Moonspell and the secret wish of bringing down the system

interview moonspell

The last time I interviewed Moonspell was four years at the Palladium in Dallas. At that time the band was one of the main support acts for Danzig on the Blackest Of Black Tour. A lot has changed since then, their last brillant release "Night Eternal". After many years on Century Media they moved on to SPV and released "Night Eternal". Then suddenly the label filed fort bankruptcy leaving the band searching for a new label. Moonspell found a new home with Napalm which to me is the perfect match for the band and label. The band then released "Alpha Noir" which is slowly becoming one of my favorite albums of 2012. I caught up with vocalist Fernado for the lastest run down.

Hello Fernando, been awhile I interviewed you in Dallas when the band was doing the Blackest Of Black Tour with Danzig?
Yeah. Some years passed since then, it was 4 years ago. Time does fly…

The band just went though it's third label change. You feel the band is in much better situation with Napalm Records?
We always set ourselves to find the best partner in crime to release our records. Labels know we always come up with something different and we want a label collaborating with us instead of creating difficulties. We always want it to be smooth and realistic. Napalm gather all these features and they are an expanding label, wanting to break through and reach other places. They have done so far a terrific job starting off by the quality of all editions of Alpha/Omega. They are also very close to a fan perspective and the crowd regards them as a trustworthy label. That’s very important.

I like to know what happened with Steamhammer Records and why band decided to leave SPV for Napalm Records?
They bankrupted in Germany and even tough they came back with a smaller structure, our deal was off since we were not sure how they would handle our new record and plans. We had the album pretty much advanced and decided to be an unsigned band for a while and self-finance everything ourselves until labels came in the picture for a new signing. Even tough labels are very important to get our music out there, we try never to rely on their agendas and we keep as independent as much as we possibly can. When Napalm signed us, music was done and recorded.

How many albums Moonspell have under their belts prior to "Alpha Noir"?
As we consider this as a double album, Alpha is simultaneously our ninth and tenth album if you look at the special edition which contains Omega White, another full-length studio album.

How many years it been before you guys decided to go in the studio to record "Alpha Noir" and why wait that long?
In total, on and off the road, as we toured a lot for Night Eternal, it took us almost four years to finish this one. There was no real intention behind than to take more time in the songwriting and to create more and better songs. We still approach the albums artistically above all other reasons so time was not an issue for us in this occasion. We took all time we wanted writing, producing, arranging. We travel to Denmark to do the drum recordings but most of it was recorded in our own studio in Portugal, which allowed us the freedom we wanted to complete this new work.

Can you tell us little about the album "Alpha Noir"? Is this album a continuation of the previous release?
As I told you we wrote and released two albums. They are available in the special edition and for the band they are the complete experience to a Moonspell fan. Alpha Noir is for sure a different album that picks up from where Memorial and Night Eternal left but, hopefully, with its own twist. We believe it’s more straight to the heart, we tried to make it vibrant and alive and brought some thrashier guitar riffs into the songs. The other album, Omega White, is quite moody, atmospheric and dark, in a very different direction but that still represents the band just going to other places and emotions.

Can you give the readers a brief summary of the songs on the album?
Axis Mundi: The whole song is based upon the tragic but also solar life of gladiators. Men and slaves fighting for survival but also with a secret wish of bringing down the system. We all have something we spin around to.

Lickanthrope: An adult twist on big bad wolf/little red riding hood fable. A story which celebrates who we are, our attraction to the lunar side of things, refusing any kind of salvation

Versus: It’s a song which motivation lies in the state of the actual world and how it affects the way people deal with music, art and how disrespectful instead of positive can be the relationship between who makes and who receives. It has a lot to do with the Internet and the haters it brought and how it spoiled the magic of music. Personally I’d like to meet some of them face to face to see if their courage and wit lasts when apart from their screen.

Alpha Noir: It’s probably the lyric that sums it up for the whole album, a new order, the desire for change in things, to deny what’s holy and sacred and not to be detained by the fragility of a world where an American yuppie decides the fate of nations,like Portugal or Greece, for example.

