DATE OF INTERVIEW:
27th March 2016
METAL DISCOVERY: I gather you won a very prestigious award for ‘Extinct’, in Portugal, earlier this month, from the Portuguese National Authors' Society. That must’ve felt great to achieve that level of recognition in your home country?
RICARDO: It is, mainly because of the recognition of metal as a valid genre, because Portugal doesn’t have a very big tradition of rock or heavy rock. We’ve said this several hundred times, but we had a dictatorship until the early seventies and, when things started to change, this kind of music was already in the culture of several other countries - especially the countries of Northern Europe, and England, and America. So, for us, it took us a while… it had always been seen as an evil genre… so, there’s a bit of prejudice still, but our struggle for more than twenty years and, finally, they gave us the recognition that I think, honestly, we deserve, because we’ve been representing Portugal, when it comes to this genre, for quite a while. And it opens doors to new metal bands, and I hope they get encouraged to do better, and we start to get a really strong scene in Portugal. I don’t know when, but… [Laughs] But, yeah, it was very important and we’re very proud of it.
(Ricardo Amorim on Moonspell's recent award from the Portuguese National Authors' Society)
"...finally, they gave us the recognition that I think, honestly, we deserve, because we’ve been representing Portugal, when it comes to this genre, for quite a while."
Ricardo Amorim in Sound Control, Manchester, UK, 27th March 2016
Photograph copyright © 2016 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
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Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview.
The Butterfly Effect (1999)
Darkness and Hope (2001)
The Antidote (2003)
Under Satanæ (2007)
Night Eternal (2008)
Lusitanian Metal (2008)
Alpha Noir/Omega White (2012)
MD: Fernando wrote a blog entry a few days ago and I gather the relationship between Moonspell and the music press is Portugal has always been an unsettled one, and erupted into a war of words recently?
RICARDO: Well, the thing is, there are some newspapers that have always been supportive of us, but there’s this faction of journalists that we call hipsters and they decide the genre that is cool to be listened to. It comes to a point that, sometimes, as a band that wants to be valid also, we go a bit against it and we’re a little bit sick of it. The thing was that this journalist made a story about one band in Portugal that broke through. They appeared in 2006 and they have their crowd; they go and play festivals… but it’s a totally different thing. It’s not rock; it’s like a mixture of African music with hard techno. And he said it’s the band from Portugal that’s played most outside of Portugal to more audiences and more shows and whatever… which isn’t true. One thing is that if you give an opinion, it’s okay, but if you report it as a fact, then you get to say, “no, it isn’t true.” And that’s what we said. And, of course, you know how the fanbases are… you know… [Laughs]… they start this war of words, like you said. But we’re cool with that band, there’s absolutely no problems. They also know, you know.
MD: I guess you winning that award is a middle finger up to the hipster journalists!
RICARDO: Yeah! We never mentioned that on any kind of speeches… we don’t care, but also we must!
MD: It’s the twentieth anniversary of ‘Irreligious’ this year, which doesn’t seem like two decades ago…
RICARDO: Time flies, right?
MD: Yeah, exactly. So, what are your memories of making that album? Happy times?
RICARDO: Yeah, very happy times. We did it in two sessions, I believe. Like, two weeks, we went out to play shows, and then we returned to the studio and finished the record. For me, it was very special, obviously, because it was the first album I ever did with Moonspell. I remember when I recorded the last note, it was like, “congrats, first album!” Then, it was a breakthrough album; it was very important. It was the album that put us up and gave us a lot of great memories; our first big tours, with Type O Negative, with that album. So, yeah, it was great times.
MD: And Pete Steele was a fan of Moonspell back in the day?
RICARDO: He liked it very much, yes. I can’t tell if he was a fan or not. I mean, I never asked him… I wouldn’t dare to ask him!
RICARDO: But, from what I heard, yes, he liked it very much.
MD: Have you discussed the possibility of doing some special shows to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of ‘Irreligious’?
RICARDO: We’re talking about it, yeah. We’re gonna have a big show in September in Lisbon… we haven’t decided, yet, all the setlist, but we are already working on something else. I just can’t say that much right now.
MD: When I spoke to Fernando last year, he said he had a crazy idea to play ‘Extinct’ in its entirety, as well as the whole of ‘Wolfheart’… all within one set. Did that ever happen?
RICARDO: No, it didn’t!
RICARDO: Sometimes, we have crazy ideas, but then they just remain as crazy ideas… until the day we insist on them! Sometimes, you want to present things in a certain way, or you have all these amazing ideas that you want to make them happen but, then, life is a bit more complicated. Then we have the tour to do, and then they offer you a show, so everything you had programmed you have to change immediately… so we have to adapt.
MD: I gather there was an article on the band in this month’s Portuguese issue of Playboy. That must surely be one of the most random magazines you’ve ever appeared in?!
RICARDO: It’s not the first time, I think. But it was because of the 70,000 Tons of Metal, so Fernando wrote the story, and it’s always a good story for Playboy. If you look at Playboy… I mean, I’m not a reader of Playboy but, of course, I took a look at it, and it’s not just naked women; there are a lot of stories about men’s stuff, you know - cars, parties, football, whatever.
MD: They didn’t ask you to pose naked for the article then?!
RICARDO: No, no… it wouldn’t sell!
MD: The final thing then - is there anything, in particular, that’s now extinct from Moonspell’s past that you miss? And what era of Moonspell would you want to relive, if you had the chance?
RICARDO: Good question. No, I don’t think there’s anything extinct, to answer the first question. This is who we are and this is how life goes. I don’t regret anything, so it is the way it is and we accept how it is. If I wanted to relive anything… yeah, perhaps the very first three years I joined the band because it was a different enthusiasm; it was a different thing, you know. Now, it’s a bit more… for as much passion as I have for this, I feel it’s a little bit more of a routine sometimes. Back in the day, it was a big surprise… ohhh, so this is the thing, the world, meeting people, and finding yourself in situations that you could never imagine you could live them… especially coming from Portugal! [Laughs]
MD: So, reliving the enthusiasm from the early days…
RICARDO: It was different. Okay, I’m getting old and nostalgic! But it was different.
MD: But you’re not extinct and Moonspell are still here, so that’s the most important thing.
MD: Thank you so much for your time, that was really interesting.
RICARDO: Thank you so much, my pleasure.