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MOONSPELL: surprising, before anything else

MOONSPELL: surprising, before anything else
BANDS : Moonspell

There I was on Friday night, at the Golden Tulip Hotel, waiting for my first interview ever – the Portuguese gothic metal band, Moonspell. When Nebel announced me it was my turn, I gathered all the butterflies in my stomach, I took a deep breath, I started the recorder and I went to the table where Fernando (vocals), Miguel (drums) and Ricardo (guitar) were smiling and waiting. “Nice guys”, I said to myself, “hope it goes smoothly, that I find my words and that the recorder works.” Introductions, etc., and here it goes…



Metalfan: This is your second time in Romania, what are your memories from your last show here?

Fernando: Great memories, we came at night, like werewolves; we were touring Europe with Cradle of Filth at that time and we got to do our own shows which was great. One of them was at Timisoara and was unbelievable because I think it was long due that we played in Romania. And because we had so many people coming to other shows, I remember they were coming to German and Austrian shows especially, it was high time for us to come back here. It took a while, it was a bit hard to get us here, but my memories are great and my expectations, our expectations for tomorrow night are even greater.
Miguel: We have so many comments on MySpace, people who are very anxious to see us live and I think it’s always very special even if it’s like one-two-three people – just them that really want to see us – I think that gives us just enough energy to do the best show that we can.

Metalfan: There are going to be a lot more than this…
Miguel: I hope so, I hope so.

Metalfan: About the new album, Night Eternal, it seems that you chose to be a little more aggressive this time; I’m talking about the guitar riffs and the vocal parts – is it like a look back to the past, a back-to-the roots album?
Fernando: I thought we chosen otherwise, ‘cause I tried this album to be less aggressive than Memorial, with songs like Scorpion Flower, or Dreamless, or First Light. I think the album starts out very powerfully, but all together has more atmosphere, more emotional song-writing than Memorial – that’s the way we wanted to go. We were singing more, not shouting so much – so I don’t know…

Metalfan: Then it’s just a matter of perception.
Miguel: I’ve heard many journalists in more interviews that we did that they say like on the extreme part we went extremely, fast went faster, but mild, on the melodic part we went more in that direction. I think the album has both these elements, they are very fundamental for this Moonspell album. When we were extreme, we were raw and extreme, but when we were able to show our heart we were also there with all the purity that we can, at the most honest that Moonspell can ever show that.




Metalfan: What would you say are its strongest points?
Fernando: For me, it’s a very balanced album between fury and beauty, I think the beautiful parts of the album are very, very touching. For me personally, the strongest point of Night Eternal is distinctive songs. Every song stands out by itself, even though they are together in the album and they are united in the end; I believe every song is really strong and that’s what I mostly proud of – that if you listen to Here Is the Twilight, First Light, Scorpion Flower, Night Eternal, the title track, you see they are all songs, they all have something of their own going on.

Metalfan: How do you manage to make out of the Moonspell music something like a trademark? Because let’s take the new album: it has aggressive black/death parts and yet it holds all that dark atmosphere and gothic touch that it’s recognizable from the very first moments that it’s Moonspell. How do you do it the same every time, but yet different?
Fernando: I think we’ve been fighting for this for years. If you listen to our first album, Wolfheart, it’s an album that already has different sensibilities – there’s An Erotic Alchemy, Vampiria, but there are also Trebraruna, Ataegina, Love Crimes, Wolfshade, so I believe Moonspell is not a band that is just one nature, really. It’s a band that has different sensibilities, from the very first album. I think a new album has to have novelty – it can’t be a sequel or a repetition from the last album – that’s what I think. I think for a band at least, and also for the fans, that it’s very boring to expect something. Even if people are surprised negatively (which they aren’t because Night Eternal has heavy smashing reviews everywhere, it’s going great), I think it’s good they are surprised, because I think most metal bands don’t surprise anyone these days. Whenever I approach a band, 90 % I know what to expect which I don’t think it’s a good thing. I think metal, even with the most classical bands, there always has been up to surprise and now a generation of bands, Tiamat, Samael, Anathema, The Gathering, Sentenced, has always been taking the style limits a little bit further and further – that’s still what we do, obviously not running from this style that we have, which is gothic metal in a way, with the elegance and beauty of gothic, but also the fury and headbanging moments of rough metal. It’s jut like life. (laughts)

Metalfan: If you had to describe this album in only three words, what would they be?
Miguel: Heavy, loving and spiritual.
Fernando: Fury, beauty and girl-power.
Ricardo: Epic, emotional and… apocalyptical.




Metalfan: Talking about apocalyptical, is there a connection, lyrically speaking, between this album and the Book of Revelation?
Fernando: Yes, definitely.

