A Period Of Survival And Discovery

When the album “A Body And Birthmark”(1994) was released by the - passed away a good while ago - label Dion Fortune, the gothic crew Götterdämmerung from The Netherlands got loads of positive feedback from the media. The record was an infectious mixture between post-punk and gothic, anywhere between The Wake, Sisters Of Mercy, March Violets and Bauhaus. Despite the good critics the record didn’t get the attention it deserved by the public, a situation which often shamefully happens when the label is small and/or the promo isn’t that intense. After that it seemed the 1991 originated band had disappeared, and it was really coincidentally I one day discovered that Guido (vocals), Marc (bass) and Almar (guitar) secretly released another CD, ‘Morphia’ (Nature Of Gothic), in the year 2001.

VIRUS!: How would you personally describe your musical evolution from your early (demo) days, through the mid-90's period up til today?

Marc: When we started, we were on a field-trip through the legacy of the post-punk era. Götterdämmerung was the result of that search. It was pretty 'deathrock' in the beginning.
Then we played a lot of gigs and started to record the songs wich resulted in our debut record 'A Body And Birthmark'. Our songs were more open than the bands we had listened to ourselves at that time (Bauhaus, Shadow Project, Big Black). After the release of our debut album we started to experiment more onto industrial and even house music. We didn't tour after the release although the record label had organised a tour with Garden of Delight. At that time it didn't feel right. We did play some live gigs but the magic of our first exciting years was somewhat vaporized. We went through some line up changes (including a replacement for vocalist and co-founder Guido) and produced 'Purge' as a sign of life and as a new direction. It turned out to be the end of Götterdämmerung.

VIRUS!: What happened after the release of ‘Purge’ EP? How did it happen you came together again?

Marc: We had to think things over. We were only 20 years old during the recording of 'A Body And Birthmark'. The years after that first release were chaotic and uncertain in both musical as in personal way. We had to concentrate on other things in life after we decided to quit after the ‘Purge’ EP. Although we had recorded some interesting tracks and felt that we deserved a second start with our new sound. So Almar and Marc created a new band to explore even more exciting sounds and songwriting and to be out the goth corner as well. The guitarist Almar continued with this strange crossover-band called Undesire (still active today). Bass player Marc concentrated on his visual art practice and singer Guido was finishing his studies. In the meanwhile lots of people were asking for the next Götterdämmerung release a worthy follow up to our debut album.
After 4 years I visited our former vocalist Guido and we were listening to unreleased Götterdämmerung tracks, and in the meanwhile Almar was coincidentally working on a website for his former goth band. We felt the fire of that typical Götterdämmerung sound was still burning inside. Our shared interest in the post-punk era. With just bass guitar, old drum machine and swirling melodic guitars, and some tormented vocals to tell a story and an atmosphere...

VIRUS!: Your new album ‘Morphia’ is released on a British label. How did that happen? Did you try to find a German or even Dutch label as well before this deal happened?

Marc: David Quinn, who runs The Nature Of Gothic label, showed interest in our unreleased tracks. We simply decided to make it an album and recorded new tracks. All together the 'Morphia' album tells a personal story that goes back from 1991 to 2001 and will never end again...
The Nature Of Gothic has the same authentic passion for goth music that we have. There was an understanding and trust between us mainly because David Quinn is a musician himself. The first thing he did after the release of 'Morphia' was the fact that he bought the rights of our debut album 'A Body And Birthmark' from Dion Fortune Records and re-released it immediately.
His label had the best sampler goth CD with unknown talent that we had heard in years: ‘The Whitby Compilation’. The profit from that CD goes to a fund that provides treats for children with a terminal illness. We obviously also contacted other labels but not in The Netherlands. We got positive reactions but in general they we're not 100% convinced about our eighties sound.

VIRUS!: ‘Morphia’ offers a great connection to the good old batcave sound, and also bands like The Wake, Bauhaus, March Violets, Sisters come to my mind. Not that many bands are flirting with this nearly forgotten kinda music nowadays, they rather jump on the trendy slippery goth-pop-train. What does fascinate you exactly about the classic style from then? How do you consider the nowadays goth scene? What about the Dutch scene?

