In a modern day climate where American hardcore and Scandinavian metal runs riot further by the day, it’s bands like Italy’s Lacuna Coil that keep heavy music fresh and exciting.
With their 2002 full-length ‘Comalies‘ being certified the biggest selling Century Media Records album in history – and the impending release of its long awaited follow-up Karmacode – it’s almost certain that before the year is out the Milan six-piece will be one of the genres biggest draws.
At an exclusive press day held at a secret North London location, Daniel Crouch spoke to the band in question about life on the other side of the lens.
How are you all today?
Cristiano Mozzati (Drums) – Pretty good, bit tired from yesterday but we’re good.
I hear you played a packed-out show at the Forum last night. How did that go?
Andrea Ferro (Vocals) – It was amazing. It was the first time we’d played the new songs live, the first time we’d used different instruments (refering to use of 7 string guitars on Karmacode). It was strange, but it turned out really good so it was great. There was a very good reaction.
Cristina Scabbia (Vocals) – It was awesome. We didn’t really have time to practice or anything as me and Andrea were doing promotional work at home in Milan so we didn’t really have a chance to get together and practice, so it was all about having fun and the reaction was amazing. We didn’t know what to expect as we were playing some new songs…. so it was crazy. We’re totally satisfied with it.
I guess this officially marks the start of the touring cycle for the new album – seeing as you’re soon heading to the US to support Rob Zombie and then hitting the European festival circuit. Are you pleased to be heading out on the road again?
A.F. – Certainly. After the European festivals we’re going to be out on the Ozzfest tour, and then we’ll do another headlining tour in Europe and after that, then maybe another headling tour in the US. I could go on, but it’s going to be a hard year. However, it’s going to be lots of fun as well. This time it’s much more organised from the beginning. For Comalies we did one year with just the record promotion, we did a European tour and then some small US shows, but then the album was released and it started to get picked up on the radio and on MTV. Then we had to go back out again and do two more years of promo in the US and then come back to do the festivals in Europe to show the people we’re not disappearing somewhere in America. It’s taken around 4 years to come from Comalies to Karmacode because of the unexpected success.
Cristiano Migliore (Guitar) – We had three years playing the stuff from Comalies so finally we have a chance to go out there and play some new stuff. I can’t wait to get out there.
So, level with me here…how sick are you, of playing ‘Heaven’s A Lie?‘
All – VERY!
C.M. – It’s probably how it feels to be Slayer or Metallica; how do they feel when they’re playing ‘Angel of Death‘ or ‘Seek And Destroy’ for the millionth time?
You’ll be playing Download festival over here again,which you played on last year…., it’s fast becoming ‘THE’ festival in the UK for heavy acts to play, with bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, The Prodigy, Within Temptation and Korn already confirmed. Who are you looking forward personally, to seeing, if you get the chance?
C.S. – Well actually it’s pretty rare we get to see any of the other bands as it depends on which stage certain bands are playing at, and how much time we have around our set that isn’t devoted towards the show. It’s cool to see the other bands there but at the same time we have to concentrate solely on our own show.
Are there any places you’d like to hit this time around that you didn’t last time? You must’ve played just about everywhere there is since the Comalies tour lasted a good 3 years or so.
A.F. – Well this time we’re planning to go to places like Australia, which we didn’t get to go to last time. We pretty much stuck solely to Europe and America last time because of how successful the album was becoming. We simply didn’t get the chance to go elsewhere as it was very much a spur of the moment thing.
How did you manage to write the new album under such a busy schedule?
C.M. – Well I think we started writing stuff and collecting ideas right after we’d finished Comalies. Of course all these ideas didn’t end up on the album, but they evolved and we worked on them as time went by.
A.F. – We tried to write on tour, but we were always on the X Box or playing games on the laptop. We’ve realised we’re unable to write music on the road, so this time we’re just going to relax and get into a routine, and then get the inspiration. We write our parts seperately and then bring all the parts together and work out the songs in the practice room together for the arrangements.
Who made the decision to take the X Boxes away then ?
A.F. – We did. We’re keeping the X Boxes in America just for the touring. If we bring it back, then we’re fucked!
Because of the success of Comalies, was there much pressure was there on you as a band to come up with something equally as successful?
