Interview with Andi of Lacuna Coil
What can I say about Lacuna Coil other than they are all masters at what they do? These Italians play, in my humble opinion, their own brand of melodic power metal that is accompanied by a duet of some philosophical, comprehensible male and female vocalists. This was a really fun tour, and it was definitely worth the drive, to say the least!
Interview and live pictures by Michael F. Coles. Conducted on May 8, 2007
The Outcast: Iím sorry for bothering you while you were eating.
Andi: No, no, Iím done, Iím done.
The Outcast: Yeah man, Iím not sure if he told you (tour manager), but Iíve been in the car since 9:30am and I just now got here (6:30pm - I was supposed to conduct the interview at 6pm. I also forgot that I would lose an hour due to the time zone difference).
Andi: From where?
The Outcast: Southern Illinois.
Andi: Fuck, thatís a long drive.
The Outcast: The last time I saw you guys you played with Opeth at Pops in St. Louis.
Andi: Oh, yeah.
The Outcast: It has been a little while. Iím getting ready to go to Mexico and this was the only time that I would have been able to catch this tour. Itís a good line-up, you know what I mean?
Andi: Itís something very different I think from any other tour that is currently across America. First of all there are two European bands which are unusual for the main bands (Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation are the headliners) and then all of the bands are slightly different even if they all have the female factor in common. Stolen Babies are more like weird kind of folks. They have a lot of different elements like the big bass drum, the harpsichord, they have crazy instruments and they do something weird. Then there is In This Moment. They are more heavy and rough metal, even with a female singer. Within Temptation is a very atmospheric and typical European sound. And then we are something else again with a mixture of different elements. I think it is going to be good. The first gig was very good so weíll see (This was Lacuna Coilís 2nd show with this tour).
The Outcast: All of you are from Italy, so of course Catholicism is pretty dominant. What are your guyís (and gal) views on religion? Iím going to assume that you were raised Catholic due to being Italian. How did this environment affect your thoughts on life? Did that make you hate religion or Christianity? How about Metal or the Metal attitude, how did that affect your thoughts?
Andi: We donít follow any organized religion even though we have been raised as Catholics because itís normal. I donít care, I have my own beliefs and I feel some spirituality in my life and I have a spiritual approach sometimes in my life. I donít think you need to follow this or that rules. I donít believe in what man writes, you know? You can take advice from everybody. There are priests that really believe in what they do and they really do want to do some positive things for the people. Some monks, there are some other religious people that are cool, but then there are some that are very fake and not honest and are using the fact that they are a priest to abuse their power. I believe more in single individuals than in big organizations like the church (Catholic Church). When I was young I was also into punk and had a punk attitude. I was a lot into the anarchic circle. I was a skater. I have always had an open mind view regarding life, so.... My family was never a closed minded Catholic kind of family. They werenít super devoted or went to church every Sunday or something like that, they believe but they donít take it too heavy, you know? They have an open mind. Yeah, the music is also rebellious and has made me think about it; movies, music, books, and people that I have met.
The Outcast: Do you believe in God, Jesus Christ, and Satan as actual beings?
Andi: I think Jesus existed and was probably a prophet. I donít see him as the son of God. Maybe he was but I donít know, how can you tell? I donít consider that. I use religion...... I like to read a lot about religion because of the cultural interest. I like to know who is who and what it did (the religion) and what, according to the books what happened, but itís for my personal culture. Itís not for something that I have to follow as a belief. I believe mostly in that you should do something positive that you are going to have something positive back. If you do negative the same way, sooner or later of course it will come back. I believe there is something bigger and we donít know. You can call it God, you can call it Mother Nature, or you can call it Buddha, whatever. I think it is something bigger than our life existence, in the form of energy, in the form of something else, but I canít tell what it is. I have respect for "it" thatís for sure.
The Outcast: How has the war that Bush manipulated and provoked affected Italy, if at all?
Andi: We have some soldiers that died in the process and we are involved in the war, but I think the biggest damage, besides the people that have been killed, is the fact that Americaís reputation has been ruined by that war. Iím talking about Europe because that is where I spend most of my time. They really see Americans in a really bad way now and thatís a shame because touring here so much and getting to know the real people here you have to understand itís not all the same. Itís not like what you see on Jerry Springer, not all the Americans are like that (Since he is talking about Jerry Springer Iím going to assume he means crazy. - Mike). I think the image is a bit ruined for them and itís wrong. I donít think itís the right opinion but you only see what the TV shows to you. So what you see is that the Americans want to conquer this for the oil. They (the Europeans) donít talk to the real people that maybe donít agree with that (the war), but what can you do? Now around the world Americans are seen as stupid. "Oh, they are stupid because they do wars just for money." And thatís not the way it is and I can tell because I spend a lot of my life also here now. This year we spent 8 months in the States for touring, so we get to know a lot of people. We have a lot of friends here and hang out with a lot of people. We know that people are not all stupid. I think that is the biggest damage that this president has done to this country, is to ruin the image of the people. To make people hate you for no reason.
