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Italy’s Lacuna Coil (english translation" Empty Spiral") offers a full, refreshing, and somewhat spiritual sounding hybrid of American metal and Mediterranean music primarily due to Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro’s ethereal vocals- making this band truly unique in America and around the world. MusicPix sat down with Andrea back stage prior to Lacuna Coil’s performance on the main stage on the Ozzfest Tour, at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Noblesville, Indiana. Andrea’s is quite the opposite persona from the thrashing, head-spinning metal mouthpiece that he is on-stage as he’s a soft and well-spoken gentleman who is clearly talented and passionate about music and life. Andrea shares his perspectives on how US music fans differ from European fans, his relationship with Christina, as well as offering valuable insights into life. You could say, “That’s amore…”
MusicPix: You have the distinct priveledge of being the first Italian band that has been asked to perform on the Ozzfest main stage. How does that feel to you?
Andrea: Actually, it was also the first time, when they asked us to participate in 2004, on the second stage. So everything is pretty new and unexpected. We never thought that it was possible for an Italian band to reach the level that we’re at right now. Our approach is really naïve…not expecting anything. Italian bands never had any history of the rock, metal, environment… especially internationally so everything is fresh and new. It’s a big surprise all the time.
MusicPix: You had the opportunity to celebrate the World Cup Finals and Italy’s victory while on the Ozzfest tour…
Andrea: Yeah, we had a big party on the bus…with many people from the tour…people from DragonForce and System of a Down. We were in San Diego and we went out screaming with Italian flags on golf carts-we were driving through people screaming and nobody knew what was happening…and then they realized. And then we played a show wearing Italian soccer jerseys and the Italian flags on the amplifiers.
MusicPix: How do European fans differ from American fans?
Andrea: I see more hunger or more anger…they want to participate in not a violent way, but a very energetic way to the show. I like it actually because it gives us a lot of energy and adrenaline to perform. In Europe, it depends on which country. You go to the north- Germany, Sweden…they just watch the show and buy merchandise but they don’t really go really crazy. In the south, like Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, it’s much more passionate and much more energy.
MusicPix: Listening to your latest Album, “Karmacode,” there’s a sense of Yin & Yang and your vocals with Christina are sonic and spiritual as they blend together very naturally. Is that something that you really have to work at or do they naturally fall into place?
Andrea: Mostly, we learn it album after album. We’ve progressed with the last two albums and especially this one [Karmacode.] We’ve worked together to figure out which part fits better with this or that voice…which way you can use the voice, which was different from the past. So it’s always important to realize and improve so that you can do different stuff. And the last album, we’ve tried not to do something like ‘Beauty & The Beast, but do something more aggressive on vocals and not do what everybody else is doing and try to develop into two instruments to add to the composition really.
MusicPix: You’re fans are really embracing that…
Andrea: Yeah, I think it’s an album [Karmacode] that you can really feel the personality of the band and out from any influences. In the past, you can see where it’s coming from. Like the dark metal scene, Paradise Lost, Iron Maiden, Moonspell from Europe and our sound has evolved into something different and more unique from the past.
MusicPix: What were your musical goals growing up in Italy?
Andrea: We didn’t really have any expectations because when we did the demo tape back in 1996, we simply sent it to a few labels of bands that we liked and we got had a couple of answers. We sent a demo tape because we weren’t burning CD’s yet…we thought WOW, because we didn’t think we’d get an answer…it had never happened to any other Italian band so we signed a deal in the beginning where the conditions weren’t really nice for us. We made all the mistakes that you do when you are young and especially growing up without any knowledge or experience. The wrong tours, the wrong management, the wrong label..
MusicPix: Your ‘front-woman,’ your vocal partner, Christina Scabbia, is been getting a lot of press these days as she’s gracing the covers of major music magazines…She’s a beautiful woman as well as a very talented one. Could you talk about your relationship with her?
