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Morgan (Marduk)

Interview with Morgan from Marduk
by Karila Shannis at 28 May 2012, 10:59 PM

MARDUK is a name in the world of Black Metal that even the notorious Norwegian Black Metal hordes know not to mess with. For their promotion of their new album, “Serpent Sermon”, and their upcoming promotional tour, Karila Shannis spoke on the phone with Morgan of the band about the new album, tour and the new lineup.

Greetings, Metal minions, welcome to the Metal Temple web magazine.  I'm on the phone now with Morgan from Swedish Black Metal band MARDUK, how are you doing Morgan?

Everything is under control, a lot of things to do but, that's the way we like it so everything's fine.

I know you guys are going to be pretty busy in the next week or so, what do you have going on right now?

This weekend will be our first show in our hometown in 12 years, and right now we're just rehearsing for all the upcoming tours we have coming. We are starting around the eleventh of June (isn't it May?) to Russia and Serbia, we do two weeks over in Russia and after that we rest for two days and back over to Puerto Rico, North America, Canada, and Mexico on the way back and summer festivals July through September; October we are doing a headlining European tour, that's the start of the whole tour cycle for “Serpent Sermon”.

Since we're on the topic of your tour, let's start with that.  You guys are playing with a pretty sweet lineup: 1349, WITHERED, and WEAPON.

That's correct; I think it's a good lineup. All the bands are hard-hitting but they have a different direction I would say, so it's a great package.

The “Serpent Sermon” Tour, marks the release of your 12th studio album that's due out in late May in Europe and early June in the US.  How would you describe the album and what can your fans expect to hear?

I think they should expect what we always deliver, I think it's what should I say it's aggressive, ferocious, intense, everything a Black Metal album should be, I think it really captures the true essence of what Black Metal is really about, I think it's a very diabolical album…. and I think that the title “Serpent Sermon" really speaks for itself, it's a special reflection of what the album is all about.

MARDUK has been described as one of the most blasphemous bands in the world.  Do you agree with this statement?

I wouldn't describe the band as one of the most blasphemous, maybe. The whole thing behind that statement that was said when we started the band which was a statement about the current scene at the time… We wanted to bring forth the whole scene in different direction so that was more of a statement about what we wanted to portray in comparison to what the scene was in those days.

You switched from Regain Records, an independent Swedish label, to Century Media Records for the release of this album.  How was this transition for you?

We just decided to move on and spread the word that we were looking for a good label, and we got lot of interest from lots of different labels.  In the end, we thought that Century Media was the best plateau for a band like us to take care of us and having our albums worldwide.  We take care of the music, and they take care of the rest. I think it's a good combination; they are a focused label, I mean with all the current problems that are characterizing the music industry today, they have a strong focus for the future.

Let's talk about your current lineup. I've talked to a few fans who particularly want to know why Legion parted ways with the band and also how Mortuus,  your current vocalist, is getting on.

Well he's been in our band since 2004 so he's spent some time you know? He \[Mortuus] grew fast into the band because Mortuus's voice is diverse and has a lot of strength that I think not a lot of vocalists have. This lineup is the strongest we've ever had, and its four strong individuals who share the same devotion, same burning ambition for what we do.

I was pretty excited to receive a newsletter from Century Media that finally revealed “Serpent Sermon”'s album cover artwork.  What did you want to portray through this visual aspect of the album?

Compared to some of the other artworks we have had, I think it's very simplistic and basic, you have a pentagram and a demon, and I think it shows the whole diabolical sense of the album. It's very primitive I'd say but still a strong hard-hitting picture. The layout was done by the vocalist Mortuus so, we're about very much still doing everything ourselves. The bass player has a studio, and we produce ourselves, we are our own technicians, and we do layouts ourselves.  I mean, no one knows better than us how to bring our message through.

I always perceived that Black Metal bands sought to remain an obscure underground image and didn't really advocate touring internationally or associating themselves with a record company such as Century Media.  Was this your vision for MARDUK, and do you agree with this perception?

I still consider us an underground band, because what we do even within a record industry is a very underground style. But I don't mind going on these tours. I know that when some bands like ours tour with bigger musicians, the underground scene might accuse people such as us of "selling out" which I think is ridiculous because if you have a strong message and you can get the opportunity to spread it, why not? That's the whole point of it!  I don't mind playing big festivals, I don't mind doing big tours. Even playing with bands that might not go with what we play, we are still spreading our message, and that is what we are here to do. I could play with IRON MAIDEN, and we would still be spreading our message like we would want to…

Well IRON MAIDEN and MARDUK… That would be a shocking lineup!

Haha maybe, but the whole point would be that we are spreading our musical message to the widest audience possible. It's always about spreading our message for me.

Your first single from “Serpent Sermon” was released on Metal Hammer Germany, and it's called “M.A.M.M.O.N.”  Is it an acronym for something?

I guess everybody will be able to make up their own mind about what the lyrics will be when the album comes out to see what it's really all about.

So there's no true or certain meaning behind your song, even for you?  Would you tell others what your meaning of the song is?

No, that's what I like about the artistic side is to leave that option open to see what it means to them solely through our music. That's why I rarely try to explain to others what lyrics mean because either they are able to understand them or they can make up their own minds, which is fine with me. It's the same with paintings; I wouldn't want a painter to describe his work to me.  It should just grow on me, until I develop my own ideas about what that painting means to me because my thoughts are my own.  The same goes with our music, it should be able to grow on people until they can make out their own developed interpretations…

Thank you Morgan for joining us on Metal Temple!  Be sure to get your copy of Serpent Sermon which will be released in the last week of May throughout Europe, and definitively in the US on June 5.  Check out to see when the “Serpent Sermon” tour comes to a city near you!  Stay metal, my minions! \\m/


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Edited 30 September 2022

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