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Lacuna Coil: The queen and her halo are still shining bright


“We’re still here, we’re still powerful and we’re still going strong and going even better than at the beginning,” Says Christina Scabbia with an unwavering confidence in the following interview. With more than fifteen years and six albums – the last opus, Broken Crown Halo, was released this past 31st of March by Century Media Records – Lacuna Coil moves forward without raising a brow with its highly recognisable quality gothic metal marked by the unique vocal duo formed by the frontwoman and Andrea Ferro.

A new album which marks a change in the band’s ranks with the departure of Cris Migliore (guitar) and Cristiano Mozzati (drums) after 16 years of good and loyal services. Nothing to take Lacuna Coil down; unwavering, we’re telling you! Focusing on the music, if Dark Adrenaline (2012) was considered to be a synthesis to the career of Lacuna Coil, Broken Crown Halo intends to be slightly more tormented, fed as it was by ordeals life put in the band’s way and which have more than ever proven to be a source of introspection and therefore inspiration. Cristina Scabbia tells us all about this but also about the band’s relationship with movies – horror movies in particular, or about the critics her associate Andreas happens to receive at times.

« Within the band some things happened, related to family issues, to health issues, to break-ups in some couples, you know, stuff that might happen to everyone. »

Radio Metal: In the press release that comes with the album, Andreas Ferro is quoted saying: « In the past year we’ve been dealing with a lot of pain that has brought us down as a band and left us broken and shattered. » I guess he’s partly referring to the departure of Cris Migliore and Cristiano Mozzati, but is there something else?

Cristina Scabbia (vocals): No, actually he’s not reffering at all to Cris and Cristiano’s departures because that happened in december last year, so the album was recorded and written. It was more on a personal level because, like within the band some things happened, related to family issues, to health issues, to break-ups in some couples, you know, stuff that might happen to everyone but when it happens it really changes your point of view on life and changes the list of priorities. Actually the departure of Cristiano and Cris has been the smoothest one because it happened in a friendly way, and now they are happy because they wanted to make big changes with their lives and the rest of the band members that are still in the band are happy and more motivated than ever. So that wasn’t a problem.

Do you think it’s the pain and struggle encountered in life that inspires the most the band? Do you see music as a way to liberate yourselves from these pains by facing them once and for all?

Yes, I mean I believe that that happens for a lot of artists and I also think it’s because when something negative happens in your life, you kind of see life in a different view, in a different way. It’s not that you’re more inspired to write music but you’re definitely more inspired to look inside yourself way more than when you’re having a good time and you’re going out with your friends and you party and you’re happy. Because when you’re super happy you cannot really focus on yourself and on what’s happening. At least that’s our point of view and that’s what’s happening with us, I cannot say for other artists. But it’s a common thing, I mean talking with other artists, it happens to a lot of people.

Is it what « Nothing Stands In Our Way » is referring to? Is it some sort of a metaphor for your career? Are you a band that carries on, no matter what?

Yeah, it definitely does but I mean we wrote it to kind of celebrate the history of Lacuna Coil because it’s really rare for a band to be together for so many years, with the same spirit and the same passion. And considering that we’ve been together for like, 15 years, we’ve been through ups and downs like any other band but we’re still here, we’re still powerful and we’re still going strong and going even better than at the beginning. And that’s because we never gave up and that’s because we never lost the focus and that’s because we do what we really want to do, it’s not that we’re doing it because of the business or because a record label put us together. So we imagined the song as a sort of a trip, in a car, that two people can do, going somewhere and having a goal and very determined not to let anybody stop them.

« There is like a renewed energy in the band which I really like. »

It is often said that « Forgiveness is not the same thing as forgetting ». Is it what the song « I Forgive » is all about?

Well, that song talks about the fact that, sometimes you can be merciful in life because there will always be somebody hurting you, whether it’s somebody at work, somebody in the family, a partner or friends, somebody bullying you. But some people leave an even bigger mark in your life, something that you really can’t forget and that’s sort of an indication to move on but to remember whoever hurt you because just remembering what happened to you can make you even stronger in life and make you even stronger to deal with whatever will come in your life.

About the departure of Cris and Cristiano, like you said, they didn’t want to continue with the touring lifestyle and that they needed to find back their private lives. Did you see that coming on the last tour you did with them? Did they seem tired or bored with this lifestyle?

