COFFEINNE's Inaki Lazcano: "It's about loneliness, disillusion, and frustration, but (it's) also about encouragement and internal strength, to overcome the worst situations when everything (and everyone) else fails you. "

Madrid's COFFEINNE has just released their second album, "Requiem," which we reviewed a few weeks […]
May 3, 2020

Madrid's COFFEINNE has just released their second album, "Requiem," which we reviewed a few weeks ago here at Metal Temple.Metal TemplewriterKira Schlechter had some questions for the melodic metal band, and singer Inaki Lazcano was kind enough to respond in great detail. The questions, and his answers, follow:

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Who would say would be your biggest influences as a band and individually?

It's very difficult to choose any concrete influence, from Ozzy Osbourne to Arch Enemy, from Whitesnake to In Flames, or from Dokken to Pantera -- none and all of them at the same time. You are always influenced, even unconsciously, by those you admire. It's the same thing individually -- we could give some names (for) each one of us, but there would be many others missing that probably have influenced us even more.

What kind of metal scene is there in Spain, what's it like?

Quite like all around the world. There are many talented musicians and bands, and all styles are covered. Maybe from outside, you could think that everything is MAGO DE OZ or similar bands, but that's not the reality. You can find hard rock, power metal, traditional heavy metal, the extreme scene is also wide. You can find whatever you like and with great quality in any style you choose.

Was there an inspiration for "Frozen Seas?" It makes reference to a journey and perhaps maybe a refugee situation, especially in the second verse, "Echoes of screaming still resonate" and "The sight of horror is still engraved on the soul" -- can you talk about that?

There is an underlying theme for all the lyrics. It's not a conceptual album, but all the lyrics are about death, from different points of view (and in different) situations and contexts. That said, 'Frozen Seas' tries to reflect a burning issue especially in our latitudes here around the Mediterranean Sea. It talks about the drama of so many refugees trying to escape from a sure death in their countries to probably find it in the sea most of the time.

How about the inspiration for the lyrics of "Back to the Light," because it evolves from the beginning of the song to the end -- from being lost and wanting to get back, to gradually forgetting, to finally accepting one's fate -- can you talk about that? The line where you ask, "Is this my brand-new life/I just want the old one back," is interesting -- can you talk about that?

I'm sure you have heard that theory about reincarnation that says that when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's not heaven, but the light of the operating room where you are just about to be born. According to that theory, you cry at the beginning because you can remember everything from your previous life and you realize that you will never live it again. As time goes by, you forget everything, and when you grow up only some flashbacks of that lost life come sometimes -- we call (that) deja-vu. The first time I read about that, I knew that someday I would write a song about that.

"One More Day" is obviously about someone who has changed under very difficult circumstances and has even become a different person because of it ("I'm not the one you knew once" and "scars have made me stronger, indifferent as well") -- can you talk about that, maybe if it's personal in any way?

The title of this song initially was going to be 'The Sniper,' but we decided to change it not to be so obvious. We are never very explicit and we like to leave the listeners the chance to build their own history around the feelings that we show within the lyrics. In this case, it started as the story of a sniper that only wants to see his love's face just once before dying. But we saw the chance to show how a person can change internally, how what surrounds you can change you and make you different -- tougher and insensible -- but that there's always a trace of humanity left in every one when you feel your time has come.

"Forevermore" reminded me of STRATOVARIUS -- how did it come about? It has a pretty hopeless message though despite the uplifting music ("I know that now I'm by myself" and "It's just myself and my demons") -- can you talk about that, again, how personal is it?

STRATOVARIUS was always a great influence for the band and especially for (guitarist David Villareal), so it's not strange to find many resemblances within the whole album. Regarding the lyrics, we all have experienced that time when you feel that everyone failed you and that it's time to burn bridges and face what's to come by yourself, although that could mean your end. It's about loneliness, disillusion, and frustration, but (it's) also about encouragement and internal strength, to overcome the worst situations when everything (and everyone) else fails you.

Was there a particular inspiration for "The Showdown," maybe a historical one (that line, "Don't you ever sink your knee," like don't capitulate or lower yourself or be subjugated, kind of made me wonder that)?

