Sunday, 6 December 2009

Interview with Mike Gaspar

The Portugese metal band Moonspell is revisiting their early days. The band formed back in 1992 and released their debut EPUnder The Moonspell in 1994. In 2007 they re-recorded all the songs from that EP along with several other early tracks and are calling it Under Satanae. Drummer Miguel “Mike” Gaspar tells about the decision to re-record this material, their next album of new material, the metal scene in Portugal and more.

What inspired you to want to re-record earlier songs for Under Satanae?
I think it was more the opportunity to finally record these classic songs with the production and sound they always deserved. The playing is also better. We were (crap) musicians with very poor instruments, but we had a lot of passion. We tried to keep the feeling on the album. But does it rock a hell of a lot better? It sure does! I think the end result is that it has inspired us.

In addition to the Under The Moonspell tracks, what is the origin of the other songs?
“Serpent Angel” is the first promo track. Moonspell was called Morbid God at the time. This was in 1991. We changed the name and did a demo in ‘92. These are the remaining songs. They are the most simple and basic songs we ever did, but the inspiration of the time was the best: Bathory, Celtic Frost, Samael, Tiamat, Morbid Angel and all the underground. We were part of the new black metal, and it is still going on today. Never in our dreams would we have thought it would be so popular.

What kind of changes did you make to the songs?
We wanted to keep them as faithful as much as we could. What makes the difference is the playing and proper structuring. We have learned a lot these past years. It felt like we were doctors analyzing what we had done. We started from zero and built it all together again. It was fun. We discovered a lot of ourselves in these tracks.

How was it working with Tue Madsen?
Great! He is very easy going and has much confidence in the sound he gets and how he records. But he always is willing to listen to others’ opinions and sometimes he also learns from that. It really felt like we were bringing the best of both sides into the project. He also made sure we were very comfortable in Denmark. That always makes it sweeter to do albums. We worked hard and were always on schedule. We both liked that way of working. All night studio sessions are just stupid.

Any chance of a U.S. tour any time soon?
We are trying hard to get our name out there. We have already done some cool tours but we know we can do better. Next album we will tour for sure.

Where haven't you played live that you would still like to get to?
Japan and Australia. We get many fans on MySpace so I know they are out there. Also we saw many at Wacken. So sooner or later it will happen.

How did you get started in music?
I’ve always loved music since I can remember. I was 6 and used chopsticks to drum. When I was 14 I had my first band, and at 16 Moonspell. So I don´t know much else than this life. Why do anything else if you can rock?

Was there an artist or album that inspired you?
Bathory and Quarthon. They were biggest influence on the band and Fernando. If not for him we would not be chatting for sure.

What are your all time favorite artists and albums?
Morbid Angel –
Blessed are the Sick, Bathory –Hammerheart, Death- Leprosy, Sepultura –Beneath The Remains, Tool – Aenima, Dead Can Dance – Into the Labyrinth, Field Of The Nephilim – Earth Inferno and many many more.

What is the metal scene like these days in Portugal?
(Crap) as always. We don´t have much of a metal culture. We wish for the day we could be compared to Finland or Sweden for our metal. But we are years in the past in terms of mentality. We do have many more shows, but only the bigger acts. Not much of a solid circuit and not many venues for shows either. It ain´t easy being into metal or goth around here. It feels like there is no respect.

Anything else you’d like to add? Thanks a lot! Hope to see you all soon and I am proud to be part of metal. Moonspell will be around the corner sooner than you think.

Aires Pereira

Don Aires Pereira was born in Venezuela in the 14th of April of 1973, anno satane. Since the early years of his existence he was bound to music as he belonged to a family of musicians, while at thesame time he had a natural appettite for this art. He studied at the at the local Music academy for a period close to 7 years, having always in mind the greater goal of playing and living the Bass guitar in its predilect style: that is the METAL.

He had tons of different projects and groups, and in the unholy year of 2003 participated in an audition for Moonspell, having been selected as their Bass Player. Since this day a hellrid of tours, festivals and shows followed all around the world.

