Last weeks comeback of MOONSPELL to Slovakia was for sure excellent and sharing it with them in the venue on the show was totally worth it. Before this show, we made an interview with their drummer MIGUEL GASPAR. Miguel (or Mike) is one of the two members of the original Moonspell formation, who are in the band until today. Second of them is, of course, vocalist Fernando Ribeiro. I spoke to Miguel for example of new book about band, upcoming album, but also about many more interesting stuff.
First biographical book about your band was written by Fernando in 2012 and now made another Ricardo. Are you planning to do this stuff like each one member will write something about band? Because you know, then Fernando, now Ricardo.
You have it confused. The first biography was not the first biography, it was just a picture book with just some quotes from Fernando. It was not official biography. And this first official biography, that we just released is by Ricardo Amorim, who is journalist and not our guitar player. He just has the same name. He is Ricardo S. Amorim and he works for the magazine called Loud. He is a metal journalist and he became a good friend of ours. He is the one, who did the biography. It would make no sense for Fernando or anyone of us to do it. We needed somebody from outside the band and that is what he did. He interviewed all of us at our homes separately, for about the year and half he traveled with us at the festivals. He tried to get really deep inside the relationship of the band and that is what biography is more about. It is our history, but it is also a lot about what we went through together. All the emotions, stress and the dream, of course, of succeeding and doing the best you can for the band. We come from Portugal with the difficulities that we had.
Yeah, that was the name what massed me up. Because I really thought that it was your Ricardo who wrote it.
You know, you are not the first to think that. It is okay. Also if you see on the book, there is a picture of him (author). He has short hair, the glasses... You can see it is not him (guitarist).
Yes, sure, I will look at it, but I do not have got book yet. Except having new book you are also working on new album as I have heared somewhere or read. Is there anything you can already tell me about it? Or is it secret for now?
One thing I can say is, that this album is specially different from the albums as we do not want to rush it. Usually, we always had the commitment of releasing albums every two years and even if we were on tour, we always have album prepared to record and come back. You know, since we do this tour so long and we toured a lot in last couple of years or for twenty years I guess, we took some time to be with our families in the beginning of this year and spent most of the time trying to find out what we wanted to do with the next album. Another thing on tour is that a lot of things change and we are glad have not limit. Because at the point we get back home, you know, we study everything that we have been doing and we are really happy with what we have done so far and add if it needs something extra. So, like I said, there is not really preassure and we do not wanna much talk about it, because the main plan in this album is not to constantly telling people – we are in the studio, we are doing this part... You know, that is sometimes... It kills the nostalgy and the mysticism of figuring something out that is new, just came out and you are surprised. Of course, people know we are gonna release new album, but we are trying to keep some kind of surprise in the end.
So I do not have to ask, when it will come out or...
Hopefully, next year, but we do not know. You know, with record labels it depends when you give them the master and than the process of promoting it, getting everything done. It usually takes a couple of months, even though today is everything a lot quicker. But the most important thing right now is, that we asure that the music is what we want to show the people and than we will be recording.
And will it be something like 1755 or anything else? Cause, you know, 1755 was something way different from your previous albums. It was whole in Portugese and it was about history of your country. You have done nothing else alike that before.
We have done songs with parts in Portuguese from famous authors or the famous moments that has to to do with our culture, like in Opium or Full Moon Madness, those are the songs that have parts in Portugese. But the full album in Portuguese we have really never done yet. And it was a special album, because we can talk about 1755, which was a year, that made huge difference not only in our culture, but also Europe and the world. How people saw natural disasters. People thought natural disasters were an active God and that is what really change. You know, people starts to look more into science, trying to find what is behind, the reason of this happenings, all not because we have sinned now we have here the tsunami and earthquake and destroyed everything. So that was the huge help from the intangibilities and it is not so far as you think. Like people today, and especially we feel the same, Portuguese have backward mentality, so very close minded, still not looking into the future, not understanding the difference of people and everyone in the world. And you can see that back then. Hopefully, that were the people who stood up for human rights to make a change. That is what we wanna continue to do. Of course, the next album I think it is important to go back to what we were doing before, like what we left off with Exctinct.
So something like older stuff?
