Why did you decide to leave Cold Metal Industry? Did the video project go ahead as expected?
Well, no video has happened as of yet and, quite frankly, I think it might be a little while before it happens – unless something unexpected occurs.
I decided to leave Cold Meat Industry basically because I wanted to see if I could climb a few levels – something the label wouldn’t be financially able to help out with, unfortunately. And regarding latest decisions, it’s noteworthy that I released The Stargate through Earache Records.
What can be expected from The Stargate?
I don’t know if you’ve heard The Stargate yet, but I’d say it’s a giant step from Crypt of the Wizard. We did incorporate a whole lot of vocals on this one. I worked together with Sarah Jezebel Deva, as a matter of fact, which turned out to be a very fruitful collaboration.
“I’ve spent enough time in this world. Now I can enter the dimension still unknown to all mortal fools (…) I can see the black castle clearer now. I can also see the paths that lead to it.” (Taken from the lyric of Keiser av en Dimension Ukjent). Could you tell me a bit about your vision of this higher dimension and what lies afar from it?
I think my best answer to that would be for you to read Secrets of my Kingdom when it gets out. It is the book the world seems not to want. It is always delayed (this time until February). It will be released by Earache Records, in a box containing the book and also The Stargate CD.
Mortiis is an alter ego. The world/universe of Mortiis sort of functioned as some sort of religious afterlife substitute for popular religions, but I really don’t always know. At the end of the day, I realised that it is all in my mind, and the human mind, really, is a universe in itself, and you cannot expect to find all the answers you seek. I am comfortable with the fact that Mortiis is my alter ego, my essence; we are one and the same and, in that sense, Mortiis will always be there as long as I am there. In a nutshell, however, it’s basically all the symbolism and reflections of my earthly self. It took me a long time to realise that.
You said that Mortiis, the spirit, came from a different plane and has chosen your body to channel his visions from his world, and that after your death he would return to his realm. When you were a part of Emperor, your alias was Emperor Mortiis, so was it at the time that this spirit began to provide you with his visions, progressing further on your single development? Since you have more than one musical project, would you say that you have different spiritual visits of sorts in order to distance both concepts and music from one another?
Firstly, I decided to terminate all other projects in favour of Mortiis. I wanted to spend more time with Mortiis, trying to make the best that I could make of it. I think that for the first time this will be noted on my next release (whenever that may be). The “possession by an alien spirit” theory that I had a few years ago was just one of many theories I had about Mortiis, back when I was really trying to find an answer to it. I don’t believe in that theory any more; I know some lyrics tend to pan in that direction but, as I said above, I realised that a lot of it was subconscious symbolism from my part, which is bizarre, in that I looked so hard to find that which was always right underneath the surface, right in front of me: the fact that we’re one and the same and not two different personalities or beings.
The fact that I had more than one project was because seeing that, since I saw Mortiis as a very otherworldly creature (and, in a way, it still is), I didn’t want to use Mortiis for topics that, for example, Vond would deal with (suicide, atrocities, anxiety, etc.). I think that I just really acted out my humanity with those projects and withheld it with Mortiis. These days, I have found ways to bypass a lot of those problems. It’s a lot easier too, seeing that I have come to a much larger insight as to whom and what Mortiis really is to me.
Conceptually, your first three works seem to be allied Born to Rule, The Rebellious Spirit and Emperor of a Dimension Unknown (chronologically translated to English). Apparently, it’s as though it gives the sense of the existence of said spirit, as he originally was born to the dimension (or world), rebelled against it and ultimately achieved wisdom and supremacy from the upheaval. Would you agree? Might the The Song of a Long Forgotten Ghost track resemble the “announcement” of what was to appear in upcoming releases?
Well, I always thought that one of the – if not the – purposes of art, in whatever form you want, was for the individual to interpret it on his or her own terms, meaning, to understand and look at it the way you personally prefer. Having that said, I really don’t want to ruin anything by disclaiming what you just said; however, basically, I agree with you. Those records “walk the same lines”, so to speak. The demo really has nothing to do with it; the title might be misleading to some, but that’s the way it is. The Stargate is more or less a direct continuance of these records also.
