What is the meaning of Helsott and why was that name chosen for the band?
Helsott means “Fatal Illness”, or “Hel’s Journey”. It just seemed very fitting for us at the time.
Was that the first idea for a name?
Yeah pretty much. There might have been some names thrown out there but nothing we grabbed a hold of. As soon as we came across Helsott we knew that was it.
Prior to Wacken 2019, I have never heard of the band, but watched you guys perform, front row, with my boyfriend. Loved the show, loved the music. Can you give me a little background of the band and how you guys formed?
Thank you for checking out our set. The band was formed by myself and my brother Mark. Cooper joined the band in 2011 and that has been the nucleus of the band. We have had many different lineup changes over the past 10 years. Our older brother was the original bass player. Mikey Muller was the longest standing bass player in the band but now he is our sound guy and our current bass player is a Doctor that runs a hospital in Michigan. We have a new lead guitar player Peter Truax.
Helsott is listed as Pagan Metal, and of course there are some Viking influences there as well. Do any of the members practice Paganism or have any Nordic ancestry?
We are all of the Earth, no need to practice anything. Mark and I have Norwegian and Danish ancestry. I would suspect that Pete is either Norse or Swedish.
When writing lyrics, what drives the inspiration and who is the lyricist of the band?
I am the main lyricist. Always glad for input or help from the other members but 95% of the lyrics are written by me. I am inspired by history and every day normal life. I never know when an idea will hit me.
Were there any challenges when writing and recording ‘Slaves and Gods’ and is there anything you would do differently?
Yeah our guitar player at the time chose to quit the band via text message day 1 of recording that album. We didn’t use any of his songs so Cooper and I put some stuff together on the spot and brought back some old songs that had never made an album yet and then we asked a bunch of our friends to help us finish the album. It ended up being a much better record than if we recorded it with the old guitar player but the stress at the time was overwhelming at times. Thanks to Arkona, Kevin Storm, TrollfesT, Morten Muller, Beorn Friedrichson, Elvenking, Hunter Havokk, Ryker Grey, and Dom Cray for their help.
You guys are based in California, how have the locals taken to your music? We definitely feel the love from the SoCal metal community. The feeling is very mutual!
Has it been hard to get out there in the USA in general being that this country is not big on metal, particularly Pagan Metal?
It is very hard. We do our best and that’s all we can ask of ourselves.
Peter Truax was recently announced as the new guitarist. How long have you guys known each other and what made him decide to join the Helsott family?
We have known each other for 5 or 6 years. Pete says it was a no-brainer to join the band. We have similar taste in music and we all get along very well. He is stoked to be a part of a band that is recording and touring and has the same ambition as he does.
What have been some of the best shows you have played and was Wacken 2019 your first time at the festival?
Wacken, Wacken Winter Nights, Cernnunos Pagan Fest, San Diego House of Blues in 2018 with Arkona and Korpiklaani, Several of the Paganfest 2013 shows including Hollywood House of Blues, Montreal, Denver, and Toronto.
What would be the perfect tour line-up for you guys?
Iron Maiden, Amon Amarth, Helsott. But in reality the 2013 Paganfest USA lineup was perfect. Ensiferum, Tyr, Heidevolk, TrollfesT, and Helsott.
Besides music, what other professions do the guys do? Music is my profession. I manage bands, promote for Wacken Metal Battel USA, part owner of Rotted Brain Records, and play in a few bands. Mark is in construction. Pete is into lighting. Doc is a Doctor. Cooper woks the bar at a winery.
What are some of the band’s past-times/hobbies?
Drinking, Drugging, Fishing, Camping, Ax Throwing, Video Games, any kind of fuckery we can get ourselves into.
What bands do you guys listen to?
Rush, Tom Petty, Blue Oyster Cult, Jimi Hendrix, and Pantera
Any new music being written now and if so, when can we expect the next release?
We are currently writing our next full length album. Expected to be released in 2021.
Any ideas for collaborations in the future with other artists? Maybe even someone from Amon Amarth or Ensiferum?
No ideas as of right now for collaborations. I do want to get Ripper Owens on the next record.
Any last words for the readers?
If you made it this far I applaud you and thank you for your interest in Helsott. Hope to see you on the road soon!
Interview by Jessica Clingempeel | January 15, 2019
With each album, you have grown, gone bigger, and have gotten even better. Did you feel the challenges for this album were easier than previous times or harder?
