Heathen Harvest: Can you begin by explaining how Spiritual Front was originally formed?
Simone Salvatori: I started SF as a one man band...I just started as a way to express the most intimate and worst side of me...’everyday life’ is not enough to show yourself 100%. We all need a parallel way to give the worst.
HH: Are there specific bands or artists that inspired or influenced the formation of Spiritual Front?
SS: Dunno. I can tell you many bands...mmmm in the beginning, certainly: Death In June, Swans, Smog, Scott Walker, Those Old French Songs, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Sol Invictus, but actually my listens are completely different...I was younger, I needed more points of reference.
HH: Who were the original musicians and participants in Spiritual Front?
SS: As I told you I conceived SF as a one man band, some friends helped me during the first recordings but now SF has a definitive line up (or I think so...). So, many guys joined the front, too numerous to mention...
HH: Who are the current musicians of Spiritual Front?
SS: Actually I am playing with Sten Puri, Jak Puri, Freddy Nio and other good musicians, for example in our new record members of Ennio Morricones orchestra played da strings parts...
HH: What musical experience did the members of Spiritual Front have before joining the band?
SS: I played with the guys of Mushroom’s Patience, Klimt 1918, Grimness, and Dopestars Inc...but generally I’m not interested in the others peoples background, I mean some important listens are requested but I give a particular exam before join’n SF but I never played with people into hip hop or shit like this.
HH: When and how did the musicians of Spiritual Front come to discover postindustrial / neofolk music?
SS: ...did they discover it? Dunno...my first approach with industrial music was Einsturzende Neubauten, after them many bad things happened...
HH: Spiritual Front describes itself as “Nihilistic Suicide Pop.” Can you explain the personal meaning of this title for the band?
SS: ...it certainly contains something ‘punk’ in it. I never use the word ‘nihilist’ in a strict philosophic conception. To me, it sounds like a destruction of useless values, like a lack of certainties, like a refuse of inflicted beliefs or whatever. I wanted to play something that could sound like a pop nihilism soundtrack! It has a contradiction in it....and that is what I wanted. There aren’t intellectual masturbations in it. I wanna play real music for real people. I don't want to proclaim something that does not belong to me... can you understand what I mean? I can’t sing this or that if I am not into this or that shit.
HH: Spiritual Front debuted with the album “Songs for the Will (1998).” How did the postindustrial music community receive this album? What kind of feedback did you receive and was it encouraging?
SS: Oh man....that was a primitive ‘demo’....aahhah it was my first experiment, Old Europa Cafe printed it in 1999, it has been received in a good way. Not such a explosive debut but ok. I was too much into ‘dark neofolk.’ “Song for the Will” showed my unconditioned love for that kind of sound and atmospheres. I still love it, but actually my love has matured.
HH: Claudio Giammarini of Ain Soph produced Songs for the Will. What is your relationship with the musicians of Ain Soph? How did you come about working together?
SS: ..Claudio is a wonderful person. A very kind and friendly bud. Frankly I don't love so much the Ain Soph sound. I prefer the old recordings. We live in the same city,we have many common friends in the scene. We esteem each other. He helped me a lot in the beginning of my career...
HH: Does Spiritual Front have ties with other postindustrial / neofolk artists in Italy?
SS: Many many friends....but not strong ties with them.We can’t properly talk ‘bout an Italian neofolk scene....there are many proto-industrial, experimental, pro neofolk bands...Mushrooms Patience, Inner Glory, Foresta Di Ferro, DBPIT, Lia Fail, Green Man, Well of Sadness, Ain Soph, Calle Della Morte. But I’m not a big fan of the Italian scene...
HH: To what extent do you think the members inherent Italian heritage and nationality influences the music of Spiritual Front?
SS: I think we have a big sense of melody, of ‘easy anthems’, typical of our southern culture. We have a strong heritage regarding traditional music. Less ‘rock’ than the rest of Europe, that’s true,...but as you know....we are not so interested in ‘rock’. We are a nihilist folk band...
