In a world were there are so many bands to keep track of I want to bring my two cents in presenting you to this interview with MORTA SCEPTERL. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Well we were briefly named “Impaler”, more fitted for what we’re playing but of course it’s already taken by hundreds of bands. For our 1st gig, we had to find a name but we didn’t have any (good) ideas so we’ve decided to name the band “Scepter” (a word we liked to shout out during our drunken parties, as a private joke). Scepter wasn’t good enough on it’s own (and already taken as well) so we added “Mortal”, because we needed a word that sounds “mean”. That name was just for the purpose of that 1st gig and would be changed afterwards, but we kind of liked it so we decided to keep it.
How do you introduce the band to people that are new to your music?
-The easiest way to describe it would be a violent, dark, fast-paced Thrash Metal (not the generic party/funny Thrash trend you could find some years ago) with some Death influences. Aggressive songs, harsh vocals. You can find some similarities with bands like Kreator, Sodom, Sarcofago, Demolition Hammer, Massacra, Aura Noir and all the Teutonic Thrash scene in general.
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-That’s a funny question because for everything we’d released, we weren’t fully happy about the sound and the whole mix/master. We are obviously influenced by all the bands from the 80/90 because it’s what we listen the most and what we want the band to sound alike. We don’t want to have the modern/generic sound all the new bands seem to have nowadays. So the sound we have is basically a mix between the old records and the will to feel the power from the guitars, but clumsily done !
What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-There is a (very) small scene but the thing is, there are few places to play. The only “big” events out there are just a mix of several genre we don’t really belong to. When we started Mortal Scepter, we were basically the only ones in our hometown to play this kind of metal, that’s why we barely played in our area. So yes a band can go on and do something interesting without be part of a local scene, but it helps a lot ! Without any pretension, we don’t have anything in common with the others bands, apart from one or two. It would be nice to see bands with the same musical vision and interest but that’s a fact, we’re are alone here, even it seems to have new bands playing old school Black/Thrash, but it’s too soon to tell. We can name a few good bands from our area like Skelethal, Massive Obliteration, Infinite Translation (RIP), Frakasm etc.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-First of all we’re just friends who have the same taste for music and like to play together. We just want to have fun, play what we like, travel and meet new people, that’s all. In a way some may think it’s something better than not having a band because you’re “contributing” to the scene or something, but for us it’s not.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-It’s a little silly but we think a cover album has to be kinda grandiloquent and arrogant. Something that make the people wishing to discover the music. That’s no secret that bands 30 years ago used to have big cover arts because they knew that it’s part of the music. But even if your album kills, if you have a cover done in a rush or not in relation with the music itself, the public might think twice before purchasing it. Especially nowadays with trillion of bands available and with Internet, we have to offer something maybe not unique but different that everything you can find.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-It seems inconceivable today to buy an album without searching on Youtube for a song or a full streaming of the record first. Surprisingly, as for the metal/underground scene, we think the digital helps the music growing. It’s one of the easiest way to discover new bands nowadays. But when it comes to purchase an album, the physical format remains the best (without opening a debate on CD/LP sounds better than audio files). As a passion, a record isn’t only the music, but everything that comes around. None of us are buying digital copies, and no offence but what’s the point ?
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-France isn’t known to be a “metal friendly” country as Germany or Sweden, but you can still find a bunch of cool festivals and gigs everywhere. Most of them are located to the west part of France actually and Paris.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-It’d be both actually. As said earlier, playing live is a way to have fun for us, meet people and also discover new bands. But when we are on stage, we’re releasing all the hate our music offers and forget all notion of “party”. Because of everyone’s job we can’t play as much as we’d like to, so we use all the energy we have.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-Looking at the past 5 years now, when we began to play gigs and record stuff, we didn’t really play in a “big” festival yet. We did play some and great ones though (hails to Ulric and Lead Us Into Hell), but we are looking for more. A big tour would be great too, playing to countries we haven’t been before. We’d like to play more as well of course.