Pictures: Anna Kallberg
Long before Slipknot donned masks there was Norwegian electro-ambient-rocker Mortiis. An ex member of satanic black metaller Emperor...it turns out that Mortiis has turned his back on sleeping in coffins. His new album "The Smell Of Rain" has been described as verging on the megalomaniac and the whole concept of Mortiis was based equally on Tolkiens Lord Of The Rings and his upbringing in the Black Metal Scene.
Q: Each Mortiis album tends to born out of a concept. What the concept behind the new album "The Smell Of Rain"?
A: It was sort of the album that had no concept at all. I was really disillusioned and had lost faith and it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. During that time and even before that time I had a tendency to go into periods of very deep depressions...which is so typical these day but its true!!!! It was something that went wrong with my entire system and the songs just started being about that and trying to find the nature of what was wrong and trying to move on to something better.
The meaning of the title is essentially being in a rather bad state forever and wanting to move onto something better. Each song non deliberately deliberately dealt with topics about that: How I felt. How I wanted to feel. Someone described it as almost being so egotistical its almost pushes it to the point of Megalomania which is true...but then again what do you do if you want to get away from something. Its about you, its not about anybody else.
Q: The whole concept of Mortiis is that you create you own world. Surely that makes you the God of your own world?
A: The ex-God of my world these days...but yeah its true!!! The concept of Mortiis died a few years ago and nowadays its about me as a human being. Mortiis is me, its not a character that I act out under certain circumstance for effect. But to answer your question physically it came about in 1993. I think it was a result of growing up around bands like Kiss and obviously being born with a slightly larger ego than the average person. But it takes an ego to soak up rock because I if you don't have that I don't think you even develop the ambition.
Obviously in the beginning it was inspired by stuff Lord Of The Rings...in fact everything that Tolkien did was extremely impressive to me. I was very into the Black Metal scene which I was basically a part of creating it. I didn't necessary hold the same values as certain members of the Black Metal scene. The whole satanic thing which I thought was cool, but I felt that whole "following your nature and not denying who you are" was foolish. Back then it was all about devil worshipping and the lyric were just the cook book.
Q: Obviously the image goes hand in hand with the music. You can't really separate it can you?
A: These days the image never dies. A lot of the music I used to do I'm not really into that anymore but I love the image. Its me!!! Its like I stop doing Black Metal and I now do pop - perhaps I should cut my hair? Well that's bullshit. Its a part of who the fuck you are and just because you do a certain thing your expected to act a certain way or look a certain way. You are who you are, you do what you want to do and you fuck everybody else.
I've had so much flack and so much shit for doing what I have over the past 10 years...and you would think I would change. It wouldn't be me. I think if you survive what is trying to kill you that it makes you stronger.
Q: What's the worst pre-conceptions people have of you?
A: That I'm supposed to be incredibly evil and have a lot of power. People see me and they think something...but I can't really blame them because it fucking visual and when you look at the fact that people have been seeing horror movies for nigh on 100 years and all these characters have possessed some sort of supernatural power.
I've being doing this for nearly 10 years and still I don't see anyone doing prosthetic images in music. Only Rob Zombie is doing something similar but I don't think he even has the level of rumours surrounding him - I live in castles, I have sex with wolves, I killed my parents, I have 13 toes...which could be true, I have 13 cats...which is almost true...and I eat children too!!!
Q: Finally what has Mortiis been listening to on the tour bus?
A: I've been sleeping. Actually I don't sleep at nights, its not an image thing, its just my sleeping patterns. It mostly because I've noticed that between the hours of 3am and 5am I'm very creative. That is the time when your channels are open and I'd ask anyone who plays guitar - how much good shit do you come up with at five in the afternoon.
I sleep in bed although I have spent time in a coffin...its just that I don't find it very comfortable.
"The Smell Of Rain" is out now on Earache records
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