HI, WHO ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOU? Ave atque vale! Who am I!? I’m not the person to ask! Sorry… I come from Roma. Fine thanks, and you? COULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOUR PROJECT/ BAND TO THE WORLD? WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND IT AND WHICH GOALS DO YOU HAVE? My solo project started after the split of my previous dark-wave band, right before being produced by a small but effective Italian label. I was tired to waste my time with lazy and unable guys, so I decided: I love dark and heroic atmospheres, I grew up with dark music, I’ll do it just for me; but step by step RR&A grew with a little bit more audience than myself. When I started with RR&A I wanted to talk about the beauty of roman twilights, roses, true and strong feelings in this age of grand delusion…My only goal is creating powerful, elegant and romantic pictures with my music. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL MUSICAL BACKGROUND? I BELIEVE YOU HAVE BEEN IN DIFFERENT MUSICAL PROJECTS BEFORE?! When I was 8 I have fallen in love with Bowie’s music (I still love him), then suddenly came a lot of others artists, some names? This Mortal Coil, D. Sylvian, Psychedelic Furs, Iggy Pop, but also King Crimson and rock music and a lot of classical music. I played and I play everything but reggae music! ROSE ROVINE E AMANTI IS A VERY WELL SOUNDING NAME. COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF IT? IS IT ABOUT CONTRADICTION? CONTRADICTION OF BEAUTY AND UGLINESS? DEATH AND LIFE? You’re right! Shortly: Rose (Roses) is about beauty; Rovine (Ruins) about ancient roman empire ruins, which also mean the cultural ruins and lack of spirituality of our time; Amanti (Lovers) is the late romantic element, and “ja” it is about love and death, or better the death of love. DO YOU LIKE GERMAN BAND “EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN” AS YOUR BAND NAME COULD BE CONSIDERED A REFERENCE?! Ja! I like Einstürzende… I saw them once in Roma, great! But no reference between my name and theirs. Strange you ask me this…? (because “rovine” also means “einstürzende”, Anm. d. Verf.) THERE HAVE BEEN SOME “RREA”-RELEASES IN THE PAST BUT IN VERY LIMITED EDITIONS WHAT IS THE REASON BEHIND CREATING MUSIC BUT NOT ALLOWING MANY PEOPLE TO GET HOLD OF IT? Well my first MCD-r is not limited, in fact it yet sells; “Woyzeck” had to for some reasons, because the concept is really harsh about desperation and honour. See the movie and read the novel, great! HOW DID YOUR MUSICAL APPROACH CHANGE OVER THE YEARS AND DIFFERENT RELEASES? I started with the aim to create a romantic, apocalyptic silent neofolk atmosphere, but then my personal experiences brought me to doing some harsh music full of hate and revenge! Now I must be calm again! Before or then I’ll create a project only for my harsh and violent alter ego…we’ll see. YOU DID A SONG CALLED “TAXI DRIVER” REFERRING TO THE SCORSESE-MOVIE. WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THIS CLASSIC URBAN TALE? IT TELLS SOMETHING ABOUT THE ITALIAN HUMAN NATURE, AM I RIGHT? Italian human nature!? Taxi driver!? Maybe, I don’t know, for me it’s the saga of mankind which tries to get a spiritual target among the brutality of life. About isolation, but not resignation! WHICH OTHER MOVIES DO YOU LIKE? ARE YOU A FAN OF THE ITALIAN EXPLOITATION MOVIES OF THE 70IES (SADOEROTICA, POLIZIOTTI, CAMP, GIALLO, GORE)? Not at all. I like Herzog, Kurosawa, Fred Astaire, Italian neorealism (De Sica is the best to me!), “The fallen of the gods” by Visconti and some good porns! AND YOU ALSO SEEM TO BE A VERY WELL-READ MAN WITH AN ATTITUDE FOR GERMAN POETS. WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT IT? I don’t know, since I was a child I felt a special relationship between me and german culture. H. Böll is one of my favourite writers, Mann and Brecht, too, I also do love painters from Germany, as O. Dix, Grosz, Kolbe, Bocklin, Gropius and so on, and the musicians K.Weill, Beethoven,R. Strauss …maybe I feel myself to be an expessionist! I love the art of the Weimar years! YOU MADE AN ODE TO BÜCHNER/ WOYZECK. DO YOU KNOW THE HERZOG MOVIE WITH KINSKI AS PROTAGONIST? IT’S A VERY DESOLATE STORY OF LOSS AND DESIRE, ARE YOU A PESSIMIST PERSON YOURSELF? WHERE IS MANKIND HEADING FOR? Of course I read the novel and I often watch the movie (great!). Pessimism? Ja, I’m a pessimist but with a strong will and hope deep in my heart. BEAUTY will never die and ART will always win. Mankind is coming to the