Last month they re-released their EP's Fireborn and Divine Facing. Shortly later they performed live for the first time in more than ten years, and now for the first time in a decade or so a new interview. Malign's founder, main composer and frontman Mörk speaks.
- I don’t think many people who don’t know Malign will read this interview, but as an introduction it might be a good thing to ask: what does Malign stand for? What are the main views and opinions of the band?
Malign is a vessel and a channel for our long withstanding attraction to the utter darkness and all which that entails. In short, we are a Black Metal band oathsworn to religious, theistic Satanism.
- Malign started back in 1994. Can you tell something about how the band took form?
The decision to start a band certainly derived from the abovementioned relation to the dark side. In 1994, when we were in our mid teens, this was perhaps not manifested in a very sophisticated way, neither musically nor lyrically. Then again, we will never be a band showing off our musical skills or mindlessly ranting holy words just for the sake of seeming wellread and sophisticated, but focus on maintaning and channeling that spontanious, oppressive aggression always captured in our music in combination with a noble, respectful and sincere admiration and propagation of the forces we represent and worship within our lyrics.
- Last month Malign did their first live performance in more than ten years. How did you experience it?
Mixed emotions really. The 20 minutes or so that we spent on stage were certainly tremendous spiritually. On a more mundane and personal plane, the fact that this took place in my old hometown (Stockholm) was both good and bad. It would in many ways have been easier to do this in another country, but it felt good to see some very old supporters and allies there, as well as the many new ones. We had no idea what to expect really and eventhough I suppose the experience/outcome witheld more pros than cons, it was in the end an experience that confirmed my decision to leave the "rock star business" more or less behind.
- Watain and Malign are a logical combination, but the combination with The Devil’s blood seems a bit weird. How did it turn out?
Musically, I suppose you have a point but these three bands are about much more than mere music. I think I can safely say on behalf of the others that these three acts all respect and admire eachothers work. Even if the bonds between Malign and Watain may be stronger, more apparent and older, I do extend my support to S.L and The Devil's Blood. We'd never had participated otherwise.
In spiritual regards, I personally view TDB to be more of a Black Metal band than most Black Metal bands in certain ways and they are one of very few acts in the history of any genre that have that magicly charged aura about them.
Even in strict musical terms, I think it turned out great with Malign opening, TDB doing their thing second and Watain finishing the ceremonial proceedings that evening. I wouldn't call TDB's less "violent" set a resting pause or anything but I think they fit well in ideologiaclly, and their sonically different style made things way more effective/balanced than if Watain would have had to use 5 shitty "Extreme" Metal bands as openers. I know everyone involved felt content with this line-up and that is all that matters anyway.
- Till now Malign only released two EP’s and a demo. Is there a particular reason why you didn’t record more?
Not one reason in particular but many. Most of them too complicated, private or uninteresting to share here anyway. The simple answers as to why we have been improductive (to put it mildly) are; misanthropy, poverty and other priorities/necessities/problems.
- It’s been a long time since Malign released new material. Now Divine Facing and Fireborn are rereleased through NOEVDIA. Can we expect a new release somewhere in the near future?
Yes, those two sold-out EP's are now re-released on one LP. This release is not limited as we have no desire to fill the pockets of pigs getting rich through the hysterical second hand market on the internet. There was a Digi-CD version with this material released in 2005 which also seems sold out. I do not know if that will be available again at the moment.
If there is one thing I have learned through all these years, it is not to promise or speculate in anything regarding forthcoming activities of Malign. We are still, and have more or less continuously been, working on the debut album. It should have been out in the 90'ies but then again, I believe our music and message is timeless in this context. There are plans for more releases in the near future, but if they come true or not is another question alltogether.
- Can we expect more Malign live performances in the future? A full tour maybe?
No! We did the gig in Stockholm to express our support and gratitude towards Watain on their 13:th anniversary, for everything they have done for Malign and the ideas we share. We do NOT feel like touring in some shitty old van to play for squatpunks and patchvestmongoloids anytime soon.
The circumstances under wich we did the gig with Watain were very special and, I suppose, the next time such a lucrative (no, not financially I assure you) and worthy form of opportunity to perform live occurs we'll see what fate allows us doing.
We have declined a few offers that were given us as a result of people hearing we were "active again" already. Flattered as we may be by all the interest somehow, we feel we should focus on getting the album out rather than giving metalheads a good night out.
- All members of Malign are and have been involved in other bands. What is the reason that you decided to bring Malign back to life?
Malign was never dead. Certainly, we could have been more active, and our obligations in other bands may have affected this a tad bit, but not to any greater extent. The only musical "side-activity" that ever took any time and greater effort was my participation as live-musician for Watain during 2001-2006, and my departure from them didn't really change Maligns pace anyway. Vocalist Nord has also been in Ofermod since 1998 but recently quit.
Like I said, time is not the most relevant factor when it comes to Malign and in my mind and heart it is an everbreathing presence, almost like a being, excisting on its own, craving devotion and sacrifices at times. We seldomly do things consciously in the right sense of the word and have no businessplan. Malign is very much about the gut feeling and state of mind of its members.
In late 2011, it just so happened that the stars aligned and it was time to reappear. The abovementioned concert could perhaps be seen as an instigator and catalyst to get us going again, but it honestly might aswell take another decade before we make another move. We have agreed that it is about time to complete and record this debut album that I believe was announced in 1997 or so.
At the moment, I am not even really certain who is in the band or not, but as long as I write/channel the bulk of the material and Nord channels the lyrical propaganda the rest is actually of less importance. For the gig with Watain, we used a session drummer and guitarist. They might be included in future projects and some other very talented and motivated allies have expressed a wish to assist us aswell. The mundande, human "who's" and "what's" are irrelevant in relation to our message. We may not rehearse or even socialize privately these days but neither are we on ice or dead if you ask me.
