Lacuna Coil just held their Black Anima: Live from the Apocalypse Livestream, where they performed their latest album, Black Anima, in full and other surprises. We caught up with Andrea Ferro (vocals) to discuss the Livestream event, what the band has been through during COVID-19 and staying hopeful.
How long have you guys been planning for your upcoming Black Anima: Live from the Apocalypse livestream?
Well, it’s been quite a long time because obviously in the beginning we just thought about it, because obviously nobody knew how long this lockdown situation was going to be and how soon and we could go back to play some kind of shows or tours. So everything kept on getting postponed. I was talking to promoters and tour managers and booking agents around the world, and everybody was saying the same thing. The more we’re moving forward at work, the more we were realizing that probably until we actually see what happens now throughout, the winter, and the fall and the winter of 2020, nobody knows for sure when we’re going to start again. So we started to think about what we could do to do something for our fans, but also for the band because we also need to make some kind of income other than the merchandise or normal royalties, which are always good. But sometimes you need to make some sort of money in order to survive because we are also a little company and we have to pay taxes and to do everything that every company has to do.
So we thought it was a good choice to try to see how this streaming thing was going to work. We started brainstorming a little bit between us and our manager and then our booking agency in Italy. We really tried to keep everything in our hometown because it was just easier because of all the traveling restrictions for the virus and everything. So we have tried to do something as easy as possible. We chose a venue here in Milan, which is called Alcatraz, which is a very classic venue for all kinds of shows, especially rock and metal. It’s quite a big venue actually, but obviously it’d be empty when we play. So it’d be a bit weird, but it’s a 3000 cap venue, which normally hosts a lot of international artists. We also played there a few times along the way, and it’s a very beautiful venue with a very good structure for lights and stuff like that. So we thought that was a good idea to do like a regular show, not a streaming from home or from a studio, but something more interesting, more fun to do, more professional. We decided to play the whole last album, Black Anima, and to do it with all new visuals, new videos, new laser, new lights, a lot of special compliments to the show.
Basically, we decided to try and talk to all our technicians and people that work with us to see what we can actually do. And it’s very complicated because of all the new rules that everyday keeps updating because of the evolution of the virus and being the situation, okay, much better than before, but still a very uncertain on things. The local laws and all the permissions are also very complicated to handle, and everyday we received a request for different paperwork and stuff, so it’s a bit of a mess, but in the end I think it will be a pretty cool experience.
It sounds very complicated in a way with all the paperwork and just for one show. Now I was curious, how would you compare this preparation compared to a normal tour?
It’s very different because obviously on tour okay, you rehearse a little bit, and then you play every day for many, many nights. And so you kind of learn how to perform well, the songs on the live settings and you have the excitement and the adrenaline we’d exchange with real people with a crowd. So there’s a lot of factors that are not going to be present in this show. Now, it’s just starting to rehearse everyday and we’re going to do rehearsal everyday, a couple of complete set lists everyday for until the show. So we kind of do the same as we would do on a normal tour, playing everyday, certain time of the day and do the full show. We kind of come just like after a day off of a normal tour and then do the show.
We try to do it but obviously until we will be on stage, we can’t really know how it’s going to be because there’s no crowd, so there’ll be interactions more with the camera and not so much with the people. It’ll be halfway between shooting a video clip and doing a concert, but also some studio work because of the different way the broadcasting would happen. It’s going to be not with a normal PA, but more with a director for the sound in another room with a completely different gear they would normally use on a live show. So it’s all a big question mark, but exciting also on the other hand to go back and do some production work, something creative for our fans. We are excited, but also scared a little bit because obviously it’s a bit unexpected.
What’s been keeping you busy during this entire pandemic?
I think I went through different phases. In the very beginning, we just came back from a South American tour and just literally we came home on a Friday, and by Monday the lockdown started. The softer one, let’s say, with only some limitation for stores at certain times in the evening down to close. It wasn’t mandatory to stay home, blah, blah, blah. But it was a little bit of that, so we started almost right away and the beginning was more about trying to understand what was going on all over the world and try to cancel or move all the flights already booked, all the shows already booked and talk to people around the world to see what they want to do. Because some countries were… Like, Italy has been hit pretty hard in the very beginning. And then some other countries were hit a little later.
