"We listen to everything, it depends on the moment; like I listen to Reggae, to EVERY kind of music from Black Metal to Reggae"
Before this band hit the scene the last words you would have thought to link Italy to would be Lacuna Coil but now Italy has a new descriptor to be synonymous with! The band's name may translate to Empty Spiral however there is NOTHING empty about this band. Now Milan and the rest of Italy can be known for something other than their couture, food, architecture, and culture, they have LACUNA COIL, one of metal's best acts! This is definitely something for Milan to be proud of as well!
Karma: Well first of all I'd like to thank you very much for sitting down and doing the interview with me.
Andrea: [Smile] Thank you [giggle] my pleasure.
Karma: How has Ozzfest been for you so far?
Andrea: It's great, I mean every day we have a great, great response from the people. We're doing very well at the FYE [tent] with the selling of the CDs. We have been like second after Sabbath, [smile, followed by laughter] which has been amazing for us. So it's great, absolutely worth it! It's a very long tour so we are also ready to go home.
Karma: I'm sure!
Andrea: Honestly, because right here in America everything is not so safe right now [as I shake my head in complete agreement with Andrea's statement.] So it's been a very long [in reference to the group being at home], we're looking also forward to going home right now; but still it's absolutely worth it to be here!
Karma: Okay, so you have noticed a dramatic rise in sells then, period?
Andrea: Oh yeah! We were doing good before but with Ozzfest it's been a big boost for us so far. Like, uh, last week we had the best selling [album] ever we had in America.
Andrea: [with an excited look and smile on his face, his voice starts to get higher] Yeah so like 7,000 copies in one week. It’s a lot for us.
Karma: That's wonderful!! [laughter]
Andrea: [as his voice trails off] Yeah! [smile]
Karma: So how is the scene back in Italy? Are the fans receptive since metal's not a…
Andrea: Yeah, we are in Italy the biggest rock/metal band but the point is rock/metal in Italy is not huge. It's big but its not huge not like it is here. Italy's a much smaller country. The rock culture is there it's not as big as over here or England, Sweden, or Norway.
So we are doing very good! We have a video on MTV, which in Italy is a public channel, it's not a pay TV…so everybody can see it, you just need a TV to see MTV! We don't have MTV2, it's just one channel that plays videos and stuff…same thing as it is over here.
Karma: [bewildered look] Okay! [That is a little different from all of the MTV channels we have available in America]
Andrea: But we do have a couple of those channels: one is called MTV, and one is old music, which is sort of like Fuse. And they all play the video every hour like in not in hour of heavy rotation, like not only in the Headbangers Ball or a special metal program, so it's VERY good exposure.
Karma: So you have the video in rotation there and 2 in rotation here ["Swamped" and "Heaven's A Lie"]
Andrea: Yeah! Everywhere actually. Everywhere that we play: Germany, Europe and in America.
Karma: By the way, I LOVE "Heaven's A Lie". The vocal mix between you and Cristina [Scabbia] is amazing!
Andrea: [smiles and speaks softly] Thank you.
Karma: Is there a common misconception people have about the band since you're female singer is very sexy?
Andrea: Oh…I thought you were talking about me!
[Laughter from all]
Karma: Well of course! How did I miss that? [laughter]
Andrea: [still laughing] No, of course a lot of the focus that you mentioned is on Cristina, that's normal, because in this style of music you don't have many, many girls. Especially not many nice girl..so…
Karma: And ones that can sing!!
Andrea: Yeah exactly! Exactly! It is a combination that is not easy to find so for us it is normal for us to see more interest to see Cristina in video, a nice feature of a girl than to see boys with long hair…5 boys with long hair. It's normal but we also think that the real fans will accept the band in it's entirety, as a whole thing, not only as Cristina or something like that. It's more for the male guys who have a picture of Cristina or a poster, it's normal. But we have never had a problem in the signing sessions, everybody wants to have photos with everybody and it not nothing like it's only one person in the band that they are interested in.
Karma: That's great
Karma: Please describe Lacuna Coil to someone who had never seen the band before.
