За горящите църкви и сърца, за Trondr Nefas и за новия албум на ENDEZZMA – Интервю с Morten Shax (ENDEZZMA)

Interview with Morten Shax – (ENDEZZMA)

Satania: So, a musician and frontman, a magazine editor, a label founder and a writer… Which part of your personality should we begin with?… Or perhaps, which part are you most inclined to reveal to our readers? 🙂 (I will ask about everything anyway :D)

Morten: Hello and thank you for your time. Well, I would like to believe there is only one personality behind all these channels. But feel free to ask and we see where we’re heading along the way.

Satania: Let’s start with the music. Tell us about the background and early years of ENDEZZMA. What inspired you to start creating such music, and who were your first supporters in this endeavor?

Morten: I have always been deeply into music since I was a young kid, music appealed to me in a very strong and genuine way since the first time I heard it. I always like to read stories and listen to music was even better , it was a story painted by tunes. And I quickly created a deep devotion to a artistic direction. And since I always been of the nature that when I hear or see something that appeal and absorbs me I want to create my own version of it , let me inspire to do it my own way , paint my own image of it so to speak. That’s probably why I ended up , doing music magazines , starting up a record label and having a band etc ..

Satania: You are part of those troubled times, when Black Metal history was created. Looking back now, what do you think changed in the style? Not only the music (which can be heard and felt), but the philosophy, the message, the image, and the creative seeking of the musicians?

Morten: First of I would not solely refer to that period as a troubled time, rather a unique, fascinating and dangerous time. Back then it was much about revolting against already set patterns, musical styles and traditions, but also aside of the musical aspect revolt against society and the establishment as well. At the start pretty much similarities to historical musical revolutions and youth riots up through the history. Except this riot had such a radical and sinister under fire that it quickly took a rather destructive direction. But I think I don’t think that it was only the churches that was put on fire, hearts and ideas was burning hot at that time, and a flame that burn and will burn for ages was lit, a musical direction and ideas that inspires musicians and fans just as much today. I don’t think that much have changed, its just more that people are being older and wiser, the average age of the scene ain’t 17 years any longer as it was back then. It obvious that the scene has gotten a more “mature” angle and approach towards things. Behind that I think the mentality and desire is the same. The scene was started by some strong creative and unique individuals and the scene stil today holds such persona and attracts such individuals.

Satania: How trve is trve Black Metal now? What do you think about the ‘trve’ concept in general?

Morten: First of all who is dictating what is true or not and who the fuck cares to follow what other say. Being true sounds just like an idea to limit bands and artist to do things after a certain model or in certain frames. Being true is doing what you do because you genuinely believe in what you do, and if you possess such a devotion you want to go your own way , walk your own path. Individuals that are more into what is true or not is usually individuals that have other motives or adventure seekers with a different agenda that find the extreme and confirmative aspect of the music appealing, but in few years it stagnate and they move on. Through almost 30 years in the scene I’ve seen this a million times, kids with the biggest mouth leaving the scene after some years. On the other hand those that glorifies the concept of the words of “true” and “kult” etc can show it up where the sun doesn’t shine, in 10 years they are doing something else anyway. Start practice what you preach and shut up!

Satania: This is a question, that has always bothered me, and I’m going to take the opportunity to ask you, who has been part of that underground. 🙂 Do you think that the Norwegian Black Metal scene would be what it is without the controversial events of the early 90s (which turned into an inspiration and an occasion for all sorts of creative interpretations)?

Morten: I’m 100 % sure that Norwegian black metal would still have been as unique, influential and essential as it is today even without the church burnings, murder and criminal activity. Because there was so many unique and extreme talented and creative musicians in the black metal scene back in the early 90’s. Maybe the scene wouldn’t been that notorious and dangerous without the obscure “back carpet” but undeniably the music would shine through nevertheless. I think the answer is obvious though, because if the music wouldn’t speak for itself some churches on fire and a murder wouldn’t make history alone. But the Norwegian scene wouldn’t been the same without it simply because this is now part of the history and these events have painted the picture together with music.

Satania: How was Black Metal perceived by the ordinary, „normal“ people back then, and how is it perceived nowadays? Do you think that society has finally learned to live with that socio-cultural phenomenon or does it still have its reservations and prejudices?

Morten: Its pretty obvious that the mainstream view towards Black Metal have changed radically with the years. Back in the early 90’s Black Metal was not even recognized as music or a music genre. Today Black Metal have a solid spot on the music radar in Norway and gain a well-deserved respect from people and artist even outside the scene. In Norway successful black metal artists is just as much in the media picture, magazines and televisions as any other artist. Lately the biggest Norwegian state-television channel made a documentary series about the history of Norwegian Black Metal. Black Metal have been Norway’s biggest musical export genre since the 90’s and carved its place in the Norwegian music industry.