Andrea: I think what people see from the outside, is very different from reality. We’ve know each other since we were 15 and before the band. We asked her to join the band because we thought it would be special to have a female voice…Back in ‘96/’97, it was something unique. So our relationship is like brother/sister basically. We all see the popularity of the band because you’re not going to buy a CD if there’s a nice picture of a girl…You shouldn’t buy it for that reason. Otherwise, you could just download the picture or the magazine. It’s helping because it’s something that many bands don’t a female. It can get us an introduction to a different kind of audience…maybe not so much hard rock or metal, so it’s helping the band.
MusicPix: What about the fame side of it? How are you weathering that big current that is going on?
Andrea: I think we’ve been lucky and it’s happened quite fast but not so fast that we get burned. We didn’t go over in our minds to become rock-stars…it is something that we’ve learned step by step and something that we’ve achieved step by step. We realize that we aren’t different people because we have a record deal or we sell records because people recognize us… we just feel lucky to have this kind of job. It takes a lot of work but it doesn’t make you better than other people. So I think that we’ve got a good relationship with our success so far…
MusicPix: So what do you think the ingredients are of that staying power in this business? You see a lot of bands that come and go that don’t have longevity…
Andrea: I think we’ve been lucky to grow up in an era where you were still able to start a career… like in 1997/98, there was still time because the Internet was not so prominent. There was still time to put an album out and sell a little bit of records and maybe not a huge amount of records with a first album. Nowadays, if you don’t sell well on your first record, you’re hardly going to have a chance to sell a second record because people don’t want to invest, because of the internet, because of downloading…they want their investment back quickly. Not like the past, when you could put out record after record and maybe by the third record, sell millions because they’ve improved, they’ve developed their own personality, their own style. We had that kind of chance…and I don’t see many bands here in the states, there’s no band that sounds like us.
MusicPix: That was my next question. Is there a metal band, or any other genre of a band, that you could compare yourselves to?
Andrea: Probably Evanescence but I don’t really see them doing the same thing. They sell a lot of records but the only thing that we’ve got in common is that they have a female singer and they play some kind of rock music, but it’s not the same. You could say they are the closest to what we do. They have a single out, ‘Bring Me Life” that was close to what we do. There are similarities, but we’re European metal and we’ve become contaminated by what we hear in the states… When we’re in the states touring, we picked up some of the “Comalies” influences from over here. And the new record is a little bit more in-between- a European sound and an American sound. That’s what makes us unique.
MusicPix: So what are a few American bands you like?
Andrea: I like Korn, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Audioslave, 3 Doors Down. There’s so many….I’m not a big fan of metalcore and Emo, because I see too many trends. I see a couple of good bands and then there are thousands of bands just like them because they are the band of the moment. I understand why they sell music, but I don’t like it because they have no history…the song doesn’t give me anything. But if I listen to say “Dirt” from Alice in Chains, I could really feel that they were into drugs at that time because I could feel this feeling of suffering. Or with The Doors in the 70’s, the same kind of feelings… you really feel it. Or, when grunge came out, there was a revolution of mentality that was important. Now I see a pre-cooked kind of revolution with this funky kind of attitude that they’ve got…to me, it’s not really honest. Besides, I don’t like the sound because most of the singers just scream. I like Death Metal- at least when you scream, you can understand it. But if you’re a rock band, you should at least add a melody or something to it. That’s my point of view.
MusicPix: You’ve just released of your new single, ‘Enjoy The Silence’ which impacted commercial radio, as well as ‘Our Truth’ video clip made US TV debut on MTVS’s Headbangers Ball…both of which have happened while your on tour. Are you able to write at all, or is that something you do off-tour?
Andrea: No- we’re not really able to write. We absorb a lot of influences from other bands, from movies, from people, from situations…and then you go back because it makes you a different person. We’re not really able to sit on a tour bus and write music because our music is more intimate. We need to be home, sit down, relax in a nice environment to write music. I know many bands that write thousands of songs but we’re not like that. We maybe have two, maybe three, extra tracks for each album because we’re not prolific. But we work hard on every song because we believe in every song. We don’t want to waste our time and try to make songs if we don’t believe in them…
MusicPix: We have a series of questions that we ask every artist we interview called the MusicPix Six:
MusicPix: What is the first musical instrument you played and at what age?
