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Orkus! interview November/December 2013 (uncut)

1.     I think, some of the German gothic-people don´t know you and your art yet. Please, can you tell us, where you live, which kind of music you are create - especially with the Martyr Lucifer-project - and why you are do such kind of art?

ML: Hi Axel, let's say I am a beginner, but only as solo artist, as I have in my solo discography just one album, “Farewell to Graveland”, and this new collection of EPs “Shards”. In brief, I started my music career with the one that has always been my main project, the avantgarde extreme metal band Hortus Animae (that everyone should be checking out!) back in 1997, then I joined the experimental death metal band Opposite Sides, from 2004 to 2009, in 2008 I joined the international space rock collective Space Mirrors to try something new and different and the same year I started feeling the need to express myself in a different way than all the other projects and make something completely mine, something that no one but me could decide about its direction. So speaking of the Martyr Lucifer project, that takes my stage name since Hortus Animae's early days, I think the music can be described as dark/gothic rock, with shades of electronica and progressive and still maintaining a certain metal touch, cause I like when guitars have a thick sound. People say: Katatonia and Tiamat meet Joy Division and The Cure. So, well, I felt the need to express myself in a more intimate way, and of course, the music must follow the lyrics, that's why a different approach was needed, from the music and from myself. It's the dimension that as a solo artist is more comfortable for me. Oh, I live in Italy.


2.    When you began to make music and what were your influences?

ML: I began writing music, but as a teamwork, in 1997, with Hortus Animae, our influences were (and are) mostly rooted into black and death metal, 70's prog rock and gothic, but not only that, really, we could find inspiration and like to listen to the most diverse music styles. Instead I started writing music all alone in 2008, as previously said. Actually I was drafting a few tunes already in 2006 but then left everything in the closet till 2008, when I finally and seriously decided that I had to create something personal for myself.
I could mention as my main influences for my solo project: The Cure, Joy Division, The Cult, Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Tiamat, Pink Floyd, just to name a few and to give you a general picture.


3.    What do you want to achieve with your music, what do you want to express?

ML: The answer to this question is not so concrete in my case... I mean, music and art in general always walked with me during my life;with Hortus Animae I wanted to express  all my  aggressiveness, something I wanted to scream to the world - and I did it. Then, you know, time passes and people change, the rage of my youth channelled into a more conscious dimension and I started writing about more diverse themes. So I started analysing the human feelings, our spiritual dimensions, I try to give food for the thoughts in a not so cryptic way. Although, even now, you still need to read between the lines, many times. Yet the majority of times my lyrics could have a multiple meaning, offering the listeners the opportunity to give their own meaning and make them fit to their lives and experiences.


4.    Is Martyr Lucifer a kind of solo-project of you (But there are other artists too, I think)? And whats with the other projects (Hortus Animae and others)? They are still active with you as a member?

ML: As a matter of fact, Martyr Lucifer is not a band, Martyr Lucifer is me. I work with other artists, of course, but the project doesn't have a line-up. This means that for the recordings I've done I have worked with certain musicians but not necessarily the thing will repeat, maybe yes, maybe not. The only constant partner in crime in this project is the Ukrainian artist Leìt, additional vocalist and responsible for the amazing visual arts.
I am still part of the Space Mirrors collective but merely as singer, I don't compose anything. Well, actually I wrote the music for one song in their latest album but still I am just merely their singer.
Hortus Animae have been on-hold for 7 years, we reformed this year and just completed the recordings of our comeback album called “Secular Music”.


5.    If the other bands are still alive, why you need Martyr Lucifer? What you can do there, what you don´t could do with the other projects?
ML: Well, just because with my solo project I can express my deepest inner self, and also I write all the music and I take all the decisions about arrangements and recordings, from beginning to the end. There was and there is a lot of myself in the other projects but I can't tell they're 100% mine, that's why I need it.


6.    Martyr Lucifer´s “Shards” is a compilation of three EPs. Were this three EPs also published individual (I mean three releases) or only in these way, that the three pieces are together?

ML: In the beginning I meant them to be released separately. But then, you know how we artists are: moody, fickle, often on the edge of borderline... So I've changed my mind! After all, gathering the three Shards in one package I'm adding a new album to my personal discography and the fans mustn't spend their hard gained money three times, if they can buy one only product. Moreover with Andi of Outline Rekordz we have managed to release a sweet digipack edition, which is a pleasure to hold, watch and listen to, so I'm extremely satisfied with the final decision.


7.    Which are the differences between “Shards” and your debut “Farewell to Graveland”?

ML: Well... Let's say that I like to think about “Farewell to Graveland” as the result of the work of a painter, ended up in a painting where you can see all the colours and the shades that define the general picture. In the Shards I have taken some shades and  analysed them separately. So in “Shard One” you can find the most gothic and heavy side of my music, in “Shard Two” melancholy is emphasized, through delicate acoustic and strings arrangements, “Shard Three” takes the power back, thanks to a more vibrating rock approach.


8.    Why do you named it “Shards” and not parts or pieces? Isn´t a shard a part of something, that is broken, that you can´t use longer?