Well, there are some little things that you can kind of guess, you know. You see that some people are more into the touring lifestyle and can deal with it more than others. I kind of saw it coming but it wasn’t really clear, but you know, we are adults and we’re still friends and Cris is still working with us for the website, and we’re still in touch with them and we’re still friends. So, we saw it coming, not clearly, but I was kind of expecting that. But it happens, I mean it’s totally normal, life is evolution, so…

Seeing two original members leaving the band simultaneously after sixteen years must have been a shock for you. How did the band react to that and how does it feel, after sixteen years, not to play anymore with two of the original members of the band?

Oh, honestly it’s not a shock at all. As I said we are adults, so, it’s not that we fought or there was something like they didn’t like the band anymore or we hated each other. So it’s been like working together and then, you know “we’re going to do something else, and you guys are going to continue the legacy”. So, of course we miss them but it’s not a shock, I mean we’re still playing with a drummer who is amazing, he’s called Ryan Folden and he already played with us for like a year before Cris’ departure because he stayed home, and we’re continuing with just one guitar player, so Maus (Marco “Maus” Biazzi) is playing guitar by himself only and it’s working amazingly, I mean the fans are loving it, we’re loving it. There is like a renewed energy in the band which I really like.

Did they participate to the album before leaving?

Well, not really to the writing process but to the recording, yes, because the main songwriter has always been Marco for the music and Andrea and I are always responsible for the vocal lines, the melodies and the lyrics, so the main songwriters, are still in the band.

Cristiano Mozzati has a very personal style of drumming. He’s really not about showing off his technique, he’s a very song oriented drummer. Is it hard to find that type of drummer?

Not really because all the drum parts are written by Marco, anyway. So Cris is a great drummer but I think that it’s important for every drummer to have his own style and I like Ryan’s style very much, because he’s slightly different and he plays things in a different way but it’s still his personality coming out and that’s very important for me. We don’t want a Cris clone, we want somebody who would have his own style, to bring something new within the band.

You said that you might work with session musicians for a while and that you’re not thinking of replacements for now. It really looks like these guys were like family to you and you can’t even think to officially replace them for now.

Yeah, for now, the band is a 4 members band, so we are not thinking about including anybody within the band. We want to stay in 4 at the moment, we’re not auditioning anybody, we’re not looking for new members and that’s because it’s working perfectly this way. It just works for us, so we’re not thinking about replacing Criz and Cris.

Apparently one of the main influences on Broken Crown Halo were sountracks and italian horror movies. Can you tell us a little bit more about these? What draws you towards this inspiration?

Yeah, well we’ve always been fans of horror movies in general, but we just realized that we grew up watching quite a lot of Italian movies on Italian TV. These movies were, sometimes movies that right now couldn’t even be played on TV because they weren’t censored back then. I mean we saw horror movies, we saw erotic movies, but talking about horror movies, they are the ones that inspired us the most because we like the dark vibe of music and metaphors and ghost characters and horror characters. We’ve been mainly inspired by movies like the Dario Argento’s, for example, the Lumberto Bava’s, and that’s why even in the lyrics, we kind of created metaphors talking about real life, real people, things happening to us, but using sometimes, characters like vampires, werewolves or zombies, but to describe how life is and how kids are nowadays, and how we are, and everything that’s happening around us. But we always think about our music as a soundtrack. Marco always writes music in front of his TV and puts on movies or documentaries or like, I don’t know History channel… He gets inspired by images, so he turns the volume off and he starts composing the music over the images and we love it! We love it because we love soundtracks, actually our ultimate dream would be to write a soundtrack for a movie. That would be super cool, because we’ve had our music included in movies before but it’s not that we wrote something on purpose and that would be something great to do.

« Actually our ultimate dream would be to write a soundtrack for a movie. »

Actually, even if the album is darker than the previous one, it isn’t a very sad or a tragic album. It really looks like, with your music, you really wanted to depict the world in a very realistic way where everything isn’t black or white. Do you agree with that?

I would agree with that because although we love the more obscure and dark side of music, and that’s what we want to put in our music, we always want to give people a message of strength. Because we all know that we might have problems and we might go through shit and bad moments in life, but the most important thing is to keep your chin up knowing that you can get out of it and that’s why we are not depressed people at all. We’re very positive, we’re really happy, I consider myself like a geek, like a nerd, you know I like funny stuff but I also like darker stuff, you know. There is something in between that leaves you to enjoy life but at the same time enjoy the melancholy and the tension that can come out from the darker stuff.

Don Gilmore produced the two previous Lacuna Coil albums but this time Jay Baumgardner handled the production duties. Did you feel that the band needed another take or another look on its music?

