I’ve chosen to ask Danish artist Myrkur for an interview, as I belong to the rising number of the fans of her music. Interview was originally conducted for Czech magazine Rock&All. Interview went great, we talked for about half an hour from 8pm CET. However the next morning I realised a status on Myrkur’s Facebook 14th of August:
"Did you sing the scream vocals yourself on your album?" is a question I got from a "journalist" tonight. I don't know, do you do your own writing? Fuck you
Myrkur Good, I'm proud to be "priggish" to idiots. But Linda Marleen, you may wanna stop calling other women bitches for speaking their minds, in the long run it could hurt you.
Myrkur All his questions were in that tone. This was just the one I chose to share. It's not hard to tell when a writer is well meaning or not.
Check for yourself lower. Full audio is also included
Download audio here
Press "Stáhnout", fill the 4 letters on a picture and press "Stáhnout"
Our interview was delayed, as I was informed, due to the family issues of yours. Hope everything is fine now?
Yes, it was nothing serious. It was rather internet stuff and I’m good now.
Glad to hear that. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your debut album, which is simply amazing. I enjoyed the album for the past few weeks, as well your debut EP, where I would like to start. I’m aware you had plenty of guests on the debut album, but did you do the EP all by yourself?
I did everything on the EP myself, expect for the drumming, which were done by a friend of mine from Sweden, who helped me with that.
Why did you decide you need to include other musicians for the debut album including the bass parts, additional guitar, production, string instruments etc.?
It was not much of a need, rather than I just wanted to make a full length record. I didn’t want to do it all by myself, the way I did with the EP, as it was basically demos. When I started to talk to Kristoffer (Kristoffer Rygg aka Garm – Ulver) about him producing the record, he said yes to do it and started suggesting other musicians to get involved and places to record the album. People he recommended were great and especially legendary figures from black metal and even classical music. I feel I had an unique chance to work with such level of talent and it was very exciting and challenging.
Did you follow Garm’s career in a long term, especially in Ulver? Personally I still haven’t done it, except for their recent cooperation with Sunn O))).
I’m a big Ulver fan, especially of their earlier black metal stuff. Especially the album Bergtatt was a big inspiration to me.
Did you had a chance to see Sunn O))) live? I’m asking, as I just saw them at Brutal Assault, where we are hoping to see you soon as well.
No, I haven’t seen them live, but Kris speaks very highly of them.
When I first heard Myrkur, it was a brand new experience for me. On a first touch it seemed as a combination of Mayhem and Angelzoom. I mentioned the second name, as I was always a fan of female fronted bands. Not necessarily Nightwish and Within Temptation, but rather The Gathering and Ava Inferi which I like to... compr, comr
Yes, thank you. It’s getting late. (laugh) They are one the first comparisons, which come to my mind, when I like to introduce your projects to the people that haven’t heard about you. Do you follow other female fronted bands?
Not really, but it is not much of a choice. I just wasn’t seduced by it much, as they don’t get much coverage. (laugh) My love for black metal, started with a Norwegian bands as Mayhem, Ulver, Darkthrone, Bathory, Dissection etc. This was the sound for me.
How a girl does get to the music like this?
Even when I was a child, I really liked classical metal as Mercyful Fate, Metallica and Slayer. When I was a teenager I was seduced by Darkthrone and I started exploring from there and grew a big love for this sound.
I have reached an extreme metal, by the end of elementary school with Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains and Death’s Sound Of Perseverance. I started listening to extreme metal, when I moved as a teenager to another country against my will. Suddenly I realised this music spoke to me. People who enjoy extreme metal, often mention, there was a certain experience which brought them to extreme metal. What do you think was your reason?
You know, I can recognise those feelings of anger, hatred and secluded of the people around you, who always make you feel you don’t fit in. People who enjoy metal tend to connect with each other over this love of metal. If you don’t genuinely like metal, you actually don’t want to listen to it. You can’t pretend you like it. For me it was based on the actual music, which was a natural extension of me playing classical music and playing traditional Scandinavian folk music. It made a lot of sense for a transition to black metal.
I’m glad you mentioned folk music, which is highly related your image and overall graphics. I would really like to travel to the Northern Europe and especially countries as Iceland and Norway. People from these countries seem always very close to the nature. We might consider it beautiful and calm, but on the other hand it can be very brutal, which seems as both sides of your music as well.
Yes, I find the Mother Nature very fascinating and exactly, there are the contrasts of extreme beauty, purity and light, where, on the other hand you have frozen darkness for many months of the year. That’s why I like to seek this extremity in music.
One of the locations, where you recorded the new album was Macabre Mausoleum. Could you please tell us why you have chosen it?
It is a burial chamber for the artist himself, who created it. It has eleven seconds of natural reverb in there and it’s perfect for my choral vocals and piano recordings. It is completely dark and cold in there. It has the feeling of death, which fits well for black metal and my music I guess.
When you mentioned your vocals, the vocals, especially screams, are done by yourself right?
There is a rising number of female singers globally who can do the harsh vocals, even though the general public is still surprised, but you did amazing job.
If I’m not mistaking you practice your screams surrounded mainly by nature?
