My first listen to Rumspringa, the debut full length by She Spread Sorrow, made for one of the most anxious and tense afternoons in my recent memory. The evenings are drawing in quickly now. As thick clouds started to smother the windows of my flat, Alice Kundalini’s whispers and drones congealed in my ears, symbolic of so much and yet opting to tell me so little. Immediately, I reached out to Kundalini for an interview.
When did She Spread Sorrow begin? What were your reasons for starting the project?
I started the project at the end of 2014, primarily from the need to begin a solo project. Ended my previous project, a duo called Deviated Sister TV, I felt the need to continue my expressive and artistic path in an independent way. In a very special moment of my life, and after a small period of separation from the music, I needed to find my own way, more intimate and personal, that answers better to my sensations and my being, both from the point of view of sound and of the concepts.
Rumspringa is a fantastic work. There’s an unrelenting intensity to the music, although it also seems to stay on the brink of catharsis. The tension never bursts. Does creating this music provide you with any sense of release? Does it alleviate you of any burden?
I really thank you for your words. Absolutely yes. As I mentioned before, Rumspringa was born in a very delicate moment of my artistic and personal life. A sort of rebirth, change, but also rupture and crisis. It’s born from an impulse rather than by an idea. From an absolute need to express things rather than by something thoughtful and rational. Indeed, from that point of view I was in a phase totally destructive. Rumspringa represents the rebirth and the expression of a suffering that I kept suppressed for a long time.
You seem to gravitate toward lingering low frequencies and prolonged, uncomfortable tones. Why does this appeal to you? Do they generate any particular sensation within you?
You guessed! The low and deep frequencies, who feel physically in the belly, are those that I prefer. I don’t tolerate hardly whistles and noises that exasperate the high frequencies. I don’t like the “easy” noise, but always I look for some kind of shape, even if distorted, in my sound. I like to cut the high frequencies, using them only to counterbalance and to emphasize the power of the low frequencies. Obsessively repeated. I find that the low ones are warm and dark, expressing suffering, but also harmony, enveloping and not biting. This is the kind of sound I prefer and I feel it even from a physical standpoint, not only from the mental one.
I understand this may be a sensitive question, and I wouldn’t expect you to answer in any greater depth than you feel comfortable. Is Rumspringa based on personal experience? How did you channel these personal experiences into sound?
Any sound I do or I have done in my life is somehow connected to a personal experience. I am a very introverted person and I struggled to express myself verbally, and like all the people with this type of problem, I found my own way to communicate. Noise is what I feel most mine, in this type of sound I find myself more comfortable. Rumspringa is about desire, pain, repression and abuse … and yes, this is all in various ways and in different forms part of a personal spending, which is part of my background, my existence and my essence.
Have you played these pieces live? Do you plan to?
I did some live in Italy after the recording of the album, but before its official release, in which, however, I didn’t bring the sound of Rumspringa. I am planning dates in Italy and Europe for this year and for 2016, where I will play with a completely new set and in which I will try to recreate the atmosphere and the dark sound I researched in the release . Firstly I am very happy to participate in what I consider one of the most important industrial Italian events: the Destination Morgue, in Rome on Fabruary 2016.
The artwork of Rumspringa is incredibly intense. Who did you work with to create this? Was it difficult to put yourself in situations of such vulnerability?
I’m really glad you ask me this thing, because it’s particularly important to me. I believe that Rumspringa would not be a complete work without that kind of image and aesthetics that we have added. All this was born from the personal and artistic meeting with the photographer Stefano Majno. I knew his work and when I told him about my project and what I had in mind, everything developed very naturally. What I was looking for was an idea of purity, chastity, weakness, pain, suffering, but also desire, sensuality, repression. I did not want to fall in the classical aesthetic stylistic elements of the genre and I would have loved to use my own image, because the work is so much personal and intimate. With these ingredients Stefano managed to pull out the essence of Rumspringa from the aesthetic point of view, beyond the sound. It was not difficult at all, indeed working with him was really spontaneous and somehow liberating, even as reconciliation with my image and my body. And I could hardly imagine a better cover for Rumspringa. So I really hope that this collaboration will be repeated for the next work.
“Rumspringa” is an interesting title for this work. I have theories on how this potentially ties in with the thematic side of your record, but would you be able to divulge why you picked this title?
Rumspringa is the adolescence in the Amish culture. But obviously is not for that reason I chose this name, or at least, not strictly for the link with the Amish culture. Symbolically, however, it represents the transition and the ability to choose. And the moment when desires and consequently repression, shame, taboo explode. The moment of rebellion, but also of the fear of change. The breakdown, but also loneliness and research. When sexual desire grows. The idea of a society closed in itself, where this feelings are synonymous of coercion, denial, guilt. Something that is forced to stay inside until it comes out dramatically and violently. Exactly how was my compositional process.
What records are you listening to at the moment?
Recently one of my favorite work is the latest Iron Fist Of The Sun release We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps out on Cold Spring Records and I have to say that this is one of the project that I more appreciate in this period. During one of his live show (SE:UK in London at the end of 2014), he switched on again my enthusiasm for certain types of sounds that in other projects I had instead a bit bored. One of my favourite listening is also the latest release of Am Not, Unpunished on Unrest Productions, and another artist that I listen very much at the moment and that I love deeply is Puce Mary. Obviously I listen to a lot of “classics” (Sutcliffe Jugend, Grunt, Nicole 12 and Whitehouse in particular) and to the fathers of Italian power electronics…my first and biggest love (Atrax Morgue, Teatro satanico, Mathausen Orchestra, The Sodality)
What’s next for you and your music?
At this moment I am very focused on the study and planning of live performance. That’s the piece I feel necessary at this time for the completeness of the work done with Rumspringa. I also started to put down the first ideas for the next album and the next concept.