INTERVIEW – LACUNA COIL
Here we catch up with singer Cristina Scabbi and band mate Andrea Ferro to talk the new record and more!
rushonrock: The metal world is a male dominated society and it always has been. Over the last 10 to 12 years, however, women have become much more prominent on the scene and are no longer stuck in the background. Do you the roles of women in rock and metal need to be discussed at length since it’s not something that’s special or unique anymore?
Cristina Scabbia: When we started – and that was 15 years ago – there weren’t so many bands with females in their line-ups. It was The Gathering, Theatre Of Tragedy, Within Temptation, and us. Other than that I can’t really recall any other bands doing that. Now it seems to be a common thing, which is why I find the question overrated. Everywhere you these days you’ll find a female in the line-up. That’s the case in all sub-categories of metal these days, so I don’t think it’s a weird thing. Obviously, being a woman in a band, you get a lot of attention because you’re the different element. Look at television commercials – even if the ad is selling tyres a woman will be in there somewhere because she gets people’s attention.
rushonrock: The Comalies album from 2002 is considered Lacuna Coil’s breakthrough. At that point, you were put into the spotlight (promo photos, videos, interviews) and became the face of the band. Over the last couple of years, and especially on Dark Adrenaline, it seems that you’ve taken a step back from the spotlight. Is that the case?
CS: It’s not that I’m taking a step back. It’s just that if you’re part of a band, it doesn’t make sense to have yourself up front as if you’re not an actual part of a band. There’s teamwork in this band when we compose, when we perform, when we go on tour together. I think of it as if we’re an army on stage rather than a singer with some other people just standing around and playing. When I perform by myself, or with a band like Megadeth (on A Tout Le Monde), or on a charity project, then I can be free to go a little bit more over-the-top. When I perform with Lacuna Coil it’s about the band, not me.
rushonrock: What are your thoughts on bands or record companies focusing on the woman in a band in order to sell the music?
CS: I understand their point of view because whether you have an amazing relationship with your record label or not, for them you’re a product. I think it’s pretty normal for them to try and push the elements that sell better for the company. I know it sounds weird to say that because we’re artists and that’s not our point of view. I totally understand the labels’ point of view, though, because they have to make a living from the art of their bands. The visual part of it is really important, and that’s why they push it. The only thing is that, anyone who buys a record doesn’t do so because of the cool image. If you want something to look at, you buy a magazine or download pictures from the internet. As a band you have to be able make a balance. You can have the look, because it’s an important theatrical part of your art, but it’s also important to justify being out there through your music and your performance.
rushonrock: You’re an artist, you’re a performer, but at the end of the day Lacuna Coil is a product like every other artist signed to record label. Does that ever cheapen the experience of being in a professional band? Does it put you under pressure?
CS: No, not at all. I can’t really say why because it’s not something we’ve ever thought too much about it. There’s only our music – that always come first – and we’ve been free to do what we want. I really have to thank Century Media because they never pushed us to go in a different direction or do something we felt uncomfortable with. I’m every happy about that, because we’ve never felt that type of pressure.
rushonrock: It’s still early in the release of Dark Adrenaline, but what it your general impression of how the album has been received?
Andrea Ferro: We’ve gotten great reactions from the fans on the internet and the ones we’ve met on tour. They’re very enthusiastic and we’re really happy about that. When we play the new single Trip The Darkness live, everybody knows the songs already and they sing along, which is pretty cool.
rushonrock: When you were creating Dark Adrenaline, did you concern yourself with trying to make an album that was different from the previous one (Shallow Life), or perhaps make it similar? Do you ever worry about how a new album will stand up against the previous one?
AF: We’ve never repeated any of our albums. We always try to put something new in every album, but this is our sixth album, so we’ve developed out own trademark or style at this point. You can hear that it’s Lacuna Coil when you listen to Dark Adrenaline, but we tried to have a good combination between the type of sound people are expecting and doing something new. We’ve also improved as singers, musicians and performers, so it’s very important for us to progress. We’re not the type of band that’s stuck in the past. After Comalies we could have come up with an album that was the same, because that album was so successful, but we did Karma Code which was not the same thing at all. And Shallow Life was different again. Dark Adrenaline is a mature album because it shows that balance of what people expect and where we want to go. Maybe in the past we were still searching for a good balance and now we’ve found it. But we still want to look forward rather than back at what we’ve done.
rushonrock: Shallow Life was an upbeat, positive sounding album in comparison to Dark Adrenaline, which is a lot heavier and much more aggressive. Is it fair to say you’ve taken a step back without returning to your gothic metal roots?
AF: Shallow Life is probably the most experimental album we’ve done in terms of musical direction. But, that’s what this is all about. You have to try to see what works and what’s going to stand the test of time. It’s been very important to do that. When we were making Dark Adrenaline we wanted to get back to the energy and the aggression that was missing on Shallow Life, especially in the live environment. The new album is heavier because that’s what works really well for us in the live shows. With Shallow Life we improved our approach to lyrics and song structure, and we had a little more freedom to dare to experiment with things that maybe the old school Lacuna Coil fans didn’t like too much. But, we gained some new people because we did something different. I think now, with Dark Adrenaline, we understood where we could experiment and where it was better to stay with our more traditional sound, because it was that old style that made the band name.
rushonrock: Lacuna Coil hasn’t sounded like a gothic band for years and yet the label still follows you around. How do you feel about that, and how do you think Dark Adrenaline will be perceived?
AF: We can play ballads and gothic stuff but we feel most comfortable playing the energetic stuff, which is why the new album sounds the way it does. We’ve always been labeled a gothic band because when we started that’s what we were into that, especially on the first album. When you’re doing that first album I think you end up trying to sound like your favourite bands. And we came up in the time of Theatre Of Tragedy, The Gathering and Paradise Lost, so I think it’s only natural that they inspired us. But, with experience you learn to make it yours and explore where you can take it. We’ve always been open-minded people, so even when we were gothic fans we were also into traditional or more aggressive metal, or experimental bands like Meshuggah. Our sound has been influenced by a lot of different elements, and now I think those elements make Lacuna Coil what it is. For example, in the past we didn’t have the right songs to include guitar solos. It’s not that we were against having them. Maybe it’s because we are coming from the gothic metal scene, where it’s not that common to have fast songs or lead guitar. Now the music fits better to that kind of style.
rushonrock: What’s your feeling on Lacuna Coil inspiring other up-and-coming musicians and bands, the way Paradise Lost or The Gathering may have influenced you?
AF: Sometimes we see Lacuna Coil tribute band or hear a band to a cover song and it’s a bit weird. We still think of our career as being fresh because we’re reborn with every record, in a way, so we don’t feel like we’re an older band. But, it’s a pleasure to see that bands have been inspired by us. It’s an honour because we’ve been working hard to find our own signature sound. It’s important when people understand and appreciate that in our little world we’ve been experimenting a lot and working hard to get where we are now.
Click here to read the review of Dark Adrenaline: