Mortiis: A statement of independence

Recently Mortiis offered a free download of their new record “Perfectly Defect” to their fans and after that started a 2-month tour with their Norwegian colleagues Combichrist. When they dropped by in Helsinki´s On The Rocks, singer Mortiis talked with STALKER about the touring curse and the pains of separation.

How was the tour so far?
Been good, I mean it was great until Norway. I was really sick and my voice was completely gone. We did that show and after that fever broke out, like I was on fire. I am struggling with the flu since then and then the tour bus broke down on the border.

Oh, ok
Yeah we had a lot of bad luck the last few days. I mean up until then the tour was going great, but then some curse dropped and everybody is sick. The tour bus broke down at the border between Norway and Sweden and the repair shop couldn’t fix it in time, so the Stockholm show was cancelled cause there was no way to get there. So we got stuck in the hotel in Karlstad. Weird place!  We suddenly had to spend the night there because this repair shop kept delaying everything. So in the end we missed the boat to Finland. So we couldn’t do the Tampere Show. And at that point the tour manager just ordered the new bus. So we had to empty out the old bus and get the new bus and get on the night ferry.

You have another 3 weeks to go, is there any show you are especially looking forward too?
I think we have exactly four more weeks to go, the tour ends in March. Right now to be honest (laughs) I don’t think there is one specific show that I’m really looking forward to. The thing I wanna do is: I wanna go with my family now! Cause I really miss my daughter. But  I mean there are couple of countries that I haven’t been. I have never been to Bulgaria, Rumania so that’s gonna be interesting .

I heard you had some bad luck on stage, is it true that you broke Levis´ ribs during a show?
Ah, that’s not bad luck! (smiles) That was our plan. (with a evil grin on his face) As for Levis ribs, I mean I think I toggled him on stage and he fell down and then I just stomped on this chest and probably broke a rib.

Probably, so you are not sure about it?
Well, it still hurts, so probably, because it’s like four weeks ago. It’s the second time. I mean it happened before.

Ok, so it’s dangerous on stage with you
Yeah, not  on these small stages (points to the stage of On the Rocks) not much is gonna happen here.

Are you sure?
Maybe attack someone in the crowd. I don’t know how much energy I have because of this fucking flu.

You offered your fans a free download of “Perfectly Defect”, why for free?
Well, it’s a long story. For a couple of reasons, one was that I really appreciate that the kids have waited for long cause we pulled back we spend along time away from the industry … Honestly if it wasn´t for the fact that I really like music I would have walked away from this a long time ago. I don´t like the people involved, I don´t like the groupies (looks down to a few girls which are in the club already), my loathing on that grows daily.
So ok we had new material and decided to go back in this shitty fucking business that we don’t really like, but this is the place we have to be, if you wanna be creative and distribute what you’ve done to the people. We suddenly where like,” Let’s just fucking get them a big thing and put this out for free.“  To me it’s almost like a statement of independence and freedom. I mean, I know sooner or later we are going to sign another record deal, because obviously I don’t have a million dollars, otherwise I would have manufactured, I would have marketed, I would have promoted everything myself. I would have really told the managers to fuck themselves if I would have had the money to do it. That’s the fact.

That’s the problem
Yeah exactly! That’s just the way it is. You know, we paid for everything ourselves, so we have the means and all the possibility to put it our for free and did it, it is also quite a good marketing tour. And we built a really big mailing list. In just a few months we got thousands of addresses, so every time we do something now a lot of people will get to know it. So of course it’s a give and take,  we earn something from it and people can donate if they want.

You also plan to release another record called “The Great Deceiver”,  will this one be for free too or do you plan to release it with a Record Label when you get a good deal?
Exactly. We are talking to labels right now. I was supposed to have meetings in Stockholm but of course that didn’t happen, (whispers) because of the Curse (smiles) It’s not a big deal cause I have had meetings with them before. But I don’t know what we gonna do concerning the next record. To be honest, I don’t think it’s gonna be a free download. I would like to see perhaps free singles, videos, stuff like that. I don’t know if I could convince a record label to give the album for free and still pay me (laughs)

Probably not! (laughs)
No (laughs) When you sign with a record label it’s all about cash. that’s why we’ve taking so long with signing Why would I spend all this time and all this money and effort and pull my family trough this shit, you know, of not having any money ever, just to give it away to some greedy cooperation. No way, I did it once and I’m not gonna do it again!

Ok then how would the perfect contact look for you? What should be included there?
(laughs) Am… It would be a deal where you fairly spread the profits, you know, where it is not 99,9% them and I pay everything and they get all the profits that is always the way it is with record labels. I’m not looking for this big… I want a deal that has a future, a financial future and also a future where they will make efforts to market me, help and support me to go on tour all kinds of stuff like that.  I don’t need a big advance I would rather look at the big picture. Long term.

