It hasn’t been long since we spoke with Fernando Ribeiro about Moonspell’s latest album, the very nice and special “Hermitage”. This time, our conversation was about their highly anticipated concerts in Greece after cancellations and postponements as well as their future plans regarding new albums, re-releases and tours. The singer of the Portuguese band was once again delightful and completely honest in his answers as he shows how much he loves and respects the fans, wanting to repay them in special ways for their support. Interview: George Terzakis
Rockpages.gr: It’s been one and a half year since we talked about you latest album, “Hermitage”. What has the band been up to until now?
Fernando Ribeiro: We started touring again, as all the other bands did, like Paradise Lost in the UK and together with Borknagar, Wolfheart and Insomnium, we played in some festivals and basically also problem solving. 2022 is been a hard year for bands, lots of competition, so we’ve been working and thinking about different projects, the 30 years of Moonspell and the future as well.
Rockpages.gr: How did the fans react so far to the new songs?
Fernando Ribeiro: To be honest, there wasn’t an opportunity to react that much. We knew that “Hermitage” is an album that would suffer from the lack of touring. We are now to a point when this album finishes a cycle that hasn’t even started because we have the 30 years of the band where we will celebrate the legacy of the albums of Moonspell. We play two or three songs from it and we’ll have to wait a few years to play more. But there is nothing new under the sun, we released an album and some people are going to really love it, some will say that is not their thing, some will hate it and say that we’re done like they do since “Wolfheart”. So, I’m not surprised.
Rockpages.gr: Let’s talk about your latest DVD, “From Down Below – Live From 80 Meters Deep”. Who came up with the idea of filming it in a cave?
Fernando Ribeiro: I did, my job in Moonspell it’s to keep everybody in its toes with my crazy ideas. I really like the peaceful, quiet and mystical atmosphere of the caves. We went there at first for a photo session, then we did the “Common Prayers” video clip and I thought that the circle wasn’t complete so I talked to the guys to make there a special show. I think it’s a triumph for us, because we played there an album that speaks about solitude and hermits who also went to caves to be alone.
Rockpages.gr: I saw your fans wearing headphones in the show, can you tell us more about that?
Fernando Ribeiro: Yes, it was a silent event because of the acoustic specifications of the cave, it has endless reverb and to put a PA there wouldn’t work. People were sitting on two sides and we were in the middle, so we decided to do a different sound mix and have people on headphones. They had the masks because it was mandatory back then and they had the same mix as we did and they really loved it. You know, sometimes live shows get a bit crazy with the sound but this added to the experience and it was really cool.
Rockpages.gr: If you were given the opportunity to make a video clip or a live video in any unusual place in the world, what places would you choose?
Fernando Ribeiro: We could go to the Parthenon in Greece or the Pyramids in Egypt but I like to do this stuff in Portugal. There is this cape, it’s the western most place in Europe that we could do something there. Also, we would like to play the entire “1755” album in the central plaza in Lisbon where the earthquake first hit. I want to play in different places but I haven’t thought about the world, I think about Portugal. It’s such a small country but it has many different and interesting places. Next year, we also want to revive the acoustic project and play in special places like churches and theaters.
Rockpages.gr: You can ask for hints from Green Carnation, they have this amazing DVD “A Night Under The Dam”.
Fernando Ribeiro: Yes, it’s very interesting. You know, Portugal has a very cool network of theaters. In 2010 we did a tour called Sombre, it means “shadow” in Portuguese, and all the theaters were sold out. We also took this show to Wacken Open Air, we had a cello quartet and two sopranos. But yes, we are gonna talk with Green Carnation and find out how they did it because it looked really cool. If we do it properly and with good taste, it could be a really good experience for the fans.
Rockpages.gr: Have you started writing any new music yet?
Fernando Ribeiro: We always write music, it’s a very therapeutical process for us. We don’t have the material to enter the studio yet. I don’t know if this is going to happen but I want to work on two albums, one in Portuguese and one in English, to release them maybe in 2024 or 2025 one after another. We will take our time and do it properly, not put out something just to go on tour.
Rockpages.gr: So, it’s not gonna be like “Alpha Noir/Omega White”, just two different albums at the same time?
Fernando Ribeiro: That’s right. I have already some ideas. The one is going to be the follow-up to “Hermitage” and the other the follow-up to “1755” but just conceptually. Musically there are going to be different from these albums.
Rockpages.gr: Any hints on how the music will go?
