Many will agree: every opportunity is a good one to have a chat with Elena Alice Fossi. Not so long ago we've talked about the resurrection of Spectra*Paris, and again had a very good reason: the release of Martyrdom Europae, with which after a 17 years break side project Stalingrad , nowadays renamed Stalingrad Valkyrie, comes back to life. Angelo Bergamini also joined in the conversation that also was about the 40th birthday of Kirlian Camera, which makes 2019 an even more special year for both Italian legends.
DE: It was a very big and pleasant surprise when we saw the name of Stalingrad (Valkyrie) appearing at the NCN (Leipzig) festival, I think a lot of people didn’t expect to welcome you back. Why did you decide to return with Stalingrad (Valkyrie)?
Elena Alice Fossi - Don't know any reason why. Let's say it was about time. We recently composed many songs showin' that particular romantic and epically symphonic mood, so we opted for calling Stalingrad Valkyrie back to arms! I've been wanting to do that for a long time...
DE: Kirlian Camera is very active nowadays, and two years ago you’ve made a comeback with Spectra*Paris. Now also SVK joins in. I was wondering, if a new song is born when you rehearsal is there some kind of ranking in which project it (eventually reworked) will be released? Or does it happen when you rehearsal with one of the projects a new song arises that later will be released under another project?
Elena Alice Fossi< – It's just a question of mood. We know listeners tend to identify a mood with a music genre, so... if it's complicated enough, a certain new song will be probably directed to Kirlian Camera, whereas complexity meets pop, new drama, futuristic visions and so on. SPECTRA*paris will take care of those paillettes Stalingrad Valkyrie couldn't offer due to imaginable reasons (unless the other part, that is Angelo, likes to paint fucsia a funeral statue!!!). But, it must be added that even in our main projects we not that seldom like to add some unexpected variation, sometimes going to put an atmosphere upside down. It happened with the last – and probably final – studio album of SPECTRA*paris, for example...
DE: Stalingrad Valkyrie, Kirlian Camera and SPECTRA*paris are musically three complete different projects, in which way are they different to you in ways of working?
Elena Alice Fossi< - Kirlian Camera is “odd” enough for the people, so adding any further influence or sub-genres to our main project looks kinda impossible... it'd turn out to be taken as sheer schizophrenia, by today's listeners! So, it comes out natural to direct any “massive mood” (whether it goes to sound glam, naive or either apocalyptic) to other channels, being differently labelled, in order to underline that one finds himself to step on a different territory. All in all, Kirlian Camera is our most complex creature, today. Someone labels it as “Alien Pop”. We like it, it can represent us. Couldn't be otherwise!
DE: Also striking is that nowadays you added Valkyrie to your name. Is it because this is a new chapter in your history, or does it have another meaning?
Elena Alice Fossi – We've been informed that another band had the same name before we came out with our first album, time ago, although they got no huge popularity; so we decided to respect their long-service and went to add Valkyrie to the name of the project. It was not a sad step at all, as Angelo wasn't that sure he absolutely liked the original name, so we looked for a proper additional word, one having some meaning for Angelo too... Now, he looks happier by far, as his love for Wagner is going to definitely put a big stamp on the band identity!!!
DE: ’Heiliger Regen’ is definitely the key track on the Martyrium Europea album. You sing: “Wir kommen wieder, wir wollen gewinnen”, which sounds very victorious and in which you succeed. What’s this holy rain you’re singing about?
Elena Alice Fossi – Many interpretations possible. Let's say SVK owns kinda real disgust for current trends, whether they're musical, artistic, political and social in general. The Holy Rain you ask about might be found in our need to destroy today's rules, where REAL rebels are fighting alone, being stripped of any respect, even by those who claim to drive a rebellion against “new” and old totalitarisms and oligarchies. The old world will be collapsing pretty soon. A new world will rise, after a... holy rain. We wrote a song about such a joyful need to fight against darkness. And if death is a necessary ingredient of such an above mentioned future... then it's welcome!
DE: Kirlian Camera and Stalingrad absolutely have loyal followers in the dark folk and everything related to this scene. I know some of them like more the old stuff, and don’t follow the more recent things anymore. Is the comeback of Stalingrad Valkyrie also an attempt to please those people?
– No, we are not used to pleasing anybody. We several times proved we are not looking for any special followers, but those who are able to being open minded, those who are tuned in to music research essence itself. We are not a “genre band” and that has been undoubtedly proved many times, too. We could not have monocolored fans: it is simply impossible, due to the effective fact we are manycolored. Time ago, composers were used to jumping from an atmosphere to another, from a deep state of mind, say sadness or even despair, to joy and humour. That reflects kind of “being alive”, as for a musician – a real one - goes: it is necessary not to be fixed on any one way sensation, on one flat emotion only. It would be extremely easier, for us, to pack up many “one genre” albums and singles, as many other bands do in the electro/industrial scene (a scene we are not particularly fond of, as you can easily realize..). That would be perfect to exploit certain audience's request and we would lose less time in research and study. Today's music market tends to offer a global melting-pot called “Pop Music” in which several well-sponsored artists are working being tied to majors: from Editors to Madonna, from Imagine Dragons to Bjork. Different music for a wide nation of listeners and, after all, it must be said there is even more freedom than in some particular independent scenes. Then, there are the niches: Experimental, Gothic, Black Metal, Industrial, etc. All in all, we tend to going our own ways, regardless of the world and of those who claim to be alternative – ignoring the fact they are just another face of musical totalitarism. Reading these lines, you will exactly realize how much pleasing one audience or another means absolutely nothing to us. We are not slick and never will be: our sodality (Kirlian Camera + Stalingrad Valkyrie + Spectra*paris) reflects our purity. We do not reject huge success, but we are not willing to make a deal with this world. Music is our own world and it is a bulletproof world, we could not sell it out for whatsoever human reason, after so many efforts and sacrifice.
