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An Exclusive Interview with Dave Gregor of Morta Skuld by Josh Phillips

In a recent and engaging conversation, Josh Phillips from LotsOfMuzik sat down with Dave Gregor from the iconic death metal band Morta Skuld. In this insightful interview Dave delves into the band’s journey, exploring the evolution of their sound, the impact of technology on music, and the personal experiences that shape their lyrics.

Dave shares candid thoughts on the challenges and triumphs of creating music that resonates with fans across generations, offering a rare glimpse into the heart and soul of Morta Skuld. This conversation is a must-read for fans and newcomers alike, providing a deeper understanding of the band’s enduring legacy and their place in the death metal pantheon.

The whole transcript of the interview is below:

Josh: Hey

Dave: Can you see me

Josh: Now? I can see you, yeah.

Dave: Okay. I don’t know what was going on. I’ve been having this problem on and off with Zoom. Yeah. Like, I can’t unmute the microphone, so I don’t know what I just did, but something, because I just did a Zoom like 10 minutes ago, didn’t have any problems, but this one I’m like, fumbling around. So I appreciate your patience on that. I don’t, I don’t know what I just did, but something clicked in. So yeah, <laugh> good. Wow.

Josh: Yeah, that’s just the way it is. I had an interview at the beginning of the week and the guy couldn’t even get into the room. So, we had to set up a whole new thing. So I think it’s just a technology thing, or maybe it’s us and we don’t know how to do the technology. I don’t know. <Laugh>

Dave: <Laugh> challenged

Josh: <Laugh>. Alright. Well thanks for taking the time to sit down with me today and do the interview.

Dave: No, thank you. I appreciate you wanting to do it, so I really, I appreciate it.

Josh: Well, that’s great. I’ve become a fan over the last few years and started picking up all of your records and started to get pretty familiar with your discography. So hopefully I can ask some pretty good questions today. <Laugh>,

Dave: I’m sure you will.

Josh: <Laugh> well, I wanted to start, you know in a place that I think makes sense. You know, last year was the 30th anniversary of Dying Remains, the debut. And it seems to me my perception of the scene is that that record has started to finally get the recognition as a classic Death Metal record that it really deserves. And kind of being put up there with, you know, Obituary’s records and stuff like that, that, you know maybe, maybe not enough people knew about it before. So do you have that perception as well? Does it seem like that album’s really getting the due that it should at this time?

Dave: You know, it’s kind of a weird thing because, back in the day when it came out, it did real well. You know, we didn’t have any problems in the course over the years, you know, Death Metal has gone through ebbs and flows and yeah, when we reissued, when we first remastered it, I think like, what, six, seven years ago, whatever it was it, it seemed to start to kind of pick up an interest. But yeah, I’d say ever since the 30th anniversary, I think a lot more people are aware of it now. And yeah, I’m getting a lot of like, younger folks like, oh my God, I just discovered your first record, and oh man, it’s my favorite. And, you know, so yeah, I would definitely think once it did get the reissue and then it hit the 30th, I think a lot more people are kind of finding it out maybe, or maybe they’re discovering it now. ‘Cause I have a lot of people tell, oh man, I never even knew this album was out and they had our later records, but they didn’t have the first one. So yeah, I would definitely agree with that. And it’s nice to see that you know, it’s, it’s been 30 years, you know, we’ve, we’ve obviously got a long history in this genre. And, you know, we are, even though we’re a second generation band when it comes to Death Metal you know, we supported, you know, all, all the, you know, Cannibal, Corpse, Obituary, Autopsy, Entombed. Anybody that came through town, we supported them back in the days. So, I mean, it definitely is nice to see that that is coming to fruition and people are starting to recognize it a little more.