Through the years I have realised that I have become more relaxed with my album productions. This has to do with the fact that I have already pretty many albums behind me and the work including it’s challenges are not unbearable tasks for me any longer. Of course I am always facing new challenges during songwriting and production, but I am not judging myself as hard as I used to do in the beginning of my career. Experience definitely helps and the confidence I have gained as well, but this didn’t happen overnight.
The orchestration in this album is beautiful and I can see this entire album being performed with an actual orchestra. Have you had any thoughts of doing something like this?
I have been lucky to work with several symphonic orchestras in my career, so this could be a really nice idea to work on. Anyways, I don’t have any plans for it at the moment.
You had previously stated that this album is the most personal and that you went through some things, such as health-related issues, which led to this album. Would you care to discuss some of those moments and to help listeners understand you and your songs better?
Actually I prefer not to bring these issues to the light of day, yet. The music helped me to overcome some of them and understand myself better, so that’s why I wanted to write about these things on my album, but my personal life belongs to me.
Was there any one song that you struggled with or did the lyric writing become easy once started?
The lyric writing has never been an easy process for me, nor it was that this time. I had all the doubts of the world around me when I started writing the lyrics, but once I got the first song down, I felt I was ready for the challenge.
You, along with Alex Scholpp, were the main writers of In the Raw. Did you write with anyone else apart from Alex?
With Alex I wrote actually two songs on the album as I did with Mattias Lindblom. There are other writers involved who had been writing with me along the years. Those are Julian Barrett, Erik Nyholm, James Dooley, Johnny Lee Andrews and Bart Hendrickson.
Spirits of the Sea was dedicated to the crew of ARA San Juan. Have you received any comments from those close to them? Did you personally know any of the families?
No, I haven’t been in touch with the families nor I knew them personally.
I have read elsewhere that the U.S. may be seeing you again with this album. I know you cannot tell much when it comes to touring but, are there any estimated dates at least?
We are currently and constantly working on the album tours worldwide, so I have my high hopes that I will do at least some shows in US with this album. Thank you for the patience.
In January you will have two special concerts that will be recorded for a DVD. What was the idea behind doing this and also the guests that were selected to participate?
I am celebrating my 15th year as a solo artist this year, so I thought it could be a nice idea to have a great party with the musicians that have been working and supporting me through these incredible years. I am not planning to do a world tour with this project, but willing these concerts to remain as something very special and unique. There are no invited, guest musicians in these shows, but a complete line up of musicians who are performing all the songs in the show together with me.
When will we see Outlanders come to life?
Hopefully soon! 🙂 I am recording the last bits and pieces after the best of concerts and my idea is to finish with the production during this spring time. So….I am pretty sure you will be able to hear soon what Torsten and I have been working with during millions of past years.
—Just a few select questions from some of your USA fan club members—
Luis: How was the orchestral process like for In the Raw? Which orchestra/choir did you use this time or was it all digitally produced orchestral sounds?
There was no live orchestra involved this time on the album, but we used samples. Aren’t they sounding amazing? 🙂
Matt: Will My Winter Storm ever get an anniversary box set release?
We don’t have that release in our plans at the moment, even though it’s a nice idea.
Shanell: Are there any songs on your list that you would love to do a cover of?
Covering a song is always a huge challenge, because I need to have a reason for doing it. Also in my productions I always want to respect the original song, but at the same time I need to feel the song as one of my own ones, so it is difficult to choose one particular song to cover. I am doing lots of cover songs in other projects of mine, when I sing with the symphonic orchestras for example, so I am not really missing the chance to cover songs for my albums necessarily. But saying all this, maybe you will hear me covering a song for my future record anyways! HA!
Kathleen: What inspires you to write songs? I would love to know what inspired ‘Oasis’ as it is my mother’s favourite song and still calms me today.
Many things are inspiring me to write music. For example my crazy life, things that I explore or experience during my journeys with music and people that I meet with their incredible stories. But also music itself inspires me. For Oasis one of the biggest inspirations was scores/ film music. I wanted to write a song that would make me feel peaceful and calm, no matter there is a storm outside. I am happy to hear that you and your mom can enjoy my song.
In closing, are there any last words for your fans and readers? I want to thank you for the love and support. I really hope to get to rock with you soon with my latest record! Thank you for keeping my storm strong.
Interview by Jessica Clingempeel | October 10, 2019
You have been pursuing music for awhile now and are ready to record and get your name out there. What kind of music are you planning to do, or will it be a mix of different genres?
Joanne: I’ve been recording since 2008, my current songs can be heard on YouTube, and for purchase on Apple iTunes and CDBaby. My genre has been rock but coming back after 6 years and a new producer, we are in the goth metal genre and will keep it that way.
