We caught up Fernando from Moonspell just before this years tour…


Mica: Moonpsell have been established for quite some time how do you think the metal scene in Europe has changed over time?

F: It’s changed a lot and we've been on the scene for long enough to actually witness and be a part of some changes, many changes.  There’s stuff that we like and then there’s stuff that got lost in the process but everything transformed itself from the nineties when we were playing you know it was more an emotional thing back then. Bands were on it for the right reasons and there was this really cool community discovering us and other kinds of bands that were just playing around with metal with underground metal and probably fusing it with other styles but I feel that the metal scenes longevity is something really amazing because, especially coming from Portugal you never think things would last that long especially not with yourselves involved. But I think that nowadays there’s a lot of stuff happening and lots of bands going on tour its massive. It grew a lot in some ways as well and sometimes it can be a bit more predictable but there are still many great bands and great new bands going on.

Mica: Obviously the music industry’s made a lot of changes in the past three to four decades, very quickly, especially with the rise of home internet and home studios. Do you have any predictions for the music industry and in particular the metal industry for the next few years?

F: I think according to the times we live in it’s very hard to predict anything.  I remember recording an album in London, the last album we recorded on tape and now its alien language to the new musicians so everything’s quite involved in technology.  It’s brought a lot of cool things of course, it’s made our job easier in a way and in many ways it’s easier to reach people as well. But that doesn’t come without all of that dark side of the internet; opinion seems to be just ruling now days instead of emotion I think that’s something of the internet times. With the fans making these small wars between the bands sometimes, but it’s also a chance for bands from unknown countries or countries that are not really in the axis of heavy metal like the UK or Scandinavia or North America and Spain.

It’s also good for making us known; I think metal responded very well to it, it was one of the styles that adapted faster and better. Metal started to come out more and more from cross overs with the indie scene, now days we have our own festivals and our own structures and it’s great because they pull as many people as all the other big festivals for indie bands which is a sign of metals strength all around the world. There are festivals that we’ve played all around the world not just club shows and on the other hand I think people really in a way have a need for stronger identification. They don’t just want to be keyboard warriors, there are loads of metal people that want to come to the shows and enjoy themselves, which is a positive sign and still they buy records which is something we have to compliment them for definitely.

Mica: Do you think touring has changed over the past few decades?

F: It has changed, there’s a lot more touring happening right now, it’s a resource that lots of bands use to be able to have professional career so we do tour a lot. Not only because of that reason but also because it has become a lifestyle, so we really don’t know how to do anything else.  Coming on a tour for us is like coming to a second home or a mobile home, so we feel very comfortable on the road and a lot of things have changed but I think mainly things have remained the same. There are a lot of new things going on, but as far as the bands go I think every band that’s actually touring right now has been touring for quite some years.

In some ways there’s better conditions we don’t have to go for two miles to a phone booth in Germany out in the cold to call our family. Sometimes when we start to think about it from touring in vans with maps to being in a tour bus watching satellites television, at times it does seem we are living in the future in a way because we’ve been on the tour buses without anything to show for in the vans and nowadays that part is more interesting to us a band.

Mica: Do you have any advice for younger bands starting in the industry now?

F: The best advice is that this is a long run marathon and not a sprint race.  Now time is even more crucial to people.  Sometimes even with Portuguese local bands we try to give some tips and advice as an older band that’s been on the metal scene and sometimes they just don’t take our advice because they want to release music and I understand that they are hungry for it but sometimes it’s good to wait. It’s a quality that you have to possess in this business,  even touring it’s not like you are entertained for the whole of the day most of it is waiting at airports or waiting back stage so why not wait for the right time to make yourself known or to release something.  It’s a little bit better constructed and probably they will stand more of a chance with all the competition outside, so I think the way you manage time in a band is very essential to have good management of it and also not to forget why you did it in the first place. That helps a lot whenever we are pissed that we’re not playing at this festival or that were not getting enough opportunities, sometimes the only thing to do is just  go back to the rehearsal space and focus on some new stuff and just remember that were musicians and music will be there. With the ins and outs of any career, one year is good the other year is not that good the third year sometimes is terrible.  Creativity helps you not only to break that cycle but also to feel good about yourself and that’s quite important when you are in a band.

