MADDER MORTEM - Interview

 

We can see all days an infinite number of clones born in the global metal scene, millions of bands without personality that are interested only in create a perfect copy of your favourite metal idols...but sometimes, pearls like MADDER MORTEM arise from the Metal World Pandora´s Box to give a kind of new pleasure to our ears. The album Deadlands is a new opus from this impressive band, another great USA release of the legendary marvellous label The End Records. KREPUSKULUM interview  Agnete (vocals), the godess voice of the band.

 

KREPUSKULUM: Where come from the name MADDER MORTEM? What is the deep meaning behind this name? Are you nihilist people?

 

AGNETE: I don’t really where the name came from....we were trying hard to come up with a new band name, somebody (actually, I can’t remember who! That’s strange...) came up with Madder Mortem, we all liked both the name and the meaning, and went for that. The meaning: Directly translated, it means Red Death. (madder is a deep, purplish/red colour, mortem is Latin for death) I do get some associations with Poe, but mostly, it’s a matter of contrasts: Red blood, passion, love, anger, fire versus the ultimate silence and the final rest. Since quite a lot of our music revolves around contrasts, I find it very suiting...and also, I think it sounds cool, which is also important, hehe....If we’re nihilist people? I’ll speak for myself: Nope. I refuse to categorize my beliefs and ideas into something that can be defined and named. I want as much freedom and choices as possible, which to me also means not having to label myself. A label is a label is a label, no matter how radical or misanthropical. Anyhow, I don’t think nihilist would be a good description for my ideas. We’ll get back to that in some of the other questions....

Talk to us a little about the trajectory of the band up the beginning under the name of MYSTERY TRIBE (1993) up to now?

Well, we started out as a 4-piece, released a cassette demo, where the material was far from what we do today, both in quality and style. We had quite a few line-up changes, and it wasn’t until 1997 we cemented the first stable line-up. We recorded a MCD, “Misty Sleep”, sent it around to some labels, and eventually signed with Misanthropy Records. Our debut full-length “Mercury” was released there in 1999. Unfortunately, the owner of Misanthropy decided to close the label down shortly after “Mercury” was released, and we were once again without a deal.This was quite a black chapter for us: No record deal, and in addition, three members left the band to move away for their educations....Luckily, Leif from Century Media got in touch with us and asked us what we were up to. Me and BP recorded a demo for some new songs, signed with CM and found three great guys, Paul, Mads and Eirik, for the band. Our second album, “All flesh is grass”, was released in February 2001. After “All flesh...” we had a little break, started writing new songs, went on tour with Tristania, Rotting Christ and Vintersorg, and started recording again, and “Deadlands” was released in October 2002. We just recently toured Europe with Opeth and the Inferno festival in Oslo, Norway. Right now we’re doing some one-off gigs, and trying to get peace enough to get on with material for the next album.

 

The musical proposal of MADDER MORTEM is very personal. Can you named your musical style? Do you consider MADDER MORTEM a metal band? 

I don’t really have a good name for it. I try stuff like “heavy, melodic, weird and gloomy”, but apart from that....we’ve been trying for “weirdo metal”, I think...I do consider MM a metal band. We’re not concerned with that at all when it comes to making music; we might end up releasing a popish, sweet record next, but all of us do like distorted guitars and heavy drums. Also, there is a freedom in metal: You have the use of the entire scale of music. If you for instance play in a pop band, you have a range from soft/sweet to rough. We can go as far as we like in the soft/sweet direction, but we can also push everything to the utter limits of screaming chaos....as I mentioned before, I try to avoid boundaries and limits as much as possible, and this is a good way of doing it.In addition: Headbanging, beer drinking and loud music is, after all, one of the coolest hobbies there is.

 

Your country is famous in the world metal scene by the Black Metal music genre. Do you like this kind of music? Are you connected with some of the Norwegian black metal musics? 

I do like quite a lot of “black metal” bands, yes. Some of my favourites (though some have moved quite a bit away from their origins): Darkthrone, Emperor, Arcturus, Thorns and Ulver. I’m not connected with the scene in any other way than Metal Norway being very small....the same people each weekend at the same two bars in Oslo. 

Your music is simple marvellous and the new masterpiece Deadlands is one of the best albums coming from Europe in nowadays, personal, avant-garde, introspective, deep, emotive...Do you think in the listeners of your music when you will compose? What are the intention of your music (if it are an intention...)? 

