Following the release of their new album “Katedralen”, we had the pleasure to interview Thomas Eriksen, frontman and composer of the Norwegian band Mork.
Hello there Thomas, thank you very much for this interview! First of all, congratulations for your latest album, which has been a great success in terms of critics and audience. I’ll start from here with my questions, then: “Katedralen” has been released only few months after your previous work, “Pesta”, so I suppose you already had most of your work ready before you started to produce materials for “Pesta”. When did you start working on “Katedralen” and which was the starting point?
Thanks for the praise, much appreciated. The work on Katedralen started already whilst I was under midway through the writing and recording of the previous album, “Det Svarte Juv”. I remember coming up with the main melodic riffs for “Det Siste Gode I Meg”, and understood right away that this would be the “next step” in the evolution of Mork. So, I stowed that aside and continued the work on the then fourth album. So the process has been stretched over several years for this one, though most work was laid down the previous two. “Pesta” however was made spontaneously after last summer, due to the idea of doing a EP before the new album. A wonderful spontaneous endeavor, I must say, really happy with the outcome of the “Pesta” track.
Which are the meanings behind the title and the mood of this album?
The title and title track is taken from an old concept. Years back I fantasized about doing a concept EP with the same title as the current title track. It was all about a chained pack of lost souls being led across desolate and dead plains until the reach the gigantic dark cathedral where they are held for all eternity. That’s basically it, thought the album didn’t end up as a concept. However overall the tracks fit well together.
In which terms do you consider this album the most complete of your career?
I am pleased with all my albums, overall. However this is the most current one, obviously. I suppose my compositions, riffs and structures has reached yet another step further in this one; I have been widening my creative beam more and more over the albums.
When it comes to composing the tracks, what elements do you get inspiration from? What sensations and images do you aim to evoke with your music?
Hard to pinpoint, really. When I sit down to create or write, it’s all what comes out there and then; it’s like a separate part of me moves the brush across the screen, so to speak. It’s up to the listener to make up their own vision and experience.
Which bands and artists do you consider to be a reference? Is there any specific artist or band that motivated and encouraged you to start this career?
What got me to dive into Black Metal, is quite easy; Burzum and Darkthrone. Those two really made me want to create my own world of atmosphere out of feelings and clever riffs. Ofcourse I also got into Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir and others in the beginning of this journey. That’s what it is, a journey; however, I’ve found myself within it all and consider Mork a original creation out of my own mind and body. That’s specifically about Black Metal. I do have a wider musical universe as well. I suppose why Mork really works for the listener and most importantly for me, is that I do in fact have a wide musical brush to draw inspiration from. There’s many out there that only listen to black metal and play black metal. That’s a really narrow and ignorant way, in my mind.
“Katedralen” shows a close collaboration with Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone), Dolk (Kampfar) and Eero Pöyri (Skepticism), which are very well known in the european and international black metal scene. Have you previously worked with some of them? How did you all get to know each other and then decide to collaborate?
I am a quite sociable guy and it’s a small country and “scene”. Sooner or later we’ll meet each other, when doing what we do; well, as long as you’re not and asshole. Then guys like N Culto wouldn’t want anything to do with you. That goes for getting to start collaborations as well, getting along. N Culto did appear on my second album too, some years back. That’s when I got to know him. What I’ve noticed is that these “elders” in the Black Metal genre seem to recognize a spirit in what I do. That’s probably why they have invited me in and been into doing stuff together as well. That’s all a nice pat on the back, ofcourse, me being a younger generation.
Are there other artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Yes, for sure. That’s a really cool side-thing, or a spice, for me being able to include people like that. Simply a great social thing for me. It’s really special to be able to track down Eero from Skepticism, to make a sort of circle complete out of my own extreme metal journey. As I discovered his music way back when. To now have the planets align for us to work together was a awesome thing.
Have you ever thought about tracing different nuances within your production, combining consolidated old school style with influences of different origins, creating something more various and experimental?
Well, that’s precisely what I have done, in my opinion. But, who knows what will pour out of my brain in the future. Mork is a living and breathing entity and there are no rules in my mind, only the ones I make up on my own.
In general, what’s your opinion about the current black metal scene? Among the newest bands, which ones do you particularly admire and recommend to new listeners?
I think there’s alot of good bands and artists. Too many, in-fact, haha. Honestly I spend too much time inside my own bubble, so I don’t really keep track. To name some; Svart Lotus, Winterfylleth, Afsky and Endezzma. I really did enjoy the Vltimas album that Blasphemer did. One thing I do kind of laugh at in the “scene”, are those who think it’s still 1992.
So, Thomas, thank you very much for dedicating us your time for this interview. We wish you all the very best expecially for the upcoming live shows which will support the new release. We do hope this situation gets better soon so that sharing music all together on stage at festivals and cocerts will be a thing again. Cheers!
Thanks for the attention. Yeah, you’re onto something there: we’ve been doing some live-streaming and a few actual attended (with covid restrictions) shows, but only in Norway. We really want to go back out into the world. Anywhere, really. Hopefully soon we will be able to keep spreading our own plague. Keep the black flame burning!