Welcome To The Forbidden World - Max speaks Out.
It's not very often that you hear from a band from such places like the Ukraine, especially one that is so good as the band 'Morton', but together by Max Morton who had also worked with bands from the Ukraine such as Grimfaith, Infinite Tales, Marvel, Morphine Suffering, Sad Alice Said, Delia, Synopsis, Wasted Heroes, Sunrise, Efir, Joncofy and others, some of which you or I had never even heard of or heard. It makes you wonder just how good these former bands were and having heard the band Morton I would be very curious to hear that Max had done before he formed this band. Morton had released 1 CD prior to this release titled 'Grimoire', which included 5 songs, recorded by Max himself and some of which were later released on the debut album 'Come Read The Words Forbidden' which is released through AFM Records. This stunning album as I hear more of it reminds me of such bands like Saxon (Been the main influence), Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Stratovarius, to name a few. Either way this band are a young and very talented band with a lot of talent to offer to the world of metal music. The band recently released their debut video for the song 'Sleeping King', which you can check out my 'You Tube'. I managed to have a chat with Max about the Ukraine's best secret now unleashed to the world. Here is what Max had to say about his band 'Morton' and a few secrets about Max himself about to be unleased, so read on and check out this great CD.
OK Max, it's a pleasure speaking to you I love the album, great old school metal indeed. So as I am not familiar with your band and I guess the rest of the world isn't either, could you tell me how the band got together and why the name 'Morton' after your surname.
"Well the name came about after the studio project I have before I formed this band. I really wasn't sure if it would grow into something bigger at that time, so I worked at my studio and I live at my studio and I have worked with a lot of local bands in the area. Morton was not the 1st project I had started but it was the 1st project that grew on me so much that I decided to form a band. First of all we recorded our 4 track EP and back then I knew I wanted to play live on the stage firstly as a singer and guitarist so later on I formed the band, we rehearsed which was great and playing live was even better and we became good friends playing live together. In the middle of 2010 I we knew we couldn't go back to the project stages of our career and so we started working on the new material in which we released our debut video clip 'Sleeping King' which was soon picked up by a Japanese label who wanted to release our debut album. The thing was our debut album was not complete at that time so they were waiting for several months until I had finished our debut album. So when the album was finished they released it immediately and I sent them the master CD and that is how we formed the band. I didn't have any other names for the band, the name came from the project I had before this band was actually formed. The name came from my nick name and everybody knows me as Morton for years & years so I decided to name the band Morton & I had no other options and it was the name we had to keep for the band. Right now I am the leaders, and I compose the music and record most of the songs and I also organize most of the stuff for the band."
As a child in the Ukraine which western bands influenced you and why?
"Well 1st of all when I was a very young child I was about 3yrs old my family were not really musically Oren-tainted and it was the Soviet Union back then I was still able to hear the likes of ABBA or Rick Wakeman or The Beatles all of which had great melodies surrounded me since my early childhood days. I think listening too those bands was really important to me because when I got older I still remembered those arrangements. When I was 13yrs old I was really inspired by the old Rock bands like 'Cream', Jethro Tull, Hendrix and later on when I was 18 I discovered bands like Judas Priest to which I became a huge fan of the band, I love all the era's of that band from the 70's to the 80's and 90's and even the stuff now. I'm a huge fan of the album 'Stained Glass' & I also like Halford's solo albums like 'Resurrection'. If it wasn't for them I would not be a professional musician today, and I was lucky enough to become their interpreter when they came to the Ukraine in 2005 'Angel Of Retribution' tour which for me was so unbelievable and a honour to work with these guys who have inspired me so much. It was just destiny for me to work with this band, and I got the job because I saw a message on their message board on their website asking if anybody could help them to be their interpreter so I just called them and they just took me on tour with them. I spent 3 days with the band backstage, at their hotels, and I was talking with Glenn a lot and he is such a great person and Rob too and their management. Glenn told me so much about their early days as a band. I am also a big fan of Saxon, they are one of my favourite band who have inspired to as well as Judas Priest. I love Biff's voice and I discovered the band rather later in life & the 1st album I discovered by the band was 'Lion Heart' and I feel that this album is underrated and after that I bought all of their albums and I have become a huge fan of their work. I do like a lot of extreme metal bands to such as Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, and these type of bands often inspire me with the atmosphere and ripping productions. I also like some of the Progressive or Power Metal bands and people compare our album to the likes of Dream Evil, Hammerfall, or Stratovarius and I have to say I am not a fan of these bands but I do know a couple of songs by Hammerfall & Stratovarius but I am a have of Kamelot and it is a shame that Khan has left the band I love their music, he is a great singer."
As a musician Max, which came 1st the singing or the guitar?
"When I was a kid I was always singing along to the bands I liked but I never treated it seriously and I was playing guitar, bass, doing the vocals & keyboards. There was a time when I tried to be a guitarist and composer and it was the time when I met Judas Priest and I started singing seriously later about 3yrs ago and it wasn't that easy as I was 24yrs old and I think it's a bit later for a singer but I don't regret it because I didn't make any mistakes with the screaming vocals or loosing my voice. I think I am still learning and still improving."
What guitar players inspired you to play the guitar?
"For years Jason I was inspired by Richie Blackmore (Rainbow) but he did not really inspire me guitar wise but I was always inspired by something which wasn't always guitar soloing. I like Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing as you can hear their own identity and I was always more into playing the riffs and I wasn't a big fan of these guitar instrumentalists like Vai, I like guitarist like Paul Quinn (Saxon) as he writes some great riffs and songs."
