Lacuna Coil Interview with Andrea Ferro – May 2007

Circa May 2007 – Fazer Magazine
Hottest Chicks In Metal tour

While he’s NOT one of the hottest chicks in Metal, Andrea Ferro is 50% of the vocals in Lacuna Coil, and he took some time to chat with me a few hours before going onstage at the May 16th Opera House show. We were chatting about crossing the US / Canadian border as
we were setting up and getting
seated to talk.

Is it bad when you have to go over the US Canadian border Andrea? Do they really harass you?
No so far we never have any problems. Sometimes they check all the paperwork, but normally it’s not a big deal. The problem is we may cross in the early morning, so you have to step out of the bus and you’re sleeping. That’s a bit uncomfortable. Maybe because we don’t have any records from police because we’re not from here so they don’t care that much.

Good to hear. I know some bands have a hard time with border crossing.
Actually we have to cross tonight and then cross it back because we’re going back to do Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

My brother’s going to see you in Edmonton; he’s a big fan as well.
We do an acoustic set there as well. I’ll tell him that so he can check your set out.

How do the acoustic sets happen? Is it just booked with your promoter?
No actually for this tour, we are doing it for Ovation Guitars – which is our endorser for our acoustic guitar, and they organize most of the shows in the music stores where they sell Ovation instruments. So it’s more like a guitar clinic because the audience can see you playing the actual guitar while we do a stripped down version of the songs. We always do three songs then we have a question and answer with the fans so they can ask you what model of guitar or something about the music business or the history of the band. It’s nice – as we often get asked something more personal that you don’t read in an interview or maybe you just want to ask directly to the band. And then we do like a Q&A on the acoustic guitar, so it’s more to involve people with music and the instrument, than actually a big music promotional thing; it’s more for our fans
already. We do it in places where they teach music, so they have a live experience from a professional band. It’s more like that. It’s not really a big music industry promotional thing. We started the acoustic set just for promotion for radios at the beginning because they were requesting
that we play in their studios. But we couldn’t get six people in the studio and the amps and everything, so we did it like two guitars, two voices and it just started as a coincidence. There was nothing planned. The acoustic stuff seems to be popular though.

I bought some of your acoustic material from iTunes. I like them, they’re good versions.
Yeah… some of them are good, some are okay.

Would people go to one of these acoustic sets and maybe not know so much about you and just be there because of the guitars?
Sometimes yes. Sometimes we have people that are more curious because they see band playing in a store, so they think “why not? I can go in for free.” We try to do this acoustic stuff in the smaller cities. If we play Phoenix for example we do it between Phoenix and Albuquerque and do it in a smaller place where there is more people that maybe can’t come to the Phoenix show, so they can have at least the acoustic set. So we will try to cover all the territory with those. We’ve done like 15 acoustic sets on the Jagermeister tour, plus we’ve done some radio stuff for promotion on acoustic. For this tour it’s not many, it’s probably three or four in total. We’ve done New York on Saturday afternoon, and we’re doing one in Edmonton, and that’s it.

Nice. You’ve never headlined in Canada before have you?
No. Neither in the States actually. I mean we have done some shows in between tours that were like one-off dates where we headlined. But it was something very random and not very organized as a tour. So this time is the first time we have actually done some kind of headline in North America. This run of dates is a big deal.

I loved your opening sets. But there was no material from your earlier discs on these sets. I’m looking forward to hearing some of the other songs that you will fill your set out with.
Yeah it’s cool. This tour is different from any other package that we’ve ever done. It’s all done with metal acts with a female in the band, so it’s something original you don’t have on any other tour at the moment. And we’re playing a lot of the old material as well from Unleashed Memories
and In a Reverie. It’s very interesting I think. It’s not like a huge production of a show because we’re not playing massive venues. We’re doing slightly different territories than what we have done on the Jagermeister tour so we don’t play the same cities again. Instead of doing Chicago, Philadelphia, we do smaller, what they call secondary market cities. So we do like Knoxville, or Columbus, South Carolina. We’re doing New York and L.A. as big cities but the rest are smaller. And Canada – because we haven’t been playing in Canada with the Jagermeister tour at all. So we’re trying to cover all the places basically. It’s a treat for fans, you know a lot of those guys would drive to see you at some of the bigger cities… If fans want to come they can come driving or we can play for people that we normally don’t play for because they’re not exactly in the biggest city.

