The following interview was done by DÄMMERUNG 'zine...

Caliginis: First introduce everyone to Mourning the Ancient...

Please give us a brief history of your work, the website and your photography!

We began working together on what is now Mourning the Ancient back in 1995. Although we didn't publish anything for a few years later when our work debuted on the web. Both of us behind MTA share the same artistic vision, which enables us to accomplish most of what we set out to do.

What do you want to express with your photography? What is the main-influence for your work?

We try to express a multitude of thoughts and feelings with our photography. We always attempt to place some sort of emotion underlying our themes. We want people to be able to view our work and not only see it, but feel its intentions, to sense what we were feeling at the time of the work. Whether we are sometimes successful in that end, is ultimately up to the viewer. It's hard to pinpoint the main influence for our work. I think it is more of a collage of many influences, some from our thoughts, emotions, dreams... while some of the external influences are nature, history, ancient religion and generally the darker side of mankind.

How far has your work changed through all the years? In the past you were not the only "object" of the photography, some other girls were with you that never appeared again. Why is the photography only focused on you?

I think it has changed a lot, but at the same time it all interconnects in a way. Like a photographic journey of sorts. The spirit hasn't changed. The overall presentation has broadened though. Our work has gotten a bit more professional, yet retains its raw atmosphere. Yes, we have used other people in our photography over the years, the bottom line is that it is very difficult to interest people in what we do. Most difficult of all is illuminating them to the vision of our work. We've attempted to use other people in our photos over the years with little success, to our dismay. So, to answer your question more directly, it is more necessity than choice when it comes to using one person in our photography. Mourning the Ancient is after all two people, which is limiting in a lot of ways, yet we try to make the best of it and strive on.

Can you imagine working with other people again in the future, perhaps also with male persons?

We'd very much like to use other people in our photography in the future. I think we could compose more detailed themes that way. Unfortunately, many people are very close-minded and dull, and that shows when we have attempted to use them in our works in the past. The eyes do not lie. We've used males in our photography in the past, but masked as 'Death' or used as more of imagery than actual persons. I don't feel that males are nearly as aesthetically expressive as females in artistic photography or art.

In your new works you express terms like "truth" or "wisdom" in a symbolic way. Can you tell us something about that? Why such terms? What do they mean for you?

Truth has always been a great ideal for us. The Expansion Rune that is so prevalent in our work represents 'the expansion of truth.' As is said, truth is a double edged sword, it is both gentle and unkind. We respect and admire nature's truth, not so much human truth, for these days it is often a lie or an opinion. We place much subtle symbolism in our work, which the majority of the viewers do not perceive. Like everything we do, we do it primarily for ourselves first. We do photography in a way that we ourselves would enjoy. Wisdom is generally greater to me than intelligence. Wisdom cannot be taught, it is usually learned through experience. I understand the ancients to have valued and understood wisdom and truth far greater than those today. These two things, amongst many others, are utterly lacking in today's world.

Nudity is an essential part of your photography, why? Were you ever confronted with the reproach of just exposing pornography? Have you also got just sexist mails or sexual offers from people who found your work? Was it ever a problem for you and your boy-friend that hundreds of people especially men see you naked?

The human body, particularly the female body, has been an expression of art since time immemorial. When used in the right context I feel it can generally convey great beauty and mystique. Nudity is also symbolic for truth, as it is unmasked, nothing is hidden. Christianity has helped to make it a thing of filthiness and something immoral, yet how can anything natural be either? I'm sure there are those who see what we do as some sort of pornography, which couldn't be further from the truth. It is those same kind of people who have in the past helped to ban paintings etc., which are readily embraced in today's hypocritical society. Modeling for our photography has never been a problem for me in the context that thousands of people will see me. If people seek pornography on the internet, they certainly won't come to us for it. I believe there is a massive difference between what we do and what pornographers do. Anyone with eyes should be able to see this. We show nothing that a past or present sculpture or painting doesn't show.

I know that you are working on a video. Please tell us more about it! Do you already have a release date for it?

Our video is literally years delayed. We've shot some footage, most of the soundtrack has already been laid by a handful of bands and us. The video will be movie-like, with lots of symbolism and themes. Lack of help locally has plagued us in the past, we've had to make a lot of sacrifices to the film already due to this. I'm unsure of a release date, but I can say with certainty it will be finished and released sometime in the not so distant future.

For some months you've had some of your own songs to download on your website. Please tell us more about your musical work as it seems to be a new aspect of your artistic side. As your web-page mainly deals with Black Metal, I was surprised by this electronical sounds, is it meant to be that way or are you looking to find the right musicians to play metal?

We first started doing music for our second photo CD, which plays in the background while one views our photography. Although we had a handful of bands contribute tracks for it, we were still lacking three or four tracks. So, necessity dictated us to do our own, which turned out well, and we've had a good reception to what we've done so far. We plan to record a music CD of our own as soon as possible with the same style of ambient/atmospheric music. No, we have no plans to do black metal, we don't consider ourselves traditional musicians in any way.

OK, let's come to your webpage. Why have you chosen "Mourning the Ancient" as name for it?

We believe the ancient and not-so-ancient world possessed qualities that are all but gone in today's world. We often long for the days when truth and nature were a big part of everyone's lives. When honor was something to be cherished and upheld. When nature's laws were also our own. Life was often hard and brutal, but was much more meaningful, in my opinion.

Which bands do you interview? Have they just to fit your musical taste or are you also looking on the spiritual/philosophical background?

Generally, we interview bands that we enjoy or have enjoyed in the past. We also like to support bands who wouldn't find that support elsewhere, and who deserve it. It is great to interview bands which have a strong spiritual/philosophical belief, although sometimes that seems more and more rare.

