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Interview with Andrea Ferro, Lacuna Coil male vocalist PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 11 June 2010

By Heather Leah HuddlestonAndrew Ferro

Shortly before Lacuna Coil took the stage at the Recher Theater in Baltimore, I got to sit down and chat with Andrea Ferro, the male counterpart of the duel vocals that make up the band’s unique sound. Even though he was hungry, he took the time to tell us about life on the road and Italy’s most popular metal band.

USA Progressive Music: When did the tour start?

Andrea Ferro: Two weeks ago.

USAProgMusic: How is it going so far?

Andrea: Pretty good. It’s a different kind of tour. We’ve been playing some shows with Five Finger Death Punch, Drowning Pool, Cedar and Hell Yeah, and some headlining shows. We did some co-headlining shows, and we’re going to play next week with Sevendust. It’s like every day we change the situation; today is a headlining show.

USAProgMusic: So why do it this way?

Andrea: We had a chance to play some big radio festivals, so we’ve combined a little bit of the touring that was going on with the mostly radio-supported tour.

USAProgMusic: How do you feel about the latest Lacuna Coil album Shallow Life?

Andrea: We feel pretty good. It’s one year now since the release, and we’ve been doing some different stuff with this album and taking some chances musically just to see where we could go. And on the other hand, we’ve been doing some different kind of promoting, too. Instead of focusing on just magazines, we’ve been more focused on radio and Internet and some different stuff. Because the music business is changing so fast, it’s really hard to tell what is going to be there next year. Many magazines have closed down or reduced to a few pages, and the Internet is obviously a faster way of communicating. And the radio is coming on because we have some more catchy songs, different structures of songs…. So it’s been different.

I think it’s an album of passage for us where we’ve tried some new stuff, and some stuff really worked great. Like we had the best ever entrance into the Billboard charts, and we had the most successful rock single we’ve had on the radio with “Spellbound.” It’s more than we’ve ever done in the past. So it’s changing the way of promoting the band. We’re kind of becoming a new band. We’re the type of band that on every record we try something different. And some ways you gain, some ways you lose, but that’s the type of band we are.

USAProgMusic: Have any fans complained at all about the different sound?

Andrea: Yeah. Some fans didn’t like the new direction, but we get a lot of new fans coming from different places. It’s not always win and lose; I think the hardcore fans are still there. Some people do hate the new stuff because it’s too different; some people think it’s not enough different. You have to appeal to the taste of everybody, and it’s impossible. You just have to go with what you think is right. And you could be wrong, of course. But it wouldn’t be honest just to repeat Comalies or Karmacode just because they’ve been successful. You have to be open and try new ways; that’s our way.

USAProgMusic: Who do you write music for? Yourselves?

Andrea: Mostly, yes. Of course, we have to consider that it’s going to be on a recorded album, so we will not sound completely different; we’ve developed our style…and the three elements of our music style—rock, metal, and goth—they will always be there. That is what we are. Some albums may be more rock, more metal, more goth, but those three elements are Lacuna Coil. We’re never going to do a completely different style.

USAProgMusic: I’ve noticed a bit more positive lyrics. When you’re writing, where do you get your material from?
Andrea: I wouldn’t say the lyrics are all positive…

USAProgMusic: Like “Survive.”

Andrea: It’s more about the fact that you’ve been surviving a situation. It’s like, “we’re still here and we see some lights and some hope” but it’s not completely positive because the place we’re coming from is not a positive place.

: Right. I get that. So would you say more hopeful versus positive?

Andrea: Yeah, it’s more hopeful; it’s more like we see a light. But we’ve never been a totally negative band; we’ve been more in between. We’ve always had the dark side with the hope; that’s been our approach.

USAProgMusic: So where do you get the material from?

Andrea: Mostly life. Especially with Shallow Life we didn’t want to talk about topics we’d never experienced…like the kids who cut themselves…I’ve never done that so we didn’t talk about it. I want people to relate to the songs because I’ve been there. There’s a song about depression because it’s stuff we’ve experience because we haven’t been always happy. And we’re still not always happy…some days we’re happy, some days we’re not. So basically it’s something we have to experience before we talk about it.

USAProgMusic: Do you think that’s why people relate so much?

Andrea: Yeah, especially on the last songs, people are really singing the words, compared to Karmacode or Comalies where they were singing some songs, like “Enjoy the Silence”—because it’s a very famous song—or “Heaven’s a Lie” because it’s been played on the radio. Our older songs are more poetic and abstract so not everybody can relate because they can’t think of their own meaning of the song. In this case, for Shallow Life, there’s been a way more direct approach to the lyrics, and that’s why people relate and sing every word compared to the older songs. This is a record that comes from more of a survival place—not like we were dying or anything, but we were growing up and seeing the years passing by and seeing we were getting more mature; so this record is a reflection of the past. So that’s why it needs to be more clear.