HH: “Nihilistic *censored*tails for Calypso Inferno (2001” was the second official release of Spiritual Front. The album was originally conceived as a 10-inches vinyl but grew into a CD release containing over 21 tracks. Can you discuss the albums progression from the 10-inch format to a 21 track CD?
SS: ...this CD belongs to the past. I’m not interested in my old works anymore. They represents a drunken, depressed moment of my life.made of low fi songs and low fi instants of happiness and frustration. I consider those days buried. I liked some of those songs.but, dunno, I think I’m a better musicians now, maybe a better man too, I use better drugs than before...
HH: “Nihilistic *censored*tails for Calypso Inferno” seemed to establish the sound of Spiritual Front at the time as well as the thematic nature of the music. Have you since felt trapped in the earlier manifestation that the music of Spiritual Front took on “Nihilistic *censored*tails for Calypso Inferno”?
SS: It was a cruel, sincere album. Made in the reek of closed 4 walls. Made during the hot summer days of a dusty, dirty Rome. Made by rotten, abused mind. Tired hands. Tired eyes. No law dominated the record, it is like a cenotaph of a madman. Half of that record was been recorded during my total lack of sobriety. It’s depressed psychopath somniloquist..eheheh
HH: “Nihilistic *censored*tails for Calypso Inferno” and “Songs for the Will” both featured lyrics that largely revolved around themes of love, emotional pain, rejection, and spirituality. Were these songs reflective of personal life experiences?
SS: I just talked ‘bout myself. I never mentioned anything but me. Love, pain, rejection etc. are the rotten ingredients of our life, ignorin’ theme is like ignorin’ the essence of this miserable life. You can’t prepare a cake without sugar...you can’t consider yourself alive without knowing the pain.
HH: In the earlier songs of Spiritual Front, there is a definite focus upon the pain and suffering that is involved in loving another. Can you elaborate on what has drawn you to focus upon the painful aspects of love and sex?
SS: Sex is slavery. Loving another is meaningless. We conceive love as a merchants pact, taking something back is what we pretend. Feel your body on mine is the reward, substitute your lover with a better one is the law. We expect from love something different from our nature. Soul is eternal, body is temporary, and this is the fatal self-inflicted pain. We pretend from us something we cannot give. Love has no material values. It’s without interest. Sex is a scar inside ourselves. It's temptous. I t's cool. But it feeds our fatal bond with this material body,with this miserable life.sperm is the ivory glue that sticks our flesh into the void of the infinte cycle of passion and ignorance.
HH: The lyrics of Spiritual Front appear to be a portrayal of authentic and honest feelings that many people would feel vulnerable sharing with others. Has it been challenging to expose such deep inner feelings?
SS: ...SF is the easiest way to express myself. Sharing my feelings with you or another 1000 guys could sound great. It means that something hard and deadly passionate is growning out there! When I write a song I just care ‘bout me. I need to kick out something for me. I need to feel myself alive. I don't care to take off my pants in front of the world.
HH: Both “Nihilistic *censored*tails for Calypso Inferno” and “Songs for the Will” feature collages that feature pop culture imagery compiled with pornographic images. This results in a sultry display of cultural icons and unabashed sexual expression. Who creates these collages and what significance do they have for Spiritual Front?
SS: I did it. Dunno why, probably because I grew up with pornography, like many of my generation. The stets where I walked when I was kid were full or syringes and ragged porno magazines. We all discovered the first pussies and asses on them. With the first porno videotapes. Pornography represents the most honest way to show our delicate brutality of love. The quickest method for freein’ your strongest carnal emotions. With or without your official partner. You’d feel part of it. It's like watchin’ a Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris movie. You'd feel part of it for bein’ moved.
HH: Human sexuality is a recurring theme in Spiritual Front as it appears in the lyrics, packaging and even on the bands website which hosts a variety of links to various sexually oriented and fetish websites. Can you discuss the bands interest in human sexuality?