Andrea: Well maybe here in America, I can say, we are a very different band compared to the rest of the music style that is around because… Also here at Ozzfest, you can notice that we are the only band that is doing the melodic kind of music. Most of the bands have been heavy.
Karma: [I nod]
Andrea: We have a different style, which is also because we are from Europe and we have different influences maybe compared to other bands. We have been doing this style since '96, '97. We started with a demo tape in '96 and then we signed a deal in '97. So in Europe we have, we are a bigger name because we are more of an established band. Here, it is something more new because the album [Comalies] has been very well promoted, which has been out for 2 years now. So basically we are a different band I think.
Karma: Speaking of influences, who are some of your biggest influences?
Andrea: For example: in the beginning of the band we were locked into the classic metal bands like Metallica, Slayer…all the big names…Megadeth and stuff like that. Cristina came from a different kind of musical [background]. She listened to a lot of R&B music, a lot of the Black voices like Aretha Franklin…a lot of those type of singers. She was also listening to rock but not that much. She discovered a lot of rock/death metal just because she was our friend.
Karma: Oh wow!
Andrea: [smiles and laughs] 'Cos first, she never though to sing for a band. She just sing on her own, like a sessions musician. She did some recording for some bands, some dance songs…
Andrea: Yeah! …just for the money, not 'cos she really liked it. But then we convinced her to sing we us. She really liked what we had done and she wanted to do some background vocals but then we really loved it so then we said, "Ok, we are going to work with 2 singers now!" She was enthusiastic about it and it was me & Marco, the bass player, we all started the band.
So basically we listened to a lot of death stuff but also a lot of gothic music like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy, all of the bands, the classic Gothic bands. But also those Gothic Metal bands like Paradise Lost [in which also has a HUGE Depeche Mode influence] and Type O Negative were also big influences when we recorded the demo tape. Then I think we have [revolved] to more of a personal style album after album. And now we listen to everything, it depends on the moment like I listen to Reggae to EVERY kind of music from Black Metal to Reggae. [smiles]
Karma: [smiling back] So who would you say is your favorite act on the bill?
Andrea: Probably Slipknot and [Black] Sabbath and [Judas] Priest. Those are my 3 favorite bands.
Karma: I'm sure it must be great since you were listening to some of these bands when you were younger and to be on tour with them…must be a great feeling!
Andrea: Yeah!! [a broad smile crosses his face] Especially Sabbath! I have to say, I have ALWAYS been a Sabbath fan. Judas Priest, I like some songs but in Milan I was more into Iron Maiden or AC/DC compared to them. Sabbath is really the one band, I really, REALLY like! [voice softens] I can't wait for the new album to come out!! [smiles sweetly]
Karma: So what has been your finest moment on stage?
Andrea: I mean I am always into the show. Actually I always try to be 100% into the show even if you are tired of playing the same song for like the 1 millionth time [smiles] but still even yesterday we played a very small show, we had an off day (off dates) [from the tour] In Ohio, a little village/town and there were probably 200 people, the club was full. It was a GREAT show but it was a VERY small club [smiles] but there was a lot of energy and the stage was right in the middle.
Karma & Erika: WOW!!
Karma: Talk about intimate!
Andrea: Yeah! You had people ALL around you and [we were] also under a balcony upstairs. So there was a LOT of contact. The sound probably was not the best, almost no money, and there was a very punk rock [feel to the club] but energy exchange with the people was great! So basically if the people gives you back a lot of feelings, that's always the best concert. So it all depends on the crowd, you can be very tired or you can have a problem with your voice but if the people are there to give you energy, then everything is…you're voice comes up even if you don't have it anymore. It's just the matter of adrenaline and exchange with the people. When the people are there for you, it's always a good concert.
Karma: So going on that premise, would you say you prefer touring to being in the studio?
Andrea: Ummm, well it's two completely different things. The studio is VERY nice when you are finished. When you're done and you listen to the album you put it on 20 times…
Karma: And you can see the fruits of your labor!
