What do you think about illegal downloading?

It’s something when Moonspell started, we started tape trading in the underground, and so to be able to record to tape was a miracle for us at the time.  When they had that first opportunity people searched for CD’s and when you got the cd you recorded it, and coming from Portugal it was always hard to find good metal and hard rock.  So when they had that opportunity of course they were huge fans and huge collectors, and that was a long time ago that was in the nineties and you have to face realities and we just adapted the best that we can try to make the best music that we can because that is what I think the fans actually look for if you sell a lot of CD’s or not in our case it doesn’t make a huge difference were tight as a bands were hard working were always on tour we have  the merchandising always helps true fans always like to invest in good merchandise, we have very family like business within the band it’s just stuff that you have to cope with, everybody starting complaining a lot about it there was always the polemics with Lars Ulrich and Metallica and the downloading of course it makes a difference with them they’re talking about millions and millions of albums that’s a lot of money, but we were never, we never reached to that status, it doesn’t make a big difference for us, I think it’s just keeping the fans satisfied and being faithful and playing as true as you can. That was the spirit of Moonspell when we started

What were your influences of starting the band?

A huge influence is definitely Bathory and Quorthon, especially the main members of Moonspell, especially Fernando. If he (Quorthon) didn’t exist I doubt Moonspell would, because he started the band thinking of Bathory. We were the biggest fans you could imagine from playing covers to dressing like him all the clichés, but that’s I think what it’s all about. Unfortunately he passed away a couple for years ago it’s left a big hole in the underground.  I wish we could have had a lot more Quorthon and had more opportunity to be with him, but he left all his work and all his art which is very appreciated by all his fans and that’s definitely the band that comes to mind immediately.  Also bands like Root an extreme underground band form Czech Republic.  It was very dark and melodic and also from the east which always related to us coming from Portugal (also not being for a known metal scene).  So influences for us came from all over the place especially Type O Negative, they were really good friends of ours.  We’ve had opportunities to tour with them since ‘96 so the passing of Peter Steel has more significance for us and to appreciate what he left us.  He taught a lot, Peter Steel and the whole band, just being on the stage with him you absorb all of their experiences. Being able to hang out with them is also a plus; if you can imagine going from a fan to all of a sudden you’re releasing your own albums and being on tour with a band that you’ve always dreamt of.  It makes everything more worthwhile looking back.  Also guys like Morbid Angel, that was our first tour that we ever did, the first long tour. It was fifty-six shows or something we toured all over Europe they had their Domination album they were having a huge following at the time and they were one of our favourite death metal bands so I think we have a little bit of all those bands we just mentioned. Looking back its kind of like a skeleton that you start constructing, there are so many other bands I can think of Cathedral, from the UK Cradle of Filth back in ‘94 in Portugal we were very fortunate not just to be influenced by them but also to live a bit with them also to be able influence future bands, it’s always cool when bands come and say you were one of the first bands we heard we started our bands because of your band its always met with gratitude.

Could you give any advice to new bands starting up?

I think the main thing coming from Portugal is that there are very few bands that have any kind of success outside of Portugal.  Its having a tight formation, one of the biggest problems is people staying together for a year or two, I mean we’ve been together for twenty years almost twenty one so you can imagine the kind of problems we’ve crossed in all this time and that’s really important. You really have to commit, I remember when we started of course you want to go out with your girlfriend you want to go drinking and go out and party and do your own thing but when your committed to rehearsals and committed to going on the road you really have to put a lot of time into it. It just doesn’t happen without that unless you’re like Justin Bieber and put it on YouTube and it’s a huge success but that’s not the reality for a lot of bands. But the main thing bands don’t want to hear is that it’s a lot of work, of course for us after twenty years it’s still a lot of work but it’s a lot different.  We don’t have to do certain things that we had to like proving ourselves well actually we do feel like we always have to prove ourselves with every show which is good, but in reality we do have a long very historical following we’ve got that and that’s the most difficult thing for bands to get these days.  You just have to be very patient you have to work hard and if the music doesn’t work don’t worry about it; critics are there also for their own bull-shit. You just have to get back into the studio and back in the rehearsal place and do better songs, you really have to work those songs as best as you can.

What do you think about the music industry as it stands at the moment?

It’s an industry it’s like everything they want to make money, selling art.  Unfortunately that’s just the way it is. We’re fortunate that we’ve had people that really believe in us and were really committed to the music and it wasn’t just for the numbers so we’ve had a good experience and also in our way they’re was never money to be taken when we started we just wanted the opportunity to go on the road and to have that so the companies in the industry is good for that coz in our case they were the ones who finance the first tour the first album that’s something younger bands these days have a huge problem with, the lack of funding so that’s definitely a negative side of it. Companies aren’t risking as much as they used to, back in the eighties and nineties you had Road Runner, Metal Blade, Century Media and Nuclear Blast. They would risk on a lot of bands, some made it and did something good and some just disappeared. These days they won’t even risk that, so there’s a lot of bands that have to create their own industry, that’s one thing the internet’s perfect for.  You can complain about it but at the same time bands can immediately put something on their FaceBook, you have art work, all the info, you can hear their music, that’s perfect.  It used to take two weeks to get your demo back from some country and now it takes seconds so that’s definitely a plus.  The industry has to find a way of using this in their favour and the musicians, we always used to say as an artist your either a musician or a fuck head, you’re the first one to create it and the last one to see anything from it.  Music is not just about money, like I said it’s also very emotional, to have fans that actually follow you all these years and bring their kids to shows,  we’ve also met grandkids (which was  kind of scary) not that long ago.  But you know it’s definitely part of you, that’s why we continue and we can live from it and we worked really hard around everything. So going into it especially with record companies you have to be really well informed as to what you’re doing especially contracts and that, you have to be prepared.

