Interviu: Moonspell

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Before the interview with Moonspell, actually only three of them, we made a little chit chat with Mike, while Fernando was away for a minute. Mike admires the Queen T-shirt Stefan is wearing, noticing it's a rare item.

How do you feel having been part of Moonspell for so long? Is it what you wanted?
Mike: I've been in the band since I was 16, now I'm 32, so half of my life I've been with Moonspell, my devotion has always been for the band, and this is what I always wanted, to be behind a successful band.


Do you ever feel like doing something else, like your own music?
Somehow.... I do that, in the way I communicate with the people, or what I do with my personal life, and everybody has that feeling sometimes. It gives new input. If you don't get away sometimes from it, you won't bring nothing new.

Fernando comes back at the interview table and takes over.


Welcome back, second time in Romania. What made you choose Bucharest as the first show of this tour?

I took us quite a while to come to Romania. I always had a good feeling from Romanian fans, they visited some of the shows in different countries - we met some of them in Germany, in Austria, especially. For that we have a people principle, wherever there's a Moonspell fan, we should play there. Of course there's not only one here, but plenty. In Timisoara, the show was great, but I think in the capital, the center of the country, things will go differently. We'll play anywhere, honestly, but Bucharest is one of the cities that we've awaited too long to come here. Tomorrow it'd better good.


In the ups and downs of the band history, what were the worst moments?

The years 1999-2000 were a bit weird. Many bands say everything's fine, everything's good but the reality's different, being in a band you show some ability for suffering, especially when you come from Portugal, it's not a country that has a big metal tradition. Moonspell is quite a different offspring from Portugal. It's always been harder for us to travel, to go places. We are are isolated a little bit in Europe. We have fuckin' Spain huge around us and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side.

I remember Portugal when we had very few money to live, no place to rehearse, our agent in England said I cannot book anymore shows in Portugal, we said ok, we will not give up, music is too important for us, so what we did was give it a try and booked 3 shows in Portugal and that was cool at that time.


What makes me proud about Moonspell despite its ups and downs is that we're not this band that went away from the scene expecting our music to be popular again and to reunite - we'll never do that, when it's the end, it's the end for good; and i hate these reunions... We've always been here and we're grown again to the scene but we never actually left, especially after Memorial we're selling much more records again, appreciating more, but we were never hiding in the bushes waiting for our music to be popular again, that's what makes me really proud of Moonspell.


About the writing and creation process, what comes first? Lyrics or music?
It's random, there is no formula or method. I have to say we're fans of that, that what attracted me the most in metal was the relationship between intelligent music and  intelligent lyrics, I remember Celtic Frost working Baudelaire and Maiden working Coleridge, so I am very much into that. What we do is that this guy here (points to Aires/Ahriman) writes the music, I write the lyrics, I'm always writing....

Do you think of them as lyrics or as poetry?

For me lyrics are poetry, no doubts about it, I mean good lyrics are poetry and it's like Jim Morrison said, when I put it into the Moonspell music, it's something more complete, more passionate, but if you read the text by itself, they are poetry. Lyrics are like scripts for the song and the music sometimes is like an imaginary music sheet for my lyrics.


You've previously stated your interest in East European cultures and last time you were here you claimed some influences from Emil Cioran.

I found him when I studied philosophy 'cause I was very very much like... a pessimist is never disappointed. I was a literature owl, reading a lot at the time, I found him fascinating, because there is some gothic going into it so i've read the Temptation of being, The inconvenience of being born and History and utopia and when I read it and when I searched and researched I found there were a lot of people and a lot of politics involved. But I think he's a great author and he reflects about life as it is, hard and depressive. I don't know that much about the Romanian literature, but I know Ionesco - my girlfriend, she's an actor, so... - amazing, and the anthropologist, Eliade, and... This was a big influence for me, I wouldn't call it pessimism, as everybody does. It's a different form of existentialism, something that I'm really into, if you read the Mooonspell lyrics, they have all this questioning about them.


Given your affiliations to all things dark and evil, was that initially a go-with-the-trend choice or was it a natural inclination?

I hate the trend, I think most black metal bands are stupid, so what they do is copy brainlessly. I write not because it's devilish, but because its' human. I don't believe in god, I don't believe in the devil, but I believe that man has created these two entities and much more in order to express his own fears and doubts. But I think that the devil himself is in the folklore devil. A much better representation of man than God. God is completely an artificial thing, while the devil is questions, betray, has more pulsing life about him and that's what I write about, I don't write -hopefully not!- childish lyrics like most black metal bands. If you ask a black metal band about Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Cioran, they wouldn't know shit about it.

(Pointing at Mike and Ahriman) these two are Catholics, they go to church every Sunday -no, I'm kidding- what I believe is that I'm a totally Promethean guy and we have to dare to know, we have to know everything, its in our nature. And that's basically a lot to be part of the subject of Moonspell lyrics.

There is...

Night Eternal changes turns the page a little bit on your style. Do you feel that a more commercial approach could mean on the longterm drowning in the mainstream?

I wouldn't know that because we are close to the mainstream, but we know very well what we want, is like 100 people listen to the radio a song of Moonspell and they like it, you know very well that from that 100 people one or two or five will follow Moonspell up to the end. So we play for those five, we don't play for all that hundred. And I think that in the metal scene Moonspell is actually a band that holds some clue into the music. We do exactly what we like and when it comes to Night Eternal we tried to challenge people and tried to surprise people. In today's world of metal metal fans in general don't wanna be surprised, they want safe bands, by the book. And Moonspell is a creative band. We do not play by the rules, we invent our own rules, that's not being commercial at all.


Is Moonspell a complete band or is there something missing? Where do you see the next level?

We are always incomplete, at the time we are complete we are through, we are going to split up. We have a lot of ambition, we come from Portugal, it's not very often that you hear of Portuguese bands, but we follow up that ambition with hard work. The path that we follow and think about has a plan so we basically have a lot to do - we've been in the team quite a while, Night Eternal has been very well received by the media and by the fans, but there' a lot of stuff we wanna do, we wanna go to Japan, to Australia, to Africa...

You had an acoustic project, an unplugged one. Do you ever want to repeat that?

Not in the way we did back in 98, because it was a very cryptic album in itself but me and Ricardo are going to play some songs, with just his guitar and my voice, just for radio and etc, because the fans like to hear that, like you can go and talk but when you play it's your nature. We are musicians, we shouldn't talk that much, we should play more.

And play they will - tonight at Amfiteatrul Eminescu.

La acest articol au colaborat Cristina Petrescu si Stefan Tivodar

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