Wednesday, 25th April 2018. 1:01:13am ET
Band: Moonspell
Interviewer: Shaun Hamilton
Date: 12/14/03

One of my favorite all time bands (up there in my top 5) is Portugal's own Moonspell, the lone representatives from that region since the passing of Fado great Amalia Rodriguez. Their music is utterly breathtaking, and one that for over 10 years now has stumped everyone on how to classify it. But they've also gathered a large legion of fans,from metalheads to rivetheads to the goth scene, and are hometown legends to boot. Anyhow, me and my assistant Erica met them before their dynamic show in Chicago on the tour bus, and it's one of my most in depth interviews (given the short amount of time I often get for live interviews), as well as Erica's first encounter with Portuguese culture outside of my cooking haha. Enjoy! And special thanks to George Vallee of Century Media for setting this one up!

(1). Shaun: Ola, muito praizer (Hello, nice to meet you).

Fernando: Praizer (Nice to meet you).

 

Ricardo: Praizer, senhore (hello, sir).

 

Erica: Nice to meet you!

 

Both: Nice to meet you as well.

 

HOla, que pasa (Hello, what's up)? How is the tour going so far and how is the reaction to the new CD, "Andidote" over here and in Europe? Fernando: It's early, it was released earlier in the US, but it's growing. Great reaction so far, especially on the German and Portuguese charts, where it debuted at #4. US contacts and reviews are excellent. Tour just started a couple of weeks ago. It's good to tour with bands like Type O Negative and Cradle Of Filth. One of our favorites so far was Cleveland, where the response was really strong. We like to win them them over, but we try to have no expectations. People are saying we are back on track with this CD, whatever that means!

 

Shaun: Haven't seen a bad Moonspell CD to this day, actually! You guys are one of my all time faves. I gave it a great review as well.

Fernando: Thanks!

(2). I noticed with The Andidote that there was a collaberation with a novel written by a famous Portuguese author. Is there a particular story overall to the CD and would it relate to any of the themes on your older works, like "Sin Pecado" and "Darkness And Hope"?

 

Fernando: We've never done a concept album, just concept music which tells a story. We never limit ourselves, it's a very stream of conscience way that it's played, trying to make it powerful and spiritual. Fear is a big influence, it's something that really drives the music. It's such a part of humanity itself, and I think we are really kind of lost in the world nowadays. That is something we find quite inspiring.

B. Also, is the CD inspired by the novel or is one or the other based toally from the book/CD?

 

Fernando: No, that was the other way around. It was based on our music. Alot of upcoming writers are fascinated and inspired by music, which is odd, because most are inspired by classical music. He's inspired by metal, oddly enough.

(3). I have a weakness for Portuguese culture, but I've never been there. How would you describe Portugal and Portuguese culture, and what are some of the elements there that really goes into each and every Moonspell CD?

Fernando: There's talent in Portugal. Metal's not exlusive, but it's rare there.

Shaun: I noticed the culture is kind of secretive and unknown. Would that have anything doing with keeping it back?

Fernando: Nah, it's based more in laziness than anything. We're not the first (you mentioned Tarantula, which was one of the first), but I think we had the most ambition to make it succeed. It's gorgeous in Lisbon though, very mystical and very beautiful, we grew up there. But very expensive as well. There are places there that are even more expensive than Manhattan, mostly because not many people live there. And those who do are often rich people and their kids who get everything bought for them there.

Shaun: Not to mention the offshore housing tax they have there now, which has alot of people outraged.

 

Fernando: Exactly! I'm hoping the CD does well so we can get back in. But there is alot of history and culture to represent in Portugal, since it's very unknown. In the days of old when Portugal was conquering and spreading, it was seen as the end of the world. And it still is in alot of ways, since it's the very edge of Europe. Alot of people get into Portuguese culture after hearing us, and get very curious about it.

Shaun: Haha when I was a kid in school, they always gave us the image of people who dress like the villagers in Legend Of Zelda 2. When I first heard "Alma Mater" back in 1995, I thought you guys were from Norway since I didn't know any better. Everyone was from there in those days, too!

Fernando: *laughs*

 

Erica: He tends to misjudge someitmes. But he's really big on Portuguese culture.

Shaun: Nah, that was what I was taught in school, since they focused on really old Portguese cultures. Mainly Lusitanian culture, I think. (Points to Erica and laughingly says "Vi Toma No Cu", which means "Go Fuck Yourself" in Portuguese).

