Aalborg is well known for its revitalized waterfront on the Limfjord – the body of water that cuts through Jutland – in Denmark, but that’s not all. Now we’ve been shocked by DEFACING GOD, which has that true old Scandinavian Death Metal sound but in a modern and melodic way.
We had the chance to talk with LILITH, the songwriter and singer, who is full of ideas and a very eager person. She told us in this interview everything about how the band is handling the whole pandemic situation, her influences, creative process, next full-length album and much more. Let’s get started!
When and how did you get evolved into metal music?
I grew up with rock and heavy metal. My parents are both metalheads, so it has always been a natural part of my life. I’ve been told that even before I could walk, I often crawled in front of the TV when my parents played a VHS live video with Ozzy Osbourne and I managed to stand up in front of the TV and shake my diper-ass to “Bark at the Moon” for example. So yeah, it is simply in my veins. I started out softly with Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and King Diamond.
Later came Pantera and when I turned 11, I discovered YouTube and a new world opened to me. I asked my mom about “harder” forms of music than I already knew, and she introduced me to Sepultura. “Your dad loves these guys” she said and… I… was… sold! I remember telling my dad about my discovery and he was so excited that he jumped to his closet and pulled out the “Reign in Blood” LP with Slayer and introduced me to them and once again I was sold and the feelings rushing through me while hearing it, is tough to put words on.
I am eternally grateful for these influences on music in my youth. It has always been following me and helped me through dark times, many times! And since that time, I just knew that I wanted to be or do something in this kind of music. It’s a deep, burning passion that is extremely hard to even describe as said. If you know and get it, you get it. If not… You never will.
Did you want to be a metal singer when you were younger?
When I was very young, I didn’t know anything about growling and extreme vocal techniques. I have always been busy with music, singing and acting (I did lots of drama classes during my school time). And also my hobby was choir singing. Yes… The Lilith of Defacing God, was a choir singer… In church… For many years. Haha!
I always had a dream about to become a vocalist when I was younger, yes. But as said, I didn’t know that the extreme vocal techniques existed for women when I was at that age. But I did always feel that the choir singing and the clean vocals weren’t enough for me. I had an intense fire burning inside me that I wanted to express somehow. I have always been very intense, emotional and during my youth, I had some extreme anger issues too (still have sometimes, haha) but I had no idea how to express it properly through the singing.
Years later when I was around 15 years old, I discovered bands like Holy Moses and Arch Enemy who had a female singer. I remember I was blown away to see that women could actually also manage to do these vocal techniques as I loved from bands like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, etc.
First, it seemed a little bit extreme for me because I never saw anything like that before and for me, it was not a “natural” thing for a woman to scream and sing that deep. Back then, I also don’t think that women who did growls, screams and extreme vocals, in general, was such a common or known phenomenon like it is nowadays. Not that I know at least. I just know that I adored it and decided that if they could do it, I sure as Hell could do it too!
And here my passion for the extreme started. I took it all in my own hands and took all that I learned from my time as a choir singer and turned it into my own way of learning the extreme techniques. I was 15 years at this point and alone in it. I had the impression that this technique wasn’t such a common thing among women at that time, so I didn’t know where to go.
So yeah, I did it on my own and I practised this for years and spend all my free time and energy on it and have done it for 12 years now. It gave and still gives me so much joy and such a huge feeling of power and brutality. This feeling never disappeared. It’s pure therapy for me and it’s a thing that I am 110% sure about will never leave my life, so I can for sure say that this is really what I live for.
Which bands are your inspirations or influence?
There are many bands that I like and listen to, but when it comes to influence and inspiration, I am not so inspired by other bands in general.
Of course, there are some bands that I/we can relate to when it comes to style but personally, I find most of my inspiration elsewhere and in my own personal interests in darker aspects and the occult. My inspiration is found more in all from movies, books, games, ancient history and “dark places” that I´ve visited through time. It’s all about the mood, thoughts and emotions.
But okay, I am the vocalist, the lyrical and visual ideas generator in the band. I don’t play any instrument in DEFACING GOD, but I have my preferences and ideas when it comes to that and I ask my guys for specific things when it comes to writing the music because I know what I want and like.
If I have to mention a few bands that I like, then I dig bands such as Marduk, Lord Belial, Rotting Christ, Nile and Morbid Angel and also bands such as Septic Flesh, Dimmu Borgir and Belzebubs. Instrumental, I like some parts of Cradle of Filth too. I love the dramatic, grandiose, theatric orchestrations and sounds and that’s why I for example also find classical music very appealing. I like music with many details and layers so that my listening gets a bit challenged, so that’s a reason we also work with different kinds of orchestrations in our music.
How and when did DEFACING GOD start?
I’ve always been busy with singing. I had some short breaks from time to time where I picked up on the guitar and also a bit of keyboard, but it never caught my interest for long or in the same range as the singing did. Or let’s say, the instruments couldn’t keep my focus and concentration the same way as the singing could, so that is more or less a thing I do for fun now and then when I have a little free time and also because I adore instruments like the guitar and also piano and cello.
