K- Okay, obvious question to open with-its been two years since Unleashed Memories. How do you think the band have developed in that time and what were your plans for this album?
C-‘Actually, before the song writing begins, we never think about following a particular direction. Everything is always done spontaneously, and we are always listening to all kinds of music, especially new releases, because we want to keep an eye on everything that is happening. So, we put into this album different-in you can call them, influences, even though we are not influenced by any particular band. I think that this album is more heavy than in the past, and the guitars are more up front, and we learned to use simplicity, I could say, because we learnt to use just the things that worked for each song. We didn’t want to have a chaos of too many riffs, and vocal lines, in every song. We just wanted to have a few good parts, a few good arrangements, for each song. But the songs themselves are not simple at all-we just want the sound to be more, not mature, but more consistent.’
K-I’ve had a glimpse of Cristina’s schedule for today-3 photo shoots, and about 8 interviews. Was this a busy day by her standards I wondered?
C-‘Actually, it’s a really relaxing day!’ She laughed. ‘Because once in Paris I did something like 25 interviews in one afternoon! So I can consider myself lucky today. The point is, especially in the UK, it isn’t easy for other European bands to come here, so when you are here, you get a bunch of interviews altogether. But I like them! I like to do them.’
K-Surely this must lead to her constantly having to go over old ground…
C-‘Mmmm. it depends. Basically the questions are always the same but it depends how the answer is going-sometimes you can find something that lets you talk about something completely different. Of course-there are basically the main questions, like ‘What does the title mean?’ or the lyrics, whatever, and I cannot answer anything completely different. But with some questions I have an open space-I can go wherever I want. So it’s not boring at all. I get to meet new people. It’s cool.’
C-‘The meaning of the title?’ Laughs Cristina guessing what my next question was going to be. ‘Well first of all, it is not ‘Commalees’ it is ‘Commalyze’. The real intention was to call it ‘Coma’ or something like that because after Unleashed Memories we just came back to Milan and were so *****ing lazy-we didn’t have anything ready. But in a couple of months we wrote everything-all the song writing was ready, and we realized we wrote everything in a sort of coma, because we were in another dimension, totally concentrated on the music. We just wanted to have a curious word, and one that people would wonder what it means. So we just played with ‘Come’ – coma-like, ‘comalised, and okay, we thought ‘comalies’ sounds good!’
K-Do you have any thoughts about getting your songs remixed at all?
C-‘I’m curious! Especially on the new album. There is a song that would be really good in clubs-‘Daylight Dancer’ – that would be really danceable, and I would be really interested to hear this song or other songs from the album, remixed. Just because I want to see the different point of view of another person to something we did. It’s an exchange, an artistic thing that I would really like.’
K-Andreas seems a lot more in evidence on this album-was this intentional?
C-‘We never do things on purpose…The fact is, that with Unleashed Memories we had less time to work on the album-because we were so lazy-and because I find the vocal line, it was difficult for Andrea to sing what I was singing, because we have different voices. Often I would think of a vocal line for him and it was too high, or was too difficult for him to do. This time we have worked together more, and did a very good pre-production before we went into the studio. So he knew beforehand what he had to sing, and was prepared for his vocals. And you can hear there is a more balanced division between the voices.’
K-Coming from Italy, I wondered if Cristina had ever read about Tuscan witchcraft? (I’m not sure what she thought I was talking about though…if anyone has any ideas, write in and let us know!)
C-‘I know him, because I have just started in that school, but I have to say, I don’t pretend to be a poet or a philosopher. I have a popular culture, so I prefer to stay really simple, in the concept I talk about things I really feel, not because I want to show people that I’m intellectual or whatever-and I really love it when people can recognize themselves in the lyrics. So even when I read things, I never take real inspirations from books, I prefer real life.’
K-One bit of real life that must have hit home recently was Italy’s dramatic exit from the World Cup…
C-Cristina sighs deeply-‘Just don’t let me say anything!’ Then she laughs and explains ‘I mean, it can sound like an excuse-but we got 5 goals, and some bastard just erased those goals! And the fact is I don’t think we were able to win the cup anyway. But im sad we went out in that way, because we won two matches and then we were out. Everything happened so fast, and it was like ‘Oh, we’re out!’ They erased our goals, and we were out! But its okay-I was sad at the moment, but I can live with this!’ She laughs.
