Mortiiis Interview

Following the reissue of the 2010 album “Perfectly Defect”, we talked to Norwegian musical pioneer Mortiis!

The Offering: “Perfectly Defect” was originally released in 2010, what made you decide to reissue this album now?

Mortiis: Mainly the reason was, it was never released properly physically (it was actually only released as a free download for fans and people in general, as well as a limited edition CD that was strictly sold during the 2011 tours, and a few copies via mailorder), so I felt that it deserved a proper release at last. Also we only released 8-10 songs (depending on what download version you got) at the time. The complete recording sessions for Perfectly Defect, was actually 12 songs, and the CD version contains the complete version, for the first time.

TO: Do you still identify with the music style and concepts of “Perfectly Defect”?

Mortiis: Sure. I still think a lot of people are a waste of oxygen. I appreciate good people, and most people are pretty alright when it comes down to it, but there’s a certain amount of psychic vampires, religious bigots and hypocrites, and downright fraudulent bastards out there, so I’ll always find inspiration.

TO: This album is released via your own label Omnipresence Records, what made you decide to start a label?

Mortiis: It’s not so much a label as just an alternative to selling my soul to a record label and never seeing a dime, or ever getting my rights back. This is what most of them do. I’m not going to bore everyone with how I feel about record label practices. I´m sure there are some good ones out there, and I’d love to work with one of them some day… But so far, it’s mostly been one case after another of signing away every single right for your music, and never really getting anything back. If you luck out and start selling a lot of albums, you might get some money trickling in, but by and large they’ll find every conceivable excuse to recoup and recoup and recoup costs you aren’t even aware of. I was once charged thousands of dollars for a release party I didn’t even ask for. I paid for the bar, the place, everything, and I didn’t even ask for it. So fuck people like that. Cold Meat Industry back in the 90s treated me pretty well, I should mention that. In the future, maybe I’ll work with someone again for new releases, but it remains to be seen. I have had good experiences with licensing older stuff out to labels like Funeral industries and Foreign Sounds, for example, but those are very simple, underground type of deals where it’s more fan based than pure business…And I make more money doing shit like that, than selling 50 times as many records on a bigger label. It’s fucking absurd.

TO: Thinking about your latest album “The Great Deceiver” what are your thoughts and feelings about it now that some time passed by?

Mortiis: Still the best album I ever made. It represents everything I ever felt about a lot of things down the very fiber of my being. I don’t think that will ever change. The Smell of Rain was the most important album I ever made, because I helped me survive myself, and find a new purpose musically. The Great Deceiver, is basically my entire soul and being, manifested into music. I realize this sounds extremely pretentious and cliché, but it’s true.

TO: Are you currently working on new music?

Mortiis: Yes I have a variety of different stuff laying around. It’s more question of finding the time and focus to figure out which way to go. I’m just being really busy with a lot of shows at the moment, and all the traveling between them. I also work a regular job, obviously, since being a musician at this level, is not sustainable in the long run, so a steady income is vital. I wish it was different, but it’s not. Just real world shit, haha.

TO: When can we expect a new album?

Mortiis: I don’t have a date for that yet. I’m pretty sure something will happen next year.

TO: In terms of style how has your music evolved in all these years?

Mortiis: It’s just taken all kinds of twists and turns really. I just do whatever feels right. I don’t give a shit about genres, labeling and pigeonholing. I think that’s for pussies that are too fucking scared to just go out there and do whatever they wanna do. Beyond that, it’s a corporate idea in terms of telling people what they like. I used to call my music Dark Dungeon Music, because no one knew what to do with my records, they didn’t know where to put them..Metal, ambient, alternative…I just made that up as a thing that was unique for me… It´s changed a lot since then and I’ve mixed in various styles, to come up with something I like…metal, industrial, ambient, experimental and electronic…To create something I am happy with and can back up in the years to come.

TO: Thinking about the beginning of your career do you miss anything of those years?

