Madder Mortem

This phoner interview was done with Agnete M. Kirkevaag, vocalist of the norwegian Madder Mortem band, in the middle of the summer. It is probably the most hardly born interview of my life… after having some misunderstandings in the schedule, Agenete called me a week earlier and I didnt even realize who I is on the other side when I disconnected the line… a week later then she was unable to call me cause heavy working time table… when we finally managed to talk, the line was so quiet, I could hardly hear and understand the answers. Then I completly failed at typing the audio record so I needed to ask for some help of my aussy mate, Pete, who was kind doing the hard work instead of me. Thanks you again mate!


– Since our previous attemps to do this interview have failed due to your heavy time table at your job, my first question is obvious: whats your profession and what do you work?

I study translations full-time, so i’m going for my masters degree in translations and also i work part-time as a translator as well… so its language all the time (laughs)

– Madder Mortem’s former incarnation is called Mystery Tribe. I couldnt find anything about it, did you release any demos under this name?

Yeh one cassette demo in 1994 (laughs) and I think it was only 100 copies, so if you’d actually found it I would have been really impressed (laughs)

– Were there any changes in the lineup when you changed the name to Madder Mortem?

Yeh it was a little before that actually, but you know Odd who plays guitar with us now he was actually in Mystery Tribe before (laughs) as well. So he and the drummer we had then left the band and then when we were still Mystery Tribe I used to play the bass, but I just wanted to just concentrate on singing, so drummer and guitar out and then new bass player and as well as a new drummer in.


– Lets jump to Eight Ways. What is the building on the front cover?

(laughs) Our cover designer, its very much his idea and he’s thinking of them as.. sort of.. from ‘sporting movie’?, the idea is for guide posts or the idea is that people go step into one of these, put the coin in the slot and then be transported to the next one (laughs) and if you look really closely there is eight of them.

– I read since Desiderate had some delays of its releasing youve got a lot material ready and would even able to release a double album. Finally you released 12 songs. Which is the oldest and the newest song on Eight Ways?

Mmmm I think probably the oldest song is actually ‘Armour’ except the verse, we changed the verse of it. But I think the actual oldest riffs on Eight Ways is a part of the ‘The Eighth Wave’ song. One of the riffs from that song is probably from ’97..(laughs) ’98 I think.

– Were you forced to skip releaseing many songs?

No we don’t usually do that. We write songs and when we are ready, we release an album (laughs).

– Why did you pick Armour for the music video? Had you got a duration limit this time?

We picked this song for the video because we figured that it must be a song that many people will like so that it has a chorus that you can actually sing along to. Also because for ‘Desiderata’ we did the video for my main assignment… its an up tempo and song and its just quite a you know, frantic dark video, so we wanted to do something the opposite basically trying to do a slower more mellow song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snRuKKQbmwU&


– Gonna shoot a second one? If you shoot a second one… Which one would you choose?

We are making a second video but we are not shooting it. No filming just entire animation. Our cover designer Christian, he works in a 3D animation agency actually, so him and a friend of his are going to be doing it for free. And its going to be for the Where Dream And Day Collide song. So we’ll probably release that video with an EP on the first month of 2010 because you know animation takes a long time especially when you have no budget at all it takes even longer.

– Have you got any female singer ideals?

Annie Lennox is a big favourite.

– Do you remember your hungarian show back in 2001?

Oh yeh (laughs) yes i do. It was kind of a special day, actually my auntie and my uncle came to visit and I really really remember while being on stage in Hungary seeing my auntie in the audience.

– Have you ever got any problems with your voice on stage? I mean, it must be very hard to sing all the dimensions of your songs…

I used to have a lot… particularly like on the first tour and stuff I had a bit of actual voice trouble where my voice would be cracking up and stuff like that, but I found the solution for that was just a matter of drinking more then 3 litres of water every day and things just sorted itself out. Particularly because most difficult thing.

– What about your side project Haank and Tank? I wanted to listen to it, but it seems even your myspace site went offline…

We’ve actually put it on ice for now, because we both have no time whatsoever we are working a lot so we had to put it on ice for a while and remove from myspace.

– As you are a Lynch fun just like me… did you see his latest movie, Inland Empire? Cause I think it has actually no sense at all 🙂

No not yet. I am weird with movies. Especially movies like Lynch where I know I am going to love the movie I sort of have to wait for the perfect timing to watch it.

– Were any of your songs inspired by his movies?

‘Formaldehyde‘ very much so. We really wanted to try and recreate that really weird atmosphere where everything is nice and quiet but still its sort of very surreal.

– You are also a Mike Patton fan… Did you see any of the reunion Faith No More shows? Did you enjoy it?

Yeh i saw them in Norway, it was like being 15 years old again. You know that feeling like when you are 15 years old and really into a band and you finally got the opportunity to check them on the stage…
how much time I spent with their albums and obviously the set list was outstanding there grinning *laughs* and i think he’s a fantastic singer and they are so fantastic in some ways how they open a with this song cover *singing* and he’s walking with a cane and pretends to be old. I saw them on the Angeldust tours when I was away for the album of the year tour and I havn’t seen them since 1992.

– Some private life question… do you like animals? Have you got any at home?

I love animals particularly dogs, I used to have… do you know what a dachshund is?.. with very short legs and a very long body. We used to have a pure bred. Last one died actually when 16yrs old, very old dog. We have a cat also.


– On your website, there is a promo photo right after you click the band menu, do you remember it? Dont you think it is a bit ambiguous?

Yeh!! *laughing* In many ways. If you are pointing out my position relative to the others *laughs*. You’re not actually the first one to comment on it. A friend of mine who writes for Terrorizer, probably 5 seconds after we posted these photos he was like ‘What are you doing in these photos?’ *laughs* A little bit of ambiguity never hurt anybody I say.

– Fav drinks?

Cola, red wine and whiskey and I am a coffee addict.

– Do you count, how many interviews you have already answered connecting to Eight Ways?

Well I havn’t actually. I don’t know how many.

– Are there any questions, you think its important and it was never asked?

The question I would most like to be asked is ‘How do you feel about having to explain why you are a girl in a band?’ Because I have been sitting replying to email interviews and at at some point the interview boils down to ‘Why the hell are you in a band when you are girl?’ And its getting to me a little bit, after 16 years. I have a limited amount of answers to ‘How do you feel about female fronted metal bands?’ I don’t feel anything about female fronted metal, its like have you ever heard of the male fronted metal scene. It doesn’t matter which body parts are where and stuff like that.

I’ve got a really good line from a friend of mine I just have to tell you this. I actually share an apartment, And I was complaining about all this female crap and he said “Why don’t you just say that you’re a part of metal backed female singing band” *laughs*

– Closing words?

I hope one day we will go to Hungary again. I actually really like it.

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