He's Moonspell's evil twin of Steve Harris and Martin Eric Ain. He is the distinct Don Aires.

Ricardo Amorim

From my bedroom window, I could watch a bunch of gypsy folks right at the next corner strumming ferociously their guitars.

Suspended by the pace of hands clapping, words on a strange dialect were shouted, sung into the air. Supposedly, these words should have pierced through my senses before the guitars did, and all that clapping, would be nothing but a sort of arrangement. But I guess if it would have happened like this, I'd probably be anything but a guitarist today.

Unconsciously, music was growing inside of me very fast and the only missing link between what my ears listen and what my heart feels was its own source, so… guitars caught my attention.

The whole neighbourhood could hear them. Gypsies, like most of metal heads, are truly free in their spirits. They have no fear. They sing what they want to, where they want to, and how loud they want to sing, and you don't want to mess with them.

The same thing can be applied to guitars I guess. You can express what you want to, how loud you want to, and definitely it is not on their nature to be liars. Actually, those stringed wood boxes can turn themselves into a perfect mirror image of your own state of mind. They will tell you if you're happy, sad, angered, relaxed, frustrated…anything. It doesn't matter if questions are asked or not, you will always get an answer.

Perfect friend
Apart from the fact that I had a pretty much normal teenage hood, I've been developing an obsessive tendency to isolate myself since my early ages, and having music as a perfect friend, was something instinctive that I didn't questioned at all. As long as I could listen to it, unconsciously I would allow myself to travel trough my entire life, meditate about it and realise what was left behind. The amount of music where I could lay my ears would be my only limit, which was forcing me to depend a lot on my neighbour's music collection.

I went trough everything. At ten I was into Duran Duran, at twelve got into the Doors, the Stones, Hendrix, U2, Scorpions, Van Hallen , and the most of guitar oriented rock that was around at the time.

At the age of fourteen I discovered Heavy Metal and become a big aficionado of the mighty Iron Maiden. Obsessed by Adrian Smith and Dave Murray's guitar work, the very first thing that I've felt was the unconditional need to play guitar for the rest of my days. Such an intense power couldn't be ignored and it made me went to my parents asking for a guitar.

Finally I got it for Christmas and the first thing I did was to learn that historical ‘Wasted years' intro guitar lick. One week later my fingers were bleeding but my pride was way higher.

Things were never the same again. My school grades went down while my audition was getting in tune by digging anything that would please me, and if not, at least I knew that it would explain me how to get music out of that stringed wood box. Metallica, Slayer, Kreator, Venom, the Bay area Scene, Tampa's great acts such as Morbid Angel, Death, Deicide, etc., were all getting in my veins and left me such a trace of poison that it still remains within me today.

The Paranormal waltz
Like every metal head at the time, I wanted to have a band, and from that moment on, I've tried to find or fit into bands that I would identify myself with. Of course failure and frustration had to come along with, till the day, a phone call from a former school friend, on the behalf of a suburban death-trash metal band, turned the tables for me. They needed a guitarist.

Formally known as The Undertaker, Paranormal Waltz was probably the first real band experience I had. Small but solid steps were taken in musical development and, along with it, shared the very limited knowledge we possessed, hoping to learn how to mix it and create something that could please our own hearts. Of course, mistakes were repeated quite often, and consequently led me to a point where such chemistry wasn't enough for me anymore. But still, I have to say that, after all this years and apart from the resentment that stood after my departure, I still feel a great sense of gratitude towards the achievements we had together at the time. But like I said before, it still wouldn't be enough.

Under the Moonspell
Most of the Moonspell people are my neighbours, not only geographically but musically. We live in different houses, but all on the same street, where everybody knows everybody without noticing each one of them, till one day. So, after wandering around for a life, this band decided to slap my face with what I was missing at my previous musical adventure. Not only a great sense of responsibility when it comes to artistic expression, but also the very strong aesthetics in which I could truly relate to. Extremity in order to reach balance. This Band gained probably one of their first real fans.