Josh: Yeah, I think so. That kind of leads into my next question, which is, you know, what role do you think the internet has played in possibly helping Morta Skuld get more recognition? Because, you know I kind of grew up with sort of the early days of the internet Metal world with, you know, forums in the early 2000s. And you know, I don’t remember hearing about the band talked about too much back then, but it seems like as the Internet’s gotten us more interconnected and it’s made us have the ability to sample music online and stuff like that, that a lot of the bands you know, are getting more exposure possibly through the current manifestation of the internet. So do you think that the band has been able to reach a lot more people nowadays through that, newer generations of fans? Or what’s your perception of the role of the internet in all of this?

Dave: Mm. You know, I would have to say, I think like, I dunno, like maybe five years ago, six, whatever I’d say. Now, I think what’s happening with the internet is it’s just over saturated. There are so many bands. I mean, you go on Instagram or whatever, and it’s just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam you know, it’s a lot more saturated. I think maybe five or ten years ago, I’d say maybe the internet was definitely a good tool to get us, maybe in front of some people that wouldn’t see us. Now, I don’t know if that’s really prevalent as much because, you know, with the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram and, you know, if I’m trying to sell my shirt online, this is what I noticed, I’ll put the shirt up and it barely gets any views, any hits. But if I put a picture up of, I don’t know, myself or the band, it’s like, it gets tons of hits. So I think it, you know, and it senses when you’re trying to sell something too, like you won’t get the page views that you normally would if you’re just posting something in general. So, I definitely would say like, yeah, within the last couple years, I think it was really helpful. Now it just, sometimes I will put a post up and it just looks like either nobody’s interested in it or it just doesn’t go very far because we’re trying to promote, we’re trying to promote our band. So I think when it comes to promoting your band these days, I think it’s a little bit rougher because like I said, not only are you in competition, so to speak, with all the other bands trying to do the same thing. I just don’t know if the reach is as prevalent as it was maybe a couple years ago.

Josh: Yeah. And I guess it depends a lot on the user right? And what they’re looking for because you know, I’ve discovered a lot of stuff just going on like Metal Archives and, you know, similar artists and you know, actually seeking something out. And there’s all sorts of linkages now to do that, where you can find, I hadn’t heard of that band. And then you can go on YouTube and you can sample something, and then you can go out and buy the records and stuff. But I think I understand your point, right? If, if you’re a more passive viewer right, then you might not have that stuff come across your screen because of the saturation.

Dave: Right. But I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still a tool that we have and in the day and times that we live in, it’s, it’s the tool that we all use. Yeah. So, I mean, I’m not trying to knock it and say it’s not helpful ’cause it still is helpful. I mean, I can connect with people around the world now, or in different countries, they can email me or instant message me, we can chat, you know, stuff like that. So in that aspect, it’s really good because, you know, 20, 30 years ago we didn’t have this. So, I mean, if a fan didn’t write to me, I really would never know. So now it’s really cool that way where I’ll get an instant message, or I’ll get some, you know, something on our webpage and Hey, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, you know, there’s ups and downs to it. But I guess what I’m trying to say is with the newer technology it’s definitely harder to promote yourself, I guess is what I’m saying.

Josh: Okay. So you know, I mentioned Dying Remains, and I think that, you know that record, you know, As Humanity Fades, I think all of probably the first three seem to have been perceived really well. And then I think that I wanted to bring up Surface because I feel like it’s the record that is kind of more divisive in the fan base for some reason.  And I wonder what your perception on that is, because for me, I actually really enjoy that record. And I think part of what that is that it has more groove in it. And that’s something that I personally like a lot. You know, I like Jungle Rot, I like that kind of death metal. But for other people, that seems to be a hangup that some Death Metalheads have. Maybe they think it’s too accessible or something. So I was just wondering what your perception is of how Surface is looked at and how you look at it now.