In that way its also easier being a black metal musician and running a serious black metal band in Norway when your art is recognized from the state and you are also able to ask and apply for funding’s and support in the same way as a artist from any other genre. But when that is said people would maybe criticize it and say that the “dangerous aspect” have had to suffer from a more acceptable approach, but again I think that is wrong. Norway is such a liberal society having room for even artistic outcasts and induvial, saluting painters, musicians and other artist that have something meaningful to say cross the borders of common sense. Besides in Norway you have people with full sleeve tattoos, rings in ears and noses and long hair being bankers and police.

Satania: You were a magazine editor back in „those days“ of deep underground. Tell us about the magazine and how things happened back then. What did the magazine itself look like and what did it contain?

Morten: Back in the start of the 90’s there was a different way of distributing music and news around. Today it’s hard for people that don’t know about a life without the internet to understand how everything was back then. We was tape trading through snale-mail and letters. And the flyers and the underground fanzines was the ultimate tool to distribute news and information about the music and bands. Actually, back then when everything was at the starting point this would be the only way to communicate and learn about what was going on. Naturally this gave the fanzine’s a important role for developing the music scene and spreading it worldwide.

It was a community of souls and people worldwide. There was many well-known artist’s today that run their own fanzines back then. The fanzines were mostly amateur home-made magazines, written on a typewriter and xerox and copied again again until you hardly could recognize the motives on the pictures. Maybe distributed in 50-200 copies each maximum. It was simple but dedicated work made with soul. The magazines contained pretty much the same as you find in a music magazine today such as interviews, reviews and advertisements for records and demos. But sometimes you could also find artworks and drawings by artists as well as poems and poetry by artists.

Satania: You used to have your own record label. How long did it last and why did you not continue with it? Would you do that again?

Morten: I started the label Flesh For Beast back in 2001. The first band I signed was the Norwegian Black Metallers Urgehal and I released their second and third album. I also had few other act’s signed such as Vulture Lord , Bloodsworn and a project including Darkthrones Nocturno Culto named Vidsyn. It was a one-man-business and it just came to point where I had to go all inn, making it bigger investing more and hire people, or simply stop it ! I made a decision to put my effort into the band again rather then invest all my time and effort in a label. There was not in my interest to continue running the label just as a “hobby-side project” where I wouldn’t be able to work out the utter best for my bands and artists. If I would do it again is a good question, I don’t think so. Simply out of the same reason I mentioned. I would not like to do it halfway not having enough time to do it proper. If I at any point would pick up the label activity again it would solely be maybe to release just some limited exclusive hidden gems on Vinyl or something like that.

Satania: I know this is probably the question you have been asked the most (and it’s perhaps the most painful question for you), but… What kind of person was Trondr? Did you feel a need to stop with Endezzma and music after him?

Morten: Trondr was such an amazing and unique character, person, friend and artist. In many ways. In one way I have realized how his ideas and view upon certain things and music have just grow on me after his death more and more as time pass, which truly indicates that he was a grand force in our lives.

He was always full of ideas and music. A creative and artistic monster! It was never a question for me if I would stop doing ENDEZZMA since the band initially was my idea and heart, asking the most obvious choice back then to join and help me out , namely Trondr. He made some memorable and timeless morbid tunes for the band, but his main focus was always Urgehal back then. We already had a plan -B when he would be on tour or be occupied with Urgehal. Besides the way I know Trondr im sure he would love to see his music live on and the bands he was involved in pulse on. In that way his legacy and his fire burn !

Satania: Why do you think he turned into such a legendary figure for the Norwegian Black Metal scene?

Morten: Because he made so many essential and genuine songs and albums that made a difference for a lot of people. Besides he had quite a unique and outgoing personality that made him a lots of friends and connections through the years.

Satania: What qualities should one musician have, to be able to create a really good and touching Black Metal album? Do you think that this is the genre that requires the biggest dedication, devotion and courage to reveal the darkest sides of yourself?

Morten: I think one should not be afraid of thinking out of the box and believe in your ideas. If you really have a story to tell or some genuine feelings to communicate through your music you will eventually get the listener and your audience to believe in what you do and what your express. I believe that any kind of heartfelt genuine music crave hard working dedication and almost everything from the artist. You will never get your audience to believe in what you do if you don’t believe in it yourself, or if you not put your soul on the plate!

Satania: Do you consider yourself a charismatic person, a leader, an Alpha? 🙂

Morten: That was quite a question! I guess this are abilities you must possess if you’re a frontman in a band, you got to believe in yourself and be confident in yourself otherwise you don’t exactly shine up there on the stage. If you continue believing in what your doing and stay genuine to yourself and your art people will follow! This game craves a certain ego I guess.

Satania: What do you think of „Aeons in Sodom“? Do you think this album should have been released?

Morten: I Absolutely believe “Aeons In Sodom” should have been released since this is more or less the swansong of a Urgehal album including a tribute from artists that had a personal involvement with Trondr in one way or another. Half the song and riff material is also made by Trondr him self before he died , so musically speaking its in one way or another a full bloody Urgehal album except the vocals that are done by many different artists. Maybe this is exactly why it’s not that obvious for some to get the real Urgehal vibe right away just because of the different vocal sounds on all the songs. But at the end of the day all material on this album is written by Enzifer and Trondr in the same way as all the other albums.