You use the phoenix a lot in your music, with it being your first song, and also the name of your album. What does the phoenix symbolise to you?
Joanne: This is my first song after 6 years. The Phoenix is my favorite as it will be the album title as well. The Phoenix is a Greek mythological creature that arises from it’s own ashes. For me it symbolizes that I’m back, resurrected and better then ever and is a song basically on vengeance on whoever did me wrong, as can be heard on the clip.
Who are you working with to produce your album and are you signed to any label yet?
Joanne: I’m not signed yet, but I’m working with a very known producer who’s worked with big names in the industry. He’s brilliant and such a badass lol. His name is Mo from Firestarter Recording Studios.
Do you write your own lyrics and where do you draw your inspiration from?
Joanne: Yes I write my own lyrics. My inspiration comes through life, others and simply when my head is flooded with lyrics that’s when I write.
You are a huge fan of both rock singers, Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel. Have you thought about recording a cover song by one of them?
Joanne: OMG YES!!!!!! That would be awesome!!
Being of Greek heritage, can we expect any Greek lyrics in your music?
Joanne: I’m Greek and Italian, but I do have a Greek song written that was never recorded and I don’t know if I will as it’s a very personal song of someone passing away and how I learned things from them. So that one may stay “in the drawer” for now. I want to focus on my English songs. But stay tuned cause you never know!!
You are also into acting and have landed a role in the show Blacklist. Have you done anything else and/or are auditioning for any other roles?
Joanne: Besides the Blacklist I was on the Village which was cancelled after one season. Currently a script is being written for a possible movie based on a true story and I’m waiting for that script to be done to read it and see if we can pitch it to the right producers and directors and such. Fingers crossed!
Apart from the acting and singing you are also a mother of two boys. Do you find it difficult some days juggling everything or does it come easy for you?
Joanne: Basically both of my boys are in school all day so the days I’m off it’s easy. But when it comes to acting I have to be on set extremely early and don’t get home til late in the evening or night depends. That’s when it gets tough. But luckily I have my mother to come and take care of the boys if I have an acting job. So it works out.
Other than acting and music, what are some of your other hobbies?
Joanne: I love cars always have since a little girl so I’m really into that – I’m a gearhead lol, spending time with my family, reading, cooking, and watching certain shows I’m hooked on. That’s about as boring as I get lol
If you had to pick just one musician to do a duet with, who would you choose and why?
Joanne: Tarja because she’s always been one of my inspirations and when I met her she even told me not to give up so who knows what the future holds? Hopefully one day I can make my dream a reality.
What would you like to say to the readers?
Joanne: I’d like to say to my current fans thank you for supporting me and to the ones that don’t know me yet, I hope that they will take the chance to visit and “like” my page on Facebook (facebook.com/joannemarianiofficial) as well as Instagram joanne_mariani_official but more importantly to check out my music and please do buy my current songs, stay tuned for the finalized Phoenix song and I would appreciate their support. Thanks so much!!!!
I wasn’t able to see the show at Wacken this year, but the founder of this webzine, Jessica, did and she shared her video with me- I have to say you all did an amazing job! That was also the first time I had heard of you. How exactly were you chosen to perform at Wacken this year?
Sophie: I don’t know exactly how we were chosen, but I can say that Wacken was on the top our list of festivals we’ve always wanted to play. I guess we have our booker Jeany to thank for this one.
Was it difficult to narrow down the song choices you would perform at Wacken?
Sophie: Not particularly. We have a broad range of songs to choose from, from dreamy and slow to more heavy and dark ones, and for Wacken we obviously decided on the last category. But we did sneak some more uplifting songs into the set, and I must say it was a joy to hear all those metalheads sing along to those as well.
Were you nervous performing at Wacken in front of such a huge, boisterous crowd? Do you ever get nervous on stage performing?
Sophie: Over the last years we have performed a lot, so nerves are not as much of a thing as they were back in the days, but my inner 16 year old did make some saltos in that backstage. Being a long time visitor of the holy metal lands myself, playing Wacken was a major bucket list item, and saluting thousands of metalheads and getting just as many devil horn hands back is an amazing feeling I will never forget.
Monique, the dress you wore for Wacken was fabulous- it reminded me of an ancient Celtic-style. How did that outfit get chosen?
