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Interview with Moonspell | Fernando Ribeiro: «I believed that Gothic expanded but many times it was in a "weird", tasteless direction»

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MOONSPELL 2020interview1


Hi Fernado, thank you for this interview.
When you were starting the band did you dream that you'd have this longevity and acclaim, that you'd be the most recognizable name in Portuguese music?

Fernando Ribeiro: No, of course not. In one way our main fight and goal as band is exactly to progress into a territory that can be recognised as Moonspell in all main aspects of a band: aesthetically, musical and "performatic". We are basically together as a band because of that pursuit. In these years that will be, for sure, our last a band we want to increase that search in terms of originality and quality. We want to make music as meaningful as emblematic as it seems we did in our early days for most of our fans. I have some troubles myself to tap into that longevity yet for a musician time works different. Sometimes it was just too fast, others seemed to last forever.



Moonspell seem to never rest, 1755 being no exception. How did the fans respond to the more atmospheric music and how hard is it to produce this music live?

Fernando Ribeiro: How could we? It's a competitive world. Also we love to create new things. That's the most rewarding thing about being in a band. It might sound naive but Art for us is much more to paint that white canvas than to reproduce it live. Yet we love to play live and know very well this is the best way to promote your music and reach people. Also it helps to tell the story with all the mise-en-scene and what not.


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How did you decide to write for the first time in Portuguese?

Fernando Ribeiro: It was pretty obvious for us when we did 1755 that the album would be in Portuguese, almost self-explanatory. This is a story abou an event that happened in Portugal and allowed us to fuse two of our main interests: bombastic metal, orchestra full and hard; and Portuguese History. In many ways 1755 was the culmination of material like Alma Mater or Trebraruna.


In 2018 the Purgatorial poems were released. What is it like to produce such a different kind of work, what did the fans think of it and what was your inspiration for those poems at the time?

Fernando Ribeiro: Except the 5 or 6 new and unreleased poems I wrote especially for this anthology, all material is older and written originally in Portuguese. I translated it myself but many times it felt like it was more rewriting than anything else. I guess the fans really supported it, we sold a lot of books, I am really thankful they follow up this side of mine too. It''s very kind.


Do you have ideas for a new album? Any material yet or is it too early yet?

Fernando Ribeiro: About the right time, I'd say. 1755 was all of an experiment with the Portuguese lyricisms and orchestral, harsh metal so we feel we need to pick up the musical thread brought up with some of the Extinct album moments, like on songs like Breathe, Future. Yet this time we are going a little more doom, psychedelic and even prog. Sign of times. If all goes well we will be able to record it in October with Jaime Arelliano Gomez. He did Paradise Lost, Ulver, Ghost, Hessvexel, we look forward for it. It's coming out in 2021 obviously.



Tell us about re-release of "The Butterfly Effect" album and how do you see now that period of the band and how much has your musical approach changed since then?

Fernando Ribeiro: Our first five albums, including Under the Moonspell were obviously marking out territory, including experimenting, to see how far we could go, where to look, even in the darkest and most unexpected corners. It might have been a bit wild and a lot of trial and error but I guess all the albums have their good moments and most of the songs endured the test of time. As far as The Butterfly Effect goes, it's the same. It's an important part of recovering all the Moonspell back catalogue for old and new fans and I guess people have given it a different look and spin. I guess people are still intrigued about this particular album. It's a great feeling considering it was very out of the box in 1999 and a crazy one for what Moonspell was doing back then.


How do you see the gothic metal scene after being around for 30 years? Have you singled out any new bands worth mentioning?

Fernando Ribeiro: What can I say? I believed that Gothic expanded but many times it was in a "weird", tasteless direction. I always saw Goth as something dark and elegant, and not this beauty and the beast thing, with a bad soprano versus an angry guy. There's some cool stuff like that, like old Theatre of Tragedy but I have been always closer to material like Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, Love like blood. There was also some heavy metal goth like early Him, Sentenced, even Pyogenesis which was really good but then I lost track. Tiamat is great too, their more goth tainted songs in Judas Christ for instance and Paradise Lost still kicks ass, their last album is brilliant. I guess it's all a matter of how to combine the pieces and somewhat keep it stylish. I believe Ulver is right now doing their best goth albums ;) Also I really like Leprous, Zeal and Ardor, Galera from Portugal, there are great bands out there in all of the metal sensitivities but Gothic Metal is the realm of Nightwish now and I guess bands like Moonspell don't fit anymore on that genre perspective.


How do you spend your time in quarantine and how do you see the music scene after covid-19?

Fernando Ribeiro: It will be hard to overcome the fear stalled in the society. I am not saying we didn't have to take precautions or denying anything yet getting back to have packed shows and people willing to go to them dune all these unfortunate circumstances and consequences will be a hard task and a then ultimate proof for the love for this kind of music. Maybe just a few of the many of us will remain doing, more or less, what we do now and I can only work hard to make Moonspell one of them.

We had a really long and demanding tour with Rotting Christ in the end of 2019 so moonspell needed a break. We didn't know it was to be a virus quarantine yet we tried making "the most" of it and spend time with our family. I read a lot, wrote the new album, started my first novel that is coming out next year, and kept myself busy and healthy as much as I could. And productive even if it grind itself useless, let's see, no one can tell.


What would you like to say to the Greek fans of Moonspell?

Fernando Ribeiro: Apologies for not being able to fulfil our duties with the Greek crowds in -January. The band was just a rack and we needed not to platy that go, it was my decision, a hard one. So we do hope next time we can be together as moonspell will only improve now, I am sure of that.


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Chris Mouskos, Andreas Zeis

Black Velvet Radio

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