 

Fernando and Ricardo: *Laughs* Learning the harsh words, eh? Nah, that was the old days of Portugal! Portuguese suburbs are a world apart, like beauty and ugliness. There are alot of human feelings to take out of there. Alot of people also think Portugal is alot like Spain, and that is not necessarily true. So in the end we're very influenced by the mysticism of the area, personally, musically and lyrically.

Shaun: There are some great bands from there, like Aenima and Amalia Rodriguez.

 

Fernando: Ahhhhhhhh I love them both!

Shaun: Madredeus as well. I love your cover of "Os Senhores Do Guerra"!

Fernando: Yeah, they are huge over there, even bigger than us. It was an honor to cover one of their songs, since the represent Portugal so much.

Shaun: One other good one is Mauriza, and the old metal groups like Tarantula.

Ricardo: You're really well informed on the Portuguese scene!

Shaun: Well, yeah, kind of. I have a total interest and love for the culture,so studying it's music is natural to me. Did it make it harder for you to suuceed coming from there?

Fernando: Yeah, versus places like Germany and Britain, where you could ask people who've done it before. We couldn't do that, we had to go it alone pretty much.

Shaun: Did you make mistakes much along the way?

 

Fernando: Obviously, but it's been a growing experience!

Shaun: Hehe Moonspell does no wrong! ;-) Places like Spain can be really hard to make it in, which is nearby. They are also very particular about Spanish language there, so it'd be really hard.

Fernando: Exactly. It was in Germany we really started breaking out. So that was good.

(4). Would you say much of the dreaded Westernization has spread there? It seems like a very protective and secretive culture at times. Or could that be more from it being relatively new to non-dictatorship?

 

Fernando: Westernization has spread, but Europe also has alot of fault in it, though differently. It's more interesting to keep the differences. Life isn't about comfort, especially when you deal without things. Europe whines about so called 'recolonization', which is a self inflicted philsophy, very misunderstood.

Shaun: Sounds very Nietzchian! I read where you studied philosophy over at the Lisbon University.

Fernando: Yeah, I'm big into German philosophy. Alot of people get into Nietzsche because he's very quotable, but they don't really know much about him.

Erica: (points at me) He's a complete Nietzsche nut, Shaun's all about bashing organized religion. He really likes the anti-religious stuff.

Fernando: One of the interesting things he did was philology, which is the study of the root of words. He did alot of that with older works of his, learning more what the words actually meant and then applying that to principles of Greek tragedies and things of that nature. We also use that in our music as well, and I find that yet another inspiration.

(5). Some of the more danceable elements found on CDs like Butterfly Effect and Sin Pecado have come more into play on the new CD, especially "From Lowering Skies". I've argued with some friends before it probably came from Fada or Lucitanean rhythms, some argue it's more based in industrial. Which one would you say brought out that element of dance on some of the songs and the unique new rhythm?

 

Fernando: It's more of a tribal and primitive element,actually. It's also a more physical part of Moonspell, something very distinctive in metal, bringing those primordial feelings to light. People really like the dancey vibrations in the music, without even noticing it.

Shaun: Reminds me of Sepultura's "Roots"!

Fernando: I love that CD! We feel a lot in common with them, representing out cultures alone in music and a resemblance in some ways.

Shaun: Not to mention there is a strong link between Portugal and Brazil's cultures.

Fernando. That too.

Shaun: I can sing "Rhatamahata" and any Portuguese song under the sun, but I have utterly next to no idea what they are talking about.

Fernando: *Giggles*

 

(6). I read on your studio journal online that you have some very strange and almost disturbing (would be if not for my desensitation towards the disturbing haha) dreams, some rather grotesque. Did any of those songs get into song form on The Antidote?

 

Fernando: Hehe yep, I'm the guy with the strange dreams! Writing them down is a very good excercise for the mind. I'm obsessed with registering everything.

 

Shaun: Kind of like a diarist? Where you write down what you had to eat, drink, etc.

 

Fernando: Haha not quite like that, but I do like to get important details like dreams down. Never to the point like "I got up and brushed my teeth this morning". I don't really like journals that much. I like reality, but kind of altering it into songs and ideas, not something for journals. At the website, Moonspell.com, is a journal for the band called the A-Diaries, or the Antidote Diaries. Kind of based in the absurd. I like to share my dreams, ideas and visions with people.

Shaun: I'm curious too if you guys do Moonspell full time. Alot of bands I've seen become pretty successful still work dayjobs sometimes.

Fernando: We do Moonspell full time, but still alot of activity going on. Sometimes it's slow then sometimes the sales pick up, it depends. So far this CD is doing really good!

