Italian metal band Lacuna Coil is about to release their new studio album: Broken Crown Halo. Blast’s Sinan Pehlivanoglu met with singers Andrea Ferro and Christina Scabbia before one of their shows in the Revolver: Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock tour.
Blast: When you go back to the days that music entered your life, what attracted you the most about metal?
Andrea Ferro: It started when I was a kid. You know I was born in mid 70s, when Hard Rock and Heavy metal was getting really big, all my friends, the people around me were listening to KISS, Europe. My cousin introduced me to AC/DC . My dad bought me KISS cassette. It was natural you know. My first shirt was an AC/DC Angus Young shirt. It was natural to be a metal head at that time. [The] radio was playing KISS and Iron Maiden all the time. I have, also, been very open to other music styles. When hip-hop first came out I listened to that too. However I never liked the mainstream music, especially traditional Italian music was very off for me.
Blast: Lacuna Coil is a band of my time, and it is still rising. How does this affect you? On the one hand you get more and more used to this life, form some sort of a family with people around you, on the other, the expectations of the audience rise a lot. You know, music industry is really cruel, one of your songs does not appeal to certain people and they start saying you lost your talent, which is never the case of course.
Ferro: Yes, there are always new doors opening for the band. We have pressure in our lives but it is more in our own cycles, in the band. We always want to have better songs, better lyrics, better performances. We really love what we do and we want to make it better. We never write a song saying that this will appeal to these fans etc. We always wrote what we like. People recognize when you are inspired in a genuine way. We make mistakes, as anybody would. When we try to go out of our nature, that is when we fail. We learned this by experience, that you really have to do what you like. And if you don’t like this life anymore, you got to do something else.
Blast: Today, unfortunately, we don’t have the same metal crowd as “we” had in 80s and 90s. Some people, who wants to do music and like metal, gets into other music styles, fearing that they would not have enough audience in metal industry. Do you think they should make the sacrifice and follow the path different than what they like, or should they follow their passion?
Ferro: It is really hard to say. I mean today, other styles that you can make money with would be pop, electronic etc. But you still have to have a certain way of listening to write music. For example, I know Lady Gaga, she is a big metal fan. She likes metal but also other styles. And I think of all the pop stars, she is the one who likes metal the most. You can put your passion into your music but still you need to like what you do. She has metal influences in her music. If she only liked pop or metal but not both, it would be really hard for her to do what she does today. I think it is the right thing to do, I think you have to put your passion into your music. But don’t forget that there is always the possibility that being a musician is not the right job for you.
Blast: Do you think your music reaches the right people?
Ferro: Yes, we have a variety of people in our audience. It is not only metal people or only girls etc. Especially here in North America, peoples taste is more [varied]. People who listen to extreme metal songs, listens to other things. Here you can have black and white people, girls and boys, skaters, pretty much anyone, in your crowd. We have a variety of people. Our music appeal to many people. Of course, the more people you get the better.
Blast: You probably get this question a lot, but since we are in the US right now, what is the main difference between US and Italy in your eyes?
Ferro: Europe is really different. It is more sophisticated in a way. Not the English music, which is straightforward rock but all the other bands have keyboard, violin, classical arrangements. The roots of European metal and rock, is in Classical Music. Even if in ours, being one of the most American bands from Europe, we still have a lot structures that comes from classical music. American music is more straightforward, heavy sound, cymbals but still powerful. It is what we like, but we still love to combine two things. We have complicated slow songs, with more arrangements, strings and darker sound, also we have more straight forward, modern songs. I think the same difference can be observed in life styles. People are more sophisticated. You know, wine and designed apartments, while in US, it is the fun you have in life. I like both. For us it is good to be in balance. I would never be completely American or European. It has been more than 10 years that we have been touring America. We have become international people. But we still have our heritage, our culture, food, etc.
Blast: When we look at your albums, we can see that they have slightly changed their sound. What affects this?
Ferro: Everything. Touring with certain bands, your life style. It is really hard to make every song fit in your niche. There are certain elements that are easy to incorporate and there are ones that you struggle with. I think, right now, we are at a certain point where you can listen to one of our songs and recognize the band. No matter it is slow or fast. But it comes with learning, years of mistakes, and getting better. It is discovering your sound.
What artists influenced you the most? Because when we look at the songs you have covered, they are more of 80s.
