It’s December 27th 2004 and we’re in a small dressing room being used by Lacuna Coil in the basement of the Hammersmith Apollo. Outside it’s cold, with the threat of rain and inside it’s comfortable but hardly luxurious. There’s a well stocked fridge, some food, drinks enough for everyone. After lots of greetings and a few pictures Cristina Scabbia joins me at one end of the room, with Katja (Geniustolunatic) and Brian (Splashkap) – Marco, Andrea, and Maus are chatting nearby and there’s perhaps a little heckling going on. The atmosphere is friendly, and relaxed, in fact it’s hard to believe that in about an hour they will be performing upstairs as part of the ‘Hammered At Christmas’ event with In Flames, Chimaira, and Caliban, and I realise I’m likely to miss at least one of the bands. So, armed with questions that the members of Emptyspiral.net want (need?) to know, I start.
Matt: First all it’s a pleasure to finally meet you, and thank you for the interview.
Cristina: You’re welcome!
M: So, how’s the new album coming on, tell me all about it.
C: The new album? Well, I cannot tell you that much, because we have a lot of ideas, and are still collecting ideas. We actually have so far, a couple of songs ninety percent done, not really, even less because we have to do all the arrangements, good sounds, it’s sort of like pre-production with a couple of songs and they sound really really good. I cannot really tell you how they soundsbecause…it’s definitely an evolution of Comalies but it will not be so much different either way that you will find like a lot of aggressive parts and a lot of melody at the same time, so not totally far, but it will be something new.
M: So it’s not going to be any kind of new direction or…?
C: It will be a new direction, but I cannot really explain the kind of direction it would be because it will be a rock album…probably, the aggressivity will come out more from the music than from the voice, because in the voice there will be a lot of melody and a lot of variations, I’ll be singing like monotone – there will be a good work on the vocal melodies too..
M: Any Italian songs?
C. Not so far. We still have to find a lot of lyrics, maybe if it fits, if it will sound good, it will come natural, we don’t want to do an Italian song just because hey, people like Senzafine, We never worked it for the people directly, we worked it for ourselves because it’s the best way to be sincere with yourself and with your fans. We don’t want to make asses…
M: If you could be a video game character, or a superhero, who would you be?
C: Ooooooooo…er…Wonderwoman!. No..video game..it’s really…it’s tough, because I love video games. Wow…I would say somebody from Final Fantasy, but then I guess I have to think about it because some characters die, and that is not really interesting to me…Ermm…That’s tough! Jill Valentine in Resident Evil….
Splashkap: (kneeling on the floor like a kid listening to a story being read) It’s story time with Cristina!
M: Besides creating more music, is there anything else you would like to do in the future?
C Beside creating music? I would love to concentrate more on myself with the cooking, I love to cook so, would love to learn more recipes. I love it, I absolutely love it. Would love to dabble a lot with more artistic stuff. I like to do, for example, sculptures, I like to do draw, I like to paint, I like to create stuff basically. Stuff in general!. Nothing specific, just stuff!
M: So we might see you in a gallery somewhere.
C: Yeah! Why not!
M: What’s the nicest thing a fan has ever said to you?
C: Well, I always love it when they give me compliments for the voice. It’s fantastic when somebody tells you that they get over a negative moment with your music. But probably the best thing I can remember so far is a mail I got from a father who told me that he has an autistic child who started to talk when he started to listen to our song, he started to talk in the car. That….that hit my heart absolutely. It was like…that was great, that was great to hear…
M: Ok.What was the weirdest, or most interesting thing a fan has ever given you?
C: Told me or given to me?
M: Given to you. Interesting or outrageous.
C: Well! I think the best gift I’ve had from a fan is a complete ipod, with everything included in it. He’d become a friend of mine, he’s called Raffi, he’s an amazing guy. I remember, I just told him that I would buy one and he got me one with all the accessories and I was like ‘What! I am speechless” totally speechless. I love him.
M: What about the weirdest thing?
C: The weirdest one…? Hmmmm….Well I remember in Paris, a funny one – I got a puppet of a flower, with moving and singing…(Cristina now starts singing ‘You’re my sunshine, my only sunshine…’) It was really funny, I laughed for hours. We get a lot of paintings. I remember a fun one. We did an acoustic set in a shop – I don’t remember which one…
M: Borders? Or something like that…?
C: Borders. It was Borders, and a guy came to us. He was like a gym guy, very very big and he gave us this picture, signed by him. It was really weird too, but very appreciated!
