Black #3, Spring 1996


Everybody knows of course, that the Italian band of mastermind ANGELO BERGAMINI named itself after the famous invention of Semyon Kirlian, the Russian who was the first to photograph the energy that living creatures radiate with his self-created camera; and naturally everybody knows the smash hit "Eclipse", which appears on the fixed playlist of every club. Nevertheless, the band is veiled by a mysterious aura, which is intensifying with every album. Bizarre too, is the music brought to us by Angelo, EMILIA LO JACONO and SIMON BALESTRAZZI: it ranges from industrial, neofolk or wave to electro. In the latest months, the KC-albums which had been sold out for quite some time were re-released on Discordia bit by bit, and only a few weeks ago, there was the re-release of the "Schmerz"-album and the release of the maxi-CD "Obsession", a cooperation with Dirk Ivens (DIVE). The following interview with ANGELO BERGAMINI took place shortly before Christmas 1995 by writing, and I personally think it's the most interesting interview since the foundation of BLACK...

BLACK: Let's first talk about your past musical activities, and especially the beginning of KC...
ANGELO: My first experiences with playing live, I acquired January 1974, when I was a member of dark-metal- progressive-band ALTA MAREA; I played keyboards. After that, I played in various metal bands and new wave oriented projects. At the same time, I was busy with my own project called SEPULCRUM DEI, with which I also did some concerts. My musical background covered the trance-electronic genre, with lots of decadent elements.

The first KC line-up came into being in 1979 and was called SUICIDE COMMANDO, from which KC originated in the springtime of 1980, only when we had met our singer, SIMONA BUJA. In the same year, we went recording our first demo tape, "...Dawn...", and one year later, we released the first mini-album, "Kirlian Camera I".

The first official line-up consisted of me on keyboards, programming, electric guitar, vocals and tapes; FABRIZIO CHIARI was also busy with the electronics, MAURO MONTACCHINI played guitar and bass and SIMONA BUJA took care of vocals and keyboards.

It's impossible to summarize 16 years of musical creation in a few sentences; the only thing one can really say, is that KC have always been a curious band, whose members were continually replaced by others. We have worked together with a few major labels (Virgin, EMI etc.), but that one was a horrible time. They always tried to persuade us to play "pop music", precisely because those producers knew I like pop ... at least, the kind of pop that was made by the HYBRYDS, I hate easy-listening! The HYBRYDS make very stimulating pop music, because it's the result of different subcultures, such as rock, electronic, metal, folk and other styles. I didn't want to play standard pop, but those producers were ignorants, they didn't understand me. All kinds of music interest me, and I search for new influences in any genre.

BLACK: Next, I would like to ask you a very personal question. At some of your shows, I noticed you use video performances containing scenes of the Third Reich. Moreover, many songs of KC are entitled "Heldenplatz", "Birkenau" or the like.
I know of course that you like playing with German words. But why do you use this kind of movies and pictures, and why do you wear army clothes yourself?

ANGELO: So for, I've been asked this question in every interview I've had in the past, and I guess it will still be there for quite some time. I don't care talking about it, however, for we do indeed use a lot of pictures and impressions of the history of the Third Reich. The current line-up of KC consists of four persons, only three of which are present at our concerts. Furthermore, there's NANCY APPIAH, a black African woman. Nancy is not a Nazi, because that's rather difficult for an African, and Emilia and Simon are "red". About myself, I can't tell whether I'm a Nazi or not. That's why I actually wouldn't like to press the point of this question.

BLACK: Can you explain the themes of songs such as "Heldenplatz", "Für Immer" or "Twilight Fields" to us?
ANGELO: All of our songs contain a certain kind of "drama". They usually deal with pain and death. It's rather difficult to find a light in our music, for we live under terrible conditions, and our sound should reflect this grievous way of life. "Love" is another element we like "singing" about, that is, love... the burning fire pulsing close to the ruins of Europe. "Europe" too is constantly present in our music... yet an impossible Europe, based on decadence and splendour or lustre.

Europe is my queen ... my dead queen. There are no soldiers left for this kingdom, only idiots.

