MORTEMIA The One I Once Was

3540301363_photoMortemia is a new and fresh studio project of already well-known and established composer Morten Veland. After pushing Sirenia in more modern and more female-oriented waters, Morten decided to employ some of his old and unused ideas so he formed Mortemia. Obviously a new band has many influences and elements from his previous groups but comparing to his records his new material is quite darker and even more bombastic with great and yet grim and enchanted atmosphere. ”Misere Mortem” is the title for his debut full-length which is going to be released very soon through Austrian-based record company Napalm Records. Morten was in Belgrade for the 2nd time to film yet another video-clip with Ivan I-code, so I took the chance and met him in Hotel ”Prag”.

Hi Morten! Well, the first question is the most obvious one. How did you actually get this idea to form such a band as Mortemia (or should I say more a studio-project)? 

Over few last years I have been extremely productive or just got more and more productive and I took Sirenia in more modern direction over last couple of years and still I produced a lot of material that was too extreme for Sirenia or just didn’t fit in Sirenia concept anymore. So I thought that a lot of material is going never to be used so I started to collect and picked all ideas that I though that were the best so I decided to release this material few years ago. Speaking about Mortemia-it indeed sounds like old Sirenia. The most of the music on my new album for Mortenia is a kind of music that I was composing some 12 years ago. I wanted from Mortenia to be somehow quite different from my other projects. I took something from Tristania and Sirenia as well, but obviously all three bands have the same singer and composer so there must be some similarities between. For example, when I move on from Tristania to Sirenia one of the things that I wanted to do was, of course, to have this operatic voice as important role in the music. And with Sirenia I wanted to change that so I replace this operatic voice with more modern-style female singer and I basically did some changes as well so I didn’t want to be in the shadow of Tristania. These days female vocals in Sirenia have this central role so I decided with Mortenia not to have any lead female vocals at all and I decided to base vocal concept between choirs and my extreme vocals like 50%-50%. That was what I have done, not only to make it different from what I were doing in the past, but also from a lot of other bands as well becuase whenever you start to thing about Gothic metal you automatically thing about female vocals. So I wanted from Mortemia to be something more different to majority of other bands.

Your new record ‘Misere Mortem’ is going to be released on 26th February (Napalm Records).
Well, what I can say… I already talked little bit about vocals and the music is little bit darker comparing to Sirenia. The only female vocals are female singers in the choirs. Of course, there are going to be classical elements, symhonic-like orchestrations, bombastic things are still there and they are still very important. When I talk about this project, I will never say that this is something new or something that was heard anytime before but for me it’s like a completing the circle of last 12 years. It’s like what I did some 12 years ago but with modern touch. So what can I say after all – it’s a darker kind of gothic metal. So I think that many fans are going to be pleased, the ones who are enjoying the music which I have done before. But, hopefully it will appeal also to this people who discovered my music lately. And also there are many of melodic aspect in the music.

Why did you name band Mortemia? I mean, you had two previous groups with similar names: Tristania and after Sirenia…
It is actually a strange story. In the beginning I started to search for the name of this project. I decided very early that I wanted the band that consists only of one word. The name that you can easily remember. I didn’t want to have a band consisting of three, four or five words – it is too complicated. I started to search for the suitable name and I came with many cool names but when I started to check out if is the name available on the internet I have already found that most of the names are already reserved and used. I discovered that every single word is already taken. So, I realize that I need to think differently (laughing). Also, there is yet another thing. I have been for many years in this music business so a lot of the journalists used to call me ”Mortem” instead my real name which is ”Morten’. So, I decide after all to use this thing with just adding “ia”- so it have the same touch as my band’s previous names and it is name that really gives this dark feeling to my music, also it represents my name and by the way it reflects my past projects as well. So, Mortemia become a perfect name for this project. So, when I think more about the name I actually more like it. I am very satisfied about the name these days and especially after the guy, who was also responded for the cover artwork, done the logo for me I though it looked really, really good.

Cover artwork for ‘Misere Mortem’ looks indeed dark-some and great.
In the time when I was finishing the whole record and I was in the contact with record company we said that we need to find the right person who is going to do fine cover artwork, promo pictures and the logo. After all, we came with different suggestions and ideas. So, there was this company called ”Angst-in-Wald” who have some really, really cool ideas. So I started to think that this company has to be right company to do this layout and everything. So, i went to Germany when we did all photo-shootings, all promo pics for me and also the monks. So, its really nice layout-really dark kind of thing and it just brings extra feeling to the whole package. I think its something eye-caching, different, really dark and nice, after all. So, I am sure that I will for with him in the future as well.

Sirenia (and also Tristania) always had great and bombastic production with lots of epic choirs. The same goes for Mortemia now.
I recorded everything in my own home-studio except for the choirs. I went to Paris, in France, for one week, where I recorded all choirs in Sound Suite studio and everything else I recorded in my own studio. I produced, mixed, engineered album myself, played all the instruments on the album and done the programming. It was mastered in Finnvox studio, in Finland. So this solo studio project is like a big step for me in many ways. It’s the first album where I have done all the mixing, engineering, producing. Also, as you might know I have already produced Sirenia’s last album. But, after all this was like a huge step for me. It was a kind of forcing and pushing myself, to develop, add some new things. It was a really cook experience .

You have returned once again in Serbia to film yet another video-clip with Ivan I-code. Previously you filmed two videos for Sirenia here in Belgrade.
There was a few candidates that would be good enough to do this production. So, I informed record company what my ideas are and which company would be suitable for this. I got in contact with companies so that directors could send their scripts. There was a dialogue between record company, video companies and myself and at the end we were most satisfied by the script and ideas that we got from I-code. And, as you said, it will be my third video with I-code Team. For Mortemia this is the first one and for Sirenia we have filmed already two video-clips.

It’s too obvious that Mortemia is solo-project and that you will be not able to play any concerts.
Now, at this moment Mortemia is only a studio solo-project. So, I will see what will be reaction for the media and fans. And if the album does well there is a good possibility that I will gather full line-up and have some shows and maybe some tours. But, for now I just consider it as a studio project so we will see what future will bring.

  • Interview done by Marko Miranović and Nemanja Vasiljević
    Answers by Veland Morten