LACUNA COIL – It is not that we are desperate all the time
I forbindelse med konserten på Rockefeller tok jeg en prat med Lacuna Coil sin mannlige vokalist Andrea. Han viste seg å være en veldig hyggelig og pratsom kar, men engelsken hans kunne vært noe bedre. Jeg har skrevet ned intervjuet nesten ordrett slik han snakket, så når det står f.eks bla, bla, bla, så var det faktisk det han sa. vel bekomme!
ET – The first thing I noticed about the new album is that the bass and drums are very powerful and “dominating” in the production. It also reminded me of Korn. I read you like Korn?
Andrea: Yeah, there is more presence in general of the bass sound because we changed the bass sound a lot. And the drum parts are also groovier. In a way we take that from the American metal, not only Korn. Korn of course is the biggest example, but there are many bands in America that have a lot of groove in the powerful songs, and that was what we wanted to take, since we have toured so much in the states we discover this side of music which we really like, so we say “why not?” We try to incorporate these different elements to give more power to the songs, especially in the live shows it is nice because then we can jump to the songs. Of course not in the ballads, but the powerful songs becomes more interesting with these elements. We make it on purpose, to have this kind of sound.
ET – I think there is an eastern/oriental feel to a lot of your music, especially in some of the vocal melodies. Where do you get the inspiration for this?
Andrea: We mostly call it mediterranean, because it is very typical in the south of Italy to have this kind of Arabian melodies. The culture has been mixed up so much in the past in the eastern part of the country. The traditional music from South Italy is very similar to music you can find in North Africa, the melodies are very similar. It was something quite natural for us to bring something that we like and that gives a special atmosphere to the album, we wanted to have this album basically split in two parts; The Karma and The Code. So one part should be more connected to spirituality and these kind of vocal lines bring you into a different kind of atmosphere, like a more sacred atmosphere. And on the other hand you have the Code, which is the more heavy, groovy parts, the American sound that we were talking about which is the more modern approach on music and on lifestyle. So it is a mix of the two things, that is why on one hand you’ve got the mediterranean vocals, the violins and string arrangements, and on the other hand you’ve got the groovier songs, the powerful sound of the production. So these two elements are very present in the whole album, because we wanted to have this contrast, this duality. It is also in the lyrics and in everything of the album.
ET – I feel there is some degree of sadness in the music. Do you agree?
Andrea: They always put is in the gothic metal category because that is where we are coming from. That is where our label was, with all the bands like Moonspell, The Gathering, Tiamat, and I think when we started we were really part of that scene. We always keep that element of melancholy and sadness because it is something we really like to bring out in the music, especially on the slow songs to give that feeling of reflection and inner research. So it is quite normal. I think that on this album we have mowed a little bit away from the classic gothic metal style, but we still incorporate parts of the goth elements for sure, because we like it and it works very well to express that kind of feeling, especially in the slow songs.
ET – Do you feel it is a productive kind of sadness?
Andrea: Yeah, it is not that we are desperate all the time, we are pretty happy people actually, because we like to have fun and makes jokes, but when it comes to music it is very deep for us to express that feeling. It is very spontaneous for us. Because we are from Italy we should be happier all the time, but when we write music we really enjoy pushing out that sad feeling, that melancholic part. I don’t know why, it is something which comes natural to us. And we really like it actually; it is a part of our music which we really like.
ET – Do you feel that this kind of sadness has some kind of tranquillity to it?
Andrea: Yeah maybe. You push out the negative energy and you put it in the music, and you know it is sort of like an exorcism. You put it there, and it is there, it is not in yourself anymore. So maybe it is a therapy in some way, but it is not on purpose, it is something which comes very natural. So it is not like you sit down and “ok, now I am going to push out the negative feelings”, it is just the feelings that the music brings to you when you compose a song. We also do not try to research a positive feeling in a ballad, because it is not something we like that much, it is not our style of music maybe. So when it comes to the slow songs it is more spontaneous to do a sad, clean guitar part or a keyboard part instead of something happy. Maybe happy can work for our more powerful songs, but not really for the ballads.