Em Nome Do Medo: Sung in Portuguese this is a song about acting in the name of fear. Fear is something that weighs down on you like never before. In Portugal one even hesitates to buy a record, a pack of milk, going out at night, as something might happen. This song is trying to get people to be braver and to decide with reason but also with heart. That’s what separates life from mere survival.

Opera Carne: It’s a song about lust and where it leads us. I did a lot of readings about Popes and Sex and High figures in Politics and society that besides all their dogma and morals still operate pretty much on basic instinct. A lot of stuff is still decided having the flesh as a standpoint, the whole world is based upon that, I believe.

Love is Blasphemy: Love is a kind of blasphemy to yourself, your nature as an individual being. That creates a tension that is never-ending but true love appears when you have the ability to desecrate the self and that’s also a beautiful thing.

Grandstand: My favourite song and chorus line. It’s a simple song about being curious and daring to know what hides behind the masks.

Sine Missione: It’s an instrumental track, so no words. The title brings us back to Axis Mundi, to an arena. Sine Missione was a fight till death.

Of all on the songs on "Alpha Noir", name your three personal favorite songs and why?
See above question. Besides 'Grandstand' I’d d pick up 'Em Nome Do Medo' and 'Axis Mundi'.

I like the album cover. I think it's very wicked. In your own words, explain how the album cover concurs with the album title?
It’s hard to say as everybody really feels differently about the cover, which is good as Art should provoke that on people, a very own interpretation. I like the cover a lot since for me it is imposing and ambiguous like the album title and message. You never know if the figures are going to embrace or attack each other. That’s the human factor, that indecision that might mark all our existence. I think that was very well captured by the artist involved.

I like to know about the artist who the did the album cover and why the band decided to choose him?
Seth Siro Anton did it. He worked for Night Eternal and Lusitanian Metal DVD and we absolutely love and trust his work. We had carte blanche to play with his images and thoughts and we created a monolith of visual impressions that can be seen not only on the cover but all subsequent artwork. It’s a very complete and inspired job, Seth worked really hard to make his finest and darkest.

Are you pleased with job Napalm doing right now?
Yes, very much. Like I told you they are pragmatic but also they have a fire inside just like us. Our story and need to expand is very related and on a daily basis ideas are traded to make our goals real. They were also very much into the album and for Moonspell not be just a number in their books it’s really, really meaningful. I am also sure they will do better for us in the States than any of our previous labels.

Moonspell did an headling American tour with Secrets Of The Moon. How was the crowd turn out for them shows?
There were some ok shows, especially in the cities. There were others that were really low but for Moonspell every fan counts and every single one exposed to our music and performance is important even if sometimes the room is more empty than full. We had Samael dropping off the tour just weeks before which wasn’t good for the package but we went anyway because we need to work hard on the States and get more fans listening to this kind of metal we do, which sometimes does not get enough recognition overseas. Also we need to come up with a better promoted tour and find reliable bands to bring people more for their hard spent ticket money. Secrets of the Moon was a great band to have on the road, they really did some great albums.

When the band will commence touring in support of "Alpha Noir" and are there plans for a return to the States?
We are on the road as we speak. We started the tour in Lisbon, Portugal and then flew to do some festivals and headliner club shows in most of Europe. Up to September we will be playing the Summer festival season, highlights being Wacken and Brutal Assault. Then we travel to Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria and play headline there. In November we team up with Pain, Swallow the Sun and Lake of Tears in Europe. In between we have one off shows in Portugal and other territories and in December we join the Barge to Hell metal cruise and we might book some shows overseas in whole of the continent, including Latin America. It’s all in the plans right now, we are fine tuning and searching for the right person to bring us there and give Moonspell a decent run of dates where we can play to our fan base while reaching for others. There is a lot of work to be done overseas and both Napalm and us wait the right momentum.

Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview. Is there anything you like to say before you go.
Check out our new album, especially the double special edition if you can. Hopefully you will find a way into your heart with this experience. Moonspell looks forward to play overseas again and bring you not only the new album but also a collection from our best songs from the past to make it a celebration for everyone. Thank you also for the support and best greeting to you and all your readers!
Interviewer: Paul Lewis
Jun 16, 2012
Next interview: The Zet Is Back!

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