Lacuna Coil’s Andrea Ferro: “An Artist Has To Walk His History”

Andrea Ferro (second from left) with his long-running band Lacuna Coil.
They have experience to enhance their music.
(Photo credit: Katja Kuhl.)

If you’re sick of music competition shows where mediocre performers are exalted by a system that manufactures success, be assured that you are not alone and that America is not the only country that suffers from this aural plague. Like the U.S., Europe has become increasingly infested with American Idol and X Factor spin-offs. Ryan Seacrest recently made the statement that he could not imagine life without American Idol. Thankfully, many of us can.

When I interviewed Lacuna Coil frontman Andrea Ferro last month, I asked him about Italian music competition shows. “We have a show called X Factor, which has people of all different ages competing with each other doing cover versions of songs, and the winner gets a major label deal, produces a record and becomes very popular,” he explained. “The talent shows are really big everywhere in Europe. Funny, in a country close to Italy, part of the ex-Yugoslavia, there was this girl that won the local X Factor. She sang one of our songs, ‘Swamped’ from Comalies. It was weird. She had a guest singer who did my part, and she won the competition and became the idol. I thought it was funny. To be honest, I haven’t heard her album, I just know that she did that. There’s a video on YouTube if you look for it. I think it was Estonian Idol.”

While groups like Lacuna Coil spent years building up their repertoire and developing a live reputation, many contest winners simply jump out there with no history or experience. Some can handle it, but many do not. And most do not have much of interest to sing about. “I think most of the time what is missing from these people is the background,” concurred Ferro. “I’m not a superficial listener, I’m more of a specific listener that likes to listen to music and to know the history of the artist. For me, an artist has to walk his history. They have to do the little gigs to open for somebody and to understand where they want to go as an artist and be influenced by different bands. When we started, we were heavily influenced by the European Gothic metal bands and even the American ones like Type O Negative or Anathema, and we started because we loved those bands and wanted to play that sound. From there we evolved into something else and incorporated other elements and had time to learn through the process. It’s not that we came out of nowhere and were this original band. We built what we are, and I think most of the time these people don’t. Maybe some of them did, but a lot of them are just young kids with no experience. Why do I want to listen to somebody with no experience, with nothing to tell me, with nothing to represent as an artist?”

Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia
and Andrea Ferro performing
live in Milan, Sept. 2006.
(Photo credit: Angel's Punishment.)

Lacuna Coil’s first official release, their self-titled EP, came out in 1998 and featured a different group roster than they have now. Ferro admitted that the sextet got lucky at the beginning. They had been active in different forms and under different names for over three years before their luck turned around fast. They sent their cassette demo to various companies after looking up record label addresses on the backs of their favorite albums and got a very quick response. “We wrote a bio in English and sent a couple of pictures taken by a friend of us,” Ferro explained of their old school approach. Century Media quickly offered them a deal in late 1997, which was helpful in more ways than one. “We never had to do the van touring. We did a lot of sharing of tour buses but never really got into the van because we toured with Moonspell the first time. We were lucky on that side, at least. We played our first real show with that [early] lineup on that tour. We had never done any other show before, so we learned. That’s why we split out from that lineup on that tour as well because we had no experience.” They have certainly made up for it since then.

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