Blackmore´s Night Will Rock your Castle

Recently, Blackmore´s Night, the Folk – Rockers around the couple Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night, released their current disc “Secret Voyage”. More then on their former records they attend to the typical renaissance – music. Because of that Stalker insisted to present Candice Night a big catalog of questions…

Your latest record “Secret Voyage” advertises your discography; also it sounds more interesting and more filed than the last records. Would you agree?
I think that whenever you put out a cd, it is a snap shot in tome as to where you are and what you have been feeling for that year that you were writing and recording the songs. Each time we put out a cd we feel as if that is a reflection of who we are and what we´ve experienced at that time. Then when we reflect upon the past 11 years of recordings it is like a scrap book of our lives. Like memories and going through photos that bring you back to that point. So for us its not that any of them are more interesting than the others, just that this one is a reflection of us now. Each cd means something deeply to us.

Where do you see the main differences between the old and the new songs?
For this cd we took inspirations from many traditional songs, much more than we had done previously, and as we delved into them we became more inspired. For example, “Toast to Tomorrow” is a Russian traditional folk melody that we acquired on a compilation cd of folk melodies while on tour in Russia. We played it at our parties and our friends jumped up and started dancing to it so we knew it had the basis for a good song to do in our style for the audiences to get involved with. “Peasant´s Promise” is based on an English traditional melody.” Locked Within the Crystal Ball” is based on Stella Splendens. I think this record is more organic than the ones we have previously done and in that we are able to shine in our element. On the last cd only one song was inspired by a Renaissance song, “World of Stone”, so I guess we went back to our roots and our original inspirations and found a fresh beginning there.

What made this top-class development possible?
Just finding new traditional songs that we haven´t touched on before. Research, purist bands, living those melodies and allowing them to become part of you and bringing them into your lives. It then becomes so natural that you feel the need to record them.

How do you write your songs?
We usually write year round so the writing process is ongoing – we just never know which songs will make the final cut for the cd. But we have so many tapes of ideas that we are never at a loss of the basis of song. We write while on the road, inspired by what we see and what we experience, we write at home inspired by our surroundings and nature, we take hours each day playing the instruments and delving into music. By the time we´re ready to go into the recording studio it usually takes us 3 months from beginning to end of recording. This time we took a break in between so it took a bit longer but it was good because then we could come back to the songs and hear them with fresh ears and make adjustments and changes.

In which songs you take pride the most?
That´s a tricky question because there is so much of us represented in each song. Depending on my emotion I feel closer to different songs hourly or daily. But for today I am closest to the “Circle” because I think the message is so strong, it shows all sides of us as a band – rock as well as organic renaissance and is very powerful. “Sister Gypsy” and “Gilded Cage” are close to my heart today too.

How would you explain your music to somebody who never heard one single note from you?
I would just say its good solid melodic music. We cover quite a variety of music so usually if someone likes rock, folk, renaissance, tavern songs, ballads or instrumentals we have songs that you will enjoy. But for a classification, it ´s difficult because we spend so much energy on pioneering our own individual sound that we don´t sound like anyone else. We appreciate our own individuality and love the mix of olden traditional instruments with newer electric ones without being an overly aggressive all out rock band. We include the ethereal touch as well. Ritchie calls the genre renn and roll or renaissance folk/rock. But I have heard it even called castle music or fantasy folk rock music.

What is your term in the band´s arrangement?
I write all the lyrics, occasionally I write the music as well. I also am the lead singer and play about 9 different medieval and renaissance instruments including shawms, rauchepfifes, chanters, cornamuse, gemshorn, pennywhistles, hurdy gurdy, recorders and the like.

Would you say that there is a typical Blackmore`s Night-fan?
Yes and no. Our listeners are from very diverse paths in life. They range from 2 years old to 92. Women as well as men. We bridge the gender and the generation gap and are usually the only band full families can listen to without excluding anyone. We have families coming in full garb to our shows – I´ve seen 2 year old faerie children with wings and glitter with their moms and dads dressed as kings and queens and the grandparents in jesters costumes. It is an amazing site and allows us to have our own renaissance faire wherever we go. I´d say the only thing all our fans have in common is that they are independent thinkers who wont be dictated to by the radio or the media what to listen to, wear or think. They brave their own path and once they find our music, are our most loyal fans. It is a very solid community we have between the fans.

You will do a small tour through Germany in September. What kind of expectations do you have as an old school musician?
Germany is the most important market to us and we have been coming back each year to play for the German fans. They always participate, dancing and singing and getting dressed up – I think this music is more accepted in Germany than anywhere else because there is such a strong movement for medieval music in Germany and has been for a few years now. Besides most of this music started in Germany hundreds of years ago so we feel as if we are returning it to the people, just with a new take on the old.

Are there some things you want to try, to see, or to experience?
Always, I live my life on adventure and experiences. Each time we come to a new castle, a new country I try to absorb whatever I can about the legend and myths and stories that each place has to share. My main passion is animal interactions, though. I am planning a trip to go whale watching this month and am always trying to do what I can to help the endangered species. In our line of work though, there is never a dull moment – you are experiencing something new every day.

Do you prefer clubs or festivals?
Neither – I prefer castles and then theaters. There is something about when you play a castle that is magical and everyone knows that they are coming to an event – not just another regular show. It is something different. And theaters allow us to have the intimacy with the audience so that we feel there is no separation between the band and the fans. We have no wall between us and that unity is a great feeling.

Could you please say something about the cover of “Secret Voyage”?
Ritchie chose it as the cover of this cd because it was so mystical and has all the elements we were intrigued by. The galleon ship representing the past on its way to the moon which is so mysterious and represents the future, the unknown. It is also so dark and intriguing and shows all the elements – the wind through the sails, the water beneath in raging seas, the wood of the boat – it was perfect.

Who is the artist of the artwork?
The original artist is Doré, but we revamped it and added some dimension to the original sketch work that it was. He is a renaissance artist.

The metal market in different genres shows at the moment amazingly well how popular bands can affect people. What would you say is the reason for this?
Most of the bands we listen to aren´t accepted by the radio or tv so they aren´t considered “popular” but they are incredible. I think people will always be affected by music that touches their soul. Music is the great puppet master of emotions – it makes you feel. That is exactly why it shouldn´t be locked in a category or in a box. It is too powerful to be held in captivity. The power music has over us transcends verbal explanation.

What is the best Blackmore`s Night – experience until today?
There have been so many – and they continue. When you are playing a castle and you look out from the stage and everyone is singing and dancing and wearing garb and has smiles on their faces and they are surrounded by the big stone walls, the moon rising overhead and the clock tower chimes in the distance. That is an incredible memory. If you see that once in your lifetime you remember it always – we´re lucky enough to see that each time we tour. It´s a dream.

Thanks for the interview.
Thank you!

Photos: Blackmore´s Night

Markus Seibel

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