SS: Sex is the biggest push in our life. We live in a ‘carnal’ society. A community that founded itself on image. A society that sells candies showing the ass of a teenager. That convinces you to vote showing tits somewhere. Where flesh is everywhere, where sex is hidden behind every corner. Sexuality sometimes shows many interesting aspects of our personality, sometimes grotesque, many aspects of our ‘other’ intelligence, of our relation with ourselveves and our parallel body. It's a long story...man
HH: The sexually oriented collages that appear on the earlier albums as well the links contained on the Spiritual Front website demonstrate a very broad range of human sexuality. Rather than conforming to social and cultural norms, these links and collages embrace a wide range of sexual expression that spans heterosexuality, homosexuality, and a variety of fetishistic expression. Is Spiritual Front striving for a sexually liberal artistic presentation?
SS: Definitely. We don’t care ‘bout homo, hetero, fetish or whatever. Sex is the only game without any specific law. You are free to express yourself in every form you want. Who wrote sexual norms? Is there a code that contains what I need to feel or what I've to stick in my ass? Or where I'm forced to stick my dick? I don't think so. Norms are for good citizens, for soldiers, for workers....but not for lovers. We definitely support sexual ‘chaotic liberation’!
HH: How do the members of Spiritual Front categorize or define their own sexual preferences?
SS: I don't think I have a specific sexual orientation I usually try to satisfy meyself in every way. If a ‘thing’ makes me horny I use it. I don't give a *censored* ‘bout sexual labels. What does it mean? If one day I’ll feel the need to *censored* with 20 black mongoloid dwarfs I’ll do it.
HH: Beyond fetishistic dress, the postindustrial music genre often appears woefully disconnected from human sexuality or any exploration of human sexuality musically or visually. How has Spiritual Fronts blatant exploration of sexuality been received within the postindustrial genre?
SS: Personally I met many many posers in the scene during the years...Maybe some of them just like the visual aspect of industrial...but you know...this is an old story. They’d like but they can’t ...an old famous jingle. We are straight ...man!
HH: The music of Spiritual Front also flirts with religiosity and references to redemption, salvation adiscuss how religion has influenced you personally?
SS: I grew up in strict contact with religion. Here in Rome it’s not difficult to be involved in something ‘religious’, especially when you are a kid. Religion is not a simple metaphysical adoration.religion is our culture. Our way of being, our way of thinking, etc. Consciously or unconsciously religion influences us. I think religion is a part of our hidden personality. The mystic-social cell of our global being in relation with world. It represents an alibi and a brake. The only possibility to stop the bestial push. Accepting a god to bend the beast inside. Bow our head in front of a divine law to submit the instinct. We need something not earthly for being sure and good! A certain vision from above to convince us of our embarrassing weakness and of our fallacious existence. It’s difficult for us to accept the authority of another human being. Why can’t.the artist accept just the authority of another artist. Lke Jesus.
HH: What relationship do you perceive between religion and sexuality?
SS: In different ways they express the same extreme way to sex and religion. They represent the same will to express ourselves. Through the flesh. Through the soul. A total involvement to satisfy a lack of certainty. Both these activities need a point of reference to direct our incomplete desires.
HH: Spiritual Front is stationed in Rome. Do you feel as if living in Rome in the heart of the catholic capital has influenced you personally or the music of Spiritual Front?
SS: Yea. Definitely. Hatred and love for this city. Catholic religion is the most sexy practice.M ortification and pornography are carved in the holy bible. And the vicious catholic crew is based in Rome. Rome is a city that contains the beauty of history and art and at the same time the stupid Christian tolerance for many subhuman races and freaky strange communities. This is the double side of Rome. Agonizin’ n fascinatin’
HH: The music of Spiritual Front really seemed to expand and strike out in a new direction begining with the CD single “Twin a Tin Tin Towers (*censored* Quota Low-fi remix 2001) (2002)”. What brought about this change in the bands musical direction?
SS: I don't think so...that was just an outtake. I don't think that’s a fundamental work for SF.
HH: Was this album or the picture of the Twin Towers collapsing on its cover meant to be a political statement about the events that occurred on September 11th in the United States?
SS: 9/11 is a symbol. There are many 9/11’s in Baghdad. In South America. In Vietnam. Hiroshima. Serbia.etc. Ours wasnst a political statement. Just a symbolic cover where you can realize how miserable and false is the human being. We are not anti American or anti Muslim or whatever.... We don’t care. Everyone sucks. Everyone who waves a flag. Everyone who recognizes himself into a religion, trend, flag, category. The 9/11 gag story is still a story full of ambiguous holes.
