Moonspel Oct 1996 Mindview

Portugal, a place to visit tiny little villages, ride on donkeys and -of course- get drunk on porto. But metal? Well, a few years ago, Portuguese metal was as good as non-existing, but things were about to change after Moonspell was formed! After a demo and a 7", they released their first MCD "Under the moonspell". From the beginning you knew these guys had great potential, as their sound was fantastic and very original. Later on they released their first full length album called "Wolfheart". Bull's eye. Last summer, Moonspell -on its way to become a success-story- released their definite breakthrough in the form of 'Irreligious', a more gothic influenced album. On their tour with label-collegues Samael and Rotting Christ, we got a hold of vocalist Fernando, grabbed a bottle of porto, dimmed the buslights and started our recorders.

Fernando, let's start at the beginning, how has this "Century Media Package Tour" been to you guys?

Well, I think touring has two sides. One side is that touring is always good for a band, at least it always has been for Moonspell. You can promote your new album and so on. Of course you have good gigs, you have bad gigs. On the other hand, this tour is a bit confusing. Ok, it's a honest underground tour, and there are always lots of people showing up, but we liked to be on a bigger tour. Because, for us, it's a bit worthless going around in circles, playing the same places, meeting the same people. Nothing we have against those people, but we wanna grow up a little bit. But overall, it's a good tour, lots of people, good merchandise sales, etc...

Lots of people wonder why Moonspell isn't headlining in this tour...people are surprised about that. Even a lot of them leave after Moonspell, so miss out on Samael...

Honestly, we would have headlined. But of course Samael has a bigger 'tradition'. They have 4 albums or something, and we 2. But at this moment, there's no doubt we are a bigger band, we sell more records, we could have headlined. But we thought it was too early for us, because we are ambitious, but very carefull. And I think we can profit more of being the second, instead of being the last one. Of course everybody asks, and it's a little bit bad for Samael that our name is bigger on the poster and stuff. But what can we do, we didn't say to the people: we are headlining. It was, I don't know, a business trick or some mistake from the promotor. Sometimes I regret we are not headlining, but I think it was the best choice. If people won't stay to see Samael, I feel sorry for them, but that's not really my problem. We just do our show and do something else. I don't stay and watch Samael... maybe sometimes (laughing).

And how's the atmosphere in the band so far, while being on this tour?

Yeah, we have our discussions for sure. We are five different people, and sometimes we need our own space and it's impossible to have any kind of privacy on tour, and you have to live with that. On the other hand, all the difficulties in the end can unite the band even more, at least I hope. Because there is are a lot of other things we have to take care of, and if we have problems, it's very difficult. So we try to be as calm as possible, but still we are humans of course and sometimes things get out of hand, for sure.

Maybe it's too early too ask, but how do you see yourself, musically in the future. Because you evoluated a lot since I heard your demo...

Well, in the demo days, we were very honest to people. The demo has some interessting stuff, but it's typical for a band that was in the beginning and could not handle their instruments and stuff like that. But people are surprised because we grew a lot in a pretty short time...but I think that's mainly because we work a lot. We are ambitious, but without work you can be ambitious your whole life. Musically and everything that involves with that, we just want the place that we deserve, and I really think that now we are not in the place that we deserve, so we'll work even harder to get there. If we can't get there, if it's impossible, if the band tries everything, there's no support from the label or fans or stuff, maybe we'll slow down a little bit and instead of being busy with Moonspell as a full occupation, maybe we'll do it as a hobby or so. But if you mean our musical direction, then it's too early to talk about that. But at least I want something darker in the next albums, but I always say this, so I don't know what it means. (laughing)

Is it wrong to say you are very influenced to Type O Negative...or am I a nutcase?

Well, then I must know a lot of nut people. We are a lot compared to them. We don't deny it's a big influence on Moonspell. It's music I really like. It's kind of a surprising band with "Bloody Kisses", because the older stuff isn't really my cup of tea, but anyway. And I really think we have something in common. That's why we'll fit on the Type O Negative tour, I think. But, let's say, we don't try to rip off Type O Negative, especially if you listen to 'October Rust', which is very different to 'Irreligious'. And lyrically, I kinda like Peter Steele's lyrics, but they aren't my favourite. But I'm more influenced by other kind of stuff rather than other bands. Musically you can not escape so much. But I doubt that Peter Steele read the same books or have the same interessts. I never spoke with him, maybe it can happen...

...Probably you will, because you'll be touring with them!

Hehe, that's another story. Everything was already settled with the Typo tour. But then they want to put this gangster rap band or something called 'Manhole'. But no way in the world we we'll play before Manhole. It's getting back to the other question, we don't want to be always the first band to play. Even if reviews say, Moonspell was much better than Manhole, but there would be 1000 people seeing us, and maybe 4000 Manhole. Because that's what I expect Type O Negative to pull. So if we play with Type O Negative, it will be before Type O Negative. We'll see about that later.

I don't like to put a label on a band, but how would you define your music?

Musically, you can find a lot things from heavy metal in general. I think we are a metalband, and then you can find influence from gothic, from independed stuff, from soundtracks, because I feel our music is very visual or at least we try to, just like soundtracks. But I can not really find a name, if you want to call it "gothic metal" or something like that. Just that we listen to a lot of different music. When I started to listen to heavy metal I listened to pop aswell in the early eighties, it's like I'm split between these two scenes, and Moonspell stands on a crossroad between a lot of tastes and influences. We just try to be honest. If we like the Police, it can be an influence. If we like, let's say, Slayer, I don't like it but....

...Celtic Frost or something...

Yeah! Bathory and Celtic Frost are two of my fav bands. Really! I really like them a lot. And I feel we are very influenced by them in our most-metal songs like "Full Moon Madness" or "Alma Mater".

I did an interview with Hammy from Peaceville last week, and he stated that the metalscene nowadays has died down a bit. What's your opinion on this?

Mmm, I don't really agree. I think metal has been given a big turn. People are saying that bands aren't really to the roots. But in some way, I feel like they are. Perhaps heavy metal started with bands like Black Sabbath or so, and they are not a very aggressive band, they were more moody, with a lot of rock influences. For instance Type O Negative, that's one of the best examples of how metal has turned around, even Type isn't the best exemple for metal. But I really think there is more tours, more people at the shows. There's a chance for bands like Moonspell, that 10 years ago would have died with the underground scene or something. Things get a little bigger, although I don't think they get better. But at least they got bigger, for sure. So I disagree with Hammy.

Owkay, would you like to add anything, say some words of wisdom?

Yeah, I want to invite people to check our
Internet-page! Because I saw it, even if I'm not a computerfreak or something because I haven't got the time for that. (laughing) I think it's very well done, and it's very big, and has a lot of inflow. We give a lot of personal effort to that page as well. So, as we are talking about the 21th century technology, check it out and listen to Moonspell!