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Morgan – Guitarist for Marduk

Date: 04/19/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Tell us about the title for the new record “ROM 5:12 and what it means?

MORGAN: It is the name of a chapter in the Holy scripture, Romans Chapter 5 line12. It’s a different title for us but when we were working on titles non of them really clicked with the concept of the album. So some of the lyrics I was working on included some lines from the chapter which say “Papt Captum Memotus” which means “Through sin death”, that’s what the whole chapter deals with how death entered the mortal world through sin. And the more I discussed it with our vocalist Mortuus we clicked with the idea that “ROM 5:12” was a really good idea for the title of the album because that’s really a reflection of the music and lyrics which deals with all these lines from that scripture.

2. Is the artwork directly reflected by the lyrics then?

MORGAN: Well the artwork is based on a biblical thing and comes from a war painting in Italy during fourteen hundred and twenty something, and a lot of the album deals with more or less Baroque type thinking and how they saw death. But they also had this revival of the Medieval thinking and at the time this painting from Italy really shows the majesty and almightiness of death. I think it’s a great reflection of the spirit of the album. People are saying “O well I think death is smiling in the middle”, well yes death that is what death is doing to all humanity so its no strange thing. Its shows the fear people had of death and how real it was for people at that time.

You see death with his cohorts on his side with the priests and bishops with their coins trying to buy themselves away from death. But death sits there smiling because death in unavoidable. And that’s what I would consider the only democracy of earth is the democracy of death, because in the bone houses that’s only when everyone is equal.

3. Recent records “Plague Angel”, the “Blood Puke Salvation” DVD, the E.p. “Deathmarch” and “ROM 5:12” all have a similar artistic style focusing on black and white pallet and sculpture. Tell us why the black and white artwork?

MORGAN: Yeah I think the type of artwork I have chosen as of lately is very reflective of what the music is and I also believe the layout of the artwork is as important as the music and lyrics. It forms an armored fist, a visual extension of the music. I mean we even do the layout ourselves now to get it the way we really want it to be. Therefore the new album will have like a forty four page booklet with artwork and the lyrics. I think it is important to give the real true spirit of the album. The black and white photography is really reflective of our music as is the World War II footage used during our live shows.

4. Are you inspired or influenced by Hans Holbein the Younger’s “Dance of Death” wood engravings?

MORGAN: Actually yes, there is a track on the new album “Imago Mortis” about Hans Holbein. I’m a big fan of his artwork he’s a huge inspiration. I would say him and another German artist called Alduct Dieder, and also some other German Baroque composers were basically inspirations for this album. Those images portray death as a dispenser of justice, denouncing the abuse of power, and greediness.

And also “The Triumph of Death” painting by Pieter Brueghel. If I just meditate into artwork like that it creates more music in my head than anything else.

5. Are all the topics then on “ROM 5:12” all inspired by those Roman scriptures from the bible?

MORGAN: More or less the album has a theme based on Chapter 5 of the Romans. The record deals with different things, it’s a diverse album for us too musically. Like I said you have a song like “Imago Mortis” which is about Hans Holbein. Something like “Through the Belly of Damnation” is another biblical theme based on the four murderings let loose on the world to kill a part of the human race.

6. For the most part, Black Metal bands always have a particular artistic vision or stance on the Satanic philosophy. Tell us about Marduk’s?

MORGAN: It’s a personal thing really and I think those beliefs are really described well in our music and it shouldn’t have to be explained to people. If you take the time to read the lyrics you will learn what we believe.

7. Would you say there is a basic philosophy or a set of ideals within every Black Metal artist?

MORGAN: To be Black Metal must have Satanic roots or else it would never be Black Metal. People make me laugh when they say “ O we have black metal vocals”, but for me its not about a black metal voice. Its about believing in something and as long as its metal music with Satanic lyrics its Black Metal to me.

8. Why the song title “Fuck Me Jesus”?

MORGAN: Well it was not a song, it was an intro to a demo tape and not a real song. Regarding controversy and a title like that I don’t write things to be controversial, I let the energy flow when I write.

