Interview With Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro of Lacuna Coil
Band Photo: Lacuna Coil (?)
Italy's most successful metal export has undoubtedly been Lacuna Coil. The band is currently part of a tour alongside bands such as Hellyeah and Drowning Pool before departing to headline their first ever tour of South America. I was lucky enough to be able to chat with both of the band's two vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro during a one-off date headlining in Chicago.
Matt: Welcome to Chicago
Andrea: Than you very much. We're glad to be back.
Matt: I've seen from recent setlists of your headline tour in Europe that you're alternating "Senzafine" and "1.19." Which one are you going to be playing tonight?
Andrea: I think "1.19" is going to be the song for tonight. But on the other headline show we got we're probably going to switch and try something else because then we go to South America for the first time so we have to play a longer set with all the old songs as well.
Matt: Each of your albums has a different feel to it. For instance Shallow Life and Unleashed Memories are more rock while In a Reverie and Karmacode are more metal. Which direction are you going to take your next album in?
Andrea: We're actually thinking about it since we just started writing some songs just to get it started. I think if would be different again but with a good mix of metal and rock with rock structures especially in a way that the songs are pretty fluid and quite prominent but we are going to fuse it with an upbeat and heavier sound for some of the songs. It really depends on when we are actually going to have a lot of content and we can decide the real direction but so far we've got some very powerful songs.
Matt: Which one of the two of you writes more lyrics?
Cristina: We always write together, either vocal lines or lyrics. Sometimes I write parts that he's going to sing and sometimes he writes parts for me. We just do everything together.
Matt: Do you have plans to come back to the United States during the autumn or winter?
Andrea: We'll see. It really depends on the songwriting. We really need to start working the new songs and we've got good ideas coming. But if we decide to release a new radio single then we might come back to do do some support for the single. We're not really sure. We do know that we're going to go to South America. Then go back home and start writing. We have a couple festivals in Europe for the summer. Then we'll keep writing and decide. In September and October we'll have to do some shows in Europe for sure but maybe we can alternate some shows with songwriting. We'll see what happens.
Matt: I know of you, Aborym, Graveworm, Rhapsody and Cadaveria. What other Italian heavy metal bands are out there that I should be listening to?
Cristina: Honestly, we've be away for song long from Italy that we don't' really now what's going on right now other than the bands that you mentioned now.
Andrea: We have some friends in a band called Node which is technical death metal. And a band called Extrema that's a very old band who've been around since the 80s. They're like a thrash/nu-metal band. There are many underground bands to listen to like Labyrinth which is power metal. There are many. You can just go on the internet to find out. As she said, we're not really around but there's always going to be people who've been around and they'll always be friends. So we've known them since the practice room era or because they hang out at the same places we go but we don't really spend a lot of time home so we don't get to see a lot of the new bands that are coming out. Also, there's not really a mainstream scene for metal in Italy so all of the bands you really need to discover. You go to small pubs and see them live. It's not very easy. You really need to dedicate some time to do that.
Matt: Then do you find more in common with bands that you're closer to stylistically like Leaves Eyes or Epica?
Andrea: Not really. I know them and they're friends but our direction is more rock/metal. Those bands are more into operatic metal with a more symphonic approach. We're more crossing over with something else. But they're good friends, good musicians and good bands.
Matt: So then which bands are your favorite to tour with and which bands do you hope to tour with in the future?
Cristina: We're been touring with so many bands and honestly, we've always had a great time. We can say that our favorites so far have been Type O Negative and Rob Zombie. We've toured with a lot of bands, from Disturbed to Stone Sour to Anthrax to All That that Remains, we've always had a great time. We've never had a favorite one.
Andrea: When you're supporting, the main goal is to play in front of a group of people who've never heard of your band so it doesn't really matter if you're in love with the band you're going to play with or not. As long as you play in front of a new crowd with a lot of people. You have to promote your music. Of course if I had to choose, I'd tour with friends so I can have a good time, hang out and I love their music. But we need to look at both aspects. Both the professional side where you need to expose the band to as many people as you can. Like Ozzfest, Mayhem Festival...
Andrea: Yeah, like Graspop, Download. There are many...
Matt: Tuska Open Air?
Andrea: There are so many. Those places you don't really care if you're going to like all the other bands. It's just a chance to play in front of a wider crowd. Otherwise you're going to meet your people at your show. When you headline, you're going to know that people will know you and like you.
Matt: How's this tour going so far with Drowning Pool Five Finger Death Punch and Hellyeah?
Andrea: It's just started. We've just done a few shows with them so far. We've been really well received even if we are really different from the other bands. We're actually changing the situation every day since we've done some shows with Five Finger Death Punch, some shows with Hellyeah, some radio festivals, like yesterday we did one with Three Day's Grace. But it's changing every day. Today we headline, tomorrow we headline, then we go back to the Five Finger tour.
