Although Lacuna Coil maintained their high-drama presence with September 2020’s Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse stream and June 2021’s live album of the same name, Cristina was keen to use the time off to introduce fans to her character away from the band, emboldened to set up her own channel on Twitch.
“I just wanted to learn new things which could enrich my baggage of knowledge,” she enthuses. “I’m already singing, already writing, but I don’t want to fixate on those. Life is made up of so many different things that can enrich my music and my creativity. I was already a Twitch user, watching other people play games, but I didn’t know what my purpose was. I almost felt scared at first. I am a singer. I am somehow an entertainer. I like to talk, which is clear. But it’s different when you’re talking to a lot of people for a couple of hours – or more!
“Eventually, I decided to keep it as informal as I could so that people could see how Cristina is at home. Cristina isn’t just the singer of Lacuna Coil: I have a house, I have a life, I have passions, I have my own personality. I just wanted people to discover that. Luckily they also like this quirky side of me, which feels like the opposite that dark goth lady that so many people know. As much as I didn’t have purpose in the beginning, there’s now such a strong community every time I go online – such a clean place to exchange good vibes!”
Even the persistent undertones of sexism and misogyny that have plagued gaming, she pushes, are a speed bump to be put in the rearview, comparable to what she experienced when first making her name in heavy music.
“In metal, I encountered the same problem,” she explains, bluntly. “[Women becoming a major presence in the community] was something new, and when something is new, people have suspicions and doubts. They don’t know how to deal with it. But there are a lot of female gamers now, and a lot of females in metal. It’s been normalised, which it should be, because games and metal are for everyone.”
As the world comes back up to speed, hectic schedules mean that attention is turning away from screens, and back towards studio and stage. Mark is churning out more and more top-class YouTube content. Cristina has a packed diary, with a tribute concert for late collaborator Franco Battiato at the spectacular Arena di Verona this week, and another secretive collaboration in the works, not to mention writing for Lacuna Coil’s 10th LP, which has just begun – her creative fires reignited by bringing Start Again to life.
Having dipped toes in the video game world, though, they’re both keen to return.
“I really hope we do,” Cristina says. “As a fan of video games, it’s such a great chance to bring together these different passions in your life. There are so many different things I’d like to do, and places I’d like to explore in this world, but time is limited!”
“I loved the challenge here, and the process of collaboration,” nods Mark. “If we could work together again when it comes time to make Diablo IV, that would be amazing. I’d love the opportunity to have my own playable character in an Iron Maiden video game, too, but I’m not sure that’s achievable!”
“I thought the same thing,” grins Cristina, ever adventurous, as we wave farewell. “Never say never!”
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