When we were writing this song, David told me, 'Why don't we just write a typical epic and violent song? A pure heavy metal track, something like Conan the Barbarian chopping heads or something?' It sounded very good to me, mostly because I try to write about more complex feelings based on real histories or from the real world. It was something fresh and challenging. It is quite like a war hymn for us.

After "The Showdown," the album lightens up a little sonically -- why did you want to do that?

It could have been at any other place along the track list, but it was obvious that 'Never Again' and 'Wake Up' were the two more "hard rock" songs of the album. We try to do what we like and we don't care about entering in a concrete or fixed style. It's something that some people like and some others don't. But it's the essence of COFFEINNE. If we create something that we really like and it's hard rock, we will record and play it anyway. We will not discard songs because they are lighter, nor because they are too heavy. We liked those songs so much since the very first demos, and we are (just as) proud of having them in 'Requiem' as (we are of) all the other ones.

"Never Again" is definitely about loss -- how personal is that for you, what type of loss (a relationship, or someone important to you)?

When you explain a lyric, most of the time, it loses a part of its charm. (But) I can tell you that David asked me when he first read the lyrics, 'Hey, this is another typical song about losing your girlfriend, isn't it?' And I answered, 'Well, if you want to think that, it's ok. I know that somebody close to me whose dog has recently died was in tears while listening to it.'

"Open Your Eyes" seems to be very much a political statement ("So many ways to cloud your mind/So many tricks to fool you/So many lies to take control of you/And undermine your will") and that line, "You're not supposed to ever leave the herd/Or break the line" is really pointed too, as is "Bombarded from the TV screen/Only biased information" -- where did this track come from, what inspired it?

Inspiration for these kinds of themes is out there everywhere. You just have to switch on the TV or surf through the internet and social media. We live in the info era -- it's obvious that we are oriented, guided, influenced by the ones who rule the world (whoever they are) through communication media. Everything you watch, hear, or read is there to make you think in a determined way or direction. No doubt about it.

Are these things happening in Spain (do you have an example?), or are you making a reference more to the world in general?

I honestly think that it's a global matter. No matter which part of the world you live in, manipulation through information will reach you.

"Crash and Burn" is along the same lines as "Open Your Eyes," but seems to be a lot more hopeless ("There's no way out," "There's nothing left," "We are doomed to make the same mistakes again") -- there's a brief moment of optimism there ("Maybe still it's not too late to take control"), but overall it's pretty dark -- do you really feel that way about our future and why?

Both tracks are quite pessimistic and critical. The difference is that while 'Open Your Eyes' refers to how today's media is used to manipulate us all, 'Crash and Burn' (wonders) how we can fall in that trap and dig our own grave, repeating the same mistakes and not learning from them.

How did it come about that TIMO TOLKKI would guest on the title track -- what does he do on it exactly? Why was this the song to have him guest on?

As I said before, Stratovarius always was a great influence and obviously, David is a huge fan of TIMO. When we started to write the album, he decided to contact him and propose a collaboration. There was nothing to lose, and, in fact, TIMO liked very much the proposal. He recorded the second half of the guitar solo on 'Requiem.' We chose 'Requiem' because it was the title track and we wanted it to close the album. It is a perfect end.

Who is the narrator in this song, the "savior" who is mentioned? This song almost gives the album a more hopeful ending -- was that the reason for it being placed at the end?

'Requiem' is the history that closes the leitmotif of the lyrics. That narrator is Death itself, talking in the first person to someone (who) has been suffering for a long time and (who) actually wants to leave this world. The intention was to show Death like a savior angel that brings peace and rest, (as opposed to) the typical reaper. In fact, that narrator is the image you can see on the CD cover -- the angel coming to take you as you asked (for) so many times.

It didn't seem that you had any shows coming up, or had they already been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic? How are you getting by during this time? Do you have any tentative plans for once this situation is over?

The worst thing is that we haven't got any clue about when we'll be able to go out, or even to join and just have a rehearsal again. We had some shows planned to present the album to the fans that we had to postpone for autumn (and) we are quite sure that we will have to postpone (them) again. Now the priority is to keep healthy and wait for a complete recovery (as soon as) possible. We are looking forward to meeting the fans again and leaving this nightmare.

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