30 years have passed since their very beginning as a band! Combined with their 2 releases, their most recent album “Hermitage” (February 2021), as well as their upcoming live album “From Down Below – Live 80 Meters Deep” (filmed in a cave, 80 meters deep!), the band will tour Europe and pass through our country for two appearances, where for the first time they will also play an acoustic set! In their concerts in Greece they will appear together with the Norwegians GREEN CARNATION.
It’s been a long time since Moonspell’s last live performance in Greece!
It’s an honor having an interview with you. Your songs have been in my life all these years, inspiring me through some dark times and supporting me to find my inner guidance. Do you believe that music is a safe haven, which gives sanity to all of us?
M: Thank you, the honor is mine. In these times that are inhuman and dark and hopeless, I have faith that our job and task is to entertain people and to take their minds off the crisis, the plagues and the wars.
Personally, one of my favorite songs is yours, the beloved “ALMA MATER”. Our cultures (Latin & Greek) have a strong bond, regarding belonging and returning. What do you think is the virtue that unites all of us?
M: I have no idea, but I’d say that the best things go unexplained. That’s the same with love for a woman, for a son, for a band or a nation. There’s not really a logic behind it, and that’s, curiously, what explains it the best.
Growing up I remember my father listening to your songs, while I was a teenager. Do you believe that music has to follow the trends of today, in order to be popular? Personally, I think that authenticity is the key to popularity.
M: I know nothing about being popular. Moonspell is a cult band, so to speak, a struggling band, and our reality is to fight every day for every fan, every ticket, every record sold. I don’t know what that kind of level of success implies, I work hard, we work hard and with every album we interpreted what we felt it was most inspiring for that particular album. In that manner, I believe we have been authentic but some other people might disagree but I am too busy fighting for survival of the band every day.
Please, name 5 favorite artists throughout the years that inspired you, like Moonspell inspired me.
M: Bathory, Celtic Frost, Root, Type o Negative, Tiamat
Where do you get your inspiration, both for writing lyrics and for music?
M: Mostly in other people’s music and books. Also, in disciplines like History, Philosophy, etc. But inspiration is mostly of an inner process and as long as you can read the signs around you, you will be inspired.
Which album do you stand out from your 30 years and why? Obviously, all the albums are special because you give part of your life.
M: Hard to choose but I would choose Irreligious because of its great songs and perfect timing and The Antidote, because it’s really dark and uncompromising.
What is the most important concert of your career? Why?
M: The next one. It’s a sign that you can still do better, and that people want to see you. Of course, we had our “glorious” moments but form me every gig counts.
How has covid affected you? Did the covid era limit your creativity?
M: Covid didn’t affect me in what it comes to health issues, because I never got infected. As far as everything else goes, it was a calamity for everyone and we have lost big time in all that matters in life: community, freedom, well-being, kindness. Covid was the beginning of the end, in my opinion.
We want you to share with the readers of Afternoiz.gr your favorite moments from all these years. We also accept funny stories from your tours, which you will surely have!
M: Like I said, this is a marathon, and I must enjoy and stay fit in every moment. It’s also an emotional roller-coaster, sometimes you feel amazing and others you feel like shit. So, you must have a strong mind and don’t make a big deal out of things. A funny story is once in Istanbul a fan who was a “scientist” asked me for my DNA, so he would make me “immortal”. A great moment, for example, was to visit Moscow for the first time ever in 2001.
How much has music changed since 1989 when you started your career as black metallers? (MORBID GOD era)
M: What hasn’t changed? Particularly in music, we went from having music at the center of entertainment and now more as another “commodity”. Physical became digital and numbers shrunk, at least for us. What wasn’t changed is our unexplainable love for music and the need to write and perform it.
On September 30, your live concert in a cave 80 meters below the earth, entitled “From Down Below – Live 80 Meters Deep”, was released. How did you come up with this idea and how difficult is it to implement such a big project?
M: I visited the caves when I was a kid and returned after a couple of years with my son and niece. On this visit, I kind of connected the dots and entertained the idea of playing there. As we were under confinement, I had the idea of having a day and a night underground with a few fans and document it on a DVD plus live album. I love challenging ideas; I saw that Shining played in a cliff in Norway and loved the idea and I made my own sacred shrine of music. There were many logistic problems like covid rules, electricity facilities, claustrophobia, sound, capacity but they were one by one won and the result is yours to behold.
You chose Grutas de Mira D’Aire – one of Portugal’s seven natural wonders, to record and film your concert. How much has the culture of Portugal and its culture influenced your path so far?
M: Portugal inspires us. Its literature, its geography, its history. It’s just amazing and overwhelming to us and that shows on our music and lyrics. I believe it’s also a different facet we can offer the fans of Moonspell.
We want you to talk to us about your new album entitled “Hermitage”. Challenges, ideas, stories behind…
M: Hermitage will always relate to a certain very sad period of Mankind’s history, namely the covid virus and the ulterior incarcerated days we all had. When I started working on its theme, I was referring to a certain social distancing, despite the privilege of virtual connectivity (instead of true connection) and the smart idea of going away into solitude and maybe came back wiser and stronger like the hermit saints did in their hermitage on the desert. It’s a multi layered album with a lot of melody and a progressive feel to it and we had a great time recording it and we really loved the way it came out, yet this album will always suffer from lack of touring supporting it and, to be honest, we will move on the next album.
How do you feel about returning to Greece for a concert? The truth is that we have been waiting for you for a long time!
M: Likewise, it’s been too long!
We will see you November 21st at Fuzz, where you will start with an acoustic show and continue with a full electric one. What will we see from you?
M: Yes. First part of the concert is based upon storytelling and a selected cut of some of our songs which you can enjoy as an intro and a night with Moonspell. Then it’s time for Green Carnation and finally we will hit the stage with a refreshing best of set of Moonspell’s greatest songs.
Is there any advice you can give to young musicians who have just started their music journey?
M: I am not very good at advices but I surely wish them all a great journey and the best of luck!
Thank you very much! Can’t wait to see you on 21st of November!