Defacing God : Interview with Sandie Gjørtz

For the release of their first album The Resurrection Of Lilith via Napalm Records, I had the pleasure to ask some questions to Sandie, vocalist of the band Defacing God!

1/ Can you introduce us to Defacing God and tell us a bit about your history?

I founded Defacing God back in 2015 with a clear vision.

I´ve been a singer most of my life and I always knew that this was the way I wanted to go but I also knew beforehand that I needed to meet the right people to work with to make my vision come true.

It happened when I met my drummer (Michale Olsson) more or less a decade ago. He lives and breathes for music as well and always had the same attitude towards things as myself. ´´If we do this, we do it properly. Whatever it takes, whatever it costs´´.

It took us some years to complete the constellation of the right band members though. Around 2017 we had our lineup complete as you see it nowadays. It just clicked and we were lucky in that.

We started out with experimenting with several styles, but mainly focused on the melodic death genre, to find a style and a sound we personally felt complete with and the creative process has been long since then. You can have a vision and a goal, but that´s the fun thing about creativity. You never know where it goes and sometimes things take a turn. I guess my personal interest for the dark and occult shines very much through in our sound and visuals that we have, but it is hard to put us in a specific box since each our personal taste and style are different from each other’s in the band but I think we found mutual ground after years of experimenting with our creativity. Defacing God is not just about the music, but the whole package. The theatric and cinematic aspect is a big part of it for us.

2/ How would you describe your music to someone who doesn’t know you?

If I should put a simple label on our sound, then I’d say we play melodic death metal. A very darkened version of it. Very atmospheric with a lot of layers and details due to the symphonic parts. We like to span the arc between raw death metal, symphonic grandiosity and the massive Scandinavian metal traditions. We are completely aware that melodic death metal isn´t a new genre at all, nor did we intend to try to invent a new genre. Every band try to do that very hard these days and then claim that they invented something new even though every genre is already played a million times before. I never intended to invent a new genre, but on the contrary, we are very proud of the Scandinavian metal traditions so the intention has always been to play a genre that we love and adore but then put our own personal touch and twist on it. We do mix our music with different styles. For example, you´ll hear a lot of black metal influences, some progressive inspiration and even classical components. Luckily creativity has no limits so with the experimenting and mixing in your own interests and influences- that´s the way you can create something that is very personal. As said, we wanted to span the arc between raw and massive death metal and the symphonic grandiosity. All the symphonic and atmospheric parts are mostly seen in the black metal genre and not that much in melodic death metal. I wanted to challenge that and I think we achieved that on our upcoming album.

3/ What are your musical influences?

I can only speak for myself in the band and personally I find most of my inspiration in other things such as movies, books, history, folklore, occultism, witchcraft etc. I also do travel a lot and dig to visit places with a darker vibe; Abandoned places, burial grounds, museums with a grim or grotesque theme and I love to hunt for gothic architecture. Almost every city or place has it´s own dark or occult story and I like to take advantage from that. The way I write songs or come up with ideas for the composing parts is mostly ideas that comes from visuals and the feelings I got through those visuals. My mind wanders everywhere, but of course, I love music too so to name a few bands that I like to listen to, then it would be bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Marduk, Satyricon, Lord Belial and Rotting Christ for example. I also dig bands such as Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Deicide, Nile and the old Morbid Angel. There are many great musicians out there and so many artists who inspired me through time, but I can´t point out one specific as such. It´s just one big melt-together so to say.

4/How do you compose your songs, what inspires you in general?

I would refer back to my previous answer here; Books, movies, ´´haunted´´ places, history of man, folklore, occultism and witchcraft. Also, humanity and life in general. Everything that has to do with darkness, sorrow and horror inspires me. I can´t say exactly why but that is just the way I am as person, I guess. I find the darker sides of everything intriguing.

Usually, our composing process starts with the guitarists and me as the storyteller. I come up with a specific theme I want to write about and the guitarists builds up the atmosphere. They tend to write a raw sketch and then we slowly start to work on the sounds details and put extra layers on it through especially the orchestration and choir parts. Sometimes it comes naturally because of an idea and other times it takes a bit more time of experimenting to get the right feeling on a song. It depends and the process is dynamic.

5/ Your first full-length “The Resurrection Of Lilith” will be released in a few weeks, what was the creative process? Why did you choose to tackle the theme of Lilith?

We had a vision and a main plan about how we wanted to make it but as it always is when it comes to being creative, then a lot of new ideas pops up during the way and you change the plan or add new aspects to it all the time (without losing the main essence of it of course). It´s very dynamic so you can have a main idea but the road to the finish line can be very chaotic. I wouldn´t say it was easy nor difficult. But it was a challenge and a lot of work, but when you do what you love you also tend to enjoy it, even though it takes a lot of effort and energy.

The topic of the album is pretty obvious but there is a lot of messages in it that you can analyze into whatever you want. It touches many aspects of what burns in my heart and what I stand up for. Every song on the album tells a story and draw parallels to the ancient, but also the present world where many people (in Lilith ́s point of view, women) still have to fight for their freedom and justice. A world where there are still people being oppressed and held down either because of their gender, ethnicity or their personal conviction

Fact is that Lilith stands for power and independence for me, so the strongest message here must be that you should always stay true to and stand up for yourself. Don´t let anything stand in the way for your dreams and visions. The stories I tell is mainly from Lilith´s point of view as said and I am aware that humans in general lived through tough times with a lot of challenges but one cannot deny that throughout history there has just been worse conditions and an abundance of atrocities committed against women simply because they were women. Just look at the witch hunt for example.

To point it out in another way; I chose Lilith as my ´´thing´´ and my overall Alter Ego in Defacing god, then Lilith is actually not a person as such to me. I just transformed her into one and personalized her in our storytelling. In reality, « she » is more a philosophy to me, but I chose to give her a face and a character in our setup so that people can relate to something. « She » is the way I see the world and the way I act and interact. « She » is what I do, what I think, what I want and the way I live my life on own terms. For me « she » is the symbol of independence, female power and empowerment. And it stands for rebellion, strong opinions and sisterhood. Lilith is a voice for those who never got any throughout time. If you have a ´´Lilith´´ inside you, you are not in doubt. It is a strong force, a power and a muse that make you and keeps you passionate and strong in life.

6/ You have released 2 singles to promote it, how did you choose them?

It was a very hard choice since we love all the songs on the album but the two (three actually, last one comes out end august) just had the right amount of grandiosity and we figured they were great single material. Two out of the three singles release(s) are stories that specifically point out the theme and stories of the album so they were obvious choices for us.

7/How do you work on your visuals?

Most of our visuals we do ourselves. Stage clothes are self-made, every material used in videos or on stage are organic/authentic (Blood, bones, wood etc.) We spend a lot on time on these things since we do most ourselves. I like it to be authentic and also, I am a control-freak and perfectionist when it comes to my work so I either do things myself or work with someone I really, really trust.

8/ What are your plans for this year?

To release the album and hopefully we are heading out on tour beginning next year! We have a lot on the map but I can´t say a lot yet since we still have a few deals to seal.

9/ What can we find in your current playlist?

I don´t really do playlists. I am busy with my own stuff so I actually don´t have much time nowadays to listen to music. But when I do, I listen to all from black metal to death metal, to rock, trance and also classical music.

10/ And the last word is for you, If you have something to say

Thank you so much for having me! It was a pleasure and I hope to see you all on the road in the future. Take care, stay true to yourself and stay metal!

Mary Motionless
Mary Motionless
25 Forever. Nergal est ma Tata, j'aime vadrouiller pour les concerts et voir les copains partout et me faire tatouer à fond!

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