Interview with Andrea Ferro, March 2008
On the 27th March 2008, after compiling a list of question from the fans on the Emptyspiral forums, I caught up with Andrea and we talked about progess on the Lacuna Coil’s new, as yet, untitled album. As always, the interview was very interesting, and revealing!
Matt: Hi Andrea, how are you doing at the moment?
Andrea: I’m pretty good! I just arrived home; I’m relaxed, positive, creative.
Matt: Creative? That’s excellent. So what have you been up to recently, because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen you?
Andrea: Yeah, mostly we’ve been doing some promotion here in Italy. Some charity stuff with the Rezophonic project on national TV and other live activities, and then we’ve been mostly focused on the song writing for the new album, the new songs.
Matt: That’s pretty much what I want to talk about today. So, how’s the new music coming along then? How’s that creativity?
Andrea: So far, we’ve been in an amazing creative mood. We really have this flowing creativity that we didn’t expect because we took, a break after all the touring and the shows and then we just wait a bit before we meet again in the practice room just to, you know, clear the air, the mind and change a bit of your lifestyle, don’t live the same situation every day.
So we just try to live our lives and solve all the situations we have back home, you know, pay all the bill… family and everything. And then, after the Christmas break we met again and start working some ideas, like the first ideas for songs that Marco and Maus came up with, and just start going to the practice room. We basically wanna do something different, we try also to change a bit of the process of the song-writing.
Matt: OK! Has anything in particular inspired you with the music that you’ve put together so far?
Andrea: Yeah, as I say we’ve tried to change a bit the way of working compare to the past, for example when we did the “In a Reverie” album we were all jamming, finding ideas and work the songs in the practice room all together. Then for example, “Unleashed Memories” and “Comalies” we started to work more on the PC. Marco, or Maus…they were writing songs on the computer and pass it to me and Cristina and then we just get back our ideas. Only when we had more or less a complete song we were going to the practice room and rehearse all the songs together then fixed all the parts and roles and write the lyrics. So this time around we wanted to get back to jam all together in the practice room but that didn’t really work out for us, because we were just not used anymore to jam for hours and then come up with ideas. There are too many elements now in our music to do that, so we tried again to work with the computer and then decide we would work the vocals together in the rehersal place, me, Marco and Cristina especially and then the rest of the guys for the music and arrangements. Basicly we are all finding some ideas back home, then work the structure of the song in the practice room. Like… go there and let everybody listen your ideas, then decide which part fits the chorus or fits the bridge or the verse, then re-arrange it together and this way so far the vocals have been much more fluent and consistent compared to the past, we didn’t just incorporate some parts but we tried to build it together and give it a good flow. So we have basically changed the approach. The more we work the more the songs sounds very…tight. The music is very fluent.
Matt: Do you think it will change the mood of the music? I mean, what kind of direction do you feel you are going with the music now?
Andrea: Hmmm..That is not easy to say because every song we have done so far is quite different from the other ones. At the moment we have a couple of more classical ballads, those are more in our style and then we’ve got like two or three songs which are more rock orientated, still heavy but with a very fluent sound. It’s more about the vocals, than the music. And then we have another song which is more heavy and has more focus on the arrangement and the instrumental parts. All the three types of song we have at the moment are quite different.
Matt: Are you looking at incorporating any longer guitar solos in the music? That’s been a popular question…
Andrea: Yeah, actually so far, it’s a bit early to say as we only have five complete songs but I think there will be more guitar solos for sure because we want people to listen also the to instrumental parts of the band more so we definitely want to include more solos compared to the past. Usually we only have like one or two in every album, this time we sure want more songs.
Matt: The introduction of solos tends to lengthen the songs, do you think your songs are growing in length?
Andrea: No, not necessary be longer, just instead of doing a variation of the song with vocal lines, there will be more interaction, more interplay between the guitars and vocals. At the moment there is a bit less keyboards, most of the songs, you can really play it with the basics, with guitars, bass, vocals and drums…not that many keyboards, violins, or other instruments.
Matt: You talked about the interplay between the vocal line and the guitars. What about the vocal interplay between yourself and Cristina?
Is that changing at all in the album? Because that’s always been a very strong part of your music…
Andrea: Yeah definitely! We are working in a more mature way of using the vocals, and there is a lot of interplay as well. Instead of Cristina arranging her own vocals with five higher or lower lines, there is more interplay in the arrangement. There is a lot of working together, a lot of singing together…so far of course, I’m just talking about the songs we have at the moment. I really like the direction we are working. Our goal is to have the best Lacuna Coil songs possible with everything included from our style, from the early material to the Karmacode stuff. Everything at it’s best and then do something different for the single or special songs…maybe even put some really heavy songs in it just to show some new aspects of the music but also include the classic sound in the best way possible
Matt: Are we going to hear any growling from you on this album…? Or from Cristina?!
Andrea: Hmmm… I don’t know at the moment. So far, no but I’m not going to say that there’s not going to be any growls. It depends on the song basically. At the moment there is more singing, it’s still powerful but not really growls. Also, I think that to do growl vocals you need a very heavy song or very ‘back in the day’. Maybe we can do something special, but I don’t know if it will fit the album especially. It’s a bit too early to say…we’re not against it anyway.
Matt: You’ve done five songs at the moment…
Andrea: Yes, five in demo version. We have the main instruments and the vocals done, but we need to work the lyrics in a more definitive way…
Matt: …would you say the direction your taking is more melodic, more heavy, or something else perhaps?