Monique: Thank you so much! In most cases, the outfits worn by me are from my own hand. I find sewing and working with my hands very soothing, plus these unique dresses fit the style we have as a band. In this case, the dress was indeed inspired by the Celtic iron age over here in Western Europe. The fabric reminded me of the ominous skies so typical for Celtic countries and it seems this ambiance has been conveyed just fine. Over the last years, the emphasis in my designs lays on prehistoric motifs and styles, because it fits so well to the music.
It’s a possibility I will be seeing the shows at Wacken next year. Are there any plans to come back? I’d love to see you!
Thomas: We’d love to come back! Wacken was a blast. We are coming back to a large festival in Germany next year but we cannot yet say which one. Our supporters can always help by asking festival organizers to book us and sharing our music and our name. Be it in Germany or anywhere else. That’s the main thing – in the end, by supporting what you love, you guys decide who gets to play on your favourite festivals!
Being in the U.S. I would be ecstatic if you could tour here. Has that been discussed, and are there any plans to do so?
Jan: Interesting ideas. We talked about it on casual moments, maybe more often than I can recall, but we have never really discussed it. Some bands do an actual tour for weeks in a row but when we ‘tour’, we travel for one or maybe 3 shows at the most. After never more then 4 days we’re all back home to continue our lives and obligations. This is mainly because there’s just not enough money to be made to cover logistics, hotels and so on. Imagine if we were to fly across the Atlantic with our instruments and crew, we could only do so if we had a cunning plan. A plan or maybe some help from the States itself, like someone who can book us gigs or knows some great places, festivals or venues we really need to be. Prior to these actions, we should ask ourselves if we were to tour the States for money or for experience, and for how long would we want to go on tour? Maybe it’s because that these questions were always left unanswered, ‘talking’ about touring the States never became ‘discussing’ touring the states. That being said, your question might be the trigger to get these ideas and conversations rolling again and turn them into serious discussions and plans. At least it made me try to imagine how it would be, travelling with my friends, near family, from state to state, from adventure to adventure… Will we ever tour the US? I don’t know, I personally would really like the adventure and the experience!
What is your favorite country you have been to?
Thomas: Do we have to choose? Haha, each country holds so many great memories for us. In all honesty, it’s the trips themselves we remember, and the places all kind of blend together. I fondly recall a night in Italy, where after the concert night, all bands had gathered in the swimming pool and were making a song by blowing on beer bottles. Imagine the sight of rows of people in a pool, entrancingly focusing on blowing their bottle. That never lets go of you.
Do you ever worry about forgetting words since you sing in so many languages?
Monique: Not only do I worry about it, it also happens every now and then. Although I always research the meaning of the words and their correct pronunciation, using a language you’re not familiar with relies heavily on memory. Once something gets me out of my concentration, I may just invent some interesting new words! And then I pretend it didn’t happen, or have a laugh with the audience.
Are there any plans for a follow up of the album ‘Omphalos’?
Thomas: We are working on new material right now! It’s interested to see how things are evolving this time. We’re very proud of what we did with our follow-up to Dies, Nox et Omnia, Omphalos, which allegedly is the hardest album for a band to create. And now we’re free to tackle a whole new world of myths, legends and music. Keep an eye out for more news regarding our upcoming plans.
What are the bands favorite hobbies when not performing?
Monique: Well, those are rather diverse! Some of us like to read, especially since we share a past of studying languages and cultures at University, where most of us met. We have our fair share of history buffs within the band, which is useful given the subjects of our songs. I also recognize the urge many of us have to create something with our hands. I like to work with yarns and fabrics, Sophie paints and draws beautifully, Jan prefers building furniture and technical equipment and Luka designs and creates musical instruments in his spare time. Thomas on the other hand is our digital wizard and creates websites, digital art and videos from scratch. These diverse talents actually enables us to do much of ‘the behind the scenes’ work ourselves.
Monique, did you have any vocal training?
Monique: About a decade ago I started with classical training with a private teacher. After a few years, I became curious to try different things, such as Bulgarian singing. This year I have come full circle and started working with a new method combined with classical singing. I love medieval music and its use of clear, ethereal singing, such as within the works of Hildegard von Bingen. I am always finding new ways to direct my sound towards this passion.
What places would you want to perform or visit if given the chance?
Sophie: There are so many beautifull festivals we still want to play, it is hard to name specific ones. Playing in South America would be amazing, as we know we have quite a few listeners there, but really anywhere in the world we have not been would be awesome!
What would you say is your greatest inspiration for writing, composing and performing music?
Monique: Although we are infuenced by many cultural traditions and historical periods, in the end the biggest inspiration is the music we listened to during the writing and composing process. Since Cesair’s members listen to different music genres, there is a mixture going on with hints of metal, folk, world music, gregorian and Bulgarian choirs, gothic and rock. But we sense that momentarily, we start to shift into a more experimental mood, so other influences might follow.