Andrea: Exactly! And you can hear the results, the progression from the previous album, the sound is better, you sing better… So you see a lot of progression and it's very good. But when you're recording it's very boring [process] I think because you have to do like 20 times the same verses where you're singing and singing and singing. So it's not that fun to record, its very good when you are finished recording that's what I like about the recording [process] But then I like better live [performing] A LOT, 'cos live is the exchange of energy. You don't have to be so [wrapped up] in concentrating on the little details. You can be more aggressive not as perfect but still you have to be, it's more like a physical relationship with the people and a lot of exchange of energy. So I like better the migration of a live show much better.
Karma: Speaking of the studio, how does your songwriting/composing happen?
Andrea: Basically, usually, it's Marco, the bass player, and Mouse, the guitar player, they write most of the music. Marco especially does all of the arranging, like the keyboard parts. Then me & Cristina come with the vocal lines and the lyrics. We don't really care who writes the song, we care only about which part is right for the song, so that way we split the vocals since we have two completely different voices.
If I write a vocal line which fits better for Cristina or if it's the opposite, she may write a better vocal line that fits better with my voice than hers. So we just care that the song is good! That's what we care [about]! We don't care if I have the idea or if 60% of the song is from one guy or 20 for the other…we DON'T care. As soon as the song is good, that's all we care [about]!
Karma: That's wonderful that you are able to share the songwriting that way!
Andrea: Yeah, we HAVE to because we don't write that many songs, exactly only [ones] that are going to be on the album. Usually, we are not one of those bands that can write 50 songs and choose 15 for the record. If we have to write 10 we write 10 or 11. We are not able to write a lot of stuff, we write a lot of ideas but to push it into a song, to squeeze all of the ideas into a song, again we only have the right material for one album. So we don't really care who's idea [it is].
Andrea: If it's not a nice idea, we won't do it just because we have to be 50%, I mean. Or if one guy has the complete idea for the song that's fine. As long as the song is great!
Karma: I'm guessing that you'll never have a lot of B-Sides floating around the record company vaults then! [Laughing]
Andrea: [smiles and laughs] They always ask us for more and we're like "No, no!! [laughing again]
Karma & Erika: [laughing]
Andrea: Also especially in the past we had to work really fast on the albums, so we really didn't have much time to work on other ideas. Maybe with like two more months, we could have more ideas for other songs. But we always finish the tours then go back to writing so we have to squeeze in all the best songs for the album. We don't have time to work on an idea or to take 2 months to finish a song. We have to catch the ideas that are already there.
Karma: Going back to writing, you guys are pretty free, artistically speaking and have been able to make the kind of music you wanted. Obviously, you hope to be able to continue having the saving artistic freedom that was given on your previous releases. Are you or will you be given the same amount of freedom, for lack of better words, for your upcoming releases?
Andrea: We hope! [laughter] We have a lot of material, for example now because this album has been promoted for the longest time. It's been like 2 years that we have been touring for this album between Europe and here and a little bit of a break. We have a lot of ideas already for the next album and as soon as we finish Ozzfest, we are going back to Italy where we'll take September off then we'll start working on the next album.
We can probably be able to [start touring in the States again] next May because the new single should be released in April…if we can make it! [laughter] If we don't do another tour for this album because the album has been doing so well then there is still the chance for us to do another tour. But we don't really feel like another tour, we just want to go for the next album now. I mean this album has created a very strong base, the next one, if it's a good one, can boost everything to another level maybe. But we want to concentrate on a very good album because we feel the next album will probably be the most important album of our career, so far, at least! Then you'll never know, maybe one day we'll sell 10 million copies… [laughter from all] You never can plan it…
Karma: This is true! One never can tell! [And I hope they will sell that many units and more]
Andrea: [smiling] Honestly, I've seen how this album sold in America almost 150,000 copies. So now if we can keep them selling some copies and if we come out next Spring with a good album we can start from this size of base and maybe the band will grow to the new level, maybe. Maybe the fans will love our songs… [smiling shyly while looking at the floor]
Karma: Yes! They will without a doubt!
Karma: So do you guys have a pre-show ritual?