BLACK: Quite striking too, are your CD-covers. They always depict graveyards. What do concepts such as "death" or "cemetery" actually mean to you?
ANGELO: Those burial grounds are often our gardens... we repose there. During the seventies, when I didn't own a house and had no money, I lived at the cemetery of Parma here in Italy, with some friends. It was our monumental, wonderful home. Therefore, I experience death as something wonderful and merciful. Life, on the other hand, is pure horror! Only horror! That's why we often use pictures of graveyards, they simply convey something about our "dwelling".

At this point, I'd like to make something clear! In all the time we've spent at graveyards, we've never vandalized something! We're no necrophiliacs! We respect the people that visit cemeteries to remember their deceased.

BLACK: Your latest album before the re-release of "Schmerz" was "Solaris - The Last Corridor". What does this title mean, and what took you so long (1992-1995) to deliver to the fans new material?
ANGELO: SOLARIS is the title of a movie by Andreij Tarkovskij ... a masterpiece. The film is full of dreadful solitude ... really terrible solitude! Therefore, we named the album after it. It's minimal, cold, frosty and icy. We took our time, because it's really some complicated concept album. Starting with electronic music of the fifties to the first music samples of the early eighties. Moreover, it has undoubtedly become our most depressive album so far.

I remember the review of an English journalist in the MUSIC FROM THE EMPTY QUARTER magazine: he wrote, that "Solaris" is an awful disc, full of Casio beep-beeps. The initials of this nitwit were DM... Unfortunately, I don't know his name. I think he's an asshole, a bloody blockhead... only because he doesn't seem to know what music really is. Of course, the album may be "awful", why not? Nevertheless, we used a lot of quotations of other composers such as LIGETI, CAGE, MESSIAEN and PENDERECKI, and we utilized old electronic instruments, to create an entirely "electronic" album. But there will always be birdbrains that mistake the true pioneer instruments for contemporary electro music... You can't expect a donkey to use his brains the way we do...

BLACK: How does each song individually come into being? By means of teamwork?
ANGELO: Generally speaking, I'm the only composer of KC, but now and then, Simon or Emilia take that part over. Emilia is recently also frequently functioning as a producer. But we prefer professional studios, for we don't like home recordings.

I mostly compose after a stimulating event.

Writing music is no fun to me, because it's more some kind of self-analysis. It's an harassment, because my ideas and inspirations are volatile, and it's difficult to remember them afterwards. I generally forget them in two seconds, that's why the act of composing means only stress to me!

BLACK: For a long time, hardly a German knew KC, but in the latest months, you've played a lot of gigs and released many albums. Do you have an explanation for this sudden success?
ANGELO: I don't know why things are that way. It seems as if Germany is our only true fatherland... the German audience apparently senses our love of the country.

Concerning albums, I can only say that we've had a lot of trouble with producers, who only wanted a single every year... Virgin Records for example. Now, we're free at last and we have the opportunity to release 100 albums a year. DISCORDIA is really an excellent label, and its owners, Klaus Bader and Willi Stasch, are close friends of ours. Moreover, we have our own label here in Italy, NEDEN (ex-HEAVEN'S GATE), and that's another thing offering us a certain freedom.

BLACK: What can you tell us about your musical influences or inspiration?
ANGELO: I have a lot of inspiration, but few musical influences. Particularly films, and inspiration by KRAFTWERK, PINK FLOYD, G. LIGETI, K. PENDERECKI, soundtracks by MORRICONE or BADALAMENTI, JOY DIVISION, SWANS, SUICIDE, Celtic music, tango, military hymns, early TANGERINE DREAM, AMON DÜÜL, Faust, GUSTAV MAHLER, glamrock of the seventies, HAWKWIND, LA MONTE YOUNG, JACQUES BREL, LEONARD COHEN, early HUMAN LEAGUE, CARL ORFF influence me, I also like writers such as ARTHUR SCHNITZLER, THOMAS MANN, FJODOR DOSTOJEWSKI, IVAN GOLL or GEORG TRAKL. As you see, I sure like a lot of German artists!

BLACK: What can you report us about the Italian scene?
ANGELO: There are quite some electro-, industrial- and dark-bands in Italy, but enough strangely, nobody tends to like them here. I could be helpful to some colleagues to escape this ludicrous country. Central Europe is definitely better. I detest Italy!

