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.