Writing music in some shape or form since the 1990s, Maurice “Mories” De Jong is a name the has become synonymous with the darker side of heavy music. With a plethora of musical projects under his belt, it is his one man band Gnaw Their Tongues which fans may be most familiar with.
The experimental project from the Dutch multi-instrumentalist has evolved over time, and the latest evolution comes in the form of new record Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent, which delves even deeper into the dark psyche of its creator.
I caught up with the man of very few words to discuss his latest recordings and what the future has in store for GTT.
Since you got the ball rolling with Gnaw Their Tongues you have been very prolific with the releases you have put out. How do you keep things so fresh for each release?
Probably by trying to come up with something new every time. Something different but with the same feeling that is GTT. I try not to repeat myself.
The new album Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent is a further extension of you delving into the darkness, what was the inspiration of this record and was there anything you did differently when recording it?
I went back to the original plan of having no boundaries sound wise and that everything is allowed. This record also feature more electronic sounds, less guitar and bass. The original plan was to have no plan at all. Inspiration comes from the terrible state of the world these days.
How did you come up with the name for the new record?
It came from certain news images I saw on the net.
Can you talk us through what the recording process for a Gnaw Their Tongues record consists of?
It usually starts with song skeletons: pieces of rhythms, a sample, some chords, sounds. Maybe a riff. Sometimes a sound idea. Just little ideas that grow into tracks. I’ll add stuff or rework everything until it sounds right to me.
Gnaw Their Tongues conjures feelings of contempt, disgust and physical illness. Is that how you feel about your fellow man?
Yes most of the time.
Some people may find the music you produce is difficult to listen to, is this done intentionally on your part or do you just make the music you want to?
Nothing is intentionally. I just make the music that sounds right to me.
Having started off as a studio project you have branched out more in the last few years. How have things progress making Gnaw Their Tongues into a live band?
The studio and live are two separate things. The records are as I want them to be. Live we are a bit more limited, so we do tracks that can be done live. Some tracks also don’t work live.
As well as this project you have several others as well, how do you balance things and do you dedicate specific time to each project?
Having a few projects means that if I’m bored with one, I can work on the other. I’m never without something to do music wise. Also I have so much different ideas I can never put them all in one project. I usually work on a project if I feel like it or if I have good idea for that project.
What did you want to achieve with Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent?
Nothing really, I think it’s pretty good (haha) and its cool if other people think so too.
You have openly said that you are an atheist, but your music conjures up some religious connotations especially around darkness and evil. Why have you chosen to give these stories a religious touch?
Religion is a fascination of me. There are so much levels to religion and to me that’s fascinating.
Visuals is another big aspect of your work, why do you feel this is so important to the music that you write?
I’m also a graphic designer, so the visual aspect is important to me. I think a great sleeve can enhance the listening experience.
The landscape of black metal has changed quite a lot in the last few years, what sort of crowd do you see Gnaw Their Tongues pull in? And do you think the internet has opened the genre up to a more mainstream audience?
I think most GTT listeners are not only into black metal. Most are into industrial, noise or experimental music. Most people I meet who like GTT are more open minded. Traditionally metal guys usually don’t like GTT – hahaha.
What does 2017 have in store for Gnaw Their Tongues?
A few very nice festival slots. Small tours. Maybe some new music.
Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent is out now.