What do you think of the metal scene in Portugal now as opposed to when you first started out?

I think its better, but of course the musicians will always complain that they don’t have enough opportunities, it was the same in our time. We had even less opportunities, we didn’t have access to information that we have now. If you want to buy an instrument or see a cool band it just pops up it’s all there, the information is all there.  We didn’t have that, I think that was the most difficult part for us maybe, that’s why we appreciated it more when we actually got it.  But these bands they really have to enjoy what they’re doing while they’re doing it.

If you could, pick a favourite album from the past 25 years?

 I started listening to hard-rock; Motley Crue was one of my favourite bands I’d definitely recommend listening to Shout at the Devil it’s a great album.

Also there’s a band I’ve always loved, Tiamat. I love Clouds, Wild Honey is one of their most successful albums it’s an amazing album for me. I remember going to school I was around 14 and I remember everyday going to school and listening to that album.  It was a really cool mixture of metal, ambience, keyboards and Pink Floyd kind of stuff.  That was pretty rare at that time and it was very attractive to me, so If you’re into this style of music then definitely Clouds or Wild Honey by Tiamat.

Also Paradise Lost, the albums Draconian Times, Icon, Gothic, they were a huge influence on the scene. I saw Paradise Lost for the first time opening for Sepultura when they had the Chaos AD album, I was a kid still and to see someone like that play at the time was amazing. Anything you can listen to from them will be appreciated.  There’s a lot of music out there, I noticed that we’re a bit far from what’s going on these days and as you were saying about the Portuguese scene, we’ve been touring a lot over the past few years and it’s hard for us to stay close to what’s going on, sometimes in our own home town. That’s why I think Portugal’s in a more complicate situation, if you’re in the middle of Europe or England there’s always stuff going on, it’s easier to get on a tour and meet people and other musicians who have done it. Where in Portugal it’s really limited, there have only been a few bands that have had this opportunity.  I mean we’ve been taking techs from Portugal for a while, so for years they’re working with all bands you can imagine from In Flames to Dimmu Borgir and Dragon Force, the Portuguese are all over. As a band we’re very specific, when people listen to Moonspell they’re counting on our southern influences and sometimes Portuguese bands they really want to try and be American or English.  I don’t know, I think you have to find your own identity it’s like me when I’m listening to Judas Priest, that’s what I expect.

 

What’s been your favourite performance with Moonspell?

We’ve had amazing shows in Mexico City, the first time we went there it was unbelievable it was in ‘97 or ‘98 and we had a signing session at Tower Records in the city and people were chasing us through the streets  and we were like ‘what’s wrong with them why do they like us so much?!’.  It stayed like that since then.  We have the most amazing Mexican fans you can imagine, not just in Mexico but especially when we play like in the states.  The Hispanic community keeps the metal scene going in the states and that’s true.  Throughout the years the promoters have been noticing that and really appreciate it. I think they just like metal and especially when they come from Salvador, Columbia or Chile and if they’re a little bit older and our age they didn’t have that many shows so they feel like kids again, they actually have the opportunity to see us.  So they have such energy,  it’s also Latino’s they go crazy with metal, people wouldn’t imagine that, they just like Sombreros Sun  and Nachos, but in reality Mexicans really like their hard-rock and metal.  There’s a huge scene over there, so that’s always a plus.

Thinking about it, Moscow, the first time we played there they had like three or four thousand people in 2001 we never imagined playing in Russia it just felt like we were in the Rocky movie going into Russia.  It was really meaningful especially coming from Portugal where we really appreciate the Russian art it was like a double experience to be able to go to the museums to go to the Kremlin, all the sightseeing.  The fans,  they knew everything about us,  they couldn’t buy the real CD’s that goes back to that question about downloading , but it didn’t matter,  they all had mp3’s but they had it, the shirts were all bootlegged, but we had four thousand people to see us play. It’s a lot nicer and we’re going back, we were just there in March, and were going back probably this year.  For the last ten years every album we release we go there at least once or twice. The east is a really good market tool for us, whenever you play London, Paris or New York it’s always special not just because you’re in those historical places but also the crowd. You get people from all over the world. I spoke to a fan from Syria and they don’t get metal shows, so for them to see a show like this sometimes you take that for granted you forget that.  The first time we played Morocco that was a historical show; we played Casablanca, like three or four years ago and had ten thousand people.  It was the second metal show there ever, the first one was Kreator and we went the next year.  There was a group of kids and they said the first time they tried to put on a metal show they ended up in prison, they put them in the cell with rapists and murderers and they were afraid of the kids who were into ‘satanic’ music. They were all really innocent, they were like high school kids they were just friends, like so many of us did, like my friends in my home town. So we really relate to that and if we can help overcome that and take the music to the people then our job is done really.  For us it’s always really interesting, we played Turkey and had fans form Iran come in, we've played Beirut and that was an amazing experience, to see girls with metal shirts and covered so they were keeping their religion but at the same time they were there for their metal, and really excited.  It was a lot better that can be expected.