Marduk is without a doubt among the hardest working bands in extreme music and especially in the black metal genre. Their persistency and perseverance have never wavered though their 33 years of existence and there is a reason for that. Marduk are about to release their fifteenth album next month and we took the opportunity for a short chat with band founder Morgan.
Hello Morgan! Was the pandemic the only reason for the long five-year gap between Viktoria and Memento Mori?
-Well, we wanted to tour properly after the last album was released and then we also had to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band, with 14 albums to choose stuff from. We had some plans to finish first.
There is a line-up change in the band and Devo Anderson is back on bass guitar….
-…-Devo is not a permanent member for the time being. He is only filling-in on bass currently.
Oh, OK. Is there any bad blood between you and Joel about what happened (Marduk have parted company with bassist Joel Lindholm after he was filmed performing a Nazi salute onstage in London. The incident was captured during the band’s set at the Incineration Festival at the Camden Electric Ballroom)?
-No, not really, because I understand the main reason for that to happen. He had personal issues and people have that. I knew he had issues and we tried to help him. He just didn’t have to come on tour but stay at home. It’s annoying when shit like that happens because it’s not what the band represents. When you see the whole show, it’s obvious that he is totally wasted.
Death and mortality are once again a central theme in a Marduk album. Was it influenced in any way by real life in recent years?
-No, not really. It is inspired by the thinking of Death in ancient times – the atmosphere, the theme of mortality in those times. We tried to present that in the new album and we wanted to paint a picture through our music of those times of death.
Memento Mori is your fifteenth album and even if it is trademark Marduk, there are still some very nice touches here and there which add freshness, like the trumpets in Blood Of The Funeral, for example. How willing are you to change and expand on your sound?
-I am very willing to develop as musician and you have to understand that what we create in Marduk has taken years and years to take form and to represent more faithfully what I am willing to describe. It is a natural process and we don’t do anything with something specific in the back of our minds. We just go on.
Is it hard to stay fresh and to stay inspired and at the same time keep the band’s identity for all these years?
-See, I don’t know you even have to think like that. We just play and create in order to release what is in our minds, not thinking about anything else. We don’t consider what somebody else will think of it – we just let it go.
There are albums in Marduk’s discography that deal with war, other with death or with the legend of Dracula. Satanism is not a central theme in Marduk’s lyrics even if you are a black metal band. Do you think that black metal as a genre must obviously go hand in hand with Satanism or this is not obligatory?
-I think that black metal is not necessarily connected to something specific. You can be a black metal band and sing about different things. I still have the ground feeling that I had when I started the band, as an artist. It is more about the spirit of the band and the music than a specific topic you deal with in the lyrics.
You are the only original member left from the band’s formation back in 1990. Can you tell us what were the bands that you were closest with in those years and do you keep in touch still?
-Oh, I’ve been close to so many bands and so many bands are not around anymore, haha. Actually, it’s not particular bands I keep in touch with but only certain musicians and band members for those years and not only in Europe but also in the States. It is more important for me to stay in contact with persons that I consider to be musicians.
What do you think is the reason for so many changes of drummers in Marduk through the years? Simon is the sixth drummer if I am right.
-Yeah? Maybe, I don’t know, hahah! Well, it’s also 33 years of doing this so everybody had the right to step aside and do something else. People need to be focused and devoted to be in this band. Doing what we do is not for everybody.
Tell us something about the two other bands you are involved with – Abruptum and Death Wolf. Can we expect something new from them?
-There are two unreleased Abruptum albums that I plan to work upon this year. And Death Wolf just started rehearsing about the next album two days ago. I am a busy person but I like what I do.
What are your main influences and inspiration as a guitar player?
-I am inspired by what is in my mind rather than by a particular musician. Another musician can inspire me to work harder but not in a musical way. Thank you for the interview and I hope to see you soon back on the road. We will be in Asia and South America until the end of this year and in 2024 we will be back in Europe.
Memento Mori will be out September 1st via Century Media and you can order it from HERE
There are only two shows left for Marduk in Europe until the end of 2023:
Aug 18th at Motocultor Festival, Carhaix, France
Aug 16-19, 2023 at Summer Breeze, Dinkelsbühl, Germany