universal judgement as it is written in the Holy Book. YOUR NEWEST RELEASE HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY GERMAN LABEL SKULD. HOW DID YOU GET IN TOUCH WITH THIS LABEL? One year and a half ago I received an e-mail from this newly created label, Carl Friedrich, the owner, asked me to produce a MCD and so it was done. I think “:SKULD:” will become one of the most promising labels, for they are really looking for something “new”, not just clones. THE COVER SHOWS A SELF PORTRAIT OF DIX. WAS IT NECESSARY TO GET PERMISSION USING IT? Ja, we got all the permissions. HATE/ LOVE IS THE MAIN THEME OF THE MCD, COULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS CONCEPT FROM YOUR PERSONAL VIEW. This MCD is a sort of “coda” of Woyzeck! “Noi vi odiamo” (“We hate you”) is my personal hymn against all those who have a superficial vision of life and with their laziness are destroing our nations, sense of friendship, roots and dignity, so I hate them! Is it legal to hate someone!? THE TITLE TRACK “NOI VI ODIAMO” IS A LITTLE DANCEFLOOR HIT. WHAT DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE PEOPLE DANCING TO IT? It happened only twice, I just joined…very cool ha haah! IT IS ALSO VERY POWERFUL AND CANNOT BE DESCRIBED AS NEOFOLK, THE TERM “MARTIAL ELECTRO” FITS BETTER IN MY HUMBLE OPINION. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO EXPRESS WITH THIS TRACK AND WHY DID IT CAME OUT SO “ANGRY” AND “HARD”? See above. Anyway I’m really tired to be insulted by those idiots! I wanted to kill them all, but a friend of mine told me it’s illegal! So I did the song. HOW WOULD YOU CALL YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? THE SONGS ON THIS RELEASE ARE SO DIFFERENT THAT ONE COULD THINK “DIVERSITY IS YOUR STYLE”? “Diversity genre” – great word! Till now “ja”, diversity was my style: neofolk, some electronics, cold wave, cabaret music, but in the end my style is: DARK MUSIK. “ICH LIEBE DARK MUSIK.“ When I buy a CD I don’t like to listen to the same atmosphere all the way, the songs just being remakes of the titletrack, no thanks, I prefer diversity! DID YOU PLAY ALL THE INSTRUMENTS YOURSELF IN STUDIO OR HOW WAS WORK DONE? The main work has been recorded at my home studio, and other things in a studio with a more professional equipment and a sound engineer who brokes my balls telling: “…oh my God, too much reverb, you can’t do it, it’s immoral! …”. It’s very hard workin’ alone, but I must be alone for I’m quite a dictator about my music. LIVE YOU REFER TO SESSION MUSICIANS. DO YOU PREFER TO USE THE SAME PEOPLE IF POSSIBLE, IS THERE SOME KIND OF BASIC LINE-UP? No basic line-up. I am always looking for musicians, RR&A does about 3-4 concerts in a year, and I must choose the musicians who are free right for a special concert. I like to see them playing my stuff! Usually the musicians who play with/ for me have never dealt with dark music or the dark scene, it’s therefore very funny and this leads them to a particular state of anguish! HOW MANY SHOWS DID YOU PLAY APPROXIMATELY? ANY STRANGE, SAD, INTERESTING EXPERIENCE YET? How many? About 11 gigs with RR&A. Nothing strange or sad, a RR&A concert is an elegant mid European meeting, a “club musik” for few silent persons who listen carefully to what I’m screamin’. YOU SHOULD HAVE PLAYED AT THE “HEILIGES ÖSTERREICH”-FESTIVAL. HOW DID YOU GET IN CONTACT WITH THE ORGANISATORS? WHY HAS IT BEEN CANCELLED LAST MINUTE? WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT IT? Well at first we planned the invasion of Poland, but in the end we hadn’t enough money for the army, so we decided to have a musical festival!!!!! Just joking… Josef K. and Raymond P. have been at my concert one year ago in north Italy, after the gig they visited me backstage, and the first thing they told me was: ”…We’re absolutely no racists or violent persons…” Ha ha ah, I thought they were drunk, but now I understand! (sad sad situation!).They liked my show and invited me to the VAWS festival. Before, I’ve never heard of Von Thronstahl or VAWS. Let me say clearly that I really respect Josef K. He’s a great artist and – believe me – for an Italian such cultural terrorism is unbelievable! Here in Roma you can find some black immigrants along the main streets selling posters of Che Guevara and Benito Mussolini! If you don’t use violence you’re free to do what you want, that’s my opinion. Josef K. and Raymond P. are very gentle, kind and talented artists. Why the festival has been cancelled is still beyond my knowledge! Someone told me the Austrian Green party didn’t want V.T. and VAWS there. So I returned to Rome, but in the end we had a long great neofolk jam in the heart of the night in the music hall of a castle: Unique!!! ARE YOU AWARE THAT SOME OF THE OTHER BANDS (VON THRONSTAHL, ETC.) ARE CONSIDERED TO BE POLITICALLY INCORRECT BY SOME PEOPLE IN GERMANY? ARE YOU IN ANY WAY POLITICAL? WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP “NEOFOLK” – “HISTORY” – “POLITICS”? To be politically correct or to be politically incorrect, this is the question!? – There‘s something wrong in the state of Denmark – ….My kingdom for a gig, my kingdom for a gig!!!