Well Elena, I guess everybody’s wondering….why did you decide to put out an album with christmassongs?
Elena Alice Fossi: it’s a old dream coming true. I guess that every Christmastime to come I’ll be re-issueing such an album, perhaps including some new things, kind of work-in-progress. I wanted to do a kind of “classic”, mainly for myself, as I’m a bit bored with listening to Christmas albums made by others which sound totally uninspired and commercial-only.
I always thought christmassongs are not that cool, you know…
EAF: I agree with you, as too many times Christmas songs are just a “job” for people to make some money. People whom are absolutely alien to certain atmospheres. That’s just the reason why I want to show my own interpretation of Christmas, which sound different enough to other stories, I think.
How did you come to that idea?
EAF: I noticed that Christmas is usually seen as a one-way thing... some love it and some hate it. Christians are often turning it into a sugary event and antichristians love to destroy this period’s atmosphere by means of blasphemy, grotesque images, and same old satanic boring stuffs. My Christmas is a magic event, filled with angels, monsters, killers, saints, demons. My Christmas is “Lucifer and the Archangel Gabriel playing chess in the lost night of another universe”. My Christmas is neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s just an unearthly thing.
The sole bad thing about christmasalbums is that you can only play them then….or do you think it’s okay to play it in summertime?
EAF: well, after all, my album is not an ordinary Christmas songs container. Many songs have not that much to do with Xmas: let’s say I found them fit to the project. So, 8 of the 10 songs can be absolutely listened at 40 degrees temperature... I guess they’d help in turning hot annoying summer into something fresher, with some help from a tasty ice-cream!
Are there christmas albumsout you like yourself?
EAF: Not exactly. Let’s say I prefer making compilations which include some songs I like. Globally, it’s rare that a whole album, whether including Xmas songs or not, goes to really fulfil my expectations.
If father Christmas comes knocking at your door, what will you tell him?
EAF: I’m dead. You arrived too late.
It can be me but I think Christmas can be quite depressive as well….
EAF: it’s possible that Christmas becomes a kind of a nightmare, sometimes. As for myself goes, I must say that in the last years I find that event more positive. It’s for me an occasion to celebrate the birth of a great person I totally respect the memory of.
Any special presents in mind?
EAF: a SAR-21 painted pink would be cool! But I guess I’ll gladly shift with a bottle of Louis Roederer...
Apart from the christmasalbum, what other plans are there in store from Spectra*Paris?
EAF: well, we’ve just released 2 new studio albums, so time has come to increase the SPECTRA*Paris activity on stage. Me, Alessia, Marianna and our collaborators are ready to go and in the beginning of January we’ll be doing a mini-tour Germany and Switzerland. It’ll be a mix of full-lenght shows and short showcases, then we’re gonna make a Eurotour around April, I suppose. Some of those concerts will be filmed, as we’re planning the release of a DVD/Blue Ray including live songs and special contents. Furthermore, a single might come out in Springtime.
Thank you Elena, any wishes for 2011?
EAF: I wish both SPECTRA*Paris and Kirlian Camera had a faboulous year, the best ever!
Well, hello...thirty years in the musicbiz, thirty years in the underground...and still not giving up! Where do you find the courage?
Music is our first expression, but there are many other expressions coming into the concepts of ideas, texts, pictures etc. If you want to express yourself its mainly a inner need... and though we might work underground we still have people out there who are interested in what we do, that keep us going and there are so many stories to tell, so many impressions to sort out, it will never end.
Without any question, you must be in love with music. But hasn't that love changed with the changes in the musical landscape? (I meant from vinyl to the net)
I agree, we listen to music in other ways now... and to be honest the intensity you listened to music when you are in the vulnerable teenage years cannot be compared to later listening, but still with an open mind there are always something new and exciting going on. For myself i almost only listen to streaming music nowadays.
Sometimes you're labelled as synthpop, but it's definitely not the synthpop you hear every day! Not to mention the fact that you are a synthpopband who mentions Lennon and Pink Floyd as their influences.
When we formed the precursor to Twice a man, Cosmic Overdose, in 1978, there were a number of influences... the one you mentioned from the 60s, but also early electronic musicians, minimalistic music, Brian Eno and perhaps most of all the new feeling of punk and new wave music, as Magazine, Wire, Banshees and others. later also bands like Joy Division, Suicide and Fad Gadget. All this put together became Twice a man in 1981 and i dare say, we had something of our own too, formed out of other influences, the nordic soul, the somehow melancholic atmosphere from dark winters and the romanticism of the nordic summers.
Let's face it, over here you're not a householdname. How's that in Sweden?
People grown up in the 80s know us pretty well.
Sometimes I ask myself what the Swedish put in their water to get such a great popsound!
Agree if I say that Twice A Man are in fact pop?
Yes, among other things its pop too.
With "Driftwood" you came to the attention of the musicfanatics. After all these years it's still a fantastic masterpiece.
Thank you, many things came together in this album, starting as an experiment in sampling technique. I am still proud of it, also the conceptional thoughts about the enviroment etc. Even more experimental was the liveperformance, only showed in Sweden. It was like a theatreplay and not a concert... at the same time, after the succesful popalbum Works on Yellow, it was commercial suicide to do a thing like that, noone understood what we were up to, perhaps not even ourselves.
But then you did some stuff which was more ambient. It looks like you never choose the easiest way.
No, you never know where ideas lead you into and its important to stay truthful to your dreams.
You also did musical scores for theaterproductions, I guess in some ways that is like working on a soundtrack.
Yes, its pretty much the same, but there are differences too. I would say its harder to work in theatre then in film. With film you can "see" the result immediality, but in theatre there is a more living process together with actors, lights, scenography etc. difficult sometimes, but exciting. I think that our theatrework influence our songs and viceverse.
With "Icicles" you made a sort of unexpected return. Why did you decide that?
It was not a calculation, it just seamed that we had some good "popsongs", why not make it into a record, easy as that. So, Icicles is in the line of the 80s Music for Girls or Works on Yellow. Another influence is new collaborative work through internet, for us a new way of developing music. Our producer, Daniel Kaufeltd has definitily made a big difference for making the album sound 80s.
I compared your album with "The Ideal Copy" by Wire, now I want your reaction to that!
Though we might seam far apart in musical expression we have a lot in common with these guys i would say. I have always admire their work, especially Colin Newmans songs and the lust for experimentation. When looking through my recordcollection i still have the three first Wire albums, but not "The Ideal Copy".
You soon will be part of our BIMFest, what can the audience expect?
We have two stage programs, one for clubs and one slighly more ambient for seated audience. We will play the clubconcert with material from Icicles, some older stuff and some totally new songs, all with beats. We will also use videoprojections as we always do the last years.
I ask this to everybody : please tell your fave record of all time and why....
As you understood, this is a hard questions, there are so many... if i must say one, perhaps Unknowned Pleasures by Joy Division. It captures the times of that period perfectly and it was a big step forward for a new generation of musicians. It is a dark record and knowing what happened to Ian Curtis a few months later after the release it has grown deep into my soul. I still listen to it.
An other fave question of mine : with who wouldn't you mind to be in an elevator with for 8 hours and what would you do then?
I would like to spend it with Percy Byshe Shelley, talking about life, love, nature and spirituality... unfortunally he died in the 1820s so this will never happen.
What can we expect from you in the future and do you have a special message for our readers?
Our wish for Twice a man is to be able to play our ambient music also outside Sweden and have the good fortune to be able to keep evolving new projects, there are plenty in the pipeline...
Please be aware, of each other, of nature, of climate change and make good for the future of mankind and our fine planet, fight for human rights, equality and against the commercialism of cultural values.