Interviews > Marduk
Interview by Athena Schaffer

Wormwood. The main ingredient in Absinthe. Also known as “The Green Fairy”, this rare drink has inspired Poets, Writers, and Artists for centuries – Hemmingway, Picasso, Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, and Edgar Allan Poe among them. Now this muse is inspiring legendary Black Metal pioneers, Marduk, on their excellent new album “Wormwood”.

Hailing from Norrkoping, Sweden, Marduk are: founder/guitarist Morgan, vocalist Mortuus, drummer Lars B, and bassist Devo. Their intoxicating new release also heralds the band’s first US tour in 8 years!

Taking us into surreal worlds, Marduk’s 11th album is their best to date, which is an amazing feat since their others have all set the standards for Black Metal as well. This one is not only chilling, but inspiring and melodic amidst the ice-cold brutality. The Crowgrrl caught up with Morgan by phone shortly before their North American Fall ’09 tour.

This new album is absolutely excellent!

Yes, I agree! I’m very satisfied with it!

My favorite is "Phosphorous Redeemer" – I especially love the lyrics!

Actually, they were done by a great friend of ours – Belfagor from a Swedish band called Ofermod. He wrote the lyrics for us because I wrote the lyrics for one song for his band some years ago, so he did one for us.

OK. But it’s beautifully Luciferian!

Yes, it is!

"To Redirect Perdition" was also an excellent song, but I think that the narration in there gave it an extra dimension.

That’s probably one of the heaviest songs we have done so far, I would say.

Are you going to be doing any videos for any of the songs?

We’re actually going to go back this week and try to complete the video for the song "Nowhere No-One Nothing". It’s a very bizarre video with no band clips or anything like that. We’re just working on a theme that we’re working on; we’re going to have it sorted out very soon, hopefully before we go on tour on Tuesday.

OK. That song sounds like a war zone!

Yeah. It’s going to be something very specific anyway.

Do you have a personal favorite song on the album?

It’s hard to say because it changes from time to time. We worked so hard on the album, so it’s hard to decide which one is a favorite. They all mean something different for me. They all paint a different picture in my mind. So, it’s hard to say there’s a specific favorite one. I like them all in their own way.

"Unclosing The Curse" was another very, very heavy one. It stirred the soul!

Yeah! There’s kind-of a bizarre twist in the mid part that we did during the recording. It was not planned. It was just an idea we had, and kind-of did it during the recording sessions.

So how did the songwriting process work on this one? Was it any different than on previous ones?

Not really. We don’t work in any specific way. There’s no agenda when we work on music. For example, when I work on music, sometimes I can create the whole song after having a song title in my head, then the riffs and lyrics come naturally. Sometimes I have a riff, and it grows out from there. It’s all written in a very different way. We all work on our own sides, then we get back together in the rehearsal room and just let it flow, and it turns out the way it does.

Ah, OK. How many of new songs are you including in your current Live set?

That depends on where we’re playing. When we come over to the ‘States, we’re going to try to use maybe 3 or 4 from the new album because we haven’t done a proper tour there since 2001, so we want to try to play something from every album, more or less. We’re going to try to get a good combination set of songs starting back from the early ‘90’s to try to get something from every album and every period of the band.

It’s going to be hard trying to squeeze in all that!

Yeah, I know but we need to try because – of course we want to play as many as possible from the new album, but we also want to play something more or less from every album.

So why haven’t you been to the ‘States in 8 years?

Because we’ve had amazing problems with paperwork since we were there the first time. Always when we get a tour it’s like 2 months ahead until the tour starts, and it would take us over 2 months always to have the papers sorted out. We’ve just had some very bad luck with all this papers shit.

Also when we thought everything was secure before the Blackenfest last Spring, we were assured by the embassy that we would have everything in time. Three of us got our papers in time, but our vocalist didn’t get his. We just got a lot of strange answers. He got his visa when there were only 3 days left on the tour.

But now we’ve got them all. We came over and did 3 shows last August. It’s great that we finally can come over with full power to do a full tour.

Serious! I remember when Glenn Danzig really wanted you guys to come over for his Blackest of the Black Tours.

