Originally intended for print, the following interview was answered in late 2009, while Marduk was supporting their release ‘Wormwood’. What follows is that ‘lost’ interview with cult leader Morgan…
On 10/13/2009, Regain Records will sound the Third Trumpet of Revelation and Marduk’s 11th full length studio album, ‘Wormwood’, will fall from the sky, poison the waters of the earth and fucking kill everyone.
Marduk has set a standard amongst those inside the black metal circle. Formed in 1990 when the majority of Sweden’s extreme music was laying the foundation for what would be know as death metal and Norway was in a state of Satan-possessed hysteria from church arsons and murders, Marduk have remained true to founding member Morgan Håkansson’s original vision for creating the world’s most blasphemous band.
Named after the patron deity of the city of Babylon, Marduk has reigned over the black metal community with an iron fist for nearly 20 years. Few are as vile, sick and as dedicated to delivering the absolute best in extreme music without the stereotypical criminal and media-darling trappings of many similar bands.
With a history as long as theirs, Marduk has seen their share of line up changes and record company affiliations. The sound and quality of the recordings have remained unchanged for all of these years, however, and ‘Wormwood’ is no exception. Lars Broddesson is the only new member since 2004’s ‘PlaugeAngel” and joins vocalist Mortuus, bassist Devo and guitarist Morgan as the drummer on this release.
Having just domintated Western Europe headlining the Funeral Nations Tour with support from Vader, Marduk is preparing to return to the United States for 26 dates of darkness and chaos. I was happy to get an extensive interview with founding member Morgan Hakansson and discuss Marduk’s history, current tours and the creative process behind the unholy masterpiece that is ’Wormwood’.
FM: ‘Wormwood’ is due to be released September 24th and is being regarded as the best Marduk album ever. Do you feel this is an accurate description of ‘Wormwood’?
Morgan: Of course im proud as a goat of the new album Wormwood. But I would still say that every album we have done means so much to me and I see them all as pillars upon which we stand. I think Wormwood really reflects the spirit and dedication of this band after over 19 years of blood and Iron. And there is for sure more to come..
FM: Tell me about the choice of the title ‘Wormwood’ as there is no song with this title…
Morgan: I think the title really reflects the mood and meaning of the lyrical and musical idea behind the album. Sweet religious madness and bitter visions of a twisted salvation; a tribute to the devils influence on mans relation to god and faith.
FM: Previous albums featured collaborations with other artists…are there any similar collaborations on ‘Wormwood’?
Morgan: Nope, there is nothing like that on this album except that micayha from Ofermod wrote a lyric namely ‘Phosphourous Redeemer’, although we will for sure be collaberateing with some very intresting artist in the the future. We have some really exiting things to come.
FM: Is all the material on ‘Wormwood’ brand new or has some of it been in the writing process for a while?
Morgan: Most of the material has been written after the release of Rom 5.12, with the small exception of some lyrical ideas and some selected riffs.
FM: ‘Romans 5:12’ included an extensive booklet with great artwork…does ‘Wormwood’ have a similar booklet?
Morgan: Yes, Wormwood contains a booklet of extraordinary delightful work. We belive that the the booklet and artwork is equally important as the music and lyrics and really needs to reflect the power contained within the music.
FM: Did you use the same artist to design this album? Why?
Morgan: Yes and its once again vocalist Mortuus who is responsible for putting it together!
FM: What versions of this release will the fans be able to purchase? Picture LP? Limited Edition CD? T Shirts? Other?
Morgan: So far its out in Europe on digipak cd and mostr likely on regular jewel case over in the states. The vinyl version is to be unleahed very soon. Deluxe gatefold edition with a huge booklet supersized and later on it will also be available on pic disc and there is of course a t-shirt design available with the front cover artwork etc.
FM: You began tour support for this album with the Blitzkrieg Tour of Poland…How were the shows and fan response?
Morgan: It was amazing to march across Poland and do 15 dates there. Fantastic crowd and turn outs. A more loyal and fanatic crowd you have to look hard for. It was a great oppurtunity to play citys not alot of bands been in before.
FM: You are playing 30 dates all over Europe with the Funeral Nation 2009 Tour…are there any places you are looking forward to playing?
Morgan: I look forward to play all places. We belive in marching across as many territories as possible and spread our gospels. We covered most of western europe and some southern parts and in the begining of the next year the funeral nation tour continues as we just booke another 4 week tour in eatern and central europe and also the UK. The deathmarch goes on…
FM: Many fans anticipate your return assault upon the United States, with support from Nachtmystium. The attack begins in Allentown, PA on Nov. 19th and includes 25 shows across the U.S and Canada, correct?
Morgan: We have waited for this a long, long time and have had so much problems during the last years. So it feels like a great triumph to finally come back for a full tour. It was over 8 years since we did a proper tour over there,and yes finally we also reach Canada. We are really exited and look forward to be there. Have amazing memories of the last time we were there.
FM: Have you ever felt pressure from labels, fans or others to create a certain type of album? Or, does the previous album releases influence future releases?
Morgan: No not really. We dont bow to anyone. I belive in do what you belive in. Could never work with a label who tries to interfer with our artistic work. We never work after an agenda or so. We let our insperation and creativity flow and it takes us wherever it takes us.
