Kelley Simms of Hails & Horns recently conducted an interview with drummer Miguel "Mike" Gaspar of Portuguese metallers MOONSPELL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Hails & Horns: "Alpha Noir" is your first album in four years. What took so long from "Night Eternal" until now?
Gaspar: We reached a point in our career where it's pretty hard to go in the right direction because we don't really know what the right direct is! [laughs] All the success that "Night Eternal" had … we started touring a lot. A lot more than previous albums. I think that is part of why it took so long. We really didn't know if the fans were still there for us or still believed in our music. We still believed in ourselves. We really had to get ahold of what we wanted to do and find that inspiration. We came to the conclusion that we needed time for that. Not rushing into another album. Not having the pressure of the record company to make us make another album to lose momentum. And we did do that back in the '90s with "Wolfheart" and then "Sin/Pecado", especially since "Pecado" was an album that we feel today that we rushed into. We learned from that experience that we didn't want to do it again. With all the touring, I think it helped us structure a way of composing between the tours. That was one of our goals, to have it rehearsed, have all the ideas. We want to make sure the fans are satisfied. That's always in the back of our minds of how the fans have supported us and makes us want to do the best we can.
Hails & Horns: Your drumming style is solid but not too flashy. You seem to play in the pocket and keep the beat and only sporadically alternate between double bass and tom fills whenever appropriate. What's your method behond your playing? What are you going for on most of MOONSPELL's material?
Gaspar: You have to understand that when you're in a band, it calls for a commitment and compromises. I think as a drummer, the most important job for me is to play solid and make the band sound the best as you can. That's always been my philosophy and [I] have believed in that the most. Within the rhythm section, you really have to play in the pocket. You can't lose time for a flashy fill here and there or you'll destroy the vocal part or the guitar lead. You have to synchronize and play for the band. We rehearse a lot! We've always had a fear of going on stage and not giving our best. Having that confidence to do it live makes me realize more of the big picture when everything works perfectly and gives people something to remember for their rest of their lives.
Hails & Horns: The Portuguese postal service released a stamp with the cover of "Wolfheart" on it. I guess you're not famous in your native land until you have a stamp!
Gaspar: It's pretty amazing that we have our own stamp. You'd never think a band like us would have our own stamp! This is part of the Portuguese hard rock collection. with all the popular Portuguese bands. We're the youngest band picked. They chose our first album as a landmark for Portuguese metal culture to represent what we've done internationally. This stamp is worth 1 euro, which is worth more internationally than others. Which is really cool for us, because our music reaches other markets. The original cover that came out in '95, it's the one that everyone remembers. So it's very nice. Sometimes I'll send them to fans that will write to me.
Read the entire interview from Hails & Horns.
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