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Spiritual Front

Spiritual Front
Strings Of Your Heart

30.09.2018

Архив интервью | Русская версия

For me personally Spiritual Front has always been more of a guilty pleasure. Impertinently sensual music, defiantly personal lyrics, reckless never-ending playing with sexuality and gender identity are something that can rarely be found in my playlist (or in our regular readers’ playlists, for that matter). Having left their dark folk roots buried deep in the ground, they are now playing pop, however suicidal it may be. Just when I thought I had pride in my incredibly diverse interests, it turned out – much to my surprise – that Spiritual Front commander Simone Salvatori has developed acquaintance with metal a long time ago. If anything, this unexpected opportunity to relate has made everything unrelatable even more intriguing and our conversation, which took place on the eve of the Italians' yet another visit to Russia, even more thrilling. Let me remind you that Spiritual Front will play in St. Petersburg on October 5, and in Moscow, there will be two shows, the first one (October 6) with a regular set, and the second one (October 7), with a set of songs by The Smiths and Morrisey. Look for details below.

Your new album "Amour Braque" is dramatically different from everything you’ve released before. And it reminded me of one of your earlier interviews that you did maybe 5 years ago. In that one, you said that the dark folk scene is too boring and static whereas the pop scene is more promising. Since you do sound more pop today, do you feel like you belong to this pop scene?


Did I really said that? (laughs) I mean, yes. The neofolk scene is pretty boring now and if by neofolk you mean a pagan cult or a tribute to the forest, but it’s not my kind of stuff. In theory I cannot see us as real neofolk like Arcana, Wardruna, bands with neofolk roots, those common minds….. I think we have a different point of view. I feel mostly that I’m doing this stuff with neofolk roots but at the same time songs are catchy, you know, easy to remember, it’s easier to express myself in them. I see some kind of a link with this stuff because I am coming out of the neofolk scene. But nowadays I consider Spiritual Front as suicide pop, we're trying to stick out, and it works.

Do you think your fanbase has changed or is it your old fans adapting to the new sound?

No, I think they are still the same. And I hope they still love us. But at the same time I hope we’re attracting more mental people, you know.

Well, you’ve got me, at least, so….   

(laughs) I meant it in a funny way. If you like Spiritual Front there’s nothing wrong with you. No, I’m pretty okey. I have pretty good relationships with our real supporters. It’s sort of a big family.

I’m extremely excited about your upcoming shows in Moscow. The second one is going to be something very special — you covering The Smiths and Morressey. But I’ve noticed you don’t play two shows in all the cities on your European tour. Does this mean not all your fans will get a chance to hear it?


We are not playing two show per city. We do it when we want to do something special. In Moscow we're doing a couple of shows in Moscow, we wanted to do our special weekend and there will probably be also a projection with a movie. We wanted to do a special Sunday.  We rarely do that. We wanted to do something that will amaze our fans and when we know maybe they will accept something different. And last time it worked. Maybe in Russia there are more younger people and they relate less maybe to The Smiths, but we want to try it anyway.

I know you don’t really like covers and tributes. Why is that? What makes the Smiths so special?

For The Smiths we made an exception. It is a band I love so much, I grew up with The Smiths, this is my favorite band. We had a pause between blocks of concerts and I turned to the guys and told them - it was just a joke - "Why don’t we try doing something like The Smiths? I’m not sure it’ll work but let’s try". The original plan was to play one show in Rome for friends. It worked and we went on performing. Almost everyone went on to like it. They are fun songs to play and I wouldn’t do it with any other band. I like lots of bands but they aren’t so special to make them part of a show, to cover them.  

When you cover The Smiths, are you trying to be as faithful to the originals as possible you or do you reinterpret them?

We are pretty faithful to the original versions. We follow the structures of the songs, because we didn’t want to rewrite songs, change the structures, but we do it in our own style. But I didn’t want to imitate the voice of Morrissey. and we aren’t trying to replace the sound. In terms of the style, we are as close as possible. I didn’t want to make — like many other bands — sound it like bossa nova rap or something. We are close to the original versions but in our own style.

What is the reception so far? You played some summer festivals this year, so, some people have already heard it

Yeah, yeah, we did some summer festivals. It was well-received. As I told you, many people liked it, really liked it, and that’s the reason why so many promoters asked us to play it because it's basically like having two different bands. Of course, there are some people who hate The Smiths, they complain like, "Why don’t you play your own songs?", and we always say, "It's one of our favorite bands". We never wanted to be a cover band, we hate cover bands, but The Smiths are an exception. It happens that we also play some other covers like Type O Negative and W.A.S.P., but it's mostly because people request us to do it very much. Usually we don’t like it. I don’t get any pleasure from doing it.

I came across a very curious thing in one of your recent interviews. You said you like all the songs on "Amour Braque" but this isn’t the case with your earlier albums. Why would one write songs he doesn’t like, I wonder?

