GENRE IS DEAD! Interview With Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia

The past year has been full of hardship, celebration, and reflection for Italian metal band Lacuna Coil. 2019 marks their 20th anniversary, but it’s also a year of loss. Recovering from the death of her parents in 2017, frontwoman Cristina Scabbia and the rest of the band experienced further loss with the death of two close friends earlier this year.

Despite the hardships, the band trudged on using the experience to help shape their new album, Black Anima. The band charts new territory going in a heavier and darker direction than past releases. It also gets personal with reflections on growing up, dealing with loss, and moving forward in spite of everything.

Before the release of Lacuna Coil’s new album, frontwoman Cristina Scabbia spoke with GENRE IS DEAD! about Black Anima, living in the present, and celebrating 20 years of Lacuna Coil.

GENRE IS DEAD!: Lacuna Coil recently shared Black Anima’s second single “Reckless.” Can you tell me a bit about the song?

Cristina Scabbia: It’s one of those songs we decided to write because sometimes we feel like we’re trapped in a box. We’re afraid to be who we are and we would love to let go because maybe we’re stressed at work or there’s something wrong in our lives. It’s an invitation to be yourself every once in a while because it’s a good way to recharge your batteries.

GID: You get that sense of freedom in the song. It’s about that moment when you can come home and really let yourself go.

CS: Yeah and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it at home. It can be just going out and having a cool night with your friends. But now everybody is so afraid to do or say things. We’re almost censoring ourselves because we’re afraid of what people think and we’re afraid of judgment from the outside, so this is an invitation to say fuck the world. If you need a moment and it’s not hurting anyone, just go for it.

GID: The video is also filled with some great nightmarish imagery and it’s connected to the “Layers of Time” video. What led to having these two clips be connected?

CS: Well, we did connected stories for the previous videos that were done for Delirium. The “You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You” video was connected to “Blood, Tears, Dust.” In this case, we shot two videos at the same time. We wanted something that could connect both videos or at least hint to the second video in the first one. That’s why in the first video we put some quick images from the second video to connect it.

The first video was mainly focused on the performance because we wanted to show the raw energy of the band. The second one is more cinematic, something nice to look at like a mini-movie. I also like that it was a completely Italian production because the director is Italian, the actors are Italian, and the record was recorded in Milano, our hometown.

GID: How was it filming two videos in a day?

CS: We did it before for the “Enjoy the Silence” and “Closer” videos in Los Angeles. We changed the set, props, and story in one day, so it wasn’t hard especially for the video where there were a lot of actors playing characters. Our part is what we do in life. We didn’t have to act, we only had to perform. The only part where we kind of acted is when we were trapped by black hands around us. But the rest of it was basically a live performance, something you would see at a Lacuna Coil concert.

GID: One thing that really interests me about the new album is how it’s based on a big idea and the imagery. There’s the logo that bass player Marco [Coti Zelati] designed, the look of the videos, and even the stage costumes. Does image play a big part when you guys starting working on an album?

CS: Oh absolutely, absolutely. We’re playing shows that people are going to see, so it’s not just about the music. The music, of course, is a priority because we’re a band and there’s an album coming out. But why not perform visually? It’s going to make things better. Whoever is going to buy our music will be able to soak themselves in the imagery of the new record and know more about the vibe behind it. We like to treat every concert as a real show. The same goes for every record and all the artwork we put in our booklets. It’s even a little bit more for this album since we did tarot cards and a special case for the deluxe edition.

GID: In terms of the songs, those are connected as well in that they tell this story throughout the record. Was it your intention to do a concept album of sorts when you started working on the record?

CS: Well, no. In the beginning, we had a lot of ideas but they weren’t focused on one big picture, so that was a problem. When you have too many things to say then the risk becomes saying something that is confusing. At first, we struggled to start the songwriting process. Marco [Coti Zelati], our bass player, who produced the record and is also the main songwriter for the music, couldn’t really put down the music. He was worried because he wasn’t inspired and this is a thing you can only do when you’re inspired. We had a meeting where we brought a lot of pictures and anything that could visually inspire. Marco gets inspiration from movies and video games because he wants to write a soundtrack for the images he sees. The inspiration started to flow very easily when we were finally focused on what we wanted to say.

Then Andrea [Ferro] and I wrote the vocal lines and lyrics. Marco would then put music on it and send it back to us. But all the songs are not tied to each other, it’s not a concept record. It’s definitely a story and we’d suggest listening to the record from the beginning to the end. Take an hour out of your day to enjoy it as it is. It is very dynamic and every song makes sense within the record. It brings you through a lot of different moods.

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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.

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