ET – Do you feel you have happy songs?
Andrea: We have one song, I don’t want to say it is happy, but it has a kind of positive message, which is “closer”. It is the new single of the album, and we have a new video for it, and it is not like a positive song, but it has a positive message. A message of hope, more than very positive. The rhytm part is with few minor notes so it is kind of happier, in a gothic way, if you can say so.
ET – It is four years since you released Comalies. I read in an interview that you originally intended to release a new album in 2004. What happened?
Andrea: Everything has been postponed because of the success of Comalies. We started to promote the album in 2002 in the normal way. We did a regular tour with Sentenced in Europe, some festivals and a little tour in America, but nothing very special happened. One year after the release the radio stations in America started picking up “Heaven’s a Lie” as a single, and MTV Requested a video for it, so basically we started promotion again. Basically one year was almost wasted, the album did not work well in America, it was available only as an import cd. But after that we startedf to tour a lot over there, so it takes another two years of promotion to bring it to the bigger levels. We started doing bigger and bigger tours. We was invited on Ozzfest and more and more radio stations were picking up the song, then we released a second single “swamped”. So we started again one year after the release, that is why it took three years promoting Comalies, and then it took one year to write and record Karmacode. I think the next album will come out in shorter time, because now we have a big promotion from the beginning. We were on tour even before the release; we did a lot of promotion, so everything has been faster. So I think the next album will come out faster than Karmacode, it will not be four years I think. It will be maximum three years.
ET – I read that the lyrics for this album is somewhat inspired by a book about spirituality and mathematics. Can you tell more about this?
Andrea: That is more the concept of the album, not every single lyric. The lyrics can talk about different topics, but the main concept of Karmacode is inspired by an Italian mathematician. I was in a bookstore, and I saw the title which made me curious. It was “the gospel explained through mathematic formulas”, a weird approach to the gospel, something holy like a bible or part of the bible, so I thought “why not?” and bought it and read it, and it was very interesting. This guy is a teacher of mathematics; an international professor of mathematics. He is trying to explain the existence of God through a mathematical formula, so sometimes it was very complicated to read because it was boring, because of all the formulas. It is not so easy to know, I am not a mathematics expert. But the concept was so crazy and it gave me a lot of inspiration. Especially the fact that people today are so much surrounded by technology, mobile phones, wireless internet, every kind of possible technology, it is a lot now in this moment of history. Even if it is all this virtual stuff around you, people feel a lot of connection to very simple things like music our just hanging out with people in a pub. We are in a special moment in life where there is this lifestyle with technology and it takes you into isolation; you stay at home, play online video games or you chat with people, but you do not go out and play a soccer game like it used to be. So this change in the life we are living is very important for us. You see how much time you are spending with the computer instead of going to the city or doing something else. It was a strong concept for me that we are living in it every day, everybody more or less. Previously, if someone would call you in the afternoon and no one would answer the phone, they would just call again in the night. Now, if someone doesn’t reach you on the mobile phone for ten minutes they will think “something has happened”, like you’ve had an accident or something. This has changed our lives so much, our perspective on life. That is why it was such a strong concept that was very important for us to talk about. I think it is strong for everybody, not only for us. We like to talk about real life, and not have fantasy lyrics.
ET – Are you interested in spirituality in general?
Andrea: Yeah. I do not follow any particular religion; I just take it for cultural matters. I like to read about christinaty and Islam, but just out of personal historical interest, like the history of religion, why it happened bla bla bla, but I do not follow these religions as a faith. The Karma is something very important for me because if you do something positive, sooner or later you will have something positive back. I believe in positive and negative energy that surrounds people. If you do something negative to people, sooner or later you will have something negative back. That is something I think, because it is energy which is moving around you. This is something I think exist. Then I do not know if you want to call it God, or nature or whatever, but to me it is mostly an energy that is there; it is in me, it is in you, it is in everything. But I do not know if it is God, or if there’s a paradise or hell, I do not know that. I just believe that there is something more than just me and you, persons eating and drinking. There is something bigger than that. I just do not know what it is, because I do not have any proof. I like to think positively and to act positively with people. I believe that if I do something positive I will get something positive back. But I can also do something negative sometimes of course.
ET – …for the balance, maybe?
Andrea: yeah, but maybe you do it to yourself, you do something stupid. It is part of life, life is not only positive and not only negative. It is a balance of energy. I think religion can be a very important topic, but it is also very abused. It can be christianity, satanism, islam or whatever, people use it as a way to sell something. Especially if you see television in America. All these preachers sell products through religion, through excuse of God, and I do not think it is a correct way of using religion, whether you believe or not. It is not right to use it to sell something. Even satanism is the same thing. You can’t use satanism to sell a record to me, it is as fake as using christianity. I see many bands using satanic imagery because it is cool, it is metal, it is bla bla bla, and then when they are interviewed they say “oh no, I didn’t mean that”. And then when somebody kills somebody else for that reason, they say “Oh no, I didn’t mean that”. Yeah, but you wrote it, so you should take responsibility for what you write. It is the minimum you can do as an artist, to me, but it is not happening, most of the time it is not happening. I like the imaginary (imagery?), the 666 and bla bla bla, but there is a limit to me of abusing that as an excuse to sell a product. There is a difference between this and believing in it.
ET – I read that Christina has a project with Eric Peterson of Testament. Is that true?
Andrea: No, I think she received a proposal, not only from Testament, also from Megadeth and many other bands. But it is not a project, just friendship. It is nothing concrete, they did not record anything. We are good friends with all these people, and they ask Christina because of the female voice and ask if she can do a part, but so far she has never accepted. Either because she did not have time, or she did not like the project, or she just want to focus on Lacuna Coil. It is for different reasons, but everyday we receive a lot of offers. You want to do that? You want to do that? And so on. It is not possible to do everything.
ET – Several of you guys are into Martial Arts?
Andrea: Three of us. I and Marco (the bass player) used to do it, but we don’t do it anymore. Now we do not do it anymore because we do not have time and we have different stuff to do. But we did many years of Karate and Judo. Our drummer is still doing it, Kung Fu and Taijichuan. He is the only one who is really still doing it. But we still… I mean, I spent so many years doing this so I know what we are talking about and I still like it and bla bla bla, but I do not have time to do it now, so I lost it a little bit. The drummer is the one who still goes to practice and everything.
ET – On tour also?
Andrea: Yes, when he can, in open air places. Especially in America, because we tour there mostly in the summer, and there are a lot of open air places, the weather is nice and so on. Europe is tougher, because it is more cities, it rains all the time, it is cold during the winter, and it is a different situation. But he tries to do it as much as he can.
ET – Do you think Martial Arts have influenced the music in any way?
Andrea: No, the music, no. I think it influences the personalities of the band; it is something very deep, so if you do it for years it is something that interferes with your personality, for sure. It helps you understand something, like everything else you do basically for so many years. It opens your mind, maybe, on some things. But strictly for the music, I don’t think so. But it’s good, I like the imaginary (imagery?), the culture, it is something we still feel very connected to, but we are not so much active on it anymore.
ET – What do you think about interviews? Do you get tired doing interviews?
Andrea: No… It depends, some interviews are nice and funny, some are just boring, because it is just the usual questions. In example what does the name of the band mean? Especially if you do it with people who have no idea of the band, so they ask you the entire classic questions that you have answered like a million times. Now it is quieter with interviews. We did a lot in the first months of promotion, 2-3 months with a crazy schedule of interviews. On this tour we have a few interviews, not so many. Some phone, some in-person, but nothing really bad. Today I think I have two, it is not really bad. And now we share it inside of the band, before it was just me and Christina doing all the interviews, now the guitar players is also doing interviews. I and Christina cannot do all the interviews, it is impossible, there are so many requests. I and Christina have been on a promotional tour in Europe before the release of the album, and one day we did phoneinterviews in the Century Media office, for 10 hours each of us. It was crazy. After 10 hours you do not want to talk about the band. Sometimes you do not want to do it. It is like playing. You do not want to play a show everyday, sometimes you are tired and you do not want to play, but you have to because you are on tour. You learn to do it anyway, but of course you cannot always be 100 percent. Some days you are very good, some days you are tired or sick. But it is the only way to promote the band. Tours is the most important way. And we tour a lot. There is no other way.
