Interview – Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil

Lacuna Coil Cryptic 15

The European metal scene has seen an influx of talented bands breakthrough into the mainstream of popular music over the past decade in record numbers. Hailing from the fashion capital of the world, Milan, Italy, Lacuna Coil has blazed their own path to the top of hard rock and heavy metal scene as an international success.

Celebrating their twenty year anniversary as a band in 2014, Lacuna Coil has come a long way with seven studio albums, consistent touring of the globe, and building a massive loyal following. In their constant quest to explore a variety of styles and sounds with each passing year, the band appears poised to stay strong for another two decades. Recently we sat down with lead vocalist Cristina Scabbia for a deeper look into the passion and inspiration behind Lacuna Coil, the concept behind their new album Broken Crown Halo, love for horror movies, and much more. – Lacuna Coil are celebrating two decades together.  In that time the band’s popularity has grown to extraordinary heights internationally.  When you first began all those years ago could you ever imagined the success you have achieved this far in your career?

Cristina Scabbia – No, not at all coming from Italy. There are not a lot of big history of bands who made it out of Italy internationally.  For us, it is something that we are proud of and take it as a blessing.  We know there was a lot of hard work behind it.  We know it is definitely something and we are very happy about what happened.

Century Media
Century Media
Century Media
Century Media – It is very special.  The band has always struck the interest of the underground world of metal since its inception.  To many, you were one of the founders of a new generation of gothic metal.  What was the band’s approach to the music in the earlier years?

Cristina Scabbia – I would say bands like Type O Negative, Metallica, Paradise Lost, Pantera, even bands like Goldfinger; the bands in that area of time influenced me and the band.  They all got us into the genre.  We all listen to a diverse type of music.  We like different bands, they probably made us choose which direction to follow in our music. – Yes, influences are always a strong driving force.  As stated, you began as a leader in the gothic metal scene; progressing over the years, keeping the foundation of Lacuna Coil intact but broadening your sound.  What ignited the band’s progression?

Cristina Scabbia – I think the fact that we always have been open-minded, not only in music, but in general.  We never wanted to close ourselves in the cliché of gothic metal.  Obviously we love the dark atmosphere and the obscure feeling that the music can give.  That does not mean we cannot listen to other bands or be inspired by books or movies.  There was always so much around to take inspiration from.  That probably kept the freshness in Lacuna Coil’s music and allow us to evolve without really changing our core.

Century Media
Century Media
Century Media
Century Media – It is great that the band has evolved and kept the core.  You have kept things fresh, you do not want to stay in one place forever.

Cristina Scabbia – Exactly, that is our idea.  There are some bands which choose to do the same thing over and over because they are sure fans will buy the record.  On the other side, that is just not our thing.  That is not what we want to do with the band.

Century Media
Century Media
Century Media
Century Media – That makes perfect sense.  One of the key elements that distinct Lacuna Coil is the dueling vocals of yourself and Andrea.  It is clear you two have great working chemistry.  How has that blossomed over time?

Cristina Scabbia – We just know each other so well, we kind of have the same tastes.  Every time we work, there is no ego going on between us.  It is not a battle to find out who is going to sing the most or we have to split the vocal lines 50/50.  The lyrics in the songs, we do not really care who does them.  It is more about the songs; we work together, sit down, and find out the best solutions for the songs themselves. – That has worked very well with each record the band has made.  The band’s seventh studio album Broken Crown Halo was recently released.  The album is extremely dynamic and full of some great melodies and sounds.  What was the writing and recording process like for this new album?

Cristina Scabbia – The recording session was pretty cool because we did it all in our home town of Milan.  It was actually the very first time we recorded an album completely at home.  We always did it in Germany, USA, or Belgium, and partially in Milan.  That was the very first time we had a chance to do it close to home.  That gave it a familiar vibe to the recording it and very relaxed.  We knew the studio already, it is a super cool studio which gave us the opportunity to use a lot of vintage equipment; the owner of the studio is also a music collector.  It was the first time with Jay Baumgardner as our producer.  Overall it was fun, I am really happy with how the album turned out. – The album did turn out very well.  The album has a clear cinematic tone to it.  Was that the band’s clear intention going into it?

Cristina Scabbia – Partially, it is something we realized after working on two songs.  We noticed there was influence from movies that we watched when we were younger, especially from horror director Dario Argento and soundtracks made by a band like Goblin.  Working on this sort of concept we started to realize we really like the characters from these movies, even the typical characters from horror movies like Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies.  We used some metaphors to describe how we are, and the new generation, is using these type of characters and we started playing with that.

