I had the honor to meet Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia and chat with Andrea of Lacuna Coil at El Corazon Seattle in late 2014. We chatted about the tour, album and where they are heading, as a band. It was a great pleasure to hear the Lacuna Coil story and Andrea’s perspective. What a great conversation. Andrea is so incredibly humble and it is evident how Lacuna Coil fans around the world, are treasured by them.
(Carpe Nocturne) Lacuna Coil emerged in 1994 in Milan. How would you say you have evolved since this time, as a band?
(Andrea from LC) “ 1996/97. 1994 is when me and Marco, the bass player started to play together in his house, but just playing cover songs that we liked. So, it wasn’t really a band, just me and him jamming in his house. 1996 we did the first demo tape. In 1997 we created the name. We have evolved by doing things we never expected to have happen as a band. Back then, we just wanted to send our demo out to a label and maybe get it released. We never expected to be professional musicians and have it as our career, especially coming out of Milan, Italy. It was not a story of other bands in rock and metal spreading around the world/touring the world. So, we were the only ones. There are some in other genres, but not really in ours. So everything that has happened over the years has been beyond our imagination at that time. As it happened, we couldn’t believe, step by step and more than we could ever have dreamed. ”
(Carpe Nocturne) Earlier this year (2014) you announced some member changes to Lacuna Coil. As a musician, I understand this has the potential to change the energy of a show. Has this been a challenge and/or added something different to your sound/shows?
(Andrea from LC) “Yup. Overall I think it has been a positive change because, it happened, not because we were not getting along. It’s just that, after many years, if you are not motivated 100% to be on the road with this lifestyle, it gets really hard. For someone who doesn’t want to be there, it is difficult for them and for us. We never came to the point where we would fight. We just sat down and discussed, in a very civilized way, the fact of losing the passion over it and dedication of the project, being away all the time, away from family. Our drummer was moving in a different direction, moving to the countryside and building a house, had a baby girl and a more stable life. Our guitar player moved here to North America, with his wife. Neither of them are doing music anymore. So, it was just a matter of life changing. It had nothing to do with not liking each other anymore. We decided to keep going with one guitarist. So for the next album we will work on writing with just one guitar and maybe more keyboards. And, our new drummer, Ryan, was already working with us for 7 years as a drum tech. He had stepped in to drum for our previous drummer when he had his baby girl, so Ryan was already touring with us. It was a natural choice to have him a part of the band. By the time we start working on our new album, after touring this year with the lineup, arranging and finding out what works, we will have a solution. This record has been a change in times for Lacuna Coil. We kind of closed a chapter, opened a new one and moved towards a new direction. It’s very challenging, but also very motivating…refreshing.”
(Carpe Nocturne) Your new video for “Nothing Stands in Our Way” is a glimpse into behind the scenes and also some performances on tour. Tell us about the filming and where the footage was filmed.
(Andrea from LC) “Actually, it was filmed in Jacksonville, Florida at the 2014 Welcome to Rockville show. The director asked if he could film footage of before, during and after the show and keep the camera on. He wanted to share the experience. Then it turned out so good, we wanted to use it for the video. It represents the band so well. The label loved it, so we said: ‘why not?’, so we used it and here we are. ”
(Carpe Nocturne) When you are on tour for such an extended period of time, how do you, as vocalists, stay healthy and keep your beautiful voices strong?
(Andrea from LC) “The voice is the hardest part, because you get tired and easily can get sick. We try to not drink or just before a day off. We don’t smoke. We do warm-ups before the show….and still we get tired. It’s part of touring, you know when you are on tour, certain gigs will not be excellent. It is what it is. It’s part of being on tour? We try to stay well rested and not talk too much, when not necessary. We have never had to cancel a show because of the voice. We had to cancel a show for other reasons, but not for the voice.”
(Carpe Nocturne) You have been quoted as having numerous influences and favorite bands from: Dying Bride, Linkin Park, Beethoven, Sound Garden, Meshugga, Black Sabbath, Gold Frapp, Cocteau Twins, Danzig, Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative. I’ve noticed amongst your loyal fans: everything from Classic Rock to Metal, to Gothic/Industrial to Dark Wave to Pop to Electronic fans. This is such a broad spectrum and so complimentary to you as a band. Have you marketed to different genres or do you feel your “vast influences” have a part in winning your various audiences over?
