Interview conducted via email, May 2013.
WULF: OK guys, it’s been 6 long years but finally a new album has emerged!! “…And Death Said Live” is easily one of the strongest melodic death metal album to come out in a long time. While we here at Malicious Intent have really enjoyed listening to it, how has the reception been for the album on your end? Also, how have people reacted to your cover of Backstreet Boys’ “The Call”? :p
MPE: We have had really great reception from the fans, of course you lose a few people because it is not the “original lineup” but the majority of people love the new material, and the fact that we could carry on with the same style, and improve in some areas. Many people thought it wasnt possible for us to write this record, but we proved a lot of people wrong, and came out with a great album. We were really lucky working with Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson in Sweden when we recorded, he really captured our vision, and gave us the end result we were looking for. ‘The Call’ is only on the Asian release, so many people actually haven’t heard it!
WULF: There’s tons of stuff going on on the album, including guest guitar solos from Jona Weinhofen (I Killed the Prom Queen, ex-Bleeding Through, ex-Bring Me the Horizon) and Ryan Knight (The Black Dahlia Murder, ex-Arsis)…how did this come about? Are they personal friends of the band?
MPE: Yes, they are both personal friends of ours, and also fans of MPE, so it was a natural thing for us. We wanted to include a couple of guest artists, and having these guys was great. Ryan is an amazing player, and has been a huge fan of Mors for a long time, so was really excited to play for us, he gave us an incredible solo too!
WULF: The album art is really cool. One of my favorite types of metal album covers is that medieval-esque woodcut style…I was also surprised to see that it was done by Jan Yrlund! I’m not too familiar with most of his music or artwork, but “Dim Carcosa” by Ancient Rites is one of my favorite metal albums ever!! Why did you decide that he was the right person for the job? Also, I’m not sure if I understand the concept behind it… I felt the album to have a really positive, exciting vibe to it (“…And Death Said Live”, i.e. the band has cheated death and is back with a vengeance!) but the cover to be pretty grim, almost a black metal album cover. What was your reason for this?
MPE: We had an idea in mind with the concept (and yes you’re right on that) and we had a style that we liked, but we really let Jan suprise us, and this was the first thing that he sent us after we talked with him and we loved it. It worked out great. It wasn’t conciously aiming for ‘black metal style’ but we had an idea and a style in mind, and this was the result.
WULF: Obviously there’s been a ton of drama regarding MPE and guitar players…how did you finally end up hooking up with Andhe Chandler (from New Zealand!) and Andy Gillion (from the UK)? I know on your website it said that you were looking for people to audition via the internet, but what made you finally decide on these two guys? Have they relocated to Finland, or is MPE now an international band?
MPE: From the website, Andy joined the band first, then 6 months later Andhe joined. Andhe has been living in Finland for a year now, and Andy is still living in the UK, just flying to Finland for rehearsals before gigs etc. We had over 200 applications for guitarists, but picked the best two that not only could play, but were able to write MPE material.
WULF: For me at least, one of the best characteristics of MPE’s signature sound are the epic, atmospheric keyboards. However, it’s my understanding that the band hasn’t had an official keyboard player for years…which begs the question, who handled the keyboards on the new album? Are you going to have a keyboard player for future live shows, or are you going to use samples? Also, just out of curiosity, are you looking for a keyboardist or do you feel like nowadays it’s no longer necessary?
MPE: We’re using samples for the keyboards live. While sometimes it would be nice to have a keyboard player there, it also brings lots of other “problems” as far as having to take an extra person on tour, and everything becomes more expensive etc. We are playing to click tracks with the keyboard samples, so that our live performance still sounds like the album does. Andy took care of the majority of the keyboard programming on the new album.
WULF: Really random question, but Mikko Sopola (drums) is one of the founding members and has played on all of the albums except “Liberation=Termination”, where the drums were handled by Marko Tommila…why was this?
MPE: Mikko was going through some personal things here, and didn’t have the time to concentrate on this album so he wasn’t available then, so Marko filled in to get the record done.
WULF: For your upcoming Japanese tour, it looks like Andy Gillion won’t be able to make it and is instead being temporarily replaced by French guitarist Kevin Verlay. What’s the story behind that? Is Verlay going to be a permanent replacement? How did you find him? Will Gillion be able to make it to this upcoming show in Seoul (Asia Metal Fest 2013)? Also, is it a conscious decision to not work with Finnish guitar players since they seem to be such bad luck for the band? :p
MPE: Andy is the best man at his friends wedding, so cannot make the Japan tour, as the wedding is right in the middle of that. So when looking at getting someone to play for us, we were talking to the guy booking our tour, and his brother had previously played bass for Aborted, and had uploaded a cover of a new MPE song on youtube. So i checked him out, talked to him a bit, and when we get back from Korea he’s coming to Finland to rehearse with us before we hit Japan. Gillion will be with us in Korea though! And for the upcoming Finnish gigs also.
WULF: One of my favorite things to ask bands is for book or movie recommendations. Is there any specific literature or film that has inspired your music or lyrics, or just your life in general?
MPE: As far as lyrics go, i guess influence comes from everywhere, but we had some sections based on Greek Mythology etc, I’m a big fan of horror / dark films, but I’m not sure if any of that comes in as an infuence as such. The new Evil Dead remake is fantastic, some great scenes that pay homage to the original, but a new take on that classic film.
WULF: Obviously there’s Asia Metal Fest 2013 coming up here in Seoul along with a Japanese tour (congratulations by the way!) later this year. Do you have a huge following in Japan? Also, are you planning on playing any other dates in Korea? It seems like such a long way to travel just for one show!!
MPE: We just have the one date in Korea, then we are taking a couple of days to explore Seoul. We have a great following in Japan, and we can’t wait to get there. Both of our Tokyo shows have sold out already, and we get to see quite a bit of the country for all the other gigs, and playing with Origin and Aeon, it should be a blast!
WULF: What are you hoping to accomplish with your performance at Asia Metal Fest 2013? Have you played in Korea/East Asia before? What can your fans expect to see at this upcoming show? Also, do you like Korean BBQ?? The food here is killer!!
MPE: We have heard many things about Korean BBQ!! We are looking forward to trying out the food, and seeing Seoul. Korea is a place none of us thought we would ever get to, so we are very excited. It is also our first time playing in Asia, so lots of new experiences, and actually our first show this year. So it should be a great time. We’re playing songs from every album, not just the new material, so we hope everyone enjoys the show.
WULF: Are there any other tour plans in the works right now? What does the future have in store for the band? Any plans for a DVD, future albums, etc?
MPE: We have a couple of festivals lined up here in Finland, and a Japanese tour. We had a great European tour lined up but the headlining band wasnt gathering enough interest so that was cancelled unfortunately – our booking agent is looking for some more gigs for us for Autumn, so we hope to be on the road again soon. We have started to look at new material for the next album, so we’ll see what happens, no DVD plans yet – but it would be nice to do a music video.
WULF: Any final words or comments for the fans?
MPE: We really hope you can make it to the gig, and enjoy our set. This is our first time in Asia to play, and we’re really excited, thank you for having us! (Can’t wait for this Korean BBQ!)