The Blogazine For People Who Want It Darker.

Of Dream And Drama… And Poetry: The Writings Of Moonspell’s Fernando Ribeiro

Of Dream And Drama… And Poetry: The Writings Of Moonspell’s Fernando Ribeiro 

Little Black Phillip with Fernando Ribeiro, poet, author and lead singer of Portuguese metal band Moonspell // (c) Napalm Records

He is best known as frontman and lyricist of Portuguese dark metal band Moonspell. However, Fernando Ribeiro has also made a name for himself as a writer. His latest is also his first fictional book Senhora Vingança (Lady Vengeance) and contains two ruthlessly dark short stories. Prior to that he explored the manifold facets of pain betrayal, hope and healing by means of poetic verse.

Como Escavar um Abismo (How To Dig An Abyss), As Feridas Essenciais (The Essential Wounds) and Diálogo de Vultos (Shadows Dialogue), were originally published in Portuguese language and have therefore long been reserved for an exclusive audience only. Until finally, in 2018, Purgatorial saw the dark of day. The anthology contains all of Ribeiro’s poems composed between 2001 and 2012 translated into English language – a truly fire-cleansing read for dark poetry aficionados.

When and how did you discover your talent for writing?
The first poem I wrote and shared publicly has a funny story. I did it to impress my psychology teacher in high school in order to get a better grade that would help me to get into university. It was done for a special class – we dealt with suicide and I read it aloud having “Adagio For Strings” by Samuel Barber playing in the background. I got my grades, but more so, it broke the ice and got to share my words with others. That was in 1991.

What came first, your passion for words or your passion for music?
Hard to say, since I was heavily into music already. In fact, many metal bands like Celtic Frost or Iron Maiden helped me to discover poetry by Baudelaire or Coleridge. So I guess it happened simultaneously.

How often do sit down to write? 
I don’t have some sort of writing method. I can sit down for a couple of hours and just go for it. Or I spend days without doing anything. I don’t have the discipline of a true novelist. Yet.

“Poetry is more personal,
lyrics are written for something else.”

How is writing lyrics different to writing poetry?
I see writing lyrics as a script for visual music. And fortunately so does Moonspell. Having said that, the lyrics show up early in the process to give a destination and a color to a song. One thing is to have a stupid working title, the other is to have a song called Scorpion flower. It works wonders and brings all the pieces together. However, the subjects are often the same. I can only say that I know by heart whether it’s a lyric or a poem. Poetry is more personal, lyrics are written for something else. That is, if you believe that a band is a kind of an entity and a concept of sorts.

The Wolf Men: Aires Pereira (bass), Pedro Paixão (keyboards, guitar), Fernando Ribeiro (vocals), Ricardo Amorim (guitar) and Miguel “Mike” Gaspar (drums) of Moonspell // (c) Napalm Records

Do you listen to your music while writing?
When writing lyrics, yes. Regarding poems I have too much in my head already. If anything, I’d listen to post rock or ambient music, but honestly, it does not happen often.

Could you imagine to give up music in order to be a writer? 
I can imagine everything, but since these two things are extremely compatible: Why give up on one? 

“Writing is purifying, a cathartic cliché.
I strive on it.”

What does the process of writing mean to you?
It’s about getting things out of my mind – from shopping lists to odes. Writing is purifying, a cathartic cliché. I strive on it. 

Are there any specific things that inspire you?
Mankind, the way we lie and the way we build worlds. Words like love, death, hope, darkness. We are rich in anguish and restlessness enough to inspire all books written so far. Actually, I know of no book that doesn’t deal with “us”.

Are there times when you force yourself to sit down and write?
I don’t have to. It might happen, but the outcome is poor most of the time.

Sins are best atoned for in verses: “Purgatorial” (2018), an anthology of all of Ribeiro’s poetry composed between 2001 and 2012, is published by Alma Mater Books

Do you know beforehand what you are going to write about or do your poems develop along the way?
Both. See, there is not really a process. You can write in one take or it can take a few days. Both ways intervene, it’s just a question of speed in the end, and I like to take my time with everything I love to do, be it love or a great meal or words.

Does it happen intuitively or do you follow poetic rules?
Poetry and novel rules are long dead. You read Eggers, Ginsberg, and others and the sky is the limit. I like that. But it great to also have the option of going back to the heroic verse or the sonnet… I use both on my books.

What are your favorite subjects?
Depends on the book, but I prefer relationships, drama, the lunar side of things.

What kind of tone or atmosphere do you prefer?
In poetry you can have it all, so why settle? My matrix book is Flowers of Evil by Baudelaire. That’s the blueprint of anything else and, of course, you can see all tones are there and all of them work dark wonders.

Is there an author or poet whom you particularly idolize or adore? Pessoa, maybe? 
Even though I love Pessoa, my favorite poet is Justo Jorge Padron from Canarias, Spain. He is my biggest influence, hands down.

Who is, in your opinion, the most talented or outstanding lyric dark metal or dark music?
There are many, fortunately. Michael Gira is groundbreaking and tongue in cheek and dark as fuck, but I also love the lyrics of my friend Johan Edlund from Tiamat, The Return Of The Son Of Nothing, for example, or Cain. He has a really refined writing. Dani Filth and Aaron from My Dying Bride write great lyrics, in a true Anglo-Saxon tradition. And then, of course, there is a whole world of lyricists like Leonard Cohen, who was a published poet before being a musician, Nick Cave or Jim Morrison on the very top of the infamous list.

How do you decide if a work is finished?
It tells me: enough bleeding! And  then, I let it go. //

Fernando ribeiro, moonspell, poetry

AS LONG AS IT’S BLACK is a blogazine for those who find inspiration, pleasure and beauty in darkness. Who search for it in music, art, fashion, literature, places and other people. Who pay attention to obscure details and dare to take a deeper look. Who enjoy being different, but find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. AS LONG AS IT’S BLACK is a mindset, a cross-referencer and a common denominator – beyond cliché and niche, genre and gender, limits and boundaries. It unites and invites those who share a passion for everything AS LONG AS IT’S BLACK.

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