K-The last time Lacuna Coil played, they wore very striking red and black outfits, was this theme to be continued I asked?
C-‘Regarding the artwork, this is something that will continue, but not really with the red and black and nothing else-we really like contrasts. The cover of the new album is a sunflower-really strong colours-yellow and orange-with the black background, because we think Lacuna Coil is the perfect balance between darkness and solarity-because we are really happy persons, really positive, but we also have-as every other person of course-our dark sides-we are melancholic too, we suffer too on occasions. But we also love light and the Sun, we are really positive! Shiny happy people! She laughs. So, I think we will continue this way. I mean, I cannot tell about the next albums, but we like to use black with strong colours.’
K-Red and black are traditional anarcho-syndicalist colours, I pointed out. Is it a coincidence that such feelings are also apparent in the bands lyrics?
C- ‘Yes’replies Cristina. ‘It is a coincidence. I write most of the lyrics, and I am not at all interested in politics, because I think that sometimes people use politics just as a trendy thing. I’m not communist or fascist- I am in the middle. I listen to the quality of ideas- I have my own personal ideas, and there are some points I dislike about communism, and there are some points I dislike about fascism. I don’t like the arrogance of fascists, and I don’t like the laziness of some communists. For example, if I worked hard, I don’t think its fair that another person has the same as I have, because I might work harder than another person.’
K-Changing the subject, I decided to put Cristina on death row! So what would be her preferred way of being executed?
C-‘Way of execution?’ She asks before falling silent for a few moments. ‘Hmmm. Pills during my sleep? Yes, I think so, because if I was to be executed in an electric chair, or as during the Revolution, my head cut off, you see all the preparation beforehand, and I would want something really quick-so that you die and that’s it! I don’t want to think about it happening.’
K-No secret yearnings for a dramatic exit then?
C-‘No, no. Not at all. I’m not scared about death, im scared about the pain and the worrying about death, but I’m not scared about death itself. ‘
K-And is death the end or does she believe life goes on in some way?
C-‘Who knows?’ She laughs. ‘I wish that there is something after, but to look at it in a scientific way, it is just something you hope because you want to continue being, but I don’t really know if there is anything.’
K-Back to death row, and what would the crime Cristina had committed have been?
C-‘Erm, how do you say it when you eat a lot of things?’
K-Er, is that a crime?
C-‘Er, no! But that is the only big vice I have!’ She exclaims. Seeing my unimpressed look, she tries to think of something a little better-‘Crime, crime…Kill all the paedophiles in the world! I will kill for that.’
K-So having finally found a worthy crime, what would Cristina’s final meal be? After more laughter, Cristina decides on ‘Pasta for sure. I have to decide on what kind of dressing…with sea fruits on it.’
C-‘Yeah. I don’t know what you call them-mussels and…those things! Very good!’
K-So she’s not a vegetarian…
C-‘No, no I’m not. I’m not a big fan of meat, but…I eat everything no problems! Are you?’ She sees a scornful ‘what do you think’ look on my face before continuing. ‘I could live without meat, but if I find it I…like it.’
K-And if there was a last minute rescue, who would her rescuer be?
C-‘My boyfriend? My family? My friends-altogether! Or a white horse-with Zorro on the back.’
K-After discussing whether Zorro had a black horse or a white horse, I asked Cristina what were her favourite TV programs as a child…
C-‘Cartoons-a lot of cartoons. I always loved cartoons, and still do. Probably you don’t know them, because most of them are Italian. Recently we watched a Swiss channel, with lots of cartoons-Spiderman, and very old Marvel characters. It was very very cool.’
K-What about pingu?
C-‘Yeah’ she replies, then draws back a little and says in a quiet voice ‘It was horrible-I didn’t really like it…I saw it this morning in the hotel, but then I changed channels and it was the Simpson’s, so it was okay! I love Simpson’s.’
C-‘With Southpark, I think you have to see it a few times before you enjoy it. All the people I know, the first time they are ‘Hmmm, well.’ But also, you have to understand English, because translated into Italian it loses everything. You lose all the jokes and the meaning.’
K-What sort of books did she read when she was younger?
C-‘Not really books with stories, but I was interested in stories of, Egyptians for example. I really used to love mythology. I don’t know why-but I was always really impressed. But now I really don’t have the time to read that much.’
