Cristina Scabbia shares vocal duties with Andrea Ferro in Italian heavy metal band Lacuna Coil. Scabbia’s clear voice and soulful performances have contributed to the success of this melodic, gothic-tinged group, and in recent years, they’ve enjoyed a steady climb in popularity. Lacuna Coil are currently on tour with musical titans Megadeth, Motörhead and Volbeat, as part of this year’s Gigantour lineup. Their newest album, Dark Adrenaline, is both musically and thematically darker than the band’s last several works, drawing both criticism and praise. I’ve long been a fan of Lacuna Coil’s music and especially of Cristina’s confidence and intelligence, her willingness to experiment as an artist, and her relationship with her fans.
Lacuna Coil have been touring rigorously for almost ten years now. How have you all adapted to life on the road?
Touring is not easy and it requires either craziness or discipline. There’s almost no privacy at all and you’re constantly dealing with managing time, whether that means full schedules or boring moments. That’s why a lot of people give up; I survive because I like to be on tour and love travelling. Lacuna Coil are like a family, so we learned to respect each other’s spaces and habits.
How much of the writing process of your new music takes place in transit? Do you still come home to write and record or is it a process that begins while you are still moving?
We never write on the road. We might collect ideas, but we never go deep in the songwriting; it’s not the right mindset, for us, at least. We prefer to go home and be in our environment and then completely focus on writing new material.
What is the writing process for vocal lines and lyrics like between you and Andrea Ferro? Do you write directly together, collaboratively, or do you work separately and then combine your work later?
We surely don’t sit at a table deciding how to split our vocals 50 percent [laughs]. We like to think that our voices are like two instruments to freely add to any song. That’s why it doesn’t really matter who sings what and when, as long as it works for the song. Sometimes I write parts that Andrea ends up singing and vice versa.
Dark Adrenaline is a much darker and heavier album than the more upbeat Shallow Life. What accounted for this change in tone and direction?
We always incorporated heavy parts in our music, leaving space for melody as well. Every Lacuna Coil record is different and inspired by our lives. The fact that we went through some negative episodes in our lives has lead us to need to push the anger out, ending with music that became heavier.
How has Dark Adrenaline forced you to push yourself as an artist and performer?
Every record is a challenge, but for us in Lacuna Coil, we are not afraid to experiment and evolve, keeping our roots alive. More than that, it’s about being able to express what we want to say in a way we feel completely comfortable with.
With such a large, dedicated and passionate fan base, do you ever feel pressure to write a certain kind of music? How do you balance the desire to innovate with the necessity of pleasing current fans and attracting new ones?
If we would have felt any type of pressure, we would have written the same album over and over. But if you’re an avid listener of any type of music and hate barriers, it is really difficult to stay stuck in the same thing forever. Plus, it doesn’t really matter because the music will be coming from our hearts no matter what.
Of all of the music you have written over your career, is there a particular song that you keep coming back to? What is it about that song that’s particularly moving or powerful for you?
There is more than one. I’m attached to a song called “Falling” and on this album I’m in love with “I Don’t Believe in Tomorrow.” Both are inspired by personal experiences I’m not willing to share.
In a recent interview with Carl Begai, you mention that you’re taking a deliberate step back from being the public face of Lacuna Coil, especially when it comes to things like solo photo shoots, out of a desire to emphasize the team nature of the band. Was there a particular incident that spurred this decision?
No, not really; it’s just the fact that now everybody is doing that and I want to do something different. We’ve always been a band. However, it seems that if a guy singer is in the spotlight, nobody thinks it’s weird, but if you are a girl and get the same spot, all of a sudden it becomes problematic. Any girl in any band gets more attention than guys, anyway.
Do you find that, as a very attractive woman, it’s more difficult to convince critics, labels, fans, etc. to take your music seriously? Your appearance is a powerful tool, generating a great deal of attention, and it certainly can increase the initial appeal of the band, as well. How do you maintain a balance?
My balance factor is to believe that our fans are not stupid. They are intelligent enough to see behind the image and to judge me as a singer and performer. Besides that, why would you buy a CD if you were only interested in the image? You would buy a magazine with a poster, right? Whoever stops at the surface is not even in my thoughts. I’m not doing music to please other people; I’m doing it because it’s the form of expression of my art.
Lacuna Coil attract a great number of female fans. Do you see yourself as a role model for young women who are passionate about metal? If so, how do you try to inhabit this role? What advice do you hope to pass along to your fans?
It’s cool to be considered a role model and I feel proud of the fact that I am showing the world that an ordinary girl, who’s not perfect, can kick ass, be confident and be successful. If this is what girls are seeing in me and that helps them boost their ego and confidence, I’m more than happy!
Lacuna Coil‘s newest album, Dark Adrenaline, was released by Century Media on January 24 2012. Check it out here!