& Ritchie Blackmore Interview
Candice Night (CN): I think the only slight difference is the incorporation of more authentic woodwinds. As our collection of Renaissance instruments expands, we're able to add a dimension of organic sounds to the songs.
2- A couple of tracks sound maybe
more orchestral, more symphonic than ever before, I mean the title-track
and the "Ivory Tower". What was the musical inspiration behind those songs?
of a Rose" was inspired by Elgar and Jacqueline Dupré, an amazing
cellist. Although, one of the interpretations of the songs is that the actual
song is about her and her wonderful playing can still be heard in the sound
of the wind from the hillside.
3- Apart from "Rainbow Blues" and
from the two references – Chopin and Pierre Phalese – who you refer to in
the liner notes, were the music written exclusively by you Ritchie, or did
Candice contribute to the music itself sometimes? Any other inspirations
from other composers? (I found a couple of tracks by Pierre Phalese, who
was a Flemish composer, as you had said in December, I saw he was also an
active music publisher then)
4- I didn't recognize the track by
Chopin that inspired "Nur ein Minute".
5- What about the lyrics of "Cartouche”?
I didn't understand the overall meaning … by the notes. Didn't see the connection
between these "black kitchen" in the 16th century period in Prague and the
Pharaohs' specific cartouches with hieroglyphs…
tends to be a part of a Salvador Dali painting in words. We had some incredible
times at a place in Prague called Cartouche which inspired this song. It
is underground and they call themselves the Black Kitchen of the 1600's.
They always allow us to play and sing there until the wee hours of the morning.
So this is a collection of all the magical times spent at Cartouche.
6- How long did it take to compose
all those songs?
7- Could you please try to explain
me a little bit how you compose a song, you and Candice, usually?
RB: I'm inspired by musical pieces that I hear in the
everyday events. It might be a two bar section or an environment as in many
of the castles we stay in. When one can find solitude, you can be open enough
to create music. Unfortunately, in these days and age, we are constantly
bombarded by noise and silence is increasingly difficult to find.
CN: Ritchie will come with the general melody line of
the song, at first. I always find that his melodies are so visual, so full
of emotion, that all you need to do is to close your eyes and to listen to
what the song is telling you and wants to be about, to see the pictures it
is painting in your mind as you're listening to it. Then the words come easily.
It's usually a mixture of nature and legends, myths and mystery with a touch
of romance and a day gone by. (? )
8-a) Instead of having Ian Anderson
writing a new song for you, you covered a rather rare track only released
on a compilation album and lately on the remastered version of Warchild.
It was a rather irregular tune –rhythmically speaking - and your version
is more "catchy" and easier to listen to (I also think its better) but how
did you approach the changes that you wanted to do to the arrangements?
9- Is it true that ”Warchild” is your
favourite Jethro Tull album, and why?
10- Who are the male singers with
low voices on "All For One"? Why don't you use them on the other tracks featuring
choral parts like "Ivory Tower" (where it is a synthetic bass vocal texture,
CN: The male vocal parts were done by Tim Cotov and Bard
David of Larchmont who, besides having an amazing opera voice, is also our
newest minstrel on the road. He plays keyboards.
11- Generally, it seems to me that
this new album contains less instrumental parts or tunes than the previous
ones… Was it deliberate or just by pure chance?
RB: Actually each of the albums has had at least two instrumentals,
going back to "Shadow…", with "Minstrel Hall" and "Mond Tanz". So if you
include part 2 of "Queen For A Day", on the "Ghost of a Rose" album I think
there are more instrumentals on this new CD than the previous ones. It's
just what comes out while you're recording at the time.
12- On the other way, you're still
playing a lot of excellent electric solos on this one (the end of "Way To
Mandalay", "Rainbow Blues", "All For One" are outstanding, and the discreet
solos on "Diamonds and Rust" are beautiful)… How do you approach the solos
usually? Do you work out a melody or riff during a long time or do you improvise
and keep the best parts afterwards?
RB: As far as solos go, I just improvise a few times through
over the song. Then, when I'm out of the room, the producer puts it together
and tells me he lost all the other tracks! (takes?)
13- Is there only one edition of the
new album or will SPV does as well a special (limited?) edition like they
did for "Fires At Midnight" and the live album? If yes, then what differences
there will be?
CN: Actually SPV has two versions for Europe right now
: the regular version and the digipack version with 2 bonus tracks and extra
photos. The USA version will include the "Way To Mandalay" video on that
CD when it's released.
14- Apart from this castle tour this
coming summer, did you intend to play some gigs somewhere else?
CN: So far, we've brought the "Ghost Of A Rose" tour to
some place Blackmore's Night has never been before : Estonia, Norway, Latvia
as well as Poland and Finland. Right now, we are in the middle of our German
tour in which we are playing mainly castles and courtyards. Next on the
touring list is America, Russia, Austria, England, Scotland, Czech Republic,
and still more dates are coming in now. We hope to finally play France this
year but for some reason, promoters have not responded.
15- I had heard of a possible live
DVD release. How far have you been as regards that this project?
CN: Yes, we filmed footage for that DVD. There have been two
concerts filmed, one at Schloss Burg in Solingen and one in Eisenach called
Schloss Wartburg (Turinge Castle). Schlossburg was an outdoor, a courtyard
with lots of interesting unplanned circumstances…. power loss, rain, etc.
Wartburg is an acoustic, intimate setting. There are also interview segments
and other footage as well. We're hoping to have that out later this year.
16- I recently saw on your discography
page that you played on 1 track from an album by our French singer Laurent
Voulzy in 1992 ?! How did this happen?!!
17- And can you tell me a little bit
more about the forthcoming solo album by Candice? Who has written the songs,
who is playing on it? I have not had the chance to hear the single that
was released. When is it going to be released ? (There's nothing about it
any more on the website…)
CN: I have a collection of songs that have been building
up since 1995. They were tapes that were collecting dust on the shelves,
just voice and piano. So I just got curious to hear what the songs would
sound like with life breathed into them by a producer. Some of my songs ends
up on the Blackmore’s Night CD’s, like "Now and Then", "Ivory Tower" or "3
Black Crows". But some songs will not be used in the Blackmore's Night project
because they don't sound Renaissance enough. But everything gets put on hold
once Blackmore's Night begins touring, writing or recording. When things
slow down a bit , I'll start going through my tapes again.
18- Talking of solo projects, would
do you one yourself Ritchie, an instrumental album for example?
RB: I'd like to release a "Best Of" [with] all the instrumentals
at some dates. When we'll get back all the rights. I don't believe in side
projects. It takes one's focus off of the main project. I love to play but
not record. I'd rather take a walk in the woods.
19- Will you ever try to sing on a
song? You never sang on any record, did you? Why?
RB: I've only just learned to speak! When I took up the
guitar, it was a way of not having to talk to people.. Now people only want
to talk to me in the interviews all the time!
20- Pat Reagan does a great job creating
this "Minstrel Hall Consort" himself alone but wouldn't you like to play
with a real orchestra occasionally, like the band Renaissance did it for
example? Or just a smaller, baroque or renaissance orchestra?
21- How about France, what about a
concert? I had heard it could happen here a few months ago but there's nothing
new, as far as I know.
RB: We'd love to play in France, but we can't get a record
company there with sufficient interest. Apparently they will do nothing for
us in France. Consequently we can't come to France. I don't understand that
concept, but that's what we've been told.
22- Are you considering changing record
label for another one maybe more suitable for the style of music Blackmore's
Night is playing?