I didn’t work on any other specific project other than DEFACING GOD before, but I also worked with this project several years, so I founded DEFACING GOD back in 2015 but was already working on ideas years before that. But even if DEFACING GOD started in 2015, we first went public in 2018.
What kind of themes are your music evolved and where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from everywhere. I read a lot of books -History or horror related. I watch tons of movies (when the time allow me to) and I travel a lot. Or I did… There haven’t been as much travelling since the pandemic of course, but every time I travel, I try to find and also visit
“dark” places like museums with a focus on the macabre, old churches, castles, catacombs, cemeteries, burial grounds in general and abandoned places. When I visit such places, there is mostly some kind of history related to the place and my thoughts often start to run wild when I see/hear these things.
I mostly need some visuals to get new ideas. Or else if it´s not the visuals, it must be sounds. If we for example make a new track, then I pay attention to how the sounds make me feel. Does it sound sad, aggressive, dark or whatever? And I often simply get the lyric ideas out from that. I simply follow the pictures that come up in my head, while I listen to the track. Sometimes I also just sit down and say to myself: “Which theme do I want to write about now?” And then I think on that specific theme and write everything down that comes up in my head. Sometimes it´s nonsense, but out from the whole thing, I write a story that makes sense (for me) in the end. Sometimes it´s pure fiction.
Other times I take a specific history and add my own touch to it. Depends on my mood. But in general, our music evolves around the occult. Darkness. Witchcraft, both fiction but also history related to the Witch-hunt in Europe. Because these are themes I´ve always liked to study and I am just really attracted to these things. The whole witch-hunt thing can also be related to a lot of things that are going on in the world nowadays. It can simply be interpreted in many ways.
Some consider you a Brutal Death Metal Band, some Melodic Death Metal. Which kind of metal subgenre do you consider you are doing?
To each their own, I guess. I mean, you can always make things more “brutal” so if you ask me, “brutal” is not a genre in itself.
We play Melodic Death Metal. We are proud to represent the good old Scandinavian sound, so the melodic is a dominant part of our music. But DEFACING GOD is just our personal interpretation of the good old Scandinavian sound. We mix our sound up with more ambience. A darker atmosphere that you mostly will find in the black metal genre and then it´s detailed with layers and ´´grandiose´´ orchestrations. It´s not limited to the common and more typical Swedish style.
My personal interests in the dark and occult are very dominant in this project and takes a big part of it too. But yes – if you wanna label us, melodic death metal it is. With a twist 😉 but the darker aspects of it maybe gives a tendency of calling it “brutal” death metal, which I also don’t mind. To each their own as said. Music and art in general are very individual and it’s up to the listener, what they see, hear and experience while going into it.
What is your creative process like in turning your ideas turning music?
Our process is mostly like this: Our lead guitarist comes up with a structure. A raw sketch so to say. Then I mostly ask for something specific that I want to have in there and then our rhythm guitarist is very great at adding details and then the song slowly takes its form out from that. When a song is finished with bass, guitar and drums, then I find ideas for other sound layers like choirs, orchestrations and things like that to lift the songs even more up in the level of sounds.
Back in the days when we made these extra layers of sound, it was always the drummer (Michael Olsson) and I who recorded that and we simply used all that we could find. We made an atmospheric track once where we used a homemade special drumstick to make “heartbeat” sounds with, experimented with a Jew harp, broke some branches into the mic and used our voices in very weird scales to create atmospheric and mysterious sounds – mixed it all together and out from that we had something.
We still mostly do the choir thing ourselves nowadays and like to do experiments with sounds, but as told earlier – nowadays we have Lars Vinter with us on the team to make these orchestration parts for us that we want and that’s a lot more effective if you, for example, want these “movie soundtracks” as I call them and he has lots of amazing ideas that fit what I want and like. I say something and then Lars transform it into sound!
How is the pandemic situation in Denmark these days, when was the last concert and the next ones?
Poaaaah! Pure shit. Like everywhere else. Everything is closed. Restrictions everywhere. Our last show was in…. February 2020!!!
It has been waaaaay too long since the last show, but everything we had on the map in 2020 got cancelled. Same story as for every other band out there. Unfortunately. We had lots of activity going on and then…. Bang. Dead… But okay, I cross my fingers that things will be better soon. I have my doubts, but we need to remain positive. Next shows we have on the map is scheduled this spring.
During the first lockdown, I actually enjoyed that I got a little more time for being creative and being alone. Suddenly, it was actually “legal” to be me. Anti-social and isolated, haha! I used a lot of time reading books, writing lyrics and also a lot of hiking in nature to clear my mind. I enjoy my own company and to be alone in silence. So seen from that side, it had a great impact on me and my creativity. But of course, it also had some negative sides. I just don’t want to focus on the negative.
What is the metal scene like in Denmark, especially in Aalborg, where you live?
I would say that we have a strong metal community here in Denmark. It’s a small country and compared to the size of the country, it houses a lot of talented solo musicians and great bands.