When it comes to performing, I suspect we grew into it. We have always put the music first and the musicians second, which means that we move according to the songs we play while on stage. It is such a unique experience and we have heard on many occassions how the audience loves to witness the joy and brother-/sisterhood feel that is weaved within our performance.
Who writes the majority of the lyrics? Or is it a collaborative effort?
Monique: We use many lyrics written by poets through the ages. Usually we select a beautiful text and the melody follows. When the music is written first, I go searching for the words that fit to it, or write a text in English, such as for the song Ahes. I suppose it makes sense for the singer to select the lyrics, but Thomas every now and then also contributes the lyrical gems he comes across.
Are there any songs you recommend for new listeners to understand the message you are trying to convey as a band?
Jan: Every time somebody asks me about my band and to put on a few songs, I try to bear in mind what kind of music they like so I can put on songs accordingly. Our music is so diverse, I think it’s nearly impossible to point out one or two songs and say “This is Cesair!”
Nevertheless, when it’s about the message, we could point out a few songs. Erda, which is about the awareness of our mutual homeland the earth. The Ruin, which is about respect for the transience of all that’s build or has ever lived. And of course Enuma Elish which tells to story of the beginning of all worlds. We should also not forget songs like Dies Nox et Omnia where Monique sings about the death of the princess Cesair who we named ourselves after and last but not least Troll Kalla Mik and Canso for a burst of metal and some healthy dancing.
What would everyone do for a career if you were not in a band?
Thomas: In fact, we all do something else besides making and performing music. It’s not all romance and unicorns and puppies for us! Some of us are teachers, some of us are audio / lighting technicians, and I work as a programmer and desktop publisher. For me, it’s good to stand still and consider how throughout the years, I’ve seen everyone in our group grown into a place where we’re comfortable combining doing what we love with something we’re good at, and actually being able to afford food.
I learned the songs are about a 5,000 year old myth from the same name Cesair. What inspired the band to choose this as the overall theme of the music you make?
Monique: In our time as students, Sophie, Thomas and I came upon the story in the Lebhor Gabhala Erinn, the Irish Book of Invasions. It took us to the very first settlers to set foot upon Irish soil. Intrigued by the mystery of this, we kept on reading. The leader of these early people was the mythical princess Cesair, in later times related to the Biblical Noah as his granddaughter. We felt the journey she made from the Near East to the (then) far West to be a beautiful narrative within which to create our songs, then mostly a mixture of Celtic, Occitan and Sephardic traditionals. After making this choice, the music started to, figuratively speaking, write itself. The inspiration came still further from home.
The band sings in many languages, how exactly did that decision come along?
Monique: It has not been a conscious decision per se. The music we were inspired by was also multilingual and so, it came natural to us. Language is simply the tool through which ideas, feelings and stories are shared. Therefore, any language might be perfect if the content of the text resonates with us and our music. I think the only choices we make regarding this are whether we can use a text from a tradition which is far removed from our own, since we want to honour the value it has to people from the tradition in question.If we choose to incorporate text, we want to do it in a respectful way!
How many languages does the band know fluently?
Monique: Dutch, English and German, so three in total. The rest is bluff.
What would you say the best and worst things about performing are?
Jan: I can only answer this question from a personal perspective. Let me start with the worst, and I really have to think hard about what actually is the worst. Maybe it’s something simple as loading or unloading vans or the moments these old vans are dropping parts on the highway like exhaust pipes for Luka to play didge on. Since the last few upgrades these moments are less likely to happen luckily. For me personally the worst parts of performing are that often I never really have the time actually enjoy or experience the festivals we play for I’m busy building up the drum kit or finding stuff to eat. Is that all? Yep, that is all!
The best parts are the soundchecks and the performances themselves. The soundcheck for I’m already getting in the zone, making jokes, sniffing the atmosphere, spacing the stage and watching our crew perform miracles (besides getting spoiled for I’m a technician myself and in these moments I’m off the job as being the artist). But as soon as the intro starts or when we storm the stage, that’s the best part. I get into a different state of mind. Everything that used to be an issue in life, now simply isn’t there. And that’s exactly what I want our cheering crowd to experience as well as we play for them. Of course I’d like to get this state of mind myself, but as soon as I see people dancing on the wilder songs or dreaming away with their eyes closed on the softer ones, I know for sure their issues in life are as good as gone as well. Though it might not be for long, they were able to let go, refresh their minds and walk away clean, ready for a spicy shot of reality.