It will never be enough to mention that Moonspell brought to my attention that art is a very spontaneous thing and it cannot be restrained to rules. And thanks to this fresh new concept, a lot of doors got open to my artistic expression, giving me way more ground to cover, even if sometimes I'd went too far or didn't went there at all. Finally I felt I could be a Nomad in my own perfect world, like those gipsy people who were haunting my own naivety with their mysterious craft.

After confessing in total drunkenness that Moonspell was the band I wanted to belong, admitting under the arrogant influence of alcohol, that the guitarist spot had been granted to me almost by birthright I've got, Three years later, and quite sober this time, the invitation to fulfil my long awaited curse.

It took me three seconds to say... yes!

Pedro Paixão

I am an intruder in myself. I came to myself to observe. Later I have interfered. I knew then about my past. That I was born in Coimbra (Portugal) in the year of 1973 and there I have tasted the joys of childhood. I was a calm, happy and respectful child who liked to play above all things. I was an average student. I told the intruder that at the age of 13 that I was forced to move out to Lisbon and that that move has changed me in a lot of ways. The metropolis was something confusing and frightening. It took me a while to do what I was good at back then: to socialize and to make, many, many friends. I became then a really good student. In Sports also. Phase two: sports, effort, companionship, dedication, focusing on goals. I did not enjoy it, says the intruder!

And then I found myself! An observer, as told. I caught myself in the aftermath of a heartbreaking and of an escape to Heidelberg, Germany, for six introspective months. And I stayed in. Invited Art in. I couldn’t care less about Art but the intruder did and brought it in. It put an end to myself, to my almost finished degree and with the swimming classes I was happy teaching. Took a future away from me but brought me a now. It offered me Art and Music- The Cure at first, then The Doors, The Smiths, Fields of the Nephilim and Dead can Dance. The Metal from Tiamat, Samael, Paradise Lost, Root and Bathory, Type O Negative, the metal from Moonspell, and other genres like Radiohead, Massive Attack; and classical. It got me the movies I felt, the paintings that have always been but that now were much more- Salvador Dali was the wrapping!- and many other forms of Art I am now in need of.

I think I got over-influenced!

I took myself to practise in Brandoa, the gigs in Ovar and Tunes, the recordings in Amadora (all in Portugal). The deal with our dream label, the recordings in Germany, the problems of a band within itself, the gigs in Scotland and in Poland. The tour buses, the bands whom I loved and now shared the same space with. The recordings in England and in Finland, the endless touring in the exotic USA. And I always came along. I became the desire I didn’t have.

I only didn’t stop myself me from loving someone and to love again.

And I, intruder in myself, the melody that took over me, always full of myself would kneel before myself, the intruder!

Trying love under will.

Mike Gaspar

Mike Gaspar was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 8, 1976, the youngest of three boys. His Portuguese parents had imigrated to New England searching for a better life and more oportunities. They worked the typical imigrant New England jobs: his father cut fish at a fish factory, and his mother took the night shift as a cleaning lady. This gave Mike the oportunity to have lots of free time to explore his hobbies, and to discover that he had a passion for music and sports, which still interest him today. He took Tae Kwon Do classes when he was eight, he was in the Little Leage Baseball team (Sommerville Logans) between the ages of 9-12, and that was also the time he took snare drum classes at school. One of his favorite hobbies was collecting tapes from hard rock bands, such as Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Kiss. Then there was a turning point in his life in 1988. His parents decided to move back to Portugal and bring twelve year old Mike with them. Of course this was extremely dificult for Mike; he had to adapt to a whole new life. The best way he was able to identify with other kids his age was through music: swapping tapes, going to thrash metal concerts, and eventually trying out for local black metal bands of the time. By fourteen, he was already part of a garage band playing drums, and this was also the time he first played live. These experiences helped him get into Moonspell (by age 16), which was known as Morbid God back then. In Moonspell, Mike has recorded seven albums, has done dozens of tours, visited countries worldwide, and even met a few of his music "idols"?. Outside of Moonspell, Mike has continued his martial arts sudies in Tae Kwon Do, being a second dan blackbelt instructor. He is always trying to enhance his drumming techniques, which is why sports have always been an interest for him. He has done drumming workshops, which have enabled him to talk directly to his fans, as well as to guide young drumming coniseurs. He is always ready to help out anyone he can, which is one of the qualities that makes Mike such a great band member and friend.

