Shadow of an archaic ghost sneaking around ghastly on the sky of Izmir, the far west shore of Turkey, starving for black metal since that numinous door opened by the Mayhem concert in 1990 organized by Dystopia Promoters. Mork as a True Norwegian Black Metal band, was the second round after all those years who gave a mesmerizing concert which was organized under the İzmir Attack concert series by Dystopia Promoters in İzmir.
This year, on 19th April, Mork’s 4th full-length “Det Svarte Juv” was released via Peaceville Records. For those, who has delved into black metal fire long ago and still looking for the old-school glacial riffs haunting under gloomy atmosphere, shall keep eyes and ears on this band as it is coming from the true vein of the dark legacy.
No more digression, here you find the interview with Thomas Eriksen who is the man behind Mork!
Black Metal was the thing that resonated the most with my creativity and soul
Hello Thomas, how are you? How are the festivals, shows going on after releasing new album “Det Svarte Juv”?
|Det Svarte Juv|
You have been working with Peaceville Records since 3rd album “Eremittens Dal”. As I remember that they were terrified when Darkthrone wanted to divert their genre from death metal to black metal back in 90s. Now year 2017, second shock turn of the black metal attack with Mork despite of the genre is known yet but not popular, even archaic in the metal scene. How did you persuade them?
Fenriz and Nocturno Culto support Mork, Nocturno Culto also features at ‘Hudbreiderens revir’ from “Den vandrende skygge” album and contributes to the shows time to time. Mork album reminds me the old days of Darkthrone especially “Transilvanian Hunger” times. You kind of pick up the 2nd wave of black metal where they left. What do you think about Mork’s black metal? What are the comments of Darkthrone on this? How do you find their rock’n roll and punk influenced black metal?
T: I am about one decade younger than those guys and did never get to be a part of the original scene. So it was naturally for me to pursue that sound and feel, even if it was 2004 or 2013. To me it was new, you know. That way of creating black metal is the most rewarding to me personally. Pure feel. Gylve and Ted likes the riffs and the feel, I suppose, which is a nice path on the back for me.
I really like most of their stuff to be honest. It being crust, death, punk, heavy, thrash or good old black. I tend to like raw and pure music, that’s not overly polished to perfection.
Norwegian lyrics represent True Norwegian Black Metal the best!
Why does this album have darker vein resonating in various forms and melancholic atmosphere comparing with other Mork albums? Besides, the production is also different with heavy bass lines in terms of depth. What do you want to say about the album’s sound, atmosphere?
T: To me the album is dark, simply dark. Which resonates well with the cover-art that David created for me. And the title fits very well, of course. I am truly happy and proud with the outcome. I am also quite relieved having it lifted from my shoulders.
Lyrics are all in Norwegian. Is it about phonetic reasons or related with how you express yourself?
T: That’s quite simple. To me only Norwegian lyrics represent True Norwegian Black Metal the best. That’s what make the most sense to me, personally. It gives more authentic quality that kind of gets lost in international language based lyrics.
What is the concept of the album? Can you translate one of your favorite lines from the album into English for Black Metal Chronicles?
T: It’s not a concept album, but there is an overall theme and feel, inspired by personal experiences. The album was created during a terrible time in my life. I lost several family-members and had a lot of shit happening to me in the aftershocks of that. Too much tragedy to experience over a short span of a couple of years at the ages 33-34. I am proud of all my lyrics so that’s hard picking one line. I will use one of the dark and one of the more uplifting lines, then.
«A flame that burns hotter than fire. The shining light that blinds away the sun. A courage to fight and defeat. A goal to remain forever and beyond».
«My pain runs deep, I am tormented to death. My fading pale hope. With one foot in this world that holds me back. Let go and let me fall deep into the black abyss»
The most energetic crowd of our career, this far
One thing that I’m really curious for the entire interview is your İzmir show on 18.03.2017 at one of the concert series of İzmir Attack! You came to this Aegean seaside town where Mayhem gave concert with original band members in 1990. Please share your memories related with the city, concert, audience and how did you make a contact with Arcan Öğütverici from Dystopia Promoters?
T: I can’t really remember if Arcan made contact with me or if we were put in touch through the avid Mayhem collector and historian who’s behind the “The True Mayhem Collection” on the socials. However, Arcan wanted to bring back a Norwegian black metal band, like he did back in 1990. He found Mork on the internet and took a liking. That’s how it all started.
Good times in Izmir and Turkey.
|with Thomas' own words: "Mork and Arcan, the man who brought black metal to Izmir. First Mayhem with both Dead and Euronymous in 1990 and now Mork in 2017. It was an honor"|
Now I opened a parenthesis here and asked what Arcan remembers back then with an unforgettable memory from concert that he shooted.
Mork Hedningens Spisse Brodder opening song plus freezing moon intro
Mork Izmir concert/2017
MORK originally began as a side-project but turned into your full time work. What did you remember when you looked back? How did you decide to take this path?
T: After being in other bands and genres before and on the side, I finally decided that Black Metal was the thing that resonated the most with my creativity and soul. It was something I created naturally and not forced at all. When I saw that it hits home with other black metal followers as well, I realized that Mork is an important part of my life and legacy.
Why did you choose to be a one man black metal band from the beginning?