Did you use your sampled voice on your last record? How was it like recording the new album?
On Keiser av en Dimension Ukjent there are no samples, as the voices you hear are my own. I did the choir parts live in the studio. We did use samples of my voice on my first album though, but no one seems to notice these things.
The song-writing process varies a lot, and I can’t even remember how I did it back in the days of the 25-minutes’ songs. I think what I did was that I came up with different parts and pieces and pretty much worked them out in my head – I didn’t have any recording equipment back then – and put each part down on paper. Since I didn’t know how to write notes, and still don’t and never will, I called them by numbers and put each sound belonging to each part after the number, in different colours; I even put down what type of reverb I wanted on each instrument, etc. These days I just experiment, since I have equipment to record with. Basically I come up with a lead, or just a part, and build up the song or piece around that, but, usually, the song turns out different from what I imagined it would turn in the first place.
How did you come up with your image and the way you usually portray yourself?
As I said, I am Mortiis and there is no getting away from that. I do not change with or without the attributes (it really doesn’t matter). I don’t clearly remember how I came up with it, as it’s actually very obscure, and I think it was a very spontaneous result of wanting to be someone different from the rest. Hopefully, it was just a natural thing to do, as I do consider myself to be quite different from others on certain aspects. Obviously, as I change and develop as a person, so will Mortiis, so there’s always room for progress, change and evolution. I think everything about The Stargate is a “living” proof of that.
Earlier, you told me that Mortiis was simply a personal project, but have you already thought about incorporating new people into it?
Yes. I used Sarah, as well as two other guys on The Stargate, and I am touring with Sarah and two newly recruited drummers and percussion players, so I definitely brought other people in. I think it just reached a point where I, luckily, realised that if I wanted to bring it to the next level I was going to have to add some people to the project.
When you were in Karmanik’s label you played fairly successful shows overseas, but did they go according to plan?
We just came of a 28-date US and Canada tour which, in retrospect, I think was rather successful. We do have a fairly cool stage show these days and it went down well with the crowd, especially considering that The Stargate wasn’t even out at the time, so no one had heard any of the music we played live. Currently, we’re looking to tour Europe next year and, hopefully, this should also include Portugal. I think it’s really one of those things you need to see. All I can say is that it’s really based on theatrics and visual shit (quite bizarre). The earlier US shows and most of the European shows I did “solo” were pretty much bullshit, as far as I’m concerned, and we’ve come a long way since then.
What would you say about Vond, Fata Morgana, Cintecele Diavolui and, possibly, other projects you might have given life in the interim? Has something happened with that idea you had for a project with Gunther and Daoloth (of Ancient Rites and Necromantia, respectively)? Also, how was it like to work with Karmanik?
As I said, all my other projects are dead.
The project with Gunther probably never happened. I made some stuff which, in retrospect, I can’t even imagine they could work with, as it wasn’t even music, so I don’t see how they could put decent guitars or music on it. Those songs appeared as the last 3 songs on the Cintecele Diavolui CD, with added voices by me.
I helped Roger with a string section for the title track to Necrose Evangelicum (no big deal). It was a simple piece that went along with the Brighter Death Now sound he generates and there’s nothing else going on.
What is your outlook on the Armageddon and the new millennium, as well as people’s notion of the possible arrival of a third Antichrist?
Obviously, Armageddon will arrive, as no planet lasts forever. I don’t necessarily think it will be caused by the wrath of God though. Religions have always used fear as their greatest weapon to keep people in check, religious and god-fearing. We’re herding animals, man, we need guidance and it’s frightening.
How do you like the Internet? Might it be a good helping tool for your label Dark Dungeon Music?
The Internet is a great medium for quick and cheap communication, information and so forth, although Dark Dungeon Music is no more active as a record label. However, mail-order is still active, so people can still go and have a look at that, as well as the general Mortiis site.
What are your plans for the near future?
Work on new music and tour Europe, release the book in February and probably more, but that’s still not official.