Rúnatal was a visually stunning piece of work. Very well done. What was the process involved with making the music video?
Thomas: This was a fantastic process to witness. As you can see from the final product, it’s a rather complex story we’re trying to tell – reworking a story about Odin’s sacrifice from the Hávámal into a modern-day hero’s journey of self-discovery. We worked with on the story of the video with director Jasper Van Gheluwe and production manager Femke van Hilten and took a long time to prepare, creating clothing and props, and gathering all the lovely extras you see in the video. They’re all friends and fans who helped us out, sometimes standing in the rain for hours. It’s great to see so many people working together for a common goal and I’m very proud of the result. Let’s hope many people get to see the video.
Is the band currently signed to any record label?
Thomas: Yes, we are signed to the German label Foxy Records. They specialize in our genre of music (and related ones) and have been a great help in getting our latest album across.
The web shop has beautiful merchandise. It seems to be very Celtic in nature. How were the products for the web shop chosen?
Thomas: Thanks for the compliment! As with our music, we try to incorporate elements from all around Europe and the Orient into our designs. This has grown and evolved over the years. During our first album, you find see various elements from nautical navigation in our designs, to reflect the epic of princess Cesair, the mythological person we derived our name from. You can still see this in some of the artwork in our shop. Our latest album Omphalos was partially inspired by the celestial bodies in the sky, which we incorporated into the artwork, and our newest merchandise was inspired by Rúnatal. You can see the world tree with its animals on the back of our new shirts and hoodies. This design was made by Monique and in fact features the actual tree which Odin hangs from in the music video. Go see for yourself and compare!
Enjoy an older interview we did with Cristina Scabbia.
I can’t seem to find out how Lacuna Coil was signed to a record; would you be able to explain that to me, please?
We signed a deal with Century Media in 1997, right before we recorded our first EP “Lacuna coil” released in 1998.
I understand Lacuna Coil is recording another album to be released next year; would you care to tell the fans some information of it?
We are still collecting stuff and ideas. It would be premature to talk about the new album as the material might take a different direction as we work on it. We’d like to make it heavier than the precious records, even if ballads will be there anyway and more dark and obscure. We’ll see…
I am still very curious, even though this is an old subject the title 1:19; I would really like to know what it is about; my friends and I think it has to do with suicide; would you be able to elaborate?
We will NEVER answer this question… the meaning of the title is known to the band only, sorry!
As we all know the name Lacuna Coil means empty spiral, but how exactly was that name conceived?
Empty Spiral is actually not the accurate translation. Lacuna is an Italian/Latin word that means something like “lack” but not really. Something like an empty space. Coil means spiral. From there the translation into “Empty Spiral” that is also the name of our official fan club.
Seeing as how you have toured with Lacuna Coil all over the world, is there one place that you have been that you would like to see more, or one place you have not toured that you would like to?
From China to Thailand, from Philippines to Hawaii and so many other places. we are gonna get the chance to go to India in October and I can’t wait!!!
What are certain routines you perform to get ready for a concert?
Some little ceremonies are secret inside the band, like things we say and we do, so I can’t tell you… But we mostly warm up and chill out before the party starts!
What do you think fame has done for you in a positive way? That is, since you are a huge name in metal, what does that do for you as a person?
Beside having pictures in magazines and videos on tv, which is obviously cool, my life didn’t really change. I think it is really important to keep your feet on the ground and to be “normal” as much as you can.
Is there anything that we, the fans, do not know about you? Fears, hidden talents, etc.?
I am a little afraid of spiders, even if I love them, and I’m really good in preparing handmade pasta and focaccia!
When you are on stage performing in front of thousands of people, do you ever get nervous that you may mess up a song or do something embarrassing?
Not really about messing up a song, cause it’s all about fun on stage.What I am afraid of is when I am sick for whatever reason and my voice is not as good as it should be. I don’t want to disappoint our fans coming to a gig to see us.
The name for your latest album “Shallow Life” how exactly did the band come up with that?
We thought about the fact that in our society it happens very often that image is all and everything is really superficial. But there are also “superficial” things that are beneficial, like a football match to watch, or shopping with friends… the most important thing is to find the right balance and to stand up when important things are coming up in your life.
Where do you draw your inspiration for singing; that is to say, who are your role models or what bands do you take after for your inspiration?
I don’t really have role models or bands who are examples to follow, but I take inspiration from different things and people. My family, people who believe in their potential. Rock.
