with Morgan (Guitar)
5th November, 2013
@ The Underworld, London UK
Interview by Caitlin Smith
Pictures by Jo Blackened
It’s been almost 15 years since the immortal album Panzer Division Marduk rolled onto the black metal scene, but it’s a ruthlessly aggressive today as it was all those years ago. Having played Serpents Sermon on tour earlier in the year, Marduk have returned to London to give us a taste of the old school, playing both Panzer Division Marduk and Those of the Unlight in full that evening. Sitting down with the only remaining founding member, guitarist Morgan, we chat about the album tour and Morgan’s love for the ultimate metal machine, tanks.
Why did you decide to do a Panzer Division Tour?
We had already completed a touring cycle for the Serpents Sermon album, which was about 170 shows across most parts of the world, and our booker wondered if we wanted to do something to finish off the year. We were like, ‘yeah sure, but lets make it something special.’ So we thought of the idea because we played the Panzer Division album once or twice before, summer 2009 when it was 10 years since it had come out and we also did it this spring at a festival, and everyone keeps bugging us to do it everywhere so were like ok. We also really appreciate playing that album so we agreed the idea to go out and do a European tour and do the album. We were also thinking of what we should do for the 2nd part of the show because the album is not that long, so we though lets do Those of the Unlight, it’s 20 years since that album came out and it’s a great opportunity for us to go out and play it. It’s still very fresh in our minds and for a lot of fans it’s still very much appreciated, so we are just happy to be out doing it.
You always seem to play the Underworld when you come to London, is this preference or just coincidence?
It’s coincidence, I mean it’s not one of the best venues we play but it’s always a memorable show down there, so it’s great in its own way. It’s still ok you know. It’s sort of become a tradition to play there.
Plague Angel, Serpents Sermon and Wormwood are all based on disease and death. Are we ever going to see a return of the war theme or has Marduk moved on from that?
No we haven’t. I mean, right before Serpents Sermon we did the Iron Dawn EP as well. It’s a concept that is always on my mind. It will return, I can’t say when but it will return. I’m working on a lot of ideas for that and it will come again in the future for sure.
Would you say that war is a passion of yours?
Yeah, it’s a combination of it. I mean I’m fascinated by all aspects of war, from equipment to the psychology behind war, you know. There’s a lot of interesting parts in it. It’s not only World War II, which more of less when we do songs we always end up doing World War II, but I’m really into reading history from all time periods and that’s what I like to do.
Yeah, you always seem to have tanks on everything…
I always like to do that. That’s why when we’re here I always like to go to the Imperial War museum; in Germany I go to the Panzer Troops museum in Munster and in France I go to the Panzer museum down in Saumur. I try to see those things. For me it’s the ultimate metal machine, you know, 70 pounds of steel rolling into enemy fire. The best inspiration you can have for metal.
Your latest album was released through Century Media not Blood dawn…
It is released through Blood Dawn. We used to work with a label called Regain but we always kept our own label Blood Dawn. Then we do a license deal with other labels. We’re still on our own label, Blood Dawn but its been distributed and marketed by Century Media and we continue to do that. So it’s more or less Century Media releasing it but we still keep some control of it.
You’re no longer produced by Tagtgren…
We don’t really need a producer. He wasn’t really a producer, he was more the studio engineer but I mean we recorded so many albums in his studio up there and we did it for so many years we thought it was time for a change. Now we’re recording more or less the same amount of albums in another studio, but the same studio for Plague, Rome, Wormwood and Serpents Sermon. In that studio we’re actually going to do the next album as well because our bass player owns it. For me its perfect to work from your hometown instead of travelling away, and we have full control and we produce everything ourselves and we get it the way we want.
How do you get inspired to write music?
For me it just comes naturally doing whatever you know, just playing. The ideas come you know and you just sit and play and you just hear what you need. It comes naturally; I don’t need to be in a specific mood or a specific place. I mean I write a lot of music, more or less constantly, just sit at home and play. Then I sort the ideas out, what should become a Marduk song and what shouldn’t.
Where did you find the artwork for Panzer Division?
It’s a photo. I mean the album is very much World War II related, but the picture on the front is not World War II related, it’s actually an old British tank. It was made in the UK but it was also in the Swedish army because we brought a lot of them back in the 60s and 70s, so it’s an old, old tank. The reason I used that picture is because it’s just such a great picture, like it’s storming up there. I just liked the aesthetics of it so I thought it was the perfect picture for that album.
The reissue cover is different to the original, why did you decide to change it?
Because we did it though another label and we wanted to change it a bit, so we took another picture for it.
What’s next for Marduk?
Right now we’re finishing up doing the Panzer and Unlight tour. After that we have a few shows coming up in the New Year, we have a festival in Norway and one in Mexico, but what we’re mainly going to focus on is working on the next album. I don’t know when it’s going to come out but we don’t write a lot of music on tour. We have a lot of ideas; we have tons of ideas, probably for 2 albums. Were going to go home and just let everything fall into place and prepare all the material, take the time we need and begin the recording of the album next year. That’s the focus for 2014.
Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Just wait for what’s coming…