After the release of their outstanding “Emotional Screening Device” album, and a solid live performance in Athens, we got the chance – and the pleasure – to talk with Arianna and Diego – the Frozen Autumn.
Diego and Arianna,
– What was your first contact with music? Could you
please tell us some words about the first days of FA?
How did you come to the idea of forming this group?
Was it like a dream coming true for you, and has it
reached your expectations?
Diego: I bought my first synth in 1987, when I formed a small local band in which I was the keyboard player and I used to compose most of the tracks. I’ve always liked synths a lot, so I kept on developing in this direction, and after some other groups experience, I finally founded The Frozen Autumn in 1993, which has given me the possibility of realizing the ideas I had fully.
Arianna: I studied piano for 1 year when I was 13, then I got completely fed-up, I liked electro-sounds more than the traditional ones. Then I dedicated my spare time to other forms of art, like drawing and painting. I began to sing by chance in 1996. And I re-started playing the year after, when I bought my first synth.
– How did the contract with the first German record
company come? Did you have to send demos? How exactly
did you end up on EIBON, later?
Diego: In both cases the labels had contacted me directly, I never had to send demos.
– What’s behind the names Frozen Autumn, and Static
Movement? Do they represent concepts and meanings that
come from important experiences and elements of your
Diego: I was really fond of the idea of a “frozen autumn” as the vision of a melancholic season but at the same time “put under ice” like a picture of my emotions. As for SM, I wanted to express the concept that the electro instruments, often considered as cold and static, could self-sufficiently live, creating a rythmic movement.
– Do you plan to continue with the Static Movement
side project, and if yes, which are going to be the
differences between that project and Frozen Autumn?
Would you want to change anything sound-wise in the
future? Maybe use guitars again?
Arianna: We cannot really predict it yet. If we’ll go on with SM, then we’d be likely to produce hard electro-experimental stuff under that name, we’d neatly distinguish this project from TFA.
– Who gets involved in the song – writing and the
lyrics – duties? Which are your influences and how do
your music roots and influences differentiate (between
you and Arianna)? What was in your mind while working
on lyrics and music for Emotional Screening Device?
What were your mood and your intensions? How did you
expect the audience to respond to the new release?
Arianna: We both get massively involved in the songs, under every aspects. I’m most influenced by colder electronics such as Clock DVA, Coil, Laibach, Kraftwerk etc. As an early teenage I used to listen also to other kinds of not mainstream electro, more danceable, not dark yet experimental. I adore David Sylvian and John Foxx, Twice A Man and obviously the old 4AD bands. The first 4AD bands I got to know were Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins; much later, thanks to Diego, Clan Of Xymox (which I appreciated a lot immediately), X-Mal Deutschland etc. Probably my first musical “crush” was on Depeche Mode, when I was 9. I like many other bands and artists, however my aim is developing my own style.
As for “Emotional Screening Device”, the title talks for itself. It’s the expression of this strong sensation we’ve been both feeling, like being transparent to the others’ eyes, emotionally exposed to everybody, and “everybody” means mostly “strangers”. We’ve never stopped feeling like that since then.
As for the audience, I never have any precise expectations about its reaction. I just think about making a good work with music.
Diego: My main influences are: Clan Of Xymox, Cocteau Twins, and all the old 4AD bands, Twice A Man, Legendary Pink Dots, Sad Lovers & Giants, Communication, etc. etc.
– I’m not sure if this has been mentioned to you
again, but a lot of people had problems with the
limited edition of Emotional Screening Device. The
reading side of the cd was – in some cases – getting
bleary after some weeks. In most of these cases, the
cd was becoming unreadable. Obviously you didn’t have
anything to do with this, but did EIBON inform you of
this matter? Were they able to figure out why this was
Arianna: We’ve been first told about this problem when we were in Athens in September by a fan of ours, so we just thought it could be an isolated problem due to the conditions of storage in Greece or to the travel, or to some other unpredictable error factor.
Exactly one week ago, a couple of Italian fans of ours, came up with the same questions: they could read perfectly all the tracks except the last one, as there was a strange halo on the edge of the cd reading surface. As we had no explanation for that, we immediately phoned to Eibon Records. To our bitter surprise, Eibon was already aware of the problem since some time but did not inform us till the moment we personally directly asked for that. Eibon has recently sent a newsletter anyway, with an explanation.
We are incredibly sorry for all that, but it’s not our fault; we would suggest to the owners of the damaged copies to contact Eibon Records directly for any complain.
– How is the latest album doing in Italy and generally
in Europe? Do you have a US distribution?
Arianna: We had many positive reviews, the audience’s response was enthousiastic, it generally liked the more electro mood of “Emotional Screening Device”. I think we have a US distribution, but I can only assume that from the fact our album is contained in several American catalogues, and that we have a lot of American fans.
– Could you give us a brief description of the “memory
room”? It seems that many artists nowadays prefer
doing the recording sessions at home studios, rather
than using a common studio. Does this make you feel
more free and creative?
Arianna: It’s a 4 x 5 x 3 m five-sided room full of synthesizers and samplers (at least 25) + other electronic devices + our hand-made bed. We’re absolutely free of composing any time we feel like, and we control every single stage of the making of our music, from the first sound idea until the postproduction. As far as these operations are concerned, we trust only ourselves.
– In some songs you have used French and German
lyrics. Why is that? Do you think that this could help
you come closer to audience from these countries
(France, Germany, etc)?