Mortiis: I miss the sales numbers, haha! If that had remained, and everyone hadn’t started taking free music for granted (it costs thousands of dollars in equipment and studio time, and takes countless days and weeks and months to create, people seem to have forgotten that) then guys like me could have done this full time, and we’d be putting out a lot more music.

TO: What motivates to continue to write music?

Mortiis: Mainly the fact that I enjoy creating things, and music touches my soul I suppose you could say. It’s what appeals to me the most…It’s a passion. Unfortunately, this is the passion that record labels will prey on. They know most artists are a passionate breed and will basically kill themselves for the art, so the labels have this upper hand where they can wave this carrot (in reality, a shit deal) in front of artists that want nothing more than to get their music out there. I had to throw that in there, haha!

TO: At this point of your career how important is to have a particular image on stage?

Mortiis: I grew up on big image bands like Kiss, Twisted Sister, Alice Cooper and so on, so image and music has always walked hand in hand for me. I don’t think that will ever change, so yes, it is still very important. Music itself is always #1, but image comes in at a very close second, and I don’t see why I should separate the two anyway.

TO: Do you have touring plans?

Mortiis: I’ve currently got shows coming up across Europe, Australia and South America, so yes there are tours and individual shows happening. People can actually check my shows over at Bandsintown.com or Songkick.com

TO: Do you think you will tour in North America at some point?

Mortiis: I certainly hope so, and we are looking into a potential tour in the Spring of 2019 right now. Still very early stages so I can’t really elaborate right now.

TO: Thank you for the interview!

Mortiis: Thank you. Check out www.mortiiswebstore.com for vinyl, CD, shirts and other merch. Thanks.

 

 

Ingested Interview with Sean Hynes

Following the release of the new album “The Level Above Human” UK’s slam kings Ingested are performing on the Devastation on the Nation tour alongside Aborted, Psycroptic, Disentomb, Venom Prison, Vale of Pnath (5/25 – 6/8), and Signs of the Swarm (6/8 – 6/23). Check out our interview with guitarist Sean Hynes and catch Ingested live across North America!

The Offering:  You’re currently touring across North America on the Level Above Human Tour, how is this experience so far?

Sean Hynes: Considering we’ve been hitting new places like Mexico and this is our first time headlining over in this part of the world it’s been overwhelming how good the shows have been. We’ve had excellent turn outs for the majority of this run and it makes us all excited for what we can achieve in the future.

TO: What can people expect from your live shows?

SH: Just a punishing, heavy performance. We take pride in the reputation we have for how heavy we are live.

TO: In April you released the album “The Level Above Human”, how would you describe it in terms of music style?

SH: It’s an all out Death Metal album that takes various influences from different styles of metal. You’re gonna hear blast beats, grooves, slams, breakdowns, melodic motifs, dark sections etc…there’s something for everyone whilst staying cohesive.

TO: Regarding songwriting & recording did you do anything different compared to the previous albums?

SH: We really honed in on the composition side of things on this album. Compared to previous efforts we really concentrated on riff count and structure. Before we had a very chaotic feel to our songs, which suited what we were doing at the time but on this one we really wanted to perfect how we constructed songs. This new album is definitely the most catchy material we have ever written and we really wanted these songs to translate well in a live situation.

TO: Is there a particular concept that inspired the lyrics?

SH: Sam and Jason usually write very metaphorically, occasionally there is a particular theme that can sometimes can be very personal but they write in a way that’s very ambiguous. You can read our lyrics and perceive them one way or find something that relates to you. Take them as you will.

TO: Do you have a favorite song from “The Level Above Human” to perform live?

SH: Currently we are performing three tracks; “Purveyors of Truth”, “Better off Dead” and “Invidious”. I think for all of us prefer to play “Better off Dead” the most out of all the new ones, just for how catchy it is. We will be incorporating some others into the set soon so that could all change.

TO: What do you find most challenging about being a musician in the current metal scene?