Shaun: Yeah, I heard you were no longer to afford a place in Lisbon. Why is it so expensive there? It seems like a rather small place to be that expensive.

Fernando: Well, most of the reason is because not many people live there, and it's a large city not to be having that many people. And most of the people living there are all rich people and their kids who get their houses bought for them. Very borgeouis, but beautiful there. It's a pretty dead city, mostly offices and landmarks there now.

Shaun: Getting kind of homesick for the city?

Fernando: Definitely! I'm hoping this CD does really good so I can get back into Lisbon and finally be back home!

(7). I've always wondered too if you'd ever consider doing a full album in Portuguese. It's very rare to hear, and plus the Portuguese songs are some of what really sets the group apart in the metal scene, considering you are the only one really carrying the torch.

Fernando: Very risky, esp. when used in an intellegent form, but it is a direct link to our culture. We'll never do a full album in Portuguese. It's a musical language, but only for certain styles. Fado (Portuguese folk music), but not rock.

Shaun: That'd sound a bit like Rock En Espanol.

Fernando: Well, Spanish is made more for rock and metal than Portuguese. People also don't want to have to translate everything.

Shaun: I love your cover of Madredeus' "Os Senhores Du Guerra" (The Warlords), great song by a great band. I got their best of a couple of weeks ago, I've been playing it quite alot.

Fernando: We love them, they really represent Portugal like no other band in the world. It is a song about peace and war, something that really touched us hearing it.

(8). You also recently moved into a rather violent suburb of Lisbon, due to the high prices in the city (some of which are even higher than Paris). Has any of that violence and longing to get back into Lisbon inspired any of the works on the new CD?

Fernando: Yeah, it's a not as nice place outside of Lisbon. It's a good influence because it's all inside me now as well, and it seems to come out with the music. Doubts, fear,life, those are strong influences to us, and the area seems to really bring that out. Getting closer to ourselves. Somtimes it's crude, mankind facing beauty, horror, knowledge. My philosophy and serious lyrics are as important as to like the lyrics as well.

(9). Alot of your releases have been influenced to a point by metaphors and mysticism. Would you say that sense of mysticism is still there?

 

Fernando: A sense of mysticism? Antidote is a very msytical CD. To me, we are lost in the world, and we don't really bother to look. You can't find it in the supernatural, but through man. It's really objective, I suppose.

Shaun: By the way, I use a line taken from one of your songs for my company slogan, taken from "Alma Mater". Isn't that taken from a former Portuguese dictator?

Fernando: You must mean the chorus to "Alma Mater". Yes, but the sentence is not used in any political context at all. It more or less means "Proudly alone". Go there, do it yourself, and experience it. On the mysticism part again, we do have our Portuguese folklore, but people still need time to really understand us and out culture. There's a place for everything, but things like dragons and elves are not our thing.

Shaun: Haha, we'll save the Dungeons And Dungeons stuff for power metal!

Fernando: Or like King Diamond.

 

Shaun: Or Manowar.

 

Fernando: I like them alot too! Especially the first CD.

Shaun: Yeah, they are pretty corny, but before you know it they've got a hold of you!

(10). Any fun stuff I can say while I'm in Lisbon next year?

Fernando: Hmmmmmmmmmmm............... (consults Ricardo)

Do you like coffee? Here you go: "Um Cafu, por favor"

Ricardo: Or you can say "Umu bica, por favor"

 

Fernando: What are some other things you want to say?

 

Shaun: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, we should ask Erica since she's got all the kooky ideas.

 

Erica: Remember how on the way up here you were saying your feet are racing each other when you walk? And how they're at war with one another.

Fernando: Hmmmmmmmmmm, that one could be kind of hard (talks to Ricardo in Portuguese). Here we go: "Os meus pus estuo a courer um contnu o outno".

 

Shaun: How's about Moonspell is the best band in the world?

Fernando: Say this one in Portugal and it'll get you alot of friends there.

 

Shaun: Or get me beat up by the Fado crowd haha.

Fernando: Nah, even grandfathers listen to us over there, the Fado crowd loves us. "Moonspell o a molhou banda do mundo!"

Shaun: And how true that is! ;-)

 

Anything else you'd like to add?

Fernando: Nope, I think we are good. Tired but we're good. See you two at the show!

Shaun: Boa noite, amigo!

 

Fernando: Boa noite.

 

Erica: See you next time you're in town! Take care!

Fernando: You too. :-)


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