To The Moon And Back With Candice Night

by Bard John A. of Wilcox

Candice Night is absolutely the nicest shawm player I know! Night and husband Ritchie Blackmore front Blackmore's Night. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the band, they have released the double CD set To The Moon And Back. Always kind and gracious to ye scribe, Night answered some questions I had about the set. Please do read on...

PS: With 20 years of material to choose from, why were these particular songs chosen?

CN: It was very hard for us to narrow it down, so we took to social media and polled the people who know the songs the best, the fans. I asked them to send in the top five favorites on our official Facebook sites, Candice Night official, Blackmore's Night official and Ritchie Blackmore official as well as Twitter and Instagram and then I also asked them if there were any songs they would like us to revisit that they thought would benefit from breathing some new life into them. I then took their responses and made spreadsheets and submitted that to the management. In essence that is how we got the track list for disc 1.

PS: Once Blackmore's Night had a few tours under the belt, how did live performance effect how you approached the studio?

CN: There is an energy to live performance that you cannot duplicate. When you are in the studio you get what Jon Lord used to call analysis paralysis and start to look at everything you are doing under a microscope. You go over things again and again until you need to get away from it and get a fresh perspective. That's why now we do a couple of songs, then take some months away from recording session and go on tour and then revisit the songs we recorded again hearing them with fresh ears.

PS: How did Home Again evolve into the massive live number it's become?

CN: It started out being inspired from Those Were The Days, and I used to introduce the song "Its Good To be Back Home Again" in the language of whatever country we were playing in. I can now say that in Ukranian, Russian, Polish, Japanese and Swedish. But I think the audience involvement is just what brings the whole idea of the song home for us. And you can't get that unless you see it live in concert with everyone up on their feet and singing along and dancing to the song. Its really got a great bonding between us and the audience as well as forming new friendships within the fans.

PS: Let's talk about a few old faves. What inspired Renaissance Faire?

CN: That was really the 1st song we ever wrote together. As you know, Ritchie and I just love going to Renaissance Faires, as a matter of fact we just got back from one this past weekend. We dress up, bring close friends all dressed in garb, bring our instruments and sit in a corner of a faire and play our songs incognito. Its wonderful to see so many people living this way for the season of the faire, or even just for the moment and stepping back in time. Bringing the past to life again. Looking through the veil of hundreds of years ago. Its always fascinated us and we try to incorporate that into our daily life, so to go to the faire and escape the pressures of today's world is definitely worth writing a song about.

PS: When was Under A Violet Moon written & what was the spark for it?

CN: That was written while on tour in Japan after releasing Shadow Of The Moon and doing our 1st tour. We realized that many of the song off of Shadow, though beautiful and ethereal, were slower tempos and we needed some fast tempo songs and audience involvement weaved into the set list to vary the emotion of the concert. The hidden story behind the title, though is that Violet was Ritchie's mothers name and Moon was his grandmothers surname. They have both passed on so Under A Violet Moon is about them watching over him...

PS: What's the story behind Village Lanterne?

CN: Village Lanterne was actually a song that was written to a movie when the movie company was looking for songs for their closing scene. It was for Curse Of The Ring (2004) or Ring Of The Nibelungs as was the original title. They sent it to us while it was still unfinished, green screen and all. We got the idea of the storyline and wrote the music from the visuals. Only later did we change the title and accompanying lyric to Village Lanterne after they decided to go with a harder rock song for that scene.

PS: If you could add a disc 3 to the set, what songs would be essential to put on it?

CN: For me it would be about the story songs which are always my favorites. Windmills, The Last Leaf, Hanging Tree, Fools Gold, Will O The Wisp, maybe Believe In Me. The songs that lyrically take you on an emotional journey through their stories.

PS: With literally hundreds of years of musical idioms at the band's disposal, are there any you choose to avoid?

CN: We don't do jazz, screaming rock or death metal, opera, but other than that I really think anything goes. The great thing about this band is being able to have the creative freedom to do anything you want without being stuck in a box, which is what creativity is all about anyway. As soon as you get stuck in a box of a musical genre, you have limitations put on you. We have kicked down the walls of any box and are able to delve into anything we wish. Once you have tasted that freedom its hard to go back into the box.

PS: Why choose to re-record Moonlight Shadow?

CN: The way we did it on To The Moon And Back is the way we are used to doing it when and if we do it onstage. Its always been a very acoustic, intimate song for us and it was the original inspiration for us writing the song Shadow Of The Moon which is a play on Moonlight Shadow in the title as well. When we did it more uptempo and bigger production was actually not what we usually do on stage and we have never played it that way. We only have played it the way you hear on To The Moon And Back. I think that is truer to its meaning.

PS: What was the thought behind making another version of Writing On The Wall?

CN: My voice has matured a lot since we originally did it 20 years ago. And when we 1st did it we didn't capture the idea that we really wanted. It was a great song, and melody, but the percussion we originally added and other reasons gave weaknesses. So we revamped it as a rock song and it feels much better now.

PS: How did your daughter Autumn become involved with Ghost Of John?

CN: She actually brought it home from acting/singing lessons. We had never heard it before and around Halloween time she came home singing it. Ritchie made her sing it about 100 times that night. He loved the Gregorian sound to it and we looked into its origins and it was traditional with lots of interesting folk history. We kept the original 1st verse but then I added the rest of them. Of course we had to have Autumn sing the closing verse since she brought it to us in the 1st place. It brought it around full circle.

PS: Are there any plans for any live US dates for the band in 2017/18?

CN: Just one date for 2017, in Pennsylvania next month. Perhaps more for Spring 2018.

PS: Any more vocal collaborations in the works?

CN: My daughter wants me to record "300 more songs" for another lullaby cd. Other than that, we will be rereleasing Winter Carols with 3 new songs and I hope a new video before holiday time is upon us again by the end of the year.

PS: What's next as the band has hit the 20 year mark?

CN: To hit the 21 yr mark so we're finally legal! :)


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