SH: Probably trying to stay current. Luckily for us we’ve tethered the line as far as genre goes which has enabled us to play on an array of different shows, with all different styles of bands. We can go out and play a Death Metal show with bands like Obituary or play a more hardcore tinged crowd and play with bands like Despised Icon. The style of music we write has helped keep up with metal trends, not that we’ve pandered to a specific audience but we’ve been lucky in that we can be on fairly eclectic line ups.

TO: What do you enjoy most about creating music?

SH: Hearing the end product. The process to get there is a tough one, but as soon as you have that CD in your hand and the years long process and hard work has come to an end, there’s nothing more satisfying. Of course live shows and playing are what we do it for but creating music you want to hear is the most enjoyable.

TO: Would you consider collaborating with other musicians in the future?

SH: We’ve collaborated with vocalists to have features on our albums from the likes of Alex Erian from Despised Icon, Frank Mullen from Suffocation and Jason Keyser from Origin but we’ve never had someone from outside the band collaborate on writing music for us. It’s not something I find we need to do but I wouldn’t disapprove of the idea in the future.

TO: What are your plans after this tour?

SH: As soon as we wrap up our headline tour we go straight onto The Devastation on the Nation tour supporting Aborted and Psycroptic. After that we have a bunch of shows and tours coming up like the festival run we have in Europe and supporting Crowbar in the UK.

Svartby interview

Svartby is a folk metal, or Svartcore as they like to define their music, band from Russia.
With powerful songs sung in Swedish and English and great attitude on live show Svartby is one of the best metal acts in their country.
We had the opportunity to meet the guys and have a chat to find out more about the band and their music.

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Kuoleman Galleria interview

Kuoleman Galleria is a black’n’roll band from Finland. Started back in 2012 as a one man project, turned in a 4 pieces band, they released 2 full lengths “KÄRSIMYS KUNNIAAN” and “PIMEYS SAAPUU POHJOISEEN”.
We had the opportunity to meet the band before their gig in Pori and have a chat to find out more about Kuoleman Galleria.

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Midnattsol Interview with Liv Kristine & Carmen Elise

While waiting for the new Midnattsol album “The Aftermath” to be released on May 25th via Napalm Records we had a nice chat with the band’s amazing vocalists Liv Kristine and Carmen Elise!

The Offering: What made you decide to join Midnattsol as permanent member?

Liv: I joined my sister’s band “Midnattsol” some months ago. I am very happy about it. The album will be out in May, this month, and I am amazed by the band’s work and artistic quality. It makes so much fun to sing in Norwegian and Swedish and just suck up the raw, clear, Nordic metal sound. I am very happy to be in Midnattsol, moreover, I feel such positive vibes and good friendship in this band. There is something magic when our voices join: we have completely different singing manners and techniques, however, we complement each other. 

TO:  What do you love most about singing with your sister Carmen Elise?

Liv: I feel such joy and a strong connection to Carmen. I remember a special appearance that I had with Carmen at Metal Female Voices Fest in 2016. That was after I had been forced to leave my own band, Leaves’ Eyes. Carmen called me to come on stage and it was a magic moment for me to feel her warm embracement and support. I can’t wait to play live with Midnattsol! It means so much for me to share stage with my sister. All the guys in Midnattsol are just wonderful. Feels like a family. Freedom, open-mindedness in the band members’ artistic development, accept, joy on stage and a good communication are to me features that Midnattsol represent as a band. I appreciate that a lot. 

TO: The new album “The Aftermath” will be released on May 25th, tell us a bit about the songwriting.

Carmen: Believe it or not, we started writing the songs many years ago. But the problem was that the song writing process was very inefficient. We had so many ideas and couldn’t finish the songs, because we focused on different things and musical directions. We also had different ideas how the songs should be written. Huge private changes in our lives such as getting children, building houses, new work etc didn’t make it easier. All in all, the years went by, but luckily, our keyboardist and organizer Daniel early 2016 said: Guys, now we need to finish these songs, it`s now or never! And then we started going through all the material and ideas that we had (which were a lot), decided what we wanted to use and rewrite, and we wrote some totally new songs as well. And the process went very well this time and made a lot of fun! We didn’t have any restrictions when we were writing the album, just total freedom to let the creativity flow, so we sang and played things we haven`t done before. We really hope our fans like the new songs, thank you so much for supporting us through all these years and not giving us up, it means a lot to us!

