a three piece jazz ensemble post-Elizabethan concept album

Mors Principium Est

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! Can you introduce yourself and your band to our readers? Who is Mors Principium Est and what do you play?

A: I'm Andy Gillion, and I make up the English part of the band as the guitarist/songwriter.  

V: Thank you for having us. My name is Ville, I am the vocalist at Mors Principium Est. MPE is a Finnish/English Melodic Death Metal band that's been around for 16 years.

You've been around since 1999 and released 5 full-length albums until now—that's already quite a run. You make great music with a very recognizable fingerprint. I was blown away by your latest release. Why arent you guys bigger yet?

V: That is a good question, and I really don't know. I guess one reason is that we haven't been touring that much.

A: Yeah, I think with the right tour offers we'd get some better exposure. We're doing the hard part and putting out albums quicker than some bands, we just haven't had that 'big lucky break', but it depends on your outlook. When I was 15 years old I would have considered this as having 'made it', but when you get to this point, you always want more for the band.  

How would you sell a Mors Principium Est album or concert ticket to someone who doesn't know the band yet?

V: If you want to hear good Melodic Death Metal, then you should buy our album and come see us play.

A: Break into their houses and put CDs and tickets in various cupboards.  

You signed with "Rising Talent Agency" late last year, and entered a new booking agreement for the Americas. Does that mean more people might get to know you in the near future?

V: "Rising Talent Agency" takes care of our booking in Europe. We also signed with "Continental Concerts USA" and they take care of North America booking for us. We really hope we will get more gigs and tours with these new business partners. Nothing is for sure, but we really hope we could tour North America for the first time and also get more good tours in Europe.

A: I think touring the USA would really help the band and would just be an awesome thing to do in general. Plus, I've had a lot of people messaging me from the states saying they'll buy me beer if we play, so I'm keen to get out there. 'Breaking America' is supposed to be this big deal, but all we can really do is turn up and play to the people who want to see us and hope word spreads.  

Your band name is Latin for "death is the beginning". Since your musical style of choice is Melodic Death Metal, that's quite fitting. If death is the beginning, what's your destination of choice?

A: Mexico   

It's fair to say that if we listen to your first release, "Inhumanity", from 2003, we are listening to a different band compared to your latest release, "Dawn of the 5th Era", from 2014. What can you tell us about the musical journey you took from there to here?

V: Well, we just grew as a band and as musicians and as songwriters. Also the songwriter changed after our 3rd album, so it is pretty obvious that our music did change a bit with that change also.

A: 16 or so years is a long time to listen to the same album. Things evolve naturally, but also no-one wants to hear the same thing over and over. As long as the music remains integral to our sound that's all that matters. Of course, as Ville says, with line-up changes there are obvious changes along the way musically too, but I'm quite proud of the way that this band has created a unique sound and stuck with it. It works and that's what people want to hear from us.    

What makes a song a MPE song? What would you say are your defining ingredients?

V: If it's on the MPE album, then it is a MPE song.

A: Haha, in that case I guess that makes "California Dreamin" (Japanese bonus track) a MPE song. I could get technical and bore you with the music theory. There are a lot of things that make up the band's sound but I like to think of it as whatever secret recipe the KFC Colonel is putting in our chicken. We will never know for sure, but my god it's tasty shit.  

What would you say are the main influences for your style?  

V: Melodic Death Metal—that is the main influence—but if you want me to name some other bands, then that is quite impossible as we all listen to
different bands and different styles of music. Also, we try not to copy any other artists; we try to create our own Melodic Death Metal. If you ask people outside MPE what similar bands are there, they might mention Dark Tranquility, Children of Bodom and Hypocrisy, for example.

A: I can't really compare our sound to anyone else. I hated it when we released "...and Death Said Live" and a big sticker appeared on it saying,  
"For fans of In Flames and Children of Bodom". For me personally, having joined the band after the 3rd album, my main influence was the band itself, and my main focus was to retain the unique sound. Other than that you can get influences really from any type of music whatsoever. Sometimes not even from music!  

You're preparing for the release of a new album! What can we expect? Any details you can reveal yet?

V: Yeah, we start to record new album at the beginning of March and we are really looking forward to it. At the moment it is too early to talk more about the album.

A: It will be strictly a three-piece jazz-ensemble post-Elizabethan concept album. That's all I can say for now.  

What's your take on the current state of the Melodic Death Metal scene?

V: I really don't know. I don't follow other Melodic Death Metal bands. I know people still do listen to Melodic Death Metal and that is basically all I care about.

What bands would you love to tour with?

V: I don't know how well this line-up would work, but this is my personal favourite line-up: Metallica, Megadeth, Ghost, Hypocrisy, Old Man's Child and MPE.

A: For me it would have to be opening for Burt Bacharach.

Can we expect to see you on tour this year? What will this year look like for you?

V: Still too early to give any details, but yes, we will have at least a European tour later this year, and the first half of this year goes on the recording of our new album. At the moment nothing else is confirmed.

Any last words for our readers?

V: I hope all you people will go check out our music if you already don't know us, and hopefully you like what you hear and buy our albums! If we already do have you as a fan, keep on supporting MPE, and hopefully someday soon we will get the change to play near you!

A: Thanks for all the support so far and we can't wait to share the new music with everyone! 

Randy Gerritse