Ciao 2001, 1991

Ten years have passed since the debut EP of Kirlian Camera, for Italian Records; in all this time the parmish group, around the figure of Angelo Bergamini, continued to live in shadow. There was an album in the '83, "It Doesn't Matter Now", then incredible singles, strictly connected with the pop but with elevatest sensibility like "Blue Room", "Ocean Rain", "Helden Platz", the latest two even for a major, the Virgin. In the '88, finally, the second album, "Eclipse (Das Schwarze Denkmal)" on which John Fryer (This Mortal Coil) collaborated on, released by Rose Rosse. Today a new work on CD, about which you will find the details in the next numbers, that brings in surface the name of Kirlian Camera.
Personally I consider it among the few great Italian bands generated by the post-punk and after, a group with absolute value, at world level and with a mercilessly European imprint, uncompassionately romantic, fiercely decadent. Some press wanted to put it in bad light, trying a thin pleasure I don't know how much satisfying and justifiable, by ignoring or worse by attacking Kirlian Camera for their presumed attraction toward the nazism, intended in political terms and not firstly aesthetical-artistic as it's true, eventually, in the reality. The story is old: in United Kingdom Death In June or In The Nursery suffered the same accusations, just to put a couple of examples.
But it doesn't matter. What we are interested more it's just to underline that a band like Kirlian Camera would deserve so much attention and less superficiality from who arrogates the right to judge.
It's not easy to find their previous works: looking for them for who has nothing can be a must, especially after listening to the new CD just released "Todesengel. The Fall Of Life".
With Angelo I crossed goals and contains of the project Kirlian Camera.

Starting from the past, I was always curious about the cover of "It Doesn't Matter Now" that seems to me just totally distant from Kirlian Camera...
I say immediately, the graphic sucks. Originally the cover had to be just the photo of the front of the cover; I think that at the end of the year or in '92 "It Doesn't Matter Now" will re-released with the original cover projected for it.

Does some continuity remain with that work?
Yes, even if we try to move because if we repeat too much it gets bad. I see "It Doesn't Matter Now" as an ingenuous work that I absolutely wouldn't do anymore, expect some little thing: but I did it... then, unlucky, it sold so little...

Then there was "Blue Room", a single who deserved better luck, with that devasting b-side, "Call Me"...
Did you like it? I'm happy because that they destroyed me that piece... the single went quite good, however; I mean it sold about four thousand copies; I knew this just a couple of years ago. I remained to four hundred copies sold that they told me about; they froze all and never paid me.

The passage to the Virgin and the two singles "Ocean Rain" and "Helden Platz", both of them very nice. Do you think that the contract with a major made distant part of the indipendent audience that often sees these passages to big labels with suspicion?
Yes, as you say there was this suspicion. Putting in the hands of Virgin we tried to create a hybrid as that one done also by Kraftwerk or, in some ways the Pet Shop Boys, that I like very much, even if I listen to different things like Death In June or classic music. More than suspicion I would say that there was a wall created by certain press against us; even when "Eclipse" was released at the presentation of the record organized by the label there was people saying: I refuse even to listen to them, because they are nazists". The fact that the alternative press began to hate us, created damage.

Why do recalls to some kind of culture, as happens for Death In June in Great Britain, seem to implicate right-wing political sympathy at all the costs?
I was always interested to every thing was mitteleuropean culture, especially austrian-german; either for what concerns the readings, that for what concerns the cinema, that for me is a passion maybe superiore than the music. I also like people who were involved in some themes, i.e. Fassbinder... The center is there, the area of the art I love, I don't care if right-wing or leftt-wing oriented, to be honest. I agree with Douglas Pierce of Death In June when says we are how you want.

It was announced a release of your material in Canada; I was unable to know anything about. What did it happen?
There was a friend of mine, playing in a band of London, Dogs D'Amour, with whom we decided to release something; I wished it had to be released only in the United States and Canada because here nobody cared of it... the idea was to release two hundred copies of a box with a new record, a copy of "It Doesn't Matter Now" with a new cover and a tape with material done in studio, plus a very extended biography, and a big photo like a poster, even if very "humble"... But we run out of money, and even if we did the disc lacquers we had to stop... I believed everything was ready and instead nothing was ready. Then I thought to assembly everything in Italy; here there was no way to do a product, a box a little different from usual because nobody is able to do it, in any firm... so sadly we left everything and from there the new Cd was bon, with other new pieces. So the compact began in '89 and finished two months ago.

What could you tell me about this new work?
First of all the line-up has changed, but it's stable since a while; and it's the second stable line-up I have in eleven years of undecent carrier. It's a very different work, it's very slower; the tracks are extended, it's very dark, very cloudly, deadly... and very romantic, more than usual. Maybe it's what we always wanted to did; now we did it with no compromises. There are some tracks without drums, several chorus... and much pain; it's very sad.

Returning back, to "Eclipse", why did you choose to realize a cover of "Epitaph" of King Crimson? Was it a signal of your musical origins?
No, not of the origins, even if I listened very much the King Crimson of "In The Court..." and "Red". It's a love transmitted till now, they are things I still listen to. "Epitaph". I cleared "Epitaph" very much because I prefered to realize a lost in space cover than in King Crimson style... then, it is how it is... However I formed especially with Pink Floyd and cosmic music; I'm over thirty years old and if I wished to find something I had to direct toward that direction. I knew Roberto Cacciapaglia, I was in the zone of Cosmic Jokers, but with no recordings. I really listened to everything. But I didn't like authors like Hendrix, Stones, Beatles... substantially I don't like rock; or better I prefer the '50s rock, I don't know, Gene Vincent or Buddy Holly that at least are funny.

Already in "Eclipse" there was this remarkable tendency to the epic, in particular in some tracks like "Tor Zwei", for example...
Yes, and this is the road we follow also in the new work; there is more instrumental music, also here we tend to the epic. Maybe it's a bit more monochord, we often stop on a note and no more. There is also a version of "Vienna" of the Ultravox that lasts eight and half minutes, especially for violins, violas and chorus; and, I precise, they are not samplings of violins and violas. The global has many rather funerary things, but also technological.

Concerning the lyrics, they were always important...
Especially in this new CD. The sadness grows because here is a sort of desperate scream of the idiots, if I can say in this way; there is almost the glorification of the physical death as exit from the pain. There is a continuous reference to the death, or better an unique reference, much more than in past, clearer even if not aggressibe. The death is meant in a pretty sweet way even if we saw several deaths, even very bad; however it's the main thing, it's the recognizement of a tendency that we all feel very much in the new work; as tiredness to live, too... Just to laugh a bit, all in all...

  • Paolo Bertoni

  • English translation: Adalberto Orrigo - 14.12.2004