Dark Fortress

Interview partner: Morean (vocals)
questions by: Twilightheart/ by phone/ Oct. 5, 2007
basic translation by Twilightheart
final translation and proof-reading by Patricia Thomas/
( http://www.myspace.com/viewfromthebacksofmirrors )

Quite surprisingly it was decided that Twilightheart & Sheol-Magazine would be the first to interview new Dark Fortress vocalist Morean, so we both picked up the phone and had a chat.

Twi > Hi Morean! Is this the first interview you have given since you joined Dark Fortress?

Morean > It is.  Yes.

Twi > Oh, thatís an honour for me.

Morean > For me too. Iím looking forward to contributing to the band. It hasnít been very long, but so far Iím enjoying it.

Twi > Will you keep your real name a secret like the other guys do, using only your stage name?

Morean > Yes, I prefer to be called Morean. Itís the name I also use in Noneuclid and Iíd like to get it established.

Twi > There is a new statement on the Dark Fortress website saying that contrary to rumour, you are the guitarist and NOT the singer of Noneuclid. Have those rumours been a problem for you recently? Please use the opportunity to explain who you are and what your job in Noneuclid is/was.

Morean > First of all, Noneuclid still exists. In fact, we are just recording a new album.
The misunderstanding occurred when Dark Fortress sent a piece of news to Century Media, telling that I am in Noneuclid, but not specifying what my role was in the band. It was translated incorrectly, saying that I was the singer for Noneuclid. This is of course wrong, since I play guitar and write the songs for the band. 
Later I started to read that people were saying that the Noneuclidís vocals did not suit Black Metal, which is, in fact, true, since it is someone else doing the vocals!
With Dark Fortress I am the vocalist and have written the lyrics for the new album. The music is almost completely written by V.Santura and Asvargr.

Twi > Donít you play in a third band as well?

Morean > Yes and no. I compose music for an ensemble that doesnít have anything to do with Metal. And when their guitarist is unable to appear I have to jump in for him. But otherwise I only write the music for them.

Twi > Why did the other guys choose you to join Dark Fortress as the new vocalist? What are your qualifications for the job? Some people might assume that you were chosen because of your friendship with V.Santura and the fact that you play in Noneuclid with him. But this wasnít the main reason I guess?

Morean > Well, Iíve known V.Santura and Seraph for a long time. We played music together even before Noneuclid existed.  So they were aware of my abilities as a musician. I believe they trusted that this choice would be good for Dark Fortress. Of course there were other offers/applicants as well, but most of them were located too far away - Colombia, Greece etc., which would, of course, make things difficult. Itís already hard enough for us to rehears; imagine what it would be like with someone from Colombia!
In the end I did some test takes with V.Santura and recorded one song. The others listened to it and they all liked it. And I had a lot of fun as well. Iíve known Dark Fortress for quite a while and had already worked with them before (the short piece on the Sťance album is written by me) and I knew Dark Fortress to be a fantastic live band that progressed with every new album. So I personally found it very interesting to take up this challenge. 

Twi > Did V.Santura suggest that you make those test recordings, or was it you who said ďLet me try itĒ?

Morean > I had a conversation with Seraph who lives close to me here in Rotterdam, and he told me about the split between band and vocalist. Incidentally I found this very unfortunate. Seraph told me that the guys didnít really know what to. They were wondering if maybe one of the band should take over the vocals. So I spontaneously said  ďI can try if you have no one else yetĒ. The other band members agreed to the suggestion to try me out. And thatís how it happened.

Twi > You have worked on the new album as well as on the previous one. What exactly is your input on both? And why did you already contribute to the last album although you werenít a band member yet?

Morean > On the ĒSťanceĒ album the track ďIncideĒ is written by me. Itís some kind of a refined bridge between 2 songs. V.Santura, who is responsible for most of the music, wanted a concept album. And for this particular track he was thinking of a specific sound. He wanted to work with strings to create a certain atmosphere. So he asked me if I was interested in composing it, as he knew that I had already composed something like this several times before and that I really enjoy doing this kind of thing.
With the new album it was different of course, as it had already been composed when the split between singer and band occurred. Naturally the former vocalist withdrew his lyrics. But the record had to be finished. Therefore they said to me  ďCould you write the lyrics for the new album by the end of August and then record them immediately?Ē My first thought was ďThatís extreme!Ē but I took up the challenge.

