The interview is from mid-1996.
1) WHY "MR. DOCTOR" ?
"I have asked in the years to all the members of Devil Doll WHY He is called Mr. Doctor and I got three answers : - Mr (Hyde) Doctor (Jekyll) = He is the 2 sides of a split personality (this is what I personally think is the true reason) - Mr. Dr. is contraction of the word MURDER (without the vowels) (this looks to me a bit complicated, but it is just my opinion) - When Devil Doll started making music THE MAN was called nearly immediately THE DOCTOR because of His studies (I know He is Doctor in CRIMINOLOGY and PHILOSOPHY) (I think there is something of truth in this one, but looks probably simplistic) - I heard members of Devil Doll calling Him DOCTOR, never in a different way, and never MR. DOCTOR".
2) IS HE A HUMOROUS PERSON ?
"Nice question : I thought about it and I think He has a great sense of humour and at the same time He is extremely serious. I mean : I was talking to the musicians about His behaviour and I got practically the same answers - He seems to be obsessed by the fact that "every one (of the musicians) must put all his drops of blood into it", "we must be just one heart beating at unison" (rehearsing with Francesco Carta in the piano/vocal parts), "you must go beyond the limit of the limit of your limits !". But when I asked the same question : does He joke ? I got the answer : strong sense of SHARP humour and quite often, and not rarely on Himself. Definitely : He IS a troubled mind. Absolutely guaranteed".
3) HOW DOES HE EARN HIS LIVING ?
"Apparently THE MAN does not have a proper job nor economic problems, even if we know that after the Tivoli fire, when He had decided to stop with music, he kept a course in conjunction between the faculty of Philosophy of Art of the University of Ljubljana and the National Cinemateque of Slovenja, called RETROVIZOR. The course lasted two years, with MR. DOCTOR taking it : the posters of the happenings (speech by Mr. Doctor + movie projection) are glossy 60 x 90 cm and on the upper part write the 4 organizations responsible for it : MR. DOCTOR OF THE DEVIL DOLL (sic), UNIVERSITY OF LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIAN CINEMATEQUE, EKRAN (monthly magazine of cinema in Slovenja). Apparently some articles of Mr. Doctor are in some issues of the magazine EKRAN. We contacted EKRAN and the Cinemateque and they told us they talked in enthusiastic way of the man : to one of my questions they said The Man always refused to be paid. You can contact yourself the Slovenian Cinemateque as they seem to know by far more than us !".
4) DOES HE KEEP CONTACT WITH THE DEVIL DOLL FANCLUB ? AND WHAT ARE HIS RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEMBERS OF THE BAND ?
"There are unfortunately NO relationships between the fan club and Mr. Doctor. Regarding relationships with members I know that the piano players have always more contact than anybody else with Mr. Doctor as they need a symbiotic relationship with Him. Francesco Carta is undoubtedly the most important band member after the Doctor. Jurij Toni, sound engineer and co-producer gave us details that reveal the fact that they have talked quite a lot. Michel Fantini Jesurum said to me that he was for 5 years "one of the victims" of the jokes of Mr. Doctor in high school (they were in the same school), but apart from that they never meet apart from the studio work (Fantini Jesurum never played live with the group as there is no chance of having a pipe organ onstage !). Sasha Olenjuk, the "virtuoso" ukrainian leader of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, is the only other member that sees Mr. Doctor more often to discuss a project from the very beginning".
5) IS THERE REALLY, AS IS SUGGESTED IN THE CD BOOKLETS ("THE SECT OF DEVIL DOLL"), A "GURU"/"DEVOTEES" RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MR. DOCTOR AND THE OTHER MUSICIANS ?
"The guru/devotees relationship you mention is something I am sure Mr. Doctor would HATE. Facts are much more simple : I think the mystery is built by the outsiders, because for what we are concerned, we accept the FACT that Mr. Doctor is not interested in public exposure, business, glory, etc etc. And there is nothing mysterious in it : He prefers to express himself through his pieces of Art, instead of filling pages of interviews... From our side we just try to understand what He means with some lyrics, which references, quotations, influences can be traced, from which sources the images of the booklets are taken, and so on...".
6) CLASSICAL MUSIC IS OBVIOUSLY A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON DEVIL DOLL'S MUSIC. WHAT PARTICULAR COMPOSERS HAVE INSPIRED MR. DOCTOR ?