(Andrea from LC) “Linkin Park? Me? I wouldn’t say them, but maybe someone else. Wait, I think our former drummer was into them. Nothing bad. I really like their albums, just not one of my influences. Black Sabbath, yeah! Danzig, Nine Inch nails, yes. That is more MY kind of music. One band that every one in this band really likes is Faith No More. Faith No More has always been very open to all genres. Obviously we are coming from the Gothic/Metal Scene. When we started, we wanted to be in the same sound as Type O Negative or Paradise Lost. We evolved. We still fall into a Gothic-type band, but we aren’t exclusively in that genre or at least what a Gothic band is now-a-days. Actually to be Gothic is a very broad spectrum. I think certain song chord progression can be considered dark. Even Black Sabbath can be considered dark. It isn’t just The Cure or Sisters of Mercy or bands distinctive of that genre. Rammstein can be, in their way, dark. To me the vision of Gothic and dark is very open. Even Neil Young can be dark. Johnny Cash had songs very depressing and sad on certain lyrics. The Doors. To me, dark is not just a cliché. I love the Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division, all those 80’s bands. I love Alice in Chains. They are also very dark. I like the term dark better than Gothic, because sometimes Gothic is too much restrictive. Growing up in Milan, a lot of the city’s monuments are Gothic and it is beautiful. It is just the view we have. So for me, dark is just a very wide spectrum of music. For us, we have two singers and there is always a certain dark element to our lyrics and the keyboard arrangements. We don’t want to fall into a cliché. But, whatever kind of album we do, still…there will be darkness.”
(Carpe Nocturne) I interviewed Fred from DragonForce here at El Corazon last year and we discussed this topic. I am interested in your take. Do you notice a difference in popularity of Metal in the United States vs. Europe (the fans, radio play, shows, etc)?
(Andrea from LC) “I’m a big fan.”(re: DragonForce). “I think here you have more old kind of rock, not just in Metal but in general. While in Europe, it’s more a certain part of people that really listen to Metal, but it is not as much in the Pop/Mainstream Culture. Here, Metal is up and down. There are moments when it is more popular. Even in the UK it is more of an up and down trend. In the rest of Europe there is more of a loyal fan base. There are trends of more modern and the classic, conservative metal. I think you need both sides for the future of the genre. Here, I noticed there will be a hot band and then in a few years, there will be another hot band. Also they have in Germany: Wacken. They sell out tickets the day they announce the bands. So many people want to go there because of all the bands, side shows and camping. You know you are going to have a good time seeing friends from all over the world. It’s not even so much of seeing all the bands anymore. It is more of an event. It’s a subculture. That’s the difference, maybe. Here, there is starting to be more festivals too. Maybe 8-10 festivals, just here in the United States. “
(Carpe Nocturne) Favorite cities/places to perform live in US and abroad?
(Andrea from LC) “I think New York City, LA, Vegas. Playing in Texas is always good for us. It isn’t necessarily one place. We have a good amount of fans here and we always have good shows. In Europe, playing in the UK is always really good for us. But, also France, Holland. Italy is always good, but in Italy there is always a good deal of pressure. This especially in Milan. It is always difficult to play in your home town. It’s always a good show though. We did a show there last Summer for almost 10,000 people so it was great. So it is good there. It is just a lot of pressure because your good friends and family will be there.”
(Carpe Nocturne) So what do you think of the way that the music industry is going? Is it something you are excited about or…any concerns?
(Andrea from LC) “I think surely there are new ways and possibilities, but in general I think it is a much worse situation. And not because of all the downloading of music. That is OK, although that is a problem, of course, financially. It forces the bands to have to be on the road all the time and you have to release an album every two years, so there is no space. Sometimes I feel like we need some more time to finish an album. Nowadays, you are forced to end touring cycle then go straight into recording. If you don’t feel it, it doesn’t matter, because you have to. You have to get the album out and tour in order to be able to make a living. So I don’t like it. We come from a previous generation in music where we had time to write an album. It could take two years. It was great because we really felt inspired. Now you have to because the market needs you to do it. You have so many bands today, but many of them are copycats. They may be good players, but many sound the same. Only the image makes a difference. I don’t like that, because many bands don’t have the time to develop their own personality. We got that because we grew up in a time where we have two, three records before we became a known band. We were able to grow from the cliché of sounding like our favorite bands to incorporating our own, more personal sound. You need time to do this. Today, if you don’t make it in the beginning and get some attention, then you would be dropped. There are many more bands today but there are always those 5 bands which are gonna break out.”
(Carpe Nocturne) Tell us a little known story/tour shenanigans about Lacuna Coil?
(Andrea from LC) “Well, we have done a lot of interviews. I don’t know that there is much that people don’t know actually. There are stories we have from the road, but nothing so crazy. You mean something musically?”
(Carpe Nocturne) Well yeah, if you want or something silly or something that seems completely mundane.
(Andrea from LC) “Well, we really enjoy going to Walmart. Maybe because we don’t have anything like that in Italy. We like to see the people there. There are things there more difficult to find, like in the typical supermarket in Italy. So we go there very often. So….yeah, that’s one thing.” (smile)
(Carpe Nocturne) That’s actually pretty great. Just so you know, we enjoy it too. People watching there and just laughing, basically.
(Andrea from LC) “It’s really the whole situation. The people and the fact that it is open 24/7 and the fact that you have these old people, you know…working in front there, even very late at night.
(Carpe Nocturne) Yeah, the Walmart Greeters.
(Andrea from LC) “Yeah! The Greeters is something that we don’t have. Oh and the automatic carts where you can drive around.”
Check out Lacuna Coil on:
Lacuna Coil Official Website: www.lacunacoil.it