ML: Shards - they're something sharp, something that can cut, something that was not only broken but really sharpened. This is how I see the EPs I am making. They are of course individual portions but still part of a general vision, that are reflecting now not one and only picture but different parts of an ambient - music in my case. So watching my Shards as parts of a broken mirror you can surely use them, having even more perspectives. If you take a mirror and break it, you will obtain irregular pieces, shards, in fact. And their shape and size cannot be decided before, so they're also unpredictable. As unpredictable as the shades from my sound that might be analysed in a certain EP.


9.    Is every shard standing for itself or they are belongs together, do they form a overall view? And what is the main-theme?

ML: No, “Farewell to Graveland” had somehow a general theme. In “Shards” there is no main theme, it's a collection of songs that stand on their own, each one telling its own story, not connected to the other songs.


10.    Were this three shards developed chronological from I to III or had you work at all the three shards nearly at the same time?

ML: The whole process took almost a year. I started working on “Shard One” in July/August 2012, recorded it in September 2012, then I started working on the material for “Shard Two” and recorded it in April 2013, in the same month of April I wrote “Shard Three” that I've recorded almost immediately, in May 2013.

11.    The second shard is more quietly, easylier than the others. Why you have choiced this interruption of the more rocking, powerful sound? (This is not a negative meaning, I really like the second shard!)

ML: Oh, well, actually I didn't decide it, that's how “Shard Two” turned out. And then, I wanted the Shards to be placed in the right chronological order into the album, so that's why it gives this effect of interruption. But maybe we could better see it as a pause for a good breath.


12.    Who is the girl at the cover? Have you chastise her, as you saw, that she has broken your favourite LP?

ML: The girl in the front-cover is the above mentioned Leìt. And now I will tell you something I haven't told anyone else before! The broken LP is Deicide's “Amon: Feasting the Beast”. Well, I like that album, but it's not exactly my favourite one, anyway, still it was a rather uncomfortable and sad  incident about that broken LP, the fact is that I didn't even try to punish her because, even if from photos and her vocalism she may seem so fragile, sweet and docile, it is better to not try punishing her as she really bites (laughs). Then she instead would have punished me, the photographer and everyone walking around at hand to her wrath!

13.    Please, can you tell us, what are you doing beside the music? Maybe as your hobbies but also in professional way (Are you working? Are you study?) and why? For example, because you like it, or to have money to can produce more music or because you have four hungry children at home?

ML: This is a transitional period for me, I used to work at night and sleep all day, as a vampire. It was that kind of job that you don't do for passion but just for need. Yes, to make more music and to travel for example and, yes, to feed more than four hungry mouths, but not children... I have lots of animals that live with me and around me, so you know... And in fact now I am changing my job for it to be also a passion itself as I will work for animal-care.


14.    The images of the cover, the booklet and also your homepage are playing with the past. Why?

ML: There are so many ready phrases to answer this question, like “there is no future without past”, “in the past the future was made”, etc. And yes they fit, but the fact is that it is because some epochs, not necessarily the oldest ones, are rather charming for me. About ways of life, some habits that people had, some objects of the time, clothes, even manner of speech... If you noticed in the artwork we are playing with anachronisms to connect in some way past with nowadays, not in some serious way but just with some slight irony.


15.    What, do you think, was better in the past? And what, in your opinion, was not so good in the “good old times”??

ML: Beyond the factors previously mentioned I must say that in the past there was not this urgency for being in a hurry, instead now everything is instantaneous, sometimes it is a good thing but I do appreciate the slow living, gives you more time to think and analyse things. I am myself a son of this age and so I am used to our technology and so on, but I think I would easily get unused.
Surely the good old times suffered from narrow-mindedness, while instead today we are even too much opened (laughs).


16.    If you could chose, in which period you could life – which age, which era would you chose? And why?

ML: (laughs) I'd definitely chose Satya Yuga! But ok, seriously speaking, about our epoch I wouldn't even know... You see every age had its charming moments and some moments I would like to avoid. Some events or lack of some knowledge or other things... But if to be completely frank, I would like a little aloof living, something in the deep woods far from everything I would not even notice what period of time it is (laughs).


17.    What about the future? Will there be more outputs from Martyr Lucifer?

ML: Yes, definitely. Martyr Lucifer is a running project and in development. I have already completed the songwriting process for my next full length album and I have some tracks ready for some possible new future Shards, so stay tuned cause many surprises are waiting for you!


18.    What is your greatest wish in life? Maybe, for yourself or for the mankind. And what do you think, how this wish can become true?

ML: You see I don't believe in progress. That is, the general progress that everyone is talking about. I mean look around, new medicines? Yet more and more people get more seriously ill all the time; new peace campaigns, but people die from wars and other acts of violence as it always happened... And so on, no need to fall into rhetorics. But I don't see anything actually progressing. Every little blade of grass, or a huge mountain and the Earth itself, they're not getting younger or better. There is a part of illusion when everything blossoms and then becomes old and dies... So surely this common but important phrases about peace in all the world and freedom and clean nature are working also for me, but I believe that that it can be achieved only through our own personal progress, development - the only progress existing in the world. That is, a person makes some work on himself, self completion, don't know, chose the philosophical term you prefer, and this way the world can actually become better.

Thank you very much for answering my questions and sorry for my incomplete English.

ML: It's been my real pleasure and thank you for this interesting and uncommon interview.


Axel Schön
Orkus!-magazine, Germany


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