"Definitely, classical music IS a very big influence of Devil Doll. In a short interview with Francesco Carta, he told us of his and Mr. Doctor's fondness of the Eastern European school (I think that Shostakovitch's String Quartet no. 8 or Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra are VERY Devildollian and both of them are amongst the BIG influences on the Doctor !). Francesco Carta told me some months ago that quite obviously Bernard Herrmann is one of Mr. Doctor's favourites, and that he saw the doctor studying the sheet music of with Bernard Stevens' Symphony of Liberation, Bohislav Martinu's Symphony no. 3, Aram Khachaturian's Symphony no. 1 and Charles Ives' Symphony no. 4.
7) HOW CAN DEVIL DOLL AFFORD TO WORK WITH A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ?
"The collaboration with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra (this is THE national orchestra) is based especially on the fact that the leader of the orchestra and first violin of the orchestra is Sasha Olenjuk, one of the first musicians to have joined Devil Doll ! Expensive : Yes, very expensive. Hurdy Gurdy Records spent 150.000 marks on DIES IRAE (900 minutes of music have been recorded, but only 45 released !)... But we believe that we are part of something that has really a devastating value in artistic terms, something that is at last something truly innovative not only in conceptual terms, but above all in poetic sense and above all transcending the terms "progressive", "symphonic rock", "heavy", "dark", etc. And we are putting all of ourselves, time and money, into it : the economic success really does not count if we are able to contribute to the release of such masterpieces".
8) THE PARTS OF DEVIL DOLL'S MUSIC WHERE MR. DOCTOR SINGS ARE GENERALLY VERY INTIMATE, AND ON MOST OF THE "BAND" SECTIONS HE IS RARELY TO BE HEARD. ARE THESE PARTS RECORDED SEPARATELY ? FOR INSTANCE, DOES MR. DOCTOR RECORD HIS VOCAL PARTS ON HIS OWN ? IS HE PRESENT AT REHEARSALS ?
"At the time of GIRL WHO WAS DEATH and ELIOGABALUS, all was played together and more or less FIRST TAKE (only one week for recording and mixing). Now the group has more budget so it follows the usual procedure of separate playing between piano, electric instruments including drums, and orchestra. VOICES are the last thing recorded. Mr. Doctor is present at EVERY single second of the rehearsals, recording, mixing, editing, mastering".
9) WHAT IS MR. DOCTOR'S ATTITUDE AS A LIVE PERFORMER ? IS THERE ANY CLOSE INTERACTION BETWEEN HIM AND THE BAND, AND BETWEEN HIM AND THE AUDIENCE ?
"No : absolutely no interaction with other band members, nor the audience on live performances. I think He does not see anybody, like His eyes would be turned to the inside (really this is my impression). He really looks in a state of trance".
10) DURING THE OCCASIONS WHEN YOU MET MR. DOCTOR, DID HE EVER SPEAK ABOUT HIS OWN WORK ? FOR INSTANCE, WHEN YOU SIGNED DEVIL DOLL ON HURDY GURDY RECORDS, DID HE TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THAT HIS MUSIC WAS GOOD, AND HOW ? IS HE A FRIENDLY PERSON, OR RATHER THE NEVROTIC BEING THAT HIS MUSIC SUGGESTS ?
"There is NO written contract between Hurdy Gurdy and Mr. Doctor. We never paid Him one single lira, but we paid all the musicians according to a list probably made by Mr. Doctor. I heard Mr. Doctor speaking in Retrovizor at the National Cinemateque and I understood that He is really possessed by His Art. You should see to understand me. He never tried to convince us that the music was good because we started Hurdy Gurdy as we were already BIG FANS !!! But I remember that He described His music as "unpleasant" and said in a Retrovizor speech that ART MUST HURT. Obviously the sentence He put in the advert to start Devil Doll is a sort of MANIFESTO for all of us (ILLUSION being the KEY WORD for everything we do). Friendly is not the exact word, but nevrotic is not either. I have seen Him always with those unique round dark glasses He always has on - never seen them on anybody else, must be designed for Him or by Him - and if He does not approach you do not really have the heart to bother Him".
11) MR. DOCTOR HAS A VERY UNUSUAL WAY OF "SINGING", WHICH BOTH ATTRACTS AND REPULSES PEOPLE TO DEVIL DOLL'S MUSIC. IS IT DERIVED FROM PARTICULAR INFLUENCES OF MR. DOCTOR ?