Arianna: We occasionally used French and German in our lyrics only because I also like those languages and I thought they could perfectly fit those two songs, “Nouvelle Vague” and “Wintertag” .
– How are things for the electro/darkwave scene in
Italy? What’s your opinion about Limbo and Kirlian
Camera? Have they been an inspiration for you?
Arianna: Worse that in Northern Europe, that’s for sure.
No-one of these groups has been of any particular inspiration for us, but we respect both, especially Kirlian Camera.
– There are many groups that are not so well known and
appreciated in their countries, like Clan Of Xymox,
who are not as popular in Holland as they are in many
other countries. Which, do you think, is the biggest
market target for a group of this music scene?
Germany, Scandinavia or anywhere else?
Arianna: “Nemo propheta in patria”, Italy is the incarnation of this proverb. But please don’t ask me this kind of questions, I haven’t got any idea about that and it’s really not my task thinking about that.
– How was your recent experience with Clan Of Xymox? I
have great respect for COX and they are one of my
favorite groups ever, but I surely prefer their
earlier albums, which sound to me more electro and
less goth – oriented, than their latest ones. What’s
your opinion on this? I have heard people saying that
actually FA’s music resembles (in a way) COX’s first
albums (which in my humble opinion can only be a good
thing). Do you thing that FA indeed has many common
things (musically) with COX?
Diego: Our recent experience with COX has been wonderful: having the opportunity of meeting them again and of collaborating with them has been very satisfactory and we’re crazy with joy about our “There’s No Tomorrow” remix and with COX new tracks as well . Moreover they’re some fantastic people. The concert we made for their organization at Paradiso in Amsterdam has been the best live experience we’ve ever had so far. Ronny & Mojca are not only very professional musicians but they are also extremely professional organizers.
Their music has always been very important to me, I’ve listened to it since 1985. I believe that COX have influenced my sound, without preventing me from developing my own style though.
In my opinion, COX have musically evolved through the years, passing through different stages. Each and every of these stages was highly sensible, and nowadays they’re still producing original hi-quality tracks as a result of this experimentation process, hence it’s natural that their songs don’t sound as those of the very beginning, and it must be like that.
– Arianna, I have heard that Depeche Mode is one of
your favourite groups ever. Do you consider them as a
huge inspiration? It seems that Depeche Mode has
changed their music style quite a lot of times. Which
musical period of them do you like the most? Which is
your favorite DM album and what’s your opinion about
Martin Gore as a songwriter? I would also like to hear
your opinion about Alan Wilder – as a producer. Do you
Arianna: As I told you, it’s the first group I really fell in love with, which is quite common. If, on one hand, I’m quite certain that I have to thank their music if I first felt attracted to synthesizers, on the other I must admit that they’re not a great inspiration for me, in the sense that I don’t want my music to be like theirs, I’m structuring my own style. I respect them really a lot, I respect all of their musical changes, they were great kickstarters, and they’re still there after all these years. My favourite DM album is “Violator”. I bought it when it came out, and it’s probably one of the most refined and stylish examples of electro-music ever. Style at its purest state, it’s brilliant. Martin Gore is a gifted melody writer, a superb singer, a great arranger. Most of DM songs are not mere “pop” songs, in my opinion.
As for Alan Wilder, oh well, if I were in love with DM, I was mostly in love with him, ‘cause he was the real synthesizer programmer in the group; I think that my sentimental predilection for “synth-men” is not a secret. He was the real sound structurer, he was the “man-behind-the-knobs”. His sounds gave such a particular character to Martin’s beautiful tunes… but, well, if they separated they had their good reasons, anyway, and they’re both still making good releases. I’ve got some Recoil works, I like “Hydrology” best, but all Alan’s sounds are great.
– Diego and Arianna, when you came in Greece, that
night at Rebound (the club we went to, after the
soundcheck for the Hypnobeat festival), both of you
moved to the stage and started dancing to the sounds
of “Fade to Grey”. May I assume that this song is one
of your all time favourites? Could you tell us some
other songs that you love and consider as classics in
the electro scene history?
Arianna: Dancing is a good way of relaxing, and those days we were given many reasons to be quite nervous and unhappy. We like “Fade To Grey” but we wouldn’t include it in our all time faves Top 10.
– Are you involved in any kind of public movements or
cultural and politic actions (Greenpeace, Live Aid,
Anti Nazi concerts)? Do you think that artists should
be involved with politics and that it is ok for music
to be used as a way of expressing political ideas and
Arianna: This is part of our private lifes. Music, and all the the other forms of art, must be judged according to esthetical and not moral criteria. The fact the a musician is involved or not in such movements doesn’t make his /her music better or worse. As this must not affect the listeners judgement, then it’s not something the listeners should be interested in. Moreover, art is one thing, propaganda is another.
– What are your plans for the future? Should we expect
a new album soon?
Arianna: This is a period of profound meditation for us. This is all we can tell you now.
– Diego and Arianna, thank you very much for the
**Diego and Arianna reassured us (after we asked them) that “Nouvelle Vague” (Video CD-ROM + 3 live songs – limited edition of 150 copies) is not out of print – contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe. The cd can be bought directly from the FA. Also, they did mention that there have been thoughts for future videos.
Interview by Σωτηρία Σιγαλού, Alexx Decode, Ζίνα Αρβανιτίδη & Ιωάννης Γλυκός
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