I saw you and Tarja Turunen at the download festival one time way back, before then did you ever know her or how was that?
We met way before Download. She’s cool!
As I am sure you have heard, you have a beautiful voice; I was wondering what your vocal range is; also, what type of vocals are you most prominent for?
I have no idea, I never took lessons and I don’t really care about my vocal range, I only hope to give emotion to people who listen.
What was the weirdest thing you have experienced by a fan as a celebrity? That is, what is the weirdest thing a fan has done or given you?
Uhm…we signed weird stuff, like a toilet cover… I once signed a dildo.I see a lot of tattoos related to us. Recently a guy got my signature tattooed on his arm… It happened before but that one was reeeeeaaally big!!!!!!!
Last question; because of the fame, do you sometimes wish you weren’t as famous as you are, because of the crazy fans and lack of privacy, or, do you not regret any of it?
I’m not Madonna, so I can have all the privacy I want, haha! The fact is… is so easy to not to be in the spot if you want to. I pretty much hide myself in public, I’m not an attention freak, at all.
Interviews by Joshua Becker & Jessica Clingempeel | 1.31.2012
This is the written version of our phone interview with Cristina Scabbia back in 2012. Enjoy an older interview! \,,/ —Jess
Jess: How is the tour going so far?
“Oh, it’s going amazing. Today we are taking a break out of Gigantour because we have a headliner show in Baltimore, so now we’re just like chilling out on the bus, you know waiting for tonight. It’s going great, though I mean Gigantour is phenomenal, everything’s good, we’re getting along in an amazing way with all the others, and the venues are pretty packed, and the reactions are great, so its all good.”
Josh: Did you guys run into any problems when recording “Dark Adrenaline”?
“No, not at all. No problems at all, because the material was ready, so all we had to do was to go into the studio and record it, but we didn’t get any type of problem, everything went super smooth.”
Jess: How about funny moments while recording? Any embarrassing stories to share?
“Nothing too crazy because when we are in the studio we’re extremely focused and super scared because we want everything to be perfect. So, nothing super-funny or super-crazy, but, actually there was something weird about the studio in L.A. –-because the album is being recorded in-between Milano, our hometown, and all the vocals and the arrangements have been done L.A.—There was a rumor that there was a ghost in the studio, and we kind of experienced some weird moments where things were kind of moving by themselves, or a chair in a spot would move in a different spot without anybody touching it, so, that was kind of weird.”
Josh: Did the record company pressure you at all when recording to get it done quicker?
“No, not really, actually we finished the recording around September, and the album was supposed to be out in October, but then the label decided to postpone the release of the album. Just because they wanted to have more time to set up all the marketing plan—you know, all the labels and stuff. So we didn’t get any type of pressure, we just took our time to write the songs the way we wanted to, and we entered a studio when we felt ready—obviously you have to set yourself up to sort of a deadline, because you can’t really wait centuries to release an album, you know, you just have to be spontaneous in song writing, and don’t go over it too much, because then you risk to change it too much, and to make it look not spontaneous at all, and that’s really important for us.”
Jess: Were there any songs written that you wanted on the album, but did not make it there?
“We had a couple of songs that are going to make it in special editions that are not in the album, and then we wrote a lot of stuff, but we left it behind because we usually don’t write complete songs and then we cut them out of the bunch of choices, but if we feel that a song has not the right potential to our ears, we just leave it behind. So, we wrote a lot of stuff, but not complete songs that we just like didn’t include in any version of the album.”
Josh: How is the album compared to “Shallow Life”?
“It’s different, just, the whole production is different, there are more solos’ its definitely darker, the vibe is way darker than probably any other albums we did. Its heavier—the sound coming form the original session is big compared to “Shallow Life” and the other albums, and its something curious because we used the same producer, and we talked with Don a lot because we were sure about the sort of direction that at least the production should have with this album, and we’re really happy about the results of the album. For the first time, the mixing and the mastering had been done in Italy from Italian people, so, its sort of like an American-Italian production.”
Jess: What was the reason for making “Dark Adrenaline” darker than the previous albums?
“I think its due to the fact that in-between “Shallow Life” and the beginning of the song writing for “Dark Adrenaline” some members of the band went through kind of bad and sad moments in life, and as soon as we are inspired by life, itself everything we’re living, everything we’re experiencing goes straight to the song writing, as well as songs, and, sometimes in an unconscious way. When we finish the old record, and we started to listen to it we just immediately noticed that it was different from the previous albums we did, and something that we noticed, even after—since we started to let other people to listen to “Dark Adrenaline” before the album was being released, we just noticed that it was a combination in between the very old stuff, the very old Lacuna Coil stuff and the new stuff. This is kind of curious because it came out in a very natural way. We didn’t plan it, but it’s cool because its still part of us; we didn’t really change as people, Its still us, and its still what’s inside of us—it came out all of a sudden.”
