1 - I think "Ghost
Of A Rose" is mainly in the vein of the "Fires At Midnight",
mixing electric tracks featuring nice soloing and more acoustic
tracks in a melancholy or more joyful vein, with your usal
influences coming from different European folk musics and
Renaissance musics. Would
you agree ?
(RB) : Yes, I totally agree.
(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 ?
RB : "Ghost 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
3- Apart from "Rainbow Blues"
and from the two references – Chopin and Pierre Phalese –
who you refer to in the liner notes, was 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)
RB : I usually
write the music and Candice write the lyrics. However, in
"Three Black Crowes" and "Ivory Tower", both the music and
lyrics were written by Candice.
Susato is always
a chief inspiration as well as Carabel, Praetorius and some
guy called "Anonymous" who keeps cropping up !
By the way, Tilmann
Susato was also an active music publisher.
4- I didn't recognize the track
by Chopin that inspired "Nur ein Minute". Which piece was
it inspired by? Why did you give this piece a German title
RB : It was the
title that was inspired by Chopin (as in the Minute Waltz
played in exactly one minute). I titled it in German because
I think that everything should not be in English.
5- What about the lyrics of "Cartouche"
? I didn't understand the overall meaning … by the notes.
Didn't see the connection between this "black kitchen" in
the 16th century period in Prague and the Pharaohs'
specific cartouches with hyeroglyphs…
RB : Sometimes,
life has a mixed message. All is not what it should be and
always try to read the words between the lines.
CN : Cartouche
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
6- How long did it take to compose
all those songs ?
RB : It took
about 6 months. Most of the songs are already written before
we go in the studio.
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. (? )
But each song
has its own personality, a very strong identity that takes
you down a path that none of the others do.
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 it's better) but how
did you approach the changes that you wanted to do to the
RB : I just took
the chords and sallied forth. Put the chords, notes and tune
down and the rest took care of itself.
9- Is it true that " Warchild
" is your favourite Jethro Tull album, and why ?
RB : Yes. The
songs are so incredibly well put together. My favourite one
is "Sea Lion".
10- Who are the male singers
with low voices on "All For One"? Why don't you used them
on the other tracks featuring choral parts like "Ivory Tower"
(where it is a synthetic bass vocal texture, right ?)?
RB : Actually
we did. There is a bit of a vocal sample of a Gregorian male
voices but it's layered with the real male vocalists on both,
"Ivory Tower" and "All For One".
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
RB : Actually
each of the album 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 therer 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 do 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 ?
RB : SPV will
put a bonus track out and in about five years time, I'm sure
Roger Glover will change all the solos!
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
RB : Yes, the
tour dates are coming in now for the next leg of the tour.
Moscow, Tierra Del Fuego, Mandalay along with Italy.
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
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
CN : Yes, we
filmed footage for that DVD. There have bene two concerts
filmed, one at Schloss Burg in Solingen and one in Eisenach
called Schloss Wartburg (Turinge Castle).
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
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 ?!!
RB : My management
at the time contacted me and they sent me the tape. I went
into a studio in Connecticut where I was living then did my
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 ben 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 wind 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
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
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 tome 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 ?
RB : Absolutely.
This is in the pipeline. I'll be doing some songs with a real
Renaissance band augmented into our band. If Yngwie Malmsteen
doesn't beat me to it !
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 got a record company there
with sufficient interest. Apprently 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 ?
RB : We're researching
it. After all, France was a main factor for Renaissance music
back in the 1500's, it would be only fitting to take our music
there. "All For One " is a French tune from the 1500's.
Well, thank you very much for
your time. It's an excellent album and I'd love to hear the
band playing it live. Marc Moingeon
Published in Koid'9
Nr 47 (September 2003)