Below you can read an interview I’ve conducted with Portuguese metal act, Moonshade, where both members Ricardo (vocals) and Pedro (guitar) shared new information about a new Moonshade album, the live album released last year, the pandemic, and more.
Greeting to you guys, nice having you here, again. How is everything going these days?
Ricardo: Hey there, thanks for having us! Everything is good, tons of work and new Moonshade material to prepare.
Pedro: Hello! Things are amazing, but like Ricardo said, lots to do! It gets hard when music is not your day job, but somehow we manage to find the time.
Since 2018, you haven’t released anything new, following your debut Sun Dethroned. Did you start working on a new album already?
R: Indeed we did. Our new full-length album will be released this year. Everything is about 90-95% ready, and we have a metric ton of new material, including amazing videos, artwork, new stories, and, of course, the “pièce de résistance”, new songs. It’s Moonshade like you never heard us before. Everything is grander, more technical, more ambitious, more… more!
What would be the new album musical direction?
P: We tried our best to innovate and create something new albeit maintaining the origins that carve our sound. We had special care into empathizing the “death” in the “melodic death” style. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of catchy melodies all around the album, but we made sure we still kept it punchy and full of face-melting riffage. If you liked Sun Dethroned, be prepared for a heavier, more powerful album.
Generally speaking, what are Moonshade’s main influences, what’s the main approach when you’re writing the music?
P: Being completely honest, there are a lot, but at the same time, there are none. Why do I say this? Well, we all share a lot of common influences but I honestly don’t feel that affects what we write in a conscious way. I personally never start composing a song thinking “Hey, this time I’ll copy this style or this band”, I just write what feels good in the moment. So in essence, everyone takes the ideas that are brought to the table and adds that extra personal touch that makes the song sound more to their liking. And that ever-evolving iteration cycle leads to the final result which normally is way better and richer than the sum of all parts.
Last November, instead, you have released the live album The Eventide Sessions- Live At Moonshade’s Headquarters. Basically, is a mix, from different events. What can you tell me more about it?
P: During the pandemic, and thanks to a lot of underground heroes, the metal scene was able to reinvent itself a bit, and still provide exposure to bands in the form of online concerts. We were lucky to be invited to perform on a bunch of them, and we took it seriously. We did a bunch of high-quality videos and recorded our live performance carefully. After all that came to pass, we thought it would be nice to share those “one off” performances with our fans in the form that compilation.
How the pandemic has affected your activity, 2020-2021?
P: It affected us quite a bit since we had a bunch of live events already booked for 2020 and 2021… We all know that is one of the main sources of income for small bands and we had a lot of investments on the horizon for this new album. But it also allowed us to completely focus on delivering the best album possible this year.
And it seems the pandemic continues, nothing is certain yet, more bands are canceling tours and gigs, at least the ones from January-March, maybe from April things will get back to normal again. Do you have something planned regarding shows?
R: We have three festivals booked in Portugal, Um Metaleiro Também Chora Fest in June, Laurus Nobilis Famalicão in July, and Milagre Metaleiro in August. I really hope these will happen since they’re all amazing events featuring great bands, many of which have even influenced us. And I really want to see At The Gates right after we play at Laurus Nobilis!
Lately, there’re more and more great bands in the Portuguese scene, of course, the most known band from your country is Moonspell. In your opinion, how do you see the metal scene from Portugal these days?
R: Still the main expression of Portuguese metal overseas, Moonspell left an indelible mark on our metal scene, as their influence overarches tons of artists despite whatever metal subgenre they play, including us. Now we also have Gaerea, which have signed for a major label and are growing at an impressive pace, already touring the world with some of the greats. However, there are so many projects, whose quality rivals the best of their genre, that I feel should be more famous. Bands like Dark Oath, The Voynich Code, Toxikull, Analepsy, OMITIR, just to name a few of my favorites. If I named all Portuguese bands deserving more credit, this would be a very long interview.
Since Moonshade’s existence, what were the pro and cons?
R: I really don’t look at it as a zero-sum game. Moonshade is an ideal, artistic exercise of creativity with the purpose of bringing something new to the world that might inspire people and bring them joy, while also being a vehicle of deeply personal artistic expression for everyone involved in the project. There are no cons in that, just pros. Besides, our art improves dramatically over time, so to me, any few bad times this band might have had are simple, necessary growing pains. The good times, however, which were by far the majority, I hold them tightly close to my heart. I learned so much about music, art and life both with everyone in the band, and also with past members. And I laughed just so much. I still feel like we just started!
P: Quite honestly the only con is still having to put up with Ricardo in the band. I was hoping he would go away, but he’s too tenacious! On a serious note, could not have phrased it better than Ricardo. We are in this as an artistic journey, and we use it to fill a void we have in our personal existence.
Is there anything else would you like to add?
R: Join us! We’re on all major social media platforms you can think of, and the same goes for streaming services and our official website at moonshadeofficial.com. We have something for you coming up that’s guaranteed to blow your mind!
P: What he said, if you like what we do, please support us and we will give it back twofold.
Thank you both for your time having this interview. It was my pleasure. Hope to see you on the road soon!
P: The pleasure was all ours! Thank you!
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