What means the www for you? Is it just a tool or is it more in your life? What do you think of people whose only reality is the internet, just communating via chat or icq?

The WWW is a great tool of expression and communication. It brought and continues to bring the world closer together, for good or ill. Today's WWW seems to be cluttered with more nonsense than anything though, unfortunately. But it can still be a vast reserve of knowledge. I think the people who 'live' on the internet are mainly lonely losers who would have no other life if it wasn't accessible. It gives a multitude of weak idiots a forum to be something they are not. It is surely a detestable thing how many people act so strong and bold behind the perceived safety of a computer screen. Overall, I think the WWW is a beneficial thing when used in the right ways, and not to build some imaginary life. It also shows how incapable and unwilling people are to be social and active in the real world. It hints at the further decay of the public at large.

What do the terms "heathenism", "occultism" and "satanism" mean for you? Would you entitle yourself with one of the terms?

I wouldn't use any of the three terms to describe myself. I think the terms are also extremely vague. One to a specific person might mean something entirely different to the next. People are too 'individualistic' to be tightly classified in that sense, especially in today's world, where everyone strives to be so different than the next, of which most fail.

What feelings do you have toward the USA? Are you proud to be an American? What do you think about the government? I think it is the right hand of Israel!

Perhaps the saying, 'I love my country, it is my government I hate' is fitting. The United States was founded on great principles and hardship, unfortunately like most other countries in the world today, it has long decayed and lost touch with its roots. It is truly a sad and detestable thing that our ancestors fought and died for a country that has become a tool of foreign interests. Many people abroad fail to understand that many Americans themselves do not support the actions of our government, both here and abroad. 'We the people' have lost most of our say in what the 'powers that be' decide for us.

Is there any goal in life that you want to reach? What do you think is waiting for you after the final end of your earthly existence?

At life's end, perhaps it might be to be able to say to yourself that you stuck to your beliefs and principles, and despite any opposition, fought on. I'd like to be able to look back and have no regrets. Death, I believe, is unfathomable to those living. So, I try not to speculate. I have, however, seen and done things on this Earth that lead me to believe that there are possibilities beyond life as we know it. However, what ever it is, be it an eternity of nothingness, or some unfathomed existence, I believe it will be nothing like what we have experienced or learned on Earth. Beyond imagination. Beyond the mind's grasp.

Do you see yourself as part of the black metal scene? How is your personal acceptance, as 90% of it seem to be male and many of these males tend to take woman not for serious?

Yes, you're right, I see an imbalance. Yet, it has never been important to me. The people I meet on the internet I don't personally need acceptance from. I see myself as part of the black metal scene, after all, we present our art along side it and have supported it for all these years.

America has a high amount of people who can't write or read their own language. What is the reason for it in your eyes? What are your feelings towards this society? Would you support an euthanasia campaign?

Yes, there is a definite problem with education in America. I think there are many reasons for this. To give you a few, we'll start with the fact that many people live in poverty here. Many people overseas see America as a rich country, and so I'm told it is, yet they fail to understand, since they don't live here, that much of the wealth is in the hands of the few. Most people live month to month, trying often in vain to pay off their many debts. Our country spends a much greater number of dollars on the military than on education. Teachers here are paid very low on the income ladder. Many schools are overcrowded, plagued by gangs, drugs and violence. Perhaps this is one of the reasons, but even more so, we would have to address the issue of the decaying moral fabric. Many people feel they have nothing to look forward to, nothing to strive for, or fight for. They grow up mistreated by the system, and resent it for that reason amongst others. Also, the divorce rate in the USA is over 50%. All of these factors take their toll, and there are many more. My personal feelings toward society... I think we live in an uncaring, cold and money driven world. In human society it has always been the few taking advantage of the many. It is the way it is, and the way it has always been, and probably the way it will always be. Whether it be medieval kings, presidents or otherwise. I don't really see euthanasia as an answer to the world's problems. I'm not so sure there is an answer to the world's growing problems.

Would you like to kill a human creature by your own hands?

It would never be a matter of liking or wanting to kill another human being. In the case of self-defense, or in a war I believed in, then it would be a matter of necessity.

What are your favorite books and writings?

Much of my past reading I've spent on ancient religion, history, sociology, etc.. But presently I lack the time to enjoy reading.

Please give your comments to: a) Nature b) ABSURD c) National Alliance d) Marquis De Sade

First, I'd like to point at the vast differences of the five topics in question.

Nature: Well, this is a much more complicated one... in short, I believe that man's laws should reflect nature's laws. There can be no wrong in my eyes with nature. Nature dictates, man should follow. I have the utmost respect for nature, and the greatest hatred for those who destroy it. You will find most all of man's ancient religions to be nature oriented religions. Yet today's popular religions teach nature is at man's disposal, and was created for him. The further we are from nature, the further we are from our true selves.

Absurd: I can't say too much about the band itself, as I've only heard one CD and a demo. However, I really enjoyed the CD, and still do. What they will be without Hendrik only time will tell.

National Alliance: I think its great that the NA has been supportive of Hendrik Mobus. The whole situation regarding that is a great tragedy. It surely shows our freedoms are dwindling to ashes.

Marquis De Sade: I read his works when I was younger, and recall being amazed at the level of perversity described in some of his works. He brings up many good points through his characters involving things like religion, human nature, politics and so on, yet they are marred by the other clutter.

What are your plans for the future?

Well, we plan on releasing our 3rd photo CD, an audio CD and our film. Those three projects occupy an unbelievable amount of time for us.

The last words are yours!

We send our thanks to you for your support of our work and for including us in your magazine. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the past rises and becomes the future. Truth lay unconquered, the Spirit breathes, the Dream lives on! Await the Sunless Dawn!

Back to Misc.