Winter Severity Index: Infidel Interview #65
First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about both of you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, what instruments you can play, and where you live would be pretty standard? Thanks so much to you for this interview. Winter Severity Index is a music project from Rome, Italy, lead by me, Simona Ferrucci. I'm the singer, guitarist, bassist, drum programmer and songwriter. At the moment I'm collaborating with Alessandra Romeo ( ex Cat Fud and Bohemien) on synths and keyboards. On stage we are helped by Giovanni Stax ( ex Black Dahlia, Bohemien, actually FRU!T and No Fun with Alessandra) on bass. How would you say your path to peruse artistic liberation has changed you emotionally and spiritually? Do you see a spiritual or magickal connection to you art, or is it purely an emotional expression? Music has always had a great importance in my life, as far as I can remember I always played instruments, using them like toys in my childhood, then from the adolescence, writing songs and composing and playing in different bands. I've always had a very direct and experimental attitude to musical instruments, I've never had a traditional education in this sense. So music it's simply part of me. I can't even imagine my life without it.
Interview continues after the music video!
Coldwave is a very direct and powerful music, but at times difficult to define. Though your music touches on many sounds and sub-genres, Coldwave is one that seems to stick out in people's head when they think of your music. What are some of your favorite bands in the genre, and what are some of the elements you would consider "key" to make a solid Coldwave inspired track? I can mention of course Joy Division, Section 25, The Durutti Column and almost all the bands under the Factory Records on the early '80, even if, as you said, it' s very difficult to define all the bands as representative of the same genre. Plus I love first productions by 4AD Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, Dif Juz, first works by Clan of Xymox,…Then I can surely add The Chameleons, Death in June, Fra Lippo Lippi, lots of french bands from those years such as Asylum Party, Trisomie 21, End of Data, Clair Obscur…I also love german bands as Malaria!, Xmal Deutchland, Einsturzende Neubauten, Palais Schambourg, Grauzone ( from Switzerland, indeed) but I don't want to forget italian wave and post punk: Diaframma, CCCP, Weimar Gesang, Carmody, Chromagain, D'as Hirt, Intelligence Dept., Jeunesse d'Ivoire…I can't give a good answer to the other question. When I play I don't think about the way to make a solid Coldwave track, I'm surely influenced by my favorite music but I can't really say in which way and in which percentage it contributes to the creation of my music. Outside of post-punk and coldwave, what other genres could you see yourself composing music in? Or should I say, do you see yourself inspired by? I can't say it exactly. When I think about some tracks by WSI I wouldn't consider them merely as cold wave/post punk tracks, so I could say that I'm already composing thinking about other genres…but really, labeling is not for me. I'm fond of synth pop, shoegaze, krautrock, trip-hop, ambient, a certain kind of industrial too…but when I play I really don't think about labeling my music.
How would you describe the composition of a typical track within your musical group? Do you have primary songwriters, or do you each take time writing individual tracks and bring them to the rest of the group to flesh out, or do you jam tracks out in a live sort of setting? I generally build the main rhythmic structure, then we add the melodic part together, trying to find the right place for the synth and the guitar, as a sort of dialogue between the two instruments. But it's not always like that, it depends on the track. The voice always comes when all the instruments are already arranged. When it comes to fan and critic feedback, how much do you take it to heart, and how much do you feel it evolves, pushes, or holds your sound in place? Do you feel that the personal response and interaction in the live environment, and the subsequent positive press you've regarding both your live and recorded music has consciously encouraged you to do things a certain way? When I play, both composing and during a live performance, I really don't think about the possible feedback.
Music comes and I just follow my inner flow. It doesn't mean the final result is totally spontaneous, as I'm very critic about my own work and throw away lots of compositions I consider not so effective. My primary intent is to create music for my own satisfaction. If I'm moved by the music, I'm quite sure someone else will be the same.
And if it won't, well…it's not a big problem. This is the main benefit of being an independent artist.
