Birgit Haugen of Metal Storm recently conducted an interview with guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson of Swedish black metallers MARDUK. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Storm: “Serpent Sermon” will be your 12th studio album and your first release on Century Media; do you have a worldwide deal and do you also still have your own label Blooddawn Productions?
Morgan: We did a worldwide deal with Century Media but also still have Blooddawn Productions, which is basically my label. [For] the past 10 years we also had our own label and did distribution through a Swedish label, Regain Records. Things were kinda falling apart with them so we decided to move on and got offers from more or less all of the extreme music labels. But in the end we decided that Century Media had the strongest foundation and the strongest plateau for a band like us to work with. So far so good. [laughs]
Metal Storm: So Century Media didn’t put any restrictions on you?
Morgan: No, because otherwise we wouldn’t be on Century Media. This is the most important thing to us and all the labels we have ever worked with never tried to interfere with that. We need to have total artistic freedom because otherwise we would just put the music out ourselves. We don’t accept any interference with our production, layout or whatsoever. We do our job and then they can do theirs; take care of the album.
Metal Storm: You took your time to record “Serpent Sermon” and Mortuus‘s vocals have become somewhat more distinct over the years. So can we expect some groundbreaking stuff or did you stick with the same great MARDUK formula and just defined it some?
Morgan: I don’t know if it’s groundbreaking; people who listen to the album would have to decide that. For me, the importance of groundbreaking is that the music is coming from the heart and soul; that is what matters to me. And then if it sounds like some of our earlier albums, I wouldn’t mind, as long as we are unleashing the energy and creativity the way it speaks to us. That’s what it’s all about. We don’t want to be extreme metal just for the sake of being called extreme metal.
Metal Storm: The album cover looks really old school as well. Was that intentionally and who did the artwork?
Morgan: The artwork was done by our vocalist Mortuus. We did the whole album on a DIY path; it was recorded in our bass player’s studio, produced by ourselves, then also mixed by our bass player and the layout was done by our vocalist. We have worked on the concept of everything. So who should better know how to do the artwork and visual reflections of the music than us? And speaking of the album cover; it is kind of simplistic and minimalistic compared to our others, and I think it really reflects the spirit of the album. You have the pentagram and you also have the devil or demon, or whatever you want to make out of it, and it very much symbolizes the diabolic sense of the album. It doesn’t have that many pictures in the booklet as some of our others but I think it portrays the visual side of the music and lyrics.
Read the entire interview from Metal Storm.
“Souls For Belial” video:
“M.A.M.M.O.N.” audio stream: