MARDUK – The march goes on…
With the release of Marduk‘s latest short offering "Iron Dawn" imminent, we thought it was a good time to catch up with the band to get the lowdown. Peter Loftus speaks to guitarist and main composer Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson.
What news from the Marduk camp?
We are just right now re-gearing for the upcoming US/Canadian mini tour and getting ready to play the summer festivals that are coming up. We are also preparing and completing material for our next full-length album, so things are moving along just fine. The march goes on…
Tell us about the new EP "Iron Dawn".
Well, we thought that since we were about to go out on the road why not release some new music to the loyal Marduk legionaries out there. The songs we recorded are very different in concept to those the upcoming full-length, so therefore we thought it would be a splendid idea to have those songs released as a mini. It’s a storm of steel!
Obviously, the imagery and lyrical content of the album show a return to the themes covered on "Panzer Division Marduk". These provoked a lot of attention from both Nazi and anti-Nazi factions. Are you expecting the same thing again?
I don’t really care how someone reacts. For me as an artist it’s important to follow where my inspiration takes me, and if someone is offended that’s fine. Some people have nothing else to do than sit down and try to find something wrong. All the songs we have ever done related to WW2 have been an objective description to an actual happening that I have chosen to write the soundtrack to.
The original mission statement of the band was to be the most blasphemous and brutal band on the planet. How important is this ideal to Marduk in 2011? What musical and personal goals remain for you and the band?
I feel stronger in body and mind than ever before so the march has only just begun. There are a lot of goals and visions to come alive. I still have the same beliefs and thoughts as when the band started so just wait and see the shape of things to come. Our will to triumph is unbroken.
You are planning a new album built around a different concept for 2012. What can you tell us about that?
I don’t want to say too much at this stage. It’s constantly expanding and growing and awaiting its right time to leave a mark. All will be presented when the time draws near.
How does the song writing process work in Marduk? Has it changed in recent years?
Not really. There is no special way to write. Sometimes you write a whole song after a line of lyrics and the rest just comes. And sometimes you dissect a song into pieces and put it together in a completely different way. The process is always different form song to song. Just let the energy flow.
There are so many options open to a band entering the studio these days. How do you decide on a sound?
I believe in a combination of roughness and clearness. I think it all depends on what you want to achieve. When it comes to Marduk I think you need to hear everything that is going on in the songs to be grasped by the power.
Marduk offers a world of blood, war and hate. Where does it come from?
You named it. It comes from within and from living in this world. It’s all reflected in what we do. A world of blood, war and hate is just what’s natural for humanity.
There are several different aspects to Black Metal ideology such as individualism, anti-Christianity, embracing/exploring the darker side of human nature and broad counter-cultural ideals. Do you feel that any one of these in particular is more compelling than others?
No. I think the term Black Metal should speak for itself. The great army of Satan. The music and message together should become fire delivered all over the world.
How do you feel about Black Metal bands winning/being nominated for major music awards and becoming objects of mass-media attention?
I don’t care at all – it’s not something that interests me. Seeing some of the spectacles is tragic. I don’t mind expanding and making the most of what I do, but will not be a part of cooking food or Christmas celebrations the way you see some bands do.
What are you listening to these days?
I mostly listen to metal in all its forms – old metal, black metal, death metal – everything that I believe is genuine and stands the test of time. I listen to a lot of classical music and shitloads of industrial music, folk music, and regular old rock.
Some people feel that the Black Metal scene has become oversubscribed, with too many mediocre bands releasing forgettable recordings. Would you agree?
Which bands do you think will have an important role in taking Black Metal into the next decade?
There is a handful of bands marching on and some new ones that are raising the banner. I won’t mention any by name. None mentioned, none forgotten! Time shall tell which ones stand the test of time and keep marching on…