by Lilliana Tseka & Elpida Chokmetidou
Lacuna Coil is undoubtedly the most recognizable Italian band out there and with followers that in this 20 years old career haven’t left their side and stuck with them no matter what. The band is visiting our country for two shows in Athens and Thessaloniki and we had an interesting chat in different languages, i might say and with no further delay i present you Andi Ferro.
Good evening! Nice to have you with us! I suppose with the tour kicking off things are getting hectic. Are you ready for your upcoming dates in Europe?
Oh definitely we performed in Malta yesterday and it was great, it feels great doing live shows. We interact so much with the fans, it’s important to us. We have loyal fans and touring is a way to give back to them. We are ready!
Lacuna Coil seems to have entered a new era, leaving the past behind and consciously choosing to change a bit, musically and aesthetically speaking. Isn’t that the case? What made you take a slight detour on your path and what has it offered you so far?
Well it’s important to evolve as an artist and as a person. The risk the band took on Delirium has paid off. The album is one of the most powerful in Lacuna Coil’s catalog and that makes us feel good. It’s not easy to deliver new records, especially now that there are so many bands around, and try to keep the purity in the songwriting without being influenced by what the fans will think about the record. I’m satisfied that we did it, because at the end of the day we have to live with this record. When touring you have to play these songs live, so it’s important to like them. It’s also important you work with people who also know what they want and they understand their roles in the bands. I see all these as a progression!
I think “Delirium” is the manifestation of this change, like a point zero. You’ve stated that inspiration for this album came from real life events and situations combined with some fiction of course. Your main theme is ‘mental illnesses and its effects. Did you try to raise awareness by addressing this specific topic or was it a theme that just clicked with you?
In the beginning when we decided to pick the title of the record and decided that this would be the topic, we thought to push it further, to put out there something of ourselves. We needed to feel the lyrics and put all our experiences in there and into the visuals for the record and of course for the live shows. But when we started to promote the topic, we saw how much we connected with people because everybody in one way or another had challenged with that, maybe as a negative moment or with mental illness itself. Fighting against mental illnesses in the family for years due to age. We saw that this was a subject that many people connected. Unfortunately mental illnesses are stigmatized and so as people that have to live with that. Not everybody is ready to talk about it or understand it. There isn’t enough knowledge yet. It can touch anybody, I mean look at the recent events with Chester or Chris Cornell, everyone expected from these people to be happy, have a great life and enjoy every minute of it while in reality they had a heavy burden to carry that we didn’t even know. So it’s not something that you can fight with money or fame, you know. It’s something you have inside and not everybody can live with it, some people can handle it some people just can’t. It’s very obscure and something that it doesn’t have an easy solution. So you have to understand and listen and care the best way you can because the signs are not visible so easily. It’s a very important topic and the record clicked perfectly because everybody can someway relate, one way or another. You don’t have to have a serious mental illness you know, it can be just somebody you know and have a difficult time. In the beginning we did it for ourselves but then we found out that its e very common situation for a lot of people.
As far as I understand, “Delirium” (despite its main theme) is a concept album that unfolds a certain story and I think that’s evident from the clips released as well. Care to walk us though the story? Give us a brief summary.
Yeah, basically we kind of wrote lyrics and made a parallel between the mental illness and made it more generic to our own personal experiences. For example there is a song called ‘You Love Me Cause I Hate You’ that we made a video for as well that talks about the Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological phenomenon where hostages express sympathy and empathy and have positive feelings towards their abductors, sometimes to the point where they are defending and identifying with the kidnappers. We never had that experience luckily but we had a member that was inside a very toxic relationship with a person that was kind of keeping him a prisoner psychologically, under his control and he didn’t realize that until they split up so as everybody else around him. So we kind of created a parallel to such kind of situations that people unfortunately have experienced and pushed them to show the grave mental illnesses. So the album is a special place, like a sanatorium where every song is a room with a different patient and a different case. So kind of made this story about a sanatorium in order to show the real problems of mental illnesses. It’s a fictional place that tells real stories, made maybe a bit more dark and extreme because this is our style after all, but the concept, the basic idea is to face all of these demons that people face with all the diverse illnesses.
Did lyrics guide your music or was it the other way around?
It’s usually something we try to keep together but obviously it’s not always possible. Sometimes there is music and you try to find the words and some other times the other way around. I mean sometimes we have already the lyrics because we decided the topic so we focus on that firstly and we visit at a second time for the rest. But we try to keep as much as possible together.
“Delirium” was a release different from the previous ones on various subjects. For starters, “Delirium’s” production was handled by Marco. How did this change things? Did it make the whole process easier for you?
It wasn’t simpler but neither more difficult. Maybe for Marco was a bit more difficult, because he took a responsibility and the toughest part was to separate the role of the producer from that of the band member and friend. While for as wasn’t at all different, maybe a different experience but I can’t say if it was better or worse, it was just different. We really enjoyed that our work was done and we really stepped up really well, and by not having a supervisor as a producer was very important for me and Christina, when we were writing all the lyrics, we didn’t have anybody coming in and make any suggestions, so we had to take the responsibility of completing everything without anybody giving us hints when we stacked on the lyrics or anybody to tell us what he thinks at the end of the process. We used our own knowledge of all these years working and song writing. We haven’t realized how many things we’ve learned so far up until we wrote these lyrics.
So we are talking about a collaboration of absolute trust with Century Media?