That would be great. But nowadays record labels are not that friendly with their artists.
No they are apparently not. Again that’s why we are taking our time. We are really going trough a lot of them and there we found this one record label, they have woken up to the fact that times are really different and you need to think differently, and if you want your artist to make great albums, then that artists needs to have a very good moral. If you rape the artist, where is his moral? You know? He’s not gonna give you good records but  shitty ones which gonna take forever. Which is why it took me a long time to create music after the whole previous label thing. My moral was down in the shit, it took some time to think about it. I am now quite inspired. Now the idea of signing a contract makes me sweat. It’s really scary! If I sign something what’s gonna happen? So I am really taking my time, checking everything carefully. It is also frustrating because it feels like things are taking forever. In the long run it will pay off.

The sound on PD is different to the stuff you’ve done before, it is more aggressive, is it because the record deals are so bad? (laughs)
(laughs) Maybe that might be one of the facts. Of course being stuck in a shitty contract when your passion is exploited and abused, of course that’s gonna put you in a really negative mind. So clearly that has a lot to do with it. As for the sound, I mean that is really experimental, a natural thing that just happens with me. I always try new stuff. If I come up with a little piece of music that’s really floating, I’m not trying to force that into something that sounds like fucking ….. cause it dosen’t make sense.  But if I like it I keep working on it. And “Perfectly Defect” is actually kind of a collection of a lot of songs that where created like that, at the same time as “the great deceiver” music.  But I put them aside because I thought they didn’t follow the logical dynamics of the great deceiver. So I put them aside and I created a few more songs like “Close to the end” , that was one of the last songs that were created. “Perfectly Defect” itself, that song was actually created many many years ago. I just finished it of and decided to put it on that record.  On the Download it’s eight songs, the tour edition is  just a printed vision of the download. When the real physically vision comes out, it will probably have 11 or 12 songs. All kind of stuff we haven’t  put out yet. So there is just more stuff hiding.

I saw your wife Linda on the cover of the Tattoo Magazine,a  very beautiful picture, how do you feel about it when several other guys can see your wife like this? Are you proud or little bit jealous?
Ah…. (his eyes starts to sparkle) I don’t care!

I can see it from your eyes, you are very proud!
Oh I love my wife. Yeah I am very proud of her.  She has worked hard too and she has our daughter to deal with and she is now pregnant again.

Oh really! Congratulations then! Very nice to hear that.
Thank you! She worked really really hard to get a little bit of model thing going on. I mean unfortunately she is one of these people that gives up a little to easily. You know, like, how can I describe it? Well, If she dosen’t get it exactly where she wants,  she’s the ways that she say’s “Oh, fuck it then!” and I am like “Oh, come on!” I am totally proud, I was very happy when she got the cover. Her Tattoos are nice but mine are really fucked up.

Ah come on. They are nice too, They have a special meaning to you!
They are old but yeah that’s the deal with it! I think she got all her tattoos in Sweden. Helsingborg. Some guy, I can’t remember his name, it is probably mentioned in the article. (Unfortunately not) But no of course I had no problems with it. Being jealous would be very hypocritical, because of the business that I am in. You know, people take photos.

Yeah I think you also once said she doesn´t like it when you are on tour.
As a wife and as a mom she doesn’t like it when I go away. First of all, she misses me and my daughter starts now wondering where I am and she doesn’t understand. She thinks I am in the studio. She is now almost three. But she doesn’t understand why I don’t come home in the night. That’s shitty. So it’s hard to deal with especially when it’s such a long tour like this. It’s 8 weeks. It’s too long if you ask me.

Last time you talked with my college about the incident why you wrote “Smell the Witch” (here) You said that certain smell comes back every ten years, did that happen again?
To be honest, no it hasn’t! I think the last time I was probably a teenager or something like that. Obviously it´s all psychological because of this one strange dream that I had when I was a young kid. I think I had a dream about a Witch in some fucked up house, it had that sort of a strange smell, and later on I was on a exhibition with some Norwegian art a couple of years later, I saw this drawn Witch and it was the same smell. So it was all really weird. And then every now and then, I don’t know how many years between, I’m not sure if its 10 years or whatever – probably I used 10 years because it sounded good in the lyrics – I would feel this smell. And I would immediately associate with the Witch. Childhood fears, you know! But I haven’t really had that for many years.

Do you believe in the supernatural? Like ghosts or stuff?
I believe in the unknown. I could’t say I believe in ghosts but I don’t believe in UFO’s. I mean who fucking knows? I think there are various levels in our existence. But I am not one of these people that studies it or anything. I feels like it would be ignorant to state that we are the only active thinking beings around. I just don’t believe that. Cause there is more to it, then we will see.

What about the afterlife? Do you believe in it and what do you think how it will look like?
Yeah. I don’t know what but I am sure that to some extent we go on. If it´s in form of some kind of energy on some different level. I don’t believe in hell, not in a religious level.

Do you have some final words for the readers
Well, just thanks for being interested I guess. I hate those final words, I never have anything to say. Download is still available so check it out!

Thank you very much and have a great show tonight!
Thank you

(Thanks to Tattoolife & Kobaru Photography for giving us permission to use their pictures. &,

Sandy Mahrer

Fresh Act editor, reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Pop-Rock etc. Less Death, Black, Grind Core