If you had to sum up the career of Moonspell in two minutes, what would you say?
Well, I’d probably hesitate for a minute first ! (laughs) But I don’t really know, because Moonspell was something that we started because our passion for other bands and occult subjects and music, and especially because of this connection. Nowadays, we have evolved a lot, we are in places that we were not in 92. We have learnt through the years, and I think it’s a significant career, at least for myself. It has always been strange for me and for Moonspell to have people we can communicate with, through our music, my lyrics, etc… So I think that once again, it’s not my whole life, but it’s a big part of it.
And how would you like to evolve in the future? Like Paradise Lost, or back to a more aggressive music?
Well, we would like to evolve to a point where Moonspell would be considered as a very original band, and who plays quality stuff. That’s been our goal for a lot of years. Of course, we have a lot of influences. Paradise Lost is one of them, but we don’t want to follow anyone’s path. And though we are often compared with Paradise Lost, especially because we are melodic, but we for example you compare ‘Butterfly Effect’ with ‘Host’, I think that we’re going in far different directions, they are experimenting more with melodies and string arrangements, and we are exploring harsher and more aggressive sounds. I think that evolution is something people debate very much. The evolution of Moonspell depends of the evolution of our personal lives, where they go, what we think, and what we feel. Music has always been a representation of this for Moonspell, so, musically, I think we won’t go for such major changes as we went for these past four years and albums. Of course, people don’t have the time to be used to a Moonspell sound, because we always do an album every year, so we wanna wait more nowadays. But I think that the style of ‘Butterfly Effect’ is closer to what we wanna do, a more complete style, with a lot of feelings, which is very important for Moonspell, but also something from our essence, from our past.
A sort of come-back to the roots, maybe?
No, not exactly, because I think we couldn’t do a second ‘Wolfheart’. It was very special at the time for us, and we couldn’t repeat it. We will never do a second ‘Butterfly Effect’ either, because it is very special to us. We have our style, but that’s very difficult, very ambitious for the generation of bands like us, Katatonia, Paradise Lost… We have roots for sure, but we look up, we look at the fruits of the tree, and not only at the roots. Roots are important, but they don’t do the best, they’re just the ground where we stand, and I don’t know if we’re going back to the roots or not, because I don’t know what the roots of Moonspell are.
But for example, would you be interested in adding more electronic elements to your music?
We do so. With electronics and technology in general as a working tool, that’s very interesting, and it can create tools even more interesting. Since ‘Irreligious’, we have maintained experiments with technology, but we mainly want our music to remain human and organic. We used technology sometimes, and electronic elements on ‘Butterfly Effect’ in order to create this danger and apocalyptic feeling. But I don’t feel we’re going too electronic or not. Nowadays, metal is very safe, people, especially in this trend of power and black metal, where they do what people want to hear, and Moonspell is against this. I have nothing against these bands, but I am against this philosophy. I think that people can learn things with Moonspell, like on ‘Opium’, and I want to keep it this way. For this, we have to innovate.
Concerning the tours you made, how was it in America? Were you expecting something this important?
No. Because when you do a band, you want to expand. When we did Moonspell, we wanted to play outside Portugal ; when we played outside Portugal, we wanted to play in more European countries, etc etc… But the American market is pretty weird, it doesn’t have the same rules for metal as the European market, so our management, people in magazines and in other bands were saying that we would be completely ripped off, and that nobody would come to the shows. But when we arrived there, a lot of shows were sold-out, because the package was strong with In Flames. Of course we had a show with hundred and twenty people, which is not, for me, chaotic, but it was very good, and a chance to meet other people who listen to Moonspell. We only have good things to say about the USA ! We also played in Canada and Mexico, it was our second time in Mexico, and we might return there later, maybe in May. We should once again be included in a package. Moonspell won’t headline, but we will have a good position on the bill. I don’t know which other bands, still. Maybe Kreator once again. We have to see that.
Still about the US, you took part to the Dismember November Festival, along with Morbid Angel…
We played a different stage. That was a very confusing experience for us. It’s not like the European festivals where everything is organised. There were three of four stages at that place, Morbid Angel were playing on a different stage. There was a very big confusion there, there were porno actresses giving autographs, there was merchandising sold, there was Moonspell playing, Crowbar playing, death metal bands playing… It was chaotic.
Did you talk with the Morbid Angel guys, after the problems you had together?