Twi > So how much time exactly did you have to write the lyrics?

Morean > One week.

Twi > Wow! But hey, arenít there any other good lyric writers in Dark Fortress?

Morean > Well, I asked for some help from the other guys. And Seraph had written half the lyrics for a song. He had started it but didnít know how to continue. So I thought it doesnít matter if I have lyrics for a whole song, or just half of it. But hey we worked fast, and it was great joy to write the lyrics. 

Twi > And how long did it take to record the vocals?

Morean > One week as well. Just one week later.

Twi > I suppose in your other bands you played, but had never sung before? How did it feel to suddenly find yourself doing vocals? Was it how you imagined it would be? Did you have any problems? Are you satisfied with what you achieved?

Morean > I am very satisfied with how it turned out. Itís not that I havenít sung before. Itís just that I sang Death Metal, as backing vocals for Noneuclid.  And just for fun I sometimes sang cover versions, and when I do this, itís Death and Black Metal. I knew what my voice sounds like, but as I hadnít actually sung so much BM, it was strange when we started to record.  I just did it the way it felt right. You record it, then you listen to it 10 seconds later, but you donít recognize your own voice anymore. That was odd in a way. On the album there is just 1 line that sounds like my old style. Everything else was developed from scratch during that one week. It was very exciting. But I also felt that I had to hit the ground running in a way; you join the band and have to finish the album in a hurry, and get it in the mail immediately, something like this. ;-)  But this was also one of the reasons why it was great. V.Santura very patiently pushed me to the limit. I think the result is really worth it. 

Twi > How does your singing/growling voice sound like? Similar to Azathothís? Or totally different?

Morean > Thatís hard for me to say. Our drummer said my voice at times sounds like Azathothís. I personally think that you can hear that my voice comes from a different direction, taking more from Death Metal. But itís still Dark Fortressí music, and this music demands a special kind of vocal style. So I would say we stayed close to the original style of the band. But how close or far, I canít really judge myself. And it was not our aim to copy Azathoth. Right from the very start everyone told me that first and foremost I have to be myself. So I tried it. It will be interesting to see if listeners agree that it succeeded.

Twi > Did you learn how to growl from a coach? If you do it wrongly, you can ruin your voice. 

Morean > Yes, thatís very true. I remember when I tried to growl for the first time at the age of 14, I sang one line and then I wasnít able to speak for a week. But since then it has become much easier as it is a question of using the right techniques. The sound of growling is created in a similar way to Tibetan undertone-singing. Have you ever heard this?

Twi > Not consciously, no.

Morean (sings those tones) > Deep-pitched long tones! These have a defined pitch. I learned this on a course once and then kept on practicing it in the bathroom. I noticed that itís easy to make extreme sounds using this technique. And of course you need to put in emotions. If you are in the right mood you can force your voice to make the right sound automatically. You have to make yourself feel extreme emotions and let them build, then you can achieve what you need. If you train like this over a period of time, then you know how to do it without ruining your voice.
Whilst recording the vocals I screamed to the limit for 12 hours each day, but I didnít lose my voice. So I donít think I have any problems with it so far.

Twi > What else are you allowed to tell me about the new album at this point in time? Cover artwork etc.?

Morean > The title is ďEidolonď and the album will contain 9 songs. It will be a concept album, which, within its nine chapters, describes the initiation, dehumanisation and unearthly rebirth of a transcending soul by the use of mirror magic and astral projection.
The cover artwork is by Anna Tluczykont of NorudosArt, a young girl who is really talented in the use of Photoshop, and who has an extreme style which is very morbid and therefore suits the band well. She presented us with something that we were all happy with straight away.

Twi > How much is the style going to change in comparison to the previous album?