Andrea: We have a little scaromantic kind of ritual. Nothing really, really strange, something that we would keep for ourselves usually because it's something a bit ridiculous. So it's actually somewhere between the scaromantic and the ridiculous. We all try to give each other a loud, shot of energy and strength. It involves shouting, screaming...
Erika: Umm, tribal?
Karma: Like primordial screams?
Andrea: Yeah!! We'll scream in each others face.
Karma: And a good way to release energy too!
Andrea: Especially on this tour because sometimes we'll play at 9:30 in the morning, like every day we have rotating slots. So sometimes it could be 2:00 in the afternoon but sometimes it could be at 9:30, like we've already done that twice and we have one more [show to do at] 9:30. And at 9:30, it's really hard to go out there because the night before, especially if you played on an off date and then you have to play at 9:30 in the morning?!?! Again, it seems like you never stop like you just go to bed and that's it…
Karma: Well I hear that you guys are pretty good with the drinking games! Won any good matches lately?
Andrea: Last time we did a lot of drinking was on the 19th, which was 2 days ago because it was my birthday…
Karma & Erika: [in unison] Happy Belated Birthday!!!!!
Andrea: Oh, thank you! And Marco, our bass player, is born on the same day. It was a WILD night! I mean, I don't like to drink every day because I don't want it to become an addiction! It's something I like [to do]. I've been drinking since I was 6, in Italy you start drinking very early [with] your family because when you eat, you drink wine. So when you're 10 you are already drinking wine. I don't mean like a BOTTLE…
Karma & Erika: Right!
Andrea: I mean a glass, but you're very used to it. It's nothing special in Italy about drinking.
Karma: But of course that's a part of your culture!
Andrea: Yeah exactly, it's not like it is here that you have to be 21 to drink. By 16 years old EVERYBODY drinks. We don't have many alcoholics or addiction over there.
Erika: Right, because you don't abuse it!
Andrea: Because it's totally in the culture! Yeah!! I mean I do drink too much, but it's for something special, not something that happens everyday. If everyday I get fucked up or totally wasted, I can't handle the tour to sing everyday so we don't do that!! We like to party but when it's time to party…
Karma: When there's a reason, yeah!
Andrea: [voice softens] When there is a nice atmosphere, good karma [snickers] we like to smoke some weed. It's always a ritual for us it's not like something you have to do. I mean that's it, we don't do any other drugs.
Karma: Well, that's good!! Going back a little, do you find songwriting therapeutic or just being involved in the process?
Andrea: Yeah, even if now it's more like you have to write songs, it's not only for the pleasure of writing songs. Sometimes it's a pleasure sometimes it's [like] a job. Like sometimes when you're not inspired you still have to find a good vocal line. Now it's more in between. Sometimes you really enjoy one song because it's a special moment, sometimes it just a good song, sometimes you need a good song to come out. I like it. Sometimes it's very good and sometimes it part of the job, a GOOD job! [laughter]
Karma: [smiles] Here's one for you, do you think there will be a wave of more melodic death metal as oppose to the old ways of death metal of growling and screaming? [Don't get me wrong, I love it all]
Andrea: I don't know probably, I think the problem is that there are too many bands saturating the market more or like with the same kind of sound.
Erika: RIGHT!! [as I nod, agreeing]
Andrea: The same thing [can be said] with the mainstream Emo kind of Punk that's going on, I mean too many bands that ALL sounds the same. Sometimes I watch the videos, I see this one band, and I think it's another. [all laughing now] And these groups sound exactly the same how can they do it? I do not know, it's amazing and they all have these 3 names like Three Days Grace [laughter erupts]. It's just a lack of creativity I think, they're all good, and they play well and are in synch but the problem is there is no personality. And what's the point? In one year it's going to be dead 'cos all the bands are like that and it's not like the kids are going to buy the same record 10 times after a while when they realize that it's just somebody trying to jump on the same bandwagon. Then the scene is going to die and not just business…
Karma: Okay, now I have a Speed Round of quickie Questions…
Andrea: All right! I'm ready! [smiles]
Karma: What your favorite holiday?