So in the beginning, some people were kind of underestimating what was going to happen, and so they weren’t sure if they wanted to cancel or not. But we were in full emergency so we couldn’t leave the country, and the situation here was pretty bad in the beginning. And so it’s been a struggle to move everything, to save the money we already spent on flights and try to get some vouchers, get the money back and then postpone the flights as much as possible. And then everybody started to do the same thing. Everybody started to drop from the festival bills and the festivals started to move the dates. And so the beginning was a big confusion, but also not knowing exactly how long it was going to be.
And then obviously I went, once I understood that wasn’t finished anytime soon, I started to… In the beginning, I was just playing video games, just killing time and normal, we’re watching TV shows and stuff like that. But then I started to do something more creative, I wanted to no longer waste the time and learn something. So I took my guitar, my acoustic guitar that I normally just play very rarely and started to play everyday for five, six hours and got better and learned and improved. I also worked on whatever we could do for the band, obviously more talking to management and Zoom meetings, interviews, promoting, updating the fans of what was going on here. And that’s it basically, and let’s try to stay busy, do a little bit of exercise because obviously you’re home, you cook a lot and you eat a lot and then you need to burn something, otherwise you’re going to struggle later.
So slowly doing that, and then I think we started slowing to open a little bit and go out again. And now being able to go on vacation this summer, at least for a week, I’ve been to a Lake not far from Milan, an hour away and then I’m traveling to the seaside, which is three hours away. So just try to stay close, not go too far and everything was pretty… people were behaving quite well and the distances were kept so it was quite safe, I have to say. And I enjoy relaxing a little bit even just a week just to take my mind somewhere else.
It’s good to get outside and just get your mind away from everything. I hear you on going through the different stages during the pandemic. Italy was definitely hit hard during the very beginning and what are the restrictions like for you now?
It’s much better now. We had mostly three months of a heavy lockdown. Where we could go out, but just, for me, you have to write your own permission. Let’s say I’m going to go to the supermarket or to the pharmacy, grocery, whatever you can go out but only with a real reason. And you have to wear a mask obviously and the gloves in the beginning. And I was just going out just to go to the supermarket every two weeks and do a big grocery shopping, and then that’s it basically. After three months, we slowly opened up and you could go, some stores could open and then some restaurants could open with distances and stuff. And now it’s much better. The new cases we’re having everyday, they are there because obviously we have to kind of learn how to coexist with the virus.
And it’s changing, as I saw. It’s better now, but also still careful, but you have much more freedom too. You can go wherever you want now and just keep your decency and the mask when you are in proximity of a lot of people, otherwise you can also not wear it if you’re alone or just with your relatives. So we are almost back to normal, but obviously it will be a long time before the overall situation will be back to normal. A lot of businesses are struggling, a lot of venues are closing or a lot of people that weren’t so stable are having a big problem with money, but the government is helping a little bit, obviously it’s never enough, but at least they’re trying to do something. But there’s a lot of needs right now, so it’s hard also for the government to keep up with everybody’s and don’t let anybody behind.
It’s good that you guys are getting some help and based on your experience and what you’ve been hearing, there’s been a lot of talk about it, but when do you think is a realistic time when concerts are going to return back to normal?
We personally have two shows booked for December, one in France and one in Finland. I’m not completely sure that it’s going to happen because our big shows, meaning festivals kind of shows, and maybe, maybe the Finnish one could happen because they haven’t been hit as hard and they have different numbers of population, a lot of space. So there’s more natural distancing between, there’s not overcrowded cities like New York or Milan, there’s nothing like that. So they have been able to keep it much safer and much lighter on the impact of COVID. But maybe France is a bit hard to happen because obviously it’s in Paris and Paris is a huge city with a lot of people living in very small spaces. So I’m not sure it’s going to happen, I hope it’s going to happen. More realistically, I would say next summer would be the time where probably we have, at least on a bigger scale, we’ve been learning how to make it happen somehow.
