Petali Viola #8, Summer 2000

Kirlian Camera interview

1) who is and when was born KC?
KC is a band that was born around 1979 and 1980, after that I was performing concerts and recordings since some years with other line-ups. At the beginning, the line-up was different from the current one. I'm the only survivor of the original nucleus, that however it didnt last so much. Currently, the line-up is estabilished around Emilia Lo Jacono (voice, keyboards, guitars, percussions), Barbara Boffelli (voice and loops) and myself (keyboards, bass programmation, voice, etc..), with the sporadic help of Nancy Appiah (voice, percussions), either live that in studio. A band now almost entirely "of women", as you see, I didn't understand well how it happened, but I really feel very good.

2) Why the choice of this name? What does it mean?
The name derives from a particular photographic system, if we can call in this way, called "Kirlian machine", from the last name of the couple of Russian inventors that at the beginning of the century created this device that it's told to be able to photograph the so-called bioradiant energy around organic entities (men, animals, vegetables). Some sustain it's the soul. I have no opinions about. It seemed to me a name quite suitable to our needs, neither so much redundant nor too much subject "to use". I mean I was not looking for a particular nice name, but simply something that, without too much emphasis, remembered a vague presence of life... Then, I always liked the name of the bands beginning with K... as King Crimson, for example.

3) How do you define the music of Kirlian Camera? Which the roots? Which the points of reference or inspiration?
I wouldn't know, exactly, due to the various references we have. But, as I don't like those who pretend to be original at all the costs I can speak of a very contamined band, but with a clear electronic tendency with propensity to flow in climates derived by the not cultured mittel-european tradition and with a certain attention toward the "cold" rhythm. But I cannot define very well what we play, also because our records, even if kept together by a quite recognizable style, space in several directions and rarely they are similar each other, what that disturb who always expected from us some obscure rethoric. We formed when the New-wave was starting to be everywhere and in the '80s we didn't deny great attention to that phenomena, but the current band is more than ever restless, fortunatly. Those that knew us recently, try to speak about dark techno/trip-hop, but I wouldn't be too much sure... (not even me... ann). Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Nico, Amon Duul 2, Faust, Neu, White Noise, Sparks... etc..., are the starting points of our sound, for what concerns the rock music. We always listened to electronic dance-music, celtic folk and tzigano and also a bit of classic music from '800 and '900 (Berg, Mahler, Bruch, among the others) e contemporary (Ligeti, Penderecki, Gnesin, etc...). If you consider that Emilia listened very much Bob Marley, Barbara the commercial pop in general and Nancy, that is African, already recorded a couple of Gospel works with ghanese chorus, you can understand that a bit particular style is unavoidable...

4) Why this decision to play music? Why did you form KC?
From the need of outlet, to not be silent and to not comply with anybody. A real need, sometimes not much comfortable. The lyrics, especially more recently, are done with words rather simple regarding my life; they are less precious and direct than in past, less emphatic and visionary, but sincere and direct, sometimes also a bit ironic and surely dramatic, but not "unhealthy" at all the costs. The music is the only thing that remains to give you a mirror of yourself, when it is mercilessly sincere as in our case. I say "sincere", not beautiful... I couldn't say. I need that mirror, also because there is little people able to analyse another person saying no balls, jealousies and various bad thoughts. The music is not an idiot that judges you good or bad or that wants something from you. Maybe it's a prayer, but it's embarassing to say it. In every case, not for this it has to be a "serious matter" because it could be also fun.

5. Now you are a very affirmed and loved band, how did you do to arrive here? How much did it cost to you?
We did an awesome work, before arriving to have a affectionate audience and a little vaster. A work lasted many long years that surely left a mark in us. Till today we are not well aware to have some followers. I don't say this for false modesty, but just because after so much adversity and silence from the medias concerning ourselves, probably we thought to be not destined to do great sales and received great success. Question of habit. I remember that through all the '80s I asked why when any demotape was reviewed and they wrote articles on bands who recorded only one record, we were never present in any part... Maybe due to our past "pop" orientation, but... why when we started in the "underground" did nobody ever consider? All in all we didn't have the leprosy! There were around many "heavy" voices about us... I don't know.. maybe we were not and we are not yet too much nice to much people, but it's strange, because I never snobbed anyone. Let's say that I never flirted with the various journalists or dee-jays of tendency, because I don't like this. I prefer to stay in my own and go out with my friends that maybe not even play and they don't care to dress like a pufy...

6) What do you try to transmit with your music and lyrics?
To express the syntax of emotions and moods completely derived by personal situations that, however, are exendible to other subjects. Moreover there are sub-cultural references that should be able to "ambient" the transmitted feeling, I mean to give a personal background where the almost-narration is placed. Additional sonority "of frame", that can represent better the scene in a well known contest or of fantastic tension, where I mean we would like to everything already happened. However we try to filter own sensasion through "the merciless analysis", that one that is not self-indulgent, to give to the listener a result more possible far from the confusion. This happens mainly in the latest years... before we were roughest, even coarse...