Well we just wanted to see how it was to work with a different producer, that’s exactly what happened with Don Gilmore. You never know how it’s going to be until you’ve worked with a new producer because of course he might have an amazing portfolio and he might have worked with amazing bands, but you never know how it’s going to be applied to you music, to you compositions. And I honestly had a good time working with Jay but he’s more of a guy who looks at the big picture, so we’ve not been focusing on the little details and it’s a different type of producer compared to Don Gilmore who was more like: every detail of the song, he was on it, he was following every single part of the process. And with Jay it was different; we actually worked a lot more with a sound engineer. His name is Kyle, he’s a great guy, a really talented guy, he’s like 26 but he can play every instruments, he can sing, he can do everything, so we worked a lot with him and then we let Jay listen to the recordings and he gave us his opinion. But pretty much the songs are exactly like the demos, so I’m really proud about that because we learned so much in all these years that even a producer with a big experience like Jay, can come in and really not change anything because it’s all perfect. I’m really happy about that.

Up to Karmacode the band had worked with the renowned Waldemar Sorychta who gave the band a pretty distinctive sound. Do you think the band will come back to working with him someday?

I don’t know, I mean we’re still friends with Waldemar, we actually saw him not so long ago, in Germany when we went there for our promotion, and who knows. I mean we never really plan, we don’t know who we are going to use as a producer on the next album, who knows. I really don’t know, we’re definitely in touch with him, so it might happen but we might work with somebody else, but I always think that it’s important to evolve your sound and the only way to do that may be to work with a new producer who can teach you something different. That’s how I look at producers, as teachers who can teach you new lessons that you can apply on the next record.

You performed your Karmacode album in its entirety during the Metal Female Voices Festival in 2013. This is a pretty surprising choice since this album doesn’t seem to be as much looked at as your most classic album as Comalies is for example. What does Karmacode represent do you?

No, actually Karmacode is the one that sold more than any other album, it’s the most popular, because Comalies is the one that opened the doors to the American market and you know, songs like “Heaven’s A Lie” made us more popular to the States, and back to Europe because of course when you make it big in the States, you come back to Europe and you’re even bigger because… that’s how it happens, don’t ask me why (laughs)! But definitely Karmacode is the one that sold the most albums in the discography of Lacuna Coil, so we consider it the most popular and that’s why we chose that album.

Andrea is often criticized about his vocals, on the internet, how does he react to that, and how does the band react to that?

Honestly he doesn’t care and we don’t care because it doesn’t really matter how perfect you are, I think that the most important thing is that you have your own personality, you have charisma, you’re a good performer live in terms of energy that you give to the crowd, and we never had problems with that. I mean, whatever you do, people will always have something to say and if you think about singers, like, I don’t know… the singer of Rammstein or the singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, they’re not great singers, you know, that’s the pure truth, and I love them because they can deliver, they’re unique, they have a unique sound. So I honestly wouldn’t be very interested to sing with a singer who is super perfect but very normal, who has a voice like any other voice around. As soon as you hear Andrea’s voice, you immediately recognize him and that’s the most important thing for us.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with Arjen Lucassen and his latest Ayreon album?

Yes, I met Arjen, years ago, actually, I believe we met in a festival in France, or something, and he already asked me to be part of one of his projects but we couldn’t make it because I was either too busy with Lacuna Coil or he was too busy with his project. So this time we made it happen because we were both free, we took our time, so he wrote some parts specifically for me, the part of The Mother on his new record and I went to his house where he has his studio for a couple of days, and in pretty much one day, I recorded all my parts. It was a great experience because he’s a great guy, he’s incredibly talented, his family is beautiful, I spent some time with his partner and his beautiful dogs and he was a great experience, I really, really enjoyed it, and I really liked the result when it came out.

I know that Cristiano Migliore’s nickname was Pizza, Cristiano Mozzati’s is Criz, Marco is Maus, but actually we don’t know yours? Do you have a nickname in the band?

No, I honestly don’t have one. Either me or Andrea we don’t have one. I think when they come up spontaneously it’s cool, but if you don’t have anything specific to say… They always call me Cri! Yeah, I don’t have like a real nickname.

Interview conducted by phone on March, 12th 2014 par Metal’O Phil.
Questions : Metal’O Phil et Spaceman.
Transcription : Judith.
Introduction : Amaury.

Lacuna Coil official website : lacunacoil.it

Album Broken Crown Halo, out since March, 31st 2014 via Century Media Records.



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