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Progressive Rock Interviews

Blackmore's Night

Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with Candace Night of Blackmore's Night - January 2008
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

How did you go about choosing the
Paris location for your latest DVD?
We had never played in France as Blackmore's Night before, but France has such a rich musical history, especially the Brittonish area, that it seemed a natural place to film. It is the "city of romance" after all. And we were really looking for a venue that allowed us to show how the band performs in a theater. Our last DVD, Castles and Dreams, was filmed in a German 12th century castle, which is beautiful, but when you play a theater it allows you to use some different lighting than an outdoor venue does. So we were able to utilize the projection unit giving us simulated fires, fireworks, shooting stars, rainbows- different animations on stage that you could never get at an outdoor venue because natural light would obliterate the visual. And the Olympia is such a historical theater it was an honor to play there.
MSJ: The collaboration between you and Ritchie has been very prolific and successful.  Do you find writing and recording easy with Ritchie?
Believe it or not, I do. We have very set ways of creating and neither of us steps on the others toes. He comes up with all the musical ideas, mostly. [He] has specific ideas at to instrumentation, arrangements, melody lines, etc. My area is the words and the woodwind instruments. He lets me have free reign as to what each of the songs should be about and he takes the reigns for the musical directions. We have a great mutual respect for each other and a strong level of communication that allows us to not get caught up in nonsense and ego. Actually, there are no egos in the creation of music with this band. Everything we do is for the sake of the song, individually. He's forgone guitar solos because he has felt that they didn't fit right with certain songs even though so many people would’ve just loved to hear him play anything at any point. He wants the song to shine through and I think that's really commendable.
MSJ: Based on the amount of material to choose from, do you find it difficult to pick a set list?
Usually the set list is up to Ritchie, but in all honesty we only play the first 3 or 4 songs on the list the same every night. After that, anything's possible. He changes the set list based on the audience reactions, the venue sound, the mood he's in, there are a lot of variables. But because he and I live together and we take our instruments wherever we go, whether its to a restaurant or a renaissance faire or a winery, just because we love to play, we have a repertoire that could last us days. As it is, the band has to know about 60 songs just in case he chooses to play them. But when the band steps off stage, he and I sometimes go on playing for hours with the songs we know, taking requests from the audience and just having a good time.
MSJ: How do you decide what songs to play from Ritchie’s past?
It’s all based around melodic content. If the songs, whether they are from his past or another band, has a strong melody and doesn't require a screaming male vocal across it, then chances are I'll attempt it just because I love to sing. Then he'll hear how my voice sounds on those songs and if we feel that as a band we can add something different than the original was, and interpret it in a fresh and new way, we will usually add it to the list.
MSJ: I heard rumors that you might be coming out with a solo release.  Is that in the works or are they just rumors?
 I have a lot of songs that sit on an old dusty shelf waiting for someone to breathe life into them. Usually I offer them up for Blackmore's Night projects first. Songs like "Now and Then,” "Ivory Tower,” "3 Black Crows.” "Once In A Garden" were all songs of mine that Ritchie heard, liked and decided to use on our project. And Blackmore's Night always takes precedence. But when we aren't touring or writing for Blackmore’s Night, I do like to go into the studio and see what some of these songs that won't be used on Blackmore’s Night CDs will sound like. It's so sad just to see musical ideas sitting there and nothing happening with them - like keeping a painting in a closet. So I have actually completed about 6 tracks right now with Pat Regan, our producer. I'm really pleased with the way they have come out, so I've just sent him a few more. I'd love to put them out on a solo CD, I guess we’ll have to wait and see when the time is right.
MSJ: Have the fans become more accepting to this new musical style for Ritchie and are you hearing less people requesting the rock/metal songs?
I think now that we've been doing this style of music, they are more accustomed to it. The ones who like it now come to every show because each show is different and they accept it almost as a life style and a way to escape the stress and pressures of today. The ones who don't like it don't come to the shows. What we have found which is very interesting is that there is no demographic for this kind of music. There is no age bracket or specific gender it applies to. The only definite demographic is "independent thinkers.”Those who are looking for something different than the mainstream and who won't be dictated to what to think, buy or listen to. Also, I find that the men are usually fans of Ritchie's from years ago- but if you started following Ritchie when his career really started that was around 1968. So most of those guys are looking for something more mellow these days but they buy Blackmore’s Night because they know that the Blackmore name is synonymous with brilliance whether its on electric guitar, acoustic guitar or hurdy gurdy. And they're married now and whereas before the women may have found the Deep Purple or Rainbow stuff a bit harder edged, the wives now love the music because of the softer female voiced vocalist and the lyrics of a more romantic time. Now that couple has children and the kids love to sing along to “Under A Violet Moon” or “Renaissance Faire” and they still have the innocence where they like to dress up as Robin Hood or a faerie princess. And the older couples just are looking for melodic music that isn't going to be so loud it blows them out of their seat. So we have a vast array of interesting fans at all of our concerts.  And ultimately they love the style of music and our interpretations of all types of music whether it’s rock or renaissance or folk.
MSJ: Do you feel that music industry is more open to different musical styles now than when you started?
No, I feel that commercially it’s open to less then when we started, but I think that different formats are now open and widely accessible so that people who are looking for different styles of music at least now do have a medium where they can go to look, as opposed to how it used to be where you could only go to your record store and see if they carried what you were looking for. I know many people who can't listen to the radio anymore because of the lack of good material and talent that is just backed by major corporations with lots of money and repetition. But at least now with the internet you can look outside of the box and what is presented to you by only 1 medium.
MSJ: What are you thoughts of music downloading?

It depends on the situation. If it’s legal and you are doing it through a program that is registered with soundscan and everything is above board - no problem. For us I think it’s a different realm of thought though. We just like that people can come across our music and are enjoying it and spread the word. It’s probably harder for the record company or people who have to pay on downloads that are illegal that they can't do anything about.

MSJ: What was the latest CD you purchased?

It's been a while. I do more iTunes for individual songs these days. The last 2 new CDs I received as gifts (that I asked for) were the new Eagles CD- I love their new song "No More Walks In The Woods;” and the one before that was Stevie Nick's latest compilation of songs. The DVD commentary on her videos in that set is fantastic.

MSJ: What was the last concert you attended as a fan?
Ian Anderson's Orchestral Jethro Tull show at Westbury Music Faire/North Fork Theater on Long Island.
MSJ: Have you had any “Spinal Tap” moments on the last tour?
We have them all the time! We actually have them so often we met with an author and wrote a book called "The Next Stage" which you can find on our website. All the crazy stories in there are true; we just had to change names to protect the ridiculous. We were playing a castle out on the great lawn on this beautiful field with the castle in the background of the stage. It was surrounded by gardens and an incredible forest. Right before we went on, a family of deer came bolting across the lawn and into the audience. People were scattering everywhere so they didn't get stampeded by the deer! It was insane, and not something I would bet that you would normally see at a concert! Luckily no one was hurt and the deer bounded away.
MSJ: What is next for Blackmore’s Night?
We just found out that our holiday single, “Christmas Eve,” entered in on the German charts- which is amazing as we were the only non-German artist on there. And our Paris Moon CD came in at #1 on the NAR charts so those are good ways to start the New Year. We head back into the studio on Jan. 10th to commence with recording for a new album which will be out summertime 2008. I'll be recording a track for a Russian band which will be out later this year and my Magiquest, interactive theme park characters, Princess Candice will be involved in a new theme park in New Jersey called Funplex- that starts Jan 17th; and Princess Amora will be added to the Magiquest games at Great Wolf Lodge across the USA. Then we start touring in Spring and the journey continues!
 
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