About Me

Interview with Mors Principium Est

Andy Gillion is a British-born multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He’s even the lead guitarist of the Melodic Death Metal band, Mors Principium Est.  Seven is a number that, in some cultures, is considered perfect. None the less, seven are the album they’ve released and “Seven”, released on 23rd October 2020, via AFM Records, is the name of this record. Andy has told Metal Imperium how he wrote the songs, the album cover, the videos, how does it feel to be part of the Melodic Death Metal scene and more. It’s an album to discover!

M.I. -  Hi there. Thanks for accepting this interview. Why did you decide to name this album “Seven”? Does it have some kind of mythological meaning, since that number is considered perfect in some cultures?

We’ve had a lot of questions about this. To be honest, we went back and forth with a few different ideas and couldn’t agree on anything. In the end, this being the band’s seventh album, “Seven” seemed simple but fitting. I personally felt the music should define the album/album name rather than the other way around. 

M.I. -  “Seven” is a perfect continuation from where you left off with "Embers Of A Dying World“, in 2017: more progressive, combined with sophisticated orchestrations and fused with dramatic melodies. Was this what you wanted while writing the album? What was more challenging? Lyrics, orchestrations, melodies or arrangements? What were your inspirations for them?

I approached the writing of the album the same way as I have with previous ones for the band. I just try to write the best Melodeath album I can and whatever personal influences I have just come through naturally in the mix of it all. I think there are a lot of progressive elements to this one and perhaps that’s down to the fact I had just written a very progressive instrumental record. I take inspiration from all kinds of places, video games, film scores, classical music – but in the end, the album just has to sound great and above all, needs to sound like Mors Principium Est. So, I have to almost get into character to write for the band. I personally think this album could be the perfect mix of all elements from the previous albums before it. 

M.I. -  Guitars and orchestral parts were recorded in Gillion's home studio, drums and vocals were recorded in the Ansa Studio (Finland) and finally mixed and mastered once again by the sound wizard and longtime friend of the band, Thomas "Plec" Johannson, in The Panic Room, in Sweden. Do you think that, recording the album in different places, you would achieve the sound you desired?

Yes! I think this is the only way we could have done things and the end result was a success. Even if we didn’t have all the issues with the pandemic, flying us all to the same studio, to spend a month or two recording, would be way out of budget. It makes sense to record our parts separately and have them mixed together in one place – and Plec did an incredible job, as always, on the production of this album!

M.I. -  How many tracks were written before you chose the final ones? What criterion were important for you, to achieve the final result?

I pretty much wrote the best songs I could and emailed them to Ville to discuss. I think this album had the least amount of songs turned down, most of them made it onto the record. I have a bunch of leftover ideas on my computer of course, a lot in fact! But the ones that made it into full songs, pretty much all made it onto the final record with the exception of a couple. I don’t like to just write 20 songs and pick the best, as I put a lot of time and effort into writing each song, as if it were nurturing my own children. So, to see them go is always quite painful. 

M.I. -  Let’s talk about the album cover, that was designed by Jan Yrlund @ Darkgrove, that has worked with Amberian Dawn, Korpiklaani, Apocalyptica, to name a few. What topics/ideas did you give him that made it into this amazing final result? Was it important to put some Finnish elements in it?

I think we gave him a few basic ideas and he just took it and created something without us really knowing what it would look like. I personally think it’s the best album art yet for the band, so I was happy to see how it came out. We discussed the colours and the fact that we wanted “Death” to feature again, as on previous albums – the rest is the sorcery of Yrlund!

M.I. -  “A Day For Redemption” is the first single, released on the 14th August and has an interesting feature, it was made by 12 Inch Media. Was it difficult to work with this Video & Motion Graphics company? How did you find them? Do you plan to work with them again?

Due to the pandemic, we were unable to get together for a conventional music video. We discussed options with the record label, and they suggested the singles be released with lyric videos instead. AFM Records liaised with them to get the videos together, so it was no issue for us at all. 

M.I. -  “Lost in a Starless Aeon” was the follow-up. Why this song? Will there be another single?

We released “My Home, My Grave”, just before the album dropped, as the third single. I think all three singles have been well received by the fans, but there’s a lot more to discover on the album!

M.I. -  21 years of existence and six full-length records. Did you ever ambitioned to be where you are now? Do you think that you’ve accomplished everything you desired, in terms of music and personal stuff?

It’s actually seven records now! I joined the band in 2011 and have written the music for the last four records, so I can only speak from personal experience, but I am very proud of what we have accomplished, as a band. It’s been amazing to take this music around the world and see the impact the music has had on people. 

M.I. -  What do you think about being one of the most important bands of Melodic Death Metal, alongside Children Of Bodom, In Flames, Dark Tranquility and Soilwork? Do you follow their work? What is your opinion about their stuff? Is this genre still popular in Finland?

I think we are still a somewhat underground band, in comparison to the ones you’ve mentioned, but I’m a fan of all of them. I do think we do things a bit differently though and, even though we are in the same genre, the music is very different. I take a lot of inspiration from all those bands and it’s an honour to be mentioned in the same breath as them!

M.I. -  What have you been listening to, during this pandemic?

Personally, I’ve been listening to the new Protest the Hero album, new Dark Tranquility is great too. I listen to a lot of non-Metal music also as it can get quite stale writing so much intense Metal to then listen to it in my downtime too!

M.I. -  In 2017 and 2019, you played on the 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. What do you remember of that experience? Do you want to go back? 

The cruise is a fascinating thing, haha. It’s like no other festival you will play, and I love being a part of it. Playing the pool deck at 4am is something I’ll never forget, that’s for sure. I’d absolutely love to play there again. It’s a real shame this pandemic has taken over as I feel there may have been a good chance we would be invited back after releasing this album. 

M.I. -  You added new live musicians and you said you feel ready to perform the new songs in the upcoming European tour in 2021. Why now? What kind of musicians were you looking for?

I think everyone is hoping to play shows again. It’s been a crazy year and it’s upsetting for everyone in the music community right now. We have some amazing guys who are stepping up to play live when the time is right, and gigs are allowed to go ahead again. They’ve all played with the band before, so are all seasoned veterans. 

M.I. -  Thanks once again for accepting the interview. What would you like to share with the fans?

Cheers! I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has been following the band and has appreciated the music. Be safe and take one day at a time!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda