Intervista Moonspell (Fernando Ribeiro)

Di Marco Donè - 21 Settembre 2018 - 16:00
Intervista Moonspell (Fernando Ribeiro)

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At the end of July, a few days before the coming out of the “Lisboa Under the Spell” live album, we have contacted Fernando Ribeiro, the mastermind of the legendary Moonspell, one of the most win over figure of the heavy metal scene.  We spoke with him about Moonspell, his new creature, the Alma Mater Records, going deeper in music and literature, and we tried to discover something more about the Fernando Ribeiro fiugure, as a man and as an artist.

Now we wish you a good reading!


Interview by Marco Donè


Hi Fernando, I’m Marco from the italian metal portal, welcome on our pages. How is it going?
Very fine, thanks for having us again.

You are living a very busy period, and you are active in many different activities: there are such many things to speak about! I’d start from Moonspell and from your fothcoming live DVD “Lisboa Under the Spell”, which will be realesed on August the 17th. This DVD shows yor exhibition at the Campo Pequeno Arena in Lisboa, on the 4th of August 2017, a memorable event in your band’s history. Which are the memories and the feelings that you kept from that day?
I think that only now with the finished piece on my hand I can really tap into the feelings of that day and all that happened. Actually most of what we felt is in filmed in the rockumentary film that precedes the show bit, so if you watch it you’ll get the hang of it. One feeling that is not filmed but that problem it’s the strongest one, is the kind of unity Moonspell possesses and that actually makes the difference for us, in any situation, lost instruments on a flight or a big show day. Playing this kind of shows and to record in Portugal, always comes with a lot of problems, and our day was spent between being in stage and fixing things and being diplomatic. Because we know that in the end of the day it all boils down to us and we have to make it work.


The cover of “Lisboa Under the Spell live album


On that special night, when you celebrated the twentieth anniversary of “Irreligious”, you prepared a special show, in which you played the whole albumd “Wolfheart” and “Irreligious” – two classic works of metal’s history -, and “Exctinct”, which at that time was the last released studio album. Does the choice to include all the pieces of “Extinct” mean that this 2015 work is a fundamental part of Moonspell’s carreer, and that it can be compared to your first two albums?
We believe so. Extinct for us it’s an amazing record, great sounding and with some of the best songs we ever wrote so it was important to be there, exactly for the fan not to loose our musical “thread” that Under the Moonspell started and then of course Wolf and Irreligious which are the foundations of our sound and fan base. It was also the last date of that tour, for Extinct, so there’s also a continuity going. Every band will be competed to what they first deliver into the scene, Moonspell will be no exception and nowadays people stop at their opinions and do not really find out more than what they “need” and make their minds up and that’s it. For me music, self made or a listener, have always been about discovering stuff so that’s what we implement on our band, paying the price we have to, and not making a big fuzz about it.

If I’m not wrong, at the beginning you planned a bonus disc for “Lisboa Under the Spell”, which through time became “1755”, you last studio work. It is a very unique work in your discography, the lyrics are written in Portuguese and the concept is the story about the terrible earthquake, that destroyed Lisboa in 1755. How has it been welcomed in Portugal?
Very well. Not only in Portugal, but especially here. I think it makes sense in a way as this history happened in our capitol, in our country and sent shockwaves throughout the entire world which helped shaping its religious and social form. The attractive thing for the Portuguese fan s, is that this concept jumped out from history textbooks and classrooms and made into a record that is quite appreciated down here and that already has its place on the history of Portuguese music, not only metal, exactly because of the way it was done.


The cover of “1755” album


And how do you and the Moonspell feel about it? What are your feelings while you’re playing those tracks?
We feel great about it, always did. Sometimes we have to go and plan the albums which is not hard for us as we love to write new stuff. But with 1755 everything was quite unplanned, the “muse” pointed the direction and we took the lead and made this album while we should have been releasing the DVD (which was postponed) or for sure touring. To be able to make that choice was a success for us and the other thing I want to underline is that we have probably found another outlet for some of the Moonspell sound and of the deep interest we have about Portuguese History. We can now do another album like this one in the future.

A few months ago, during an interview with, Ricardo Amorim said that you need to think about the future, toward the time when you won’t be able to continue the work of the band (I hope it will be as late as possible!). It seems that you have been thinking about it, too; you started the “Alma Mater Books & Records”, publisher and label, that permitted you to mix your dearest passions: music and literature. Would you mind to speak about this new adventure, and about how was it born?
I think Ricardo is a very wise man and the fans need to understand that bands will not last forever. Their legacy can endure, but that’s then up to people, not up to the bands. Also we’re not Maiden, Sabbath, Metallica, not even Sabaton to left alone Nightwish and the sheer size of the bands might put them a few years under their belt but for Moonspell the future looks different and it will for sure involve leaving when we feel like and not when the market dictates so. The label actually is not really a backup plan but more a memory of old times tape trading and finding stuff, turned into a label that mixes books and records. Actually, the same motivation is behind Alma mater, as it was behind Moonpel, when we first started , a simple love for doing things inside the universe of options i choose. Do it with taste and in the meanwhile fill in some gaps for alternative culture here in Portugal and also motivate our bands to be better and triumph outage our country.


The “Alma Mater Records” logo


Which will be the first things you are going to public/release?
We started with Moonspell collector editions. Irreligious on organ LP and Opium as a 12” EP. They sold out and as far as Moonspell goes we released and distributed 1755 in Portugal and have now a new Wolfheart LP (gold) and after the Summer we will release a Halloween Moonspell EP and Clouds by Tiamat on vinyl. This is one of the sides of the label, the renditions. We also did printed DESIRE’s off 1996 LP Infinity… and it was a success so we now working on their new album for 2019. Our first unreleased band to work with is a Death Metal called Okkultist, they are a very young band but extremely talented on the Death Metal field so this will be our first bet as far as releasing new bands go. We also have a Fado artist, Paulo Bragança, let’s see what happens as long as everybody feels good with the label philosophy we will for sure expand our roster of bands and artists.

Anyway, you have just published your poetry collection, “Purgatorial”, would you mind to speak about it?
It’s an anthology of all the poetry books I wrote between 1999 and 2007 and that were printed by different labels and then sold out many years ago. I did the same for Portugal, in Portuguese, but translated it into English myself so that people who like my lyrics and my writings could finally contact with them in a language we all understand. About my poetry itself, not much to say as it’s poetry and open to interpretation, with as much freedom as I wrote those. I have poems about cats and about war children, poetry is like a big cesspool where you lay everything, that’s the same for all poets, you feel it, your write it down.

What are the actual readings of Fernando Riberiro and what is your favourite literary current?
Right now I am reading non-fiction more than anything else. I am digging into The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker, a Pulitzer award winning essay about nihilism and existentialism as a form of denying death. Quite a thoughtful theory. Also as I read many books at once I am halfway through The Skeptical Environmentalist by Lomborg and just finished American Wolf by Nate Blackslee, a great book about the Yellowstone wolves.

An author of the past and one of nowadays, who you admire.
From the past: Nikos Kazantsakis (Greece), from the present: Michael Holloubeuqec


Fernando Ribeiro


Let me know, Fernando: last year you did a show at Festival, playing on stage before Death SS, maybe the most important band in italian metal’s history. I clearly remember how you presented “the legendary Death SS”, and I wondered whether you are a fan of Steve Sylvester’s band… What can you tell me about it?
With all due respect to my great buddies of Lacuna Coil, which are the band people know more about Italy, I was always very much into the Underground Italian scene and it was great to share the stage with such legends, hands down. Death SS was always a kind of our Italian Underground Alice Cooper shock rock and the show was awesome and horrific like it should be. So it was great to be around and watch it myself as I know it was a rare moment. Also I got to see other of my faves Mortuary Drape and meet them after 25 years (!) and I know that Bulldozer just played this year, it seems I have to travel more often to that festival as a spectator.

Fernando, in 1998, under the pseudonym of Daemonarch, you published “Hermeticum” album, a platter to which I am very attached. Will be there the possiblity of a second chapter?
I don’t think so. Many questions are asked about Daemonarch but to be honest I just think about it when I am asked. Moonspell and the label and of course la famiglia occupies my 44 year old brain and body to the most of its poor extent. If Daemonarch had a future it will be most likely to do something less Black and Death more instrumental, soundtrack like but I guess the fans just wanted another blast like Hermeticum but I don’t see that happening in this aeon.

Let’s go back to Moonspell. In a few days “Lisboa Under the Spell” will be out, and then? What are the future plans of the Moonspell?
First I hope people take the time to see and enjoy the film until we meet again on stage. I am sure next time, we’ll be closer friends. Also we are just leaving to share the stage with Amorphis, DT and Omnium Gatherum which seems to be a very promising North America tour. Before the end of the year we are on and off gigs and will end our year in mexico. We will be quiet in the first months of 2019 but will then resume touring and working on the follow up of Extinct.

Fernando, we got to the end of the interview. I thank you, and I let you conclude with some words to greet our readers, as usual.
Thanks for the interview, hope you guys enjoy Lisboa Under the spell film and concert. See you in sooner than later in Italia, stay safe, stay positive and don’t let anyone fool you. You’re Italia!


Marco Donè