Blackmore´s Night

Das musikalische Nachleben einer Legende

Musical Life Of A Legend
I like to remember the times when we were travelling South for the holidays, and my father loaded the tape labelled „Deep Purple“ into the player. He used to say “This is the music we listened to when I was young...” Ritchie Blackmore, then guitarist of that band, has become a symbol of times long gone for many of us, a time best described with the cliche words “Sex Drugs & Rock`n`Roll”.
For the younger ones he became a legend of playing six strings.
The split of Deep Purple did not end the musical life of Ritchie, but was fulfilled in a project together with his mate Candice, proudly named “Blackmore´s Night”. This unpopulistic music is dedicated to the music of the Renaissance and binds it to the modern world of rock in the 21st century.  „Beyond the Sunset“ is their latest release, a compilation of all love songs by BLACKMORE`S NIGHT. All our questions were answered by Ritchie and Candice by phone from their residence in Long Island.

During the last few years you have been touring a lot, but still there are many dates to come. Are you passionate about travelling, or why do you do so many gigs in so many places inthe world?

Ritchie: Unfortunately travelling is a part of a musician´s life. I love the places and the people, but travelling is more of  a necessary thing. It is very boring to travel 3000 miles by plane.
Same thing with sleeping in hotels. You never know which one you get, and how nice your sleep will be, because sometimes it´s quiet, sometimes not. Those are the little things which are very tiring, but playing for the people is worth it all. We have our fans and we love to see them.

In July your did a tour through German castles and residences. What impression do you have about Germany and the audiences there?

Ritchie: Oh, die Deutschen sind unser liebstes Publikum! Bevor wir dieses Projekt zusammengestellt haben, waren Candice und ich im Urlaub auf den deutschen Burgen. Wir dachten, dass es eine großartige Idee wäre anstatt große Rockhallen diese Burgen zu bespielen. Ein weiterer Grund für diese Tour war, dass ich Renaissance – Musik seit 40 Jahren liebe. Früher für DEEP PURPLE oder RAINBOW wären diese Schlösser aber einfach zu klein gewesen. Nun spielen wir für ein verhältnismäßig kleines Publikum, sodass wir es uns leisten können in diesen Locations zu spielen. Wir treten in den Burghöfen auf, wo dann immer so ungefähr 2000 Leute kommen. Vor mehr als 2000 Zuschauern wollen wir auch gar nicht mehr spielen, weil man dann zu viele betrunkene Leute dabei hat, die dann nicht wirklich die ruhigere Musik hören können. Wir versuchen es also zu vermeiden vor zu vielen Leuten zu spielen.

Euer neues Album „Beyond the Sunset“ beinhaltet eine DVD des Konzertes in Schloss Burg in Solingen. Warum habt ihr diese Location ausgewählt, um die DVD aufzunehmen?

Oh, Germans are our facourite audience! Before beginning this project, Candice and I were on holiday in German castles. We thought it would be a great idea to play these castles instead of big rock venues. Another reason for the tour was that I love Renaissance music – since 40 years.
Formerly with DP or Rainbow these castles would have been much too small. Now we play for small audiences so that we can play these locations. We play in the courtyards with about 2000 people around. We do not want to play more than 2000 people, because in bigger audiences there´s too many drunken ones who do not want to hear quiet music. So we try to avoid big crouds.

Your new album „Beyond the Sunset“ includes a DVD showing the concert in Solingen Castle. Why did you choose this location to record the DVD?

Ritchie: It is one of our favourite castles, it looks simply phantastic! And the filmcrew insisted on that one, they were i charge of choosing, so.. But it rained that day, and we had a power failure and had to stop the show. We therefore included some sootage from Neuhaus to fill the gap.

Candice: That´s right! „Beyond the Sunset“ will include 5 songs from Solingen, but on the DVD to be release in November will also be other castle gigs as Neuhaus for example. There are a few castles compilated here.

The CD is a compilation of love songs made by BLACKMORE`S NIGHT. What is the motivation behind the release of this kind of CD?

Ritchie: Many people, especially in America, told us they had our music played at their wedding because it is so romantic. So we thought it would be a nice idea to collect songs for people who marry or just love to hear romantic music.

Es haben uns auch viele Leute gesagt, dass sie im Stile der Renaissance heiraten möchten. Nur im Wald, in der freien Natur, was eine wirklich schöne Art zu heiraten ist, anstatt der typischen traditionellen Heirat in der Kirche mit 500 Gästen und großem Catering.
Many people also told us they´d like to marry in a Renaissance style. Out htere in the woods, in the nature, what is a very fine way to marry, instead of a big wedding with church, 500 guests and big catering. I think people think about what a wedding basicly is, it is a matter of love and simpicity, and about romance. So they go out into the woods and play our music to get wed. We thought it a nice thing to compilate a whole CD for them to play at their ceremony.
I also think there is too much negative energy within the society. There are a lot of musicians expressing the rage and frustration. These are normal human emotions, and we have had it all, too, but we think it is possibly a good thing to show the other side of emotion – to give word to love, beauty and innocense.
And which is the meaning of love songs for your life? Are you romantic?

Ritchie: Candice is romantic. I tend to put emotions into the music instead of being romantic.

