Patrick Backlund of the Swedish doom metal band Mortalicum takes time to talk with ThisIsNotAScene‘s Curt about their latest release “The Endtime Prophecy,” the band’s history, illegal downloading and much more…
First of all congrats on your new album “The Endtime Prophecy” which I loved. The album is one of my favourites of the year so far. You guys have been getting great reviews for it. Are you surprised by all of the positive feedback?
Thanks a lot Curtis! It really means a lot to us, I promise you that. Well, we are not surprised, only grateful. The album is something we worked on for a long time and it’s also something we put our hearts and souls into.
So, when it is finally out there for all to hear and love/hate/criticize, all you can do is to hope that at least some will enjoy it as much as we did making it. It would have been really sad to only get bad reviews, but now when there are a lot of great and positive ones, I have to say we are very happy and grateful for that.
Can you go over the band’s background a bit? My understanding is that the band was initially a studio project and then evolved into more.
Like you mentioned, it was first a studio project of mine that I started back in 2006. I wanted to put a band back together again and began writing music with that in mind. I got together with some other musicians and small steps were taken after some time, but it wasn’t until early 2009 when the current line-up was finally in place and it was then when our sound really came to life.
“The Endtime Prophecy” seems to have a heavy influence from bands such as Grand Magus. What other bands are influences on your sounds?
I have to be honest here. I had not heard Grand Magus until just before we played together with them in back in 2009, I had only heard of them. I guess our influences and preferences in music and sound have their roots in the same bands and eras as theirs, and maybe that is the reason why we sound similar.
I still think we have different sounds mainly because of the different styles of vocals and our twin-guitar attack. I know what you mean though and you are not alone finding us similar to one another. I have to say they are a great band and we would love to play together with them again someday. Our influences come from all the great, classic bands from the 70’s and early 80’s.
There is a lot of spiritual/religious imagery in your songs. Do you use this metaphorically or are you religious persons yourselves?
We are not religious, so you can say we use it metaphorically. There are different “Endtimes“ in this album. End of love, End of friendship, End of life and the End of the world was something that served as inspiration when writing the lyrics and music. We think it is fitting to the music we play.
How did you guys end up on Metal on Metal records?
We contacted the label through MySpace after our first album (“Progress of Doom”) was recorded. I had my eyes on that label and thought it would be perfect for us since they seemed to be a label dedicated to our type of music. They liked the album straight away and have also proven to be as dedicated as I first thought they would be.
Do you guys have any plans on getting yourselves better known specifically abroad? A tour in Europe or the North America perhaps?
In fact, I still think we are better known abroad than in Sweden. The metal scene in Sweden is quite good actually, but it is very hard to get anywhere if you are not cool, hip or hyped, even as an underground band. A tour in Europe or North America sounds tasty indeed, but I guess we’ll have to see what the future holds for us.
If you were given the opportunity to open for any bands (current) who would you want it to be and why?
Black Sabbath! They are the main inspiration in our music and also as musicians, so that would indeed be a dream come true.
A lot of people are saying that the music industry is dead due to illegal downloading. Do you agree that this is true or do you think that things can still turnaround?
The music industry is a science in itself and I really don’t have any good answers. All I know is that things have changed over the years and will continue to change during the years to come. But to rant about it a bit, here we go!
Downloading is one thing, but it is more annoying with the uploading part of it, which is something I don’t understand. Why do you upload? Of course, I know that in some places you need to share to get, but most I’ve seen are only uploaded to different blogs and other places. I really don’t mind people uploading a song on YouTube, but a whole album in mp3-format?
What I really don’t like is the people that are trying to profit on selling illegal downloads. Fucking leaches they are! Anyways, for a rather unknown band like ours file-sharing can be seen as one way to have our name/music spread to places/people that we wouldn’t have reached otherwise. And, I am still happy if our music is spread to people who enjoy it. But at the end of the day, if we were to be big and popular partly thanks to downloads, we still wouldn’t make any money on our albums because people would still download, right? In the end it would be like being eaten by the people that fed us.
Also, similar to the above: how do you feel about those who are pro-downloading who advocate that a band should be a “brand” where they survive off of merchandise and ticket sales?
Well, anyone can say anything, but I personally don’t think that applies to most of the bands around. Only huge bands can survive on merch and tickets in the long run.
Any albums you’ve been listening to lately that you would like to recommend?
The albums that I’ve been spinning frequently lately are: “Vol 4” (Black Sabbath), “Fighting” (Thin Lizzy), “Ace of Spades” (Motörhead), “Powerage” and “Let There Be Rock” (AC/DC) and finally “Machinehead” and “Stormbringer” (Deep Purple).
Anything else you would like to say?
We thank you for the support you‘ve given us through this interview and for your kind words about our album. It is highly appreciated! Finally we wish you and yours all the good things in life!