LACUNA COIL's Cristina Scabbia says new 'Black Anima' Album Is 'Deep, Intense And Melancholic'

Vocalist Cristina Scabbia of Italian heavy rockers LACUNA COIL recently spoke with "The Metal Teddy Bear Experience", a program on Montclair State University's student radio station WMSC 90.3. You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the writing process for the band's forthcoming "Black Anima" studio album:

Cristina: "We realized that we wanted to go in a heavier direction, but you never know how your songs are going to be until you literally enter the studio. You can change things a thousand times, then you have the final master in your hands and you realize that you went through a long journey and you made so many changes throughout the songwriting. It's hard to explain how it came out. When you're writing music, it's basically putting yourself in your art. So your experiences, your feelings, and music is something you can't touch but it makes you emotional in a certain way or it doesn't at all. So we wanted to put out a record that could incorporate our personal experiences into the lyrics because we always like to talk about real things; we don't like to create stories. We like to talk about real stuff because, for us, it's the best way for us to give ourselves one hundred percent and it's easier for us to perform and sing our parts because we live them. We took a heavier direction and maybe a weirder direction because some of the songs are more mellow. They're still weird. I would say that sometimes, but I don't say it in a negative way, but they almost put you in an uncomfortable mood in the way that makes you think. They make you sit and they make you think. They don't get in one ear and get out from the other ear. They're, like, 'Wait a minute, there's something strange here. I don't understand what it is.' I like this feeling coming out from 'Black Anima'."

On whether "Black Anima" is a "darker" LACUNA COIL album than its predecessors:

Cristina: "I think it was a mix of things. It was a mix of personal experiences. Now that we've gotten a little older, we experienced a lot of sad things — the passing of dear people. Even during the recording, we lost some friends to bad accidents, very young people. All those things are subconsciously influencing your songwriting. Sometimes you feel more creative when you're feeling sad. That's where you take the time and think about who you are, where you're at, why you're living, what for, what's the meaning of life? When you're super-young, you don't think about this. You only think about going out and having a good time, but when you've been living for a few years, everything gets more intense; priorities are completely different. And you give more importance to every single day. I think this record, in a way, is very deep and intense and melancholic, but on the other side, there is huge positivity coming out. We also want to send a message that there's always a way out. You can be touching the bottom, you can be in a very deep depression, but there's always a way to get out of it."

"Black Anima" will be released on October 11 through Century Media Records.

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Austra "Being in a toxic relationship can sometimes feel like being lost in a maze."

Austra "Being in a toxic relationship can sometimes feel like being lost in a maze."

Being in a toxic relationship can sometimes feel like being lost in a maze. Every attempt to turn a corner lands you back where you started. Austra aka Katie Austra Stelmanis announces her fourth album. HiRUDiN is both a bold acknowledgement of such patterns of behaviour and a testament to the power of breaking them.

Katie Austra Stelmanis has been better known by her middle name for three albums, ten years, and countless tours. She wrote, produced, and performed all her own records, occasionally sharing the spotlight with a band to tour live. From the outside, things were going really well for a while: she built a devoted fan base and sold out shows all around the world. However, on the inside, Stelmanis was beginning to feel stagnant and uninspired. "I was losing faith in my own ideas," she explains. Without realising it, she'd got caught up in a toxic relationship that was tearing her apart.

It wasn't until Stelmanis was ready to face her insecurities that she was able to see a way forward: "My creative and personal relationships were heavily intertwined, and I knew the only answer was to part ways with all of the people and comforts that I'd known for the better part of a decade and start again." Alongside making changes in her personal life, HiRUDiN saw Austra taking an entirely different, free-spirited approach to making a record. Seeking out all new collaborators, she booked three days of sessions in Toronto with improv musicians she'd never met before. They included two thirds of contemporary classical improv group c_RL, the cellist and kamanche duo Kamancello, kulintang ensemble Pantayo, and a children's choir.

Accumulating a vast and vibrant mass of source material, Austra then holed up in a studio in the Spanish countryside and took a collage approach to sampling, arranging, writing and producing to reveal the songs that would form the album. "I found myself really enjoying the role of producer for this record," she says, "directing and arranging a very disparate array of parts and people and feeling strong in my own conviction for what I wanted it to sound like." HiRUDiN additionally saw her work alongside co-producers for the first time, Rodaidh McDonald and Joseph Shabason, and she brought in David Wrench and Heba Kadry to mix and master the record respectively. "It was incredibly liberating and a huge learning process to work with so many different people," she says. "I felt completely revitalized."

While Austra's third album, Future Politics, was concerned with the external power structures that shape society, HiRUDiN points inward. It traces a deeply personal journey towards regeneration, dealing with the fallout of toxic relationships, queer shame, and insecurity along the way. Named after the peptide released by leeches that is the most potent anticoagulant in the world, HiRUDiN is about the importance of healing the self, letting go of harmful influences, and finding the power to rebuild through exploring your innermost desires. It reaps the rewards of Austra's leap into the unknown, in her most introspective yet inventive statement to date.

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