- Malign is often mentioned as one of the originators of “orthodox black metal”. What are your thoughts about that?
So they say. I don't even think I have a conception of who all these new "Orthodox" Black Metal bands are these days, nor do I really care. Very few of these new bands I've encountered have impressed me or even captured a fraction of the spirit of the "forefathers" of this genre.
I fear many of them are just regurgitating the lyrics, aesthetics and conducts of behaviour of their forerunners without any deeper insight, cause or thought behind their decisions, but that wouldn't be the first time such things happen within this or other subcultures.
I'm not saying there is necessarily something wrong with being influenced (By us or whatever) but I just hope that pathway which Malign and certain bands around us may have opened will be truly entered by those after us, and that their deeds are sincere. Then again, why care what I think? I am a mere human but the forces behind Malign are cold, unforgiving and unsparing. Remember that before toying around with symbolism, sounds and appearances stolen from us.
With that said, I care little for what goes on in Black Metal. I prefer focusing on Malign and assuring that what we do is genuine, honest and effective. The fact that some think we are (more or less) cult is nothing that occupies my mind or nourishes my ego. Confirmation from other humans is something very far from what our band and its spirituality is about. On the contrary. The slaying of the ego and indeed the eradication of other humans is of high priority.
- In a short message on the bands Facebook-page it is stated that “Malign have refused to parttake in this disgusting scene for long”. What exactly do you find disgusting about the “scene”?
It would be easier to answer what I do not despise about the Black Metal scene, the Metal scene in general or, quite frankly; mankind.
The short answer is: the fact that the Black Metal scene is inhabitated by humans, and noteworthy, often humans of the worst kind. Narcissists, impostors, weaklings who thrive from getting confirmation from their "metalbrothers" and enjoy having a laugh and a drink, whilst they bask in the glory of their latest obscure vinyl, scored on ebay. Humans bound by petty materialism and sinful thoughtless lust. Certainly, may be classified as a Metal band but that does not mean we have to parttake in that truly loathsome movement. Our concept and religion is completely detached from what they stand for.
We felt very distanciated from the scene early on. Even if we had a vast web of contacts in the old letterwritingdays and so forth. With time, we got more and more serious in our ideas and about that journey on the left hand path. I suppose noticing how nearly everyone around us turned out to be nothing but bigmouths, backstabbers, stoolpigeons etc made us withdraw from their circus to cultivate our beliefs and to develop our interests in seclusion.
The only reason we finally gave our blessing to a page on the internet (The facebook infopage you refer to) was that it no longer made sense to stay completely silent. I have yet to see a biography on us on the internet that has the facts right. Hence, the only logical step was to establish a platform where we can spread correct and relevant information regarding the band. With that said, this page is a matter of conducting a monolog, not a dialogue.
We are still congregated from the grey mass that is the Black Metal scene, especially in its digital manifestation. The internet with all its backpatting, thumbsup and everflowing ocean of completely irrelevant information makes me sick and is far below what we, as a band, are about. The interest in Malign has never faded but rather increased lately so we felt compelled to give a sign of life , straight from the source.
However, since letterwriting, flyers and fanzines made out of paper is quite an outdated medium, here we are. Perhaps those old mediums weren't really less repulsive in essence but there is just something about the internet that doesn't feel right or good in my opinion.
I believe we will try to set up a proper webpage a.s.a.p instead of that facebookprofile, but until then, as the page reads: It is THE ONLY relevant and reliable source of information regarding Malign. That doesn't mean however that it will be updated everytime someone in the band has picked their nose, as the case is with certain other bandprofiles.
We already tried the silent approach for a decade wich only rendered in the spreading of incorrect facts and speculations about the band, so we will try the opposite for a while. But I must admit it feels like a setback somehow. I stopped answering interviews about ten years ago, this is one of the first since, and the reason for that was mainly because I didn't think there was anything of importance to say about Malign that is not or will not be included on our releases.
While answering this, I realize that this fact is actually still true and that I really do not enjoy answering interviews, since the humans behind the band are unimportant and the music speaks for itself.
- What kind of people do you hope will listen to Malign’s music?
That is nothing we consciously think of or really care about. I said ten years ago that we perform the music of our religion primarily as an outlet for our devotion as a manifestation of our beliefs and secondly hopefully to inspire and incite battlelust and comfort for those who might share our beliefs. That is still valid! I primarily write and perform music because it is a calling, a compelling command from an outer will, to wich I must abide.
- An essential element of black metal is devil worship. It seems all serious black metal bands have their own definition of that. How would you describe Malign’s view on Satanism?
That's an odd way of putting it. Anyway, this is the type of question that I do not want to, am allowed to, or should need to answer. If there is anything about us that is not included in our music and lyrics that I would have to explain, then you wouldn't understand anyway. What Malign is about should be very obvious in the lyrics and atmosphere. Worship on an almost primal level, uncomplicated devotion and in its simplicity and clarity, therefore also very potent and undefiled.
- Nowadays the subgenre of orthodox black metal is getting quite big. Bands like Watain and Deathspell Omega are getting more popular every day. Do you see that as a good thing? Or might the result of that be that the genre gets weakened just like black metal in the late ‘90’s and death metal in general?
Another odd question but I think I understand what you are getting at. I do however have no doubt regarding the strength of the two bands you mentioned. They have kept wandering farther down the path and are most likely to continue doing so, regardless of how many albums they may or may not sell. That the genre may be watered down by clones without spirit is perhaps a risk, but hardly something you could blame these two bands for.
I am not here to care for or save some genre within Heavy Metal and I don't think any of the bands on Norma Evangelium Diaboli are, but I guess you are better of asking them personally.
- Thanks a lot for this interview!