ET – Are you able to live off the band?
Andrea: Yeah yeah, since Comalies. Yes, yes, yeah yeah. It is just… to bring it to the next level you need to do even more than what you have done in the past. Now we do this tour, which is eight weeks, we finish in two weeks, then we have one week home, then we will go to America straight away. Then we’ll come back for Christmas, we stay home a month, then we go to America again for another two months. Then we come back, we will probably do European festivals. The next two years is all touring. At least until summer 2008 there will be promotions and tours.
ET – You like it?
Andrea: I like it, even if I sometimes would like to stay home for awhile, not just keep going, keep going, but it is the only way. To make it.big you need to be on the territory. Because success is a combination of things, like you need the radio, you need the tv, you need the press, you need the show, you need to tour, so you need to be in the right place all the time and you need to promote in America, then it is a long time you are not playing in Europe, so you need to go to Europe, then you need to go to America again, and then you go to Japan and Australia. You need to be all over the place, all the media. It is a big combination of things that makes the band successful. It is not only the songs or the music. It is a lot of stuff, together with pictures, video. So you have to work a lot to make it big time. We try to make it big time.
ET – You are quite successful now, aren’t you?
Andrea: Yeah. We can’t complain. We never thought we could reach this level when we started, so it is something unexptected, but now when your’e there you want to reach as much as you can, of course. But you need to work hard for it. It is not simple. It is not just “okay, you’ve got a good album so it will sell”. It is not like that. To make it sell you need a lot of exposure, promotion. A lot of things.
ET – How do you spend your time on tour?
Andrea: Basically we wake up pretty late, like 2 or 3 in the afternoon because we go to bed very late also. There is no point to wake up early; you have nothing to do until the show then. You have some interviews, a little bit of internet; check some websites, mail, My Space and Messenger. Keep in touch a little bit. Then you eat, and then you do the soundcheck, and you will get ready for the show. We do not have much time to do other things. Or you do signing sessions in a record store, or we have some acoustic session on tv or on radios. So it is basically promotion and tries to keep in contact with the family, and then play, basically. On the day off you can around the city a little bit, like two days ago we were in Hamburg, walk around a little bit, see some places. Do some shopping. You have some time, but it’s not so much. Especially on the headliner tour it is pretty tough because you play a long set every night, so you do not want to get sick, you do not want to get tired, so you try to keep it quiet when you can. On the support tour it is different, you have more free time because you do not do the sound check, and you just play 40 minutes. It is easier, you can go around, and you can get drunk. On the headliner you have to keep in shape and not get drunk. Otherwise the voice goes away. Especially this tour is very long, so I drink beers, okay, but I have to keep it very low. It is easy to get sick. It is very long; you have to manage to control yourself. The American tour will be easier because it is a support tour. We are just playing 40 minutes. It is different.
ET – Do you think you will sometime use the band to express a political message?