Andrea: Actually it’s either way. There are some songs that are…I don’t want to say more melodic because we’ve always been melodic…some songs are more fluent – they flow very well. The focus of the song is in the vocals, and the words, especially on the more rock songs. And then we have some more heavy stuff, some atmospheric ballads. So far we are touching a bit of everything we’ve done, and for some songs to do something a little different.
Matt: On Karmacode you had, as you said at the time, a more American groove to it, as well as a heavy bass. This has received a lot of attention, as it was quite different from your previous releases. Is this something your continuing with, because what you said so far it seems more of a reflection of the entire history of Lacuna Coil…?
Andrea: So far we don’t have any songs which are heavily groove orientated. There are no songs so far where you need a sound like that. We have different kind of sounds for the bass. We have a ballad for example which has a very clean bass sound, almost a fratless bass which is something different from what we’ve ever done. Maybe we’ll have a couple of tunes with more groove. I think Karmacode was also experimental for us, coming from the more goth-metal kind of sound. So this time around we probably have not so much experimentation in that direction. The main difference you’ll notice is the vocals at the moment; the way they have grown, the way they are more ‘in your face’. Then some songs that are heavy are not that groovy, they’re more powerful at the moment, more properly heavy (laughs) It’s not easy to explain because I’m talking about a single song that might not even be in the album! (laughs) Right now we have a couple of slo songs, a really heay one and a couple of more “rock oriented” kind of songs.
When I’m saying “rock” I mean heavy rock we’re not gonna sound like Queen (laughs). It’s modern rock; powerful but quite fluent.
Matt: It’s been commented that some of the songs, especially on Karmacode, sound far more dynamic when played live? This might have been because of the mastering process in the way that some of the down-tuned guitars come across better live than they do on the album. What do you think about that, and do you think that’s something you’d be looking to change as you build on the new music?
Andrea: Yeah, for the first time on Karmacode we tried to mix and master the album with different people than the usual. So I think we also took a chance to work with people who were every experienced but also, on the other hand, didn’t have experience of working with us. To reach the result that we really wanted was not an easy task, just because we never worked with these people. They were very professional, very good – excellent technicians. But we had to struggle a lot to let them understand what we really wanted. Also we were on a budget, which was good but not galactic, so we had to compromise between budget, the time we can stay in the studio and understanding with the people we were working with. Karmacode in general was bit of a risk for us in a way because we were taking a distance from our classical sound. We were also doing something new on the mixing, the artwork, on everything, so we had to take some chances. Maybe with more experience we could have had a bolder sound or more ‘in your face’, or a little different mix.
Of course, now it’s easy to say but not always to obtain the first time you work with somebody.
Matt: So, are you looking at any in particular to produce the new album? Or do you have ideas about who you’d like to work with?
Andrea: Yeah, we have some people that we are talking with and we are considering checking out…listening to their work. But we don’t have any secure choice at the moment. We are probably going to work with somebody who has a wider spectrum of production, like working with heavy material but also working with rock and atmospheric as well… somebody with different tastes in music.
Matt: Are you considering including any Italian songs in the new music?
Andrea: Hmm, I don’t know…if it will come out spontaneously, why not? We don’t need to have one. It’s like with cover versions. I don’t know if there’s going to be a new cover version. If we find something that fits and sounds good, and it’s spontaneous like Enjoy The Silence, why not?
But if we don’t…we’ll focus on our own songs anyway.
Matt: How about musical collaborations? Are you considering any of those?
Andrea: No, not at the moment. Maybe if we write a song that needs some special contribution from someone, but now we’re focusing on working the best with what we have.
Matt: What music have you been listening to at the moment Andi? And has any of it in particular inspired you as you move forward with your own music?
Andrea: I think that at this point in our growth we are inspired by a lot of different stuff, but not specifically one band or one song. I’m mostly listening to a lot of the rock bands like for instance Alter Bridge or that kind of big vocals band.
Not that much metal because there is not a lot of metal that is coming out that is very interesting, but I’m listening to old school stuff and rock music at the moment.
Matt: The ‘transition’ songs are very popular, do you have any plans to create this type of music, these types of songs, on the album?
Andrea: Maybe yeah. Maybe we will have an intro that we can use for live shows, but so far we’ve haven’t thought about it. It’s too early the process to think about the an eventual intro. We don’t plan these kind of things, if we have a song that fits well for an intro then maybe we can add one. We are too much in the early production phase to really think of something like that.
Matt: Do you have any idea when the album is due to be release?
Andrea: Not really. We have to see how it goes with the writing and the number of songs, of convincing songs. I don’t wanna say something now that is not gonna happen! (laughs) It’s not gonna be too far away I guess…
Matt: Do you have an ideal length planned for the album?
Andrea: Usually we have more or less the same length, but we are not counting if it’s 45, or 47, or 50 minutes. Have a certain number songs and if they are all good we’ll put them in the record. As long as we have a good variety of the atmospheric stuff, the heavy stuff, the singles songs… it’s enough for us. I don’t like records that are too long with too many songs that sound the same and it gets boring.
Matt: Are you looking to tour prior to the albums release and possibly previewing any of the songs?
Andrea: Yeah, I think we will do something like that. I don’t know exactly when, whether it’s in the summer or in the autumn. We will do something, when we have one or two songs ready we will try them to see the reaction. Why not!
Matt: Well I’m out of questions for the moment, and I’m sure we’ll be talking again before the album is released. Thank you for your time!
Andrea: Thank you! Ciao Matt!