No, I don’t think of the listeners. I write to satisfy myself and no one else, though it’s definitely a bonus if other people like it as well. The intention? First and foremost, our music is a result of our need to make music, that’s the main intention. Other than that, I hope to be able to move people in some way, stir their emotions a bit. It doesn’t really matter what the reaction is, as long as they do react. If you are honest enough in your music, I think the emotions behind it will shine through and reach the listener in a deeply personal way, which is what I believe to be one of the most important qualities of music: It can change you in a matter of seconds.

 

You have a marvellous voice an is a beautiful woman but the band don’t use your image to promote MADDER MORTEM´s music. What do you think about the new wave/fashion of bands with beautiful women in the top of band’s promotion?

 It’s good for sales. Madder Mortem makes art, not commercials.

We don’t forget to ask you about your influences, your voice is very, very personal and it is one of the most important marks of the MADDER MORTEM music, one of the deep elements of the music. 

 

I’m mostly influenced by Madder Mortem, actually....I’ve been doing some incarnation of this band for approx. 10 years, and my voice and the style of music we’re playing have developed and grown together. So, my main inspiration and influence has been the ideas and the work we’ve done together as a band. Singers I like, are such as Mike Patton, Annie Lennox, James Hetfield, Dalbello, Bjork, basically anybody who has a lot of personality in what they do. Lately I’ve been very impressed by both Opeth and Katatonia vocal wise; both Mikael Akerfeldt and Jonas Renske have done great vocal work on their latest albums. I’m not to concerned about range or technical ability; what matters the most to me is the amount of feeling and the suitability of the vocal approach to the rest of the music.

 

The melodic aspect of MADDER MORTEM´s music is impressive, but we can listen another elements like industrial and progressive influences in your music. I’m right? Do you like industrial & progressive music?

We basically listen to all kinds of music, all of the band members are unusually open-minded when it comes to styles. I’m not too familiar with industrial myself, but I quite like some of the basic ideas and elements of what little I’ve heard. When it comes to progressive, I’m very fond of progressive rock, as it’s called, stuff like Anekdoten and Landberk, or their new band Paatos, whereas progressive metal like Dream Theater is not quite my cup of tea. 

 

In a reunion of metal lovers in my city I play Deadlands and some of them said: This is great! Is it a new darkwave band? Do you agree with this title: darkwave?

 

Hmmm....it’s not an expression I’m familiar with, but I do like the feeling of it....a tsunami of darkness, slow and inevitable...

  

The lyrics of Deadlands are very intense and interesting, as the deep Omnivore and the strange Silverspine. Talk to us about the inspiration behind this themes.

The inspiration is mainly how people’s minds work, and then most of all my own. Quite a lot of the lyrics for “Deadlands” revolve around our little lies and the inconsequences in what we are and do. For a framework, the state of mind when you’ve lost all hope that anything is ever going to get better, and you’re to exhausted and numbed to even care, drained of the ability to express any kind of emotion, but your inner core is still seething and screaming with the pain. I’ve tried to transform this abstract feeling into a physical landscape – the deadlands. An unending stone desert where nothing lives and nothing dies, a place for motionless and mindless existence while you wait to wither down to become a part of the dust that covers everything.

  

The artwork of the CD is simple marvellous and creep, we can see the humanity like oil to an furious and creepy machine (it remember me the concept of Pink Floyd´s The Wall movie). Talk to us about that artwork concept and about its real meaning for you.

 

The artwork is essentially the combination between MM’s music, my lyrics and the visual talents of Christian Ruud, our cover designer. I think we really managed to make the artwork what I want it to be: A way to emphasise and compliment the contents of the music and the lyrics, sort of a visual gateway into the deadlands.....check out my reply about the lyrics!

 

Thanx a lot for your time!!!! Give some last words to MADDER MORTEM south american fans!

 

Thank you too! We seriously hope we’ll be able to come to South America soon, but since it’s kinda expensive to travel, we’re waiting for an opportunity to come along. Since it might be a while before we get the chance to meet you on tour, please drop by our webpage http://www.maddermortem.com and sign our guestbook....we read it every day, and it’s good to see what you guys think of what we’re doing. Take care, and love music for music’s sake!

 

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Contacts: Band - http://www.maddermortem.com , Label - WarmFuzzyPR@aol.com / theend@theendrecords.com / www.theendrecords.com

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