Morean > Dark Fortress always had a wide range of styles within the fields of Metal. And this has definitely expanded. The songs are all very different to each other. The blastbeats are from outer space.  They are so brutal that when I heard them I thought, ďFucking hell, I donít want to have to play thisĒ.  I have been watching V.Santura for years now, and with everything he does he develops several steps further. Every song stands like a monolith and takes you to another world. There are also 2 rather old-school tracks that really kick ass. As I said before, this album has the most brutal blastbeats that I have ever heard.  The whole band feels that this is a balanced, but always brutal mixture using already existing elements, but having been developed much further.

Twi > You are originally from the same area in Bavaria as the other guys. So how long have you known the other band members?

Morean > Iíve known V.Santura since he was 9 years old. Iíve known Seraph for about 7 years and the other guys I met one by one. 

Twi > Do you and Seraph always travel from the Netherlands to Germany for the band rehearsals? 

Morean > Yes, unless we are playing in The Netherlands, then we can rehearse here as well. But we travel a lot. So we have to plan the rehearsals very carefully.  For instance rehearsing for a whole week and then nothing for some months. Otherwise it wouldnít be possible. 

Twi > When did you start to make music? Did you study it later on?

Morean > I started to play guitar at the age of 12 after begging my parents for 3 years to buy me one. I spent my whole youth in a band and constantly wrote songs for them. It was more bay-area-oriented stuff. At the age of 17 I was listening to Flamenco and liked it a lot as itís so furious and rhythmic, so I moved to The Netherlands to study flamenco guitar. After the first year since I was writing so many songs all the time that I started studying classical composition. Since finishing my studies I have worked as a composer in The Netherlands and elsewhere, wherever life takes me. I also play guitar again all the time; this is something that will never leave me.

Twi > So what you were doing before had nothing to do with Black Metal actually. Do you think you belong in this genre? I mean BM is in a way misanthropic. Or do you want to grow into the genre?

Morean > I donít need to grow into it. Iíve been listening to Metal since I was 9 years old and I have never stopped. I have always tried to defend Metal and bring it into the concert venues. And composing for an orchestra also gives you many possibilities. Some elements there are similar to Metal. Metal has been the starting point for me and it has always been my home. Iíve even played BM on guitar and listened to it for many years. Okay, I might not be anxious to scream ďSatanĒ all day long.  But the occult aspect of Black Metal is in my heart. I liked the music as much I liked the subject. I was interested in the depths of the soul and the black abyss that each individual has within them. Furthermore I experienced some drastic things in my life and I know my soul well. Black Metal helped me through, as it was like an echo of other people who have experienced similar states of mind. I suppose I should really ask myself why I didnít start singing Black Metal much sooner.  It has been inside of me for a very long time.

Twi > Which bands fascinated you in your early days?

Morean > It started with ďUnder the Sign of the Black MarkĒ of Bathory. I was listening to this record every day.  You canít compare the feeling that this record gives to anything else. And if you call Celtic Frost Black Metal then this is another band that has been by my side since childhood. It was V.Santura again who pointed me in the direction of the second generation of Black Metal, such as Emperor or Dissection. The music was fascinating, and especially the drum sounds, which were unbelievable. Take for instance Nick Barker, he has pushed the relentlessness of drums to the limit. I believe that incredible changes were taking place during that time. 

Twi > How did you like your first photo shoot with corpse paint recently? Was is unusual for you? How did you feel? 

Morean > Old Metal heads just enter the stage as they are, thatís how I had always worked in the past. But I must admit that it felt quite natural. Luckily Dark Fortress are quite subtle when it comes to corpse paint. My biggest fear was that I would end up looking like Kiss, as this was the most horrendous thing that ever happened to corpse paint. But, like I said, Dark Fortress are more subtle. The corpse paint exaggerates the face that lies beneath, but doesnít totally cover it. So I can live with it. 

Twi > Did you have to put on the paint yourself?

Morean > Yes, I had to. But the photographer who was with us was very talented and was very helpful. So I am able to recognize myself in the photos. 

Twi > Do you have any idea when you will play your first live gig with Dark Fortress?

Morean > As soon as possible. But I guess the earliest will be in January 2008. As two of us live in The Netherlands we have to plan it quite some time in advance. But after the release of the album, which hopefully will be around January 2008, we want to play live. So we will take the first chance we have and hit the stage mercilessly. There is hope for a tour as well. At least it would be great to be able to tour right after the album release. Before that we will do some warm up gigs. And then in February start the tour, thatís how weíd like it.

