Don de Leaumont of The Great Southern Brainfart recently conducted an interview with vocalist Andrea Ferro of Italian heavy rockers LACUNA COIL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Great Southern Brainfart: You guys got a lot of shit for "Shallow Life", which I thought was an awesome album. It was way different from anything LACUNA COIL had done to that point and it was a risky move. The fans really seemed to hit you hard for that one.
Andrea: I think with a record, sometimes you have the right balance and sometimes you don't. It's that way for every band, I think. I think they are great songs anyways. I can recognize that they are different and they're not what you would expect from us but maybe we just fell in love with a certain sound at the time so we wanted to try and put it to our own style. We got really criticized for "Shallow Life", because it was a very different kind of record, but I think there are great songs on "Shallow Life". Maybe some songs we tried things that were just too different but if we don't try something different, we can't move to the next step and then do this new album. You just need to try. For "Shallow Life" we changed producers, we changed management, we changed a lot of things so it was a new record and a new life for the band in a way. That allowed us to find the motivation to go ahead as a band and to try something different and new.
The Great Southern Brainfart: That's a really great attitude to have. Even artists like KISS took chances and made albums that may not have been the best for the fans but it was something they needed to do in order to move on. I felt like "Shallow Life" was a really cool album. I thought it was cool that you guys took a risk and tried something different.
Andrea: Thanks. I think that it's just that a lot of people don't appreciate it. They don't understand that just because you try something different doesn't' mean that you don't like what you've done before. It's just that you want to try and bring the music somewhere else and you need to experiment in order to find the right way to do it. I kind of see our career in cycles of three albums. I think when we started, we were just this gothic metal band from Europe inspired PARADISE LOST, TIAMAT, and TYPE O NEGATIVE. We were trying to sound like those bands because that's what we liked back then in our 20s. Then we did "Unleashed Memories", but I think we really found the right balance with "Comalies". I think that album was a big success because it was the right balance of identity and the roots of where we come from as a band. With "Karmacode" we tried to go really heavy, detuned the guitars and went with a more metal sound. On "Shallow Life" we tried to be more rock with more open choruses and simpler, straightforward lyrics. "Dark Adrenaline" includes the heaviness of "Karmacode", the simple approach of "Shallow Life" with the bigger choruses but also the heritage of the gothic sound. So for me, I see for some reason that every three albums we make our best album so I think "Comalies" and "Dark Adrenaline" are our best albums, in my opinion.
The Great Southern Brainfart: Social networking has really bridged the gap between fans and bands. Do you like being so accessible to your fans and how does it influence a lot of what you do as an artist?
Andrea: You can keep an eye on it, and you can review what they're saying, but I don't think it should get too much in your way. You have to pay respect to the fans and hear their opinions. If you put yourself on display, you need to be aware that it's going be both positive and negative criticism. Sometimes the negative might be correct, but most of the time it's over-exaggerated. [laughs] The Internet allows everyone to just talk bullshit. If you go on to Blabbermouth, according to [the people posting comments there], nobody is a good band and nobody plays good music because they all suck. [laughs] I actually have a lot of fun reading the comments on the Internet. Some people take it personally, but I really don't. I know what I do right and I know when I fuck up, and like everybody else, I have good and bad times. You need to be able to separate reality from the Internet. They don't always go together. I think the Internet is a big help in promoting the band even in territories we couldn't reach before. On the other hand, there's the fact that there is no regulation to it at all and that can also do a lot of damage.
The Great Southern Brainfart: I spoke with Russell Allen of SYMPHONY X once and he said that while the Internet was this great invention, it didn't come with a user's manual or a rule book, making it hard for people to control.
Andrea: Exactly. It's like everything in society. You need some rules. Don't get me wrong. I'm not for censorship, and I'm not for arresting somebody because they are downloading a record or something. I just think there needs to be regulation that allows everyone to have their own rights. Everybody was against Lars Ulrich [METALLICA] when he went against Napster and he was the first person to point out this situation. I think he was right, to be honest. He was right when he said that METALLICA has the right to decide if they want to give away their music for free or not. I should be able to decide if I want to give away my music for free on the Internet or not as well. There's nothing wrong with it, but I should be able to decide that as opposed to somebody else. Actually, it's not even the people who download the music. It's the people who run those sharing sites. These people are making money out of it because these sites put commercials, they put up banner ads, and they have the power to make money off of it. The companies who host these sites are making money off them those people so it's really not just the kid who's downloading the album that is stealing from the artists. I blame more the people behind these websites who are in control and running the machine that allows people to get these records for free.
The Great Southern Brainfart: Speaking of Blabbermouth, how do you feel when you go on to that site and you see some shitty, negative comments.
Andrea: Oh, man, it's just funny. Some comments are really funny. Some people are smart with it and they have a fun way of saying something negative with a sense of humor. Some people just put some over-the-top insult on there and it's just stupid. It's fun and you don't have to take it too seriously. People can write whatever they want on the Internet and that's why people go there. It's funny, because that site is also promoting bands. People go there talking shit about a band but those negative comments are creating an audience.
The Great Southern Brainfart: It's funny but it seems that the bands they hate the most get the most comments on that site.
Andrea: [laughs] The best-selling bands are the ones that get the worst comments. Like FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. They'll get like 1,000 negative comments but yet they're out there selling out arenas so it looks like it works. [laughs]
Read the entire interview from The Great Southern Brainfart.