HH: What drew the band to use such an emotionally charged image on the album cover?
HH: “No Kisses on the Mouth (7" EP) (2003)” followed “Twin a Tin Tin Towers”. “No Kisses on the Mouth” includes a remix by Pulcher Femina. Can you explain how you came about working with Pulcher Famina?
SS: We are close friends. I like his records. I’m also a big fan of EBM and electro, so it sounded catchy and funny to record a different version of ‘no kisses’.
HH: “Nihilist EP (2003)” followed “No Kisses On The Mouth.” Throughout these three releases, a progression is heard in the music of Spiritual Front as well as in the vocals. It seems as if Simone had gained confidence as a singer as the vocals fluctuate between the gravely vocals of the first two albums and smoother vocal passages. Can you discuss how Simone came about changing his vocal delivery?
SS: ...I thought those kind of vocals worked for my past album. As I told you I was younger less sure about the potential of SF. I was more depressed and shy...ehehhe....things are made for being changed. Music too. Our music too. ‘Armageddon Gigolo’ shows strongly the different vocal style. I love it more. I can’t listen to my old ‘vocal style’. It upsets me! ahahha
HH: As the band has evolved, how has importance of the experimental nature of the music changed or evolved?
SS: Actually we are not using any type of experimental music yet similar. We prefer to focus our energies on real ‘classic’ songs. I started different related projects (bonded to SF) where it’ll be more easy playin’ experimental stuff.
HH: “No Kisses on the Mouth” features some exclusively acoustic songs. Is Spiritual Front moving towards an acoustic approach in their musical style or is this just an encapsulated venture?
SS: SF is moving towards the real suicide pop songs. To more rich and passionate songs. Easily acoustic or orchestral what counts is the passion you have inside. The passion you want give to your listeners. I love simple acoustic songs. But I want to enrich the SF sound more and more.
HH: Spiritual Front has worked almost exclusively with Italian labels such as Misty Circles, Old Europa Café, and Hau Ruck SPQR to produce and promote the bands music. Is this an intentional effort to keep the music production localized in Italy?
SS: Just in the past. I recorded ‘Satyriasis’ for the Swedish Cold Meat Industry. And ‘Armageddon Gigolo’ will be out on the German Trisol Records. No more Italians at the moment.
HH: What is the bands relationship with the Post Romantic Empire?
SS: PRE is a nu cool label. We are close friends. And we love each other. We played in a couple of gigs for them, and I recorded a track for one of their upcoming compilations. A Johnny Cash tribute.
HH: Most recently, Spiritual Front teamed up with Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio for the split release Satyriasis. How did you come about collaborating with Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio? Who initiated this collaboration?
SS: I met Thomas during an orgy in a small club in Berlin...We recognize each other. We stopped and we started to talk ‘bout music and depravity. We decided it was the time to record a CD together.That s all. It has been a hot and interesting meeting.The perfect birth for a project like ‘satyriasis.’ We are real people. We play real carnal music for *censored*in hot people!
HH: On Satyriasis Spiritual Front and Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio offer independent songs as well as two songs in which you play together. Were these two songs composed as a team? Were they recorded from afar or did you enter the studio together to record them?
SS: We traded da songs...unfortunately we hadn’t the chance to work together, I'm in Rome he’s in Stockholm. So, we were forced to work separated. Our soul is ...so close.
HH: Did Spiritual Front and Rosarius Equilibrio agree upon a shared theme before recording your individual songs? If so what was the agreed upon theme?
SS: Me and Thomas don't need to talk ‘bout the themes of our work. A sort of common vice inspires our life and our music. Just one word...and we know how to do...Thomas is a particular and sensitive artist. I'd work with him for another 20 records and never ask him ‘could you please explain me what we arr going to do this time?’...it has been so natural. Instinctive. It took a long time...ahahha...but we did it!
HH: The songs contributed by Spiritual Front on the Satyriasis split CD continue to show Spiritual Front moving in a more song based direction and away from the earlier more experimental sound. Should we expect Spiritual Front to continue in this vein of musical expression?