I’m curious, when you guys break material down how do you and Cristina decide who’s going to sing what?
Basically we don’t really care who writes the part of the song as long as the part fits well with one or the other voice or the two voices. So we always try to split it in a way that is the best. For instance, sometimes Cristina sings some stuff that I wrote, or I sing stuff that she wrote, because we don’t really care. The main thing is what’s best for the song. It doesn’t have to be 50% me, or 70% Cristina, or 55%. One song can be more of Cristina, one song can be more of me. It’s just what works best with the song, and I think it’s something we have learned through the years. It’s not always easy to balance. Also when we write the lyrics together, we need to find a good sharing of the ideas and everything. So sometimes it’s more my lyrics and sometimes it’s more Cristina’s lyrics, but then we always adjust it together because that’s the way we work as a team.

Do you ever flip lyrics? Have you ever done that when you’ve just said you know what, let’s just sing each other’s parts and see what it sounds like?
No, not that. We always try to do it together, because it’s better for a song. Maybe we could work it. Hmmm… maybe we should try it.

I think you both work really well together when you sing, I just wondered if the songs would falter if you ever reversed the singing parts.
We’ve never done that. Usually when we write – the idea can come from the words that you already have from a vocal line and we adjust it to make sense of course, or the idea can come before the lyrics so you already have something to say. I want to talk about this and this, so maybe this is the right song to talk about these things. It’s a complicated process because we always start from the music first and then the lyrics and the vocal lines. So it’s kind of hard work to make it fit precisely to the melody and everything. But that’s why also now we are trying to start sometimes from the vocal line, and then learning the guitar and composition to be more able to start from the vocals and do some different kind of songs too. When we have the songs that are more easy to understand, they are usually the ones that the singer writes because they go with the line and then you build across, around the vocal line. Instead when you have to start from the music you have to find a space for the vocals in the song. So we try to make both things work and to have different kind of songs. In the past 90% of the case was that the music had been already written, and then of course you can change the structure and make it longer or shorter, a cut here, this and that, but we had music and we were inspired by the music and seeing what the music was suggesting in terms of melody. Now we want to try also to do the opposite, to start from our ideas and words and a little melody from the voice and build around that so you can have different kind of songs. Probably for like the very heavy songs it’s better to start from the music and for the more melodic songs I think the voice can be more of a drive for the song.

KarmaCode has been out for a year and a half now? A year and a month, something like that. I forgot if it was an April or March release. Are you prepping new material? Have you been writing on the road?
Not on the road, no. In these conditions it’s not really possible for us because we don’t have much space, people have to share the bus with the crew, so every band that you see that they write music, usually they have one bus for each member, like Korn. I know Jonathan writes all his stuff on the road but he’s got a studio set up in the back of the tour bus just for him, so it’s easier to work. But in these conditions it’s pretty tough. You don’t have the space, the time and everything. So we more collect some ideas here and there but we need to be home to write the album. That’s why after this tour I guess our cycle would be done in terms of touring for this album. We have some festivals in Europe but are just like three-four days here and there, it’s not a tour. So if something like really interesting comes up we might do another tour but I doubt it, and we’re going to go straight to the writing because we don’t want to wait for four years for the next album, like we’ve done with Comalies. We can keep pushing the new album, do another year of touring and keep selling it… but the problem is that then the next album is going to be delayed and it’s better for us now to focus on the writing. And if something very interesting that opens some different doors comes up we might do it, but not another long run of dates for sure, not another metal tour like what we have done so far. Not another classic metal tour.

What does a concert for you look like in Europe compared to what you’re doing here? You must be so much more popular in Europe.
Yeah the production is bigger of course because we have done more than one headline or two there so we have done the first tour with Sentence – it was like a kind of a co-headline tour. Some dates it was us, some dates it was them, and then we’ve done the same with Moonspell and now last September we have done like the first full headline tour in Europe with us and a small band in support. Our first where it was not a co-headline. So we play pretty big venues and we had a truck with production and everything so
we have raisers on stage with lights underneath stairs, like 28 moving lights and big backdrops because we had the size of venues allowed us to do that in a proper show. Here it’s more like we have some scanners some moving lights and a little bit of the show but it’s nothing
comparable to Europe of course, because it’s the first time we headline and the venues are not so big to do the big production on, so it’s more basic like what it was in the beginning in Europe for us. But it’s good. I mean you have to start somewhere, you have to increase your fees to have more money to spend on the next shows and invest in the production, so we need to start somewhere and I think it’s good moment to start and even be a cycle for the album with the headline.