The Outcast: Heís definitely a dictator.
Andi: Itís hard to say, of course he has his rights and some people support him (Blind ones. - Mike), so heís there for some reason. But I think it is the system that is not working well. The fact that many people donít vote, donít know, that donít care, and that have been taken away from the information. That is the biggest injustice to the American people I think. But itís not only him. Itís probably a bigger complex of people that is behind the Bush administration (I know it is for sure because he is way too stupid to run this country to the ground alone! - Mike). I donít think itís only him, heís not Adolf Hitler. Itís just behind him thereís some kind of high money power that controls that.
The Outcast: I watched a documentary called; America - Freedom to Fascism - and the documentary is basically about the IRS and how it is an unconstitutional organization. It also goes as far as saying that bankers are the ones that are running this country, and the politics behind them. So yeah, Bush is a puppet, but heís still the dumbest president weíve ever had here in the United States.
Andi: Yeah, exactly. What I donít like about Europe or Europeans, is that they donít judge their own country, because our countries are the same in a way. Weíre not that much different than the States. We also have some problems with money, with corruption, with mafia, etc. I think in Europe on a different level the same things are happening sometimes in some of the countries. We should also look at our own government before judging those of others. We should be aware that not everything is perfect also in our own homeland.
The Outcast: Who writes most of the lyrics?
Andi: Basically me and Cristina. We share the duties, but sometimes more me, sometimes more her. It depends on the songs. Itís a complicated process because we have to do it in two and weíre learning step by step how to make better lyrics. I think the lyrics on the first album were okay, but nothing like really........ We didnít have the proper control on the language to express ourselves. It takes time I think to develop proper song writing and lyrics.
The Outcast: What themes and topics do you guys (gal) cover?
Andi: Weíre not a big political band. We donít usually use political topics in our lyrics because I think itís something more personal. Certain bands do it really well, like - Rage Against the Machine - for example. They want to be a political band so they do it 100%. For us itís a little different. Weíre more of an emotional band so we like to talk about emotional things. Even if sometimes we have some songs like, we had a song on Comalies called "Angels Punishment" which was against the war but it was a "generic song" because it was not about this or that one. That time it was the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that was not the only reason we wrote that song. Itís just to say that victims of the war are mostly innocent people that have no choice where to go. So it (the song) was something to support every victim, it doesnít matter if it is on one side, or the other. So weíre not really a political band, but we do talk about real life and thatís mostly what we talk about. Personal experience......... There was a song that was talking about an illness my mother got with deep depression, panic attacks. It can be a love song, or a hate song. The latest album especially has more a spiritual approach in the lyrics in general but thatís mostly because...... Itís not a concept album; itís just the approach we have used to see the more practical side of life. Thatís the main approach we have used talking about the lyrics and the topics of the albums.
The Outcast: How long have you been speaking English?
Andi: Now it has been a while because we studied in school when we were like 10 years old. We improve a lot by touring because in Europe if you tour....... For example we live close to the border of Switzerland, and if you drive one hour north you are already in Switzerland anyways and they speak 3 different languages; German, French and Italian. So you have to know another language to communicate with people. So the fact we have toured Europe since the beginning of the band has helped us a lot in developing our knowledge about English.
The Outcast: What other languages do you speak (Assuming that he speaks more than just Italian and English)?
Andi: I speak Spanish, English and Italian. I can understand a bit of French, a bit of......
The Outcast: Portuguese (Finishing his sentence).
Andi: .......Portuguese, a bit of German, but I canít say that I speak those languages.
The Outcast: Yo soy de Mexico.
Andi: Yo hablo EspaŮol. No muy bien, pero hablo EspaŮol.
The Outcast: Yo pensaba que a lo mejor hablaban EspaŮol porque estuve viendo una pelicula en Italiano en Mexico con los titulos en EspaŮol y casi-casi eran igual.
Andi: Es muy similar, pero es mas facil para un Italiano hablar EspaŮol, que un EspaŮol hable Italiano.
The Outcast: Por que?
Andi: I donít know really. Weíre going to Mexico City and Monterey in December. It should be really cool.
