On the occasion of Morgoth’s first ever visit in Greece, we had the chance and luck to meet their singer Marc Grewe after their amazing performance at Fuzz Club. We asked him about the reunion and the future plans of the band, the memories from the past, the influence of Chuck Schuldiner in the band and Marc proved to be the ideal talker for the band’s fans. Below you will read his beliefs and thoughts about Morgoth’s past and present, the reasons why the German death metal scene didn’t make other bands like them, you’ll discover his great love for the mighty Voivod and for the end, he left his sincere appreciation to the Greek fans, stating he’s got to come back as soon as possible.
So first of all welcome to Greece for the very first time
Thank you very much
A dream came true for many fans because they were waiting more than two decades to see you and we never thought we could see you, because fifteen years ago the band split up. So let’s take things a little backwards and see what lead the band to split up fifteen years ago and what was the motive to reunite.
Of course, the split up was after the ‘’Feel Sorry For The Fanatic’’ album, a lot of fans didn’t like the album, it was very different from the stuff we had done before and I can totally understand the fans of Morgoth, it was so different and not what you would expect from Morgoth, but we just…to that time we had problems in the band, it was a hard time to even write the album and everybody was at totally different directions and stuff… Actually, I still like the album, the songwriting…
I like it too because for the first time I could listen to you sing and that means a lot of balls, everyone can growl but when you do some screams in ‘’Odium’’ and some singing on ‘’Feel Sorry…’’, I really feel sorry for the fanatic too, because fifteen years later, the album still sounds alike today, in the spirit of 2012 and I know many fans that like it now because the years have passed.
That’s exactly a lot of people told me nowadays, back in the day they hated the album because they didn’t expect something like this, but it’s kind of another songwriting on this album as well, but I can totally understand the people that don’t like it, I don’t feel sorry for the fanatic. Back in the day we went on tour for the album and on the tour we already knew it wouldn’t last anymore, after the tour we just split up.
How is it like to be remembered after so many years? Did you expect the fans to remember Morgoth and have such response?
No, no, no, not at all, I mean in Germany we were a band that had many fans but we didn’t think that the other fans in the world would go like that. I did a lot of interviews for my other band, Insidious Disease, and all people asked me ‘’What about Morgoth?’’, so many years after ‘’Cursed’’ and the rest stuff was out and I’ve been thinking about doing a reunion about ‘’Cursed’’ and the anniversary thing and thought it was not gonna happen at all, but then I talked to the other guys and they said ‘’Yeah, we should think it over’’. It’s not because of the money, a lot of people say ‘’they only came back because of the money’’ but we wouldn’t play death metal if it was about the money, it just feels great to be back on stage and feels great to play the old songs again and today there was a stress playing here for the first time.
It didn’t show at all. I accuse you of being the ones who say the ‘’Lies Of Distrust’’ because you say you’re 40 years old but you play like 20. So you’re the liar. How do you explain that? Was it just a good day today or is it just like any Morgoth show?
(laughing) I think if you do something or if you… this comeback kind of thing, if you don’t do it for the right reasons, it’s not working. And that’s why I think the people can see it’s not because of the money or whatever, it’s just because we have to… it feels great to be in stage. And in Greece, I didn’t expect anything, I didn’t know what to expect, if people know us and it’s been heartwarming that the people knew the songs, after twenty years the voice doesn’t seem to change, I don’t know.
I want to tell you about that, I could understand the voice is not out from the Insidious Disease album (‘’Shadowcast’’). You showed that Marc is still here, he doesn’t do it for the money and stuff. So, since the fans always want their beloved band to come back, what did your old friends in other bands tell you? I mean bands like Unleashed, or Asphyx or Grave which I know you’re good friends, did they know about that? Did they encourage you to do it?
If you say for Grave, I love the Grave guys, they’re good friends of us.
You were also label-mates, that’s why I asked you.
I like all their albums. They had a break as well, I think about five years…
Coming back with the ‘’Back From The Grave’’ album…
I don’t know, I have respect for all people that are just doing it, it’s kind of a brotherhood of the bands of the early days, back in the day we didn’t expect anything, we were enthused and furious to play this kind of music, it was never for the money, otherwise we’d be a Bon Jovi cover band. Back in the day it was underground and there was tape trading and stuff, it was all about the music and if you see old labelmates like Grave, Unleashed and Asphyx, they still do the same stuff and it is great that they’re still there. Nobody from other bands told us to come back, it came from ourselves, nobody told us we should come back with a reunion because death metal is coming back, it just felt natural to us.
I can say that Morgoth played today like it would be the last day of the world, like everything would be destroyed. On the other hand, you are one of the few bands that were characterized as Death of Europe and you especially are one of the few that had Chuck Schuldiner’s aura. You are one of the most responsible guys to tell us about Chuck and his influence on the whole death metal scene.
Of course, we always got compared to Death back in the day, I love Death, when I was like 15-16 years old, of course I listened to Mantas and the Massacre stuff but Death was really old school and crushing and had an impression on me and I wouldn’t lie if I said that Death was an influence to Morgoth, the style of singing is something I’ve always respected Chuck Schuldiner, for what he had done in the past, I really liked his voice because you could understand the lyrics.
I ask you because when I asked the guys from Obscura about that, they said that Morgoth were an influence for them and they were proud as German guys to have a band like Morgoth in their death metal, despite the American bands. So, apart from that, why didn’t Germany make such other bands like Morgoth?
