We approached the empathetic frontman Fernando Ribeiro who told us all about his ink while the new album “Hermitage” spread its dose of melancholy.
Hi Fernando, let’s start with our questions: are you tattooed only along your arms or do you have other not so visible tattoos?
Mostly arms but I have one in the back neck too. But, yes, they are all quite visible.
Can you describe us the subjects you have tattooed on you?
Yes gladly. Ask me what you want.
So what about the “White Zombie”, that funny devil on your upper right arm…
I got this one from my friend Chico at “El Diablo Tattoo Club”, here in Lisbon (IG: @eldiablotattooclub). I got it to try it out, it’s taken from an old White Zombie record and it was cute and a bit hellish just like me. No big deal.
And “The Invisible Man” on your right arm?
It’s an original design by the American “Parlour Tattoo” but I got it made by my favorite tattoo artist – mister Pinela from “Bang Bang Tattoo” studio (IG: @bangbang_tattoo_sintra) in Sintra, Portugal. I love the H.G. Wells book (published for the first time in 1897. Ed).
I had become a father and I was feeling pretty “invisible” in my own personal life so I had it inked.
It’s not perfect but I don’t like perfect tattoos.
On your right inner forearm you have “Fausto”, a Traditional heart tattoo…
Yeah, another piece of art made directly by Pinela. I had it done because that’s his best work – classical, Old School, Traditional tattoos stuff! It has all the cool elements about it and it’s very 2D. It has the name of my son, a dagger that strikes through the heart, a rose, some drops of blood and there’s a brief lettering too. It says “blood of my blood”, “sangue do meu sangue” in Portuguese.
What’s about the “Hermit” on your left forearm?
It’s my first venture into Ultra Realism but it’s still not finished… It’s the work of a young master – Mr. Diogo Nunes Tattoo (IG: @diogonunestattoos) who’s going to become a big star in this business! He’s simply amazing! I made this one as a remark of the fever of saints and the figure of the hermit. All to do with our new album and my deep interest in such themes.
On your upper left arm you have a lettering “There is no god but man” mixed with other subjects. Why?
Another creation by Pinela. It’s a small collage of good and evil and how it defines everything we need to know. It boosts a sentence of Alistair Crowley that I found most inspiring. I have left Occultism and Satanism behind a long, long time ago and in the meantime I embraced Hermeneutic Atheism as taught in the Philosophy of the German master Feuerbach. All gods from the Greek Mythos to the New Age Western Buddhas they are all our doing.
Tell me about that strange subject on your back neck…
It’s a weird face of a “garden demon” and it states “Sapere Aude” (“Dare to Know”). It was made by João Motão from “Lucky Thirteen Tattoo Studio” in Algarve, Portugal. João is an amazing guy and I really like his Old School taste. Also I needed to have some eyes tattooed on my neck to keep me guarded, like in the old gipsy tradition mixed with my philosophical studies in the University of Lisbon.
On the other side of the neck you have three crosses too…
Another piece by master Pinela. It’s pretty evident what it means – Jesus and the two thieves – and it holds a strong symbolic meaning for me. I love crosses so much. It defines our civilization in just one symbol and for me it means the power of choice and of overcoming.
Last but not least, you have a sort of indecipherable “Mephistopheles” lettering…
Made by Pinela… again! (laughs) It’s one of the most intriguing ones for people because the word “Mephistopheles” is written like a mathematical form. I took it from a book by Michael Swannick called “Jack Faust”, a fiction about the Faustian pact and again a real metaphor for choosing.
Am I wrong or every artwork of every Moonspell record from 1995’s “Wolfheart” to 2021’s “Hermitage” is suitable to be transformed into a big tattoo?
I surely hope so and many fans have graced us with having our artworks immortalized on their skins. That’s quite humbling I have to say. I have seen it all from the very first demos to the last efforts. I strongly believe that beautiful artworks help telling the story. So they have to be meaningful too!
What are your favorite Moonspell artwork for a kind of tattooed purpose?
I don’t have a special one but I guess that the work of Seth Siro Anton (IG: @sethsiroanton) works really well once inked. “Night Eternal” tats are impressive and a fan just did a full frontal piece of “Alpha Noir” album artwork using his own nipples to add reality into that… It just blew my mind!
Last question: would you like to review the new Moonspell album “Hermitage” as if it were a poem of yours?
It starts like an Hypnos wave
That, in the end, washes away in the sea
You can walk over the waters
Suspending the believe
Or you can just let go and drown in the comfort
Of the inside of the waters
No one is counting the days
And nobody knows
Read the whole Moonspell/Fernando Ribeiro’s uncut interview on a forthcoming issue of Tattoo Life magazine.