Satania: The new ENDEZZMA album is a fact, and it is due to be released this year. How is it any different from „The Arcane Abyss“? Why do you define it as a „new chapter“ for ENDEZZMA?

Morten: The new album will be released Januarry 22 to be accurate. The „Arcane Abyss“ maybe represented the more primitive and pure black metal side of ENDEZZMA but of course also much of what always will define the band in structure and believes. With „The Archer, Fjord And The Thunder“ we walk into new territories speaking of everything from song writing and production to lyrics, philosophy and artwork. The new album is really made out of a well-planned and structured philosophy. Pretty much everything is few levels up and we have been working hard on making the album as solid piece from the songs and music to the presentation and expression of it. With The Arcane Abyss we more or less started and let the process eventually lead us to the final result so to speak. With this album we had a solid idea about everything when we started and nothing concerning this album is by coincidence.

Satania: And this new chapter begins with you signing with Dark Essence Records. What does this step mean for the band? Where do you see yourself in, let’s say, 5 years?

Morten: Yes, we signed a two-album deal with Dark Essence and so far we are very satisfied with them. It’s great people working there and they know their business and how to run things. Its the first time we are signed to a Norwegian label so the correspondence and communication is very good which is of course a important aspect of it. I think we have a common understanding of things and what we want so it looks very good. It means everything to have a well-oiled machinery operating the band. In 5 years we have release the two next album and I hope and believe a lot things have happened, if the world soon get back in the swing. But again after all we will just keep on making music that we love and drag it through the dark muddy landscapes of our obscure minds..

Satania: As far as I know this is a concept album. Would you tell us the story behind it? Did you create it on your own or with the help of your bandmates?

Morten: It’s kind of a concept album philosophically speaking yes. Its not a traditional concept album where you get a story unfolded through the lyrics of song one and the conclusion in the last song, but rather a concept in terms of the world the album is build upon. You will find The characters and philosophy that belong to this mythical, morbid and oppressive world represented in different ways and symbolism. All the lyrics describe and talks about this characters and gives the listener a hint or clue about what this world is all about and its up to the listener to relate to it in the right sense. The Name Of The Night Is A Strong Tower!

Satania: The artwork is really remarkable, it’s as if it tells the story before we’ve even heard the album. Tell us about the creator.

Morten: That is such a fine compliment since that was pretty much what we strived for as well, to really make the artwork paint out the story of the album. Since the thematic story is important to the album it was equally important to have a proper artwork that described the album in the right sense. The fantastic artwork or the painting is done by Stefan Todorovic. Stefan is a Serbian artist that also made other great works under the banner of Khaos Diktator Design, he is also the studio vocalist of Gorgoroth, doing all the vocals on the last Gorgoroth album.

Satania: I know the album was recorded in your studio, but the mixing and mastering was done in a really legendary studio, but I will let you share this information.

Morten: The album was recorded in Malpherno Studio in Norway with Malphas behind the control panel. We then handed it all over to Tore Stjerna and he did all the mixing and mastering at his Necromorbus studio in Stockholm. Tore quickly connected with our idea and spirit and did a amazing job for us and the end result.

Satania: How did the COVID situation affect the band? I know you do separate concerts in Norway, but do these concerts bring the same energy and satisfaction as before?

Morten: The COVID virus situation as affected the band massively, just like most other bands with scheduled concert’s, festivals and tours. Since the epicenter of the virus hit the world around the period we had the album done it took some time and wait to figure out everything. Its not easy to plan a proper release when you don’t know what is possible or not the next 12 months. Tours and festivals are a important piece in planning a release. But when the situation doesn’t seems to improve one got to act in one way or the other, one got to improvise and make the better out of it.

We did few gigs both inside and outside with Covid restriction and its far from the same playing in front of a seated restricted crowd. You can see the audience is desperately hungry for live performances but playing for audience seated at tables is like playing in bad wedding for dinner guests. We are the type of band that want to pulse, sweat and intensively interfere in touch with our audience, so lets hope we can get back at it as soon as possible again. Even though it looks like 2021 can be under Covid influence as well.

Satania: Some of your concerts for 2021 have already been announced. Are you planning a dedicated tour promoting the new album?

Morten: We are just waiting for the first proper opportunity to hit the road and tour with the new album. We already had plans doing some bigger tour that have been putted on hold. Now we wait, but sooner or later we will bring fire, blood and death out on the road.

Satania: This interview is already long, so, last words and a message to the fans. Thank you for your time

Morten: Thank you for your questions. See you out on the road eventually, until then check out the new singles and videos. And take the dark and epic journey with „The Archer, Fjord And The Thunder“, out 22.Jan !! LISTEN TO THE STELLAR DARKNESS, WE ARE ENDEZZMA !

You can make your preorder here:

Webshop: https://www.darkessencerecords.no/shop/
Endezzma bandcamp: https://endezzma.bandcamp.com

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