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Pictures from Zaxidfest rock music festival sponsored by Monster in Lviv, Ukraine
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LACUNA COIL - BLACK ANIMA TALKS

Oct 252019

25 years in the run, with a success that definitely runs on a global scale, but Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro still behave like your nicest next-door neighbours. Sure: they also have an awareness of themselves and of what they do that explains, why their career has been so long and successful so far. We had a long chat with the two lead voices of Lacuna Coil about what they’ve gone through all these years, what’s happening right now and what’s to come in the near future. Right before the release of their latest album, “Black Anima”, and the kick-off of the consequent tour. An album that needed an in-depth creative process that brought them even through unusual paths.

"Dark was the dominant thing. We were outsiders."

I’d like to start with a question that covers broad issues: when you were born, musical genres and subcultures in music were simply pivotal: you were part of the indie scene, or the metal scene, or were part of the electronic music scene – It was quite strict. That was the 90s. Today, the situation is brand different. You’re still here though, and you’ve brilliantly survived all those changes…

CS: If you look at the metal scene way back when we started, we were quite an exception. Major parts of the bands were doing something completely different to what we were doing: there was power metal, then death metal, stuff like that. We were into something else, the dark wave the related to bands like Type O Negative or Paradise Lost, but still we borrowed something from bands like Pantera, Iron Maiden, Metallica as well. Dark was the dominant thing. We were outsiders.

"It’s a mistake to pigeonhole us within the gothic movement alone"

And you were aware of that.

AF: Definitely we were. Me and Marco (the bass player and main composer of the band) had our background in the skate scene, it means that musically speaking our visions were much broader than those of the usual and average metal head. We fancied bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Slayer, Pantera… or even The Doors, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Run DMC. That’s a part of the reason why we always thought that, as Lacuna Coil, we were generating something “out of the box” within the metal. It’s a mistake to pigeonhole us within the gothic movement alone, but in a way, we were always used to be the “strange guys” out there, a part of a minority.

"Our success grew step by step, we didn’t skyrocket."

A minority that quite soon became well successful abroad, though. And for an Italian band it was quite a thing becoming well known outside of the national borders.

CS: Our success grew step by step, we didn’t skyrocket. Our first demo happened to be the “Demo of the month” for several magazines just because we were something strange, peculiar to the scene. Same thing when international popularity came into play, when we were included in the Ozzfest bill for the first time.

"Being called directly by Ozzy’s sons… surreal, surreal."

Were you aware that being part of the Ozzfest was actually an enormous boost of your career?

CS: No way. Being there it was already something literally unbelievable, to us! Being called directly by Ozzy’s sons… surreal, surreal. One of the greatest events in the world for rock music and guess what? We were a part of it. Not as audience. Unbelievable, really.AF: We did not properly realise what was going on. There’s a radio in Boston, WAAF, they’ve always been real tastemakers for the metal scene: they contacted us and asked us to play an acoustic version of “Heaven’s A Lie” in their studio, and we were like “What?!”, it was hard for us at that moment to even imagine that an acoustic version of that song was possible. That was mad. But we tried. And we did it. WAAF then started to broadcast the original version of the song, plus other songs of the “Comalies” album and suddenly, radios all around the States started to play our songs. Finally, the Ozzfest came into play. That was huge. We ended up selling almost 6/7,000 copies a week in the merch tent, that means more than other bands that were on the bill, and I mean greats such as Judas Priest, Slayer, Black Sabbath… Only Slipknot were selling more than us but you know, they were the headliners.

"they treated us like mates, like colleagues"

Were you able to keep a grip on yourselves? That should have been damn crazy…

CS: You know what, it was more like living on a holiday. Let’s see: everything was new, everything was a surprise, we were meeting musicians we were fans of and they treated us like mates, like colleagues. Ozzfest is a very peculiar thing: every band travels with its own toubus, but at the end of the day we all gather at the same place, so it becomes a sort of an extended family thing. Like spending holiday on a camping.

"No way you can be the same human being that you were fifteen or twenty years ago."

After all these years, how much have you changed as persons, as human beings, if you look back at those Ozzfest days?

CS: Changing and evolving as a person, as a human being is inevitable, isn’t it? You learn a lot of things in the process, you get experienced. When the journey starts yes you’re fresh, you’re enthusiast, but at the same time there so many things you literally ignore and are not aware of: you don’t have a clue about how to record an album properly, you don’t have a clue about what does really mean being on tour, there are so many things you simply don’t know – even by the business side of things. You then start to learn how to look after your imagery, how to properly set up your merchandising, how to plan the routing of a tour… all things we simply ignored, when we started the band. Then, your very own life comes through different kind of experiences, sometimes harmful, like for instances losing beloved ones. No way you can be the same human being that you were fifteen or twenty years ago, that’s simply not possible.

"When we started, there was no internet"

The music scene itself did, and its industry.

CS: Yeah. When we started, there was no internet, the musical boundaries between genres were strict, as we were discussing before.  AF: But we were always that kind of people willing to change, evolve, learn through new experiences, call into question every single idea. One thing has to be said: even though we, I think, have our very own signature stylistically speaking, we’ve always wanted to sound “contemporary”, no way we were going to be retro or conservative about our sound. That doesn’t mean we pretend to be the hipsters all the time, but you know what, we don’t wanna sound conservative. Never ever.

"You can carefully plan the promo schedule, then suddenly a Russian website leaks the new album… so what?"

I’ve got a feeling: Sometimes you guys can be a bit control freaky, right?

AF: Yes, definitely!  CS: Sometimes we do exaggerate. Sometimes we put a pressure on us that it’s frankly not necessary. We should remind ourselves, doing mistakes is normal… Especially now, as so many people are working with the band: you’d love to control everything, but sometimes simply that’s not possible, whatever you do or pretend to do. You can carefully plan the promo schedule, then suddenly a Russian website leaks the new album… so what?  AF: Luckily enough, with got different attitudes, and we complete each other. I like to take care of the “bigger picture”, for instance: no matter how things are done, is just important that they get done.  CS: Just as I get a pain the ass about details, instead.

"It WASN'T only about the music"

Ok, so assuming that you’re real control freaks tell me something about the process that generated “Black Anima”, then.

CS: It was really peculiar. We had a brainstorming session that really was a turning point. We wanted to check if we were all on the same path. And that was not only about the music, it was about showing pictures, drawings, clothes to each other…

"These days were amazing."

Uh ok, it wasn’t just about the music, then.

CS: Not exactly. Marco, while trying to write down the new material, felt a sort of a writer’s block. Not that he wasn’t producing, but he wasn’t satisfied with the actual outcome. He was a bit worried. You have a responsibility, you know. So, deadlines were approaching and still we didn’t have anything convincing to present. So, we thought it would have been a good idea to try a sort of collective brainstorming, all together. All each of us had to do was to do ideas, whatever kind they were, whatever might have served as inspiration. We spent a whole day showing pictures to each other, researching our Instagram – that’s how we discovered the great Micah Ulrich, who took charge of the imagery surrounding “Black Anima”. These days were amazing. Marco’s writing block disappeared. He suddenly became super productive.

"If it wasn’t for the anniversary, we were not being used to look back at what we’ve done in the past"

“Black Anima” is an album where also the arrangements are carefully crafted, I’d say.

AF: For sure we want to evolve and learn from our very own past mistakes. Every time we try something different: be it the way the drums sound, be it the lead vocals… We do it first for ourselves: it’s a great method in order not to being bored of yourselves. Plus, you should well consider that we’ve just gone through the celebration for our 20th anniversary, and that gave us the chance to finally look at what has happened so far, what we’ve done in the past all these years. Take the track “Beneficium”, for instance: to a certain extent, it’s a sort of contemporary version of what we were trying to achieve with the “In A Reverie” material, that means our debut album. If it wasn’t for the anniversary, we were not being used to look back at what we’ve done in the past – we simply were not having the time to do it. It all happened so fast.

LACUNA COIL 2019 DATES:

 

02 Nov 2019 Italy – Bari, Demodé Club

03 Nov 2019 Italy – Rome, Orion

05 Nov 2019 Italy – Bologna, Estragon

06 Nov 2019 Italy – Milan, Live Club

08 Nov 2019 Germany – Stuttgart, LKA Longhorn

09 Nov 2019 Germany – Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle II

10 Nov 2019 Belgium – Antwerp, Trix

12 Nov 2019 UK – Manchester, O2 Ritz

13 Nov 2019 UK – Glasgow, Garage

14 Nov 2019 Ireland – Dublin, Academy

15 Nov 2019 UK - Bristol, SWX

16 Nov 2019 UK – London, O2 Forum Kentish Town

17 Nov 2019 NL – Utrecht, Tivoli Ronda

19 Nov 2019 Germany – Frankfurt, Batschkapp

20 Nov 2019 Germany – Hannover, Capitol

21 Nov 2019 Germany – Berlin, Huxleys

22 Nov 2019 Germany – Leipzig, Felsenkeller

23 Nov 2019 Germany – Munich, Tonhalle

24 Nov 2019 Austria – Dornbirn, Conrad Sohm

26 Nov 2019 France – Bordeaux, Le Rocher de Palmer

27 Nov 2019 Spain – Barcelona, Razzmatazz

28 Nov 2019 Spain – Madrid, Mon Live

29 Nov 2019 France – Toulouse, Le Bikini

30 Nov 2019 France – Rennes, L'Etage

01 Dec 2019 France – Paris, Elysée-Montmartre

03 Dec 2019 Germany – Saarbrucken, Garage

04 Dec 2019 Germany – Nurnberg, Hirsch

05 Dec 2019 Slovenia – Ljubljana, Kino Siska

08 Dec 2019 Austria – Vienna, Arena

10 Dec 2019 Poland – Krakow, Kwadrat Students Club

11 Dec 2019 Poland – Warsaw, Progresja

12 Dec 2019 Latvia – Riga, Melna Piektdiena

13 Dec 2019 Finland – Helsinki, Tavastia

14 Dec 2019 Finland – Tampere, Pakkahuone

15 Dec 2019 Estonia – Tallinn, Rock Cafe

17 Dec 2019 Sweden – Stockholm, Klubben Fryshuset

18 Dec 2019 Norway – Oslo, Vulkan Arena

19 Dec 2019 Sweden – Gothenburg, Tradgarn

20 Dec 2019 Denmark – Copenhagen, Amager Bio

21 Dec 2019 Germany – Hamburg, Docks

 

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