Andrea: Classic guitar, around 10. It was a present…in America; you call it a communion present? Even when I was 15 years old, I went to practice to just have fun and play whatever. But we never thought it would be a profession or say ‘Oh, we’re going to try to be a rock-star…’ Me and Marco, the bass player, we never thought that…when we started the band, we were into skateboarding but in the winter, when it was raining, we were in the house playing. As we grew older, skateboarding fell to the side because we got injured…and then we got more into music. We are people who try to follow our passion. I used to work for a magazine…I was Chief Editor…I always had a job that I could have passion for. I did it sometimes, when we weren’t making enough more for a living. So we did odd jobs, whatever we could find. You can’t go away for three months and have proper jobs. You take whatever you can…delivering stuff in a van… or working in a wine store… I always did try to do something that I liked…otherwise you’ll never do it right. Even if it’s well-paid, if you don’t like the job, you don’t like the people you work with, or the environment, you’re never going to make it. You’ll make it, but you’ll suffer.
MusicPix: What artist/performer influenced you the most?
Andrea: A little bit of everything from all the tours we’ve
done as a support…we recently toured with Rob Zombie. He is a very experienced
performer and he can really control the crowd as you can feel it…they
(the crowd) listen to him and they do whatever he wants. And this control,
you only reach when you have a personality but you also need experience to do
it. And something that we learned from him is to try to talk with people, sometimes
it’s a problem for us… sometimes because of translation…we
improvise in a language that is not yours… it’s more tough for us,
even though we speak fluent English but sometimes it’s not as spontaneous
and it’s more tough to be confident but I think that we’re improving
Musical Influences? Probably Paradise Lost pushed us to write a darker kind of music… We always listened to metal bands like Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer…
MusicPix: If you weren’t in your current band, what band would you like to play in?
Andrea: Probably more of a rock band like Alice in Chains, or an early Pearl Jam. Yeah, a Rock Band.
MusicPix: What are your 3 ‘desert island’ albums?
Andrea: ‘Best of’- The Doors, ‘Dirt’-Alice in Chains…DePeche Mode…that stuff.
MusicPix: Who do you think is the most over-rated in the music industry?
Andrea: There are many artists that are over-rated. However many people buy their records, so they don’t think they are over-rated, that’s just my taste that tells me they are over-rated. People have a distorted vision of the rock & roll life-style..they only see they nice parts…the groupies, the sold-out concerts, MTV, houses, limos, but most bands don’t reach that level. The glamour of it. In general, it’s that ‘success’ that’s over-rated. But you also have people who are over the top but most of the bands don’t have that. They don’t have the things you see…it take a lot of work and talent and a combination of many things. But most of the bands, don’t reach a high level. In a music magazine, you might see 200 hundred bands but how many are making a living from music? Maybe 5. People have a distorted vision of how life is when you are a rock star.
MusicPix: What’s your ‘perfect world?’
Andrea: I don’t think that there is a perfect world because it’s worth living because of the good and the bad. I would never consider suicide because I think life is such a precious thing. Even when you are struggling to pay your rent, you are still living. That’s what life is about. It’s about experience and living. Everybody can have a different vision. Some people live in the mountains, far away from everything, who are happy to be there. Or in a city driving an expensive car… it’s very personal for what can be a perfect life. I think when you enjoy life, it’s already perfect…it doesn’t have to be huge because most people don’t have a huge life. Most people have a common life and they live anyway and they enjoy it.
MusicPix: I hope your words strike a chord with our audience because if people shared your perspective, our world would be different. It seems that people are always wanting to be some thing or someone different or they want to be somewhere else in their life vs. being happy where they are…
Andrea: Yeah, that’s the problem. I’m glad to be what I am and who I am. And in the future, if the band is done…maybe I will own a restaurant or a pub; it will still be a life experience. It’s absolutely worth living in any case…this life.
Cristina Scabbia, vocals
Andrea Ferro, vocals
Cristiano Migliore, guitar
Maco Biazzi, guitar
Marco Coti Zelati, bass
Cristiano Mozzati, drums
In a Reverie -1999
Unleashed Memories -2001