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Shedding His (Dark) Skin

Change is good, change is expected. But for everyone's favorite Norwegian cave-dwellar Mortiis?

One listen to the new album 'The Smell Of Rain' (on Earache) from the musician with the grotesque nose and eerie ambiance and you may just be pinching yourself to awake from this deep slumber. Well pinch away Mortiis fans, your favorite troll has ditched the dark side and stepped into the industrial / electronica realm where danceable songs like "You Put A Hex On Me", "Parasite God" and "Spirit In A Vacuum" come at you in a blaring blast of beats. Pass the smelling salts!

"This is definitely a new direction for me and I am glad to be doing this kind of music with Mortiis," the singer begins down the line. "I actually grew really tired of what I was doing. I didn't feel like there was anything else to do with all of that dark stuff and ambiance. I just didn't have the will to go on with it, really. I just decided that I was going to continue on trying to pursue my real dream of having my own band and do this whole rock thing with heavy music. I have always been into this heavy rock, electronic thing, but I just kind of got away from it all for a while. Things had to change."

What set it all off?

"I just got very disillusioned with the whole Mortiis concept and the music. It just wasn't what I wanted to do and it is sad to say that it took so long to realize this. I had fun for a few albums and I was happy with the way 'Stargate' (1999) ended it all out for that era of Mortiis. Before Stargate was released and before I started to tour for it, I knew I really wasn't into it all anymore. It was really a depressing period for me."


"When the writing for this record began and songs started forming, I was a little cautious of things," he says. "I started to write material that was close, but a bit different from Stargate and then take bits of pieces from it and backtrack a bit and add some outside influences. I was combing though ideas and added elements of industrial and electronica into the music I was creating." He continues, "I kept adding new stuff and taking away a lot of the old elements of Mortiis that I had grown tired of. It was pretty scary watching me dismantle the music, but at the same time exciting to create new music and new sounds."

And knowing quite well that Mortiis will receive some flack for altering his sound and approach to music (some metal media has already voiced disinterest in his new direction), how will he react to those who just won't digest it?

"I think people can think what they want. Some might even think I should change my name as well. If you look carefully at the logo, there is a slight cryptic hint that says "M:E II" which means Mortiis Era II. I thought of a name change, but is it necessary? Just because I changed musically it doesn't mean I changed my personality, so why should I change my name? It just doesn't seem necessary."

"I don't let any of that negative stuff bother me. Why should I?" explains Mortiis. "If you do that, you lose perspective of why you are here in the first place. I think I might feel bad about it for maybe 10 seconds or so, but that is the human reaction to show off emotions. Maybe one day I'll be thick skinned enough to not care at all. If you let any of that bad press or reactions get the best of you then you completely lose sight of why you are doing this: to create music. In a lot of ways, musicians hate having to go through the media to promote their stuff. I think a lot of people like me get a lot of flack because we aren't commercial. When you create music, you want to create music that will reach the actual fans and not have to go through a lot of channels to turn you into something you are not."


So with the music being stripped of the Mortiis attributes, does that mean the image of Mortiis - nose and black garbs - will soon go too?

"I think I did change the image a little bit, it seems as though the character has become a little bit more naked. As for now, I am keeping that 'second skin' so to speak. Who knows what will happen in the future? Now that this album has just come out, I don't want to make any drastic decisions. Nothing really has made me feel that it was necessary to drop the whole image at this point in time. What it all comes down to it for me is the music. Music is the most important thing for me. The image is a bonus." He adds, "I think a lot of people look at Mortiis and the images and just think I am here for the show and that is so far from the truth."

The topic of conversation once again shifts to his disinterest in the traditional Mortiis sound and what Mortiis had become. He looks back on the events that led to abandoning the dark music he once performed.

"There was a point in time, a few years back, when I was putting out record after record because for some reason I wanted to be the artist to put out the most records in the shortest amount of time or in the span of a year so I could get into the Guinness Book Of Records. But what I didn't realize was that I was putting out crappy records. I really found out that I had to kick my ass in gear and set things straight. I am happy with where I am and think I'll be happy with the second era of Mortiis."

He finishes, "I think I have finally learned the art of spending time with music and making sure that is good. The second record in this new era of Mortiis will no doubt be much more stronger than what you have here. I think fans who embrace this record, will be excited about where things are headed with Mortiis. I know I am pleased with where Mortiis is going musically. As long as I am happy, I can do anything."






courtesy of UNRESTRAINED!

Interview: Adrian 'The Energizer' Bromley [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: WAR [ ]

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