Yeah, but I also did the demos in my friend’s rehearsal place, which was empty burlesque theatre. Ceilings were extremely high and there was nothing except me in there, in the darkness. I could experiment with my screaming on top my tracks. Sometimes, when I record I forget myself in what I’m doing and it feels like I wake up all of a sudden and then I ask myself: „What am I doing?“ It is all dark and I forget for how long I’ve been here. I enjoy the feeling of disconnection. For example, I start recording when it’s a day and feel as there is light outside... then I wake up and its night. (laugh) Then I start to wonder if I’m alone or not. It is a weird combination of both, as when I scream I feel connected to my inner self, but I also feel very disconnected to anything else.
I can relate to that, as when I listen to your music, I switch to another world.
Yeah! I’m glad to hear that. (laugh)
It seems as a flight on a cloud, but suddenly there comes a fall into darkness. On the other hand both extremes, and there is a plenty of them, still work in a balance.
Human beings are this way. I’m very fascinated by a psychologist and a philosopher Carl Jung and the concept of your shadow side, where you can combine the masculine and the feminine qualities and become a higher version of a human race. I do think everyone has an echo of this inside them, but not everyone practices it and even remembers it.
Could you therefore say by your opinion that one should be aware of both of his/her sides and try to find a balance even between good and evil side...
Yeah, but I’m not even thinking about balance. I just refuse to repress anything. If you look at mythology even if it’s Greek or Northern, all the gods and goddesses don’t pretend to be almighty perfect gods. They all have different sides and make mistakes, as they have evil in them as well. It is all part of the human nature, but also part of the something bigger, possibly divine.
When we mentioned a personal progress, how much would you say, Garm helped you to grow as an artist?
He was very helpful both with his experience and expertise, but also his vision. Next to that he knows when to back off and let me practice my vision. Most of the time, him and I saw things in the same way and dreamed in a same way about the sound of the album. Actually it was very easy process.
If we compare the EP and the debut, there is a single song which is the same - Dybt I Skoven, plus I there is luckily not much of a change on that song. Why did you decide to use it once again?
There are few changes and especially it sounds better. We chose it because..., well it’s funny because I wrote that song many years ago and I guess I was very inspired by Ulver’s music for that particular song and even the content of the lyrics. When I started speaking to Kristoffer, he said it was his favourite song of the EP. When we talked about making the album, we started discussing re-recording the song from the EP, as we felt the song connected us in a weird way. Actually, before we even met.
I’m glad you mentioned Metallica in our interview, as when I heard the song Mordetfeaturing Christopher Amott, the beginning reminded me of them right away. Was it natural, as you are a fan, or was it rather Christopher’s input?
Both us like that thrashy/death/heavy metal riff sound and he happens to master it very well, as an incredible guitar player. I knew I wanted that style of a song on the album as well. He was my guitar teacher at one point and he is a friend, so I asked him if he would like to join me on the album. He thought me few Metallica riffs before, so I guess it came very naturally.
You mentioned that you spent most of your life in peaceful environment and nature. When your music came out, I started to see you all over internet and especially mainstream metal websites and their social media. How are you handling the coverage? Are you ignoring the comments from all those assholes from all around the world with their sexist comments etc.? (laugh)
(laugh) In the beginning it is overwhelming, as it is unnatural place to be in, for a human being. You are being attacked and you cannot defend yourself. Plus you are being attacked by someone who would not have the guts to approach you in person. That’s not a very human situation to be put it. It is very 2015-weird-cowardly way to be handled. But that’s how the things are right now. It might change and I quickly realised, it will happen and I see the anger as the secondary emotion and it is a result of another emotion that it’s harder to deal with. It can be all these different things. When people are angry with me, I just cannot take it personally.
You are being attacked and you cannot defend yourself. Plus you are being attacked by someone who would not have the guts to approach you in person.
Well handled! I know you must have heard this for the millionth time, but the first I heard about you, it reminded me of the Icelandic movie Metalhead. I would like to ask you, as probably one of many, if you enjoyed the movie?
I never heard of it! (laugh)
No, I never heard of it (laugh)
Am I the first one, who is speaking to you about Metalhead movie? Icelandic movie, about a girl who finds salvation in black metal and starts her one-woman black metal project?
I swear to god! (laugh) I should definitely watch that!! (laugh)
Write me on skype, when you finish watching it, how did you like it. Until then, thank you for your time, it was fun. I would like to compliment you once again on an amazing music and a fresh air in black metal scene.
Thank you, thanx for talking to me.
Looking forward to your show in Czech Republic, either solo or on a festival. Have a nice evening.
You too. Bye
Around the time, I posted this interview, I also wrote to Relapse Records, who represent Myrkur. We have long term cooperation and this was a first time, I experienced sth like this. Myrkur didn't reply, as she was in the woods, based on her FB pic, after she returned. She replied negatively on my comment, where a link on this interview was included, but she took it away, just a moment before I received numerous emails from Relapse Records. She didn't get involved in this matter anymore, which was probably advised to her. They told me it was a misunderstanding and there was an interview with very impolite Polish journalist, right after me. Whether it was true or not, I was offended by her status. In any way, it was still, with a reasonable background, one of my questions.