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Blackmore's Night

Interviewed by Gary Hill, Rick Damigella and Larry Toering

Interview with Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night from 2010

MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Sure. I always loved music. It was my great escape from the stress and pressures of this world. I interned at a radio station in hopes to have a career where I would be around music. While interning, I met Ritchie Blackmore, who was still in Deep Purple, while playing a charity soccer match. He asked me to join him on tour in 1993, Purple's last tour as the famous Mark 2 line up, and requested I sing back up vocals on his Difficult to Cure solo. After he left DP he reformed Rainbow and when the singer had writer’s block with lyrics, he asked me to write the lyrics on four of the songs on the Stranger in Us All CD, as well as do background vocal parts on CD and on tour. While Rainbow were recording their individual tracks, Ritchie and I would sit in front of the fireplace at the farmhouse-studio watching the snow come down and writing songs as an escape from the ever increasing corporate clutches of the rock world. The songs we wrote were originally just for us, but when we played them for our friends and they said that they would buy a CD that had music like that, we thought we would put it out for the rest of the world. That was back in 1997 and since then we have recorded 4 concert DVDs, 8 studio CDs and have so many fans world-wide. We usually play in castles and historical venues around the world and wear costume on stage. When you go onstage in a 12th century castle and look out and see everyone in the audience dressed in garb and singing along while the moon is rising overhead...it is a scene right out of a dream for me.

MSJ:

If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

Working with animals. They are incredibly spiritual beings that ask so little and give so much in return.

MSJ:

Who would you see as your musical influences?

They vary vastly. Although I believe that when I write or sing, what I present is truly and deeply my own. The bands and singers I listen to include Stevie Nicks, Sarah Brightman, Maggie Reilly, Lambretta, some 80's music, Joan Osborne, Don Henley, All About Eve, Terra Nova Consort,  as well as music from the 1940's and also melodies going back to the medieval and renaissance times, which is where we get a lot of our inspiration, musically.  Occasionally we take melodies from the 12-15th century and retain the spirit of the songs but add new melodies and lyrics to it. There is something so timeless and mysterious about some of those songs.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?

The next thing on the agenda is the release of our latest CD, Autumn Sky, here in America. It’s already been released internationally and did well on the charts. But I always look forward to when our CDs are released here so we can tour the USA and support it. After the January release we then begin our touring period across Europe, into Russia and hopefully back in the US before the end of 2011.

MSJ:

I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

I always go back to the fact that it’s just good melodic music. I really don't see it in a category or a box. Music shouldn't have limitations. Especially in this band, we have so much variety, from ballads, to instrumentals, to tavern songs, to rock songs and pop songs. The one thread that goes through the CD is that it’s all heavily melodic music - mo choreography, no pyrotechnics, nothing that fits into a fad or fashion and nothing avant-garde. But if you like melody, you will probably like our music. I have heard it described as “nature music,” “fantasy music,” “romantic music,” “music to dream by”...it's all of these things.

MSJ:

Was your newly born daughter an inspiration for your new album?

She's an inspiration for everything I do these days. There was an incredible parallel of creating music which is cathartic in itself, and also creating a life within you simultaneously. It was interesting because I didn't know if I was having a boy or girl, but then when she was born, the lyrics I wrote for the CD somehow all made even more sense on a deeper level. Songs like “Strawberry Girl” and “Believe in Me” were brought to a deeper dimension with her existence.

MSJ:

Does working in a band with your spouse ever pose any particular problems?

Not usually. The problems occur more in our personal life. Just kidding. We have a 50-50 deal worked out. He rules the roost on stage and in the studio, I rule it at home. Makes everyone happy. Truthfully, we enjoy what we are doing so much, it just becomes a "leave your ego at the door" policy. Everything we do when we write and record is for the sake of the song. Not as a showcase for solos. It’s all about what is right for the music. He usually takes the reins for the musical portion and I take it lyrically so we each respect what the other is doing creatively.

MSJ:

Whose idea was it to record “Celluloid Heroes” on the new CD?

Ritchie's idea. I had never heard that song before he played it for me on a jukebox at a local restaurant. I thought the lyrics were brilliant. I’m a huge fan of the golden days of movies and thought the way Ray Davies wrote about the stars on the sidewalk and humanizing them while also keeping a tragic tone to the actors was such a great play on the words.

MSJ:

Are there any songs from Ritchie Blackmore’s back catalog that you have been thinking about revisiting, and if so, what tracks?