I don’t know exactly why there was not a death metal scene, fanwise the people would go to the shows but Germany had a lot of thrash influence with Kreator, Destruction and Sodom and the old German heroes they built kind of a scene. When we were out to play death metal there was noone around to play death metal, I don’t know exactly why there wasn’t a scene and bands evolving after it, also there was always new stuff coming up and people went into that new stuff, I don’t know…
Didn’t you feel a little lonely on that scene, despite having friends from other countries? Wouldn’t you like to have some countrymates to join you?
Death metal was death metal and it didn’t matter what country it came from, the scene was there, Germany didn’t have a scene but the fans would go to the concerts if a death band came, they just didn’t form a scene, it just happened.
We’ve talked before about the ferocity of today’s show, you gave very much importance to the ‘’Cursed’’ album, but I would like to focus on the ‘’Odium’’ since I’m a big fan of this album. I can tell you that it’s very seldom to have an album like ‘’Odium’’ out there, I could only just for the feeling compare it to Kreator’s ‘’Renewal’’ or some Voivod old albums, but it feels different. What were the influences back then and how did you decide to change the sound?
Yeah, after ‘’Cursed’’ was really a success, we could have still go the easy way, to repeat ‘’Cursed’’ again you know, but we always had the impression in the band that we just do music for ourselves first. That’s the most important thing. Back in the day the reason that we played death metal was that we lived in a very small village, there was no internet, we always had to struggle to buy records, it was like get to the train, go to the next city, we were 15-16 years old, the scene was very close and we just played music for ourselves at the first place and that’s what we always kept. Also with ‘’Odium’’, though ‘’Cursed’’ was a big success, we had to carry on, we didn’t want to copy ourselves, we could go the easy way and make money with it, but it was just natural evolution I could say, and of course to that time we were listening to a lot of stuff, not only death metal.
Which were the listenings back then?
It was Godflesh and stuff like Ministry.
I was pretty sure about it and I’m very happy to hear. I’d like fans to know that what you do on ‘’Odium’’ is more difficult than what you do on the EP’s or ‘’Cursed’’ because it’s different to growl and different to scream like on ‘’Resistance’’ for example. How was it vocalwise and which were your influences apart from Chuck to get evolved also? Because on ‘’Feel Sorry For The Fanatic’’ you also sing, did you have other singers during the years to get influenced by? And if yes, which ones?
Of course, I personally always liked Voivod and their influence is maybe not listened on a Morgoth album but they were a band that always tried something different, from the first album ‘’Rrroooaaarr’’ (Marc got a little mistaken on that, the first Voivod album is ‘’War And Pain’’ but since he loves Voivod we let it pass by) to ‘’Outer Limits’’ and stuff they developed and it was still Voivod, I really have a respect for this band and that is probably one of my favourite bands of all time. Also Killing Joke was an influence but as a band Voivod is the closest thing to my mind, regarding to how much they developed.
I am happy to hear this from you, as it shows an open mind. So now comes the million dollar question. Which are the future plans for Morgoth, because fans know you don’t do it for the money, but since you play so ferociously, they want an album. I don’t know if this happens, you can tell us.
We’re gonna play some live shows this year and we gotta finish this ‘’Cursed’’ reunion stuff and concentrate on something…new! We were never quick songwriters, we always looked if it’s good enough, then discuss about everything. We don’t wanna do an album just because we are back again.
Or because you have to…
Yes, of course we want to deliver quality, it’s the most important thing, to write good stuff.
There were bands back in the day that felt more comfortable playing in clubs and there were bands playing better in festivals. Which is the case for Morgoth, because you’ve started doing some festivals but you go around the world –not only Greece- in small clubs. Do you prefer having the fans close to you, is it any motive for you to play in bigger arenas and play even better or is it just the same for you?
Of course I would say I prefer clubs, because with the people it’s a close relationship, on bigger stages there’s a space between the stage and the fans, you don’t feel it the same, of course I would say the clubs.
Can we have a non-Morgoth question?
Yes, of course!
I’d like to ask you about the Insidious Disease album, because it was something very fresh, something like the old days but very fresh, so we’d like to know if this will go on now because you have responsibilities with Morgoth but fans liked it very much. So is there gonna be a second album?
Yeah, we are on the writing edge, Silenoz from Dimmu Borgir is the one who’s writing most of the material with Shane (Embury, Napalm Death, Lock Up, Venomous Concept etc). I met Shane at the Maryland Deathfest and he played me some riffs.
He never gets rest…
No, not at all, it’s so great. To me it’s an honour to play with these guys.
They’ll be honoured to play with you too I guess…
Yes, but I don’t see that. To me it’s an honour to be a part of this.
It’s a win/win situation.
Of course, Silenoz is the one who’s charged with the riffs and we have three or four songs now, it’s going to be our next album.
Last but not least we’d like to thank you for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us. Add everything we didn’t ask you and you’d like to point out for Morgoth or in general.
I was so astonished about the Greek fans. I didn’t expect anything, I didn’t even know our albums got released here, or if people know us and it’s so great to see that the people know the songs, singing the songs and stuff and… I really have to come back here!
Thank you very much for your time…
Thank you too!
We wish you to come back, maybe with Insidious Disease and from now on we consider you a friend since you shared your thoughts with us.
Thank you too, we had a great day here.
Interview by: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.