"Mr. Doctor uses the voice as an instrument, with all the different possibilities that such an instrument has (glissandos, jumps of octaves, dissonances, 4th tones etc) : on this basis He put further Schoenberg's "sprachstimme" that you can perceive at times also in some 20th century operas like "Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk" of Shostakovitch or in the German cabaret of Eisler and Weill. It shocks me the fact that while in the normal instruments the technique has progressed allowing any sort of un-melodic sounds (take all the 20th century and above all Penderecki) in order to suggest a state of mind, a feeling, an ambient, a musical COLOUR, in the VOCALS on the contrary the use of it is still mainly ACADEMIC (soprano, mezzosoprano, contralto, tenor, baritone, bass, with a style that has not changed in 500 years or more : I find more "advanced" for example... some parts of the Purcell of Dido and Aeneas than 99% of the 20th century vocal music !). Mr. Doctor transformed the SINGER at last into a VOCALIST : in His music EVERY WORD HAS A DIFFERENT COLOUR because IT HAS THE RIGHT to be modelled in its own way, same as a violin player decides to treat a note with "balzato", "legato", "sul ponticello", "tremolo", "glissando", etc.".
12) THE FIRST DEVIL DOLL ALBUM, "THE MARK OF THE BEAST", WAS ONLY PRINTED IN ONE COPY. IS MR. DOCTOR THE ONLY PERSON IN POSSESSION OF THIS RECORDING, UNDER ANY FORM ? DO FOR INSTANCE THE OTHER MUSICIANS HAVE A TAPE COPY OF THIS ? IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO HEAR IT ? ARE THERE COPIES IN CIRCULATION ?
"Yes, He made the only copy for Himself. I heard once a little piece of DAT in Jurij Toni's home. Nobody else has a copy to my knowledge".
13) DEVIL DOLL HAS A DOUBLE HOMEBASE, IN ITALY AND SLOVENIA. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN ? ARE THE TOWNS IN QUESTION FAR APART ? HOW OFTEN DOES THE FULL BAND GET TOGETHER ?
"Venice and Ljubljana are only 2 hours apart by car. Ljubljana has always had a strong reputation for its lively artistic scene and very receptive on new expressions of Art as it is the door between West and East with its mixture of Germanic, Latin, Slavic and Balkanian elements. In fact, in the last Devil Doll album, musicians from 11 different countries are featured".
14) WHY THE NAME DEVIL DOLL ? IS IT A PROVOCATION ?
"The name of the band comes from the titles of two movies : one from the thirties, directed by Tod Browning, with Lionel Barrmore acting, about a man unjustly condemned who escapes and takes revenge on the people who accused him, disguised as an old seller of dolls (double personality again !!!). The other, less polished but with a truly shocking finale, from the early sixities, directed by Shonteff, about a dummy that is able to enter and win the battle for mental supremacy with his ventriloquist (double personality once more !!!). The name of the band is NOT a provocation, for what I know. Definitely Mr. Doctor has BIG religious and spiritual involvement as seems clear in the lyrics of the records".
15) WHAT WAS MR. DOCTOR'S INITIAL REACTION TO THE DAMAGE CAUSE BY FIRE TO TIVOLI STUDIOS ? DID THIS EVER THREATEN THE FUTURE OF THE BAND ?
"He decided to leave music altogether and dedicated basically to film-making. It has been a tragic event for Him (spiritually) and all of us (spiritually and economically, as we nearly went bankrupt as the recordings had been pre-paid)".
16) IS THERE A NEW DEVIL DOLL ALBUM IN THE WORKS RIGHT NOW ?
"As I told you, 900 minutes of music have been recorded in the DIES IRAE sessions, but it is unlikely that it will see the light of day. We are trying to get the right to release for Christmas a special Fanclub-only edition of the soundtrack to Mr. Doctor's private movie THE DAY OF WRATH that has been recorded along with DIES IRAE and lasts two hours, incorporating parts of DIES IRAE. This will be the only chance to hear part of the extra material. Rumours about the existence of another complete "opera" ready to be recorded are not officially confirmed, even if unofficially I read that a 50 minute epic provisionally called CARNIVAL OF SOULS has been rehearsed. Another rumour - still unconfirmed from Devil Doll circles - is that now Mr. Doctor is working on the soundtrack to an old silent movie, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER by Jean Epstein (1928) that has been commissioned to Him by the Solvenian National Cinemateque for the 1997 European year".