“Only sometimes I question everything”…(“Sometimes”, D.M.)
My written sentences…my questions. May I get some answers?
ANGELO – Giving answers is dangerous, as it risks to become an unlucky deal: people are envious of everything which makes a person… a person. Then one always risks to hard-disappoint somebody else. The difference between me and other bla-bla musicians is simple: they always have a certain ‘mass identity’ behind their behaviour (being a codified rebel is so respectably “juvenile”, now… and the funny thing is just that everybody acts like he/she was a kinda today’s Mick Jagger, that’s so tediously ordinary), so, more or less, let’s say they always have some support; but, when I decide to talk… be sure almost 50% of the readers starts getting upset! The strange point is I don’t wanna get anybody that pissed off, as that’s not a funny play, for me.
Sometimes it feels like you make music to “dress up” certain meanings, pictures, or (senti)/mental conditions. How do lyrics and music come together? What is more important and what is composed first?
ANGELO – There isn’t any habit concerning what is to come first. It depends on the mood. Now, during the making of the new single and album, everything is starting from the title, as if title were yet a perfect focus-point. Everything, in fact, seems to rise from hours and hours spent with Elena thinking to a possible perfect global image, that is just the title. It is a question of concentration, merciless introspection, then mixed with a… research trying to reach a sense of aesthetics, avoiding any ‘affectation of aestheticism’. Passion and aesthetics must definitely become one entity, an entity filled with harsh purity. No lies are welcome. It’s hard, but it’s just the only way to follow. Of course, one might find such statements a bit too serious for that entertainment thing called ‘rock music’! In fact, passion and aesthetics together might even give a chance to real fun and fine mood. Nothing must be too foreseeable… and anyway, my words are just to be connected with everyday’s life.
I’m now listening to “Fur Immer” (from “Solaris, the Last Corridor”) : …strange! This rhythmical repetition, the instruments…What kind of instruments do you use, in general? How is the selection made and in what way do you think different instruments give “character” to your work and to the group?
ANGELO – At the times, we recorde “Fόr immer” and all of the other tracks using an actually spartan gear made of a Roland Juno-60, a Ensoniq EPS16+ sampler – mainly used to resample our synthetic sounds – and some metal plates. Today we’ve a bit revolutionized our equipement, but we still keep on using a small number of instruments, still avoiding to work with any pc or mac. We prefer recording electronic sounds into a simple sequencer with no monitor: I can’t stand to continuously put my eyes on a damned pc screen! Then, we started involving some real strings, a small chamber orchestra conducted by a good conductor and mixing them with hi-quality (or even lo-quality, if it works better) sampled strings. Later on, we often throw real and sampled strings into an external filter, say Waldorf 4-Pole, EMS Synthi A/AKS or even Korg Kaosspad.
How would you characterize the sound of The Kirlian Camera? (I would say it is unclassified, something I definately like!). Is it new wave, darkwave, electro…something else?? I’ve heard that some people call you the “fathers (better… “parents” ) of the italian electronic music”. How do you feel about that?
ANGELO – I guess it’s a fair compliment, AH, AH, AH!!! Jokes aside… Each of the labels you mentioned is fine, as I couldn’t succeed in finding anything else out! We aren’t in the habit of following just one line, so one might even expect to listen to “Kirlian Egyptian music” soon!!! Somebody doesn’t like such an attitude… When “Unidentified Light” came out, I did read real insults and hurting reviews… what can we do… we keep on doing what we feel. I only can say we really spend a lot of time studying possibilities and “feeling” our state of mind… Sometimes, I guess we’re largely close to become mad, to lose our reason. I guess this is not a simple life… it’s like fusing elements like “perceptions”, “ordinary life lived by alien-aliens”, impossible dreams which MUST become possible, sorrow… We are not artists; that’s not our goal. We don’t even wonder if we are or not. We weren’t born in a castle or in a hell of a beautiful estate… we come from the worse zones. We aren’t that proud of it, anyway. Going back to the main theme… just for the moment, let’s call it “KC Apocalyptic Technology”!!! What a style!!!
Since your work is very special, avant-garde in its own distinct way, it has already affected other groups, more recently formed. It’s alright to be an influence for other groups. Do you have any influences? Why did you chhose to follow this music path? Was it a matter of choice or a matter of influences? Could you imagine yourself as a jazz-musician, for example?
