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It’s hard to define which draws more the attention to GNAW THEIR TONGUES: It’s twisted black metal, full of noise, with no-conventional estructures. It’s lyrics, with impossible-to-decode lyrics. It’s arworks, which pukes on the good taste definition. Not in vain, lot of websites, define GNAW THEIR TONGUES like the most horrifying metal group. But behind this machiavellian project we find Mories, a musician based in Holand, worker as few, and with a lot of musical projects on his hands. Besides it’s terrorifing music, Mories can’t be farther of this definition, showing himself as kind and sincere in this interview. Sometimes, nothing it’s what it seems.
Subterráneo Heavy: Well, I know you have other projects, but I’ll focus on this one, which seems to have brought popularity to you. How did you start GNAW THEIR TONGUES? Wasn’t black metal scary enough for you, so you had to mix it with noise and industrial music? By the way, how did you choose the name, what does it mean?
Mories: The name comes from the bible book revelations Revelation 16:10: “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony.”
There was no plan when I started GTT. I was in a very weird negative place at the time. I composed some music that did not fit my other projects at the time DE MAGIA VETERUM. I put some songs online at myspace and the rest is history.
Subterráneo Heavy: In your opinion, how has GTT gained so much attention in the underground metal scene?
Mories: By being myself I think. No compromise. I think GTT sounds fairly unique. Maybe that spoke to people. Also the sound can be so overwhelming the first time you hear it. Maybe the cover played some part in attacking attention.
Subterráneo Heavy: Usually, people who start project for themselves they do it that way because they don’t feel comfortable working with other people, or they don’t find any other person who shares the same musical vision, which was the reason, in your case, behind it?
Mories: Doing everything myself was liberating. The technology made it possible for me to work on my own. That was such a revelation. Working with other people is always a compromise. Doing things on you own… it just purely your vision.
Subterráneo Heavy: It’s hard to label GTT, and even more difficult to try to decode it’s sound, but now I’m having the chance to speak with the father of the abomination, so which bands/artist are the influences that contributed to the band’s sound? I can figure it out some: THROBBING GRISTLE and ABRUPTUM, but for sure there’s more out there.
Mories: There’s everything from early black metal, to nineties black metal, classical music, soundtrack music, etc. I wont say there’s a certain band that influenced me a lot for GTT. I think stuff like NECROMANTIA and LEVIATHAN are of some influence. ABRUPTUM is kind of a influence, although GTT doesn’t sound anything like them… Maybe the feeling is the same.
Subterráneo Heavy: Your project was only studio-based until may 2015, when you decided to take Eric Ejispaart as a DJ for touring. Why did you decided to bringt GTT’s music to the stages? Besides, the live line-up consist on a DJ and you playing bass, quite unusual. Why not trying a full band? Is it, maybe, because it would be more expensive? I know that you work with Eric in ADERLATING, but why did you decide to include him? And, at last, why do you play bass and not guitar? Perhaps I’m wrong and you play guitar too, but when I saw your show at Amplifest, you were playing bass the whole time. Could you, maybe, consider to have a whole band in a future?
Mories: I decided to bring GTT to the stage because I got offers I could not refuse. Eric played with me for a couple of years in ADERLATING. Eric does not DJ, he plays synths/keyboards/noiseboxes, triggers samples, sings and handles the drum computer. A full live band would not work because the reason I started solo projects was because I was tired of other people bullshit. A full live band would mean more people to deal with.
Most of GTT music is played on bass, that why I decided on bass guitar for the live situation. Maybe we will add more people in the future.
Subterráneo Heavy: In ten years you have released almost 40 releases, between EPs, full-lengths and splits, all your other projects aside, if we talk about every one of them this interview would be endless. The logical question is, how you manage to take some time off to dedicate it to your music? Or you’re a lucky person and you can focus exclusively on your music in your daily life?