Andrea: [beaming with smiles] Spain, I always like to go to Barcelona. It's very nice because it's very cheap. The attitude of the people is that they like to party all night long…
Karma: Like in Ibiza?
Andrea: Yeah, like Ibiza. It's like you go out at midnight, you go out to eat at 11:00 and you stay out til 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning. Pubs are still open and you can still drink and party.
Karma: Then a little bit later on have a siesta…now THAT'S the life!
Andrea: Yeah! The first time we went was with our guitar player and we were there and we were dressed for the night and more, not elegant but more of a nice shirt and everything and we were coming back to the hotel at 8'O Clock in the morning and we run into these parents with their little children [uproarious laughter erupts] and they were leaving out to go to the beach and we were coming in to sleep for the day! We were like, "Goodnight!" [he laughs] So we never got the chance to get to the beach and we have been there for 2 weeks. It always like 8 or 9'O Clock in the morning and we are going to bed. We never see the sun, well almost! [laughing] Barcelona, it's great. It's especially a very nice place if you're single because you meet people from all around Europe and Germany, England, everywhere. You meet a lot of girls and boys from all around. And it's very Rock. Like a lot of rock pubs, metal pubs.
Karma & Erika: Ummm! Okay!! Some place to check out!!
Karma: Spiritual or religious?
Andrea: Spiritual! I don't really like organized religion, basically. We grew up in country, which is a strong Catholic country. [laughing] So we know what we're talking about! [now we're all laughing] We really don't like to follow organized religion. I mean I respect everybody's ideas, I don't care, I not gonna tell somebody that you have to believe or you have to believe this or that. That's not my cup of tea! I'm not a preacher and I don't like to preach.
We have a song about freedom, "Heaven's A Lie". On the P.O.D. tour, which is like a religious band, so a lot of the young people were asking us about it. I mean, it's not a song against religion it's about freedom of choice. Like you have to think with your mind, so if you want to be a Christian, be a Christian! If you want to be a Satanist, be a Satanist! Whatever you want! It has to fit YOU! Not what somebody else tries to [make you believe]! We are our own spirituality, we think, we believe. Might be something like we may go to GOD, to Allah, whatever you choose to call it. For me it's like a positive energy, positive vibration. I am closer to a philosophy than religion. I respect everybody and I think there is spirituality in every person. I don't like when you have to give a name to it. That's what I don't like about it.
Karma: So what's you mantra? [laughing from the puzzled reaction I received]
Andrea: [laughing] I don't know! That's a hard one! Basically, my philosophy, again, is to respect others as I expect respect back. So that's the main thing in life. When you have respect for other people it doesn't matter what they do but most of the time you're not going to fight with them if you respect them. Sometimes you do.
Karma: Introvert or extrovert?
Andrea: I'm in between! Because when I'm on stage, I think I am quite extroverted but when I am by myself I don't have to stay with people at any costs. I like to be alone sometimes. I grew up the only child in my family so I didn't have any sisters or brothers. And I was fine and I was always having fun by myself, playing or watching TV, whatever! I never suffered, I'm not incompetent, like I can be alone but I also enjoy being with people. So I'm both of them. It really depends on the situation. Sometimes people come to me and say, "Oh, you are very shy". So it seems like you're pretty soft, and I'm not! It's just that I don't have to talk all the time. When I have nothing to say, I don't talk! I mean why should I talk if I [have] nothing to say?
I mean like even with my friends. Sometimes we go out and drink a beer and we just sit down at the table, drinking our beers, and not talk for about 10 minutes. It's just that we know each other, we don't need to talk to each other all of the time.
Karma: And that's when you know you have a good bond with someone
Andrea: I mean yeah, they're my friends, we don't need to talk all the time about stupid things just to talk!
Karma: Is you glass half empty or half full?