The community is strong here in Aalborg, too, where I live. We, for example, have a bigger international festival, “Aalborg Metal Festival” scheduled in November every year which is a great festival with lots of passionate, hard-working people behind. Through blood, sweat and tears they make this huge festival work each fucking year without complaints.
We also have concerts and festivals arranged by “AR&M” (Aalborg Rock & Metal) several times a year where a bunch of hard-working volunteers line up for making the whole thing work as well. Many of these people are the same people behind “Aalborg Metal Festival.” I know several of the people behind and all I can say is; These people’s hearts beats for the music and you can see that in their efforts for the culture and community. Fucking cheers to you guys, if you read this!!
How was your collaboration with Heavy-Power Metal band MATICORA in their album “To live to kill to live”?
That was a fun project to be a part of. These guys are fucking amazing when it comes to storytelling and writing! Before I put my vocals on this project, I was reading the book “To Kill to Live to Kill” written by Lars (the singer) himself. Fucking twisted horror with a lot of great stories! He suggested me to read the book so that I could learn the story about these lyrics I had to sing and I do not regret that, haha! This part I sang was supposed to be an evil Chinese aunt who killed her whole family due to jealousy. The more brutal, the better! 😉
Well… I live far away from these guys, so I actually just recorded the samples from home and gave it to them when I was done. They record their albums the same place as DEFACING GOD do (Jacob Hansen/ Hansen Studios) So I knew we were in good hands regarding the sound production. I love this album and the concept, so I hope it’s not last time to work with these guys.
What do you do, beside music stuff?
Well, I did a lot of things through the time, but I have always studied until now actually. After I finished High School, I took some exams related to business and straight after that I followed my vision (besides of the music), to become a social worker, specialized in young people with diagnoses and social problems. I started to study my bachelor’s in social education and on the side I worked as a teacher.
But after several years, almost at the finish line, I didn’t find myself happy anymore. I had a feeling for way too long that this field drained me from energy in a negative way and it took my focus away from music and my creative projects. I constantly had to “keep up” to not lose myself in work, and after a while, I decided to drop out and focus on my true passions instead, which is music and what I call
The music has always been my number one passion and it has always been following me more or less. But as most people know, we also need some kind of money to survive in this modern society, so I have always been very ambitious when it came to my career – making music is expensive as Hell, haha!
As mentioned, another passion of mine is beauty. Everything that has to do with makeup, skincare routines and the ways we can express ourselves in a visual and creative way, so I took some exams in the beauty industry after my drop out and have actually made a living off my own Beauty firm, “Gorgeous By Gjoertz” until this recent summer.
In all this time I was also running my beauty business, and I’ve been studying another business-related education at the University College here in Aalborg – a degree in Service, hospitality and tourism management which I just graduated from this recent summer.
In constellation with that, I decided to search for new ways once again to get a fresh start, to learn something new and to get some more time and also energy for the music. I have to say that it can be very draining to work with two of your passions each day. It’s almost impossible to be 100% in both places all the time, so I, of course, decided to prioritize the music in this case, because that’s the most important for me.
Nowadays I work as an Insurance Agent at one of Scandinavia’s biggest insurance companies and that goes great in hand with my music life because I basically work as a self-employed and that’s what matters. My regular job has to fit my lifestyle in the music world, not the other way around and that can be very hard to find, but besides hard work, I’ve been very lucky in that!
When I am off work, I spend most of the time on the last things for the upcoming album. Artwork, pictures, the last lyrics and everything in between. Everything is just going a bit slower at the moment due to this Covid shit. But we’ll get there.
What has been the reception of your music overseas?
Compared to how “young” the band is, the feedback has been enormous. I have friends all over the world, so I guess that’s why it was possible to reach out that “far” so early because of that. This is just the beginning.
What can you tell me about the upcoming The Resurrection of Lilith?
Well, the thing is…. The plan at the beginning of 2020 was to release an EP with four songs that we made in collaboration with Jacob Hansen (Hansen Studios), but in June 2020 we got a very unexpected offer (unexpected because of the pandemic situation at that time) from a major label and in constellation with that, our plans had to be totally reconstructed!
The plans changed from releasing an EP to making a full-length album instead, which will be named “The Resurrection of Lilith,” since the theme is still the same, but now just with more tracks. We worked the whole summer on new songs and also new ideas came in and that’s why we, for example, started another collaboration with one of our friends, Lars Vinther and worked on orchestration parts for the new album. Lars is a very amazing and skilled musician btw and the work he did for this album blew my damn mind, haha!
After this collab, the new tracks reached a whole new level of sound and It’s going to be massive!
What can you say about the new record label sign?
I wish I could tell you some more, but I can’t – yet! We´re waiting for a final “go” so that we can release the news. But the only thing I can say is: It’s a major one. We are very satisfied with the offer and the contract, so we feel that we are in safe and very competent hands.
Can’t wait to reveal it!
DEFACING GOD are:
Sandie Gjørtz – Vocals
Christian Nielsen – Rythm Guitars
Signar Petersen – Lead Guitars
Michael Olsson – Drums
Rasmus “Kalke” Nielsen – Bass Guitar
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