The Outcast: They love metal down there for sure.
Andi: They really appreciate the fact you go there and play. A lot of the places in Central and South America are like that. Weíve never been to Argentina or Brazil, or Chile, and we receive a lot of requests from those places but we just havenít had the chance so far.
The Outcast: When did you first get into metal?
Andi: Very young.
The Outcast: How old are you guys (gal)?
Andi: Weíre all in our 30ís, more or less. Some have just been 30 now or are 32, 33. When I was a kid my cousin gave me a vinyl of AC/DC - Let There Be Rock. That was the first Metal, or Rock album that I had. Then my father bought me a Kiss tape and then I got into Maiden. They were popular in Europe and I just started like that. Then I got into more heavy stuff like Metallica, Slayer, you know, the classic bands. Testament, Sepultura, more or less Iíve listened to a lot of Rock and Metal music. Now I listen mostly to Rock music in general, but a little bit of everything. I listen to some electronic stuff, to more poppy stuff sometimes, Reggae, all sorts of things. Rock is my thing though.
The Outcast: I really love techno.
Andi: It can be good for parties.
The Outcast: I really like Infected Mushroom from Israel. They played 15 min. from where I live in Illinois at a place called The Cave, which is an outside event. It rocked.
Andi: I think there is music for every different moment in your day. Sometimes you want energy so you listen to metal. Sometimes you want to chill out and listen to something easier. Iím very opened minded regarding music in general, especially now that Iíve grown up.
The Outcast: Some people that I have interviewed say that Heavy Metal music is the devils music, what are your thoughts on this?
Andi: I think it is the devils music in a way that it is something that your parents donít like, something different than the other kinds of music. You donít have to dress cool, have a fancy car, or something like that. In that way you can say it is the devils music but I donít believe in music like Black Metal. I think they should be more aware of the message that theyíre throwing to people. If you are behind it and you really believe that, itís cool. But sometimes I have seen a lot of black metal bands not back up the real life with what they say in the lyrics. That is something I donít like. If you mean it, okay, but you live that way. You have to mean it for real because you are saying something really evil and bad for some people. If you take it as a Cultural Metal you have to say to people........... Like Cradle of Filth for example. They, Dani always says he writes stuff like in tales so itís not that he means to sacrifice anyone, heís just a dark tale writer. I really appreciate it when he says that his lyrics are basically tales. Heís using the message to create art and thatís cool, even if Iím not that much into the music but I respect that. I donít respect when bands want to be evil and they work at the post office, or go to the disco-tech and they donít back up with the real life. Iím not a Satanist anyway, but I donít believe in God or Satan. If you want to take it as a positive or a negative thatís okay, and if Satan is an excuse for rebellion, itís cool for me. To make you think with your mind, that is positive. If you mean Satan in that way, then itís cool for me. If you mean it in a stupid, obscure games, I donít like it that way. We had a very bad episode in Italy. Where we formed the band was in a pub in Milan, a Metal pub called the Midnight Pub. Cristina used to work there as a waitress as well and thatís where we all met and started the basics of the band. After a few years when we were not hanging out in that pub anymore some of the guys that were going to the bar killed some other friends for a Satanist ritual. They buried them alive, 2 of their friends. They buried them alive and sacrificed them basically. They were very young kids on drugs. They didnít really know what they were doing. For many years they said that those 2 guys that were affiliated with some satanic organization, and that they disappeared to cover the homicide. So after like 10 years somebody confessed and they discovered that they really killed those guys since the beginning for the satanic ritual, but then they covered everything with the story of the guy disappearing with this Satan church or something like that. I met the father of one of the guys that had been killed and he always came to our shows to put flyers of the picture of his son because he was looking for him. I spoke with him and told him; "Look I donít know your son, but if I can help and go on stage and ask if anyone has seen him." We tried to do that but then we discovered it was bullshit. A couple of years ago everything went out and now these people are in jail and blah, blah, blah. It really ruins the image of Metal in Italy because everything was connected to that. Of course the media played with that. That was very negative. For us since we were the biggest Metal band in Italy and we had main stream attention, it was heavy for us to carry this weight of somebody elseís bullshit, you know? We had to explain to people we were not sacrificing animals, weíre not doing rituals, and we are not killing our friends. It was very bad. You have to be careful with that bullshit.
The Outcast: Well man, I donít want to take up any more of your time. It has been cool talking with you. It has been fun and interesting. Any closing words?
Andi: Thanks for the support man and I hope you enjoy the show. See you later.
The Outcast: Cool, see you later on man.