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Sebastian Swart (Morgoth)

Interview with Sebastian Swart from Morgoth
by Mike Coyle at 11 May 2015, 9:32 PM

German Death Metal heavyweights MORGOTH are a force to be reckoned with. Formed in 1985, the band broke up in 1998, to be reformed again in 2010, playing a series of reunion shows the following year. Now incorporating a range of new influences, leaning towards the industrial side, 2015 has seen the release of a new album, "Ungod". Mike shared words with guitarist Sebastian about the new album and the journey so far.

So how are you today sir?

Monday morning, just got up but I am good J

What was the process like recording Ungod?

The whole process took us two years, from the decision until the last mix in the studio. It was different from our last recording in 1996 because meanwhile the Internet was invented J So we now did a lot of stuff online like in Google Drive or with iPad an Garage Band Software. It was easy for Harry and me to send forth and back riff ideas and to make the first pre-arrangments without even going to the rehearsal. One reason for this also is that we live widely spread over Germany and can’t meet so often. I lived it Spain at that time so it was just perfect. In this early stage songs like God is Evil and Die as Deceiver came up. Those we later completed with all band members later in the studio.

What did you want to do different for this record?

Different from what? As we really found back our way to Death Metal and we have so much fun playing it again, we wanted to record a Death Metal album in the best sense. There was no specific borderline in the songwriting but we knew we wanted to close the gap between our 1993 release Odium and Cursed from 1991.

How does it feel to still be playing this type of music to this day and what keeps you motivated?

Was some might know, we developed our style quite radical in the mid 90ies, when we released Fell sorry for the Fanatic. At that time we just wanted to try something different. Death Metal to us wasn’t the center of music anymore. I think that record is still awesome but it is certainly not Death Metal. When we reunited 15 years later and we played all the old Death Metal songs again, the old vibe suddenly was back. It brought a grin on our faces to play songs like White Gallery or Sold Baptism again. So there we are, back again.

Did you ever think that the band would reach to this point in your carriers?

When I started to make music in the late 80ties with a small band I never thought that I will end up in a band like Morgoth. I joined in 1990 and took over the bass from Marc when the band existed already and had two releases (Resurrection Absurd, The Eternal Fall). It was still an early stage also for Morgoth. So we experienced the biggest growth together until we parted in 1997. At that time we probably did not really know what impact we had on the scene.

What do you do to relax when not on the road?

Have some beers J and try to find enough time for myself

What were the inspirations you all took when making this record?

I just can speak for myself and my inspiration comes from everything. I listen to all kinds of music and from time to time I grab my guitar and something happens, or not J

Who was behind the art work?

The art work was created by Seth Siro Anton of Septic Flesh. We looked for quite a while to find the right person to do it. Than we ran into his work and said “that’s it, let’s call him”

What do you think the future holds for Morgoth and yourself

That’s hard to say and we plan from year to year. For 2015 we have some cool shows coming up, also on big festivals like Wacken, Hellfest and Graspop. I think in early autumn we will start the planning for 2016.

What has been the most random thing you have ever seen on the road?

I guess that was in 1991 or 92, when we toured Europe with Unleashed and me and two of the Unleashed guys were arrested in France by two cops because we took a piss outside at a gas station. I ran into a verbal fight with an old and seemingly drunk red neck cop. He just spoke French and I just German, Dutch or English. I told him if he can’t communicate in one of those languages he better just shut up and do important work.  Well he somehow understood something of that that and wanted to put me in handcuffs behind his car for a free ride J But the French tour promoter could negotiate. Then they found some weed in my pockets and gave me a fine. 30 minutes after we continued our ride 20 Cops stopped us at a parking lot and sent a drug dog through the bus. We had to put all of our stuff, also the Equipment out of the bus and we stood half naked with hands up for the body check. The dog left the bus without finding anything as we had been smarter than him and put whatever we had in the chemical toilet that was in use for two weeks already. No chance for the dog though. I still remember the face of that old red neck cop looking at me. He simply wanted to kill me but there were too many witnesses. Haha..

Do you ever explore the places you visit when on tour

If there is the time, yes of course. But really time is only when you have a day off or you get up very early which is basically never the case. In Paris on the Bolt Thrower Tour last year we had a day off in Paris and we visited Montmartre and also the big city graveyard on which Jim Morrison is buried, maybe even that red neck cop from the story above is there somewhere, who knows ;-)

What would you say has changed after all these years of being in a band?

Well, we are all older today and have jobs and/pr family aside our band. We live widely spread over Germany. So what changed is that we have not much time to hang around together so much. But when we meet it’s always good fun and still playing live is always an awesome experience.

What is your preferred type of drink when on the road?

I always prefer a good red wine or beer. I very seldom drink harder stuff.

What bands would you suggest to any one reading this?

That’s hard to say as I am quite that guy who listens to all the old stuff everyone knows anyway, I am not an Explorer so to say. But when it comes to Death Metal we had a mini release tour with the German Death Metal Band Deserted Fear. Quite young guys playing the old style Death Metal. They have that vibe that we had in the early nineties.

What bands still inspire you to this day?

As I mentioned before, i am listening to all styles of music… Ok, no Reggae or Hip Hop although I think Eminem is quite cool. Of course Metal still is the most important music I listen to. Maybe it was old Trouble that inspired me for some riffs.

Do you have any words for the people at home reading?

Thanks to all of our friends and fans out there who supported us over all the years and after the reunion. I hope you like our new record and we meet at one of the upcoming shows.

Thank you for your time. Any final words?

Thank you and see answer 16 ;-)


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