Fernando Ribeiro: Whenever we make an album, the next one is going to be different. I love “Hermitage” but it’s more progressive and atmospheric so the follow-up might be harsher and darker. As far as the Portuguese, “1755” was epic, operatic and symphonic so I want to do something dark folk but with southern and Mediterranean roots. These days you have all these bands like Wardruna and Heilung and it seems like only bands from the north make folk music, so we would like to do something to represent the southern part of Europe.
Rockpages.gr: You mentioned before the 30 years of Moonspell. Did you have any special plans for this anniversary?
Fernando Ribeiro: We did them in Porto and Lisbon, big shows dedicated to that. We played 24 songs and it had a lot of work. We had a lot of plans of re-releasing stuff, and we did some of them, but 2022 it’s not a good year for that because everything is chaotic. The vinyl factories are totally packed with orders and we try to do our best. We are also going to play this tour overseas, in Mexico and United States because we couldn’t fit it in this year.
Rockpages.gr: In the spirit of anniversary, do you think of playing any album live in its entirety, like you did with “Wolfheart” and “Irreligious”?
Fernando Ribeiro: It will be probably “The Antidote”, an album that we are rediscovering. There are going to be some songs from it in Thessaloniki and Athens. We played it a lot when it came out but we kinda moved on because we have so many songs. We want to make a special show for it next year and also re-release it. We are also going to re-release “Wolfheart” in a special box like we did with “Irreligious” through our own label, Alma Mater Records. The same will happen with “Under Satanæ” that will go out first time in vinyl as part of the 30-year celebration.
Rockpages.gr: You are talking about re-releases, not re-recordings, right?
Fernando Ribeiro: Yes, I don’t think we need to re-record anything except maybe “Sin/Pecado”. I would like to approach that album again because I always thought that we couldn’t get eye to eye with Waldemar Sorychta. I don’t think he could understand the music and we were too young to explain it. But Ricardo Amorim, our guitarist, likes it as it is so we will see. If we ever re-record an album, this would be the one.
Rockpages.gr: So, let’s move on to the shows in Greece. You are finally coming after so many cancellations. Any thoughts on that?
Fernando Ribeiro: Those were hard times. I feel the need to apologize to all the Greek fans and thank them for still having the patience to come to these shows. The first cancellation was with Rotting Christ, we were in Italy and couldn’t travel due to a big storm. We were stuck there. The next when we were going to play with Rotting Christ again we cancelled because we weren’t in a good place, we weren’t even a band back then. Then we had the Covid-19, so this wasn’t on us. We wanted to make something special in order to thank the Greek fans for their patience and I hope that they still want to see us. At first, me, Pedro Paixão and Ricardo are going to play some acoustic versions of some songs. We also going to tell stories about the band and take questions from the audience. We want to interact with them because it’s been too many years of distancing from the crowd. After that, we are going to do a best-of show. Of course we are going to include some songs from “Hermitage” but it’s going to be more about the classics and the journey to probably every Moonspell album, if we can fit it in the time that we have. We want to revisit some songs we haven’t played for a while.
Rockpages.gr: Are these acoustic songs will be different from the ones in the electric show?
Fernando Ribeiro: Some of them will be in the electric show but most of them not. We still have to pick up the songs and it’s going to be interesting for the people to see this.
Rockpages.gr: Whose had the idea to perform an acoustic show?
Fernando Ribeiro: I approached the promoter for this because nowadays you need something else to motivate the fans. We are not the band that will make any show in Greece sold-out just because we are coming there, we have to fight for it. It has always been like this, even in the first album we had to fight for every ticket and record sold. We are like a Greek band, hardworking, not like a Swedish band that everything falls in our lap. I’m joking of course, but I talk with Sakis from Rotting Christ many times and I know that a Greek band needs to try ten times harder than a Swedish one. In Portugal we have to work even harder because we don’t have that reputation for metal. So, I told the promoter that I wanted to do something different, something for the fans, like a meet and greet and acoustic songs. After so many cancellations we need a really good idea so the people would come from the comfort of their homes and the emptiness of their wallets to see the show.
Rockpages.gr: Thank you for your time Fernando. Do you want to give any message to the Greek audience?
Fernando Ribeiro: I hope they will forgive us. I know you are a forgiving nation otherwise you wouldn’t be as ancient as you are. And I want to invite everyone to the show. It’s been many years since we played in Greece, it’s the 30 years of Moonspell and it’s going to be a huge party. We want to create memorable nights in Thessaloniki and Athens and give everyone a big wolf-hug.