LACUNA COIL INTERVIEW
BY RICARDO BATALHA (ROADIE CREW)
It may seem strange, but after a successful promotion tour for the album Unleashed Memories (2001), the Italian band Lacuna Coil entered a mental coma state. The band members were happy, proud of the tour, but quite sad because they were going through personal and financial problems. The best thing to do was start composing and structuring the songs for a new record. The work began in Milan (Italy) and the album was recorded in Germany, produced again by Waldemar Sorychta. The result of the shock of all these different emotions was the excellent Comalies (Century Media), released last year and has been very well received by fans and press. It is notorious the maturity achieved by the beautiful and talented Cristina Scabbia and fellow members – Andrea Ferro (vocals), Marco Coti Zelati (bass), Cristiano Migliore and Marco Emanuele Biazzi (guitars) and Cristiano Mozzati (drums and percussion)-, and the recent European tour supporting Comalies, and maybe a North American tour may amplify even more the bands name, that well deserve a remarkable place in the Goth Metal scene. Straight from Milan (Italy), the singer Andrea Ferro tells us more about the current moment lived by Lacuna Coil.
Roadie Crew: Lacuna Coil sound much heavier live than in the studio and we could clearly see that when we saw you at the “Wacken” 2001. Could it be for that reason that your latest studio album, Comalies, turned out heavier?
Andrea Ferro: I believe that in this album the guitars really are heavier, and about what you said before, I agree, because the band always sounded heavier live. I don’t know really the reason for that, but we still couldn’t get the same sound that we have live when we are in the studio. We really like to play and this energy is uncontainable on stage, we naturally get more aggressive. Working in a closed studio is very different.
RC: In Comalies the contrast between your voice and Cristina Scabbia’s is very intense. How do you create the vocal lines?
Andrea: First we listen to every detail on the songs and we start testing all these different vocal lines, according to our “feeling”. We always create the vocal lines before because we consider them as part of the band’s “instruments”. In the beginning everything goes naturally, because we only start writing the lyrics that have to fit the instrumental part later. In this part we also work very carefully, always thinking about the words or phrases that best fit the instrumental part. We don’t like to change the lyrics a lot, if it sound good, we simply leave it as it is.
RC: The bass player Marco Coti Zelati is the main composer of the band, but how do you compose? You work separately or together?
Andrea: Usually Marco start working on the basic structure of the song in his computer, but the guitarists also present very good ideas and write a lot of songs. Everything starts really when we are together in the rehearsals, because we do all the arrangements together. Me and Cristina complete the vocal lines, with the process I told you.
RC: And what about the lyrics from Comalies?
Andrea: The lyrics in the album talk about things based on real life, because we had almost a year to record it. It was right after the tour and the summer festivals of 2001. It was a very strange time for us, it felt like we were in a mental coma. We were glad, happy with the tour, the album, going to the US, but we also had a lot of personal and financial problems. We were happy and sad at the same time. That is why we named the album Comalies, it is something very personal, but it has something to do with everyone around us at that time.
RC: Waldemar Sorychta produced all the albums of Lacuna Coil and I really like his work. How do you work in the studio? Waldemar has the freedom to suggest changes?
Andrea: First he comes to Milan to watch our rehearsals, to know the songs and get an idea of what we want. He always gave us good ideas, suggested some things and helped us when we needed, but the never pressured us to change anything just because his opinion was different than ours. I like very much to work with him, and he is a very good friend now. Every time he comes to Milan we watch soccer games together.
RC: How was the recording process of Comalies in Dortmund(Germany)?Is it true that it was all done in 20 days?
Andrea: It’s true. It was all done very quickly and “ flowed” well. We finished everything 2 or 3 before schedule, including the mixing part. I believe the new album sounds better, specially the guitars.
RC: Comalies is a very versatile album. How would you describe the band’s sound in the work specifically? What is the first song you wrote for this record?
Andrea: This is a very dynamic album, it has different “feelings” and “climes”. We have very atmospheric songs, as well as some others more aggressive and also some more modern and we really like this variation of “vibes” that are in this album. We were all very pleased with the final result. Each song has it’s personalities and I, particularly, like Daylight Dancer a lot. The first song we wrote for this album was Swamped.
RC: Changing subjects, how was the drinking competition between you guys and Sentenced? You won?
Andrea: (laughs) We won, but I know that they were very tired, because they were in the Century Media’s office in Germany dealing with the promotion of the album The Cold White Light, doing several interviews. Then they couldn’t drink that much(laughs). I know the since a long time and I know that they drink a lot more than they drank that day. I’ve seen they quite “altered”, and even lying on the floor because the were so drunk, during Wacken(laughs). And they were drinking vodka! I know that there will be a rematch, but we won that one.
RC: The Roadie Crew staff already beat Century Media Brazil at one of these competitions in 2001. and they want a rematch!