Your live shows are intimate, artistic, and very personal, much like your music. Do you find that the audience engagement has impacted the way you perceive yourself artistically. We don't consider our show as a moment of entertainment, we simply play. I mean, we haven't a real rock attitude. Music speaks, we perceive us only as its vehicle. Audience is typically involved, even if nothing spectacular happens on the stage. They're usually enchanted by music, as we are in that moment: it' a sort of collective mesmerism which involves musicians and the audience at the same time. You've had an opportunity with your rising success to play a series of concerts and festivals with some other high profile bands. What are some of your favorite places to play, and bands to play with, and why? We really love playing in festivals, because we have the opportunity to know other musicians, to share opinions and also to enjoy the situation together. It's always a sort of big party, you know…Also from a technical point of view, in festivals we always find fully equipped stages and very professional staff that helps us during the sound check and the performance. Sometimes little clubs, especially in Italy, doesn't provide the best equipment to have a good performance and playing in that conditions it's often a little stressful. In any case we always enjoy playing live, meeting people after the concert, both from the audience and all the other bands we have the chance to share the stage with. We really like the human aspects of our work. With your band becoming increasingly popular have you had any insider attention regarding label support? What's your thoughts regarding being independent music scene versus being part of a record label? Our record label, Manic Depression, even though it releases the biggest part of european cold wave/new wave, is a very independent one, we haven't restrictions and binding indications from it. So, for us it's not a problem by now. But of course, being an underground artist means also a lot of work has to be done by the artist himself. I made the main part of the promotion from the beginning and I personally manage all the organization aspects in Winter Severity Index. We collaborate from a couple of months with Mind World Music, a little booking agency, which helps us with our touring. Maybe in the future we will find a bigger label and have different kind of problems:) Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
To be honest, it's really difficult for me to keep myself focused and balanced, as I'm a very emotional person and I struggle from years with a sneaky form of depression. Leading a very organized and healthy life is the only way I know to fight agains my moody attitude. I usually try to organize my days the best I can, always finding the time to cultivate good habits, and it generally works. Sometimes it doesn't. But that's me, I'm not perfect. Alessandra helps me a lot, especially from the emotional point of view, besides music partners, we are close friends too : sharing opinions with her and having her support it's very precious to me and makes me keep going on.
So much has been said, and it sometimes feel that every word combination has every been taken. As a lyricist myself I know the pain of how hard it can be to articulate something in a way that is both engaging to the audience and uniquely artist. How do you find inspiration for your lyrical poetry? I think the point is not to be original, we shouldn't have this presumption. I mean, every kind of creation comes from some sources of inspiration. I can't say precisely which are mine when I write. I generally read a lot of poetry. I can mention among my favorite authors Sylvia Plath, Eugenio Montale, Matsuo Bashō, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, Ingeborg Bachmann, Jules Laforgue, and many more... I prefer to read in my own language as the impact is obviously more direct. I generally write in Italian too. But I really don't like Italian from a musical point of view, I find it sounds too rhythmic. Writing in English lets me speak to a wider audience too. So generally, when I write lyrics, I translate my poems and impressions from Italian to English, trying to find the most appealing sound, according to the music. Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements? I like reading, watching movies, painting, cooking, everything involving creativity. And when I'm not too lazy I love swimming and running outdoor. Would you consider yourself to be an overall political or spiritual individual? If so, if you could give yourself an easy label or description, where do you stand on said issues? I think these two human aspects are complementary. The only form of spirituality I know is considering ourselves as part of a greater entity, in which every kind of action has a concrete consequence on the rest of beings. So I necessary feel myself as part of a complex structure, not necessary ordered by a deity, and not necessary ordered, in general, in a logical way. How could I briefly describe this system of belief? Holistic? Maybe. Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interviews. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thanks so much to follow and support our project even if we haven't a great promotion means all around the world. This is the proof music has still its own power in the show business.
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