging a rainstorm of fiery explosives. Amid the dangerous scenes, his lyrics tell a variety of sex-induced tales paired with braggadocious bars used to remind his rap contemporaries of his space in the game.

The 25-year-old newcomer, who is signed to Quality Control (Migos, City Girls, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty), centers on having his creative visual artistry merge with his lyrical prowess. For “Explosion,” he wanted to revert back to his old artistic roots.

“I’ve been using the same director, Christian Breslauer, since I was 17,” he told VIBE via email. “He did these war videos back then on a shi**y camera that still looked good. Fast forward to now, we were sitting at his house and I was like, 'Yo, remember those war videos you made back then? Let’s do something like that for “EXPLOSION.'”

The Broward County native credits his label for granting him artistic control to express himself how he deems necessary. He named his latest project FINALLY!  as an ode to feeling like he has creative control, and the agency to pursue his craft.

"I’m signed to the best label in the world, I have full creative control, and I have a platform now," he told Billboard. "Whatever vision I have, I can do it. That’s the best feeling. When I say 'finally,' that’s what I mean. To be an artist, not a lot of artists feel the way I feel. They feel controlled or manipulated by people telling them what to do all the time. With me, I feel like I’m in the perfect space and it’s an unbelievable feeling."

Watch the video for "EXPLOSION" below.

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