Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
MM: We are dedicated utterly to crafting songs exploring every facet of traditional black metal on our terms alone. We play unholy pagan mountain metal, fuck the rest.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
MM: Our history starts in the mountain town of Rye, Colorado, where The Black Ram first started playing metal and discovering death and black metal. The Spectral Visage booked and played Denver black metal shows for years with his own bands. Ram met Visage a few years before the founding of Malum Mortuus, at a festival The Spectral Visage was drumming at, and the two of them started jamming together after meeting there. After replacing two previous bassists we added J.P. Wrath to the fold and have so far been a more productive band than ever.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
MM: Ram: We’ve been inspired by a ton of fuckin bands over the years, from traditional heavy metal and NWOBHM, 70s progressive and psychedelic rock, extreme metal, and more. For lyrics I’ve drawn a lot of influence from the approaches of King Diamond, Summoning, Bathory, and Death. Recently we’ve been heavily inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s inimitable The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, and not any recent TV depictions.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
MM: We have never had aspirations beyond writing and recording the music we can be proud of, and publishing it so that it will last long after we’ve left this life behind. We own enough studio gear to record without anybody else’s help or input and that’s what we will continue to do until the day we’re not capable anymore.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
MM: The best show opportunity we were offered in the four years we’ve been active was opening for fucking Funeral Winds here in Denver. That one might have been our first name making show in our hometown and we’re still proud as hell of the set we brought that night.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
MM: We distribute mainly through Bandcamp and YouTube, though our music is also on Spotify and other services. However, Malum Mortuus are an EP and album oriented band, and we prefer to listen to bands with the same idea. We sequence all our track lists for an experience that doesn’t work in the playlist format. We’ve tried to maintain an output of at least one release per year but sometimes shit doesn’t always work out according to plan.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
MM: We don’t seek out a lot of time on stage as we are the only true black metal band left in the city of Denver and damn proud of it. We choose not to play mixed genre shows with trendy death metal bands or with fucking posers. We’re not opposed to playing live but the pandemic also shuttered a lot of local doors in a lot of cities and many of our favorite stalwarts are either closed or under new management now. We still have yet to book our first tour as Malum Mortuus, despite all of our separate experience in other bands over the years. That time just might come after we have our debut album ready.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
MM: We believe physical media is the only true way to own the music you love. Anything can be released online and just as quickly be removed. And there’s always been some magic about putting your hands on a real product. We always order copies of our releases on CD because of that, despite it being more difficult to sell than digital. Our music is still available through most digital retailers and streaming services but you’ll be missing out on extra artwork and inserts if you aren’t buying the discs.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
MM: No comment.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
MM: We first got into the music community to share knowledge and music with those who were willing to listen. That’s why we play and it’s why we run the Imperial Darkness Records distro. We’ve been active locally for years even before Malum and with every passing day more people prove themselves to be opportunists for prestige and money rather than real artists. The music industry is populated with sellouts and backstabbers who act professional to your face and then fuck you over for their own benefit. Fuck all those people. We believe in taking extreme metal to the underground once more. No more big venues, big stages, and big egos. No more fakes, scene tourists, and posers. Find someone else’s subculture to cannibalize. Fuck off and die!
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
MM: We have a handful of projects in the pipeline we’ve just been waiting to record the songs for and get the art commissioned and laid out. Our next planned release will be called “…and They Cried with the Voices of Death”. It’s half EP, and half a tribute album. It will feature more covers from the Italian duo Nazgûl as well as one from Summoning, and then 4 original Malum songs inspired by them and the works of Tolkien. One full length concept album worth of songs has been finished since last summer, “Forever Bound to the Black Blade”. Recording them has just been sidelined by the few shows we played in the last year or so and now that we’re taking a break from that we’ll be jumping into production right after the completion of “Voices of Death”. And there’s also a second album worth of material that’s nearly finished to follow that up with, we’ve just got a song or two to add before it’s up next.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?