Dave: You know, I love that record. I personally feel it was one of our best records. We were at our peak. You know, we had started in 1990 and within what eight years we wrote and produced four records. So, I mean, that’s a very short time to, you know, come up with this material and constantly stay fresh. I love Surface. I think it’s a very overlooked record.. I don’t know why it’s overlooked. Because I do have fans write to me every now and again, they’re like, oh, this is like your best, and how did this not do better? Right. And we’ve had several small labels reissue it. And yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. It still does not seem to catch on. I have had some people suggest that maybe it’s the cover, like the cover. A lot of people don’t really care for the cover, and they’re thinking maybe that’s why people didn’t pick it up. Like maybe that detoured them from buying it. You know, and, and that album was really weird how it came about, because we were writing, we were doing a demo. Our contract with Peaceville ended, we were looking for a new record label, and we decided to do a four song demo. And Killing Machines was one of the first tracks we did for the demo. And we submitted it to a bunch of labels. Nobody wanted to touch it. And then we decided to go in and do another four song demo. So at two separate points of that year, we did four songs here, and then four songs here. And, but yet it all sounds like we were, it was all part of the same recording process. When we finally got all the songs together, we were like, forget it. We’re gonna put this out ourselves. And then we were at my buddy Tom’s house when he was in Oppressor, and they had just done a show with Malevolent Creation, and Phil was like, dude, Killing Machines. I love that. I’m gonna call Pavement tomorrow. So he called Pavement, and then Pavement actually contacted us like a month later and said, Hey, we wanna license the record. And that’s kind of really how it came to fruition on that record. But yeah, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s the cover because the songs themselves, I think, are structurally sound. They’re real sound, you can really tell that this was our peak record. The production’s there, the drums are there, the guitars are there. It’s just such a great record. And I don’t know, I don’t know why it goes overlooked. My only speculation is from what people have told me in the past couple years, is it’s the cover. Like the cover doesn’t seem to match the band or the songs, and, you know, and I, and I have had some labels. I said, Hey, why don’t we throw a new cover on it, see if it does any better. But, you know, with expenses and stuff like that, they’re like, no, no, we wanna keep it the way it was originally. And I’m like, all right, that’s fine. You know? And it was a S.V. Bell piece, so it was just a piece he had sitting around. I don’t even think we really even were, you know, it just, he just kind of threw the piece out there and were like, okay, fine, let’s take it, you know? Liike, it was just something that just kind of happened organically. And like I said, I don’t know. I think it’s a really good record. I love playing the songs off of that record, and I don’t know why it’s overlooked.

Josh: Yeah, the cover idea. I don’t know if I buy that, you know, I could probably think of thousands of records that have worse covers <laugh>, you know, I don’t think it’s a particularly bad cover. You know, most Metalheads are more into the riffs. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s like the sort of bias that people have towards like the debut or the first couple of records and the stuff in the middle kind of gets overlooked, especially coming out and maybe the later part of the nineties. Maybe people were just drifting in their attention from it.

Dave: Well, For All Eternity really didn’t do well either. It came out and it, and that cover S.V. Bell cover as well, that album came out and just didn’t really do much either. And I think that was ’cause of the time it came out, you know Death Metal was kind of on its way out. Grunge was coming in and kind of just taking over everything. And a lot of people were more interested in playing, you know, that style of music than playing Death Metal. And hence that’s what happened to our band in 98, and that’s why we broke up because we just couldn’t find other, like-minded musicians to wanna play the type of material that we’re playing.

Josh: Right. Yeah. Well, I hope that that record does get its due because I think it’s probably, right now, one of my three favorites. I think that one, the debut and the new one, are probably the ones that I like the most out of your catalog. So hopefully that will get its due. I wanted to talk a little bit about, you know, you took that hiatus, and then returned, I guess it was probably six or seven years ago, right. And it seemed like when you guys came back, there’s a clear sort of continuation right. Of what you had done earlier. And I do pick up some elements of Surface, in those new records. But it also seems like you came back with sort of a new energy, and it seems like those new records, I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if it’s a production thing, the sound or if there’s elements of the composition, but they just feel a little bit faster, a little bit more energetic than some of the early stuff. So I was wondering if you think of it that way, or if you think that there’s a reason why, coming back after that time, it seemed like you guys had a lot of energy at that time.

Dave: Yeah. You know, I guess the way I look at it is I’ve always kind of felt like we kind of struggle. You know, let’s say an Obituary level or a Cannibal Corpse level. And I always feel like we’re constantly in motion, you know, we’re constantly moving forward, and we’re always trying to get to that next level, whatever that next level may be. And so I think when you have something to aspire to and you have something to work towards, I think that’s where the energy comes from. But also, I have a bunch of different musicians now. That I didn’t have before. So, you know, you got Eric House, which is, well, all the guys in the band are younger than me. But you got Eric House. I mean, he’s very energetic. He’s a very meticulous drummer. He’s got a great style about him, but also he can mimic. He can play the older stuff, like to a T and he has a lot of Kent’s mannerisms down. And he has been a fan of the band since he was like 15. So he had been following us, you know, before he joined, he was constantly following us and he knew of everything. So he was real spot on when he joined the band. But I think he definitely brings a lot of energy to the band, especially with his style. And especially since Kent was a very solid drummer – He wasn’t very fast. And I think that’s where the transition comes in, is that Eric can play fast. Eric can play really fast. There’s a lot more blasting going on. Eric likes to blast a lot more. And I think you just, I just think the energy and the way of the composition of the drums.. I’ve always said to people, you can put a really bad riff, but if you have a really good drummer behind it, it can make the riff sound like a million dollars. So I really think that a lot of times it comes down to that. But also John [Hill] in the band too, you know, his bass playing style. And I just think the combination of all of us, we all have the same goal in mind, you know, we wanna play Death Metal, we wanna be the best Death Metal band we can be. And I just think it comes out in our performance. And I really think that you know, even if you go back to Serving Two Masters, our EP there’s just a lot of energy on that record too. Or that EP there’s a lot of, you know, you can just feel it. We were hungry. This is like our first EP to test the waters after being gone for so long. And so I just think it really just comes out to like, how bad do you want it, you know? And I think the fans can tell if it’s phoned in or not, you know? So I appreciate your comments on that  ’cause we do our best to do this. We work hard at it. And I think each one of my guys, you know, we all kind of have the same – we’re all on the same page when it comes to the music and to come to producing the music to put it across to the fans.

Josh: Yeah. Well, I’m glad you mentioned Eric and his drumming. I actually have something, I wanna tie that in again later, but it very much gels with what I was thinking too about the answer to that question. But before we get there, I wanted to continue with this idea of this energy that the band seems to have right now. And I just wanted to express the admiration that I have for your dedication to continue to write new music and tour with this new era, pretty much all happening in your fifties. Right? So what is it like to be, you know, fully on the horse again, right? Putting out new records every few years touring quite a bit at this stage in your life compared to in your twenties and thirties?

Dave: Yeah, absolutely. It’s such a weird time. ’cause I feel like I should have been doing all of this back then. You know, I look back in hindsight and the one thing I know, and I didn’t know this then, but I know it now. Our drummer at the time didn’t really like to travel much. So we, and through the eight years that we were with him, we never toured once. We did shows, you know, in our region. So like, you know, Chicago, Wisconsin, Chicago, maybe Indiana, but we didn’t venture off real far. But we were fortunate enough to have the Milwaukee Metal Fest every year. And then, you know, we would support a lot of the like if Cannibal Corpse came to town, we supported them. If Malevolent Creation came to town, we supported them. So we were lucky enough to play in front of these big audiences to gain that following. But as far as, yeah, I’m 57 and it’s not easy. I’m gonna be honest. It’s not easy. I was just telling my fiance the other day, I was just like, I feel like I go on the road and there’s so much I have to do to prepare to play or to keep that level up for the duration of the tour. And sometimes it’s not as fun. You know, like if people would see behind the scenes, they’d be like, man, this guy’s boring. You know? It’s just a lot of work and a lot of preparation. So sometimes it’s not as fun for me. Like, it was when I was in my twenties, when I was in my twenties, I could just go out and play. I didn’t have a care in the world, you know, my voice was there, you know. Now it’s like, okay, I gotta stretch. I gotta make sure I’m stretching my arms and my legs and my back, and I gotta make sure I’m you know, I got my humidifier with me. I gotta make sure I got my throat coat lozenges. Yeah, you know, I got my breathing techniques I gotta do. So yeah, there’s really a lot into it. And, you know, but I’ll say this much, I definitely appreciate the fact, and I’m blessed that I can still do this at 57 and that I’m able to do it. So I’m definitely blessed in that aspect. But it, you know, it is like any pro athlete or anything else, you know, you gotta get ready, you gotta prepare, especially the older you get. So unfortunately, a lot of times if people see me on the road, they, you know, if I look grumpy or something like that, it’s just, I’m just going through my preparations. I’m trying to do what I have to do in order to maintain myself, to give the fans the best performance that I can give them.

Josh: Right. Yeah. Well, I can understand. And that’s why I admire and appreciate that. ’cause I’m in my late thirties now, and I go to work. I don’t even have a physical job at all. I come home and I’m wiped out, you know, and I’m ready to just get in the recliner, you know? Chill for the rest of the day.

Dave: Right, right, right. And I don’t have a very physical job either, but I, you know, I drive BMWs for a dealership and everybody’s like, oh, that’s nothing. And this, and I said, well, I said, you drive for a couple hours at a crack. I said it, you know, it, like you said, it mentally wears on you. And like you said, by the time you’re done with your shift, it’s like, hey, I’m ready for some food, recliner, and then, rinse and repeat. Get up and do it all over again.

Josh: Right. <laugh>. Well another thing that I’ve always enjoyed about your music is your approach to the lyrics. A lot of musicians sometimes struggle with lyrics. Lyrics can be the kind of afterthought of the music. And a lot of bands stick to sort of more cliche themes. And what I’ve liked about Morta Skuld is always having a little bit more introspective lyrics, a little bit more human, more social. And so I was wondering how you see the evolution of your lyrics and the role of those lyrics in your music?

Dave: I really feel that I definitely have gotten better at it since the earlier days. And I’ll say the same thing I’ve said in the last podcast I just did, is lyrics are even, I just, like, I read an article, Max Cavalera was like, I hate writing lyrics. It is so tedious. It sucks. And I’m like, I’m right there with you, bro. I’m right there with you. Because you’re trying to convey your thoughts onto paper, and then you’re hoping that you get that idea or what you’re trying to say across to other people. But the one thing I can say with my lyrics is I write about what I know. I will write about what I experienced. I write about how I’m feeling at the time, whether it’s anger or sadness or whatever it might be. So I write about my personal experiences, and it could be something maybe something stupid like, man, this guy just cut me off and flipped me the bird. Ah, I’m mad right now. but it sparks a lyric line or sparks an idea. I also have a little help with the lyrics. My good friend Frank Rini has written two songs on this album. I think he wrote one of the last, and then two on this. I got to a certain point where I got Writer’s Block. And I just, I was like, I don’t know what, I don’t know what to say at this point. And so I reached out to Frank and I was like, Hey, man, do you have any lyrics maybe that you’re not using? Or whatever? And he is like, yeah, sure. You know, and he would throw me a bunch of different lyrics. And of course, since he’s a vocalist, he writes a lot more than I would write as a player-singer. So I would like chop the lyrics down or like, okay, I like this line into this line. And I’d kind of would just, I would just kind of compile it a little bit better to suit me as a singer-player. And then once I started looking at his lyrics, then it like, inspired me to write, you know, to write the rest of the record. So it was kinda like I ran into a block, he wrote a song or two, and then that kind of inspired me, and then I just kind of continued off of that. But yeah, I write about everything, anything I write about, it’s all about my personal perspective and how I’m feeling, or what I’m feeling. I know the earlier stuff a lot of it was about my divorce and the custody battles I went through with my kids constantly for 10 or 15 years. You know, a lot of it. And some of it was about how my ex-wife wants to control me. You know, still to this day, you know, we go through a lot of those control issues. So it could be anything that would spark me off. But, they’re all about my personal experiences and what I know. Yeah. I never wanted to write about what I didn’t know or what I don’t know. Just because then for me, it’s really hard to sing, you know, a lyric line that I’m like, I’m singing. I don’t even know what this is about, but yet I’m singing about it, so. I guess I never wanted to, I never wanna phone in my lyrics. I never wanna phone in the performance. I always want to be authentic and as organic as I possibly can be for the fans. ’cause you know, the fans are gonna know, they’re gonna know if you’re phoning it in, they’re gonna see it. They can feel it. And I just always want to be as true and honest to the music itself, because if I’m not doing that, then why am I doing this? You know? What is my end game if I’m not being true to myself? And that’s one thing I love about our genre is that it’s all about being true to yourself and sticking to what you believe and what you like and how you view things.