ANGELO – I’m forced to appear as a boring old crap, but I mainly like classic music and some contemporary composers, I don’t like rock nor indie music that much, except of some easy listening products performing standard-techno. I like some folk music… just in Athens I’ve listened to some beautiful sounds, in the streets, made with some weirdly tuned strings and other stuffs. My influences are not so many. Let’s say many people had interesting intuitions, thoughout time, and sometimes I caught them. Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Nico, early Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, Amon Dόόl 2, Faust, Neu!, David Vorhaus’s White Noise, Walter Carlos, Hawkwind, Julie London, Deep Purple, have been my early influences in the “young scene”. I like a lot to listen to stuffs like T.A.T.U.! For sure, Gustav Mahler, Eduard Artemiev, Richard Wagner, Arvo Pδrt, Michail Gnesin, Johannes Brahms, Ottorino Respighi, Alban Berg, Bela Bartok, P.I. Tchaikovskij and so forth are some of my favourite listenings.
ELENA – Jazz music is very interesting, in a way, but a bit non-intriguing, as far as I’m concerned. Sometimes Angelo uses to write some jazzy-orientated lines and I sing on them without any problem, but, all in all, jazz doesn’t meet our taste, mine in particular.
I cannot overlook the comments some people make when I ask them what impression they get, in general, out of your music. In every work there is this experimental aspect (“Still Air” gives me the same impression)…Like a child eyeing with curiosity their new-acquired toys. Do you experiment with music, with melodies and beats? Why do you feel like doing it, and what is the labels’ response to it?
ANGELO – Yes, we keep on experimenting more and more, especially today, since line-up is a bit more orientated to finding some possible solutions and developments to the way-of-making-pop-music, as, in fact, we think we are a pop-based group which likes to make particular arrangements, until even ending up doing “total electronica”, sometimes, if I can use such a term without hurting anybody out there. Experimenting and researching in this field-of-action is anyway very strange. I mean everybody here is doing “weird” sounds just to make an impression on audience but, after all, many are just using factory presets without any knowledge, in addition… it seems that putting two ‘dark sounds’ together is enough to have a good review and your face on some mags. Even several self-declared “critics” and “music connoisseurs” are used to often make some fine hell of a confusion. They say and spread you’re but a shit if you only have the nerve to try combining serious experimentation with entertainment/pop-music. They say you’re a perfect nothingness, that you’ve lost your way, that you’re finished, and on and on and on, and blah, blah, blah. Then, when you come back doing two low-frequence farts, they suddenly realize you’re still interesting, in some way (but they aren’t so sure, poor kids…). These people often come from so-called “industrial area”. A bunch of ignorants wearing glasses or looking like b-class anarchists, false homosexuals, sad satanists, poseurs… annoying like sun and humanity in general. They still guess that pulling a cross directly into their ass is an interesting piece-of-art, a happening, a rebel action, a “performance”… because they are BOURGEOISES. The world is their own property, their fathers know the greats or the pseudo-greats of the world, ergo… the world is their sad small theatre. They have a problem: they want to disappoint their parents at all costs; fine, I couldn’t care less about that, but sorry… why they must break our balls?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? “Them”… I don’t know whether I mostly dislike them or their perfect opposite. People who’s even unable to press one key on their miserable keyboard (bought without having a minimum of brain into their idiot head…), making tons of gigs and records with neither intelligence nor inspiration at all… Sometimes, these human shits like to quote other fine intellectuals and, of course, like to write such quotations on their boring booklets, while… they throw tons of shit on your work. NATURALLY, they like doing that when you’re not around…. May you understand? That’s research! That’s the world of fine and elegant music… I guess I’m going a bit under stress, but… I also guess somebody will get a mountain of stress more than mine, soon!!! I realize I’ve been vaguely going ‘out of theme’, but… lemme say I needed an outburst!
There are two new projects formed by you (Stalingrad) and Elena Fossi (Siderartica). Are they Kirlian Camera’s side projects? Are you about to experiment with new music forms than those upon which The Kirlian Camera worked in the past? Tell us some things about your plans.
ANGELO – Stalingrad is just a new duo, to be separated from KC. It’s just a more “uncomplicated deal”, where passion comes out with no stress at all. There’s no big stress to face, it’s very funny and actually heartfelt… Elena likes to call it ”KC’s half-witted brother”. I guess she really loves this tenderly stormy creature, given that she practically gave real life and form to this band. Kirlian Camera’s atmosphere is different, KC is a very merciless creature: impossible to make anything not containing both research and passion; it’s like having a perfect mirror in front of your eyes, being forced to look in to such a glass. As for Siderartica, I’m not involved in such a project. I like it very much, but have no time enough for that, then, it is just Elena’s band.
