I had the privilege to meet Mr. Morgan Håkansson aka Marduk guitarist and mastermind in person at the occasion of their « European Viktoria Part 2 Tour » at the Entrepôt in Arlon (Belgium). Take a seat with us in the lodges of Archgoat to listen to the bm Swedish originator protagonist answering to this interview. (Note well the interview took place while the beginning of the Archgoat show, just an hour before MARDUK went on stage).
Comparing to previous MARDUK albums covers, “Viktoria” front cover seems different in its direction.
A kind of refined rawness but also clean and linear.
What was the atmosphere you wanted to create?
May be it’s the idea because every layout we’ve been doing over the years is something that has been expending, that has becoming bigger.
You do more stuff. And this time we felt the whole album is way more basic, straight in your face. A straight forward album.
We thought of the idea of having a layout that really reflects this feeling as well.
And it came natural to have it a bit more script out, more basic, more powerful. Propaganda style also. That was the whole idea behind that.
There are especially 2 melodic highlights in this opus:
What was actually your intention beside these two tracks?
We don’t have any real intention when we work on an album. For us it’s about doing what comes natural. I mean when you completed an album and start to work on another you just feel it turns out the way it does.
It’s not like if we’d did down our plan and have to become heavier or faster.
It’s about doing what’s natural and musical and lyrics work together and create sort an atmosphere and letting the message come through. So that’s important the combination of music and lyrics.
As you already explored universes like Vlad Tepes, Antiquity, WWII, Death, Demons and religions.
Do you have in mind other thematics you would like to dig in in the future ?
There are some ideas we have. But as I said, we do what comes natural in those aspects. It’s something that’s a part of our lifes. Something that we always return to.
Now we have done 2 albums related to WWII in a row. So, we will not probably do that for a long time to come after this touring and everything.
Especially on this album (Viktoria), we had 3 different themes in our mind :
we had one religious, traditionnal black metal theme, we had another historical theme and then we had the continuation of Frontschwein with the WWII theme.
We felt that we had already completed that theme again.
But we have a lot of other themes and ambitions for the future. So time will tell about that.
When you were younger did you play in any local bands before MARDUK ?
Yes, I played in many bands before I was 16-17 and fonded MARDUK. You play in local bands before you can even play. When you start to learn things in school with friends.
Do you have in plan to continue bands such as DEVILS WHOREHOUSE or to make any efforts aside MARDUK ?
DVWH was split up so many years ago and we turned to DEATH WOLF with which we already have done 3 albums. And the 4th one is actually complete and about to be released in Spring.
We gonna have that one come out and we want to go back and do live shows as well.
So, it’s happening.
In MARDUK’s early years, you used to play on aggressive shaped guitars.
But on the « Panzer Division Tour » you played on a white Fender Stratocaster.
Was this guitar kind of special for you ?
I had a lot of special guitars over the years. I remember them all. I used to have an old Weston that I used from 91 up to 99 because I changed and I bought the old used Fender which was a very fantastic guitar. An I used that as main guitar from 99 to 2005. And then I be using ESP and an old Gibson Flying V.
I,ve been endorsed by ESP. So I have a selection of ESP guitars which are fantastic.
Actually I put the Fender away for many years but I had it restored a few months ago. So, it’s something that might appear again. You never know.
It’s a fantastic guitar and I know I had a lot of reactions because people thought it was strange. I don,t know why. Because it’s a basic guitar.
And I had a lot of BC RICH in the past but I never been really impressed by them.
Do you have any sort of exercise you practice on your guitar before going on stage ?
Any song part or MARDUK riff ?
No, I don’t think I even touch the guitar before I go on stage. You’ve done it for a so long time. I think you don’t really need to warm up.
For me it’s about just getting into the right focus. And you should get into it right before you go on stage. And then you go up into it and there’s no problem.
In the « Heaven Shall Burn » releasing album period, flyers used to come with the CD.
They were already announcing titles of the next albums (« Nightwing » / «Panzer Division »).
Were these materials already recorded, or on rehearsal or did you just have it planned in your mind ?
No, it was just a vision we had. It was kind of inspiration thing from the old CELTIC FROST albums.
And we already had strong ambitions on what we were gonna do. So we always thought it was an interesting thing to do.
You’re not only a huge musician and listenner. You’re also very interested in arts in general. What are the last book, last exhibition or last movie that really touched you ?
It’s so much all the time ! So, it’s really hard to say anything specific.
I always try to go to a lot of museum. Even though on this tour that have been that long I haven’t really done anything except kept reading on the road.
And movies actually it’s hard for me because I haven’t seen a lot of movies. I usually see lots of movies I have already seen. Most of movies are done today or are kind of boring. So I use to see movies that I like from the past.
I heard « Consider The Birds » from WOVENHANDS was one of your all time favorites.
Yes, it’s a fantastic album.
What do you think for example of 16 HORSEPOWER « Sinnerman » song (cover song of Nina Simmons) ?
I know all their albums. It’s really good stuff, very dark.
Don’t you feel a bit « alone » for you are one of the last pillars of the 90’s black metal who kept his integrity and pride till now ?
I can say I don’t feel alone because we’ve always gone our own way. We never been kind of who but together or alone.
Because we’ve always done what we wanted to do. And that’s what we always want to do.
WE KNOW WHAT WE DO AND WE KNOW WHAT WE BELIEVE IN.
So, we keep on doing what we believe in. And that’s the most important thing whatever you do in life.
You really cristallize what black metal was before and what black should be now, in my point of view.
I have always seen a lot of bands trying to get away from the black metal title. And find some own very specific term to call it.
For me black metal was very fine for what we do and will always do.
It’s that banneer that we hold high.
And we have done it for 28 years and will do it at least a few years more to come.