M: If you could be in a film. What film would it be?
C: A film…Hmm, I don’t know. I would say maybe The Matrix. That’s probably how everybody would answer this question but it’s interesting to me. Or maybe from a cartoon movie like Akira, or Ghost in the Shell.
M: Good films!
C: Oh yeah. I’ve got a special edition of Ghost in the Shell. It’s amazing.
M: What’s your most embarrassing moment whilst performing live?
C: I remember that, we played in Austria, and back at that time my hair was shorter, so for the show I used like a fake tail – it was really really long, but then they wouldn’t have time to fix it properly so I remembered I finished a show and going close to the end, when I was saying thanks, you know doing thisthe tail went far, and I started laughing, grabbed the tail, and then laughed for an hour because it was so funny! I think that nobody noticed it, but it was really embarrassing to me. I lost a tail.
M: You worked with Franco Battiato (I completely screwed up the pronunciation, but Cristina corrects me!). How did that come about?
C: Well it just happened that, I was doing the Ozzfest and I got mail from…No actually, I was doing the POD tour before Ozzfest and I got a mail from his manager, he told me that he was interested in working with me. And I totally admire this guy, I saw some stuff in Italy that said he’s a pop artist. He’s everything but pop. He’s pop in the way he’s popular but he’s the antithesis of the pop artist. He’s like a poet, if you read his lyrics it’s really weird, he works with a poet, and they’re really cryptic. So I just realised that he’s probably the only artist I wanted to work with, because he was really far from other artists like Ramazzotti – really commercial ones. I found a lot of stuff in common with this artist, I spoke with him, I found a lot points in common. I mean..it’s different from the Lacuna Coil style, I realise, but I really wanted to work with him.
M: Do you freak out when you see the same fans coming to the different concerts – to many concerts of yours?
C: No. I don’t freak out because…what I think is good is to create with the fans, sort of friendship, because some people that started as fans of ours have become really..friends. Of course you can’t get in touch with everybody because it would be impossible, and that’s why I try to answer all the mails I get. I was able to do it in the beginning but now I get too many, and people expect you to reply again, and then to reply again, even if they don’t ask you anything. I would love to do that but it’s impossible. No body would be ever to do, not just a musician, nobody. It would get a hundred mails per day, you would answer to this hundred mails, you would get replies and together would have a thousand mails.
M: What about pictures? Having your picture taken all the time?
C: It’s weird. It’s just weird. If we’re talking about fans in general it’s weird but I like to do that. I still feel embarrassed.
M: Do you really?!?
C: Yeah, um..I don’t have the attitude of the rockstar, you know..? All the fans and the people that’s following us knows that we’re not like ‘posh’ people.
M. So you’re still not used to this. I mean, people come to you and want to have their picture taken with Cristina…
C: Yes, of course it’s weird. Cause I’m like ‘huh, they wanna have their picture taken with me. I’m just a girl. What did I do? I didn’t save any lives…’
M: That’s a very good point.
C:I didn’t create an antivirus or anything like that..
M: But do you enjoy it?
C: Oh yes! I love it! I like the contact with people.
M: So…Ozzfest 2005. Do you think it will happen?
C: I don’t think because we…I don’t think we’ll be able to release the album at the proper time. Because even if you release it before, for Ozzfest it’s different because they plan it the year before… So I don’t think so…Maybe for 2006, maybe.
C: DVD? We have a lot of stuff. We say that a lot of times in interviews, so far there are no plans, because so far, the album comes first. But we definitely have a lot of stuff. I would love to do it like something more into the private of the band, more backstage, and what happens in here (referring to the dressing room we are in). I think that its boring, at least to me when I buy a DVD of a band and I just see the concert because I like the band so that means at least I see the band once and beside the light effects, the background, and stuff like that I think it’s much more interesting to see a little bit more of the private stuff.
M: Would you be happy with that though? The private stuff?
C: Oh yeah!
M: Have any of the shows been recorded specifically for a DVD?
C: Not so far. I mean, we have some shows that have been recorded but I think the day we do a DVD, we’ll do something special combining live show and private stuff.
M: You get fans recording your shows, how do you feel about that?
C: People recording shows? The only thing that piss me off is that, nothing in common with record to share, no the only thing that piss me off is like when they record with a video camera and put it on the Internet the quality is really bad, the sound is really bad, the point of view is really bad, because they don’t have all the light so the people who look at it has a very bad impression about the band. Because the sound is filtered or sounds weird. That’s why I don’t really like it. But not because I have something against the people because they are going to sell it on ebay or something. I don’t have this kind of worry, but because I want my music to go to them directly, not be distorted.