M: You’ve straddled a few different genres over the past few decades how important do you think it is to experiment with different styles?

F: I think that as a typical nineties band when we came in to metal as a band not as fans, there was a lot of stuff but it was more the classics like Iron Maiden and King Diamond and a lot of diverse stuff. Obviously there always was in metal music, but we arrived on the scene with our first album Wolf Heart while European metal was expanding when it comes to song writing and other influences. Bands were discovering progressive music again from the seventies; Pink Floyd was a big name for many bands at the time like Tiamat it just started with that. So I think definitely experimenting and being open was something that was quite important in our constitution as a band from the start, because everyone was experimenting, even the black metal bands were doing crazy stuff with other stuff. A lot of the genres that are even  more popular right now I think most of them were born in the nineties, like the gothic metal for instance and some of the symphonic metal bands as well. So it was definitely that things were definitely just getting together and people were doing a lot of more Avant Garde stuff even so that’s why it was important that we wouldn’t give up on our music. It’s easy for us to explain, we have a lot of music and we have a lot of stuff to say in our music. We like this band, we like the other band and sometimes in our music we try to convey all of our influences and we are very diverse and we’re not the same from album to album.  There’s a core sound of the band and influences that we like but sometimes it just happens that we are, I don’t know,  in a period that we listen to more gothic music or listen to more metal music and that influences the song writing.

M: Did you come across any difficulties when you were starting out because you were a metal band from Portugal?

F: I think so, I mean  I hate all this talk about the southern Europeans complaining and bitching about not having the same opportunities but the fact is that it was hard to get credibility in the outside scene it took a label like Century Media who were quite visionary at the time and were trying to capture talent from all different countries signing us, Rotting Christ from Greece, Orphaned Land form Israel and many other bands from other countries and  not only the typical countries they already have on the roster and I think we both benefited from it. Definitely from the obscurity of Portugal which had the local scene which didn’t have any international name or profile so it was also being at the right time at the right place and I think the Portuguese are not very good at this and I think we were a bit better that’s what happened.

But then sometimes it’s hard, it’s our own country that sometimes really gets us in a way that we have a strong following built over many years and many difficulties with the press and with the mainstream and with the labels and everything and also sometimes the geographic distance doesn’t allow us to take as many festivals and as many gigs as we want.

I think we can be compared to like Ireland or Iceland even though were not really in the same geographic position we are still a bit isolated from mainland Europe we have huge Spain just around the corner and then we have the Atlantic ocean on the other side so it’s sometimes harder for us but also its more enjoyable, we kind of have this secret southern European pride, it’s cool to have a Portuguese band playing in festivals and see more and more Portuguese fans coming to those festivals and talking about something people actually know, it’s a good feeling.

M: Are you excited to see any of the other bands playing at this years 'Doom Over London'?

F: Definitely,  Moonspell were one of the first confirmations for the event but I think that when they started to build it up we got more excited, we were already excited about returning to London and what not,  it’s always a great city to play but when we saw the bill coming together we were even more excited.  I love to play these conceptual festivals I mean I think its something very important for people in the underground  but unfortunately we just have to take our day so we can’t catch other bands but if we could, definitely Esoteric for instance and some other bands I have not heard live but browsed online and they sounded really excellent.  There’s also another Portuguese band playing called Sinistro, there’s Swallow the Sun our buddies from Finland so if we could stay it would be brilliant because we have a lot of friends there that are playing, but were going on the next date of the tour. I think this is probably the highlight of this tour, great big festival, great feeling and I think that it’s definitely a great thing for us to be on this bill as well.