Now, there’s a lot of things to try. The schools are reopening, the sports, they’re restarting, and they are thinking of putting like 30% of people in the stadiums. So all these things will tell us how we could manage eventually having a crowd somewhere, how many we can put, what kind of measures we have to take. So it’s still, I would say until the end of the year, we will not know exactly, I would say. I hope that for next year we’re going to start something at least.
It’s good to see what other events are doing and what’s going to happen in the aftermath from that too. After this livestream, do you guys have any additional plans or considering a virtual tour?
As I say, it’s a very new thing, these streaming things. I see bands are coming up now, different bands have done it, or we’ll do it in a proximity of our show or a little later. So I think streaming could actually be something that will stay also once we go back to normal. I think maybe to just present some special events, it might be something cool if worked in the right way. We are now experimenting this new app called A-LIVE which is going to broadcast our show. And this app, you can actually interact a little bit during the show. You can take a picture of yourself, watching the show. You can send messages to the band that obviously we’re going to read after, not while we play, but there’ll be some interaction possible.
There’s a development of things going on that could make it more interesting and exciting than just watching a live DVD or something like that. We wanted to do a hundred percent live, nothing prerecorded. And so it will be something challenging, but also fun in a way. There could also be mistakes or something that happens to a normal show. And so we’ll see. I mean, I think that there’ll be something else and this will probably be part of the music for the future, but I don’t see the future only being virtual. I think it’s a compliment to the regular activity of a band, but I think a live show is still a live show and there’s nothing that can replace it virtually at the moment, I think.
But let’s see. We are working on more projects like collateral projects connected to the band name and the band activities, but not strictly performing. And if we have to really make it a much longer time and not be able to tour, maybe we’re going to start working on some new music as well. But it’s still, as I say, everybody’s still waiting for fall/winter when the weather’s going to change and the flu is going to start and there’s going to be more confusion and see what really happens. How much the numbers are going up, how much they stay in the same way, or how much the illness becomes critical again, or stays lighter as it is right now. There’s still a little bit of time before we take a higher or more important decision towards moving to new music or something else. At the moment, we’re just working on some side projects, which are fun and will be revealed along the way, but something just to keep people entertained, still connected to the band, but not strictly musical.
There will definitely be some confusion once the flu season kicks in, that’s going to be fun.
Yeah, exactly, to distinguish what is COVID and what is just the flu, it’ll be very tricky to do. Especially because people will get worried and everybody’s going to rush to the hospital. So it’s important that we take it step by step and try to understand the situation. I’m not saying people should not worry, but they should also not underestimate. I think it’s important to keep a balance. Obviously there’s a lot of confusion, especially online. A lot of people create theories or sometimes with reason, I understand people having doubts or wanting to be very clear or understanding what’s going on, but reality is that it’s a new thing for doctors, politicians or for everybody. I think it’s important that we try to stay calm and handle the situation with a certain balance. Although it is obviously difficult, but try to take everything in small pieces, in small amounts.
I agree, and there’s definitely a bit of confusion, but it doesn’t hurt being safe in the meantime.
Exactly. It doesn’t cost you much, and I think everybody appreciates being safe.
Is there anything else you want to say to your fans?
I hope everybody stays safe. Obviously, it’s the main thing these days for everybody to try to make it through this evil year and see a better future, hopefully. I wish everybody to be safe, and if you have the chance to check out the show, because obviously we’re going to have at least what we can have in terms of good times in 2020. So let’s try to make the best out of these, although not ideal. I hope we can come back and visit people face to face as soon as possible because that’s what we like to do is to hang out with the people, to talk to them, to exchange the energy, to see their faces and hear their voices. So obviously this is the best we can do in this apocalypse as we call it, but hopefully next year we’ll be able to, or in the closest future, to be able to do again, what we’d like to do, what we would love to do.
Nothing beats a live show.