Josh: Right. Yeah. So let’s kind of pull that forward into the new record on Creation Undone. The title speaks to me, what I envision in my mind is, all right, well, you know, like, God has given us this incredible creation, and here we are human beings ruining everything, right? We’re messing things up with our systems, our governments, the way that we treat each other and stuff like that. So I was wondering about a couple of things. Number one, what is the meaning of the cover art? Does that tie into the themes of the lyrics? And then what is sort of the message or theme of the lyrics that you wanna convey? 

Dave: No, you hit it right on the head. That was perfect. Like man, that was great. You actually got it. It’s exactly it. I feel like we were given this Earth and God gave us a great gift. You know, whether people believe or not, that’s up to them. Yeah. But I do feel that we were given this gift, and I feel like through the past three years of just seeing not only what, just seeing what our government and just the power. I say the powers that be ’cause, you know, we never really know who’s truly running what. But I always say like the powers that be, it just seemed like they didn’t want us to exist anymore. They just wanted us to go away, and they wanted, you know, and then you have a nasty virus that comes in and just wipes out just tons of people and for no reason. And, it just really got me thinking. And I remember seeing it, I don’t know if it was, I don’t know if I was at church or if I was in I don’t know what I was looking at, but I saw something that said creation. I can’t remember how I actually saw it or where I saw it, but I remember seeing the phrase and I remember going, that’s exactly what I want to convey with this record. Yeah, and it just reflects the dark times we’ve had in the past couple years, you know? As far as the cover, I had the title already done. It was solid. I said, you know, I even told the band, I’m like, this is it. This is what the record’s gonna be called. This is it. It’s like, set in stone. And this is like, three years ago is when, maybe two, whatever, like two or three years ago. I had it and I was like, this is it. This is what I’m sticking with. And we had a piece by Travis Smith, we were looking at Travis Smith, and he sent me this kind of half done, half not done piece that I really liked. And the band was like, we don’t really care for that. I’m like, okay, fine. And so the artwork kind of just came about. It was a piece that was gifted to us from my buddy Matt Bishop. And it just was like, okay. And the piece itself it’s not – the finished piece is not what the original piece turned out to be. So we had a couple of artists that we employed to change the piece because we didn’t, we didn’t like, I, like, I got the piece, I submitted it to the label. They said, eh, we like it. We like, it’s got, and, and one of the reasons why they liked it was ’cause they felt it had some remnants of Dying Remains in it. And then the 30th anniversary was coming out, so they kind of wanted to correlate it like that. But they didn’t like it as a whole. And I was like, yeah, there’s some parts of it I don’t like either. So we hired an illustrator and an artist to re-illustrate and re-paint a lot of it, to what it looks like now. So yeah. So the piece really, the piece and the album title, you know, it was kind of almost like they both happened at two different times.

Josh: Yeah. Okay. Well musically, I think that it is possibly the most brutal album that you guys have done. I think what I was saying about the energy that it really came in, in kind of full force here. And I think a lot of it has to do with what you pointed out earlier, which is Eric’s drums, I mean, his performance on this record is just killer. it’s just incredible. And so I was wondering what you had to say about just sort of, how brutal this album is and, and how all of the different instruments kind of contributed to that happening.