Twi > Dark Fortress are confirmed for the Metalcamp festival in Slovenia in Summer 2008. Will this be the first big festival you have played at?

Morean > The first big one, yes. But of course I have a lot of experience in playing live on many different occasions and places, even festivals. These werenít festivals with 10, 000 people of course, but I am already used to large audiences. In any case I am really looking forward. It will be another new experience. Furthermore I love attending festivals as a visitor. And if you play there yourself with a great band playing tight and on fire, it is such a pleasure for the vocalist to be part of all that and growl your ass off. 

Twi > Do you worry about if the fans will accept you (especially live)? Azathothís legacy is enormous. And there are always fans who stay loyal to the old singer, not tolerating anyone who joined later. 

Morean > Yes, itís something I think about, to be honest. I liked the band with Azathoth on vocals very much. He is a first class singer and a formidable front man. That the band achieved the status it has is in large part down to him. Therefore I can only hope that the fans will give me a chance for a while, and check out what we are doing. The band supports me 100 % and we are all enthusiastic about the new album. So the friends and enemies of Dark Fortress should take some time and patience to listen to our work. You can never replace someone, the fans have to realise that. But the album we will deliver wonít be less brutal or personal than the previous ones.

Twi > Will you read the reports and reviews afterwards? Would criticism hurt you? Or will you just carry on no matter what happens?

Morean > In my opinion the people that have to like my work are myself and the band, as we work as one. And of course the record label has something to say as well. I always work hard because I want to give the very best of myself. Whether this is enough or not remains to be seen. Further than that I canít do much to convince people about me. So for me itís now a question of waiting and seeing if they like it or not. Iím not going to worry about it, as itís not in my hands anyway.

Twi > The Dark Fortress fans probably want to know a bit more about you. So, do you have a full time job beside the music, or what do you do?

Morean > Iím a self-employed composer. I get commissions from orchestras or ensembles, sometimes even for a movie or a dance production. Then I write the piece or I produce a soundtrack. The work is very varied: symphonic orchestras, Big Bands, Electronics or Metal-Bands. I like doing many things as long as it appeals to me, and as long as I can keep my own style. It has always been my dream to be able to live from my music. So this is what Iím doing now every day.

Twi > So you have already reached your own highest aim musically/ professionally. Or is there anything else you want to do?

Morean > Yes, Iíve reached the aim. It is absolutely the job of my dreams. You donít have to get up early, you have no boss, you can do what you want. You can create something totally new with every piece you compose. You are the God of your own world, if Iím allowed to describe it as such. You create worlds, only from sound, but you can put your whole being into it. I am really glad that I need no additional jobs such as working as a teacher or cleaning windows (I had to do this in the past). I really donít feel like I ever want to do anything else. It is fantastic to be left alone by the world. 

Twi > In your spare time, what are you interested in besides music?

Morean > Iím interested in my wifeís body.
And I like cooking. Itís nice that you can eat it right away after cooking; it doesnít need to be played or mixed. ;-)
 I also love movies and read a lot. But I donít have time for much else. UnfortunatelyÖ or luckily, however you like to look at it. 

Twi > Very normal things, so to speak.

Morean > I live a bit like a monk. I get up, drink a coffee on the couch, then I start working. And in the evening I go back to the bedroom, thatís how it is and how I like it. I have surprisingly few problems with almost never meeting other people. Sometimes I donít see anyone for weeks.
This reminds me of the misanthropic aspect that you mentioned before. I always had misanthropic characteristics, and in the past I hated the whole world. You canít imagineÖ everything was completely shit and senseless and I thought,  ďWhy go through all this?Ē  But now I donít consider everything as being shit anymore. And I donít dislike everyone anymore. But solitude and seclusion are a part of me. So many of the emotions being expressed within Black Metal appeal to me a lot. 

Twi > I think this is all for now. I guess the readers will have formed an impression of who the person is that now rules the microphone in Dark Fortress. I wish you much success and a great time with the band. And I thank you for the interview.

Morean > I thank you for the interview too.

Morean:

 

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