Mories: No, I used to work a 40 hour dayjob and make music in my spare time. I work 36 hours now. I just work very quick I think and easy. Besides GTT i have more projects and I have secret projects. There was a time I only recorded music beside work… nothing else. I stopped doing that. I think if you do this for a long time, writing music almost becomes a skill… one that i’m pretty good at, I guess.
Subterráneo Heavy: The fact that in some years, like 2007, you’ve launched nine full lenghts, which suggests me that the ideas are always emerging. But tell us, how is the composition process of a GTT album? It starts with some ideas and then you go to the studio, or some ideas arise spontaneously? What do you usually record first? Guitars, bass, drums, noises…? How do you achieve this “bad quality sound” on your albums? I mean, I know it’s a conscious decision and you’ll never overproduce your albums, but which methods do you use to get that specific sound?
Mories: The bad production comes from bad production skills and un-orthodox decisions. The will to do something different extents to the production side too. Compositions start in a lot of different ways. Sometime it’s a idea, a sound, a riff, a sample, a piece of text, anything. Usually I record everything as a idea. I arrange, re-arrange things afterwards. Almost like painting with sounds and recorded pieces. It’s never like traditional writing where you compose riff after riff. I also compose and record at the same time.
Subterráneo Heavy: Perhaps I’m making a mistake, but all your releases (or, at least, a huge part) where recorded at De Bejaard Studio. Is that your own studio?
Mories: Yes it is.
Subterráneo Heavy: Searching on Metal Archives I’ve found something very confusing. Your full-lengths are being released by Crucial Blast Records, which, if the info isn’t wrong, have released your albums since the 2008 output: A Ephiphanic Vomiting Of Blood, until your latest release Abyss of longing throats. But currently, in the band’s facebook page, you put that you’re on Candlelight Records. Since when are you on Candlelight and why Crucial Blast keeps releasing your albums?
Mories: I released one album L’arrivée de la terne mort triomphante, with Candlelight for the european territory and Crucial Blast handles rest of the world. But that was for one album only. I released stuff on other labels all the time but I tend to keep full lengths exclusive to Crucial Blast who have always done good things for me.
PS: My official Facebook pages says Crucial Blast.
Subterráneo Heavy: The next one is a doubt that I personally had since I knew the existence of your band. Since 2009 we can find on Youtube the “official” video for “The Gnostic Ritual Consumption of Semen As Embodiment of Wounds Teared in the Soul”. Besides its weird title, the creepy video (I’ve only watched twice as much, congratulations, it’s fucking scary) reflects exactly what the song evocates. But, where do the footages comes from, and what does it mean? I’ve been wondering for years.
Mories: The video is a cut up of old films i found on the internet archive. I remember one film is called Der Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam, Paul Wegener, 1920). I can’t remember the other ones. I won’t spoil the meaning of the song but it comes from the gnostic studies combined with my own fiction. I would just spoil your interpretation.
Subterráneo Heavy: Also, the artwork it’s fundamental to make the listener feel uncomfortable. Through all these years you’ve used some beautiful images, like the one used in Abyss of longing throats, but other ones are pretty disgusting. For example, the artwork in All the dread magnificence of perversity, Eschatological Scatology, and specially, For a Slaves… a song of false hope. I acknowledge that it’s impossible to ask you for each one of the images, because I guess each one has a different origin. So, I have to be more generic. Each picture reflects the concept of its album, or, in some cases, the artwork is chosen to just make an impression on the listener?
Mories: I’m a graphic designer by trade so images/art is an important part of me. Artwork needs to stand out with me personally. It needs to draw attention. I think i succeeded with that. And yes I mostly will make you feel uncomfortable if you are not used to that kind of thing.
Subterráneo Heavy: Let’s talk about your collaboration with DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that, the genesis of this project was a few years ago, probably one or two. You uploaded a song online, without title (labeled as “Untitled”), on soundcloud and the day after it disappear. I don’t know if that first song its now part of Negative Volume, but why you decided to do that way? It was just a test to see how people would react? But, when was the point in which you decided that, a full-length will come up from this collaboration?
