Limbonic Art An interview with Morfeus
With three of their albums re-released on Candlelight records, Limbonic Art are finding a much bigger audience around the globe. Atmospheric, symphonic, and experimental, they're bringing much more to Satan's Black Metal altar then a bunch of kids with three chords and some face paint. In fact, any boundaries set by genre are blown up as they go, each album more amazing then the next. I recently spoke with guitarist and keyboard man Morfeus...
So the records are now properly distributed throughout North America. What kind of sound were you going for when you were writing and recording the last one?
I don't think we had anything planned but it definitely became more aggressive as we were working on it. When we went into the studio we basically decided to kick some ass this time around, so that was the main focus. We wanted to make it as hard as possible without losing the atmosphere that has become Limbonic Art.
I think the way you sort of layer the sounds adds to that atmospheric feeling, yet like you say you've managed to become much heavier.
Each song and each riff are sort of built in different ways. But it either starts with a riff or the drums and you just pile sounds on top of it. You try something and fail then try again. When we were done writing we just realized it's got to be hard, so lets make it really hard. Plus when we started working on the album it seemed that other Black Metal bands were going for a slightly softer sound and we wanted to go the opposite way.
That's interesting because your first album was so focused on keyboards when that really wasn't so popular and now you get heavier when the trend is to do more melodic stuff.
Yeah, I don't know why it happens that way with us. We're just rebels I guess...
And you're such a good keyboard player. And you guys seem to really understand how to use keys whereas so many Black Metal bands really use it as filler because the main riffs are often weak and lack any structure.
Yeah, I think that's true. And it's funny because the whole keyboard thing really started out as just a coincidence really. When we started out it was just the two of us, as it is now, and I was playing drums... I don't really know how to play drums but I love to beat those things. We were really doing it for fun, just working together and jamming. I really wasn't good enough though so we started looking for someone who had enough skill and could fit with us mentally. Then at work I came across an old keyboard that had a really good drum sound and I suggested to Daemon that maybe we should just do the drums through the keyboard until we found someone. Then I figured we might as well do the bass parts on the keys to, just to make it sound fatter, and it really snowballed from there. That's really how it came about for us. There was no intent from the beginning to classical styled symphonic stuff. Then it started to sound cool and now it's really who we are as a band.
And with each album I think you've become a bit more accessible. Though I'd say your still somewhat of an experimental band, in the past you guys may have went a bit too deep and the songs were a bit long for the average Metal/music listener.
That's true but I don't think it's something that we've done intentionally. There is a big difference between listening to music and playing music. You have a totally different feeling. Some riffs can be really nice to play and kind of trance like to let them just roll and roll, but to listen to it, it might be boring after one minute. So yeah. Maybe we did think about people listening to the songs a bit more.
Though you guys are a Black Metal band it seems by listening that your influences come from some other places. It's almost quirky like Zappa or more along Black Metal lines of Bathory.
Well Daemon is more of an old school guy into Massacre, Destruction, those kind of bands. I'm more of a futuristic type. I eat any kind of music from techno to Metal, almost any type really. I also think I've stopped listening to music in a common way. When you work with music you become so focused on details that maybe I even sometimes miss the whole picture. I find myself listening to just the drums or just the bass, or I'll be waiting for some two bar break that I think is so great. I think that influences me more than music in general. I can be just as inspired by a small two second detail in a pop song than in a whole band.
How do you feel about the constant comparisons to other Norwegian Black Metal bands?
We often hear or read comparisons to Emperor, which both Daemon and I both think is a great band. They're the only band I think that we would kind of compare ourselves to. It's hard to compare though because you could pick out small pieces here and there and say this sounds like this band, blah, blah, blah. I've always been into Metal music. I remember the first Metal songs I heard were Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Iron Maiden and Fight Fire with Fire by Metallica. I had put a tape in and recorded off the radio while I went to sleep and when I woke up I played the tape and had those two songs on it. I had no idea what this type of music was but I really liked it. And then I think everyone has a period in his or her life where you're extremely focused on something and I kind of got stuck in the Metal thing.
In Norway is the society and culture supportive of kids getting involved with music and the arts? Was your family supportive of you?
Yes my family was very supportive, but I think they were the exception. I think that's pretty much universal. Some parents accept what their kids do and others don't.
How long have you been playing music, guitars and keyboards?
I've been playing guitar since I was 15, so around 11 years now. I don't really consider myself a keyboard player. I'm really just a programmer or a composer, but I can play. I find it easier to program first and then learn to play it after an hour or so. Some people think in Metal might think that's wimpy or whatever, but I see making music sort of how I see a car. I wouldn't care how the cars built as long as it's taking me where I want. It's the end result that's important.
Plus you guys really come up with interesting lyrics and cover art...
Yeah, the whole concept of every album involves so many feelings and ideas that we try to bring across not only in the music but also in everything else surrounding the band. Everything is presented as perfect as it can be at the time when we do it. Normally though after the albums released for two or three months I think man this sucks. For me though I would be disappointed if I didn't feel that way, if I still thought it was perfect then it's probably time to move on to something else. If it were perfect then I would be finished with music. I could imagine making music and thinking oh shit I can't do better than I already did.
Since it's just you two guys in the band do you guys have a very close relationship? Are you constantly working together?
No, not really. From time to time it differs a little bit. We've had obstacles along the way and actually we haven't been working together for quite some time. It's really nothing worth mentioning but the new album we're working on right now is 6 or 7 months delayed. It's just normal things that happen in life.
You do all the artwork and it mostly centers on stars and the night sky. Are you very interested in astronomy and the stars?
Yeah, I've always been fascinated by the stars. But really I think its representative of the atmosphere of our music, so really it's the band vision.