Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lacuna Coil Launches Attack On US

Italian alternative/metal rockers Lacuna Coil have been busy the last few months. We have seen them burning up the road as part of the Music As A Weapon tour with Disturbed, Killswitch Engage and Chimara. We also saw the release of their newest CD "Shallow Life". I got to talk to Andrea "Andy" Ferro, co-lead vocalist of the band, backstage before their show in Charlotte,NC on April 13.

JP- "Well, let me first thank you for taking the time to talk to me Andy. I'm a big fan of the band and it means alot. My first question is dealing with your trademark of having duel lead vocalists with Cristina and yourself. How did that come about?"

Andy- "In the beginning, I was playing bass and singing, we were mostly deathmetal and hardcore with some melodies, but mostly heavy music. Then in the early nineties, we started listening to goth metal and alot of European bands and we loved their style. So, we started playing slower and slowing down our melodies. We decided to add an extra vocalist in the practice room. We found Cristina working in a store and she wasn't singing professionally, she was only singing karaoke and asked her to sing some background vocals. We knew she could sing and when we heard her sing with us it sounded awesome. We knew it was making a difference. We were not sounding like any other band with the addition of a second vocalist. So, we added her as a second lead vocalist, I mean it was a shame to use her for only background stuff. That's how we started because it sounded different from everything that was out there. It gave us more space and added to the atmosphere. Some people do that with keyboards, we thought with vocals it would be more original."

JP- "On your new CD "Shallow Life", you chose to use producer Don Gilmore, who has worked with Good Charlotte, Linkin Park and Avril Lavigne to name a few. Did you guys choose him or did he come to you. How did all that work out?

Andy- "Our management approached many different producers. We had worked with the same producer from our first album through our fourth. We thought that we had done enough with him. I mean, it's not a marriage, we need to refresh ourselves and work with someone else. Plus, the way that our songwriting was going with more rock sounding songs and more in a rock vein, our last producer had not worked with rock bands, just mostly metal bands. Out of all the names we considered, Don was the one who really wanted to do it. He really liked the demo that we gave him of the songs. He wanted to work with the band and he was available at the right time. We decided to go for it and we met him and wanted to see he was as a person. He came down to Milan for a couple of days and we went out to dinner to get to know him and it was immediately a good relationship. He was a simple guy to talk to even though he had sold millions of records with Linkin Park. He was very down to earth and easy going. The next day, we took him to the rehearsal room to listen to other demos and he loved them and offered some opinions of the music. We then kept in touch by email and his ideas worked very well.

JP- " I listened to the CD that you streamed early on your MySpace page. I really loved the different sound on some of the songs like "I Like It", did Don bring that out in you guys?

Andy- "The songwriting and main structure of the rough version was done by us, Don contributed on arrangements and he cut parts that were too long or he simplified parts. He didn't change or write anything musically. The song is exactly how we wrote it. We've been very open musically to do what we want. If we want to do a ballad, then we do a ballad. We didn't care about the cliche of the band. We wanted to refresh our sound and the only way we could would be to go anyway possible and see what fits and what's out of the picture. We ended up with 20-25 songs, alot were too extreme or too much out of the picture of where we were going. Some songs we didn't change that much but so we really went out of our way to be not so ordinary. We wanted to find a new, fresher sound and still make it interesting. Many bands just repeat themselves and sometimes that's good. For AC-DC, it's good for them to repeat themselves if that's what you do but for us, we try to change a little bit with each album. We're not the kind of people who want to make exactly the same record but at the same time, we're not going to do a techno or rap album either. That would be too much out of our way. We do want to experiment as much as possible within the spectrum of rock and metal."

JP- "I like to ask a few personal questions that are more for your hardcore fans. Do you and the band have any guilty pleasures that might surprise your fans? Is it something that we can print?"

Andy- "Ha ha! I think most people think we just listen to metal but sometimes when we are on the road, we have a dance part and listen to ABBA or the Bee Gees or crazy seventies music. I mainly listen to rock but it's good not to limit yourself."

JP- "One last question for you. If you were trapped on a desert island and could only have one CD, it has to be a store bought CD, what would you want to have with you?"

Andy- "Wow, one CD is very limiting. I guess maybe a sampler of metal with Alice In Chains and Metallica and other rock/metal acts. Maybe Bob Marley would fit the atmosphere of being on an island better. You know, drinking and being on a beach."

Our interview was then over and ventured back outside. Lacuna's set was first on the bill that night in Charlotte. They came out to a great response from the crowd and opened with "To The Edge" and the crowd, although small, was really into the band. They followed it up with "Fragments Of Faith" and "Spellbound", which got a great pop from the crowd. An incredible version of "Swamped" as next followed by "Not Enough" and the band closed with "Our Truth". Their set was limited to thirty minutes but it was a tight set and it was surprising how into the band the crowd was considering they were there mainly to see Disturbed and Killswitch.

It seems that I will get my wish to see a longer set as the band has just announced headlining dates here in the US. That was the only problem with a thirty minute set, there was so much more that I was dying to hear. My only other complaint was not getting to meet Cristina as she arrived at the venue late. Oh well, maybe on one of their headlining dates. My thanks to George at Century Media for the tix and photo pit pass and to their tour manager Gus. Everyone, especially Andy, was a class act.

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