Mories: We met in 2009 in Amsterdam when we played a gig together. We stayed in contact and have been working on a collab since than. There was never a big plan, just do some songs. We worked on it over more than four years I think, swapping files around the internet. The song a soundcloud was just a teaser, and yes, it’s on NV.
Subterráneo Heavy: Musically you have a lot in common, but how’s been the composition process? I mean, everyone has taken care of everything (vocals, drums, guitars…) or each one had a specific task? For example, DIS composing the guitars parts while you handle the drums or the noises… Actually, in NV it’s very difficult to determine when GNAW THEIR TONGUES finish and DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT begins. While I was listening the album I was thinking “this parts sound more to GNAW THEIR TONGUES, and the next one to DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT”, but most of time my thoughts were “who’s playing right now?”
Mories: They recorded lots of riffs and material and send it to me. I cut up everything and rearranged it, add parts like noises, ambient things, vocals, bass… and send it back. We repeated this cycle a couple of times. Then re-recorded some parts, etc.
Subterráneo Heavy: Where does the fascination on serial killer from? You’ve named two EPs as two murderers like Issei Sagawa and Tsutomu Miyazaki, while DIS albums have a lot of serial killers speeches samplers. And, obviously, due to that, in NV we can also find those kind of samplers. Actually we can hear Michael Ross speaking about his killings in “Visceral Repulsion”, so I suppose there are more killers featured all along Negative Volume.
Mories: Not sure where my fascination with SK comes from. Probably has something to do with misathrophy.
Subterráneo Heavy: It’s a short album, compared to what you and DIS usually offers. Were those five songs all the material you had or are there more songs that didn’t make the cut? Could you be collaborating again in a future?
Mories: No idea about the future. There was some more material but these five songs where the strongest.
Subterráneo Heavy: While you’re touring with DIS to support this album, will you play in those shows your own material and after some tunes of NV together or you’ll just play your own music?
Mories: I do my own set, DIS plays their set, they play one songs of NV. There was no time to put something together for a live show.
Subterráneo Heavy: Before we finish, what are the future plans for GNAW THEIR TONGUES after NV and its promotional shows? More touring, a new album, maybe some time off…? What haven’t you’ve done yet and you’ll like to?
Mories: There will be some collabs, there will be a new album. Things i like to do? Write a film score.
Subterráneo Heavy: Time to talk about your other projects. According to Metal Archives you have seven projects in active: CLOAK OF ALTERING, ADERLATING, IT ONLY GETS WORSE, MORS SONAT, POMPIDOU, SEIROM and PYRIPHLEGETHON, plus the defunct ones, like DE MAGIA VETERUM. As I said before it would be endless to talk to each one of it, some of them are more straight-forward, like CLOAK OF ALTERING or PYRIPHLEGETHON, which we could classify as black metal projects, and others with a experimental vibe, like ADERLATING, IT ONLY GETS WORSE or SEIROM. How did the existence of these projects has helped GNAW THEIR TONGUES, perhaps to try some new ideas that you’re not so sure to introduce in GTT’s music?
Mories: I get bored easily and i have a broad taste in music. I like to try other things thats how new projects start. I could never work on just one projects, I just have to many ideas.
Subterráneo Heavy: After so many albums, EPs with all your projects, which works are you the most proud of?
Mories: Very hard to decide. I think the most complete GTT album is All the dread magnificence of perversity. All tracks work really well together, and the album was composed really fast and easy. The ideas kept comping during the composing of that album.
Subterráneo Heavy: At last, I usually ask some artist to recommend other bands or albums they truly enjoy, but I’m gonna twist that question a little bit, If someone it’s actually interested on GNAW THEIR TONGUES, what albums you recommend him to start? The band’s point of entry, in other words.
Mories: Start with the new one Abyss of Longing Throats, then start going back in time and find your favorite one.
Subterráneo Heavy: Thanks for your time, anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Mories: Thanks you!