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Mortiis: Endlessly intoxicated with music

The new remix record “Some Kind Of Heroin” was a good reason for STALKER to contact Mortiis; naturally we also wanted to know what happened on their just finished tour with Deathstars and their future plans. Mortiis himself answered, revealing the bad sides of show business and the danger to sell your soul to a record company.

You have just finished the tour with Deathstars, how was it?
It was cool, the kids were a lot younger than we´re used to, at least for the most part, I guess Deathstars generally appeal to a somewhat younger crowd than we do.

Could you please introduce the members and their typical attributes and spleens?
Ogee: guitars, prides himself on having people skills and being generally charming, also has a bad habit of handing out free merch to total strangers.
Levi: guitars, Ogee´s brother, we work together on the production a lot, also probably the most organized person in the band.
Leo: Drums, never give him hard liquor, total monster on hard liquor.
Mortiis: vocals/songwriter: no people skills, social misfit and very antisocial on tour.

Your new album “Some Kind Of Heroin” just got released, it’s a remix CD, so how did you got the idea to make such a record?
I just really like the idea of revisiting songs and taking them apart to build new songs out of them. It´s just really creative, or at least has the opportunity to be something really creative… I also like the idea of having other people mess around with our tracks to see what happens…

Why the name Some kind of Heroin?
It´s a line taken from “The Grudge”, the title track of the album that was remixed, it sort of symbolizes something addictive but ultimately very negative, something really destructive, and artistically that made a lot of sense to me, with what “Some kind of Heroin”, the album, symbolizes to me, personally and professionally. It´s the end of something sort of seductive yet very destructive… It ultimately fades away. That was my scenario at the time, the end of an era, finally reaching its end.

Which song is for you the best one from the new record and why?
Well they´re all remixes, I like them all, but my personal favourites are the ones from Funker Vogt, PIG, Zombie Girl and maybe Dave Wallace. I couldn´t name just one favourite.

Which goals do you have, what do would you like to achieve?
Just to be the best that I can be, and to be able to look back at each release and honestly tell myself that they´ve always gotten better with the years. Never stop evolving I guess.

Is there any country where you really like to play or where you would like to play?
I always enjoy playing In the UK, you almost always get a great response there.
I´d love to go to places like Australia and Japan, mostly because we haven´t been there yet.

What is your motivation to go on with music, to go further?
Because it´s the only thing I feel really passionate about. I don´t think there´s any other medium I know of where I can express myself and become who I am in a better and truer way, than through music.

What would you do if Mortiis didn’t exist? Which job would you have?
I don´t know. I honestly don´t know because I made the decision to live for music at such a young age I had nothing going on except music when I started doing it… I didn´t have a degree in anything, I just said fuck this and started making music.

What was for you the greatest/ most disappointing moment in your band history?
I guess realizing that your record label and most of the record industry would package and sell turds if they knew it would sell. That nobody in the record industry gives a shit and it´s not about music, it´s ALL about the money and how much they can suck out of the artist, because when the band splits or the artists gives up, then they move on to the next. The period when I started realizing that truth was a pretty disillusioning time. But it explained a lot, the label made all the money, I didn´t. Basically one´s love for music is put through the ultimate test once record labels get involved. Art and business people is a horrible combination.

Is there any concert you particularly remember because something beautiful or something bad happened? Where was it and what happened?
Nah not really… I mean I have memories of my hair catching fire, members falling off stage, slipping and falling, fighting with the audience etc. but we just laugh at it, I mean shit happens.

You wore a mask in past, why don’t you wear this any more?
Because it was a remnant from my fantasy past, and looking at what I make these days, the mask no longer made sense to wear, I didn´t think it had anything to do with the things I was writing about any more, or the music I am making.

If you look back, is there anything you see as the biggest fault in your career?
Signing my publishing away to a record label. It´s the single biggest mistake I made, one because they own a lot of my music now, and two: They´re not a publishing company and basically they only wanted the songs so they wouldn´t have to pay as much publishing when pressing records. I could go on, it´s just basic record company greed.

What do you like in music business? What do you hate?
I don´t really like a lot about it. I like my freedom, but I have seen record contracts where the labels want to dictate everything you do, so they´re trying to take that too. I hate the way labels basically own everything.

What are you doing when you not in the Studio or on tour? Where do you go for holidays?
Well we don´t really go on holidays, but we were talking about maybe going to Prague or something this year. If I go, I want something with some sort of culture…

Did the music/ music scene change much since your beginning?
Well, everyone and their mother releases albums now, and with the mp3 invasion the record labels are totally hysterical, and it seems to be a lot harder to get a record deal at the moment. Albums don´t sell, too many illegal downloads, people are extremely lazy and don´t seem to even go out any more.

Would you participate in Eurovision Song Contest?
No, I think it seems like the death rattle for integrity… Most of the music there is tailor made to please families and older generations. Usually the ones who win are forgotten the year after. I thought it was fun that Lordi won, but when I saw Apocalyptica this year there, doing a show or being part, not sure, I sense that Finland is trying to capitalize on being some sort of pioneer or elite country for harder, more alternative music… I don´t know how I feel about that… honestly not sure how I feel, but it seems a bit hypocritical, as I´m sure the people behind it were scoffing at those same guys a few years ago… whatever way the wind blows I guess… people always follow the money.

Have you ever been in a country on tour where you got something like a culture shock?
Not sure, we´ve mostly only toured Europe and USA, so I haven´t really experienced the whole culture shock thing, besides I´m fairly educated on the ways of the world, so I usually have a decent idea of what people are like, or at least a basic understanding of what a country is like when I go there :)

What kind of advice would you give a newcomer band?
Be very careful about what you sign these days. Record label types are not your friends, no matter how much they pretend to be. You are their pay check and they´ll drop you as soon as they picked you up. On an artistic level I would just say be yourself, believe in what you do, if you do, no one can kill you, you´ll live forever as long as you believe.

Do you have any message for your fans?
Thanks for reading and check out mortiis.com and our myspace, look out for the new album and see you on tour.

Author: Sandy Mahrer, transl. K. Weber, photos: Mortiis
Date: 2007-06-06

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