Purity Coffins: Gnaw Their Tongues Talks New Album
Maurice de Jong, more often known by his nom du plume "Mories," is an anomaly. With so many musical projects -- 22 active projects as per Encyclopaedia Metallum -- and zero stylistic bleedthrough between each is a feat. That being said, Gnaw Their Tongues is the jewel in Mories's crown and lengthiest artistic achievement. Lasting fifteen years and boasting countless releases (I'm not counting these) under the project's belt, Gnaw Their Tongues's seamless fusion of black metal, doom metal, and noise results in a primordial ooze of all one's fears, intrusive thoughts, and inner negativity. To celebrate Gnaw Their Tongues's impending fourteenth full-length release release, titled I speak the truth, yet with every word uttered, thousands die, due for an April 3rd release on ConSouling Sounds and Tartarus Records, Mories spoke with us about this new album, his project's potential demise, and musical creativity overall.
Your previous works have alluded to the apocalypse and end of days, but this new album seems more pointed and real. What influenced the negativity found on this album?
This record was finished well over a year ago and the recording and composing started almost two years ago now. I deliberately wanted a bit of a pause (personal reasons). Due to the same reasons (I don't really want to discuss in detail), there was a sense of dread and urgency in both my body and mind at the time I started this album. And yes, reality is much grimmer than fiction/scripture these days.
Going off of things being "grimmer," this new work is also much more abstract and noisier than other full length efforts under the Gnaw Their Tongues moniker. What led to this?
The previous album was already pretty abstract and contained very few riffs… or guitar for that matter. Every time I got a new Gnaw Their Tongues track idea, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, already did that on that track or on that album." I think I have explored that sound enough. If people want that "old" Gnaw Their Tongues sound, there's plenty of that stuff out there. I needed to challenge myself a bit, too. It's almost like painting with abstract sounds and bits of music. I also feel kind of "there are no rules here," which I also like very much. I have said it many times before: Gnaw Their Tongues is a very personal expression. I must confess, I struggled to finish this record. I feel I have said/expressed all I want with this project... been doing it for over 15 years! At the same time, I'm sure there will be something in the future that will make me want to make new Gnaw Their Tongues stuff. I also feel I have a waning interest in the music scene, in playing live or discovering new things. It feels less important than it used to be. I'm sure that will change, too.
Could this be the end for Gnaw Their Tongues otherwise?
End, probably not… A break? Yes, I think so. I also need to find a new form for the live situation… since my bandmate will not be able to help me for the foreseeable future. I need to rethink my approach to both recording and playing live with Gnaw Their Tongues. Besides, I have plenty of other stuff to keep me busy. I think a break will do me good.
It will be interesting to see Gnaw Their Tongues go dormant considering how prolific you've been over the past fifteen years.
I had a break before in 2011, but yeah, this is how i feel at the moment. I change my mind all the time. I am still very satisfied with how this album turned out. I worked really long and hard on these tracks; trimming of all excess material until these 8 "bombs" of hate were left. For me (and I've been living with these tracks for over 2 years) these are… yes, very noisy, abstract and abrasive… but also strangely catchy in my opinion.
Is catchiness something you usually take into account when creating Gnaw Their Tongues material?
Not at all, but I like to shape things and make them "musical," if that makes sense. Noise is just noise, drones are just drones… trying to arrange them in a musical sense (in the more traditional sense) probably results in them sound catchy, at least to my ears.
What process did you take in arranging these elements?
What I usually do: I have an idea in my head, or I have some leftover song. I record some parts. process some sounds or samples and try to make it sound good (or really fucked up to be honest). I rearrange and process everything to a point where i can say "Whoa… this sounds brutal (or awful, hateful etc.)." Track 7, for instance, started with a sound being mangled by a granular plug in. I thought it sounded cool. From there I started adding drums, beats, more tension sounds, et cetera. Another example: for track 4 I took the low bass drone from an unused track and added the vocals from another leftover track and processed them with a ringshifter. That sounded really sinister to me, so that was an idea to keep. It evolved into what the track is now. I actually had approximately eight other tracks already finished before these ones on this album, but in finishing those tracks I realized they sound too much like my trying too hard to push the Gnaw Their Tongues sound in another direction (a bit more melodic, less noisy). I was thinking too much about it. Thinking too much of an audience, or a "career," if that makes sense. I trashed them all and started these. They came out extra fucked. I had a lot to channel.
If you see Gnaw Their Tongues taking a break in the future, do you have a means of channeling the hate and negativity you put into this project?
I have lots of other projects to keep me busy! I hope that the projects I have with real drummers will take off: Dodenbezweerder and Mystagogue. I would like to play more gigs with those projects.
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