Lacuna Coil

Long Live The Code

By Michael O'Brien

05 November 2007

Words by Michael O'Brien

Since their debut release, In A Reverie, reached stores back in 1999, Italy's Lacuna Coil have gone from strength to strength. Not only have they excelled in their chosen field of gothic metal but they have also become one of the most successful metal / hard rock acts to come out of Italy.

I recently caught up with Andrea Ferro at home in Milan to find out how things are going with the band and to chat about their imminent first tour of Australia as a part of Gigantour.

Lacuna Coil

With Gigantour swiftly becoming one of the biggest touring festivals around, the demand for spaces on the bill must be immense, though for Lacuna Coil, securing a place was surprisingly easy. No doubt vocalist Cristina Scabbia's recent collaboration with Megadeth helped.

“Yeah basically it was pretty easy. We had an offer from the promoter through our agent who said that Megadeth wanted us to be a part of Australia. We were looking for going to new places like Australia, Japan and some other territories so it was a perfect offer for going there for the first time. It's a very interesting package with all kinds of different bands. There's going to be Megadeth who are more melodic and then Devildriver and Static-X which are more extreme, more heavy. I think it's a pretty interesting package for the people and a good chance for us so why not.”

Being requested by Megadeth themselves would obviously be extremely gratifying for any band and Lacuna Coil are no different. They see it as not only a reflection on their success but also as a way to reach more people much more quickly than they could on a smaller tour.

Lacuna Coil“Yeah, sure. The fact that we are able to come to Australia for the first time and be on this kind of bill is great. Instead of doing the small bars to get people to know you. It's easier to expose yourself in front of a larger crowd from the beginning and it's just a better situation.”

As the band has never travelled to our shores a bit of sightseeing is likely to be on the cards in between their busy schedule. It seems that like so many other cultures around the world, our wildlife holds particular interest.

“I hope we are going to have time to sightsee. The schedule is going to be quite busy in between the promotions. I don't know how much of the free time we are going to have but I hope we can see at least something. We are in touch with a guy who has a kangaroo place where there are free kangaroos running around.”

I related to Andrea that from my perspective Australia and Italy seem to be quite similar regarding this kind of music and that success both domestically and internationally is greatly sought after but is seldom achieved.

“I think you are right. But at least Australia had one of the greatest bands ever, AC/DC. Italy never had something like that spreading out around the world as far as hard rock and heavy metal goes. We are practically the only band that tour all around the world. Most of the other bands do shows in Europe and maybe if they are lucky go to Japan or that kind of market. It is a unique experience we are having. So there's no other history of other bands that have done the same in the past. It's very new and we have opened a lot of doors. This is also why we are probably more successful in our own country because we are seen as the biggest export product (laughs). It's something that gathers us more attention than the average metal band in our country.”

Having the pressure of being seen as the 'trailblazing' band in your home country must surely be daunting but it is also something that the band feels extremely proud of, notwithstanding some of their often vocal detractors.

“Yeah we do (feel proud) but sometimes it's the other bands that they don't feel the same. They get jealous or make stupid comments. Some of them, not all of them of course, some bands feel like we don't deserve this but they don't recognise that even if you don't like our music the most important thing is we are opening some doors for heavy music in general from Italy and that's the most important thing. It's not the fact that you like or don't like our music. You have to recognise what we are doing for everyone, just because we are doing it, not because of what we are.”

Karmacode, the band's latest release received praise from much of the media but also received a bit of a lashing from some of the band's long time fans. There seems to be a perception that the band has abandoned their roots. Andrea gives some insight into how bands approach this kind of situation.

“Every time you try to step a bit in a different direction you always have the old school fans that don't approve and you have new people coming to you. I think its normal for every band. We are the kind of band which try to change a little bit on every album, improve and move in to a different direction, so it's normal for us to receive these kinds of comments. It's just a natural thing, it's a spontaneous thing. For every band there is an evolution. If you play the same style album after album it can be more rewarding in a way for the old school fans but it's just not the way we are. We've never been like that. It's a natural course for us to change album after album.”

It is clear that when push comes to shove, the band won't want to sacrifice their creativity for anybody and want to explore their tastes regardless of the outcome. Being true to themselves is the most important thing.

“It's not honest if we just keep doing the same album because we know a certain amount of people are going to buy it. It's just not honest for us because we're not the same people we were in 2001 when we wrote the previous album. It's normal that in 3-4 years you change, you experience different things. It's not like we are going to do a techno or hip-hop album, it's still going to be a rock/metal album but of course there's going some little different directions we are going to take because it's just the way we experience our life and we can't just live forever with the same sound or the same riffs. We try to evolve the music.”

Lacuna Coil's KarmacodeOne of Karmacode's biggest criticisms was that it had a much more straight edged rock sound to it. Andrea explains that this wasn't necessarily a conscious decision but rather the band moving their sound to the next logical step.