FM: Has forming Blooddawn Productions in 2000 helped you achieve your goals with Marduk?
Morgan: Yes its far easier being your own boss and dont have to deal with stupid record label people. We have full control and do what we want to. It makes everyhting work in a smooth way. And if something fucks up we can only blame ourselves.
FM: Has running a record label been a burden in any way?
Morgan: No it has never been a burden. Of course it takes its time,but I think its a must to have control of your own work.
FM: You have release material from Marduk, Horde of Hel and Devil’s Whorehouse…what other releases that are on the way can tell us about?
Morgan: I am actually working on signing some new acts, but its to early to name any bands. But im talking to quite a few. I want blooddawn to become a forum and a haven for bands that might be to much for some labels.
FM: I wanted to ask about your choice of guitars, particularly the Fender Stratocaster seen in the ‘Blood Puke Salvation’ DVD, a rather uncommon choice amongst extreme metal guitarists…what do you like about this particular instrument?
Morgan: That is an amazing guitar that i used as my main guitar from 1999 until 2005. I recived a lot of questions why I used such a guitar. Simple, it sounded fucking killer,far better than a lot of the metal axes out there. So much blood and sweet have flown over that piece of wood, I consider it as a magical item. I still use it once in a while.
FM: Do you play any instruments other than guitar?
Morgan: Not really.
FM: Do you like to experiment with your sound and technique often to stay creative?
Morgan: Its always good to experiment a bit and plung into new areas. Just let the insperation flow and it takes you where you belong.
FM: In interviews I have heard you mention the work of the great artist Albrecht Durer as an influence…what other things influence you to be creative? Art, music, books, television, movies, etc.?
Morgan: Yes indeed. Some of Durers work have meant a lot and been a huge insperation. I’m far more inspired by such things than other music,because such art creates music in my head. Most of my insperations these days comes from paintings,i see it as writng the soundtrack or the audial resembleance of them. Just had the oppurtunity on the last european tour to visit the prado museum in madrid/Spain which is europes biggest art museum and see the original painting of pieter brughels famous ”triumph of death” painting. That was was a monumental experience.
FM: How does Marduk write material? Is it a group writing process? How are the songs formed, lyrically and musically?
Morgan: There is no special way we work. Sometimes I personally write a whole song after having a title in my head or just a few lyric lines creates a whole song or the other way around. But we do put a lot of energy into making the music and lyric reflect each other and become a unit. I do think we work more as a unit then we ever done before. Everybody in the band bring their ideas and share the same devotion and philosophy. I feel more inspired then ever before.
FM: You have recorded at your bassist’s Endarker Studios in your hometown. Do you plan on continuing to work there or do you think that the next album will be recorded at a new location?
Morgan: Havent decided of where to record in the future,but I do think we all are set to record in the same studio again. Perfect to be able to record in your home town and work when you are in the right mood and feel inspired. Instead of travelling somewhere else and work on office hours.
FM: With an amazing amount of material released, ‘Wormwood’ being the 11th full length, as well as several EPs, MCDs and DVDs, how do you stay creative and keep ideas fresh and not repeat your previous work?
Morgan: I belive our devotion and motivation is so strong and that is being reflected in our works. I never sit down and think of what to do,evrything just comes natural.
FM: With so much material, how do you select songs for live performance?
Morgan: We always try to play most from the latest album,but it also depends on if playing festival or so. I also belive in trying to include something from most albums. I mean going to a show myself i like to get a glimpse from the whole career of the band im seeing. Touring regular aso means trying to change the setlist from time to time but still include something from all albums.
FM: There are obvious historical and biblical references throughout the Marduk discography. Do you feel your role as an artist is also that of a teacher or story teller in regard to these topics?
Morgan: I think the main meaning is to spread our gospels and recruit soldiers for the great army of satan!
FM: Your website says your goal was to create the most blasphemous band ever in 1990. How has your vision of what Marduk changed or remained the same since its inception?
Morgan: Of course it has changed a bit during 19 years. Doesnt matter to be the most blasphemous band,would be stupid to argue over who is. That was more of a statment at that time torwards the music scene at that time!
FM: Is extreme metal better off now that black metal has grown since the early 1990’s?
Morgan: For sure.
FM: What is your least favorite role in Marduk? Are there aspects you do not enjoy?
Morgan: We don’t work with any managment so I take care of all that shit. Can be a bit annoying.
FM: What is the best part about being in Marduk? Writing? Performing? Other?
Morgan: I’m not a big fan of being in the studio, I prefer to create, rehearse and perform live. The sweat,the energy,that suits me far better.
FM: Do you have any hobbies that are not musically related?
Morgan: Most of my time is occupied with things releated to Marduk or the label. If I have some time of I’m very much spending it reading or being outdoor, fishing, forest walking or hanging with my dog.
FM: What does the future hold for Marduk? What are your long term or short term goals?
Morgan: Right now we are occupied touring for the new album and trying to reach as many areas a possible. We are reaching all over europe ad the states and we are set to go to asia and also a full tour of South america and so on. That will take its time. Burning with devotion will also see us as soon as we get the time, we will be working on the next album.
FM: The last words are yours!!!
Morgan: I would like to send a big hail to all our supporters!