… (Shakespeare would write in this way nowadays I guess). Ja, I received a lot of pressure not to play at a VAWS festival, so I asked Raymond for some explanations: He told me “everything is safe and legal, we’re not Odessa organization”; it was enough for me. Ja, I’m in a political party, and I fight hard for the victory of this party, this political party is: MUSIC! Relationship between neofolk and controversial politic? To me it deals more with fashion than other stuff, there are so many homosexuals who use nazi-fasci symbols!? They’re a little bit confused! About the runes, I don’t use them for it’s not my cultural root, but, maybe you don’t believe in me, here in Italy a lot of left-winged people are in love with runes, while it seems that in Germany if you use runes you are blamed for being a public enemy. IS ITALY WITH BERLUSCONI ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING A “DIFFERENT” STATE? AND AS HE CONTROLS THE MASS MEDIA, IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET DIFFERENT/ UNDERGROUND INFORMATION? In Italy as well as all over the world it is impossible to get some underground information! One half of the mass media is controlled by Berluska, the other half is controlled by the italian communist oligarchy. So if you’re something else it’s better to rent a good movie, maybe “Woyzeck”! YOUR HOMEPAGE STATES THAT IN FUTURE YOU WILL HAVE SOME MORE NEOCLASSIQUE ELEMENTS. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? WILL THERE BE NO HARSH TRACKS ANYMORE? No more hate please on my music. Now I need a change! My next CD will be more “pantheistic” and spiritual with some neo-renaissance influenced sounds, but always powerful! A lot of acoustic, classical guitars, mandolins, violins, piano, percussions and some synth. Anyway it’ll take time even if I’ve already all the songs at hand! ITALY HAS A LARGE AND DIVERSE UNDERGROUND WITH ACTS SUCH AS AIT!, AIN SOPH, ATARAXIA, ENSOPH, IRIDIO… DO YOU HAVE CONTACT WITH SOME OF THESE? IS THERE SOME KIND OF “SCENE” WITH BANDS HELPING EACH OTHER? I sadly must admit that there is not too much communication between us. Maybe because in Italy, dark music is not very popular… I can also give you a little list of Italian bands who actually hate me! Why? I don’t understand! But I’m happy because a lot of great talented artists come from Italy. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE ORSO NERO PROJECT AND ITS HISTORY AND FUTURE? Well Sandro L. was the bass player of a great unknown Roman wave band, I tried to help them, but in the end they split; I knew, Sandro had so many great silent-melodic industrial tracks, but he’s much too lazy to release something, so I thought it would be a shame if such great music would not have the possibility to be loved by some others. I decided to produce his first release on CD-r, it comes in a hand-made digi, very great, and I hope with such a release he’ll be able to find an effective and “real” label which wants to produce his great music… I also asked BELBORN (my favourite German neofolk project!) to participate in one track. They did! With the German influence it sounds great! AT LAST: WHO IS THE PRIVATE DAMIANO MERCURI? WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS BESIDE MUSIC? WHAT DO YOU DO FOR LIVING (IF I’M ALLOWED TO ASK THIS)? WHICH OTHER ACTS DO YOU LIKE PERSONALLY? Well, I teach music in a private music school, so I get money and I play classical music in different ensembles, lots of work for very few money, but if you love and need music you must be poor it seems. The “private Damiano Mercuri” is private. Others acts I love… the list is much too long, I’m in love with LUCIO BATTISTI, the best Italian songwriter, and VON THRONSTAHL, who are really dangerous for the freedom of the world HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE. Thanks a lot to you for the interview! And lots of greetings to my beloved Holy Germany!