Dave: Sure. You know, it was, the writing process we took for this record was a lot different. We had been having some logistical problems or not, not really logistical, but Scott [Willecke], our guitar player at the time, was working, just working a lot of hours. And you know, he’d come to practice. I mean, you could see the guy was just tired, you know? I mean, he worked five days in a week, you know, 12 hours a day. So he was working a lot. So normally what we would normally do is we would write a song, and then every week we’d come back in the rehearsal, we would re-go over all the new songs before we would start writing. And this time around we, like I said, he was like, let’s, let’s just start writing. And really, what really sparked this was, and we were just talking about this the other day, is he came down to rehearsal and got the day wrong. So we were supposed to practice on a Sunday. He came on Saturday or something like that, and I wasn’t available. And so him and Eric started writing, they started writing Painful Conflict, that it was like the first minute and a half of that they were working on that you know, I wasn’t there. And they were working on that. And then the next week we came into practice, I was like, well, let’s just keep working on it. And so what we did was we’d work on an entire song, and when we felt the song was somewhat done, we would put it on the shelf, and then the next rehearsal, we would move on to new ideas. So we really didn’t rehash what we had written or like, you know, whatever we had stockpiled we didn’t go back to until we were completely, until we had like eight or nine songs or whatever it was. And then we were like, hey, man, let’s go back to these songs and let’s see, do we need to change anything or, you know, or are they good the way they are? And so I felt like it was really more of an organic process for us this time around. And I think instead of like, and I don’t know how other bands do it, but I know like, if you come in and you rehearse like three or four or five songs and then you start writing a new song, it’s like your energy is already kind of depleted because you’ve already played three or four songs. And then you’re, you know what I mean? It’s like, you might be tired or you might be like, I’m not in the mood now, right now, you know, and this and that. So I really think the way we did it this time really worked out really well. And I feel like it enhanced, or I should say the brutality of the record, I think that came out because we were all fresh. We were all in the present as we were writing this music. And a lot of it, a lot of it was mistakes. Like, I would just start playing a riff and Scott would be like, oh, dude, I like that. Let’s play that. And I’m like, what? I’m like, I don’t even, I don’t even know what I’m playing. I just kinda, you know, no, no, no, no. Let’s do that. So that happened, like, literally like every, every rehearsal where I would just come out with like a riff and just start playing it. And he would be like, that’s it. I like that. Let’s use it. And I’m like, okay. So we didn’t really second guess ourselves much. There were songs that we wrote or that I wrote that we were playing that I felt weren’t really structurally the best or maybe the best riffs. So we did, we had about three or four songs that we tossed we’re like, I’m not gonna use these songs. And, before Scott came back to the band, we were playing with another guy, and we had written a bunch of songs with him, or he had written a bunch of songs. And when he left the band we’re like, these songs really aren’t really Morta Skuld at this point. So then when Scott came back to the fold, it was like, Hey, let’s, you know, and, and Scott had been in the band in 98 as well, so he was very familiar with our style and our structure and everything else. And so I think it was just, I think all four of us, it was just a culmination of all four of us just being on the same page, being present and just writing what, what we’re feeling at that moment.

Josh: Okay. Yeah. Well, I think that makes perfect sense to me. Like you can sense the difference there. 

Dave: Okay.

Josh: So my next question was, you know, what is the relationship like, Eric, I know, had done drums for Jungle Rot in the past. So what is your relationship like with them, with other Midwest Death Metal bands? Do you feel like there’s kind of a cohesive scene there? Or do you think Death Metal is, you know, so international now that region doesn’t play that big of a role in those relationships anymore?