I think we are both a bit. Ritchie often said that love is the beginning and the ends of it all. It is the way to handle everything, and when you are knocked down you can go back to that honest pure emotion. I think your are romantic, Ritchie! But I know you don´t like me saying that! (laughs)

Ritchie: Very kind of you, Candice (laughs)

But I think we are both fascinated by those little wonders, as watching the full moon or the stars. That is coming back to the simple things, that let you see the world with a child´s eyes. This world can make you totally crazy if you let it be. There are so many wars and so on, but there are also many impressing things, which are ignored and disregarded every day.
So what is easier for you? To write a love song or a kick-ass-rock-song?

Depends on the mood you are in. It´s kind of fifty-fifty. For Candice it´s probably the love songs.

Candice: Yes, for sure

But it depends on the mood. I tend to write for stage, and when we need something quick I write tougher songs.
All in all the album is positive, and even the sad songs have much optimism. Is it a concept never to be too negative or too positive?

Candice: Within  the music business there is so much nagative energy. Everyone trys to be better than another, and there a lots of problems between record companies, promoters etc. The business case can be very depressing.
The nice thing about it is the music, the possibitity to have fans, to contact them and to learn about their emotions and thoughts. But the much more involving part of it is the rest, the business part, which is unbelievably depressung. Sometimes you wish you could only do what you want because you are surrounded by so many negative things.
I mean, we love to be out in the forest and be with friends, preferably 7 days a week, but that´s impossible. We try to do it as often as we can, maybe once a week, but still we have to talk to lawyers and handle record releases etc.
We try to escape all that business, all that pressure and stress, and writing is a possibility to escape.
So we can pick the positive things out of it all. We try to become what we want the world to be like.

What are your wishes and aims for the future of BLACKMORE`S NIGHT? Ritchie has achieved all you can imagine as a musician. Do you work for a similar success, or is this not important for you any more? You said you prefer to play smaller locations...

Ritchie: That´s right. It is always nice to see that people like our music, but I think it is ok as long as we have a small croud to play to. When we began this project, we did not do it to become very popular.
It is about playing music that we want to play. Many Managers and Promoters have asked me, why I do not play Rock´n´Roll, because there I have my audience and could make money.
Well, I have made enough money, now I want to make music which is a challenge for me, which inspires me. If I wanted to tour the world playing the same old Rock songs, I could have done that with DP. I did that for years, but it is boring. I want a challenging work which not necessarily leads into fame. That´s another reason for us to play this music.
It would be nice to have a great name, but with a great name pressure and problems come back to you. Sometimes it is the record company. Then there are people telling you you have to do more gigs and interviews, and who dictate where you have to be. Of course I´m a person who tells them what I want and what I don´t want.
 I prefer to have a day off to play guitar, not to sit in any hotel and do 6 interviews a day, just to be in the papers.
Most bands who want to be popular have to do many interviews to be seen by everone. I don´t do that.
Candice could maybe do that, but to me it´s boring. We don´t do many interviews and we are not on TV too often. In some way I´m lucky that I have been famous, and being fanous is nothing special for me. Actually anybody could be famous if enough people see him, that does not mean, he´s really good.
Yes, in Germany for example we had this casting show on TV, where they cast people and make them a popstar...

Candice: Oh, like this guy Daniel? I can´t see him any more! (laughs)

Ritchie: I feel sorry for him. He´s gonna be nothing again, tight?

Don´t know I´m not so much into it...

Candice: Well even 5 minutes are too long (laughs) Sorry... Whenever we turned the radio on in Germany, he was on nearly every program.
Ritchie:There was another one... Yvonne Catterfeld?

Da gab es doch noch jemanden…Yvonne Catterfeld?

Yes, but I think she´s not too bad.

Ritchie: Yes, she´s got a bit of a talent.

Candice: Yes, but not this guy Daniel!

Ritchie:  But it is like you say, everyone can be a star if he´s got the hype. If you are willing to be famours, to let camera men into your home and have yourself filmed... in the toilet or so... 

That´s the sad thing. I promote some underground bands in Dresden, and I see some of them are much better than those who are really successfull. Those are played on MTV and so they are stars!

Ritchie:  That´s right! I have met really great guitarists but they all do not have big names.

Candice: And the best bands, those you never see anywhere, are those never played on MTV. Those who never get well known, but should because they are the great ones.
You are forced to listen to others without any talent. It is like a spell. I think there are lots of people begin to sing along with songs they hear a thousand times on the radio, and so they know the lyrics.
All you hear thousands of times sticks in your memory. It is like a brain wash. People say, I know that songs, so I must like it.
Okay, last question: When I was at school, we sometimes listened to music from a period, let´s say the 40s in Germany, to learn about the society of that time. Can you imagine your music being used for this reason, and what would be said about the people?

Ritchie:  I know they send a bit of DP music to space. But I tend to think more about the past rather than the future. My favourite memory is the year 1955. I´m not so enthusiastic about the future. I see everything turned into plastic. I see things changing in architecture. Or all that computing, I´m not enthusiastic about the computer age. I like more when I can touch things.
Okay, so thank you for the interview, and a successful future for BLACKMORE`S NIGHT!

Interview by Frank Beier for the magazine Gothic No.45