Because you’re certain at the moment you’re doing it but after some time you realize something wasn’t good. You’ve become wiser, you’ve improved your technique, you have better machines up in the studio, and if you’re pretty cool with yourself, you can easily realize that, like "What kind of shit I've done before?" I think it's a normal development of your mind. If you’re convinced with everything you've done is great it means that you don't have that development. Or maybe you're not cool with yourself enough. When I listen to my earlier albums I find them very naïve and very rough. Maybe in ten years I’ll tell you, "'Amour Braque' - what a shitty record!" For example, "Armageddon Gigolo" (2006) it has a lot of nice songs but the production is pretty rough, I don’t like it so much. The songs are OK, but I would like to hear them more mature, with a better production, I wish we'd dedicated more time to it. At least with me I don’t like that. Maybe you like to write, or to paint or whatever and you look at your stuff and you say, "Oh my god, I was a total beginner, what a rough style". It's the same as when you look at your old picture and you go like, "Look what kind of hair I used to have, what kind of clothes I used to wear". It happens to me - when I took that picture I thought that I was cool but when I look at it now, I go, "Oh my god, I looked ridiculous". (laughs)  

You talk about your musical influences quite often. But what about your non-musical influences?

It’s mostly cinema, I grew up with cinema, watching movies. Some books maybe have been an influence. But mostly it's the relations I had with people, my sexual relationships, my love relationships. Sometimes I want to be detached, I want to be tough but every relation, everyone I meet every day puts its sign on my heart. And you know what I do, I work with corpses and I meet death every day and it makes me sick, but it also makes good stories, they can make your head work. It’s a combination of these things. These tragedies, love relationships you have, death and its acceptance combined. A lot of relationships that I had when I was younger got messy. But I always try to keep my eyes open on things, that's the main point. If you get older, you get boring when you stop to analyze things, when you stop taking things apart, stop making observations - if that's the case, then you’re old and you are boring. But if you keep your eyes open and you try to catch all the little things around, you can be interesting and your life can be interesting. Sometimes, yes.  

I know you’re a metal enthusiast, what is metal appealing for you personally and why haven’t you ever tried playing metal yourself?


Well, I like the energy of metal. It's mostly death metal and thrash metal. But I’ve never been a big fan of classic metal stuff, I’ve never been a fan of Manowar, or Iron Maiden. We are trying now with Spiritual Front to do something more in the vein of stoner. We only have a couple of tracks and we are going on in this direction and we want more tracks. I will get back to you with some surprise on that matter. I’m still buying metal stuff, metal records that I like to listen to, but it’s more complicated to play, metal requests more energy and a lot of sweat and a lot of better technique. Never say never, but that's the way I prefer it for the meantime. I have another side-project, it’s in the industrial style. It will be out in two or three months, when we finish the recording.

Maybe it has also partly to do with the fact that "sexuality is something to be ignored, or conquered with an excessive masculinity". Basically, all personal stuff is a kind of a taboo in metal.

Yeah, it’s more politically oriented, it's less carnal than the music we play. If you think about it yourself, most of metal bands rarely speak about themselves. They are having stories of violence, horror stories or pagan stories. When I think about the bands I listen to, like Sodom or Kreator, they are not like it, they never talk about personal life. They mostly write stuff like "Under The Guillotine" or "Persecution Mania" and not "something that happened to me yesterday". That's a correct observation. Lyrically, it’s not quite easy for me to write. Most of the time I’ve never had that much interest in what Dave Mustaine writes about.

You usually see sex in terms of love and hate. For some reason it reminded me of King Dude’s recent album "Sex". But for him, sex has more to do with fear. Can you relate to that?

Yeah, the way talk about sex, it’s not just about the pleasure of sex. We are not quite interested in that kind of stuff, in that side of sexuality. I’m attracted to and more interested in the aspect of sex which could cause sudden passion obsession, certain things that strangle your freedom because when you’re feeling a very hard attraction towards a person, something of yourself goes away, it’s a sort of enslavement deep inside that strangles your mental freedom. And once it gets inside your heart and inside your body, it’s something more dangerous and more fearful than hate that you can feel for another human being. I think it’s terrible, romance is nice but at the same time it’s like cutting a part of yourself, it's something that you can’t control because you are attracted to another person. This kind of attraction is a sort of… you want to mend something seen in yourself. It’s a lack of something you want, you fool yourself thinking about the other person and the lack that you have had and it feels terrible. Most of the time we fall in the trap of relationships, it’s also something that our society wants us to have. You have to have a boyfriend, you have to have a girlfriend, you have to have a family. Even our sexuality, our approach towards sex and relationships are dictated by our society and our culture. It’s a combination of simple things, it’s good to have a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, but if you try to analyze it, we find ourselves to be slaves. Everybody likes to fuck, that's a good thing but you have to pay the price. That is the point. I’m very attracted to and interested in that aspect.

Your music has always been very personal. How does it feel to talk about something like that onstage in front of a big audience?

It’s like a liberation, you publicly talk about things and free yourself, and confess things in order to be free. If you think about it, in our normal lives, we don’t have so many chances to express ourselves. You’ve got to work, you’ve got to study and it goes this way and you have to behave like the society wants you to behave. It's very rarely that you have a chance to talk about yourself, to express yourself in the way you desire. I don’t have to restrain myself, I can express myself in art without any thinking or without any fears. And I like it this way because I can talk about myself, can talk about some private things, play with things in front of other people. It's a sort of gratification. A lot of people go crazy because they can’t talk about themselves and behave as they want to behave. You told me before that your favorite band is Primordial - maybe you like them so much simply because they ignite something in you that hides deep in your heart and then they revive that kind of feeling and it feels like a link between you and them because they are special for you. When a band produces a sound, it triggers strings in your heart, they touch it. I think it’s very important. I think music and art work when they have the capacity to make you look inside your heart, that's the point.

Spiritual Front on the Internet: http://www.spiritualfront.com/

Special thanks to Maxim Chistyakov (Russian Synth Community) for arranging this interview

Lena Pashko
September 18, 2018
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