Yes, but to be fair this is always been the case with us. Of course they suggested ideas and people to work with but never forcibly. We never did anything that we didn’t like to do. They always have been open on listening to what we wanted to do. A lot of things is changing with Century Media because Sony bought it so things are going to be different from when we started but will see how things will turn.
One can easily notice a twist in Lacuna Coil’s classic structures. You took a slight turn concerning your songwriting. Did this happen on purpose, feeling it was time for a change, a need for something new or did everything come naturally to you?
Usually we don’t force anything you know, because when you are not honest with your music the fans recognize it. People recognize lyrics when they are not what you are, so it’s important to follow the song writing. As for us we always try to change a little bit on each record, because as I said before we are people like that, we grow up, have different experiences, we can’t be the same as we were on 2002 when we wrote ‘Comalies’ for example. We obviously love what we are doing but we lived different experiences, different tastes. I don’t think we ever going to be something completely different, we change a bit but not too much. There are certain elements in music that we love, the heaviness or the epicness and the dark melodies and the atmosphere of certain melodies, so the basic elements are present in every record we’ve done so far. Maybe we’ve pushed the metal side more or the gothic one, sometimes the rock side but all of these elements are the foundation of our music.
With “Delirium” we notice that you went higher with your vocal tones. Do you feel you are re-presenting yourself to your crowd?
Hmmm, no…we just felt we need it to show a certain epicness on the songs, especially on the choruses. It was more appropriate for the music she could do it. She just followed the music. It’s not like we are going to do the exact same thing for the next record, for this specific record we needed more screams and high vocals because it’s served the music.
There are two kinds of fans. Those who stand by the band they love like soldiers, supporting its each and every decision and those who are weirdly not that very fond of changes, thus feel somewhat betrayed by a band’s change of direction. One can say that Lacuna Coil’s fans have undergone a certain bifurcation. What do you answer to the latter? Does this affect you personally?
No, definitely not! Every record has some people that come on board that haven’t heard you before, a few people that don’t like you anymore and people that there are there beside from the beginning and still like you. This is exists on every band, so you can’t base your song writing on the taste of other people. If you are an honest artist, you have to write what you like and how your band should sound. There are always people who embrace it and other that don’t that’s a risk you take. If you don’t take risks you are not an artist. You can’t just give in to the same formula because people are not going to like it and because it’s the safe bet. How can you not present yourself without any innovation and any progression? I personally don’t like bands that always sound the same.
Expanding the subject of changes, Lacuna Coil have gone through some recent changes in lineup. How did these changes affect the band (if of course they did)? Did those changes bring a fresh start with them?
The new members brought a lot of enthusiasm that the previous members lacked because they were burned out from being on the road, doing the same kind of lifestyle and they wanted to change that and I totally understand it. After so many years it’s natural to want to change your life, to change what you are doing, so I respect the choice. But new people and a little bit younger are motivated and definitely works better for the band, it helps you to have a different aspect and energy and different excitement that wasn’t there anymore. And in the other hand Marco, Christina and I, we’ve been together since the first demo, so the song writers haven’t really changed, at least the main song writer.
What do you think of this Social Media era, generally as a band, you have a strong relationship with your fans and this is also easily seen through these platforms. Do you think that new bands have a huge advantage?
It’s the time we live is not a matter of how I see it. A fan can call his favorite band and talk and this is not necessarily worse than we first begun. Lacuna Coil, as you mentioned before, is a band that has always had close ties with our fans, so there is nothing inconvenient to us about it. Now, as far as new bands is concerned, I want to say that in the end only good music remains.
Are you ready to face the Greece crowd? You know we’re a bit crazy when it comes to gigs (you’ve already experienced that). Lacuna Coil have a huge fanbase in Greece, so I think one must come prepared, haha!
It’s not our first time in Greece, we’ve been there a few times and you are right, Greeks are a passionate crowd so we can’t wait to perform. It’s going to be incredible! I came last year for vacation with my wife actually, so I just love Greece!
As Christmas is quite close talk to us about you Naughtiest Christmas, hehe?
Hahaha, nice one! You know we haven’t played for years this song and we performed it in Malta in our latest gig and we also have a special edition vinyl on our shows. I love Christmas but I’m not a religious person, we are not religious. I like the lights, the Christmas tree and all the atmosphere with the songs and the family and the gifts but that is that.
Ma tu sei Italiano and non sei religioso? (You are an Italian and you don’t believe?)
Hahaha, ma tu sei Italiana e non lo sveli? (Hahaha, and you come from Italy and you don’t reveal it?)
No, I used to leave in Torino for several years and it’s tempting to speak in Italian whenever I find a fellow Italian.
However you speak like and Italian, you definitely fooled me!
(the conversation just goes on in Italian and is really like getting together with friends talking about Italian stuff)
Hm, religion! I’m respecting whomever believes but for me religion is politics and money so it’s not something I enjoy at all. Let’s stick to that.
Alright, that’s all from me for now Thanks for taking the time! Seal the interview anyway you want. Any messages you’d like to send to the Greek crowd?
But in which language hahaha, I mean we had an interview in English and a nice talk in Italian…
Your choice! But the message is for your fans so better in English…if there is anything for me, do tell in Italian, hahaha!
Well, don’t miss our shows in Athens and Thessaloniki because they are going to be a blast, Greece is always a fan place to perform and you Greeks are a hell of an audience! See you there!
Lilliana e stato un piacere parlare con te… era un sorpersa di sicuro! Ti aspetto nel nostro show! (Lilliana it’s been a pleasure talking to you… well it was a surprise for sure! Hope to see you in one of our shows!