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Morgan Steinmeyer Hakansson (Marduk)

Interview with Morgan Steinmeyer Hakansson from Marduk
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 07 March 2010, 3:03 PM

It was a real honor to have a face to face interview with the true leader of one of the most brutal and uncompromising Black Metal bands out there. Here is the "interrogation" MARDUK's Morgan Steinmeyer Hakansson had to go through before the band's live show in Athens…

First of all, it's not your first time here. You've played many times in front of the Greek crowd…
Yeah, we played again in Athens, I think 3 or 4 times before. I think the first time at least was in 1999 in a small place called Woodstock. It was a great show! We also played 3 times in Thessaloniki and one time in Larisa.

How do you feel being back here and playing again for us?
It's great; it's great to be back in all the places we've played before.

How is the tour with VADER going so far?
We've been doing a lot of shows. We actually started in August last year. We did 15 dates in Poland, then we did 30 dates in Europe (?), a separate tour in the States and now we're back in Eastern and Central Europe. You know, it's great since we share a lot of ideas with the guys. It's great touring with them. We were already good friends with VADER.

2010 marks your 20th anniversary as a band. How do you feel still being out there?
Actually that started recently with people asking "you've been alive for 20 whole years"! I feel great being there since I have seen people come and go in the band, but I still have a burning devotion in what I do. I feel we've gotten on top of it and we are stronger as a band than ever before. Right now the line up consists of four individuals who have a common goal. It's great and I say… Why not another 20 years?

You are the only one who has been in the band since then. Are you considered something like a leader by the other members?
No, we don't see it like that. We work as a unit. Of course I have been the only member since the beginning, so I have a lot more to say and I write most of the things, but we all share the same devotion.

It's been several months since "Wormwood" was released. How are the reactions the press and your fans had until now?
First of all we started the tour the same day the album came out. We write an album that we like and if the media like it, that's well but that's not our goal. The reactions so far are really good. I think it's fantastic!

In my humble opinion, "Wormwood" is on a slightly different musical path. It is heavier and has more mid tempo parts than your previous works…
Ok! Some people tell us the new album was faster, while others think it is slower. When we work on an album we don't sit down and plan how many songs will be fast, how many slow etc. The music is the base and the lyrics come along. I think the music should be reflected in the lyrics and the other way around. That's what is most important than to write heavy or fast songs. In the future we are surely going to create faster or heavier things…

If I am not mistaken the album's title is taken from the star, from the book of revelations. How can someone relate the title to the album's cover artwork?
He can because you can see the star falling in the back, but I think the title reflects everything being morbid. We want each track to be reflected in the lyrics in a surrealistic way. It has an apocalyptic theme. Also if you translate the word "wormwood" to Russian, you get the word Chernobyl. In 1986 there was a big nuclear disaster and it really destroyed the waters and Christians saw that as the beginning of the end of the world, something like an apocalyptic revelation.

 There is a song, "Phosphorous Redeemer", whose lyrics were written by Micayah. How did this collaboration come up?
We've been knowing each other since 1992 or something. I even came up with the name of his first band, NEFANDUS. He's been going his own way and he has been working hard on what he's doing. We offered him if he would like to write a song, to speak through MARDUK with his lyrics. I admire him, since he is a really strong character. I also wrote lyrics for him later for his band NEFANDUS.

Lately there is something like a Black Metal trend, with articles in non Metal magazines, documentaries etc. What is your view on this matter?
Most of this is really pathetic; I would never be a part of it. It's getting worse. Actually I don't have a lot to say about this. I live in my world and they live in theirs. That's fine with me.

The fact is that I have seen bands like MAYHEM, EMPEROR etc on documentaries but I have never seen one of you.
We always more or less decline being on documentaries. Usually they interview you for 25 minutes, they cut it down to 2 minutes and make you look stupid like all the other bands. I prefer not to do it since I don't care being a part of the media. This is my world, this is where I live.

There is also an old school Death Metal trend with bands mostly coming out of Sweden.
Ah, I listen to the same old good bands I used to listen to. I mean, there are some good stuff but I don't really care. I am occupied with what I do…

Have you managed after all these years to live by your music…?
(interrupting) Yes!

I ask this because most bands say that they barely survive and it just pays the bills or they have to work a regular job, too.
I understand, but this is mostly because we are a really active band. Even if I didn't manage to live by my music, I would still be as active as I am. We've touring so much. I believe in what I do and I am devoted to it and I like my thoughts coming out in music. I also live the energy, the power and the magic of a live performance.

Speaking of live shows… Do you still have the same feeling when you get on stage you had back then?
Yes I do! I mean, playing live is something different. Even if something is fucked up it has something magic you can't find in an album. All the energy is right on your face! When you record you have many takes to get something right etc, but when playing live you just have to give it all! It doesn't sound the same, but a live performance has incredible power.

Last year you also released an album with DEVIL'S WHOREHOUSE. Has this project ever affected your schedule with MARDUK?
No, it never has and it never will because MARDUK is my main occupation. It just keeps me fresh doing something different once in a while. It's great to let off some steam. I have always been a great admirer of SAMHAIN and DANZIG. Whenever we have some time we just let some energy loose…

What about FUNERAL MIST?
No, they've never been an active band live since 1996 and it is something he's doing when he is in the mood for it. It doesn't take time from us.

Have you listened to his last album?
Yes, I have been a fan of FUNERAL MIST and we wanted to change vocalist there was only one in the world I knew I wanted for MARDUK! I didn't know him but we had a lot of common friends. I just asked him and we had a few discussion, something that showed us we shared some common ideas. His voice is powerful! Most singers just sing the lyrics, but he has a different way of using his voice.

Is it too early to be talking about new material?
I have recorded some ideas but I don't have any complete songs. Just some fragments. When we get back home we are going to work on them. But now it is not our primary goal since we decided to tour and visit as many places as we can. We are going home and go back to UK. Then we are going to visit Malaysia and Indonesia where we've never played before, as well as Central and South America.

Thanks for the interview Morgan! It really was a pleasure and an honor!
Thank YOU my friend! I hope to see you later during the show!


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Edited 28 May 2023

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