So where did you find the musician's for the Morton band? Where you friends before this band got together?
"I think it is easy to find musician's when it is time to record etc... you will always find somebody and it is like destiny. So when I decided to find the band I called one of the guitarist (Alexander Rudnev) from a band I was recording and asked him if he wanted to join my band. He was in a Power Metal band called 'Sun Rise' and when he joined by band he decide that Morton were more important to him so he left his band to join mine. The next guy who joined right away was our drummer Dmitry Smotrov and it is hard to find a good drummer here in the Ukraine and he is one of the best I have ever heard with a lot of talent. The rest of the band joined Morton later on and I was search of them for a long time and I auditioned lots of guitarists & bass players. So I found our bass player Andrey Karpov and guitarist Roman Skorobagatko later on and Andrey is a old friend of mine and we had played in several bands before Morton but listening to different bass players I realized that been a good bass player is not enough and I must know the person as a friend. Roman is a lot like me, a perfectionist and he plays a lot of styles like Jazz, Rock, Metal and he is a guitar teacher. I am so happy with the current line-up of the band."
Was the debut album 'Come Read The Words Forbidden' the bands debut official release and with new ideas or just old songs which needed to be recorded and released by a label?
"Well I would say half of the songs on our debut album are new, the rest are older songs like you said that needed to be recorded officially. I composed the songs whilst recording the album. We had a week to record the drums because our drummer was working really hard at that time so he took a week off work to record his parts. We only had 4 songs from the debut EP and 2 other songs 'Sleeping King' & 'Brotherhood of Light' and the rest were done from scratch. It is 100% complete Morton material and the only thing that might sound strange is that I recorded all the other parts on the album expect for the drums. This was due to the line-up changes and things were so uncertain and it turned out really well. I had a couple of months to do the solos , keyboard arrangements and to write the lyrics too. I think the 2nd album will have more of a personality and more interesting ideas, I have a few ideas already so I think the next one is going to be very good indeed."
Ho would you best describe your music? Power Metal maybe?
"That's a tough question to answer, I can not force myself to call us Power Metal and I understand that there are songs that could sound like Power Metal riffs, but I would say it could be Heavy Power Metal."
So why the title for this album? Did you have any other titles for the album?
"Well the title came to me by accident but I am not sure how it came into my head? I always treated the songs on the album as short stories by authors like H.P. Lovecraft. I think all the songs on the album have the same mood and they are all combined together and I feel that the title 'Come Read The Words Forbidden' is the right title of the album. I am happy with the way the album turned out and when you 1st listen to the album you always end up judging yourself with the production or the vocals not been so good and it is a temporary emotion so I like that. I like the lyrics and the title and everything."
So how long did it take to record the album?
"It took about 5- 6 months for me to get it done, because of like I said trying to find the right musicians firstly. We are less than 2 yrs old as a band and we are a young band and we had a contract with a Japanese label (Spinning Records) and then one from Germany (AFM) which is pretty big. We have more chances of touring and recording and so we will use those chances in the future. The Japanese fans are so special, they have just seen the video and the love the band and they haven't even heard the CD until now."
So you hooked up with Spinning records 1st, how did the deal with AFM come about? Are you happy with them so far?
"Like I said in Japan they saw the video for 'Sleeping King' and they fell in love with our music, as for AFM they were a DJ in the U.S. who liked our music and we sent him our Ukraine edition of the CD as there are no labels out here who would do the album justice. So I sent the album to this DJ who was friends with Timo from AFM and he told Timo about the album and the band and Timo seemed really interested in hearing the band. So Timo called me and the very next day after I got the AFM proposal our promo CD arrived at their office and they loved the music we were soon signing to the label."
So how long is the deal with AFM?
"We am so happy to be part of the label, they have some really good bands on their label and they do a lot for the bands with interviews, promotion, reviews etc..."
Do you have any plans to tour in 2012 outside the Ukraine? Which bands would you like to tour or play with given the chance?
"Well as it stands right now we have no plans for touring so far in 2012 but we are hoping we can play outside the Ukraine next year. We have to wait and see how well the album sells as it has only just been released on AFM. I can't wait to start tour next year I am sure it will happen. Well the 2 huge idols for me are Judas Priest & Saxon, they would be a dream to support for us. The way Biff has inspired me to create Morton as a band I was listening too Saxon 24hrs a day all the time and the EP I was creating I was listening to their new album 'Call to Arms' I was trying to give our songs the same atmosphere as that album."
Moving on before we come to an end, does the band have any new songs wrote for the next release or ideas? If so how will they differ from that of the debut album?
"We have some ideas floating about but there in the early stages right now."
Has the album been receiving good reviews from the press & fans so far?
"Well I am happy with the press reviews of the CD so far, Timo from AFM is not so happy because the press have not given the album so perfect reviews but the press do say the album is good but no drawbacks with ratings of the album like 3/5 or 7/10. I think the reviews are ok because it gives us time to improve and we are a young band still growing from the Ukraine."
Well Max, thanx for doing the interview, best of luck for the future. Stay in touch and I will make sure Saxon gets for CD's and t shirts you have sent me for sure. Do you have anything to say to the people reading this interview?
"Well 1st of all I would like to thank every metal head for their support and who is reading this interview. The fans who like our music thanx again, we should keep metal strong. Thanks for the interview Jason. We will speak soon.
Thanx for the interview Max and also Mike Exley.