T: I am an only child and I have always had a good imagination and creative mind. I know what I am doing and what I am capable of. I have an overall understanding and overview of how I want my music to be. So, to involve other people into the creation of my Black Metal is to put it straight up; messing with the formula and in danger of taking away some of the quality. Not to be an arrogant dick, but it’s my music and I know how it is to be.
Do you have influencers from other genres, music styles?
T: I like all kinds of music. I am not dependent of genre but authenticity, quality and songs. If a song is good, it does not matter if that is country, jazz, disco or black metal. Quality prevails is my motto.
“Det svarte juv” has bleak darkness resonates with clean vocals that has tendency to let one feels to be in a sort of pagan requiem (You should use cleans more together with screams according to me!). How is your approach to Old Norse poetry, pagan traditions, and rituals?
T: None, actually. Everything I create is purely out of my head, then and there. I do however like to add nuances to my music. I am not afraid to involve some different vocal approaches. But it has to fit the song and feel, obviously.
Thinking of authors from North, Knut Hamson is among my favorites other than August Strinderg that I found an elusive solitude hiding behind its own universe. Do you have any interest in Scandinavian literature, what do you want to say about?
T: I am not a big reader or follower of literature. I do respect that it is there and think it’s an important part history and mankind. But I do not have much to say about it. I am a thinker and use my mind and take on the world instead of reading others.
What do you think about ritualistic side of black metal at shows, while composing or in personal life? Is MLO, as the most serious act so far, active in Norway for it seems like mostly from Sweden and popular among Swedish musicians?
T: I have no connection to any of that. So I don’t know much about it. To me my black metal and creations are all products of my own mind. There are no rituals other then what happens within my head.
How is your approach to intertwinement of arts influencing each other like from music to literary work, painting, movies, etc.? Can you trace back any dark arts in your music that influence you or gives you spark on the way?
T: It’s hard for me to try to explain inspirations. Anything can trigger it. A well put together esthetic in either a movie or a painting. Like earlier today while driving through some valley, I all the sudden had the urge to create. Just by the way of the scenery. Life is full of tastes, vibes and feels. You never know when a spark will ignite the flame.
Death takes away everything and makes materialistic shit lose its importance
Mork” is taken from the Norwegian word for rot or decay, how is your approach to death? How do you define it by your own words?
T: Death was way more mysterious to me prior to the recent passing of my father. Now I see it as an unavoidable sudden end. That’s it. Switch off and dead black. Death takes away everything and makes materialistic shit lose its importance. Death is not the interesting or scary part, it’s the path that leads to it.
What are the main constituents of your black metal music? What do you put emphasis on if you define a work as black metal in terms of atmosphere, production, ideology?
T: I can feel right away if my work has depth or not. To me, of course. Depth is important. An atmosphere of pure feelings and mystique. I like the raw and angry end of the genre as well as the more fragile, mysterious and beautiful. Production is important, as I said, high end polished stuff has no atmosphere and feel whatsoever.
From the beginning of true black metal, Norwegian woods and then Scandinavian lands are told to be the inspiration of black metal breeding the dark feeling from desolation, cold, long lasting winters. What do you think of this identity that black metal has per se? I have an observation like if you are not living in big cities as Oslo, Stockholm or Helsinki at North, you kind of have rural, isolated and truly quiet life at North utterly different then chaotic, noisy and shining Mediterranean shores. How is Tromsø as you should be from there if I am not wrong?
T: I am not from Tromsø, far from it. I am from the far south-east corner of the country, with Tromsø being located far north. Halden is my town of origin. Yes, Norway is blessed by having many small towns and desolate places, for sure. I do spend time in larger cities like Oslo and so on, but it’s always great and relieving to return to the smaller communities.
Can you name your special Mork songs that you like to play live and ones which resembles best Mork sound? For me ‘I flammens favn’ having ambivalent melodies, ritualistic vox and ‘Den lukkede porten’ is very enchanting and also experimental with using Hardanger fiddle.
T: Thank you. I enjoy both those tracks. You know, it’s hard to pick from my “children”. Every album is important to me and to the history of Mork. Live-favorites at the moment has to be «På Tvers Av Tidene», «Hudbreideren’s Revir», «I Hornenes Bilde» and «Mørkets Alter»
When it comes to studio-versions, and which songs that represent Mork the best... well. That’s hard too. Try these; «Dype Røtter», «I Flammens Favn» and «I Sluket Av Myra».
As a tradition for Black Metal Chronicles, I ask black metal guitarists about the best black metal riffs ever for them. Could you please share yours?
T: «Svart Industriell Olycka» (Shining. Yes, Swedish, I know)
«Jesu Død» (Burzum)
«Transylvanian Hunger» (Darkthrone)
«In The Lies Where Upon You Lay» (Mayhem, Blasphemer)
What are your future plans for Mork? Please share your last words…Waiting to see Mork in İzmir again!
T: Our goal is to keep visiting new countries whilst spreading our black plague. Re-visit places we’ve already been. This August Mork will United States for the first time, playing Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles. That is something we are looking forward to. I will keep creating Mork music as well as keeping the black flame burning. Hopefully Mork will come back to Izmir in due time. And when we do, see you all there.
Thanks for the support.
Black metal is strong and really reaches deep into people’s minds and souls, more so than other branches on the metal tree.
Mork - I Flammens Favn (with Det Svarte Juv)
MORK - På Tvers Av Tidene (from Det Svarte Juv)
Dystopia Promoters / Mork Concert Poster
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