Yes, we also wanted to tour with him, but it was also the same problem to get the papers done in time. But I’m sure we’re going to tour again with Glenn in the future. We’ve already talked a bit about it for the future. We’ll see.

I remember he was really disappointed when you couldn’t make it over!

Yeah, I know. We as well! We toured with Danzig in Europe and it was a pleasure! One of the greatest tours we’ve done! We look very much forward to tour with him again.

Do you have any special new merch this time around?

We have a good selection I think. Some old merch reprints and some new designs from the new album. We’re going to have all the CD’s and try to bring some good shit with us.

OK. Any stories behind the cover art?

I think the cover art is a reflection of the spirit about what the whole album deals with, you know?!

Did you have any input into the actual design?

Of course! The design and layout is actually done by our vocalist. We share a lot of ideas and we work together, throw them towards each other and see what we can do. We do some changes here and there. We work very much together, but he’s the guy responsible for putting it together.

We do a lot of things by ourselves. We like to do the layouts ourselves; we like to do the recordings ourselves. That’s the way to get it the way you want it.

Cool! OK, what about your stage set-up? What is it going to be like?

It’s not like we’re Iron Maiden on tour. We have the gear and we go up, deliver what we do. Full power, speed, aggression, blood, fighting.

What do you do on your “down time” on the road?

What do you do when killing time?! What I do, for example, is I read a lot and watch a lot of movies. And when you’re in a place you’ve never been before, you try to go see something.

OK. What types of movies?

More or less everything, as long as it’s quality. I like a lot of old black and white Horror movies. I can watch Comedy, Drama, whatever as long as it’s a good movie. As long as it’s done with quality.

"As A Garment" was different lyrically from the rest of the songs on the album.

For sure very different! But it’s interesting not to do everything that you’ve done in the past. It’s probably one of the most different tracks we have done. It was also just growing out from one riff and just becoming a really strange ending on the album.

Definitely! It was incredibly dark!

It is! I agree.

Are you going to be filming any of the shows on the upcoming tour for a possible DVD or anything?

We’re going to try to get some shows filmed. I don’t know if we’re working on a DVD for the immediate future, but for sure we’re doing a new DVD later on. It’s probably going to be very different compared to the usual DVD’s.

But we’re going to try to get some filming done. We’ve already got some filming done from when we’ve been out there. We’re going to try to get something, of course, filmed in the ‘States as well.

OK, the video for "Nowhere, No One, Nothing". You said there’s no live footage of the band on there?!

There’s nothing! None of the band members in it; nothing like that. It’s going to be a very, very morbid video with a lot of strange clips. It really reflects more of what the lyrics are all about. I’m sure you’re going to see it very soon.

You weren’t involved in the filming process at all?

I was! We filmed a lot of things ourselves and we borrowed some things from others. You’ll see. We’re working on putting the final touches together. I cannot even say exactly how it’s going to turn out because we’re working on so many different ideas. We’re trying to cut everything together to reflect the spirit of the song.

Any fun stories behind trying to put it together?

Not really. We’ve gathered all the things and we’re starting to put it together. We’re going to continue this during the week. We’ll see. We’re going to try to have it ready before we leave for the tour, which will be next Monday or Tuesday.

Are you excited about the upcoming tour?

Of course! We’re excited about everything that we work with. It’s what we live for, so of course we’re excited!

I know we’re excited to see you guys!

Yeah! We’re excited to finally be back for a full tour. There had been so many problems! It feels good!

You guys are hands-on with a lot of things involving the band, but how hands-on are you with your Website, your Myspace page, that type of thing?

We do it all by ourselves, you know. More or less. For our website, we have one guy who helps us take care of updates when we are away; the same when it comes to Myspace. But we have full power and control over it. So, it’s official. Nothing that we don’t want to have there will appear. We have full control over it and nobody interferes with it. It’s good.

I’m not really a big fan of Myspace and such things, but of course they’re good to have.

They’re great marketing tools, though.

I know, but it gets to be too much with Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, this and that. People are spending too much time in front of their computers. That’s what I believe.

True! OK, is there anything that I didn’t ask that you’d like to tell the fans?

I think you’ve covered what’s most up-to-date. I can only say that we’re looking forward to finally come over for a full tour.