Dominika Šimová • Peter Beste (photo)
I have never had enough of this musician. This is why I decided to do another interview with MORTIIS discussing pretty interesting stuff. Different than I expected, though. Here we go.
Hi there. This is our third interview.
I had to come up with some new questions... Is there anything you don't like talking about?
Well, clearly I think everyone is tired of the same old "tells us everything about black metal in 1993" questions.
Not included in my notes, no worries. How have you been? How have you survived covid and lockdowns and all that stuff?
Yeah,we survived all that stuff. I did get infected with Corona around Christmas time 2020, before the vaccines were ready, so I got really sick for a few weeks, but didn´t have to go to the hospital, thankfully, but we were a bit worried, as I have asthma, and apparently Corona/Covid is a respiratory sickness, so it could have ended up a lot worse.
Yeah, sure. But good to know it was not that bad. However, it was a pretty weird period of time. Here in my country, Slovakia, many people didn't even believe that the disease was real. Some of them still don´t. Many people started having arguments within families over that. Some of them, even politicians, started spreading some theories about how dangerous the vaccines can be for us.
Yeah that whole anti-vaccine movement and the paranoia around whether it was even real or not came around pretty quick. I mean I had the fucking thing, and it sucked, it took me several months to feel normal again, so the question is wether it even exists seem pretty futile to me, but I´m not going to waste my energy arguing with anyone or losing friend over it. I have friends on both sides of religion, politics and Covid, and we just don´t talk about those things. Why should we? What's the point, when there´s 100 things we have in common that make us friends in the first place, why argue to death about the 1-2 things we don't agree on?
Many people died, more than 20 000, and we are such a small country. I think we still have something negative in our society, it's still lingering somehow. What about your country?
I can't recall how many died here...a few thousand, it wasn't "bad" compared to other places, but apparently, we were pretty bad for a while when you look at the ratio of inhabitants vs infected/dead people.
Do you think it was a lecture for humanity? Have we learned anything?
I don´t think we learned anything...Not as human beings, other than perhaps that we´ll be slightly less surprised next time it happens. We forget very quickly I think...I just hope our governments won´t forget as quickly, because we seemed very ill prepared, and the only solution we had was to shut everything down, and make it illegal to even venture outside, more or less. As far as a lecture for humanity...I don´t know, but I think it was a dark reminder from nature, that we are not really in control.
I absolutely agree, unfortunately, but that's the way it is.
Yeah, so hopefully the world leaders have/are making sure we will be better prepared next time, so we don´t have to watch 100´s of small businesses go bankrupt because these fucking idiot leaders have no other solutions to the problem than lock downs. Over and over. We lost so many small businesses to this pandemic it's crazy. I don´t know if there was a better solution this time, but next time, they better have a plan.
This crisis was replaced by another one, the conflict in Ukraine and the consequences like inflation, prices are high. We are the neighbour of Ukraine and the first days were really terrible, nobody knew what could happen.
Well, of course everyone was horrified when Russia attacked Ukraine. We were watching the "practice" Russia lied about having at the border...I guess everyone felt something was wrong. Then of course we all heard the news that the attack was going on. There have been a million wars in the history of humanity, so you always feel a bit shitty about having more feelings about one war than another...I guess it's a human thing... Hard to explain. I understand when people are upset about that...But this was hard to see happen, because it's not that far away. I knew people there, I had played a festival there a couple of years ago, and even more shows in Russia, and I knew even more people there. People I am certain would never support this war. So you get a bit more involved emotionally.
How do people see this in Norway?
The ones I have talked to, all condemn the war. Not the Russian people, but the war, the Russian government that made the decision to go to war.
Have you ever felt like expressing your thoughts over all these things in your music?
No, not really. I try not to involve politics in music. I´m not good at politics. If you want to really argue your points, you have to do a lot of proper research to back it up. I never did, haha!
Exactly, however, this leads me to another question. Should music be apolitical (generally speaking)?
I think that's up to every musician/artist, whether he or she wants to communicate something political, emotional or whatever else. That's the cool thing about music, there really are no rules...So whatever you want to say, just say it. I love Rage Against The Machine, they were/are very political...Ministry, is pretty political...Pink Floyd had their heavy political/social commentary moments...I love them all, but I couldn´t do what they do...I didn´t live their lives, so I do my own thing.
Yes! You do. And what's new in the Mortiis world of music?
Well, I have been working on the new Mortiis album, on and off, for about 3 years now, haha! It's been a long time, but I haven't been able to focus on it 100% every day, as I have a lot of different music in various stages of progress, then I pick it up and work on it a bit, and then put it down into the vaults again, haha! But the thing about the new album, which sort of feels a bit "profound" and "strangely prophetic" are the song titles and general vibe of the record...I was writing songs like "Ghosts Of Europa'' and "Tribes Of Dystopia" about worlds falling apart, and how small specks of hope still floats in the middle of all the ruin...Then Russia clearly wants to destroy and turn Europe, or a big part of it (nobody believes they would stop, if they had conquered Ukraine quickly) into the Soviet Union. It was a strange feeling. I guess it's just a matter of time before reality imitates art, but it just happened really quickly. Besides that, I re-recorded my first album, Født Til Å Herske, this spring. This was more like a "punk project" in the sense that it was all done in a couple of months...I did it for a 2 show project in Portland, USA, where I performed the album twice. It sounds a lot better, and more organic, than the original. It will be released later on, as a live album, by the really cool Portland record label Wyrd War. We had a really cool photo session with photographer Peter Beste, to be included as part of the artwork for it too, so that was all around a cool project. And I have a special fan club thing, called Cult Of Thee Black Wizards, that people can join, and I sometimes post works in progress there.
Any idea when to get your new record?
Not yet, I am still working on it, haha!
And when the time comes, we want to know it as the first ones. Let's get to your fan club thing. Feel free to invite your Slovakian fans to join. Send the links or whatever you like.
Well, it's one of those subscription things, that keeps me able to pay studio rent and so on, it includes exclusive merch, pre-order priority for limited edition vinyls, and sometimes even 100% exclusive vinyl colors only for members...I also do a members-only live video chat about 2 times a month, and other things they get...not to mention free download of all the music I legally own and can offer out (a lot of albums and music, some even exclusive to members). This is the link for people that may be interested in that.
Man, I would be able to continue asking questions for another hour (or 3 at least) I guess, trust me there will be interview nr.4. Haha! But I think the time´s up. Anything to tell your fans here? Any plans to come to perform for us again?
Hehe, no worries, we can do it again down the line...For now, I´m working away on the album, and other music, let's see what comes out first, haha! The Født Til Å Herske re-recording kind of came unexpected, so who knows if another distraction happens again. We are looking at touring again too, but not until 2024.
Thanks for your time!