Andrea: (laughs) If we ever go to Brazil we’ll do something of the sort between the band, the magazine and the record company.
RC: Do you intend to play in Brazil still in 2003? Was there ever an invitation? And what about the rest of the tour?
Andrea: We are organizing a new tour. We’ll play in the US in the middle of January (the tour was scheduled from January’s 17th to February’s 3rd, with Tapping the Vein, Paradise Lost and Opeth, but it seems that Lacuna Coil had problems with their Visas to get in the US) and then we will try to schedule some more concerts. We want to play in Mexico, Brazil, Chile and other countries. We already played in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and Swiss land. I really like to play in Brazil! I met a lot of people here in Milan that are Brazilians and I usually go to restaurants that serve Brazilian food. Real food (laughs)! It would be cool to go to a soccer game. Now my team (A.C. Milan) has Rivaldo and Serginho.
RC: Serginho used to play in my team, São Paulo Futebol Clube…
Andrea: Then we also had another one, Leonardo(laughs).
RC: When we saw Lacuna Coil’s performance at the “Wacken” 2001, the bass player Marco Coti Zelati didn’t play. Why was that?
Andrea: Marco couldn’t travel to the “Wacken” and stayed in Milan receiving a treatment for his knee, because he had a problem and had to operate. He couldn’t play, something typical of soccer players(laughs).
RC: About the American market, do you believe that Lacuna Coil can be successful in the US?
Andrea: To be honest when we did our first tour in the United States supporting Moonspell we didn’t expect something too special, mainly because we were two European bands playing there. But, to our surprise, we were very well received and the response of the public has been very cool. After our tour we sold twice as much albums as before and several radio stations started looking for us. Even Billboard Magazine wrote an article about our new album, and we all know it is a well-known magazine in America. We still receive a lot of e-mails from fans from the US and Canada asking us to go back, and that is why we succeeded to schedule the new tour there. We hope the market opens even more, but we are happy so far. The first step was successful!
RC: But the audiences that went to the concerts were only fans of Metal and Goth?
Andrea: There were completely different people! There were those classic Metal fans, even New Metal fans, Goths, well, very eclectic.
RC: What is your opinion about the current Gothic Metal scene?
Andrea: In Europe that genre is doing very well, specially in Germany and Finland. I don’t really know how it is outside of Europe, but I guess it is doing well too.
RC: Do you think that band with female singers or two different vocalists(male and female), are becoming a sort of trend in Europe?
Andrea: It can be, yes, because there are a lot of bands like that nowadays and it seems that there are new ones starting that use that same formation. In our case that formation suits well, but I don’t consider many of these bands and innovating, because they work only with clichés. I like bands that they to impose their own personality into Gothic Metal or Metal in general. I don’t really like lyrical vocals, or just growling, especially if the instrumental is kind of classical. I like to use different vocal lines and the growling is nice when it matches a certain part of the song.
RC: But could you tell us why Lacuna Coil isn’t still on the top the Gothic Metal scene, between the bands with two singers?
Andrea: Maybe bands like Theater of Tragedy, for example, appear more because they have been around longer. We came later, but that doesn’t mean we have a bad reputation. H.I.M. is really popular, but the other bands in the Gothic Scene are in the same level in Europe.
RC: Last year we did a poll in our website and Cristina Scabbia was elected the most beautiful Metal vocalist. Do you consider that as a good promotion for the band?
Andrea: I agree with you. She likes it too and even thinks it is funny that it happens. To us it is indeed a good promotion and it is normal that the Metal fans pay more attention to her then to the guys in the band(laughs). If it isn’t a problem for Cristina, it is fine by us, and even better for the fans!
RC: What is your opinion about free music downloading in the internet? Don’t you think it is prejudicial for a band that has signed a contract with a record label as big as Century Media?
Andrea: I see that in two ways. If by one side people around the world can get to know a band, on the other the musicians would certainly be “harmed” if everyone downloaded the songs and the cover art. We wouldn’t sell well and so the Record company wouldn’t invest much in the band. I always say that the right thing to do would be to have only part of the songs destined for download. The person could get to know the sound and consider buying the album.
RC: How is the Metal scene in Italy nowadays?
Andrea: There isn’t really a scene, there are friends that play together sometimes, so it is something really underground. But that underground is growing everyday, because it is undeniable that there are some big Italian bands now.
RC: Before Lacuna Coil were you part of any other band? Do you intend to work on a side project?
Andrea: Yes, but only for fun. It was just about making noise with friends(laughs). About a side project, I’m not thinking about anything like that at the moment. Maybe in the future, but I still have much to learn as a vocalist.
5 Best Albums according to Andrea Ferro:
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Paradise Lost – Icon
Metallica – Metallica (Black Album)
Slayer – Reign in Blood
Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses
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