Dave: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. You know, and it’s weird because Jungle Rot‘s from a different part. I mean, we still live in the same state, but they’re from a different part of the state. So we don’t, I don’t see them often, but I mean, when we all get together, or, you know, if we’re at a show together or whatever, everybody gets along real well and everybody’s real. I feel like we’re all supportive of one another. It’s just, they’re busy doing their thing, we’re busy doing our thing, and like, our paths don’t cross as much. But when they do, everybody’s really cordial. Everybody’s good. You know, Eric was in and out of that band for quite a few years, and he did a couple records with them and I mean, their new stuff’s awesome. I mean, I always like what they put out. They’re always kind of raising the bar each record they put out.

Josh: Yeah. I kind of have the same perception there. So I guess I will go ahead and I wanna ask you a little bit about touring, and then I have kind of like a more personal question, I guess, about the scene that you can respond to or not. But you’ve got some shows coming up to help promote the release of the new Skeletal Remains album. They are a great representation of this renaissance of Old School Death Metal. How did you get linked up with them and what do you think about this revival of the Old School style?

Dave: We played with Skeletal Remains a few years back at a small venue in Wisconsin, and a year later did a short run with them. Shortly after I kept in contact with Chris [Monroy] and we became friends, love their music and feel they have really carried the torch for the old school guys like me. Great bunch of guys.

Josh: You’ve also got a tour of Latin America coming up in tandem with Malevolent Creation which should be a great opportunity for y’all. What are your thoughts on that tour and is there any chance of bringing it to the United States?

Dave: When I was contacted to do South America with Malevolent Creation we were like hell yeah. I think it’s going to be a really good tour and fans seem to be responding to it very well. We will have to see if we can do a stateside tour with Malevolent Creation as well and ya never know. But that would be a rager and so much fun for sure.

Josh: I’d like to wrap things up with a more personal question that links us together. I’d actually messaged you almost exactly two years ago asking about the lyrics for Consuming Existence and if there was any anti-religious sentiment behind those. You revealed that you were actually a Christian, which I thought was refreshing, as I am a convert to Orthodox Christianity myself and there are actually a lot of us in the scene (although this is sometimes ignored). I wanted to ask about the intricacies of being both a Christian and a Death Metal musician. How do you approach listening to records that may have anti-Christian or blasphemous content? Also, how has being a Christian affected the way that people (who are aware of this) approach and interact with you in the scene?

Dave: What’s so strange about the lyrics for that song is it doesn’t sound like something I’d write and maybe one of the guys in the band helped write some of it. But I’m not anti-Christian at all. I don’t really tell many about my faith as most laugh or call you crazy or get upset about it. I never understood why my beliefs would upset other people like that but that’s their issue not mine. If I hear a band and I feel it’s blasphemous against my faith I just don’t listen to that band or that song going forward. Everyone has the right to believe in what they want or worship whatever God they want to worship but I don’t enjoy people telling me being a Christian is bad or that I’m an idiot.

Josh: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. The new record is one of your best and I hope it’s all upwards for Morta Skuld from here on out.

Dave: Well, I thank you for your time as well, and I really appreciate it.

Josh: Thank you! Yeah, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to do this. I’ve become a big fan over the last few years, so this was really cool for me to sit down and talk with you.

Dave: I love your shirt and thanks… bye.

Josh: bye

The album was released on LP, Limited edition Green LP, CD and digital.  Order your copies right here:

Catch Morta Skuld in March on the Latin America tour with countrymen Malevolent Creation.

21/3- Bogota – Colombia
23/3 – Quito – Ecuador
28/3 – Puerto Montt – Chile
29/3 – Santiago – Chile
30/3 – Concepción – Chile
06/4 – Merida – Mexico

More dates to be confirmed soon .. stay tuned

Morta Skuld Album Covers


We Rise We Fall [04:56]
The End Of Reason [03:57]
Painful Conflict [04:22]
Unforeseen Obstacles [04:25]
Perfect Prey [03:25]
Soul Piercing Sorrow [04:59]
Into Temptation [04:09]
Self Destructive Emotions [04:49]
Oblivion [04:55]
By Design [04:42]

Line up:
David Gregor – Guitar/vocals
Scott Willecke – Guitar
John Hill – Bass
Eric House – Drums

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