K-Where does Cristina want to be in 10 or 15 years time?
C-‘I have no idea, because everything can change in a minute. For example, a few years ago I didn’t expect to become a singer in a band, and I had a totally different view of myself-I thought to myself, when I am 30 I will be married and have a few children, and I will work in an office. And know I am 30, and I have no children, and I am a singer in a rock metal band! So everything can change. I don’t have any special plans for my future. If you have too many projects, you cannot be sure they will happen.’
K-But in 10 or 15 years time, people all over the world will still be listening to the music you’ve made. How does that make you feel?
C-‘Very good-of course, she laughs. I think that is every musician’s dream, you know-to give to the world a record that everyone can remember and dance to for years-that would be great, absolutely great. Maybe when we are dead people will discover our records again, and say ‘wow this was brilliant!’ I don’t know.’
K-Would Cristina describe herself as a fan at all?
C-‘I’ve never been a real fan of any band. There are some bands I like more than other. Depeche mode for example, but I am not a fan because I don’t have all the records, or have been to any gigs of theirs. I like to listen to all kinds of music. I have a very open mind. If a song gives me good vibes, I don’t care if it’s rock, metal, pop or dance music, I don’t really care. There is always a certain music that is good for something-a song can be good to dance to, and another song you can just lay down on your bed and listen to it. Every song has a different moment and a different mood.’
K-So when was the moment Cristina realized that LC were going to be successful?
C-‘Ah,’ she laughs. ‘It may seem a paradox, but I realized when some people started to say shit about us. Luckily it was only a few people, but as soon as people start to say shit about you when you haven’t done anything to them, you know you are becoming popular. It means you have touched them in a certain way. You can call it envy, or whatever, but it means you are doing something and they’re not!’
K-If you could spend an evening doing whatever you wanted, what would it be?
C-‘Oh, I’m a really lazy person, and really simple at the same time. For me the best evening is with friends and a pizza, in front of the TV watching a movie under the sheets in a very big comfortable bed. Really, really simple things. I know I’m probably getting older, but I’m not interested anymore in spending all the night in a club. I’ve done that already, so know for me the perfect evening is no stress, no chaos, just doing nothing. Like this.’
K-Cristina talks about movies quite a lot-but does she prefer escapist movies or real-life movies?
C-‘I like different movies. I prefer not really intellectual movies when I go to the cinema. I prefer to watch something that will entertain me for a couple of hours, where I don’t need to talk too much. Something with a lot of special effects-like the American movies like ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Spiderman’. Something entertaining but not too serious you know. I don’t watch too many serious movies because I get bored. I’m just not that kind of person. Not that I’m not an intense person, but to me watching a movie is about entertainment. I liked the ‘Final Fantasy’ movie-it’s entirely computerised and it’s unbelievable, after 5 minutes you forget that it’s done with a computer, it’s so well done. And of course it’s taken from video games, and I’m a really big fan of computer games so…’
K-Is Cristina the sort of person who can watch the same movie time and time again?
C-‘Not really, no. My boyfriend does, and the guys in the band are able to. There is a cult movie in Italy called ‘Fantozze’ which is a story about an unlucky, really stupid man, and that became a cult movie for Lacuna Coil-we always bring it on tour with us and when we are recording we see it together and just laugh! But I don’t generally like to see movies over again. I am always searching for something new’ replies Cristina, before suddenly remembering. ‘Oh there is one movie, with Sean Connery called ‘In the name of the Rose’ set in a monastery. That movie-I have seen it so many times, I love it-probably that is the only movie I can see a thousand times, no problem.’
K-And does she like silence while watching them, or does she talk a lot…
C-Cristina laughs again- ‘Er, I’m the first person to talk! Oh look at that guy, look at that picture, look at the sky-I talk a lot during movies. And other people hate it! I don’t talk all the time, but when there is a scene I like, I say ‘Oh that’s good because blah blah blah’ and the others are looking at me. Ssh shh shh!’
K-Okay. Last question time, and an old favourite-what question would Cristina like to be asked?
C-‘Wooh-that’s very difficult. I’ve been asked everything so I don’t know what to answer.’
K-Oh? So she’s been asked how she’d like to be executed before?
C-‘Er. Not really, but it’s not a question that I think ‘Wow I wish someone would ask me that!’ She laughs, and we bring the interview to a close.