BLACK: What can you report us about your cooperation with Dirk Ivens alias DIVE and the release of "Obsession"?
ANGELO: Our collaboration was very pleasant. We had already gotten in touch with each other before, by fax or phone, and at any time, we had seen that we like each other's music. That's why we decided to spend a week together here in Italy. Dirk likes Italy very much. He arrived in August, and we went into the studio to record his one and Emilia's singing for the remake of "Obsession". It was Dirk's idea, for I didn't know the song. It was an interesting experiment to us all, and we've had a lot of fun. I like Dirk, because he's receptive to anything, and immediately after the studio-recordings, we went on tour together for some concerts, for which he's an ideal partner too. It's very difficult to find such a good friend as Dirk Ivens in music business.

BLACK: Why did you decide to cover DIVE's "Broken Meat" and "Mercy"?
ANGELO: I really like the music of DIVE, especially the "Concrete Jungle"-album and the live CD from Japan. Dirk also had the idea to cover two of our songs, and we really had no problem with that. "Broken Meat" is the song I like the most. Unfortunately, our version of the track hasn't become so brilliant, since we had some problems in the studio. Emilia's voice has therefore become much higher than the overall sound intensity of the music.

The idea of the cover of "Mercy" came up during a meeting with Christian Peller of the German magazine AETERNA. He thought it was exactly the kind of song to be covered by KC. So we listened to it, and were surprised to find that he was right.

BLACK: How do you see the musical future of KC?
ANGELO: In the foreseeable future, we will be working on soundtracks. First, we'll create a soundtrack for a major label. That is not a problem to us, because that cooperation goes for this project only. The movie is entitled "Loves" and will be released in cinemas as well as on video. Then in summer, we'll start working for another soundtrack, of a movie that deals with the life of the present-day artist TINA MODOTTI... We do this soundtrack for a Swiss TV channel. I'm not sure yet, whether we'll release this music on CD too, or not... We'll see.

In April 1996, the new KC album should be ready, on which we would like to offer our fans old material in a revised way. Those tracks are therefore re-written and re-recorded. Our old songs are unknown to most people, and lots of fans have asked for them frequently. That's why we will now release a sort of "Best of..." and adapt the music to modern times. It's also a good opportunity to elucidate our own opinion, for at times, we didn't really feel comfortable with the arrangements and the production of those tracks any more.

Furthermore, I'm working on a second chapter of ORDO ECCLESIAE MORTIS, a decade after the first one. At this moment, I'm already busy in studio, with the vocals and overdubs. My partner with this is Gianluca Becuzzi of LIMBO.

I'm also working on an album with organ pipe music under the name of ZENTRAL FRIEDHOF. For that purpose, we work in an old church here in Italy, and I already really like the sound.

Finally, we will of course also be touring in entire Europe again. A lot of work, as you see...

BLACK: What do you associate with Germany, and which is the difference between Germany and Italy, in your opinion?
ANGELO: Italy has absolutely no respect, whereas I clearly experience that in Germany. My country isn't organized, "organization" simply does not exist in Italy! Only felonious organization! Moreover, I prefer blonde women! In southern Italy, every woman has black hair... to me, that's a problem!

BLACK: To conclude, I would like you to give us your personal opinion about concepts such as "decadence", "war" or "racism"?
ANGELO: War to me is the daughter of racism. I hate war, for it causes really inconvenient situations. I'm a flabby person, that's why war isn't good to me either! I have to add, that I especially disapprove the conduct of soldiers during a conflict. I mean, war can be the regular attitude of some sheer idiots, but... what I really hate are the consequences of this attitude: extirpation, battlegrounds, torture and assaults. I have a totally different notion of war: it contains indeed the death of human beings, too, yet without torture and so. I could accept this concept without cruelty, but war remains, as I've already said, a childish attitude.

Decadence, on the other hand, is my "Queen", it's the result of my sick brain... the consequence of my hate towards the human race. Memorials, for example, are sons of mankind, yet the sons of one moment of light, excitement or agony. I live with the dead heirs of these men. I live in the snow-covered lost Yule here in Italy where only angels can hold my SS-uniform dear. I know I'm sick, but I carry an enormous love in me... a terrible affliction...

  • Thomas Wacker

  • English translation: Tom Verbreyt