No, we didn’t. But I have nothing against them. I have a lot of things against their management, we will never tour with a band from their management ever, after that tour with Morbid Angel, that took place in 95. But we have no complaints about the band, that’s a band I really like, all the albums, to be honest, and I think they’re the best death metal band ever. We’ve never had any problem with them.
What about this specific tour here in Europe with Novembre, Kreator and Witchery?
It’s going well. But to be honest, the package was not supposed to be like this. We chose the first package, but due to a lot of problems, we had to change it. The original one was 69 Eyes, Katatonia, Kreator and Moonspell. But we have had Witchery, and at the beginning of the tour, a band called Manic Movement. Novembre joined in Hamburg or Kцln. The beginning was quite lame, like in Holland, there were not a lot of people at the shows, but then again, after we had played Belgium, we had very good responses. All the bands are in my opinion playing very good shows, from Novembre up to Moonspell, hopefully. And people seem to enjoy it pretty much. The German part was very good, so it’s a very good tour. For example, even if in Germany we don’t sell very well anymore, people still come to the shows, and they like it, which is the most important thing. And they come in very large amount, so…
Do you remember the day in Geneva? How was it?
Geneva was OK. Switzerland is a country that is sometimes strange for us, because there are a not a lot of people listening to metal there. But the Geneva gig was pretty cool, there were quite a lot of supportive people, and that was a cool show.
What are your plans for now? Some summer festivals maybe? Like Dynamo or Wacken?
I don’t think we would fit that much in festivals like Wacken, because people go there with the idea of seeing pure heavy metal. And I don’t think Moonspell is able to give them what they really expect. But there are some rumours saying that we will be playing at the Dynamo once again, we have played there in 97, but I think we will play some festivals this summer. Some stuff is already planned, but we have to go step by step. There are two more weeks to go before the end of this tour, then some stuff in the US, and then the summer festivals. That’s always a chance to present our music to a larger audience, that is not only in metal or gothic music. It can be a bad experience sometimes, but we also had very good experiences, like the Artefacts festival, which was a complicated, but very good show.
Apart from that, what are your projects with your solo-band Daemonarch?
It was a purely artistic project. It’s hard to understand that nowadays, especially with all these new bands, in this kind of music. For Daemonarch, I’m very proud of the result, I have reached the aims I wanted to reach, it was a personal breach for all the things that are in my mind, and now it will return to its original form, a literary project. I will build an internet site for Daemonarch, where you’ll find a story, more informations, and also some kind of artistic satanism, because I think the way it is represented now is very bad. And I want to change this situation, all the more that I have the power to do so.
You mean, the way it is represented by ‘satanic’ bands? Like Dark Funeral and so on, with their spikes, leathers, blood and make-up?
I think there are only very few bands who do that with style, and I will quote Emperor, Marduk, even Dark Funeral, who are bands that I like, to be very honest. But once again, 95% of the black metal is crap. It’s trendy, it’s badly played, it’s not only the musician fault, but also the labels’ fault. Because when Moonspell began, it was very hard for us to get a record deal, even with ‘Wolfheart’. Nowadays, even in our label, there are bands like Old Man’s Child who have no quality or whatsoever to be in Century Media. Black metal is not that dead-easy to do as people think. People think it’s very easy to put make-up, and it represents that musically, and it’s not. I don’t know everything about black metal, but I know a lot, and I think that 95% of the bands are crap. The bands who do that with, I hate to say that, but with the ‘true’ feeling, do it very well, like Marduk.
So, what about trendy bands like Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir?
I know Cradle for ages, but they’re too soft and represent a style, that was not created by themselves, but around them. And they adapted to this. I don’t like their music and what they represent, because I think it’s not new, it stinks like old stuff. But I have no problem if people like it. About Dimmu Borgir, I don’t see what people see in them and don’t see in Emperor. I think there are a lot of hypes concerning Dimmu Borgir, I have listened to ‘Godless Savage Garden’, and for me, it’s easy listening black metal. I know the guys, and they’re cool, but musically, I don’t think they do it ok…
OK, thanks! Would you have something to say to the readers?
Thanks for the interview, and big thanks to the French and Swiss audience, because when everyone was putting us down with ‘Sin/Pecaso’, you were like for us, very hopeful countries, you accepted Moonspell as we are, and it’s not very easy these days. So all my respect to them!