Date of establishing :
dark ambient, darkwave, industrial
Band members:Mortiis – Vocal and keys
Levi Gawron – Guitar
Leo Troy – Drums
Ogee – Live guitar
Biography:Mortiis began his journey down an ever-evolving path in the early ‘90s as a singular mastermind who a decade later would be the namesake of Mortiis’ full-band incarnation.
Mortiis – the man and the band - have traveled many musical paths over the course of their career, with each release stepping further away from the last and expanding into new territories. The Mortiis of today takes the darkness of the earlier ambient creations and fuses it with deep-seated anger and aggression.
The metamorphosis of Mortiis can partially be attributed to the addition of guitarists Levi Gawron and Åsmund Sveinunggard (replaced in 2005 by Ogee for live duties), and drummer Leo Troy to Mortiis in 2002. As he has always done, Mortiis still begins crafting his songs alone in the silence of the wee hours, but now envisions songs in his mind with the added elements of guitars and drums.
“I still work the same way, adding tons of crap to each song and then chipping away and moving parts around,” Mortiis says. “But in the studio I collaborate closely with Levi on guitars and a lot of experimentation results. The result is not always what we set out to do, but it always works out for the best.”
For their latest endeavor, which has a working title of “Road to Ruin,” Mortiis has been collaborating with well-known producer Rhys Fulber (Fear Factory, Delerium, Frontline Assembly, Paradise Lost). “On the new songs, we are focusing more on songwriting and continuity, which I think got a bit lost last time,” says Mortiis. “Last time I was trying to make a really angry and abusive record, and I wanted to do everything at the same time because I wanted all this noisy stuff to happen. The distorted noise, electronics, and samples are still there, but these songs are more focused and have a more coherent interaction between the programmed and the organic. They are definitely a lot more organic, and I am putting a lot of weight on guitars this time.”
Still, it’s a natural evolution for the band, inspired by the band’s live direction. It’s hard and it’s driving and it fits perfectly into the winding the Mortiis path of evolution.
“The anger and frustration refuse to leave and the creative moments inspired by it are sometimes expressed aggressively and sometimes in a more introspective way,” Mortiis says. “They both show a lot in the new songs. Some old vibes came back to us on some of the songs, some ‘Smell of Rain’ vibes and some ‘Grudge’ vibes and some new vibes. It’s all totally dysfunctional and fucked up in one way or another. Diseased or hurt minds never really heal up, I guess, and because of that, all in all it’s going to be a really hard, attacking kind of album with the moody stuff in between.”
Some of the working titles are: “Zeitgeist,” “Great Deceiver,” “The Ugly Truth,” “Looking Glass,” “Doppelganger,” “Sins of Mine,” “Scolding the Burnt,” “Live Forever,” and “Road to Ruin.”
Mortiis’ last release, “The Grudge,” was a twisted mixture of electronics, fierce guitars, and hard-hitting drumming. “‘The Grudge’ was extremely dense,” says Mortiis. “I think there was some kind of commercial appeal underneath all the layers, but it was pretty hidden. I always appreciate a good sense for melody and ‘The Grudge’ kind of blends melody with noise, which is great. The previous record, ‘The Smell of Rain,’ was essentially a very catchy record, bleak in many ways but quite accessible. ‘The Grudge’ just went beyond all that and was really angry and sort of emotionally all over the place.”
“The Grudge” earned the group its most mainstream attention, with its title track becoming Mortiis’ first-ever single. The single reached Number 51 in the Official UK Singles Chart, while the second single, “Decadent & Desperate,” entered the UK Billboard charts at number 40. Additionally, radio support was received internationally from the BBC’s Radio One and Total Rock. Video clips received airplay on numerous international music programs, including “Kerrang TV!,” “Scuzz,” and “Viva,” while the band made appearance on high-ranking channels such as the BBC, TV2, MTV2, and ZTV.
Mortiis was also prominently featured on Norway’s biggest and most respected music program on television, “Lydverket,” which avereages 150,000 viewers and airs on the country’s largest channel. The “Lydverket” crew followed Mortiis for nine months, filming and interviewing the band numerous times on tour in England and Norway and at photo shoots for the episode, which focused on masks and images in rock music.
The band toured the United States twice in support of “The Grudge,” first on the 2005 installment of Danzig’s “Blackest of the Black” tour alongside Danzig, Chamiara, Behemoth, Himsa, and The Agony Scene, and in 2006 with the Genitorturers; Europe with Susperia; and the UK twice with NFD/ex-Fields of the Nephilim and Gothminister.
During these tours, Mortiis began what may be considered the next phase in his imagery, revealing his true form by frenetically tearing off his infamous prosthetic face during live performances.
Mortiis also recently completed remixes for Zombie Girl and Dope Stars’ upcoming releases.