Century Media
Century Media – That really adds intrigue to the music.  It is obvious through Lacuna Coil’s career you are very influenced by film, books, and art in your music.  These elements create a story and atmosphere.  How important is the atmosphere to yourself and the band?

Cristina Scabbia – We do not do it on purpose, it is because we like it.  Every time we put out a record it is a very democratic process.  Everything we put out, we put it out because everyone in the band liked it.  We have known each other for so long where we have the same tastes and we do the same things.  We are friends in real life, it is very easy for us to go in the same direction.

lacuna coil (51)web – The band has been together a very long time and have built that chemistry.  You had mentioned earlier, but what are some more of your musical influences?

Cristina Scabbia – It is kind of complicated because I am the last child of four. I have two brothers and a sister which are older than I am.  They were listening to everything from Genesis, to Led Zeppelin, to The Beatles.  They also listened to dark music from The Cure, Soft Cell, and Morrissey.  Then hip hop like Public Enemy, Ice T, Ice Cube, and Run DMC.  I pretty much listened to every type of music; maybe bit less of metal music, it was something I started to listen to around my twenties.  I have listened to pretty much everything literally from AC/DC to ZZ Top.

Music for Nations – That is wonderful that you grew up with such a dynamic mix of music.  As mentioned, the core of the band has been together for a very long time.  You recently had a mutual parting with two long-time members, Cristiano ‘CriZ’ Mozzati and Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore.  How does it feel to move on without them considering you are all very good friends and one big family?

Cristina Scabbia – Honestly it feels like a supernatural evolution.  There was no drama or beef between us.  We are still friends, actually we are still working together because Cris is taking care of the band’s website.  It was just more of a feeling you have when your brother decides to moves into a different house or gets married.  Of course we miss them on a personal level.  We know they are happy and we are happy to continue our career and music.  We have each other’s back so we could not be better.  None of us are suffering or sad, we are still a group of friends no matter what. – That is great the parting had no drama and it did not cause friction in long-time friendships.  Lacuna Coil has been to North America numerous times over the years and your friends here adore the band.  When you first began, you were playing smaller venues and it is amazing how the growth has happened over the years.  How does it feel to see this success in North America like it is?

Cristina Scabbia – It feels great, but obviously in every band’s career there are ups and downs.  Playing in smaller venues, I do not see it as something bad, actually I really like the atmosphere and the feeling from the smaller crowd.  It really depends, sometimes you get to play in front of a lot of people or sometimes may not because of economics or you did not have enough time to announce a show.  Maybe there is a smaller amount of people to play in front of, but we honestly we do not think there is a big difference.  To us it is about having a good time, playing our music, interacting with the crowd, and letting everyone go back home with a smile because they had a good night with us.  It is all about that.  It is awesome when a lot of people come closer to you, but as long as you are honest with your music and you are having a good time with fans it is always great.

lacuna coil (216)web – Right, no matter how big the crowd is, it is always a great time.  My last question for you is pertaining to films. is a music and horror film publication so we like to focus on all the genres.  What are some of your favorite horror films?

Cristina Scabbia – Well my all-time are Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) (1975) and Suspiria (1977).  Also the modern stuff, I thought House of 1,000 Corpses (2003) by Rob Zombie was pretty cool. – Dario Argento is truly a treasure to horror cinema.

Cristina Scabbia – Yes, he is the best.  The soundtracks of his films are great.  What I like about Dario Argento’s movies is you can see blood and killing, but the cool thing is there was a tension going on through the music.  There was never just a killing, there was a whole story behind it and you would not know what was going to happen until the end.  That is what I like about those old movies. – That is very true.  Suspiria has a lot of those aspects.  Dario Argento really played with colors, film angles, and it was very artistic.  Italy had quite a big horror genre scene in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  What do you think inspired Italians to be so involved in horror cinema?

Cristina Scabbia – Because during that period there was a lot of money in cinematography.  We had Cinecittà film studio in Rome and also big actors from Hollywood like Clint Eastwood coming there to do movies.  It was a very rich scene for cinematography back then.  Unfortunately, now it is not the same anymore because there is a not a lot of money used in cinematography.  It is a sad thing because we have so many good actors which have so many skills.

Seda Spettacoli
Rizzoli Film – Yes, it would be nice to see the scene revitalized.  Being a fan of horror films what do you think of modern horror films?

Cristina Scabbia – I like the fact that they are using a lot of special effects.  I am a little old school with that though.  I like movies where there was a special effects team working on re-creating blood or fake skin.  I really like the effort of a team working behind the scenes.  Now, it is completely different, so it is hard to judge.  Of course I love the movies and I enjoy watching them, but it is not the same feeling anymore.  It is more immediate now where a lot of things are made with computers, so it is not the same level of excitement for me.

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