Originally known as Sleep Of Right (1994-1995) and Ethereal (1995-1997), Milan band Lacuna Coil have been gracing stages across the world for over two decades. However, this Jan. marks the Italian musicians’ official 20th anniversary, celebrating not only the band’s name, but their debut full-length album, In A Reverie. From then, Lacuna Coil scaled their way onto U.S. charts and found their fifth studio album peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard 200.
With the release of their most recent record, Delirium, band members Cristina Scabbia (vocals), Andrea Ferro (vocals), Marco Coti Zelati (bass, keyboards), Ryan Blake Folden (drums), and Diego Cavllotti (guitar) have been spanning the globe, eager to share what seems to be their best record yet. But as the year—and their tours—draw to a close, the musicians are preparing a bash in celebration of their 20 years since their debut EP. I was able to talk with Scabbia about what’s to come for Lacuna Coil.
It seems as though you guys have been on and off touring all year!
Well actually, it was pretty relaxed. We did some touring, but we toured like crazy with some of the other records, so we did some touring for Delirium, our latest record, but we also had some time off. Like, before this tour, we had three weeks off, which was good and we played some summer festivals mainly during the weekend so we could have some time for ourselves, which is good. But that’s what we like. Even touring is a vacation for me.
That’s excellent to hear. How has this tour been going?
This tour is amazing. We knew it was gonna be good because the package is pretty cool with Epica on and other two bands called Insomium and Elantris. The reactions so far are incredible. It’s definitely gonna be a good tour because every band is proposing something different so it’s good and quality music and even though the fans may be a little bit different. There are a lot of connections in the music of the different bands. We’ve been on tour for only like a week, but so far it’s been good.
Lacuna Coil are well-versed in spanning the globe and playing for different countries and cultures. How do these audiences differ from one another in their reactions to your music?
I wouldn’t make like a clear separation from place to place because even in the same country, audiences can be really different from night to night. Back in the days, I remember it would be totally different even from the stage because the audience members would be really various. You would see the hip-hop guys and the metalheads and the regular person all coming to the show and being metalheads while in Europe; you can see a more distinctive clothing style for people listening to metal. You know, they would wear the shirt of the band or they’re all dressed in black. But now it’s pretty much like that everywhere and I don’t see many, many differences to be honest.
How do you guys keep from going stir-crazy on the road? It’s got to be monotonous after a while.
I think we all have our way. For example, the first thing that I like to do when I wake up, besides having breakfast and saying hi to everyone, I like to look for a thrift store. I’m obsessed with thrift stores. I’ll go hunting for stuff and weird things that might be forgotten, but it’s mainly an excuse to walk around a little bit and find out about the city I’m in. Most of the cities, I’ve been before, so I know the surrounding and I know where to go. We do a lot of different stuff. You can watch a movie, you can take a nap, you can work on the setlist. I also draw on some of the drum skins that are on sale at the merch booth each night. So that’s another thing that keeps me busy. And then I check with friends back home because I’m always in touch with them—you can do different things, but honestly I still love to tour and I think that after so many years, it is still fresh to me. I don’t go crazy. I like to do this.
You said you sometimes work on the setlists. Do you change them each night or just make little tweaks?
No, we tend to keep the same one only because we have to program lights and you have to do it accordingly with the sound guy and the light guy. So, we tend to keep the same one for the tour, but it might happen that we change things here and there if we feel that there is something that is not perfect to us.
Makes sense. Last year, you released Delirium—are you happy with the way it’s been received by fans?
Oh, it’s been received amazingly. A lot of people have said that it’s either our best album to date or at least very, very close to favorite records, the one that’s called Comalies, the one that made us famous years ago. I am happy because it’s a record that everyone likes—our old-school fans and a lot of new people. It’s interesting because in the shows with Epica, a percentage of people come for them and it is great to see that we’re selling a lot of CDs because that means that our new songs are appealing to a lot of new people who have never seen or heard Lacuna Coil before. They may have heard the name, but once you start touring and playing at concerts, you really get an idea of what music you give to the crowd. And we’re really happy. We love this record, it means a lot to us. I think it’s the perfect package, because beside loving the music because we wrote it, I think that the imagery and the pictures and the packaging of this record, everything is perfect and makes sense and I’m happy that a lot of people share the same opinion about it with me.
What was different about the writing and recording of this record from the previous albums?
Oh, [laughs] I mean, we’re talking about 20 years. It would take, like, a week for me to tell you everything [laughs]. But I would say that mainly nothing really changed in the songwriting because the people who write the records are the same. But what changes with every record is what inspired it. Things are happening around us in between records. The place where you actually record the record can influence the sound as well and this is the first record that we recorded and mixed in Milano. It was self-produced basically. Marco, our bass player, is the producer of the record and this never happened before. It is a big change because we could decide every little detail of this record. And it isn’t like we didn’t have the same freedom before, but of course, when you welcome a producer, you kinda talk about things and compromise, or maybe just talking can change your starting idea. This was kinda 1,000 percent Lacuna Coil from start to end and that was a huge, huge difference.
The fact that from the previous record and this one, [three members had left] the band. It was not a big difference because the two members had resigned before the previous record, but they decided to record it anyway to keep it as a memory. And we only lost one member since, so I can understand that from the outside, it’s like, “Oh, you lost three members, so it’s like this.” But it was not a big difference anyway because the songwriters are still in the band anyway.
Losing three band members—was it hard to find replacements for them?
No, actually—not at all because now we have one guitar instead of two and the drummer replacement was very, very easy to find because Ryan, our drummer now, was our drum tech. So we’ve been knowing Ryan for more than eight years now and he’d already played in some shows even when our ex-drummer was still, as a replacement, with us because he was sick. So we knew him, knew his attitude, we knew him as a person because you can find 1,000 amazing drummers to join the band, but what’s even more important is the human side because you have to share a lot of time with these people whether it’s on the bus or you’re recording. Ryan was the perfect replacement because we knew him very well and we knew that he was an amazing drummer.
Diego, who’s been with us for a little more than a year now, he was a friend of ours We started kind of testing him—he was on the record and played a couple of songs in Delirium. But we didn’t know if it would work because we had to test the human side [chuckles] to see if we was an able member but he passed the test and now we are very, very happy to have him and it’s nice to have new people on board and it’s motivating us even more and has brought a lot of new energy to the band.
And you guys also have a very special event coming up in January. It’s a celebration of 20 years of Lacuna Coil. Can you tell me a little about it?
Yeah! Well—next year is gonna be 20 years from the very first release because even though the band was formed more than 20 years ago, this will mark our very first release that came out in Jan. 19th 1998. So, in order to celebrate this, we’re doing different things. We are writing a book that tells the story of the band and we are gonna be playing a very special show in London on Jan. 19th, which is Lacuna Coil Day because we have a song called “1:19” and the fans have decided to make it that day. So we decided to have it become Lacuna Coil Day for the celebration. It’s gonna be a unique gig in London at the Sheppard Bush Empire and it’s gonna be a very different show compared to the usual Lacuna Coil show with a lot of special effects and songs that we’ve never played before. We will make it a unique event for sure. I already know a lot of people coming from all around the world—it’s gonna be super cool. I can’t wait!
Don’t miss as Lacuna Coil pull into the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia on Sept. 28 and Playstation Theater on Sept. 29. For more on these Milano musicians, check out their site: lacunacoil.com.