written by Marko Jakob
Pix666: Hi Elena, thanks for taking the time for a short interview. You have been a member and the singer of the band Kirlian Camera for about 20 years now – a very long time. Have all your musical wishes and dreams, that you had when you joined the band, come true?
Elena Alice Fossi: Of course not! Definitely, there’s still a long way to go! When I joined this „entity“ I still was very young, so you could say that I grew up with/into Kirlian Camera and became what I am today also thanks to the countless adventures I lived along with Angelo, as well as thanks to the vicissitudes that I personally had to face in this area. I had to face terrible moments, made by anything but music, because what I considered a creative field, free of daily and trivial rules, immediately showed itself as a lair of cruelty without any real artistic consistency. From the beginning, the unrefined culture of the world wanted to put its paws in the „Wonderland“ and my first tours with the band turned out to be filled with free maliciousness, partly because of political problems popped up from who-knows-what damned world alien to my heart, and partly because my physicality and my way of thinking immediately created mental barriers for those who wanted to take an easy and downhill road. Let’s not forget that being a woman, especially at a young age, is like a double-edged sword: it is perhaps easier to be considered as a frontliner, but being accepted as an artist and composer is definitely harder! So, going on, I got acquainted with the music business ruthless world, where the labels try to convince the artist that music is not an intimate relationship between soul-heaven-hell, but the running time limit that a song must show in order to be broadcasted by radio stations; so, they try to explain you that a certain image works out fine on the muzak biz, while another should be decisely thrown in the trash, even if it is the most beautiful painting of Caravaggio… But I’m now going to answer your question in the most honest way possible: if I had to live 100 more times in order to belong to an entity like Kirlian Camera, 100 times I exactly would do what I did, because there is no alternative way I would like to spend my life … I am on a battlefield, as well as I find myself in a dream, definitely.
Pix666: You played concerts on New Year’s Eve in the last few years. Does it have a special meaning and is it the best way for you to say goodbye to the old year, with the thing you love most – being on stage?
Elena Alice: My musical expression is completely synchronized with my anarchy … a religious, social, political anarchy; anarchy that does not want to be a clash with the world, but rather an affront to the “cage” structure that is engulfing us more and more, at least in my eyes. So my need to express myself is like a napalm bomb, today more than ever. Unavoidably, the stage is my first weapon and, for sure, it puts me more at ease than any “daily revere the materiality” … Incredible how, even just a stage of a few meters manages to give me that freedom that a whole ocean couldn’t offer…! This is the reason why killing the old year and starting the new one on a stage is my perfect cup of tea!
Pix666: Do you have songs that you especially like to sing live and what were the most extraordinary experiences you had live on stage so far?
Elena Alice: There are many things that I could tell because I have taken the stages of many famous festivals, such as WGT, M’Era Luna, Amphi and NCN in Germany, Electrika in Africa, Synthetic Snow in Russia, Dark Mad in Spain, etc … And, to be honest, the emotion of those big stages can really bewitch you, hitting you like a soft fountain of needles… Other times you find yourself in a small, smoky and overcrowded club where you perceive something unusual clicking, because the flowing energy that surrounds you and the band gets something actually special. In particular when the moment of songs like “Nightglory” or “Sky Collapse” comes in the concert tracklist, whereas I really feel I have to tell something more intimate, so at that moment a real relationship with the audience goes to be developed, because I usually don’t feel their participation through their way of expressing and moving only, but a true closeness as well, an achievement. Sometimes I have a sensation we are an unique flow, as if we all softly touched one another. So, regardless of the place and the audience number, strange emotions embrace our aura. Then I can tell that I have had a particular experience; this doesn’t just happen once, but it’s something special that happens in certain specific circumstances, instead. I know it is not real, but it is as if at some point I began to soar, flying, slowly, with a lightness that couldn’t care less about gravity. It is something much more than a crossing sensation, it is something that I can remember over time, as if my feet really lifted off the ground …
Pix 666: Your last album ‘Hologram Moon’ was released in 2018 – are there already plans for a follow-up album?
Elena Alice: well, there are many plans just going to take some real shape in – let’s say – short times. An album is ready, in fact. You’ll notice I didn’t say „new“ album, simply because despite it includes previously unreleased material only, it is to be taken as an extempore chapter. The complete title is „COLD PILLS (Extempore Music for Doped Pleiadians)“ and that’s kind of atmospheric concept. Don’t get me wrong, as it isn’t the umpteenth ambient work that many are used to releasing once they are running out of ideas… as on the opposite, this transitional work is including developed and elaborate research which took time, as well as it contains one of the songs we love most ever, recently written. Let’s say the album in question will be rarely performed on stage, rather going to get addressed to an intimate listen. It’s a sort of concept, practically referring to altered states and personal experiences related to such a theme.