It's a very interesting month. It's all different. We're going to play a show with Sevendust, a show with Flyleaf. We're going to change a lot on this tour. It's not like a real tour. It's changing every day.
Matt: You mentioned Type O Negative. Are there any memories of Peter Steele that you'd like to share?
Andrea: We can say that since we've been friends with them since we toured together. And every time we went to New York to play they'd always come out or when they came to Italy, we went to their show so it was a friendly relationship. We were closer to friends than colleagues. He took us to an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn aft the tour was done and he offered us a real Italian dinner. Of course that was one of the best memories because we had the night together and talked.
In general, Peter was more than what most people know him for. To everyone he was this giant with muscles and a deep voice and was all dark and serious, while he was a really funny guy. A really intelligent person that you could talk with about a lot of different topics and was able to hold a great conversation. So I think that Peter was more than just the artist that everybody knows.
Matt: What's your favorite city tour tour in when you come to North America?
Cristina: We don't have a favorite city since that always depends on the crowd. I mean there are some places in a big city where the crowd seems to be more noisy just because there are more of them than there are in some small countries. We always had a great time in Los Angeles, Vegas or New York and around the New York area. But honestly even in the small towns you can get the best crowds since they're just happier to see you since you don't get to play so many times in small towns.
Matt: What's the graphic on your laptop? Is that from a webcomic?
Cristina: No actually, it's an artist. It's from a company who produces stickers for phones, iPhones, cameras, and video game devices and they also have our images. I picked out this one from this artist. I forgot the name.
Matt: When do you plan to return to the studio?
Cristina: Not soon. I think at least that we won't reenter the studio until next autumn since we're still promoting Shallow Life and we're collecting ideas. But we don't have a new album ready. So we're not ready to enter the studio right now.
Andrea: Not before the end of the year, I would say; if we can make it. In the beginning of the new year maybe.
Matt: You are the kind of band that does take their time in between albums. It was four years in between Comalies and Karmacode and another three between Karmacode and Shallow Life. So are you taking your time with the writing process and not rushing it?
Andrea: I wish we could still do it like that but the way that the music business is going these days is so fast and everything is changing and people are just downloading and not buying your albums anymore and record labels are in trouble and cutting budgets for everything. You can't wait so long between two albums anymore since the way to survive is to put an album out and then make money from touring, merchandise and publishing so you need constantly be out there. It's going to be faster for sure.
Matt: Do you feel that with the level that you're at that you could do what Nine Inch Nails and the Berzerker did by self-releasing music?
Andrea: It's something interesting for the future because the labels are changing and cutting the budget, so I don't know how long they will still be there. Maybe it's the way for the future. You can always do your own label and finance yourself and then you can have somebody promote the album, who's somebody who knows how to promote an album. You can't put it out there without promotion. You need somebody who follows the radio market, the potential TV market and the internet campaign. Those things don't happen without a reason. There are people who work to promote the band in different territories. So if you have the right structure you can do it for sure. The bands who can do that either don't have a problem with money or they have the right kind of followings that are based on the internet and that kind of stuff.
Matt: Which album are each of you most proud of?
Andrea: I like all the albums, even the first one since that was the band at the moment. So In a Reverie in 1999 was Lacuna Coil in 1999. Shallow Life is 2008-2009. So we're proud of each album since it represents the way things were at that time in in that way. We won't change that. That's the way it is.
Cristina: That's impossible. It's like asking a mother which one is the favorite son. Every song we put out, is because we love it and it has a special meaning for us so there are no favorite songs. There are some songs that we prefer to perform because they're more energetic like "Underdog" or "Spellbound" and there are some others that have more feelings like Wide Awake which are slower songs. But there's not just one that we can say is our favorite. We don't write our albums around a single.
Matt: Will we see any In a Reverie Material played live again?
Andrea: Maybe. We've actually done something like that. When we release some of the albums together like the first EP with In A Reverie or Half-Life together with Unleashed Memories, we play some music off each release. Maybe if there would be some special event like the anniversary of an album or something we'll do it. We just have a lot of material to play. Our first album wasn't our most famous. We didn't start to get attention until Comalies. For instance, Unleashed Memories was an import album in The States, it wasn't even in the stores. So that's why we play songs mostly from Comalies and later. But we'll still play some material from Unleashed Memories.
Matt: It's been good talking to both of you. Any closing messages?
Cristina: We hope that we'll see a lot of people tonight. We've played here before and it was a really great concert. I hope that everybody who loved both our previous material and Shallow Life will have a good time. We will for sure and thank you for this report.
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