USAProgMusic: When you say you want “people to relate and really understand what we mean,” why do you think that’s so important for Lacuna Coil and for any artist, really?

Andrea: At the end of the day, the song will always be there…the songs that are meaningful for people, and that’s why we’ve been focusing even more on the lyrics. And we’ve been working with an American producer who pays more attention to the lyrics because it is his own language. While in the past, we were working with a producer who speaks really good English, but it’s not his mother tongue, so he doesn’t really put so much accent on the lyrics. So that’s also been a different approach.

Lacuna Coil is defined by this intense male-female duel vocals—that’s very seductive also—but what made you come up with that?

: Basically when we started, it was just me singing and playing bass as well—we were a very different type of band. When we recorded the demo tape to showcase our music, we wanted something more. Back in 1996 there wasn’t really much going on with heavy music and female melodic voices—there were a couple of bands but it wasn’t something really massive, especially over here, so we thought it was worth a try. We knew Cristina could sing, but she never sang in a professional band or anything. She always did some karaoke. We knew her because we were hanging out in the same pub, so we just asked her to do some background vocals. And back then I was more into the growling—it was powerful but not really open— and we wanted a way to balance the darkness with the more open, sophisticated sound; we wanted the female voice. And it sounded magic since day one, not only because she was a good singer but because it was such a contrast to my voice, the guitars and everything. So we thought it was the perfect balance—that way, we could put out songs that were very open and songs that were very dark; we could have heavy; we could have soft. Developing the style wasn’t easy because it was something not usual; so we had to learn the balance and how to use the voices in a different way. And it takes time; maybe it wasn’t always perfect, but I think with album after album we’ve improved, and now it’s a good balance, I think. And it will be even better on the next album. It is a learning process for everybody.

We don’t write like we have to split fifty percent male-female vocals; if the song needs more open, high-pitched vocals then that’s Cristina; otherwise it’s me.

Does the music dictate what the vocals are going to do?

Andrea: Usually, yes, but on Shallow Life, we’ve been starting some songs from the vocals for the first time. We write music and lyrics and then we get together; sometimes I will sing vocal lines that Cristina wrote or the other way around. We’re all involved but it comes down to Cristina, Maus and me, because we’ve been the three since the beginning and we created the Lacuna Coil sound. It’s really an open process, though.

USAProgMusic: I think the openness you keep talking about translates in the songs.

Andrea: Yeah, I think so.

USAProgMusic: I’ve noticed that Shallow Life, in particular, is more accessible.
Lacuna Coil Promo Photo
Andrea: Yes, as I say, we’ve been taking some chances with these songs. Maybe some songs we’ve even been going a little too far. Maybe, I don’t know. I still like the songs, but we don’t have the preconceptions that the fans can have; the fan is used to the dark atmosphere, so if you go a little out of the cliché even with the pictures, we did a photo session in the beginning that was me like the pimp and Cristina like the princess; it was obviously ironic.It was never meant to be the new image of the band. But some fans didn’t get it and they thought we changed the band completely, they said we looked like Kid Rock. It was just meant to show a different thought that was connected to the title of the album, not because we wanted to change our image. Even the media aren’t so much open minded to accept something like that. Sometimes the media are even more closed than the fans. We’ve always had this problem because we’ve always been very open; so people don’t know where to put us. I mean, we can tour with Nightwish and Within Temptation, or we can tour with POD and Rob Zombie and Dimmu Borgir, and we always appeal. We’re the bastard child. [laughs]

USAProgMusic: Did you always want to be in a band when you were growing up?

Andrea: No, never. Never, because coming from Italy, there was no history of rock metal bands going around the world and touring, having their songs on the radio or the record on the Billboard charts. This is something we’ve experienced on our own. We did all the mistakes we could do as a younger band and we did all the positive things a band can reach. So, it is very new. Everything we’ve done is the first time. Like in Germany, there was the Scorpions or Rammstein, and the thrash metal bands that have been going since the ‘80s. But Italy is not really a rock metal heaven, so we’re the only band that did that. We’re still the only band in Italy that has had some success. Unless you’re Metallica or Linkin Park, you don’t get played on the radio in Italy. But we do. We’re the only band that’s been the export product.

My goal is always to work with music because the passion is for the music. Whatever I will do, it will be with music.

USAProgMusic: What’s on the horizon for Lacuna Coil?

Andrea: We’ve started writing new material, music not vocals. We’re going to go to South America for the first time, and it’s headlining all over, and then we’ll fly back home at the end of June, watch the Soccer World Cup [we both laugh]—very important to Italians—then we’ll play some festivals, and we’ll get home and start writing.

USAProgMusic: Well, thank you so much for your time. I know you have to get something to eat before you take the stage.

Andrea: Yes, and thank you for your support. 

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