Interview: Ivana Sataić (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photo: official promo
Morten Veland is one of the pioneers of Gothic Metal, a man whose name is in this world of dark, but deep music often mentioned as the founder of Sirenia and as one of the great minds behind Tristania once. But Morten Veland is also the name behind the band named Mortemia that can also be considered as the name of an imaginary world where this extraordinary artist lives. „Misere Mortem“ is in its complete art by Morten Veland as he did everything alone – from writing songs and playing (or programming) all instruments and production. In his own studios. Venia-Mag asked this remarkable Norwegian for a briefly peek into his peculiar world, what was is about read below.
VENIA: Why is metal so popular in Norway and generally in Scandinavia?
MORTEN: There are lots of metal bands from Norway and from Scandinavia in general, but metal music is far more popular elsewhere, like in Germany for example, and in most of Central Europe. But over the years I have noticed how the interest for rock and metal has been growing in more new countries as well. Countries that never paid much attention earlier when a metal album was released.
VENIA: Because your music is strictly defined as Gothic Metal, how would you describe it in a way as it is seen by Morten Veland?MORTEN: I was never too concerned about labelling my music or others music. I guess my music has been labelled as Gothic metal and that’s fine with me. However I think that my music contains a lot of elements from other genres as well. Like for example classical music and elements from several types of different metal genres.
VENIA: What can you tell about your musical background (bands and artists you listen to and appreciate) and your musical education? How did you started in music?
MORTEN: I bought my first guitar at the age of 15 and formed a band 3 months later. We set out to play a straight forward form of rock, inspired my Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe etc. After a short while we began to sound more and more like a metal band influenced by more riff based bands like Metallica and similar acts. Later on I was introduced to the UK gothic scene and bands like; The Sisters of Mercy, The Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission and Nosferatu and so on. That’s when I really wanted to include more gothic elements into my music, the combination of metal and gothic really appealed to me instantly and it is what I have been working with ever since. Always trying to perfect the style and include more and new elements. I took some guitar lessons for a few months, but I did not like to have somebody telling me what to play and how to play it so I quit. I have been self learned ever since. I am the kind of person that likes to discover things myself rather than having someone telling me. And being self learned gives you a more individual style in my opinion, I did not want to sound exactly the same as everyone else.
VENIA: Your music is great influence to the Gothic Metal genre since your days with Tristania. How do you think your bands pushed the boundaries not only Gothic Metal but also alternative music in general?
MORTEN: This is a question that I find somewhat difficult to answer. To be honest I have no idea how much my music pushed any boundaries. From all the feedback I receive it is obvious that it has meant something, but I am sure other bands have contributed more than me.
VENIA: With every band you get involved with your sound is developing, it’s getting more diverse and rich. What inspires you to work with music and explore new sounds and ideas?
MORTEN: Life in general inspires me, along with the burning passion that I have for music. The musical ideas just come flowing like a never ending stream. I wish I had more time to realise all my ideas.
VENIA: What is the story behind Mortemia? Why did you create it?
MORTEN: Some years ago I decided to take Sirenia into a more melodic direction. However I still composed a lot of music in different genres and I ended up with a great amount of ideas that basically did not fit in Sirenia’s musical concept anymore. So I was faced with two options, either to throw these ideas away or create a new project where I could put these ideas into life. I thought that a lot of these compositions were way too good to be left uncompleted, so I decided to form Mortemia. I began working with all the ideas that I had and that could not fit into Sirenia’s music anymore. Due to that they where either too complex, too hard or did not have the right expression musically speaking. So this is basically how the idea of forming Mortemia came together. I am definitely not fed up with Sirenia in any way, in fact we are working on the next Sirenia album these days.
VENIA: What can you tell about the album „Misere Mortem“ and recording process as you’ve played all instruments and produced the album?
MORTEN: I played and programmed all the instruments on the album myself. It was a very nice and relaxed way of working. I recorded all the instruments in Audio Avenue Studios, which is my own studio here in the Stavanger area, on the south-west coast of Norway. As I did it this way I spent most of the time in the studio alone. In this way I could really maintain high focus and work very effectively. Personally I see a lot of advantages with working alone. Composing music really demands all of your focus and skills, just having another person in the same room already compromise my focus in terms of composing. My experience tells me that I always come up with the best ideas when I work alone without interference. It enables me to perform at my very best, and the result also gets more dedicated and personal. The only help that I got from others was that of the French choir, it’s the same choir that performs on the Sirenia albums as well. I think the most interesting and challenging thing with this album was the technical part with producing, engineering and mixing. As it is the first album I mixed on my own I had nobody to help me or give me advice or whatever along the process. By choosing this way of producing the album I kind of forced myself to learn the things I didn’t know from before. I feel that I came out strong and grew a lot on this album, both as a musician and engineer/producer. And this was exactly what I wanted to achieve with this album.
VENIA: What is the most important thing related to the album, something every fan should know? What inspire your songs?
MORTEN: The album is probably my most personal album to date. I am proud to have composed, written, arranged, engineered, produced, mixed and performed the album alone. All the help I got was from the French choir who performed the choir parts.
VENIA: When you talk/write/sing about people, is it more often about individuals or concept of the mass?
MORTEN: It is usually about individuals, mostly my own experiences and personal observations of life and people close to me.
VENIA: Are you really melancholic and dark as your songs? And can we even talk of melancholy and darkness?
MORTEN: I think everybody has melancholic side to them, someone just feels closer to this side than others. I release my darker side through my music and words.
VENIA: Most people would agree you’re very young and already pretty long on the top of one music genre. Did you ever imagine you’d get this far with your music? What is next for Morten Veland?
MORTEN: I have seen a lot and experienced many nice things through my music. I always hoped that I would achieve many positive things with my music, but maybe I achieved a little bit more than I thought was realistic.
VENIA: In the end, is there anything else you want to add? Any message for your fans in Croatia?
MORTEN: Cheers to my fans in Croatia, I hope to see you on tour soon. Take care and keep on rocking!
VENIA: Thank you!
Official website: www.mortemia.no