Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia: 'You Have to Embrace the Darkest Moments'
The band - Scabbia, co-vocalist Andrea Ferro, bassist Marco Coti Zelati, guitarist Cristiano Migliore, guitarist Marco Biazziand drummer Cristino Mozzati - will be on Megadeth's Gigantour package tour in support of their brand new album, 'Dark Adrenaline.' Produced by Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Avril Lavigne) in Milan and Los Angeles, the album features more of the Italian group's intoxicating blend of massive guitars, explosive dynamics and huge vocal hooks.
Noisecreep spoke with Scabbia about the new album, and why she and the band decided to cover an R.E.M. classic this time out.
Summarizing the album, the bio says that Dark Adrenaline "feels more complete" than your last, 2009's 'Shallow Life.' What does that mean?
The problem is that it's always really difficult to describe a new album, to compare to the previous album because obviously as a musician you try to do something new and you do something that represents yourself in the present time, so to compare it is already weird, but if I try to be really rational, this album feels more complete because it really includes our roots and also something new, while 'Shallow Life' was representing our rock side and there was not a lot of our old sound.
This is an album where, for the first time, we took a lot of our old roots on when we started, the musicality, just the feeling. It's just an old vibe coming out. I cannot really describe it. It's something that we noticed after we actually recorded it when a lot of people started to point it out to us, and then I was like, 'Yeah, it's kind of weird.' [laughs].
The first single, 'Trip The Darkness,' is about facing your darkest hour without fear. Typically, our lives are pretty normal until something hits, an illness, an accident, something where we would have to face our darkest hour. Is it autobiographical?
It's not an easy topic because people might misunderstand and take it as the wrong message like, 'Oh, you have to be dark in your life. You have to be negative. You have to embrace the darkness in your life.'
The fact is that people don't think about the fact that life itself is made of ups and downs, of good and bad, so this song means, at least to us, the fact that you just have to obviously find the light at the end of the tunnel. You have to embrace the darkest moments because they are part of life itself and they could be good, even if it doesn't sound right, because they can bring out a different type of emotion.
They can make you think about yourself; they can make you realize what you're missing or what you're achieved in your life. In your darkest moments, it's where you really sit down and look inside yourself and think about what you're doing because when you're happy you do something mundane, something crazy, but you don't really sit down and reflect.
What were experiencing at the time of writing the album. Were you happy?
I think this album started from a negative angle because some of the members experienced that moment, not being super negative but just life stuff - the loss of a person you love, some split in some of the relationships inside of the band - and that totally reflected in the songwriting. That's why the album is definitely darker. It's more obscure than every other album that we wrote.
Do you and Andrea write the lyrics?
Yeah, Andrea and I are responsible for vocal lines and lyrics.
Do you take into consideration that the two of you are speaking for the band and take in what your bandmates are going through as well?
Usually, it's not that we write lyric lyrics and then we show to the other guys in the band and say, 'Do you agree with this or not? because most of the time, a singer and a songwriter usually writes whatever he feels and that's what happens - that's really interesting because we never really thought about that. The guys are concentrating and focused on the music and they never really said anything about 'Oh, I think you shouldn't write this and that.' I guess, they agree with us [laughs].
Unless you wrote about abortion or something equally controversial that divides people.
Exactly. The point is we don't like to talk about religion or something that might be so private that it doesn't really make sense to talk about it. Usually, we talk about stuff that we live, our opinion on real life, and we try to translate what we feel into notes and lyrics, but we don't write about stuff that might be too weird. We like to be connected to reality.
Let me ask you about a few of the songs. 'Against You,' the bio says is about uprising. Like the occupy movement, that kind of uprising?
It's not really a political song. It's been inspired by some of the riots that happens a few months ago in South Africa for example and that made me think that the world is changing so much because some people are starting to realize what they really want from their life - and this can be because of internet; this can be because people are more aware of what is happening in the whole world - but that gave us the inspiration that sometimes you really have to stand up for yourself and make the big changes. You have to fight for whatever you feel is your right because if you don't stand up, nobody else will do it for you. So it can be applied in life. Of course, I'm not talking about a war or anything like that.
'End of Time' is almost a pop song.
I wouldn't call it a pop song. We imagine a sort of a trip that you can go on with you your car, driving for hours. We imagine this cinegraphy [sic] late late in the afternoon when the sun is coming down and you're relaxed in your car going for a long trip. That's the image we got from it. It's definitely a ballad. But we always have ballads in every album. We always have melodic parts for a moment.