General - tattoos, piercings, weed, full moons
Movies - Nighmare Before Christmas, Madmax, Requiem For A Dream, Big Fish, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Bands - Morbid Angel, Samael, Tool, Bathory, Death
Actors - Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Eddie Murphy
Food - anything healthy, tofu, protein shakes, sushi
Colors - black and purple
TV Series - Seinfeld, Alf, Six Feet Under
Heroes - Tim Burton, Terry Bozzio, Arnold Swartzeneger (in the early days)
Drummers - Terry Bozzio, Mike Bordham, John Bohnam, Igor Cavalera, Jean Hogalin
Artists - H.R. Giger
Drink margarita (with salt)
Countries - Finland, Mexico, Russia
Best concerts seen - Metallica (1993), Iron Maiden (1991), Tool (2002)

Fernando Ribeiro

Fernando Ribeiro (born 26 August 1974, Brandoa, Lisbon) is a Portuguese musician and poet, responsible for vocals and lyrics of the dark metal band Moonspell, under the nickname Langsuyar.

Fernando Ribeiro formed a band called Morbid God in 1989 and changed its name to Moonspell in 1992. Until 2009, Moonspell have recorded 8 albums, one Best of collection and one DVD.

He studied philosophy in Lisbon university.

Except for Moonspell, he formed a side project called Daemonarch in 1998, along with other members of Moonspell, for one sole album "Hermeticum",the lyrics of which derive from poetry written by Ribeiro between the ages 14 and 16. Additionally, he cooperated with Euthemia for a limited to 666 copies LP, the Apocalypse Canceled, as a memorial to Anton Szandor La Vey, in 2008. Lately,he is involved in a project founded by Nuno Gonçalves, with co-participation of Paulo Praça and Sónia Tavares, called Amália Hoje. The project was formed in 2009 to honour the famous Portuguese fado singer Amália Rodrigues. He also participates in the song "Anjo Exilado" of the album "Álbum Negro", of the band Bizarra Locomotiva.

Apart from being a musician, he has been involved in literature, having already written three poetry books in Portuguese Como Escavar um Abismo (2001), As Feridas Essenciais (2004), Diálogo de Vultos (2007). He is also responsible for the introductions of Os Melhores Contos de Howard Phillips Lovecraft and the translation in Portuguese of the biography of BD Lovecraft. He holds a monthly column in the metal magazine LOUD!, entitled "the eternal spectator"

Saturday, 5 December 2009

cada som como um grito

Este trabalho brota de diversas nascentes que, em boa hora, se reuniram dando origem a este turbilhão de palavra, voz e som que o colectivo O.R. vos apresenta. A primeira palavra vai para o poema de Miguel Torga que me fascina e provoca desde a tenra maturidade. Todo o poema é um desafio feito através da voz, do canto, do clamor, da angústia assumida. Para me ajudar a vocalizar esta revolta e conquista convidei o (Rui) Sidónio dos Bizarra Locomotiva que já me acompanhou noutros cantares de terror e beleza. As suas qualidades narrativas são preciosas, são poesia dita pelo músculo e muito lhe agradeço a honra de seu grito neste projecto.
Por fim, dirigi-me à pessoa, o Pedro Paixão, que na sombra ou fora dela, mais tem feito pela minha banda de sempre, pela minha única banda, os Moonspell, e que, mais uma vez, não renegou a prometaica tarefa de musicar, com classe e escuridão, as palavras do Torga, reunidas por mim e divididas por ele, entregues à nossa voz e às suas guitarras e ambientes. Profundo e eterno agradecimento. Cada som como um grito é um trabalho diferente. Dizemos o Português gritando, o Português de Torga, duro mas belo, cerimonial mas envolvente.