Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway: Friday, May 25
Rest Of Europe: Monday, May 28
Spain, Italy: Tuesday, May 29
Sweden, Finland, Hungary: Wednesday, May 30
Australia, New Zealand: Friday, June 1
USA/Canada: June 5
Earlier this week I got to speak with Marduk mastermind, Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson, about the upcoming album, tours, the current lineup and more! Enjoy it below!
“Serpent Sermon”, the 12th studio album, is coming out next month and you’ve released the two tracks, “M.A.M.M.O.N” and “Souls Of Belial”, through different websites. Was there any reason why you chose to release those songs as compared to the others?
Not really. I think all of the songs on the record are great, but we had to choose two tracks to release for the fans and “MAMMON” and “Belial” were chosen. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t release any songs before the album came out, but that’s how it happens these days. So we chose those two songs and the response has been pretty incredible so far. Yes, I think they are a good representation of the record, but there is a lot more to “Serpent Sermon” than what you hear in those two tracks.
Do you miss these days when you wouldn’t hear any songs before it was released?
Definitely. I am an artist and I believe I was put on the planet to write music. The labels were put here to promote us and get our material out there to the fans. So if they want to release the songs than we understand their position and go with it. Nowadays people have the album months before it is released anyway, so it’s good to get something out there before ya know. The only thing is that it takes away the power and magic of the release date. When I was young, I remember waiting weeks for a Maiden album and never hearing anything until the first single came out and that was awesome. It made the album more special and that’s missing these days. That’s how it is today, so whatever, we will still tour and push our music to the fans and hopefully they pick up the album and enjoy it.
With each album you put great thought into not only the music, but the lyrics of each record as well. How long did the writing process for “Serpent Sermon” take? Did you start right after the “Wormwood” release?
We don’t sit down and say this is the day that we will start writing songs for a new record. We all work on different material on the road, at home, wherever, and then we meet back at the rehearsal spot in our hometown and see what we have come up with. That is where we piece everything together and make a Marduk song come to life. We are constantly writing new music, because that is our passion and what we were put on the Earth to do.
The last album, “Wormwood”, came out to a great response from the metal world. Did you feel any pressure while writing this material to outdo the previous CD?
We don’t really worry about that type of stuff. We believe in the power and creativity of what we do ya know. I really enjoy going deeper and deeper into our music and trying to make the best music possible. Our music comes from the inspiration of that moment and we enjoy seeing where it takes us. We have no formula to writing our music, it just comes to us and it turns out the way it does. I am usually surprised by the end result once it’s completed and that’s what I enjoy most about music.
This will be the fourth album featuring Mortuus on vocals and with each album I feel his sound has gotten better and better. Especially live, he has really come into his own on stage with the band. Do you feel that he will be the vocalist for many years to come in Marduk?
For sure. I agree with you, he has really come into his own and is one of the best out there right now. When he first joined the band, most of the material was already written so he really didn’t have as much of an impact on the music. He has really become a true member of Marduk of the past few years and it shows in the past few records. When we knew we were looking for a new vocalist, he was my number one choice because of the way he uses his voice. He really makes the lyrics come to life and he has a unique voice that no else really sounds like. I really enjoy the way he paints a picture in your mind with his vocals and lyrics, and he took it to a new level on the new record. Wait and see!
Did he have more input on this record than the previous three records or was it about the same?
Every member of the band had the same amount of input on this record. That is what I’ve always wanted and really like about the new lineup. Everyone is really growing as songwriters and musicians, and that’s really exciting for me because it’s what I always envisioned for the band. Everyone is involved with everything. We are a band who does most of the work through ourselves. We write the music ourselves, we produce it ourselves, we do all of the layouts, and it’s because only we know the true vision of the band. Especially with the new album, we worked harder than we ever did before and I think the end result is a true testament to our hard work.
You’ve been the mastermind of Marduk since 1990 and you’ve seen the band grow to what some call the best black metal band on the planet right now. Do you feel that you are the best right now?
That is really in the eye of the beholder. I don’t like commenting on stuff like that. Some people like this, some people like that, but if people say that, than that is an honor. I know what I like and I know the power of our music. We will keep doing what are doing as best as we can and that’s all that really matters to us. We have been around for over twenty years and personally I feel stronger than I ever have before, so I’m ready for the album to get out there, get back on the stage and keep marching on.
Speaking of your live shows, I’ll never forget watching you guys at 3AM on the boat deck on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. What did you think of that experience and would you do it again?
That was a very interesting experience. Would we do it again? Sure, why not. We are ready to play anywhere and everywhere. That is one thing I feel really strongly about with this band. We believe so much in the power of our music so we want to bring it to as many people as possible. We were one of the first bands to bring a full tour to South America back in the day ya know. We brought our music to Costa Rica, Guatemala, all over that place. Plus, we were one of the first bands to play as far east in Russia that we did. On the last album we toured a lot in Asia too. It’s just a matter of getting to the countries and bringing the Marduk music to them. If we could, we would play everywhere. Hopefully we can accomplish that one day.
I read that you will be playing your first hometown show in over ten years later this month. Why has it been so long and what are you most looking forward to with the gig?
Yea, that is kind of bizarre isn’t it? We haven’t played there in twelve years so why not ya know. It’s part of the rehearsal shows for the upcoming tours that we have booked. I don’t know why it’s taken so long. It’s not the biggest city in the world, so that may have something to do with it, but it should be fun to bring Marduk into the neighborhood.
You will be hitting the road with 1349, Withered and Weapon here in the States (Dates here). Do you have any idea of how many new songs will be played or do you have any surprises in the set?
We’ve been rehearsing four songs from the upcoming album, but nothing is set in stone with the set lists for that tour. The album is coming out right at the beginning of the tour, so we have to see how the fans respond to the new material. If they like it, maybe we will play more, but right now the set lists are still in the works. We have a ton of material and we want to play something from every album, but we really want to push the new stuff too because we are really proud of it.
You mentioned earlier that it’s been over twenty years with the band, so I have to ask what keeps you going after all of these years?
Like I said earlier, the fire is still burning inside and I’ve never felt stronger than I do right now. Plus, with the lineup we have right now. It’s a very exciting time for me. I feel so motivated to get better and better, and get our music to as many people as possible. Honestly, when we finished the latest record I already have a vision for the next and that’s exciting for me. It means that I am doing something right and there will be plenty of music in the future of Marduk. As long as I have that burning inside, Marduk will continue to march on.
Awesome man. Do you have anything left that you’d like to say to the fans out there?
I’d like to send a sincere thank you to all of the fans out there. I want to see you at all of the shows as we march into your town. Also, be prepared to pick up “Serpent Sermon”, because it’s a powerful record and we can’t wait to play the new material on the road for you. Marduk will see you soon.