“I think the evolution is not only on the sound of the band, it's also on your taste. On what you listen to or what inspired you in general in your life. It's altogether a personal change and also a musical reflection of the personal change. Otherwise it would be fake just to do a rock album because you think that it's cooler or because it's easier to do better in the charts. You have to do it because you feel it's the right time for you to do it. We aren't kids anymore and we've been doing rock music for a while now. We are just following our personal growth and our personal experience and the music is reflecting this.”

Aside from their latest album, the band has also enjoyed some success with a CD single featuring a track off Karmacode. Andrea is very forthcoming about his views on CD singes in general.

“We aren't that concerned with the single. We know they are necessary for radio and television but we see the album as the whole thing. We like also a lot of the other songs that are on the album. Singles are just a way to expand your music to people that are discovering music through different ways like radio or the internet or stuff like that. It's not like we really care about the single it's just we have to release some singles for promotional reasons. We don't see our music in the single. It is fine and we are happy if the single becomes a big hit, we will sell more CDs and play bigger shows, but it's just a necessary step. We consider the album as the most important thing. We like the songs in the album, not only one or two.”

Also like Australia, radio play of hard rock and heavy metal in Italy is sporadic at best.

"There is only one radio station that is playing rock/metal music. They are a brand new station and they are playing our songs. The rest play us because of the international success that we have because no other metal band have ever been played on those mainstream kind of station. Also MTV is playing our video in the normal daily rotation. That doesn't happen for any other metal band from Italy and (it's) even harder from America or whatever unless it's a huge success of the moment. It's a very unique situation we are living.”

With six members in a band it is easy to imagine that there would be a lot of band politics between the members but Andrea paints a very diplomatic and democratic picture of the inner workings of Lacuna Coil.

“We try to work as much as we can all together. Of course it's not always possible so we try to split the different roles in the band in between the members, like somebody is taking care of the internet, some are taking care of the promotion, some others do management, contact or economical situations. We try to give everybody a role so that everybody works in the same way. We share all the income in 6 so there is no discussion about who wrote this or who wrote that. We just write the best music for the band and that's it. We don't write music just because we get 40% of the royalties or something like that. We try to keep it as a good business for everybody and try to keep it active for everybody so everybody feels involved in the band and not left apart from everything. It gets hard when you have somebody who isn't happy anymore. This is a friendship, not only a band. We started the band as friends in the pub so it's not like we were planning to become professional musicians. Everything that happens we have tried to manage as a bunch of friends instead of just some musicians put together to do the band.”

At times it seems as though vocalist Cristina receives as much of the spotlight as the band does at times due to her physical appearance. The band handles this kind of attention with maturity and professionalism.

“It's something that we have learned to deal with. It's not something that you feel inside the band, it's something that you receive from the outside. I think it's the same for every band that has a nice female in it. I think we have learnt how to manage it. If it can bring some different attention to the band it's fine. The most important thing is that when people come to the show, they come and see a show and not beauty on the stage and that's it. Cristina can use her image but she is also a very good singer and a very good entertainer live. So the most important thing for us is that she isn't just an image. She also can also play with her image and sometimes with the help of some media that is a bit too much exposure. Some people who are more superficial maybe just get that from the band. It's just the way it is. We can't do much about it (and) it's not a big problem for us. We are like a little family, we are all friends (and) we don't really care. We take it more as being a funny thing. People think 'how can you stay behind such a beautiful girl?' and they don't imagine that for me she's like a sister. She's just like one of the guys in the band. And it's the same for her. It's a completely different situation from inside (the band) than from outside.”

Lacuna Coil

So after the tour, what's next for Lacuna Coil?

“Basically we are going back to song writing and keep collecting ideas, keep working on ideas. Then maybe have a meeting with the management and the label and discuss a possible release date and then find the right producer and start the pre-production. Working on the next album is the most important thing beside the tour.”

In parting Andrea offered up a few words to their Australian fans.

“I hope you are going to come to the show. We're going to have a rocking time together. We're going to be ready and you will see that our live energy is very strong. The show is going to be really heavy and we'll get the people going and grooving with us. It's not going to be what people expect from us.”

Lacuna Coil's latest album, Karmacode, is out now on Century Media Records through Stomp Distribution. Lacuna Coil take part in this year's Gigantour festival which plays 10 Nov 2007 Metro City, Perth (18+); 12 Nov 2007 Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (Licensed All Ages); 13 Nov 2007 Festival Hall, Melbourne (All Ages Licensed & Unlicensed areas available); 15 Nov 2007 Luna Park Big Top, Sydney (18+); 16 Nov 2007 Luna Park Big Top, Sydney (Licensed All Ages); 18 Nov 2007 Riverstage, Brisbane (Licensed All Ages). For more information on Lacuna Coil, check out

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