In the meantime, Angelo and I are even working on two further projects: a definitive collection album which goes to celebrate the „big anniversary“ of the band, being temporarily titled „ALIEN DIAMOND“, allegedly a 4-CD / 5-LP issue including unreleased tracks too, which will be anticipated by an EP called „CRYSTAL MORN“ dedicated to same title new song/single, which will find place in the official collection album, as well. Such an EP will include unreleased new material and new versions, in addition.
But there’s more, much more. In fact, the complete band – including Mia W. Wallace (bass) and Alessandro Comerio (electronics, guitars, drums), plus further guests is about to retire in an isolated and silent place, in order to record the bases of a totally new musical work, which I presume will make a lot of discussion. The title is top-secret, but I believe it will reveal a remarkable turning point in the style of the group, as has happened other times in the career of Kirlian Camera. Additionally, new releases by Stalingrad Valkyrie are in the air, as the official release of „Martyrium Europae“ is going to be released by Twilight Records on deluxe Digipak CD and likely on vinyl, later on, then there’s a plan regarding the release of „Ossuarium“, a full-lenght containing several unreleased tracks and some rare stuffs. Far be it from us to sleep on our laurels!
Pix666: In Germany Kirlian Camera is very popular and well known and has the status of a cult band. Is it the same in Italy?
Elena Alice: Not in any sense of the term, no. Kirlian Camera is in Italy a prominent name within a certain music scene, therefore, especially in recent times, it gains particular respect and esteem, so both Angelo and I are feeling flattered and proud of that. But there are some things to make clear. Italy is that very small slice of the world that has been geographically and culturally kissed by God. However, this did not discourage our rulers – as well as their happy followers – to take our little paradise as a stinky shitter. Hence, music has suffered a lot, as well as many, many, many further things! Music business has in Italy remained more or less 70’s-like and I see that SIAE (which is a copyright company like GEMA in Germany) can make money with a dozen songs that the radio has been broadcasting since my grandparents were kids!! From this arises a hard task for the organizers, as they get no real chance to work in a facilitated way. On the contrary, they find themselves handling awkward situations and, when they want to plan a musical event other than Sanremo, continuous obstacles are placed on their path. In the same way, organizers not seldom live the concert situation in a primitive way, I mean that they cannot orient themselves that well and don’t understand the elementary needs of a band. You easily understand that in such a situation a series of problems is going to be generated, and a group can hardly make a dignified show so to gain the attention of a substantial audience. Simply, you can see a dog chasing his own tail…
Pix666: What about the activities of your other band SPECTRA*paris? Will there be new songs or more live gigs in the future?
Elena Alice: Yes, there are new songs and we’re ready to arrange a collection album including unreleased tracks at any moment, but I don’t feel the will on the part of the record company to expand this speech and so I have no intention of selling off a part of me that way, just to release a record at all costs…. Besides, right now I’m projected towards something remarkably gloomier. Angelo and I are planning something that could turn out to be a curse, given that the concept we have already started working on might prove to be twisted and “uncomfortable”, but to make us get away from it will be very, very difficult…. Anyway, it’ll be kept secret at the moment, due to obvious reasons! However, SPECTRA*paris always refers to a fun and nostalgic island at the same time and I care of that, so we will try to give more polish and dignity to such non-aligned project, perhaps with the awareness of not expecting anything in return…
Pix666: What do you love the most when you are on tour for a long time and what things do you miss the most?
Elena Alice: On long tours, we get an opportunity to “touch” the music. Exactly, such an immaterial and poetic concept like music takes shape and becomes a dirty stage, a sweaty hug to a person who longed to be present at your concert, fragments of intimacy that generate a particular connection with the band. The voice must not only sing, but must tell a story, the same story should sound every night in a different and sincere way. This is the most difficult and most wonderful thing that happens. And here some real magic is going to be generated. When you go back home, someone will ask you how did it go, but you won’t be able to tell them what happened, because they couldn’t understand, of course. You can tell about who you met, what you saw, what you ate, but the vibrations of that moments will remain in you only, as well as your broken bones! Here’s what I miss most during a tour… a new, fresh and healthy body!
Pix666: I wish you a successful and healthy year 2020.
Elena Alice: Thank you so much and good luck for all your projects!
Kirlian Camera @ Amazon