TO: Did you actively participate in the creation of this album?

Liv: Most of the songs existed as demos when I joined the band. The album’s title “The Aftermath” just blew me away as if that could have been the title of my own musical work. As I got to hear the songs in their demo version it was such a revelation. “Eitrdråpar” is a piece of music that I just thought initially would be lovely to sing on and to write lyrics for. 

TO: Is there a particular lyrical concept?

Carmen: The title should be a symbol of the consequences of our actions, and it is connected to us on a personal level, but mostly it should remind us on how we treat ourselves, other ones, the nature, the animals, the earth in general. «Syn», the woman on the cover, is a goddess from the norse mythology who you could compare with «Justicia», the goddess of right and wrong. She should also be a reminder of the fact that everything comes back to you, we can`t continue like we do. We are destroying our earth and every living thing including ourselves! Now is the time to wake up, we should open our eyes! I think the focus on our looks, on money and power – it`s such a wrong perspective. What about what life is really about? Inner Values like love, friendship, peace, trying to make the best out of life on earth without destroying people and the environment around you – what happened to them? This is our message on «The Aftermath», and you can see a red line through the songs when it comes to this theme.

TO: Do you have a favorite song to sing from “The Aftermath” ?

Liv:  “Eitrdråpar” and “Syns Sang” are my momentary favourites. Moreover, they are two songs for which Nordic mythology plays an influential role. I also thought it was a good idea to shoot a video for “The Purple Sky”. It’s hard to choose, anyway. 

TO:  Are you working on other projects or a new solo album?

Liv: Parallel to Midnattsol, and a soon-to-be released album of Sabbathian (Anette Gullbrandsen), I’m working on my upcoming solo album. A handful of demos are ready and I’m just awaiting the “go” from the record company. It will follow in the veins of “Vervain”. It will be a really heavy album, influenced by different songwriters. Great melodies, deep emotional settings and lyrics with direct language and a clear message. I’ve collected a pool of brilliant pieces of music and I’m just enjoying the whole creative process. I’ve included a number of new professionals in my solo-team which feels really refreshing. Tommy Olsson (Theatre of Tragedy) and Micky Richter (Liv Kristine Band) are two of my composers who will contribute to my sixth solo album. 

TO: You are an iconic vocalist in the metal scene, how do you feel about it?

Liv: You make me blush! I am forever grateful. The truth is that I have an amazing fan base. It is incredible how my fan clubs have stuck up for me during these two last years which have been pretty tough for me. You inspire me to keep singing and expressing myself in music, lyrics, paintings and on stage. 

TO: During your career you collaborated with many artists, with whom you would love to work in the future?

Liv: I’ll be recording next week and then we will see what happens from there. I would love to work with Maite Itoiz, Tarja, Heri from Tyr, Doro, Teufel, Michelle Darkness, Roy Khan…there are so many good singers out there! 

TO: Do you have touring plans with Midnattsol?

Liv: We will play a few gigs this year to support the album release. Next year we will be going for festivals. 

TO: Do you think you will tour also in North America?

Liv: Invite us over! You have some brilliant festivals we would love to join. 

TO:  At this point what are your expectations for you music career?

Liv: I am just extremely happy to be the artist I am here and now with 30 years of experience. I enjoy the freedom to be creative, to move on in my own tempo and to include new inspiring people in my team. Next to my musical career, I am also working with autistic children and youth with special needs. What an inspiring path! Both ways are so important to me and I really am happy and comfortable with everything I have achieved, moreover, I have such a wonderful home and beautiful family and I enjoy my daily life together with my son, soon-to-be-husband and dog(s). 

TO: Thank you for the interview!

Liv & Carmen: We thank you for the interview and send all our thankfulness and love to our fans.