You cover R.E.M.'s 'Losing My Religion.' I've read that Michael Stipe says it's about unrequited love and obsession. What did it mean to you?
I never really thought of the interpretation that R.E.M. gave about the song because I haven't read the interview. I'm not like an R.E.M. fan to own the discography or know why they wrote some of the songs, but from my personal interpretation, 'Losing My Religion' was getting perfectly with the vibe that was going through the album because it's a dark song in terms of lyrics.
I always interpreted is as a song shunning fame. "That's me in the spotlight/losing my religion," meaning losing my identity, losing me and who I am, in what others think I am.
To me, the main thing about the song is when it says, 'Life is bigger than you and you are not me,' because if we're really talking about religion, which is a topic that I barely touch, I think that too many people are so focused on the idea of a general religion with rules to follow and then they forget the basic things. I know a lot of people that don't go to church, don't profess hysterical crazy stereotype of a religious person, and then they go out and they help other people; they are respectful; they are with open arms towards every other human being. People shouldn't stop to interpretate [sic] religions through rules, but they should start to act well towards other people and this is something they forget. The most crazy religious people are usually against other people which I don't understand.
You worked with Don Gilmore again, who did 'Shallow Life.' So obviously that was a great experience for the band. What were you able to notice about how he worked with you this time now that you know him and he knows you and the way you tend to work?
The difference was that now he was working with a friend because obviously we knew him better. We felt more free to talk about what we wanted to have on this album. Actually, the relationship with him was so good that we sometimes had to have discussions with him because we were really sure about what we wanted.
We love to work with him because he's a great person. He's able to take the energy out of you when you're feeling lazy and, at the same time, is able to make you chill out when you're super nervous or just stressing out because, I don't know, you might have a low day in the studio where you're not feeling too well so you're not able to think properly or you're just tired or not in the mood. So you need a person that can be something in between and he's a great person for that.
We learned a lot. Especially on 'Shallow Life,' I feel like I know a lot more about the songwriting process and some effects that you an put on the voice. I know a lot more.
The album is just coming out in Europe and will be out in America two days after you start the Gigantour with Megadeth. Are you excited to get back on the road?
Yeah I'm very excited because it's gonna be a fun tour because every band is playing a completely different type of music, so the package is going to be really interesting. I think fans that are coming for other bands might be interested in checking out the other bands, so it's going to be fun. We toured with Megadeth already so we know the guys and can't wait to see them again.
Is your friendship consistent with them because you were on a Megadeth song ["A Tout le Monde'] in 1995?
No, not in the way that we talk to each other every day or anything like that. It happened that they came to Milano playing once and I went to the show and I sang the song with them, but, honestly, I don't have any private contact. So when I'll see them on Gigantour, it will be the first time after a long time.
Are you playing a lot of new material during your set?
We are definitely playing a couple of songs. Now, we are debating whether to add more stuff or not. Obviously, the opening bands of a big tour you will not have a very long time to perform, so we're trying to bring all the classics with us, but at the same time we want to promote the new album and we want to give the fans, or whoever is checking us out for the first time, a taste of the new album.
Lacuna Coil's 'Dark Adrenaline' will hit stores on Jan. 24 via Century Media.
Gigantour with Megadeth, Motörhead, Lacuna Coil, and Volbeat tour dates:
Thu 1/26 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
Fri 1/27 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Sat 1/28 New York, NY Theater at Madison Square Garden
Sun 1/29 Lowell, MA Tsongas Arena
Wed 2/1 Glens Falls, NY Glens Falls Civic Center
Thu 2/2 Quebec City, QC Colisee Pepsi Arena
Fri 2/3 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
Sun 2/5 Kingston, ON K-Rock Centre
Tue 2/7 Oshawa, ON General Motors Centre
Wed 2/8 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
Thu 2/9 Auburn Hills, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
Fri 2/10 Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom
Sun 2/12 Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom
Tue 2/14 St. Paul, MN Myth
Thu 2/16 Saskatoon, SK Prairieland
Fri 2/17 Edmonton, AB Shaw Conference Centre
Sat 2/18 Calgary, AB Big 4 Building
Mon 2/20 Abbotsford, BC Abbotsford Ent & Sports Centre
Tue 2/21 Kent, WA Showare Center
Thu 2/23 San Jose, CA Events Center
Fri 2/24 Universal City, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
Sat 2/25 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
Sun 2/26 Albuquerque, NM Tingley Coliseum
Tue 2/28 Denver, CO The Fillmore Auditorium
Mar 01 Dallas, TX The Palladium
Mar 02 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theater
Mar 03 Austin, TX ACL Live at The Moody Theater