Ferro: I think that is because 80s sounds are in people’s heads. They are really famous. Because you know, we heard them when we were a really young age. It will always stay with you even if you don’t listen to it that much. Those are classic songs for our generation. Also, I think it is not a good idea for a metal band to cover a metal song. It is already metal. How can I make it more metal? It is impossible. You can do it live or for fun. But it is not really challenging and interesting. When we started in 1996-1997, we wanted to sound like our favorite bands. Paradise Lost, like goth, dark metal, that was coming out. Even though we always listened to bands like Faith No More, Metallica, Megadeth… We started like that, and then we found more elements, found more of our sound. We experimented and moved a lot. I remember when we wrote Komalized, it was something different for us. We were taking chances. It was possible for people to not like it, because it wasn’t gothic enough. But we liked it and we tried. And actually it was a big success. I think that record is when we realized we are not any other gothic band that wanted to sound like their favorite band. You can take inspiration but you have to find your own way.
Blast: Let’s talk about Broken Crown Halo a little bit. What can you say about it? Is there a significant difference compared to previous recordings?
Ferro: Yeah, it is a progression. It is not that we are gonna sound completely different. I think every record of Lacuna Coil has its own vibe. Of course it is not going to be a rap or reggae album but there is always a different approach. Dark Tranquility was bringing all the classical elements into the future. This one is starting from there and carrying it further. There is more variety of songs. We have brought some elements that we haven’t used in a long time, like grove vocals, tribal influences here and there.
Blast: Is there a memory that strikes you when you think about the recording process of Broken Crown Halo?
Ferro: Maybe more than that, there has been a new way of working, in the studio especially. At the beginning we were meant to record the album in LA, because Jay, our producer, has his own studio, it was more saving money and time. But then we needed to be in Milan, so Jay came over. And it was the first time, he recorded an album in Europe. That actually influenced the sound of the record, because we went to this very old, vintage studio in Milan. So this guy, who is a friend also, brought out his collection of vintage guitars, amps and pedals. We tried different combinations of guitars, effects and amps. 60s guitars, Gibsons, Fenders. That was something we never experienced before. That influenced the sound a lot.
Blast: Do you guys have plans for a music video?
Ferro: We actually recorded one, right before we left Milan. We haven’t seen it yet. It is for the European single. Because there are two different singles. We have released a song for everybody to listen, which is called “Nothing Stands in Our Way”. And then we have one song for the radio here in North America, “Die and Rise”. And then there is one for Europe, ” I forgive but I won’t forget your name” which is more symphonic. We shot music video for European one because you have more chances of getting it played in Europe; here it is mostly Youtube. MTV is not playing anything anymore. For America, we just did a lyrics video. We did it with the same director as Trip the Darkness.
Blast: What do you think about the tour, “Hottest chicks in Hard Rock”, why not “Hottest Guys”?
Ferro: Of course, we did not come up with the title, it is Revolver’s but when they first did this back then. Christina was on the cover and she was the first female to be on Revolver’s cover. We were the first ones to do this tour, with Within Temptation, In this Moment, and Gathering.
Blast: So there are two songs from the new album, how do you decide which songs to play?
Ferro: So the album will be out April 1st, so it is kind of early to play the rest of the album, so we decided to put these two songs we have released. Also we, recently, had a little line-up change. So we wanted this tour to be little warm up. It is a good way to start again.
Blast: What do you think about the women in metal?
Christina Scabbia: Well, actually it changed a lot. We are coming from Europe where it is more normal; it has been normal for a long time to have a woman in the line up. Now there are much more women in the bands, which I am happy about, as long as they are not just using their pretty faces. They are bringing something more to the table. I am just happy to see that.
Blast: Do you think these women should be more masculine?
Scabbia: No, They should be themselves. In the Rock/Metal scene, there are a lot of guys. Every time there is a female, you become the center of attention. So if you look at the history of Rock and Metal, there have always been the hot guys that all the girls were looking at. For girls, it is something different, because it is relatively new. It is not that you have to prove anything; you need to be yourself, what ever that means.
Blast: Would you encourage young girls, to get into metal business?
Scabbia: Absolutely yes. But it is something you really have to feel. If you are doing it because you want to be a rock star, that is not the right approach. Living on a tour bus with others is not for everyone. You should be a person that likes to travel. You should make sacrifices, like being away from the people you love. You also need to love what you do. I would definitely encourage, young girls to come on board.
Lacuna Coil’s newest album, Broken Crown Halo, will be released on April 1, 2014 via Century Media Records.