Yeah. We are always looking for something new, but at the same time we try to keep those elements, that make us sound like Moonspell. It is always very hard, because we are very different band. You know, coming from Portugal and we never had the scene that was marked like the Germans with the thrash metal scene, Kreator, Sodom, with sctructure like an American thrash scene, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and all these bands that you can look up to. And there was nothing in Portugal in terms of metal. So sometimes we try to create our own path and sometimes we get off that path, but to do an exploring is what has to do with our genetics I guess. Because we did exploring find of our world I would say. So I think, that it is a good commitment for keeping of our soul and fun for everybody. Unfortunately, our music is not always fun. It is good for those really, really bad days and to look in yourself. I think music helps a lot of people. If you do not see them at the shows, you see tham at the festivals. We are the fans ourselves. I do not know what kind of life I would have without music. It would be very, very bad.
Me neither. Music means a lot also to me and I have to say, that also your music means a lot to me. I was like 13 I guess, when I first heared you and now I am 24 and still here.
Oh, wow. It is amazing! Our first tour you probably were not born yet. Our first was in 95.
And I was born in 95.
Okay, so you are a Wolfheart child.
Let's say that. So 1755 was made in your mother language, because it was kinda more personal to you?
Yes. I think Fernando investigated a lot when writed lyrics. He met up with history teachers, scientists, people who study earthquakes, tried to understand what really happened back then and trying to use all information that we have in his lyrics. And also the expression. It is his language, of course it is always gonna be more emotional. You can feel that in, like I said. For example, in Alma Mater we did a parts in Portuguese and people seems really like it even when they do not understand it. You know, they feel that something special is going on and I think that what marked 1755 is oportunity Fernando singing in his mother language. So, of course, there are parts that felt more to his heart, because it is the language he was growing up listening to. But in this world we know that English is dominant language for metal and you know, having touched so many fans around the world. So doing things just in Portuguese... I do not know if it would be the right track, because looking at all of our albums I think, that the mix sometimes has been the special experience like he (Fernando) does with other languages. Like with French, he did sing in French on Extinct in La Baphomette. There was also a special version of Desastre in Spanish, because of our fans in Mexico. We thought of it when we were there, that we should do version actually in Mexican Spanish like Spanish from Spain. I understand it even better, because we gone so many times there and it is like all the American version of lanugages. Portuguese, English, Spanish are a bit more opened and easier to understand, so I actually understand better Mexican Spanish than the Spanish from Spain and they (Spain) are our neighbours. It is always intriguing to be able to have a band that connects to these cultures. I think that is what makes us special compared to other bands, cause when we go to Mexico or South America, we really feel the people. Like I always say, I feel like they are my cousins, cause we have a mix of blood there and we can feel it. When you come here to the east, you know, due to how the country was closed, Portugal was having a dictatorship until 1974, was very close minded, we were very self to Portugal and very poor country. We had access to nothing up till into the late 80s. We had like one channel, two channels on television, we did not have big shopping malls, we did not have roads, the proper roads like we do now. So everything evolved and everything changed in our mentality. Especially the older generations, they still feel that they were not prepared for such a big change, so you have to deal with it and fight with that. Even like with my own parents. They actually grown up in the village. My father had goats, it is true, when he was a kid and so did my uncles. This is something so unnormal for us. But in their world it is something so normal. Like if my grandmother was alive, she would be 119. My grandmother was born in 1900. My grandmother! Cause my mother is the youngest of the eight and I am the youngest of my brothers, so the gap is huge. We still know what the normal life was. And that is very hard to make certain cultures understand. Especially if they come from America, very developed cities. People are a bit spoiled. They have had everything their whole lives. They do not know what it is like to entertain yourself with people, with the stick or rock, you know what I mean. And this is when you actually use your brain. Unfortunately, these days is everything so easy, that you are not using your brain in full capabilities anymore. But not everybody is like that. Especially in our metal crowd, in our scene we see people fighting that all the time trying find sort of balance. Of course, nobody will ever leave their phone at home, we use it for everything these days. But it is a bit annoying during shows, where we really want people to experience the show and not to spend the whole time filming. That becomes sometimes a little distraction. We did not have it back then, we did not need that. To know about the show there had to be someone, who would told you or use a coin phone to call you like: Oh, those guys were cool! You should come down to the show! Or tell to your best friends mother to go and tell him to show up at this hour. That is how the things were back then. Or we had a meeting calling, where we were about to meet to talk about music. Also record shops were very important back then. You know, you always showed up for some bands inform when we were kids. And now you do not need that. You just go on any page, you go on Blabbermouth, Spotify... But it is not real. It is real only in your head. We do not have the true emotion of connecting with other people.