7) What do you think about the fanzines?
Sometimes, it's not forgiven to the fanzines the "sector" belonging, I mean the eventual walk against the tendency of the current fashion. This means that they cannot forgive their relative sensation of stale, at least from the fashioner with continue recycle yearnings. But a fanzine is normally dedicated to a specific sector and this is understandable and more than acceptable. Everyone tries to keep alive the things he is attracted to and, the home-made publication must feel fair to continue its own road, surely trying to avoid useless and damageful closures, however, because a certain objectivity is always synonymous of internal clearness and even of sympathy, that always pushes somebody to approach to it, even with more respect. The pedantics and the borings exist and cause derision and refusal. They are in this area, but it remains the goodness of a sincere proposal, that proceeds, even with efforts, but with conviction and respect for who reads. Comparing with the general underground area, I could repeat what I already said. In every case, in Italy, there is a certain musical ferment and some young bands seem to me more interesting than some others more celebrated; nothing but with eyes a bit more opened. Here the labels are the problem. Too many few and often more than unreliable. There is people who camps out in the underground because it has nothing better to do, or because otherwise it would annoy. They ruin bands with incredibile frequency and speed. But the topic is not short, not so short...

8) Live performances?
In the latest years, to play live has suddenly became our prefered activity, after a long period of excessive tension about it. Now we are more relaxed and we amuse, we like very much to stand with our audience, there is interaction. The worst moments we spent during the tour in Germany in '93: too much stress, too many kilometers and an organization, also from our side, a bit approximate, also because it was the first tournee, there. I can't remember the best gig, but maybe Dresden, last year, has been one of the best moment of our carrier, even if among the punctual technical difficulties. Reggio Emilia, always last year has been a good memory too... there was an affectionate audience.

9) (This was an old demand and the cd was already released, however...) When will the new album be out?
Our new effective album will be released this year. Three years from the last one have already passed... even if in the same time we released other works with medium-short length and a collection. It's called "Unidentified Light" and it will be released comtemporarly or almost with a single. We are working on since eight months... it's the more complex work we ever did, but, in the same time, it's also rather "listenable", and I wouldn't have believed in it in the first time. Almost all the tracks are sung. This time, Emilia and Barbara are very present, moreover, Patrick Leagas O'Kill (Ex Death in June/Sixth comm) and Dirk Ivens (Dive) are helping with the male voices. It has been a massacre, however; I extracted so much from myself, even too much, as "Drifting"... in these months, I had a rhythm, an average of almost ten hours by day on this project. Now I must be sheltered, but, at least the album is going as I wished. Then, I know they should release the first official book dedicated to K.C., it will be in Italian and English and will contain several coloured and b/w photos, a long interview and the related history, plus a cd-album containing unreleased remixes done by Dive, Wumpscut, Limbo, Kebabtraume and others... I accepted to recognize this project, due to the good will of who manages it. It will be out for Ende in Italy and I believe Nove Tekk in Europe and elsewhere. When I have some time, I dedicate also to a solo project called Uranium U.S.S.R. 1972, but I don't think that album will be out very soon, because I never succeed to finish it. Then, shortly, the concerts of this broken-tour begin again, I mean a not continuous tour that will extend in the time and will be used also to propose part of the new material. There is also a strange extemporary single, coming, but I believe not credited to K.C., some kind of relaxed thing, done only for fun, without other implications. A lot of work, as you see but I believe there will be a break soon, I really need it.

10) In your opinion what will this new millenium bring to us?
I don't know what it will bring, but I hope to not suffer too much... I'm tired of bullshits! Tired of logics that belongs to me only in reference of a negative side that I wish to eliminate from myself and... from the future, not only from "my" future.

11) I saw in your live photos that you dressed a bataclava in your head, that covers completely the face... why? For shyness, maybe?
I dress it to not condition anyone with my face and his expressions. I play concerts since 25 years and the shyness turned off since time, but I don't deny that bataclava helps me, sometimes, especially when I'm not in peace with myself, I mean quite often. I don't want to condition, I repeat, with a face that I would hate, if I were in the audience. My mind and my physical aspect are often connected. Then, I want to filter myself... covering, as for decency... in a certain sense.

SIDE-PROJECTS (Alien Martyr, etc...) of Angelo Bergamini
Since some year I'm working on the new collateral project that I called URANIUM USSR 1972, but I wasn't able to finish the related recordings yet. There are no other people involved in this album, except a little audio contribution by Massimo Basili (ex Jormungand) and Roberta Astolfo (Leutha). I don't know when the record will see the light, because as far as I proceed, it's natural for me to revise some solutions that in the first time seemed good to me and now maybe they are not anymore. It's not a particularly strange and original work: it contains cold and not much communicative electronic, sometimes very elaborated. All in all it's a fun, a further outlet valve that I need. With this name, in futuro, I should open the concerts of Kirlian Camera itself, maybe helped by another person on stage. I believe that the set won't last more than twenty minutes. In the past I had a sort of real band alternative to Kirlian Camera, called ZENTRAL FRIEDHOF. We recorded various material part of it appears on an album released by Discordia in '95. There was an attempt to keep it in life again together with Gianluca Becuzzi of Limbo/Pankow, but the label interested to make us release the new material has "forgotten" to pay the agreed advance for that record, so everything has been frozen and I think it will never see the light. At the beginning of the '90s I was intentioned to use the name ALIEN MARTYR to release some things I was doing; a sort of outtake derived from the related recordings of that period has been released on a German tape-compilation, edited by Beton Tapes, but then I abandoned also that project, as usual prefering to concentrate myself on the activities of Kirlian Camera, that remains always the most important and felt "thing" for me. With Ivano Bizzi we started to plan the release of an album under the name of STALINGRAD, but, after releasing a piece on the German cd-sampler "Thorak", I prefered to leave to him the total control of that chapter, also because, really it was an idea related to his tracks since always, in which, pratically, I would have only to re-arrange and produce everything in studio. I believe that Stalingrad will proceed ahead and, probably, in few months the album in object will be released... Ivano has no hurry and in my opinion this can be nothing but positive.

  • Ann Beccamorti

  • English translation: Adalberto Orrigo - 13.12.2004