Metalfan: How come?
Fernando: We were waiting for the right time to use the Book of Revelation in our songs and there is a song in Memorial called Finisterra in which I approached a subject that I really love, the end of the world. Obviously, not the end of the world itself, because if it ended there would be no Moonspell anymore, but you have to understand that Portugal, for many, many centuries, has been the finisterra, the end of the world, because before the discoveries the known world was up to Portugal, all the Europe, all the Orient, and in front of us a big sea of darkness, the Atlantic Ocean – up to the time the Portuguese got the caravels and sailed down and discovered everything else (the Portuguese and the Spanish, but mainly the Portuguese). I think this is thing plays a lot with our minds in Portugal, so it’s always something that comes up my mind and on scene I was very much into the religious stuff, but I didn’t like anything from the Bible and now I think it was the time to use that so powerful book, so meaningful for the days that we are living today. It starts off actually with a big quote from St. John’s Apocalypse.

Metalfan: Let’s talk about a special song on this album, Scorpion Flower, and the outstanding duet that you did with Anneke.
Fernando: Thank you, Anneke is great.

Metalfan: Why only one song? Was it an experiment or do you intend to do it again? And why Anneke?
Fernando: Well, actually, in Moonspell we don’t like to stress out and one song is special, too many songs is not so special anymore. I always thought it was a great song so I took it home, caressed the song, write the lyrics etc., then it popped in our mind there was something different about it. In Moonspell, even though we have songs like Raven Claws and Luna and some other with female vocals I can’t recall now, we never had to do it. So we decided to do the first one with probably the most meaningful singer from the gothic metal scene, which is Anneke. She’s the original, she’s the pioneer for this sound, she brought the feminine side into gothic metal sound, and I had a great feeling about Anneke; my expectations were great, but she completely overtook them, ‘cause she brought some kind of pagan magic into the song and we heard it on the video. I think for me it’s one of the best songs of Moonspell. Obviously now it’s a single, we get to listen to it many times, but for me it’s quite a special song. It’s the scorpion and the flower, it means something I think.




Metalfan: How do you feel about being in the spotlight, on the scene, after all these years?
Miguel: In the spotlight? (laughs) We come from Portugal, the spotlight is not that big compared to what it used to, but I think when you’re very passionate about what you do you always want better, you always want to also develop yourself as a person, so we’re always looking for it and I think that’s what makes us special. Being in the spotlight you can be full of yourself, but I don’t think that would bring much art in the future. I’ve seen many artists when they have much success and they only think about their success – what comes in the next couple of years – and that usually is very bad.

Metalfan: Do you still feel the excitement before the show?
Fernando: O course, we are very enthusiastic; but we just feel the excitement and the enthusiasm because we know very well what’s the cause of these. For us, we’re not the high band, we’re not the band people run to the shops and buy; every album we start from zero, without fans, that’s what I feel. Every album they don’t know what to expect so they are a bit suspicious, and then they render themselves to the music, they surrender themselves to the music, and I think that’s a very beautiful thing. We know very well that only by doing great music and fold that up with hard work we can be in the spotlight, as you said, so with Moonspell it’s the only way it works.

Metalfan: Three years ago, in 2005, on your previous interview with Metalfan, you talked about your long expected DVD – is it still on plans?
Fernando: Yes, it’s coming out on the 20th of October, finally. It’s not our fault, it’s the intermediater’s fault that it didn’t come out earlier, but finally we were fighting about it and we reached a deal with them. It’s going to be great, double DVD, with plenty of Moonspell experiences, and shows, and the videoclips, and everything. I’m helping out on the production of this DVD as well so it’s coming out in Europe on the 20th of October. I think it’s a long due DVD because with a band with 15 years of history (15… or more, I don’t remember anymore) it’s high time for us to have a DVD, definitely.

Metalfan: Do you feel accomplished, both personally and musically, professionally?
Fernando: Never, never! I think everything you do opens a new door and I want to step into that new door. So I’m very happy with Night Eternal, don’t get me wrong, but there’s more to come.

Metalfan: What would you do if you had to stop playing music?
Fernando: I’d study again, become a teacher and write poetry and maybe go and retire to a very quite place in the south Portugal.
Ricardo: Work at the post office. (laughs)
Fernando: And work at the post office, yes. So the mail from metal fans get to the destination, which they don’t now.

Metalfan: About poetry – I saw you wrote some poetry books, but only in Portuguese.
Fernando: Three of them, yes.

Metalfan: Is it easier to express your feelings in Portuguese, the words have more meaning?
Fernando: It was just the language I decided to write my books in. For me, English is as meaningful as Portuguese, so when I have the time I will rewrite the Portuguese poems into English form so that everybody who likes Moonspell can connect with this part of me as well. So it’s a question of time, probably next year o in 2010. When I have the time, there will be a book with my little anthology of poems and that will be in English. I just have to find the time – the hardest thing to do now.

Metalfan: So, the plans for the near future?
Fernando: Tour – a lot, go to the States.
Miguel: We’re on tour a lot – the States, we have Europe, we have all the summer festivals to do, and we always have a next album. Fernando is very occupied with all his projects which I hope will bring a lot of inspiration for the future Moonspell album – this is always what we hope and we want.
Fernando: We’re going to do an opera in Portugal, like an art of ordinary opera.
Miguel: He’s an artist now. (laughs)

Metalfan: Thank you very much for your time, I wish you good luck and have fun tomorrow night.
Fernando: We will, you too, see you tomorrow.
Miguel: See you tomorrow.

Autor: Dragos P., Mad
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Moonspell

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