Marc: We have always liked the pure and eccentric period of early goth-, wave- and deathrock bands like Christian Death, Big Black, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Southern Death Cult, Adam and the Ants, Talk Talk and also the more spherically stuff such as Cocteau Twins, Clannad, Dead Can Dance and even folkrock dinosaurs like Jethro Tull or Steeleye Span. They all had their own style and we're musically interesting to listen to. They also had the possibility to make every album a concept. Early deathrock bands had a totally different guitar style and we were very influenced by that and also by no-wave bands such as Sonic Youth. The music is our main interest. The 'gothic theater' is a visual that comes in hand when an atmosphere needs to be created during live performances. If the music does that already, then that is a far better thing.
Nowadays goth music is synthesizer music or fantasy metal. It all sounds perfectly 'produced' but we are missing the 'soul' and the weirdy edges that make you wonder what 'the hell was going on in that recording' and that makes you feel uncomfortable and curious. Odd sometimes...
In The Netherlands there are some techno goth acts such as Angels and Agony or Grendel. Then there are these 'fantasy metal bands' such as After Forever, Within Temptation and The Gathering. We don't consider the Dutch gothic scene as very close to us.

VIRUS!: Can you tell me something about the lyrical content of ‘Morphia’? Any songs who mean especially much for you? Do you consider it as a concept album?

Marc: It is not a concept album but it does have a story. It has a track from 1991 and 2001, so it covers a period of survival and discovery. We all three had difficulties with our personal life.
The tracks on 'Morphia' mean a lot to us because we still hear the struggle and the pain. The lyrics are Guido's territory and he is always silent about it; let the songs do the explanation in his credo. The songs ‘Echoes of Despair’ and ‘Disembodiment’ mean a lot to us in its lyrical content. The lyrics of Guido read like a personal confession but it has a message for everybody.

VIRUS!: If you had the possibility to shoot a movie to the record, how would it look like, what would the script be? Would you choose a certain director?

Marc: It would be part two in a trilogy; The first movie would be 'A Body And Birthmark'; a serious, but weird fantasy-saga about birth, diseases, fears, insecurity, childhood. Should be directed by Peter Jackson.
The second movie would be 'Morphia'; a sexual explicit movie with realistic elements of everyday life and the darkness that surrounds you when you're getting older. About desire and lust. About war and survival. Should be directed by Paul Verhoeven.
The third movie would obviously have our next album as its soundtrack. We are working on it. The music and texts go in the direction of exploring the pros and cons of 'family'-life. There are dark examples like cults, religious fundamentalism or things like broken and twisted families. But there are also positive elements in starting a 'clan of your own'. It will contain a lot of dark fantasies on sex, rapture and the inverted ending of our existence.

VIRUS!: You're now working on two cover versions, can you tell us what songs? Or how they'll sound like? Are you going to release them soon? What's important for you when doing a cover version?

Marc: In our live set we have sometimes had a cover ('Are Friends Electric', 'Good Things') but it’s not our main interest to do cover versions. Sometimes it fits in the concept of an album (or live show). For our next project we are working on a traditional Celtic arrangement and a song of The Human League. We are not certain that these songs will end up on our next album, at all. Maybe it is more interesting as a special track for a compilation CD with other bands.
We will take our time to work on the next album and there will be no EP or Mini CDs available in the near future.

VIRUS!: What are your plans for the next future, any side projects, live gigs etc. planned?

Marc: Almar is continuing his band Undesire at the moment, Guido is writing texts and poems and Marc is busy with his art. In the near future we are going to have a great time as a band without any pressure, expectations or restrictions; just (goth)music fun, weird sounds and the craftsmanship of three men that compose songs that stick to your goth head. Maybe there will be some live gigs in the future. But first we would like to record the new songs to finish the trilogy.

VIRUS!: Thanx a lot.
Breda, 30 Apr 2004