Andrea: Not really. I mean, sometimes we talk about topics which are social more than political. Like we did on Comalies a song called Angels Punishment which was against the war and in favor of all the victims of course, it was dedicated to al the victimsof the war. But that is as political as we can get. I do not think we will ever be more political than that. It is not something that belongs to our band. I know some bands that talk about politics all the time, like Rage Against The Machine, and it is fine. They did it big time because it was a very important issue for them. But for us – Our music is more intimate, more melancholic. It is not that easy to adapt on political topics. Also because I think it is very personal, the political ideas. I do not want to force somebody who is enjoying the music to think about politics in my way. I do not feel it is correct from my point of view. You should have your idea. I can not speak in general for the entire world. How can I tell you how the government does in Norway? I do not know, I mean, probably you can tell me better what is going on here. I can tell you about Italy, but it does not make sense to make songs about Italian politics. Of course there are topics, and everybody can say “Bush is an asshole”, it is easy to say, because it is something everybody can see and think about. But it is just not the way we are as a band. We do not trust so much in politics anyway. We can talk about social topics, problems of the people, like depression or other things, but politics is very personal and it is also something very different from every place. If you ask me an opinion out of the music, it is a different thing. I can tell you what I think about the war in Iraq or this and that, but in the songs we prefer to keep it for personal matters; it is how we write the music. It is more intimate.
ET – I understood you think Bush is an asshole?
Andrea: He is not the smartest president you can have, that is for sure. But I do not think it is only him that is the problem. I do not think the European community is much better than the American community. Everybody is blaming everything on the Americans, and a lot of the time it is true, but also Europe have this fault. If you take France, for example, with the African countries, and the UK; what they did in the past with the colonies. The people they put in government in the African countries. Everybody has a lot of bullshit behind them. That is why we do not like to talk about politics, because politics is full of bullshit, compromise; there is no crystal clear water. In the European Union they trade with countries they should not trade with. So it is impossible to say “this is a good guy, this is a bad guy”. Everybody is good and bad at the same time. It is very easy to go against the biggest hassle in this case, but I think it is not the only hassle; it is not the only problem of humanity, this George Bush and America. This is a big problem for some issues, for sure, but it is not the only problem. I do not think China is much better than America, or Russia or Korea. So it is a lot of problems, it is not only one. And everybody is involved in some way. So it is very hard to say who is good and bad. It is not as easy as everybody thinks. It is a very complicated situation. But spending a lot of time in America, I realized how much different the common people is from the government, from the way we see America through the media. It is pretty different than what it is actually living there and meeting the people. Of course you have also some clichès that are true, but not all of them are true. What you see on TV is a much distorted image of the country. Of course, there are a lot of fat people, all the clichès are true, but there are also very nice people, very intelligent people. It is not like everybody is stupid, everybody is fat, and everybody is watching TV 24 hours. There are a lot of people like that, but not everybody is like that. Especially if you go to the big cities like New York and L.A, people are way more thinking about what is going on than what they do in maybe a small village in texas or somewhere else, where they see tv and their reality is all what they have been told through the tv, the media or the government. So it is very different, where you go and where you live. In New York people are much more aware of what is going on, not so many people are in favor of George Bush or the direction of the government. In Chicago it is probably the same. But in the small places of the centre of America people are not so much aware of what is going on. I think it is the same in Europe, probably. If you go to Berlin or Kôln, it is different from a small village in Belgium.The way of thinking is different. It is not as easy as it seems.
ET – What question would you like to be asked? Is there something you would like to tell people?
Andrea: This is the first real headliner tour we are doing in Europe, and so far it has been very good everywhere. We have some territories where we do bigger numbers, like Italy or UK, they are very good markets for us. But also in Spain, France, Belgium it has been very good. Yesterday we played Copenhagen for the first time as a headliner, with a good amount of people. So it is doing very well and we want to thank the people for coming to the shows and support the band, because it is not easy, there are a lot of tours at this moment, and in Europe we did not tour so much lately, so we want to thank the people to come out, it is nice. Even if we do not tour so much, people are coming to see the show and give us a chance. In America we are always there, so it is more normal that we can pull people there. Here it is something different. We want to say that if we can, we will concentrate even more in Europe.
Og det var alt mannen hadde å meddele ved denne anledningen. Senere på kvelden ble jeg blåst overende av meget gode opptredener fra både Poisonblack og Lacuna Coil. Det kan du lese om under konsertomtalene, om du er sulten på mer lesestoff.