ELENA – We like to consider Kirlian Camera, Stalingrad and Siderartica as a three distintly separated entities. As Stalingrad we can give free play to our vents, keeping ourselves aware of the fact that falling into sheer rudeness’s trap is even too simple and we must avoid that, but…it’s honest, very honest and heartfelt project where, exactly, there’s more room for soul than for brain. A new Stalingrad single might come out pretty soon, if everything works fine. It’s just a official new single, to come available as both CD and vinyl. Siderartica is the bunch’s youngest group, more new-wave styled, born around 2001, including my brother Andrea and my friend Andrea Savelli, besides myself. I realize that the idea of giving life to another band may look a little particular, but I really wanted this band to come to life… After the exit of “Night Parade” we have had the idea to release a single on early spring. This contains a new song titled “Shapes and colours from the land of God” which is also the title of the work; then, there are also two unreleased re-mixes to album’s tracks, made by Y-LU-KO and Morph.
A tribute to A. Tarkovskij’ s movies was recently held, here in Athens. (“A. Tarkovskij: Man, Nature, God”), “Solaris” is one of his works. Reminiscent of your work: “Solaris, The Last Corridor”. There is always something more than music and lyrics in every work of yours. There is this artistic, literary insight that sometimes gives a religious or even political aspect to your work, but mostly to your live performances. How do people react to this and what is your answer to such reactions?
ANGELO & ELENA – People coming to see us are completely divided in three parts: devoted fans, snobs and curious guys. None of them is totally tender with us… that’s important. But, you know, this area is a bit too filled with turds, so it happens sometimes some of them take the wrong way and comes to us. Anyhow, I’ve yet described such idiots above, in this interview. Let’s say the “live factor” is very, very important, for us, today more than ever before. We try to give our real soul to audience 101%, even when many would give up due to disastrous technical situations. We always try to save a difficult show! Sometimes I think we mostly like to play live than making records! Perhaps, some among the audience succeed in perceiving that…
Simona Buja, Bianca Hoffmann-Santos, Emilia Lo Jacono, Barbara Boffelli, Elena Fossi!! What was/is their importance, their role in TheKirlianCamera?
ANGELO – I honestly must say none of them is particularily less important, when compared to each other. Working with such talented women has been a great honour, for me. The one more involved in KC’s music ever is surely Elena, as she is the first “full-time member” in the history of the band, myself aside. She is a great singer and a great musician, in my opinion, so I asked her to become the second half of the band, as far as composing is concerned. She courageously accepted and left her job as a teacher, so, since “Still Air”, she is partly responsible for lyrics and music, taking also care of mixing in the studio and co-producing both Kirlian Camera and Stalingrad, as well as her solo project Siderartica. Elena has been increasingly driving the band towards more “gloomy” atmospheres, despite her “jazzy” debut on “Unidentified Light” (a track she really can’t love so much, I feel, AH, AH, AH!!!)… Let’s say she’s the “dark” side of KC, today. Emilia, surely, has been very involved in the beginning, losing little by little the chance to keep on dedicating her time to the projects, but… globally, these two girls are/were just the most important ever, for KC. I only would like to say Barbara Boffelli was also a really gifted and lovely collaborator, and it’s possible she starts collaborating with me and Elena again, soon. Jarboe (The Swans) is also to be mentioned, as she’s a very good today’s external collaborator.
Your collaborations with other groups and many different labels are interesting! How do you feel about that? How were your relations each time?
ANGELO – It depends on “who”!!! Collaborating has been a bit weird, sometimes. I prefer not to say the name of my favourite past collaborators… but, I must say people like John Fryer (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, This Mortal Coil, etc…) and Bruce Lafountain (Sword Volcano Complex) have been really relaxing and well mannered. Wumpscut’s Rudy Ratzinger, for example, is another very able and uncomplicated guy… I like to work with him. Anyhow, the “good list” should go on, as well as the “bad” one, but… better stopping here, you know!!!
There is this “Ice Curtain” compilation/collection…Do you think it is a good representative of your work as a whole? (many people here know about you through this collection. Anyway…”I am the light” and “The limit” (from “Unidentified Light”) are my two faves!)
ANGELO – Yes, I like that harvest a lot, but I guess we’re gonna setting a new collection up, soon. It’ll be released not so soon, but we started working around such a concept, yet. It’s the very first KC singles collection, and we think it’ll be issued as a double album including all of the singles and some brand new versions and collaborations.
Is there any chance that we might see you around here soon?
ELENA & ANGELO – We hope so! Our first experience with Greek audience has been unforgettable. Our days in Athens had been beautiful, and… in that city, a new chapter for Kirlian Camera was practically born. So, we are really looking forward to coming there as soon as possible. There is no mawkishness in saying that: just sincerity.