We have already done a number of songs on CD. We've revisited “Street of Dreams,” (which I did as a duet with original singer Joe Lynn Turner), “Rainbow Eyes,” “Soldier of Fortune” on our live CD, “Child in Time.” We've also done “Man on the Silver Mountain,” “Temple of the King,” “16th Century Greensleeves” and “Smoke on the Water” in concert. So we just play whatever we feel like playing at the time. I'm lucky that he has such a huge amount of songs to choose from should we feel like dipping into that catalog. The songs are amazing.  Some songs we would never attempt, but some really fit as a whole new song if we do it Blackmore's Night style.

MSJ:

At this point, after so many albums, is it easier or more difficult to come up with both new material and ancient songs to reinterpret?

As we tour around the world, we have some incredible fans that will compile traditional songs from their region and give us CDs so there is a wealth of songs to go through and reinterpret. We did a song called “25 Years” that was originally a sheperdic song from the Balkans that we found like that. And now with Youtube we can just type in something like "Viking music" and so many bands and songs will come up! That's how we found the song that we turned into “Journeyman” from this CD. So, it seems that there isn't any shortage of melodies to choose from. Each time we write for a CD, we’re at a different place in our lives so we always have material to pull from a new place. Looking back at our CDs, they're like a scrapbook in time of where we were at that moment.

MSJ:

Any plans for any kind of North American touring?

Of course. I'm hoping next year we will be working here again. There are dates in the works right now. Problem with touring America, is that with the promoters, they either want to stick you in a rock club or a huge venue. We like intimate shows. 800-1000 people at the most. That's how we get a great connection with the audience. So theaters work the best for us. But for some reasons theaters are so hard to get. Our music doesn't work in a rock club or a huge venue. So we need a promoter who cares about the music, the fans and sees the vision of what the band is trying to do instead of just trying to make money. They're hard to find...but they’re out there somewhere!

MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

I like to keep my options open. So far I have worked with some wonderful artists: Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, John Ford of the Strawbs, Des Geyers, Tarja from Nightwish, Sabine from Edensbridge, Helloween and Glen Hughes to name a few. But I have to love the song before I get involved with the music.

MSJ:

Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

I think the careers of musicians are on really shaky grounds these days anyway, unfortunately. I guess it depends on how much it’s being done. I would be for giving away a song or two to the fans for free should the band choose to do that for promotional purposes, but if it’s illegal downloading then you're basically stealing and that's not right in any capacity.

MSJ:

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

Not a fan of that. Because that is exactly the reason why we can’t play songs that we haven't recorded yet or try them out in concert before we head into the studio. Too many people are bootlegging them and then the "new" song winds up all over the Internet before you even have the chance to head into the studio with it. There would be no element of surprise when you get the CD. I don't care about taking pictures, but recording the show inhibits what we’re going to play unfortunately.

MSJ:

If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

I feel like I am a superhero now that I'm a mom! My arch nemesis would be musical fads and fashions pushed on gullible people by major corporations with ridiculous amounts of money behind them.

MSJ:

If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

That's really difficult. I can tell you who I like on each instrument, but it’s a varied background for each so I cant imagine what songs they would play! Mick Fleetwood or Don Henley on drums, Ritchie and/or Steve Lukather on guitars, I think Pink has a great voice, but doesn't play the type of music of the rest of these musicians. Ian Anderson on flute. Jack Bruce on bass. Billy Joel on keyboards.
MSJ:

If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, All About Eve, Toto, Maggie Reilly and Sarah Brightman. Oh, and us... I'd love to be in a line up like that!

MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

Joan Osborne's Little Wild One. But now that we're heading into the holidays, I have either Winter Carols in our CD player or Richard Searles’ Christmas CD is playing.

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

The Beach House by James Patterson. Though now that I have a 6 month old, reading time is at a minimum.

MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Joan Osborne, last year in winter. It’s been a while since I have been out socially since I got eaten by the baby monster!

MSJ:

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

I'm afraid to say it. I do have a few Britney Spears songs in my iPod. “Circus,” “Piece Of Me,” “If U Seek Amy.” My sister will be mortified that I admitted this.  But she'd be more mortified if I spilled the info on my Christina Aguilera or Lady Gaga downloads.

MSJ:

What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

That's easy, I constantly get lost back stage at almost every venue. I can never find the stage. The crew guys always find me wandering around lost back stage.

MSJ:

If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Leonardo DaVinci, Marilyn Monroe and Hopscotch my grey Persian cat

MSJ:

What would be on the menu?

Chocolate covered strawberries, Cheese fondue and Fancy Feast.

MSJ:

Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

I know that our fans are the independent thinkers in this world and I just want to thank them for braving their own path in this world. Can't wait to tour here next year and wishing everyone a magical New Year.

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