Andrea: It's half full! Sometimes, it depends also! [laughs] 'Cos sometimes I'm very dramatic. Sometimes I like to suffer to feel my own pain, to leave it…not just to try to wash it away, but to keep it there. Sometimes I just like to be happy, have fun. I don't see my life in one direction. Like I just can't listen to one type of music. Life always happy, live always sad. Since people stick us with the genre of Gothic Metal, they expect us to be Gothic people: sad, dark; …we're NOT! We're from Italy! We like sunshine, we like a positive messages. Sometimes we also like songs which are also sad, some sad love song too! It's just that in our life, they're are may colors not just one. We don't always need to be in one direction.
I think everybody's like this! When you're happy you want to listen to happy music and when you're sad you want to listen to more [of an] atmospheric sound.
Karma: What was your first job?
Andrea: [shaking head] I have a very bad memory! [Laughter from all] I worked as a courier. Like with a van! Yeah that was one of the first! In Italy it was called Pontiac Express, with the little motorized bionic little scooter that you'd go around for the city delivering stuff. I liked it, it was a good job because I had to know the city very well so I really enjoyed to live in my city. I know every place, I know many places where people never go. Our city is very big, compared to Chicago. It's something like 5 million inhabitants living there, but Italy is very big itself. I know many older parts of the city where people don't go.
Karma: Ah, like all of the hidden spots where tourists don't go!
Andrea: Yes, like the statues that are very particular and old. And people just don't know! There is one statue that always get my attention. It's one of a woman with God and children in his arms. It's because a wall and there were little students walking by and the wall fell down and killed some of them.
Karma & Erika: OHHH!!
Andrea: So it's not a famous monument so when you go to visit Milan, it's not like you're gonna go to visit that monument.
Karma: How long ago did this happen?
Andrea: Probably 15 years ago. 20 maybe. Nothing ancient, compared to the rest of the stuff we have in Milan. Very ancient stuff. That statue is also not in the center of the city. It's really beautiful. And not that many people in Milan know about this. I liked that job, because it showed me all of the city. I don't want to so it any more! [smiling]
Karma: And I'm sure you won't
[laughter from all]
Andrea: But it gave me a lot of experience, and living on the street, you could really see every type of people. When the kids want to [walk in your shoes], you see all kinds of people, rich and poor…maybe one day you're rich! [smiling]
Karma: 2 more! Who's your favorite visual artist?
Andrea: I like paintings a lot! The father of my friend is a painter and it's abstract style. I can't just name one like [gesticulates wildly as we all chuckle] Picasso. EVERYBODY like Picasso. I like not only classic art, I also like Japanese Anime, like Japanese cartoons and Manga comics. And the American ones are Marvel comics. Maybe Todd McFarlane.
Karma: Yes, as in Spawn!
Andrea: Yeah!! We're meeting with him tomorrow. I don't know why I just know we are meeting with him.
Karma & Erika: Wow!
Andrea: Yeah, I grew up reading the Spiderman comics. I always like Comics in general. In Milan we have a very ancient School of Art , which is also an Academy and a museum. It's amazing, when you go there they have some paintings from the Middle Era like 500 years ago, something like that or more. Leonardo da Vinci. Lots of paintings. Maybe for here it's something more particular, for us it's just for us, we live there and look at the stuff all the time nothing new for us! It's like for us to go here and go to a Taco Bell. Like in a movie, like you're in LA or in Manhattan. For us it's the opposite way. For here, it's everything new! For us it's everything ancient. Both things are good though! [smiles]
Karma: Final question, If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you take with you? Who would be your desert island snuggle bunny?
Andrea: As in a person?
Andrea: [voice drops] I should say my girlfriend [laughter from all] But maybe also Jenna Jameson! [hysterical laughter ensues]
Karma: Well at least you're truthful about it!
Andrea: Yeah! No, just to say a stupid name!! No, my girlfriend!
Karma & Erika: OH!! [We both smile]
Karma: Well thank you for sitting down and talking to us!
Andrea: Thank you, it was a nice interview. It was different, because usually we always have to deal with the same questions! I always try to think of different answers. Like whenever they ask us what Lacuna Coil means…
Karma: [blushing] Well thanks! I try to break it up some!
Andrea: Well no, that's good!
Karma: Well thank you very much!
I'd like to thank George with Century Media & Melissa, tour manager, for making this interview a possibility!