M: Do any of you have any specific spiritual beliefs?
C: I…I want to know, I want to believe that there is something, but I do not know how to call it. I don’t call it God or Buddha or…I don’t care. I don’t know. I believe in an energy surrounding us, and believe that you can be cool with people beside religions. I want to keep my beliefs secret for myself…I just want to belief in Good. That’s the point. But beside religion I mean…
At this point my phone started to ring and the tinny MIDI version of ‘Falling’ echoed around the dressing room. I was more than a little embarrassed at this…
C: Hahaha! That was cool!!
M: Sorry about that!
C:Yeah, so I know people told me they believe in Satan and stuff like that. I know a lot of people believe in God totally, and I just realise that it doesn’t really matter. It really depends on the way you put yourself. You know, I don’t ask for religious ID when I know a person. If get a good vibe, I don’t care, I talk with them and then my own beliefs are my own beliefs – you won’t change mine and I won’t change yours.
M: If you knew the World was going to end tomorrow. How would you live your last day on Earth, what would you do?
C: I don’t know. Probably the first thing that would come to your mind would be to do something crazy, never did before. I will do everything I didn’t do before. But the point is that when you know that you are going to die I don’t know if you would have the attitude to do stuff without any kind of thoughts. I’m not afraid of death, I’m afraid of pain, basically. I’m more afraid of death of people surrounding me. Probably I wouldn’t feel that worried, because if I could choose I would prefer to die first! I would miss all the people I care for. That sucks.
M: OK. Which city makes the best drinks?
C: Best drinks? I do!! I’m a bartender.
M: OK! What type of jam or jelly do you put on your toast?
C: I love strawberry, but actually with butter, But also blueberries…
M: And do you think that wheat toast is ‘metal’?
C: What?!? Excuse me? What is a wheat toast?
M: Toasted wholemeal bread.
Geniustolunatic points out the wholemeal bread that just happens on a counter right where we are…
C: Oh No! It sucks! I prefer the white one. But actually, we don’t have so much. We have great bread in Italy so we basically use bread more that toast..
M: On the new Lacuna Coil site, the spinning symbols..What are they?
C: Oh yea, You have to ask Ciccio! CriZ did the website so I have no idea. I don’t know where he found the symbols, but they look really cool!I don’t know what they mean…
M: I’ll find out later if I can…So. What do you think about American-Italian restaurants?
C: Well, we’ve been with Peter Steele, who drove us out for dinner in Brooklyn in an Italian Restaurant called La Palina and beside the fact that it was a great night we spent together, we remember that we had a lot of fun. The food was really good. It was not like one hundred percent Italian in the way we cook it, probably the ingredients were different. Of course, day by day you loose something, if you don’t cook everyday. I remember it was really good. Probably the best we tasted in America.
M: Somebody has asked: Are you hiring roadies, and if so can they join! What’s the pay like?
C: Hiring roadies? Oh…So what’s the pay like?I have no idea! I don’t know because it’s our management that takes care. I have no idea. No honestly. It’s not that I don’t want to tell. I think it really depends on the roadies.
M: Hard rock bands from the 70s and 80s. Do you listen to any?
C. Hmmmm Not really. I mean if I listen to some songs I like them, it’s not like I listen to the CD’s all the time.
M: What do you personally think the fate of Lacuna Coil will be?
C: I think that we are never really think about the future. I think that we are living for what we have now as a blessing because I think that we work hard, but it’s been a blessing too, but you need a bit of luck. I just think that…I hope that it will always be going better and better and that the band will be growing even more.
M: The last year has been amazing for you…
C: Yeah! So far I hope that we’ll still have the passion for music and I really hope we’ll keep it up. That’s it.
M: Any plans for more cover songs?
C: Well, we have a plan but we’re not going to tell you because we want to keep it as a secret. We’ve been performing different things but we would love to keep it as a secret…
M:Ok. If you could eliminate any one thing in the world, what would it be?
C: Eliminate…I think violence in general. Especially paedophiles, people who is violent with women, people who get angry with stupid stuff. I hate people who beat people or believe to be stronger because they have a knife in their pocket or a gun in their pocket. That’s what I hate. That’s what I would eliminate if I could do it. I think anger is necessary sometimes, but I mean the anger that permits you to be angry with yourself to push everything out in a second with no violence.
M: Do you consider your music to be ‘atmospheric metal’?
C: I don’t know…I don’t like to give names to my music. It’s like rock-metal, atmospheric, gothic, it’s a little bit of everything. I don’t know.
M: Have you ever considered designing your own merchandise?
C: Well, now the merchandise is our own merchandise. So we have all the ideas…
M: The female symbol with the horns? (referring to the LC symbol seen on backdrops)
Someone nearby is constantly clearing their throat…
C: Yes, yes. The necklaces are ours…
The person clearing their throat is Marco who is now pointing at his black Lacuna Coil ‘Gothfathers’ shirt vigorously, and ‘headbanging’
C: Oh, tomorrow will be painful…
M: Stunned silence from everybody…
M: (Recovering) What’s the most important thing life to you?
C: In life? Love. Healthy. To trust in your parents and your friends. My music. Food!There is not just one, there’s a combination. Probably…being happy, being relaxed…
I offer Cristina a beer…
C: No thanks. My voice is already fucked. If I drink a beer it will be like…bleurgh.
And onto the next question. Already knowing the answer, I merely point to the question that reads: “Why is 1:19 called 1:19?”
C: Hahaha! I will never tell you that!
M: OK! Fine! We’ll move on!
Splashkap: Is that the 1:19 one?
M: Yeah, it’s the 1:19 one. It’s not going to happen…
Splashkap: That’s what we told him!
C: Everyone tries to sneak it in!
M: No, look! – I DID say – ‘I’ll see what I can do, but no promises’
C: We like to keep it a secret, it’s more interesting…
Splashkap: So, Marco. What’s the meaning of 1:19?
Marco: Err….I don’t remember!
C: We can only say, it’s the distance between two places. But we’ll never say more than that.
Marco: No No No!
Cristina says something in Italian to Marco.
M: I don’t want to start an argument here!
M: Next Question! How do you choose which version of Senzafine to play live – which do you prefer?
C: Erm. The first one (Halflife) is more spontaneous because it is the first one we performed, but the second one is more complete, proper lyrics. I think both..
M: Century Media announced at the beginning of the year that they would be re-releasing Halflife and the Self-Titled EP…
C: Well, I don’t know – you should ask Century Media you know. There is a lot of people requesting it and I know that it sold out. I don’t know if they want to re-print it in the normal editions or if they want to do something different like a special edition – combined. I have no idea.I would tell you if I knew
M: Does having a growing base of fans affect the writing of your music?
C: I affects it in the way that we always listen to the fans suggestions but we never get too much into it because we think first of all we have to be happy, we have to be happy as a band.
Marco: I’m happy!
M: Marco’s happy.
Marco: I’m almost drunk, that’s why.
Splashkap: I shoulda brought my video camera.
Geniustolunatic: Should have!!
M: The dresses you wear. Do you design them?
C: I personally designed the one I’m wearing in the booklet of Comalies. I choose the fabrics.
M: Is that the red one?
C: Yeah. The red one with the skirt. Then I just bought the other clothes. The one I’m wearing tonight, an American girl did it for me. It depends because we get a lot of clothes and we even have some people that does the clothes for us.
M: Musically, have you been influenced by any movies?
C: Movies? Well, we are really inspired by the soundtracks not really from the movie itself. Because we can get something from the different soundtracks. Something like a vibe we like…
M: What’s your favourite breakfast cereal?
C: All-Bran!Or Special-K with strawberry!
M: Would you still want to be playing in 20 years time?
C: Why not?! Why not? I hope so! I hope I will be able to sing better and better. I’m pretty lazy because I never take lessons.
M: I don’t think you need to…
C: Yeah, but it’s always helpful
M: Because of knowing how to get to the notes?
C: Not really, I would love to learn how to breathe properly. Because it’s really important, not really to change my kind of…style, because I like it.
M: Final Question. Any special message for Lacuna Coil fans?
C: That I thank you very much, because I always go to Emptyspiral.net and see a lot of people always connected looking for news about us. And I appreciate, you know, the thing that I get a lot of mails every day unfortunately I can’t answer every day put I promise I read every single one of them and it’s me receiving the mail, it’s really me, it’s not a secretary as a lot of people think.
M: Thank you very much Cristina!
C: You’re welcome! Absolutely welcome.
Interview conducted by Matt of Emptyspiral.net, with questions submitted by the members of the Lacuna Coil community. My thanks to Cristina, Marco and everyone in Lacuna Coil, as well as Century Media, without whom the interview would not have taken place.