I understand exactly what you mean. You know, I am too young to remember all those things, but I remember that when my childhood was not about phones or computers. I remember playing around with other kids from the village and that is something what kids nowdays do not know.
Do not know, yes, it is true. Or some do. When I will have a child, so I will make her/him play as much as possible.
It is good. Except real names you also have got nicknames, but for exmple in booklet for 1755 those are not mentioned. And I guess that more people know you according to your real names than nicknames. Myself know you more according to your real names than nicknames. So when you used to use them?
It was during the black metal scene. Our first demo and also I think still on our first album Wolfheart we used our pseudonyms. I was called Nisroth, Fernando was Langsuyar, Pedro was Passionis and all these names had to do with our personalities. They were like demon names, so it was something you used back then in black metal as you do today with the gamers. You know, everybody has a nickname. So I guess that this was something that we used to create the persona, something we could identify with. And also being so young I think that it is natural you do to run away from your reality. That is something like I can escape. Remember now being as a teenager. Of course that you just wanna getting out of your parents house, doing the stuff that you want. I remember dream of painting my walls black, but as adult I would not do it today. To have the liberty I think, that is why we had those names. But, of course, with Wolfheart and everything that happened after, everything went quick and we went to Irreligious and quickly had the success, most like a mainstream success, and already then we toured with a lot of black metal bands. Our first tour was with Immortal and Morbid Angel back in 1995. We were part of the underground, the tape trading, the fans, the age involved in everything. So at the certain moment we thought that in our age it was a little childish not to put our real names. That is who we are, so it was a very quick phase that we used those names during the demo and our first album Wolfheart. Ever since Irreligious I am called Mike Gaspar, but my real name is Miguel. Only reason I still use Mike is that everybody calls me like that. There is no way they would not call me like that. Just family and some older friends of my knows me as Miguel, the others knows me as Mike.
To me it was also weird that people call you Mike and you are Miguel.
That is very incomplete. Cause I was born in America. My paretns were Portuguese emigrants. When they moved from America to Portugal, I was twelve. It was very rare to find somebody like me, like have come from America. Especially with my clothes, my shoes like nobody had that kind of stuff. So people started immidiately, you know: Oh, your translation is Michael, they said. Also Michael Knight was famous back then, the Knight Rider. They started call me Michael Knight, what I did not like and I went like: Why do you call me Michael Knight? It was something that they would connect. Not everybody had American friends back then or anything you bought in America. Like I said, there was no internet. So of course, I was immidiately labeled as the American in class. Even thought I was living in America, people called me Miguel. In America nobody ever called me Michael, just maybe my older brothers. Eventually if I stayed there, I would have changed my name. That is what my older brothers did. My brothers stayed in America. They all had Portuguese names and they all changed it to English versions, which happenes a lot. Like Joe Perry from Aerosmith. Perry is an English version of Pereira. We have a lot of people coming fom the Asors that went to America in 60s and before. To make it easier, cause Americans have a really big problem saying foreign names, from Pereira you will get to Perry. And in the other names. I think, who else is Portuguese. Like Nuno Bettencourt is also from the Asors, the guitar player of Extreme. So everybody had to have a sort of adaptation to American lifestyle. That is how my family was. We even spoken in two languages, we used half Portuguese, half English.
We are already through time, so one last thing. Is there any message you would like to tell you Slovak fans?
Just when we were here last year with Cradle Of Filth in the same venue, I think in February or something, we had a great time. Even we have been here before, I have no idea how many times we played here. A couple of times. But we always feel the great emotion from the audience. We have a certain understanding like from the past that many people get to experience and you can really feel that in the shows. I am just thankful for supporting us for all these years and I hope we can really have a great time tonight and make metal or music, live music especially, pass that to the future generations. I think that it is something what always been very important in this style of music. There will always be an older brother or father, or friend and they are always like taking unity to metal and take you to the show. As long as the spirit lives, I think we all will be fine.