9. Can you talk about the semi instrumental track “1651” and the chanting for “Accuser/Opposer” from “ROM 5:12”?

MORGAN: Well “1651” was composed by a friend of mine Henry Muller from a band called Arditi and has those militant industrial sounds, which is music I am inspired by. We worked together both on the track and I think having an instrumental track adds to the atmosphere of the record, more dynamics as well when you go back into the more guitar based stuff. When we play live we also include those types of tracks to add to the mood.

10. Will the “Blood Puke Salvation” DVD be released for NTSC?

MORGAN: I believe it will any day now actually and I think it may come with an extra video track. We have our own label in Europe called Blooddawn Productions which is distributed through Regain Records in the States. So the new album and the DVD should be out about the same time. The live album “Warschau” as well will also come out with six live video songs.

11. Can you tell us about the last album “Plague Angel” and what that was about?

MORGAN: Well it deals with all types of plagues, the Black Plague, Bubonic, it deals with different types of plagues whether it be disease or the plague of war, plagues can be Christians. It depends how you see a plague.

12. Plans to tour the U.S. again soon?

MORGAN: Yeess we are definitely working hard on coming back soon. Every time we try to book a tour we just were a little late setting up things with the paper work and VISA’s so we are trying to take care of that now so we can come around the fall/winter. We are looking forward to come back to the States. We have a lot of friends and fans there who we are looking forward to see again.

13. The first four Marduk albums have just been released in the States. They come with different artwork also. Were these remastered as well?

MORGAN: Yes those are finally available in the States. Well the first one “Dark Endless”, “Opus Nocturne” and “Heaven Shall Burn” I didn’t have the copyright to the originals so we made some changes and I really like the new covers. They turned out the way they were supposed to be, plus I like that they come with lyrics now. I was also able to go in and master them properly, fixing little things like bass drop outs, bringing up parts into the mix.

13. Do you see some more orchestrated sounds being added into Marduk's music like Dimmu Borgir has done?

MORGAN: No I don’t think so, I’m not really into adding big orchestrated synthesized sounds into Marduk. But I mean I do like to experiment with different sounds but I think the symphonic thing I think is a bit over done at this point.

14. You know what I thought worked well was I heard a couple guitar solos on “ROM 5:12”. Would you like to do more on future albums?

MORGAN: Eehhh actually I have already started writing some songs for the new record and yeah maybe some more things like that may get worked into the music. I mean we don’t have a set structure to Marduk’s music, we write and try out different things to get the reflection of the lyrics. So be it if it has some guitar solos in it. We never really know when we write, what works for the particular song works.

15. Have you ever considered making an album without guitars using just sounds and other instruments to create dark and ominous sounding music?

MORGAN: Yeah I have but it is always hard to make those records to have them turn out the way they should without sounding thin. Of course the idea is good but I don’t know.

16. The “Behind the Scenes” footage on the “Blood Puke Salvation” DVD was different than what most and featured blackl and white film with very minimal stripped down dark music to accompany it. Tell us about what you wanted the “Behind the Scenes” to be?

MORGAN: With that we wanted to do something different other than the usual drunken antics backstage. So we did some filming on our own just to do something different, we shot a lot of outdoor stuff and the black and white is something we have been doing a lot lately. We wanted it to be like a short film and I thought it was a nice surprise. I would like to work more on the visual side in the future for our DVD’s. Maybe short movies for our videos.

17. Filming any videos for the new record?

MORGAN: Yeah we would like to shoot one for “Cold Mouth Prayer”. We have a lot of ideas for it already, I would like it to be rather primitive so it reflects the record. Like did you see the video for “Throne of Rats”? We did that one on our own, it cost us like $50 to do (laughs). If we can, Mortuus (singer) and I like to do things on our own because we like to have control of what we do. I find it hard sometimes to get people to see things through your own eyes.

18. What are Marduk’s plans for the rest of 2007 into 08?

MORGAN: We just did some shows in Russia and Mexico and now we start rehearsing for some shows in Europe with Enslaved and an American band Goatwhore with Keep of Kalisen in May. Then we do some festivals in June, a couple with Heaven and Hell which will be great, Slayer even I think are on a couple. In August we go to Australia, then an east Europe tour in Sept playing some countries we have never played before. Then after a short European tour again in December, then South American and the States in early 80. Maybe the States in Oct/Nov if everything works out.

And hello to all our American fans we looked forward to coming back.

Official website: www.marduk.nu

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