I think you appeal to a broader audience, and I’m saying this because I’ve seen you twice as an opening act, I saw you at Rob Zombie and then I saw you with In Flames and I would look around at people in the audience and kind of watch them nodding their heads, like they didn’t know maybe who you were but were totally digging what you were doing on stage. Some of these guys will likely be here again tonight.
We saw this also on the Jager tour when we were with Stone Sour. A lot of the Stone Sour crowd is people that listen to the radio more and they maybe only know that ‘Through Glass’ song, the ballad they have because it was a mass success. So these guys in attendance are not the metal heads, which have all the albums, all the material from the band, the very devoted fans. So those kinds of listeners are more the generic public, and we appeal pretty well also to that crowd because we have pretty melodic songs anyway, even if we are kind of a heavy band but we’re not so extreme that we can’t appeal. So we’ll notice on that tour that we gain a lot of new fans from random audience like that, or when we play like radio stations we always have a lot of success because it’s something different for them, something they don’t know about. There’s also something simple enough that they can get right away. So and that’s why what you say is correct. We can appeal to a lot of different kinds of crowds because we are a bit heavy but we are also quite melodic.

I use my wife as a litmus test, she won’t go to anything too heavy. She’s in China right now, she’s disappointed that she’s missing you play because she likes your stuff. I think it was the ‘Enjoy the Silence’ cover she heard and she liked it.
Yeah that song in Europe especially opened us a lot of doors in terms of more commercial success and attention from complete different medias like even for example the Lufthansa which is the air company, German national airlines, they had the song on the play list for the airplane like from Germany to New York and the other way, and they had it on the play list and it’s something weird for a metal band from Italy to have a song on a plane’s play list. It’s a really good cover version. Yeah it’s a song that definitely opened different doors, also in Italy where we’re from MTV has been massively behind us, a lot of the radio stations which aren’t playing nothing like rock at all, like not even Linkin Park or Evanescence, they were on the song because they really dug it. Depeche Mode in Europe is a big thing and it’s still very popular even with the kids. Probably here, in Canada , you’re slightly different than the States but in the States the metal kids are not so much familiar with Depeche Mode unless they are into that kind of music specifically. Not as much as in Europe or here.

Cool. I wanted to ask about your touring schedule as well, like you guys seem to be always on tour in North America, you’ve been hitting this market really hard. Would you do a tour like that if you were over in Europe?
I think it’s pretty different the way you tour in Europe and the way you tour here. There is not so many chances in Europe as here. I mean we have done the headliner tour in Europe and a lot of the summer fests for like two or three years now we keep doing summer festivals but for us it’s very hard to support somebody, because there’s not so many bands that are the same big in Europe that we can actually be the support for them. So it’s more difficult for us to support unless it’s somebody like Guns & Roses or Metallica, bands that headline everywhere, but it’s pretty tough to be support for that band because they’re probably going to take an American band as a support anyway. So it’s tough. It’s a complete different thing. But you can do more than two or three tours in Europe for a tour cycle, because what are you going to do? You can headline twice, maybe support once and then there’s not the same chance in America you can tour with a metal band, you can tour with a radio band, we can tour with an old style rock band. There’s more chance to do that here, and there is more audience for your music. In Europe it’s more if you don’t go through the mainstream, which is very hard for a rock metal band actually, what you’re going to do is tour with the metal circle and then it’s done, or you can do more gothic places, you can do more metal but then it’s basically done. It’s very hard to have support everywhere for mainstream media. Like we have it in Italy because we are from Italy and we are the national heroes so we have the big support, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have it in Germany or in France of the UK. Not everywhere works the same. For example we’re doing really great in Finland and we’re not doing as good in Norway and Sweden and they’re all there. But they are different nations with different tastes and different rules and different regulations, different distribution. So it’s tougher to do that in Europe because the situation is completely different. It’s way more split up and shattered and smaller market with different language, different taste, different culture, different histories.

Did you guys get to go home for Christmas?
Yeah, actually we finished the tour with In Flames on the 21st of December…

You did the Danzig tour and then went right onto In Flames.
Yeah In Flames, the 21st or 22nd we’ve been home and we spent Christmas home and then we came out for the Jager tour again. We just shot a video in Italy in the mean while. We had to do some promotion but nothing massive. Then we came back here and started touring again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s