SS: I recorded those songs some years ago. The mood was different. That was a picture of my life during those years. Considerin’ the new album ‘Satyriasis’ is definitely more ...dark! I love it. But I think SF is moving to a more powerful and ‘opened’ sound. But pain still continues to be mentioned in my songs!
HH: The songs on Satyriasis also involve elaborate compositional elements and instrumentation. Can you explain what has driven the bands compositional evolution? Do you feel as you have evolved as songwriters?
SS: ...I'm a suicide pop songwriter. I just felt the need to sit down and focus my felling, my soul, my pain. This is just a natural process. Probably the chance to use better equipment and manage more money gave us the possibility to work in an easy and complete way. As I told you, our goal is to improve SF sound day after day. Turn the SF sound into an element for suicide pop propaganda.
HH: Can you discuss the compositional process and how you write the songs of Spiritual Front? Is it a group effort?
SS: Generally I write the music and words, I write it as a natural process. Like a natural need. With the guys we arrange the structures and so on.
HH: Has Spiritual Front expanded the instruments used in your music and if so can you discuss how you go about incorporating new sounds and instruments into the music?
SS: In the beginning I used just guitar, keys for samples and a crushed 4 tape recorder. Now I have the chance to involve many musicians and many instruments, during the recordin’ session for Armageddon Gigolo more than 12 people played. String quartet, double bass, musette, many percussions etc etc. As I told you before money can give opportunities...and comfortable people...of course...
HH: The Spiritual front website has announced a forthcoming split album with Naevus, which will be released By Old Europa Café. Can you discuss what we should expect on this release?
SS: I’m good friend of the Naevus dudes...‘bedtime / badtime’ is a brilliant pic disc....6 tracks of wonderful ballads. You‘d get it. Nice graphics, good songs. This is all we need.
HH: Do Spiritual Front and Naevus collaborate on any songs?
SS: Unfortunately not. 3 each band.
HH: Who initiated this collaboration between Naevus and Spiritual Front?
SS: We met for the first time in London, we kept in touch, sometimes we meet for gigs or a trip. Naevus guys are cool people, guys who really believe in their music. Real straight people. Lloyd is sensitive, an intelligent artist. Rarely do you can meet artist like him in the scene.
HH: Can you share the names of any other musicians you would like to work with in the future?
SS: I know many musicians that I like...I'm workin’ on a sort of soundtrack called ‘bunkerly hills’. Many artists are involved ...but I don't want to mention anything ‘till the day the work‘ll be completed. There are also many musicians I’d like to work with....mmmmmm...too many..
HH: A new full-length album titled Armageddon Gigolò has been announced for Can you give a brief overview of the album?
SS: Until now ‘ag’ is the best work I ve ever made. Me and the guys in the gang (Sten, Jack and Freddy) worked hard. This record shows definitely the real side of SF sound. It’s a CD full of interesting sounds, rich songs, for example we wanted strings ploayed by members of Ennio MorricIn June, Nick Cave and Scott Walker. But it’s more personal. Those were just a point of reference. SF has is own sound. It’s suicide pop!
HH: What label will be releasing Armageddon Gigolò?
HH: Is there a predicted release date yet?
SS: Never had any focused plan ;)....May probably.
HH: How does the music of Spiritual Front translate on stage and in live performances?
SS: On stage things work good. We love to play live. The stage is the perfect condition for SF. We really play live. We are a live band. We don’t use loops, backing tapes or tricks. We are a band of musicians who express 100% their feelings and their bollocks.
HH: Did the band ever expect that their music would be so widely embraced within the postindustrial music arena?
SS: ...pretty question! I love industrial music. We started as a neofolk industrial band. But actually being embraced in this arena sounds strange. It happened that we shared the stage with bands completely different from us. It’s funny.
HH: What aspirations do Spiritual Front hold for the future?
SS: Play the best suicide pop ever made. Play ‘round and spread the front everywhere.
HH: Is there anything you would like to share in parting?
SS: Just support the front. Nihilism and cumshots!