DE: If I have to summarize Martyrium Europae in one word, I’d chose for combative. Especially in songs as the earlier mentioned ‘Heiliger Regen’ but also ‘War Aurora’. Do you think this adjective is well chosen? And if so, what do we have to fight?
Angelo Bergamini - Combative and romantic, yes, whereas “romantic” shouldn't sound like an ode to broken hearts but as a strong feeling, one that doesn't find any real acceptation nowadays...
DE: The artwork (and format) of the album is also very beautiful! Could you tell us something more about it?
Elena Alice Fossi - The main image is coming from a Maximilian Pirner's painting, titled “Finis (The End of All Things)”, seemingly made early 900's. Pirner ain't that popular, today, so, given that his painting impressed us much, we opted for using it, although the original front cover of the album looked different, in the beginning. He is a painter of from the so-called style being labelled as “Finis Austriae” and I guess the sensation one may feel once taking a look to the image in question is going to perfectly fits in the general mood of our album. There's a deep sense of loss, decadence and sorrow, but some real sense of power keeps on shining kind of glorious over such darkness.
DE: Martyrium Europae contains a nice blend of neoclassical and electronic music, which artists were an influence in making these songs? In our previous interview you’ve told me about your eclectical musical taste (Britney to SPK and back), which artists were an influence for the songs of SVK?
Angelo Bergamini – neoclassical and electronics are two main ingredients of our projects, whether you go to meet St. Valkyrie or either Kirlian Camera, not forgetting that even SPECTRA*paris got some strange digression on such a field. However, Elena Alice comes from relevant classic studies; she even was a praised singing teacher when she practically was a child, so she sometimes deeply feels an utter need to come back to the field in question. She is massively open to cutting edge electronics too, so it comes out natural she – at a certain point – would like to compose electro-symphonic music, going to sing on it. “The Black Mother” is a great example of her talent in regard to neoclassical attitude being aware of modern rhythms, although... she kind of surprised me when she came out with “Heiliger Regen”! I had no real suspect of such a powerful and genuine rage, or... let's say Elena is a complete creative musician, so... everytime she goes to surprise... although “surprise” isn't the rightest word, if you know what I mean. It'd be surprising if she didn't surprise, hahaha!!!
DE: You also told me you were looking for concerts with SV, are there already plans for shows?
Elena Alice Fossi – No dates, yet, although one is allegedly going to be planned in Sachsen (Saxony). We held two shows, recently; they have been so hugely appreciated that I couldn't understand this silence. It's to be said we aren't that immersed in any promotion, at the moment, but... who knows? Some people fear SVK, but I actually wonder why. That's music. Don't fear the music, come on... people need real music, REAL EMOTIONS, GENUINE FEELINGS!!! They're so thirsty of and... we really understand them...
DE: Meanwhile you’ve also released a new Kirlian Camera EP (Hellfire), and will release a full album last year. It seems there’s a lot of creativity going on at the headquarters these days?
Angelo Bergamini – Yes, a lot of creativity, you're being right! On the other hand, Elena doesn't know any rest... she hardly sleeps at night! She's in love with her gear, so she never likes the idea of having any social life, for example! She's not a bear, but I guess she loves music above all else, then... music is her real communication system: she hates social networks and promotion. She never likes to pose for photos, so I have to spit out blood for having some. Then, I have to make a lot of shots once she is available for cameras! She's a very kind person, so pleasant and genuinely well-mannered, but she couldn't help being immersed in the studio hours and hours a day. I have to do with an erupting volcano of energy and creativity! Fortunately...
DE: When we talked a few years ago about the latest SP album, you’ve told me Angelo decided to take a step back from the spotlight and let you be the spokeswoman for all projects. He even thought about working behind the stage, is he still considering this?
Angelo Bergamini – Well, here I am! You're right, I'd love to work behind the scenes. Spotlight doesn't fit my identity, although so many times I have had to play that role, in the past. And I don't like to speak about our “interests”, exceptions apart. Then, one speaker is enough!!! Elena Alice actually knows my feelings, you know... let's say none of the two is so able with words, but, given she's remarkably younger... then she'll have to take care of that; just a question of “seniority rights”, eheheh!!!
DE: With Kirlian Camera you worked with Covenant on your latest album. Imagine you could work together with an artist of choice for a new SVK track. Who are you thinking of then?
Elena Alice Fossi – Vangelis Papathanassiou or even Klaus Schulze are the names who are immediately coming to my mind, as well as Laibach, for sure.
Angelo Bergamini – I agree with you, but I'd like to add Miley Cyrus, though...
DE: This year Kirlian Camera will celebrate its 40th birthday, apart from the new CD I’ve mentioned before, how will you celebrate this event?
let's say we are going to release our first live album ever, AT LAST!!! Then, ideas are so many that we'd need 10 years in addition to make 'em all come true! A big compilation and a brand new album are enclosed in the bag, plus some collaborations with artists we feel real and particular respect for. Don't ask for the names, as it's a bit too early, but... hey... they're sooo great!! We couldn't imagine they liked our music, as they come from other areas. However, there's kind of real admiration, among us... It's astonishing!
DE: Let’s close with a kind of tricky question: Elena Alice, You are also almost 20 years in KC, so imagine someone who’s not familiar with KC comes to you and asks for five tracks he should give a try, which ones would you recommend and why?
Elena Alice Fossi – I think “Sky Collapse” may turn outta be the rightest choice, although it's so recent. Then, I'd add “Helden Platz”, “K-Pax”, “Eclipse” and “The Fountain of Clouds”. But, hey... come on... ain't that easy!!!