Moonspell will perform in Greece along with Green Carnation in Athens and Thessaloniki in 19 & 20 of November 2022. A great excuse for interviewing their leader Fernando Ribeiro just before the 2 upcoming shows.
Given that Moonspell is a touring act, how have the last two Covid years been for you? Was it hard to adjust to a reality of staying at home instead of being on the road?
Covid was a calamity for everyone, and I tend not to make it about me or Moonspell. Of course, it was hard to adjust but isn’t that our job anyway? Musicians are adaptable beings by excellence. So, we adapted. Moonspell played their share of “covid shows”, streaming, made masks, what else to do? Survival is never funny so no I don’t go online saying this was a great “opportunity” to rest from the tours and be with the family. This was an epidemic and the beginning of the end of our collective hope and freedom. Me being or not in the road is irrelevant for the universe.
Presumably, this whole situation also had a great impact on all of you as individuals. How will that be expressed in the future, within Moonspell’s music?
Hermitage is our pandemic album. Even though I started writing for it in 2018, and that it was about, generally speaking, social distancing decreed not by law or health regulations, but by our very own sense of self-destruction, of hating one another and using communication (internet, networking) as a means of humiliating our brothers and sisters; Hermitage became sadly actual, and I think nobody craved more for the peace and quiet of the desert than everybody in home confinement. We will not give covid virus and policy the final win of influencing our music but it did show us the way to our mission: to entertain our fans.
In early 2021, you released “Hermitage”, which was a fantastic record. I would say, as a Moonspell fan, is a bit of a return to the early 2000s “Darkness & Hope”, “The Antidote” era. What has been your most favorite track of that album, that has also been of a great importance to the band?
The alpha and the omega. That is The Greater Good and Without Rule. Both embody, in my opinion, the essence of the broad-minded dark music and lyrics of the album.
During 2020, Miguel left the band after almost 30 years. What led both ends to this decision?
By accord and request of Mike’s legal consultants, we are not allowed to reveal the reasons. They don’t matter anyway. Me and Mike were best friends, but we had to move on and, sincerely, I wish him nothing but the best with his new band and life.
Tell us a bit about the experience that led to the recording of your most recent live album, “From Down Below”. What is so special about the location it was shot and recorded, Grutas de Mira D’Aire?
It was quite a release that, in the middle of one of the worst Covid months in Portugal, we could go underground and breath some fresh by doing what we like in front of people who love what we like to do. What led to the DVD and live album recording was necessity, and the impetus of doing something memorable before we all got to our ends, which was more than likely those days. The Grutas, have a special place in our Portuguese imaginary. They were one of the oldest natural caves to be discovered in Portugal, after WW2 and they hold their mysticism and feeling of secrecy down deep. The way they are lighted (artfully) reminded me of Flemish paintings and a scenario money can’t buy, so, for me, it was obvious to connect those dots together.
What would you say, apart from this, has been one of the most memorable Moonspell performances so far?
I don’t know. The mind acts in strange ways…I could quote playing in an old covenant in Lisbon, or in an abandoned submarine factory in Czech Republic, or even the small bar in Arizona where Alice Cooper started, but in the top of my mind is our first gig in Oslo, during the black metal mafia heights, where we played our hearts to a silent and cold audience, you could hear our drops of sweat falling on stage.
Speaking of performances, you are finally playing in Greece after several cancellations, next month. One was before Covid struck, with Rotting Christ, where you only played in Thessaloniki and then last May. Given that our country is always included in the band’s tour schedule, what happened this time?
Well, that time a storm happened. We were in Bari, Italy, ready to take the ferry to Athens and the Italian authorities cancelled all boats and closed all airports. As it was impossible to arrive by road, we had to skip Athens and head to Thessaloniki.
What should we expect in November, in Athens and Thessaloniki with Green Carnation?
They will be different gigs from the usual. First, we will be in stage as a trio to story tell and play a few selected “acoustic” cuts and talk with the audience. Then the amazing Green Carnation will take over and, finally, we will end the night with a best of setlist, hopefully some songs people never heard on Greece or, at least, haven’t heard in the past decade or so; and our evergreens. Sakis, our brother in Rotting Christ, will join us for a song on stage in Athens.
What are your own expectations from the audiences down here after such a long time of absence?
That they forgive us and that we entertain them to the point of taking their heads off the crisis, the plague, the war. It’s not an easy job but I am sure we will stand and fight together for this purpose.
Is there something you would like to say to your fans in Greece, as a closure?
See you on stage, dare to know! Don’t give up without a fight, you’re Greek and you’re awesome for that!