C.M. – Not really. We just recorded the album with the best songs we had. I mean, maybe there was a little bit of pressure at the start because Comalies was a great album for us and we’ve had a lot of success with it, but we were thinking more of the music and were just trying to record great songs.
A.F. – We knew there’d be some pressure but we were prepared for that, so we just did our job as we usually do and tried to keep the pressure away from the band. We could have approached the new album in 3 different ways, one way was just to repeat Comalies, the other way was to go super commercial and do only clean guitars and clean vocals, and the other way was just to make an album which starts from Comalies and incorporates the different influences we’ve collected and without caring too much as to whether it’s going to be too heavy or too soft. That’s basically the way we went.
Your new album’s called Karmacode. What’s the concept behind that?
A.F – Well when I was searching for a title for the album, I was reading this book where the author was trying to explain the existence of a God through mathematics. It’s such a weird, technical approach to such a sacred subject like God. It caught my attention because I think there is a really big need for spirituality in the world today which is not strictly connected to organised religion anymore because they’ve lost a lot of their credibility to the people because of all the mistakes; the excuses for war and trying to sell religion in some way. Especially in America where you have groups that are only in it for the money.
The album sounds a lot heavier than Comalies, was this a conscious decision?
A.F – No, it came out naturally. The producer helped us with finding the right sounds but didn’t really affect how we wanted the record to sound. That’s why we also chose another guy to mix it because we wanted a different sound. In the end the record was made in Europe and all made by Europeans but it has a more American approach to it, especially in the rhythmical section there is more groove and a bigger bass sound. On the other hand, you’ve got the strings and the violins and cellos.
Did you have any major influences lending a hand to any of the songs? It must be difficult to avoid current musical trends, such as the metalcore movement that seems to be sweeping the music world at present.
A.F. – We’re always being influenced. You live in this world so when you write something you’re always influenced by what you want to be influenced by. We’ve been living in the US for the last 2 years and you’re there and you’re part of that kind of life and start to like it, so that ends up on your songs. On this album the songs are much bigger and I suppose more American sounding, but we still keep the euro melodic style there.
There’s the Depeche Mode cover on the album, what made you choose to do a cover on your album?
A.F. – Basically, we just like Depeche Mode. We tried to record songs by some other bands, like Soundgarden and Sisters of Mercy, but the result was that you come out with some trashy cover that just sounds weird. This song was just a song we liked a lot. We like the band and the result is pretty good.
C.M – If you listen to how we arranged the song, it sounds like a Lacuna Coil song. The way it starts with a chorus, unlike the original, was Marco’s way of stamping his mark on the song.
Out of interest, which Soundgarden song did you cover?
C.M- It was Black Hole Sun.
How did you get both vocalists working on that one?
A.F. – That was the problem – we couldn’t!
C.M – Next time we’re going to do ‘The Final Countdown’! *laughs*
In the past you’ve always been a band that could play on heavier bills such as Ozzfest, but also on “softer” and more melodic bills as well. Do you feel that both of these aspects have been portrayed nicely this time around on the record?
A.F – Yeah, I think on Karmacode we have a good mix between the heavy songs and the slower songs. Maybe before we had less heavy and more mid tempo songs, whilst here we have much heavier ones.
C.M – I think the mixture is good, we can play with bands like Meshuggah and then with bands like Within Temptation, and now of course Rob Zombie. We dont want to limit ourselves, we just want to write music. You can hear the heavier sound on this album because we started using 7 string guitars and were working a lot on the bass sound.
I think one of the strengths of Lacuna Coil, even if you’re not overly a fan of the music, is Cristina’s voice. Even as a die hard thrash metal fan; I’d say it could probably convert anyone to Lacuna Coil’s music. What do you have to do, or in some cases NOT do, to take care of that voice?
C.S. – To be honest, I don’t really do anything special. I try to get a lot of sleep, and I don’t smoke or drink too much as that’s bad for your voice. But what I do that I shouldn’t is talk a lot; because I’m Italian AND I’m a woman, I talk ALL the time, which I really shouldn’t do!
Marco Coti Zelati (bass) – She’s lying, she’s the biggest drinker in the band by far! *laughs*
Blatantly. Well, thank you all very much for taking some time out for this. Good luck with the new album, and I shall see YOU at Download.