Josh: What creative elements helped determine the direction of “Dark Adrenaline”?
“We didn’t really know, we never really know, because in the past we used to just meet in the practice room, and create everything form zero there. Now, things have changed, because even if you’re in a different house, even if you’re far from the other members of the band you can still record ideas on a phone, or tablet, or on your computer, and to collect a lot of ideas that you can then present to the other members of the band, and, sometimes you can just send files—you don’t even need to be in the same place. So, we collected a lot of stuff separately and we gave it all to Marco, which is our bass player and the main composer of the music’ he put everything together, and as soon as we had sort of demos of the music ready, Andrea and I started to go to Marco’s house where he has his own studio, and we just started to throw ideas for vocals and to present the ideas we had about some ideas of vocals that weren’t based on any music that the other guys wrote. So, we put everything together and we started to go to the practice room altogether, just jamming to find out what we would like, and what we didn’t like, and that’s how it started, and everything came up.”
Jess: How did the song writing process go and what inspired the tracks.
“We started to write in the end of January 2010, and, as I said we just took all the ideas and put them together, and we found out what we liked and what every member of the band liked, because there is a strong democracy in the band—its teamwork. We work altogether and everyone has to approve the tracks and be happy about it, so, we kind of used the same process, the same popular process of song writing where everyone has to be 100% happy about it. We started to work when we were inspired, because we can’t write on the road; we need to be back home in our own environment to be able to focus completely on the music, and to dedicate ourselves 100% to a new work.”
Josh: Who did the majority of the writing process for this album?
“Marco our bass player, he’s the guy who puts everything together and writes the majority of the music, but everybody’s contributing, and Andrea and I are responsible for vocal lines and lyrics too.”
Jess: Concerning the song “Trip the Darkness” what was the meaning behind this specific track?
“It kind of represents the vibe of the whole album, it’s the fact that no matter what, if you are going through moments in your life that aren’t exactly happy, you can always find a good thing out of it. You can still, sometimes feel more alive because you are feeling something deep and something strong in yourself. The song talks about the fact that you have to try to go through this “darkness” and try to get out of it, to get out of the anger in a hopeful way because there I always the light at the end of the tunnel, and you can always reach it if you really wanted but at the same time you can still enjoy the darker moments for a while.”
Josh: What is the message you are trying to convey with “Dark Adrenaline”?
“We don’t want to send any message because the music—we write music because its therapeutic for us, its sort of a diary that we write day-by-day; we put all of our experiences in our songs, so we don’t write music to please other people or to share it, we basically are doing our own stuff and write to please ourselves, and its cool other people can share the same things we have, and the same things that we are saying. Sometimes, giving a different meaning, but I think its cool, it’s a cool thing about music that everyone can give a different interpretation according to the moments they’re going through, but we didn’t really need to send any message, I mean, we don’t want to teach anybody, we’re just writing music because we just love to do that for ourselves.”
Jess: What are the plans for Lacuna Coil once touring is over?
“We’re going to finish the tour April 3, so we’re going to be home for two to three weeks to rehearse, because we’re not only going to play a few shows in South America with Lamb of God and Hatebreed but, also coming back for a headliner right now we’re playing in The States, and then it is going to be a lot of touring’ summer festivals in Europe, and the usual circle. You put out an album, and then you tour as much as you can to promote it.”
Josh: If you could be any other singer for a day who would you be and why?
“I don’t know; Mike Patton, even if it’s a man, because he is one of the greatest singers ever, so—he can growl, he can go high and he has a lot of volume. It’s phenomenal, so, it will probably be him, either him or Freddy Mercury, preferably.”
Jess: What would you like to say to your fans?
“Well, I want to thank them so much, because, I mean we have been around for a while, and this is only possible if you have a strong basis of fans, and we say everyday that we owe them, because we write music, and they support us through the concerts they’re coming to see and through the albums they’re buying. This really important, because his makes it possible for us to continue to do what we love, and what they like, so, it’s a big thank you even if it sounds like the most obvious thing to say. You know, we try to thank them everyday through our pages, our Facebook and Twitter, Social Networks; we try to tell them, because its important for us to tell them everyday how thankful we are, and how blessed we feel, that we have such a great group of people supporting us.”